Have you ever wondered what it’s like to clean up a crime scene? Or to rob a bank? Or to work as a male escort? Local comedian Gabe Noah has.
In his new podcast, Profession Confession, Noah coaxes revelations out of people whose jobs involve death, sex, violence, and crime. Among his interviewees are a pimp, a dominatrix, a gang member, and a serial bank robber. Fans of Howard Stern or Adam Carolla’s interview style will appreciate Noah’s shameless curiosity and ability to make light of what might otherwise be uncomfortable topics.
Profession Confession just launched this week on the Tom Barnard Network; three episodes are available now on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher. New episodes will follow once weekly hereafter.
We asked Noah about the bizarre beginnings of this new project.
City Pages: Where did the idea for the podcast come from?
Gabe Noah: It stems from when I lived in Los Angeles. I had a big drug past. That takes you down really dark roads, which lead to your parents’ basement at 28 years old. Though it was a horrible part of my life, there are aspects of it that are really interesting and fun and you kind of get comfortable hanging out with some pretty dark dudes. I liked asking them questions. I always got a thrill out of it.
CP: I know comedians tend to be unshockable, but have there been any shocking moments with your guests?
GN: The first time I was truly shocked on the podcast was when I was interviewing a drug trafficker for the Crips. I was asking him about how heroin comes into town and who distributes it. He starts saying how the guy was a piece of shit and he goes, “Plus, he’s a motherfuckin’ cop.” I was truly shocked. Turns out he’s not a cop but a confidential informant for the police. They know he’s doing it; he turns over the people he sells to. I didn’t know if we should put this out. I’m not even sure right now.
We had a pimp on. Hearing about turning women out was very dark. We try to not be judgmental. Otherwise, they’re not going to tell you the truth. That tested us a little bit, hearing about getting women to do topless massages and graduating them up the ranks. That was pretty heavy stuff.
We had a crime scene cleanup lady in, and she talked about finding eyeballs. That truly shocked me. She talked about when people kill themselves, most people do it in their bed and they pull up the covers, which I thought was really dark but interesting.
But the most shocking thing was when we had a dominatrix on and we asked her what’s one of the weirdest things she’s been asked to do. She said, “Oh, probably the guy that wanted me to crucify him. He had me pound pins through his hands and feet.” He paid her $15,000 to $20,000 -- we couldn’t get her to tell us exactly. She built a cross and hammered his hands and feet into it. He’s done it enough that he knows where to put the stainless steel nails so that they go between the bones without causing damage. That was shocking. I can’t wait to hear more stuff like that.
CP: What jobs are on your wish list for future episodes?
GN: One I really want back is a president of a major motorcycle gang. He got arrested. When he was arrested, he had half-a-million dollars buried in his backyard. He talked to us openly about ordering murders -- just fuckin’ blew us away. I had to meet him three times to earn his trust before we even did the podcast. He dropped out because he said he snitched on members of his gang, so there’s a bounty on him. His wife put the hammer down. That one was crushing.
So I really want a one-percenter motorcycle gang guy. A veteran prison guard. I know there are military guys with amazing stories – a sniper, or a special forces guy. A criminal profiler.
CP: How is a podcast different from standup?
GN: I’m learning a lot from it. I’ve had to learn how to listen to people and not interrupt. I’ve learned that my wife is right about how obnoxious I can be. It’s also really fun because there are a lot of facets that don’t lend themselves well to standup, but are things that you can talk about in a podcast. It’s showing a more complete side of yourself.
CP: Would you say it also requires compassion? You joke with and about the subjects, but at the same time you don’t want to alienate them or embarrass them when they’re sharing these things with you...
GN: For sure. I’ve always hoped that was a skill that I have. I’ve always felt like I’ve been able to get away with saying things to people and having them not hold it against me or feel awkward. I think a lot of that is that I’ve been to dark places. I’ve been at the bottom. If you’ve been or done things that you’re not proud of, you tend to not hold other people to that standard. I’m not judging them. I think that comes across.
Have a profession confession to share with the podcast? Send it to [email protected]