Episode #146 — Actor/Podcaster Peter Riegert

This past year and however many months, most of us have had to work on perfecting our on-camera look for virtual interactions, whether it’s Zoom, FaceTime, Tinder/Grindr, or the weekly therapy sessions we all deserve. While most worry about camera angles, lighting, and sound, we’re here to tell you there’s something else that deserves your focus: how you wear your headphones. Okay, Heidi’s here to tell you this… Holding your cans up to one ear, preferably with your head tilted, is very in vogue right now. If you look like you did when you were younger, pretending to be Mariah Carey in the recording studio, then you’re doing it right. (We didn’t say how much younger. It could have been yesterday that you lip synched the dog whistles to “Emotions” and we are not here to judge.) It’s times like these we wish we had a morning-zoo-style prize closet so we could reward the first listener to send us a screenshot of them talking to someone on a dating site like this. But maybe send us a photo anyway, even if we can’t send you REO Speedwagon tickets.

These are the kinds of things we did not discuss with this week’s guest, though he’s such a great conversationalist that he’d find a way make us feel good about our weird tangents and weave them seamlessly back into our discussion. We spoke with actor/podcaster (and writer/director/all-around congenial human being) Peter Riegert. You’ve definitely seen him perform, whether it’s in a movie, in television, or in a play. To distill a varied, successful career into a few examples, he was in “Animal House,” “Local Hero,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and “Crossing Delancey.” (And let’s just say one of our producer’s mothers lost her mind when she found out we were talking with the swoon-worthy pickle vendor of that last movie.) While we would have loved to talk with him in depth about any of his endeavors, we chatted with him about his latest project — the podcast, “Vocal Heroes.”

For starters, we talked about the great name for his podcast. Peter always gives credit where credit is due, and that goes to his wife — who just happens to be a novelist. With “Vocal Heroes,” Peter knew he had to come up with a new and engaging angle: each episode is an in-depth conversation with a fascinating person you’d invite to your dinner party. It’s a back-and-forth with creatives about their start in the business, their hopes/dreams/motivations, their highs and lows, and anything else that comes to mind. We are very happy to listen in on Peter’s conversations and think about the creative journey in ways we haven’t before. His podcast also made Heidi want to go out on the town with Karen Allen even more to reenact the drinking scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” It will make sense once you listen to the episode…

It was wonderful to talk podcast shop with Peter. And though this isn’t part of his official bio, we also think he quite a philosopher. We believe you’ll agree after hearing Peter’s perspective on life, work, and the value of listening. And if you love our interview, you know you’ll love the interactions with his guests on his podcast, too. Trust us, any fellow whose dad used to play Lenny Bruce records for him as a kid is someone you want to get to know!

We’re off to make a list of who we’d invite to our dinner party of fascinating people. The problem is, we’ve met so many amazing people on this podcast, that it’s impossible to narrow the list down. And five seats are already spoken for by Captain for his friends, so space is even more limited. But we’ll make it work! If you’d rather focus on Peter’s dinner party guests, which is a good idea, you can find his podcast anywhere you stream podcasts, on the Vocal Heroes website, and on its Facebook page. And be sure to read every part of his website — we’re particular fans of his “Bio” section. Did we mention his wife is a novelist? She’s also pretty damn good at writing for a website, too.

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