If you call 646-490-1847 in the next 48 hours, Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt will pick up on the other end and talk to you about anything you’d like. The election; your computer hard drive; where all the cowboys have gone. Anything. The pair, who host the podcast Reply All, are opening up their phone lines and answering any call for the next two days straight for an upcoming episode. Select All talked to Goldman to get a better sense of what they’re hoping to get out of their marathon phone session.
“Our executive producer, Tim Howard, is kind of a mad genius. Every time we have a story meeting he says, ‘Okay, come with two real ideas and and a bong-hit idea,’ and when he says ‘bong-hit idea’ he just means the weirdest thing we can think of,” Goldman explained of how the duo came up with the plan to answer their phones for two days in a row. “There is a single phone number and when that number is called it rings to both mine and PJ’s phones for a conference call,” Goldman said. “It’ll basically be like a call-in show for one person at a time.” And as long as the phone call is engaging, they pair will stay on the line: “The cutoff time will be when it gets boring.”
The two are hoping for some colorful conversations, which they will then edit into an episode of Reply All. “That is, of course, assuming it’s not a total mess,” Goldman joked. Goldman said he and Vogt are ready for crank calls and pranks or a possible “4chan raid,” but thinks they’ll likely be okay. “We’re two white guys. If this were women or people of color this idea might be a nonstarter,” Goldman said. “I’m hoping our white maleness will inoculate us from some harassment.”
“My dream is people from other countries calling us with stories or problems or things we wouldn’t otherwise know about,” he said. “Maybe someone is awake at 4 a.m. and they feel like they really need to talk to someone but they have no one to talk. That person can call our number and talk.” Goldman added his plans for staying awake involve sleeping on the couch in between calls, while Vogt is a known Coke Zero fiend. (This is not an ad, Goldman promised.) “PJ and I are naturally combative to begin with, and I think lack of sleep will just exacerbate that to the point of hanging under the threads of sanity a little bit.”
As for what they hope to talk to people about over the coming days, Goldman said there really is no limit. They will happily chat about Reply All–esque topics, “if you want me to help you find out who owns a website or if your disc drive is not working properly,” but the men both have some other hobbies to gab about as well. “I can pickup almost any tune by ear on the guitar, so if someone wants me to play them a song on the guitar i can probably do that,” Goldman told me. (Please don’t call and scream Freebird into the phone, because this is already my plan.) “And my secret passion is gardening, so if anybody wants to talk about gardening, I’d be into that.” He also noted that Vogt has “done a lot of online dating,” if you’re hoping to talk Tinder.
“Mostly we’re hoping to hear from people who’ve never heard of our show. Who don’t know anything about us and don’t give a crap about us,” Goldman said. “We’re interested to see what they have to say.”