By Connor Carynski
Straying, but not too far, from its internet tethers, the A.V. Club entertainment site is extending their quota of smart and quirky content from your laptop to your television set.
After its premiere episode on March 16, the A.V. Club Hosted by John Teti show has been bringing viewers interviews with guests, such as Neil Degrasse Tyson and Bob Odenkirk, and timely entertainment segments each Thursday at 8 p.m. Central on the FUSION TV.
Filmed at OnionStudios in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, the newest episode will air this Thursday and feature coverage of The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles. Additional segments include Staff Picks, in which a seemingly innocent video game explores xenophobia and discussions of the week’s entertainment headlines.
Though appearing in a weekly television show for the first time, Teti has amassed a series of skills that have prepared him for the weekly trials of filling time slots and developing new means of exploring pop culture. He has worked as a producer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, curated skills in improv and standup comedy, and worked his way up from contributing writer to editor-in-chief of A.V. Club, writing on topics spanning from video games to football.
The desire to appear on television has always been a strong one for Teti, who lives in Chicago with his wife, son and two orange cats. Even as a child he often signed his name “John Teti: future game show host” and although he isn’t calling for letters over a colorful spinning wheel, he said he is absolutely honored to represent the publication he has both worked for and followed since his youth.
Teti said his love of the A.V. Club has never faltered, not when he was a teen picking up print issues through the Onion and not as he moves from print aspects of the A.V Club to act as the brand’s face on television.
Teti added that although the platforms of the A.V. Club have grown, the theme of using pop culture as a means to explore society and humanity as a whole will never diminish.
“I try to carry over the spirit of the A.V. Club as I see it, which is that pop culture is a playground of ideas and it is a place where we can discuss maybe difficult ideas and we can discuss some of the difficulties of the human experience in a context that is entertaining and relaxed,” Teti said. “It’s such a wonderful way to learn about ourselves and learn about each other, it’s a playground and I’ll never get tired of that.”
Teti’s improv experience comes to fruition in the way interview segments are conducted on the show. Oftentimes guests are brought on without pre-interviews and even when there are talking points, they are treated more as reminders than guidelines. Teti said without the show’s conversational approach to interviews, it would end up just like a hundred other programs with hosts reading straight off the card more than speaking to their guests.
“The best stuff on our show comes out of conversation,” Teti said. “We always get good results out of it so it’s an ethos I preach both internally and externally. There’s a conversation within the show and I also want to spark a conversation outside of the show.”
Proud of every episode he and his team have produced, Teti said there are always things to be tweaked and segments to be rearranged.
“One of the things I learned at the Daily Show was that Jon refused to let the show grow stagnant,” Teti said. “Now we aren’t really in danger of that, just a dozen episodes in, but what I took away from it is that you always have to be looking for ways for the show to evolve and transform. You have to keep yourself excited about the freshness of the show.”
Reinventing the wheel can be tricky when working on a week to week basis, with only a few days from the drawing board to the screen, but Teti said he is always looking to push the show forward. Teti’s tight schedule also makes an interesting creative process in which everything from the last episode, triumph or downfall, is put aside to tackle next week’s show. Being an avid sports fan, Teti compared the recycling process to that of a quarterback throwing an interception; dwelling on the past does no good in the future, you have to focus on what is in front of you.
“If there’s a moment where I flub a word I can’t let that affect me because I have to pick up after we finish taping episode twelve and start thinking about episode thirteen,” Teti said. “It’s actually a fun way to create because you don’t get the chance to linger in any of your mistakes. It just keeps you looking ahead and that’s a great way to operate.”
The A.V. Club airs at 8 p.m. Central every Thursday on FUSION TV.