Following its first printed issue in 1953, the TV Guide was regarded as a sort of treasure map to pop culture, as well as key evidence in the debate over what to watch on any given night. Now, with the mystique of the TV Guide overshadowed by the age of on-demand, Boston comedian Ken Reid has aimed revitalize the pastime of utilizing the periodical’s wealth of information that was an obsession of sorts for him when he was a kid.
That mission comes in the form of TV Guidance Counselor, a weekly podcast where the Melrose native reminisces and discusses in-depth with his guests what they would watch on that day in history, employing the help of one of his innumerable copies of the guide, which he has collected since childhood.
“I paid for my own subscription to the guide, and when I was a kid, going home every Wednesday and mapping out what I was going to watch was really the one thing I looked forward to, especially growing up in a chaotic environment, it gave me at least one thing that I could control,” says Reid during a recent chat with Vanyaland. “And later on, I had a fair amount of TV Guides on a spinning rack in my house that people would grab and look through when they hung out at my place, and it was actually Sean Sullivan who one day suggested I turn it into a podcast. I had wanted to do a podcast, but something different from the run of the mill format, so that was really the birth of it.”
This weekend, the podcast hits a milestone familiar to classic shows like M*A*S*H, The Simpsons, and Happy Days when it releases its 250th episode, which features Arlington native career-long friend Larry Murphy, the voice of Teddy on Bob’s Burgers. To celebrate and commemorate the occasion, Reid is hosting an unveiling of episode 250 on Saturday (September 9) at Comicazi in Somerville, with a guest appearance by Boston comic Will Smalley.
The live celebration of TV Guidance Counselor will take fans along for a ride in the pop-culture time machine to get involved in the nostalgia, giving members of the audience the chance to read from Reid’s own scanned archive of TV Guides. There will also be trivia, broadcasting of rare television clips, and a retrospective of the first 250 episodes of the show. The invitation even states that “pajamas are encouraged,” but they are not required.
“I wanted to format the live episode [at Comicazi] after those old Friday night primetime specials that would announce the Saturday morning cartoons for the season,” adds Reid, who holds down a regular nine-to-five when not honing his craft as a Boston comedian and show host. “We’ll look back on past episodes, Will Smalley is gonna be sort of guest hosting with me, and I’m gonna show some really weird clips from old Saturday morning cartoons I often talk about on the show. So, I want this to be a relaxed sort of hang out time to say thank you, because honestly, nobody is more shocked that this podcast has reached this point as I am.”
TV GUIDANCE COUNSELOR WITH KEN REID AND SPECIAL GUEST WILL SMALLEY :: Saturday, September 9 at Comicazi, 407 Highland Ave. in Somerville, MA :: 7 p.m., all ages, no cover :: Facebook event page