Tiger King · The Webbys · The NBA

Plus: Between Black and Blue gets a release date

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You kind of have to respect how thoroughly the Tiger King folks are exploring their 15 minutes of fame. (Look, I said “kind of.”) According to its promoter, the “Patriot Artists Agency,” four of the figures from Tiger King are taking their show on the road, giving live performances at which one can “Hear untold stories, see never before seen amazing videos and pictures, and hear audience members ask the questions they want answers to.” Because if there’s one worthy risk to take during a deadly pandemic, it’s one that involves that most painful of situations, the audience Q&A.

The show is called Uncaged: The Untold Stories from the Cast of Tiger King and features Joe Exotic peripherals John Reinke, Saff, Josh Dial, and Barbara Fisher. I will present to you the information on the moderator without comment, but encourage your thoughts in the comments:

Todd McComas is a standup comedian and retired police detective. He's a former cast member of Barstool Sports and The Pat McAfee Show and now hosts the true crime podcast 10-41 with Todd McComas and co-hosts the 4 Life Podcast and FUNTOWN. Todd also directed and starred in the documentary Defending The Kingdom: A Conversation with Tim Stark and is a regular guest on The Bob & Tom Show.

The reason I heard about this road show was because I somehow got an email letting me know it was available to book, but as my living room only seats about 10 comfortably (plus, deadly pandemic) I have to pass. Right now, it looks like the only takers are the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Sioux City, Iowa, which will host the show at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows on Tuesday, June 25. The only other performance I can find was in Cedar Rapids in November, 2020 — yes, at the absolute height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. —  so I’m sure everyone involved has followed strict health orders and is fully vaccinated, making this a totally safe event to attend. — EB

Have you folks listened to True Crime Reporter? I ask because the podcast issued a press release claiming that “it has been honored for Best True Crime Podcast” by the Webby Awards, a 25-year-old pay-to-play “internet excellence” award series. But despite how that release makes it sound, it’s not as much of a win as you might think, as the real winners won’t be announced until Tuesday, May 18.

Look, most awards competitions are cash cows for its creators, and the Webbys are an exceptional example of this — folks pay hundreds to apply for an award, in hopes that the debatable cachet of winning Webby honors will help catapult their property to success. (As a startup founder told me 17 or so years ago, “It’s bullshit, but my marketing team insists we enter every goddamn year.”) That’s why podcasts like Criminal, Chasing Cosby, and To Live and Die in LA are among last year’s honorees in the awards’ Crime & Justice category.

See, that’s the other thing: there isn’t a True Crime Podcast category at the Webbys. According to a press release issued April 20, the organization has stuck with Crime & Justice as the category name, and none of this year’s nominees are True Crime Reporter: instead, it’s true crime household names Bad People, Evil By Design, Wrongful Conviction, Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein, and Scam Goddess on the list.

However, True Crime Reporter is indeed an “honoree” at this year’s awards, as you’ll see if you scroll all the way to the bottom of this page. The “honoree” designation is a completely different thing than “nominee,” with thousands of entrants singled out for that distinction every year. (This 2008 Slate piece describes how this works pretty well; just multiply the number of categories and entrants to reflect 2021 levels of content inflation.)

But here’s the thing: it kind of worked on me. Now I am kind of curious about True Crime Reporter, even though its most recent blog post and a lot of its host bio set my coastal-elite snowflake antennae a-twitch. So, I ask you, dear readers: Have you listened to (or even heard of, before now) True Crime Reporter, and is it indeed deserving of any “honors”? — EB

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Between Black and Blue is headed to Sundance Now. This docuseries about New York detectives Michael Borrelli and Robert Davis, both of whom were wrongly convicted for a 1975 homicide, has appeared and disappeared from streaming services since late 2020. Most recently, we noted in January, the award-wining series was available for purchase on Amazon Prime, but that was about it.

But if you can hold off until May 25, you can stream the show on Sundance Now and AMC+, the network says via press release. All four episodes drop that day, the network says, referring to the release date as a “binge premiere” which is a horrible phrase I hope goes away forever. At least based on my experience, Sundance Now is accessible if it’s part of your TV package, but you’ll have to sign up for a separate (paid) sub if you want AMC+. — EB

Death at the Wing is in full swing. We mentioned this podcast from The Big Short’s Adam McKay a while ago, and Best Evidence pal Melissa just reminded us that the show is up and running. It’s about 1980s-era basketball players who died untimely deaths, examining the incidents through the lens of income inequity and racism.

McKay hosts the podcast, which dropped on the last day of March — we’re six episodes in, and I am eating it up. Part of that is that I am who I am: I’m almost 50, and spent my formative years in Indiana, where basketball is as significant a part of life as the weather or food. Every name that comes up in this show is one I remember as a headline in the print copy of Indianapolis Star we had on the breakfast table every morning, all single-serving news stories that didn’t get much follow-up, barring the occasional Sports Illustrated investigation.

So getting one 45-minute episode a week on these long-ago cases (Magic Johnson mentor Terry Furlow, Sac Kings star Ricky Berry, and high-profile Celtics recruit Len Bias, among others) fills this knowledge void I didn’t even realize I had. This isn’t just McKay retelling the circumstances of the case: he lets experts like ex-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and professor of critical stories Dr. Todd Boyd explain the complexities of these deaths, along with journos and sports experts like Jane Mayer and Jackie MacMullan.

If you don’t care about basketball, will you dig this podcast? I think so! McKay can really tell a story and keep things moving, and a lot of the racial narratives that play out in these stories are ones we’re grappling with today. I guess what I’m saying is that sports is pretty incidental to the show, except as a driver of wealth and as a source of incredible pressure for the subjects of the podcast.

And who knows? Maybe after you listen, you’ll start to care about basketball (before you laugh, I never really followed the SF Giants until I read Game of Shadows, so, it happens)! You could really do worse (cough the NFL cough) than to follow what some argue is the most progressive pro-sports league in the U.S. — EB

Friday on Best Evidence: Discussion-thread time!

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