Long story, incredibly short: The HE Podcast is returning this week. The first new episode will be up for download (website, RSS, iTunes) on Wednesday morning. All 51 Post Shows have been moved from The Vault into the main feed. Only about 50 people have ever heard the post shows they were honestly some of our funniest stuff. So you can start by binging on a good 30ish hours of new (old) material.

The HijiNKS ENSUE PODCASTI NEED YOUR HELP! If you want the show to succeed and continue, please consider setting up a DONATION SUBSCRIPTION. Actually getting paid to do this job will make it SOOOO much easier to make sure it doesn’t fall by the wayside again. Also, please leave positive reviews on iTunes and TELL YOUR FRIENDS.

Long story, somewhat long: The HE podcast went on hiatus just over a year ago. The main reason was that my co-hosts were unable to find time in their busy schedules to record. I, being the only one of us who didn’t have a “real” job, had no right to complain or insist on them giving freely of their time but once Josh and Eli both entered a “crunch” phase at their respective jobs, the frustrations of trying to schedule the show became overwhelming. You might remember that I started recording more with “The B Team” of Alex and Roger towards the end. While those guys were more accessible (and certainly entertaining and hilarious), scheduling was still an issue. I knew I wasn’t able to commit to definitely having a new episode up every week, so I decided rather than constantly making excuses I would just hang it up and shut it down. 

The other main problem with producing the show WAS producing the show. I spent about a part time job’s worth of my week scheduling, recording, editing, setting up/tearing equipment in my home studio, exporting files in various formats (which became MUCH more difficult when we started doing Post Shows and Uncut Shows), making blog posts, writing show notes, etc, etc, etc. I enjoyed the work, and the outcome but I felt it was eating into my comic-making time and the podcast had about 1/10th the audience of the comic. It seemed my time would be better spend refocussing my efforts on the comic.

Around the 6 month mark post hiatus I started to feel like I was losing my connection with the hardest of the hard core member of my audience. The ferver and undying support that I used to see was waining. This is a nebulous thing and very hard to quantify, but I could definitely feel a sea change in terms of how enthusiastic my audience was. It wasn’t long before I realized this was due in part to the direction I had taken the comic in, and LARGELY to the fact that the podcast was gone. Based on feedback from readers at conventions and via email/twitter I learned one very important thing. Readers liked the comic. Some even loved it. But listeners LOOOOOOVED the podcast. They were more invested in everything I had to offer (comics, podcasts, tweets, whatever) because of the personal connection they had developed with me through listening to me talk for hours a week. I had basically thrown away the most important thing I had ever cultivated in my career. I immediately started trying to figure out how to get the podcast back up and running.

The main things I had to change were A) Having to schedule around people’s more important commitments (work/family/etc), and B) expecting people to drive way out in the boonies where I live to record. Enter my good friends at Explosm. With their new Dallas-based office and a free room we were able to construct a remedial recording studio, get some equipment upgrades and set up a home base for the podcast that was MUCH more central to all those involved. To christen the new studio Rob DenBleyker, Kris Wilson and I recorded a test podcast. Low and behold, our friendship, natural chemistry and unrelenting ambition to make each other laugh resulted in a damn fine bit of podcastery. With the problem of the location solved, I realized how to solve the problem of co-host commitments. I decided to have a rotating cast of co-hosts and record as many episodes as possible during a given session. That way I’m not scrambling for episodes each week and I’m not eating away at the free time of the same two people over and over.

Do not fear, Eli and Josh are still a part of the show. So are the “B-Team” of Alex and Roger. The biggest changes for current HE Podcast listeners is the addition of Rob, Kris and Dave from Cyanide and Happiness to the co-host rotation. They are some of my favorite people and I really think you are going to like the stuff we’ve been recording.

What other changes can you expect? The show is less topical and more conversational. Since I am banking them weeks if not months ahead of time, it doesn’t make sense for us to review movies, etc. that will be old news by the time the show airs. Each episode will feature a brief intro by me where I answer emails, voicemails, tweets and update you on my convention appearances. Then you’ll hear an hour or so of… well that depends on who I’m talking to. With the Explosm guys, we typically tell stories, do characters and come up with bits. With Josh, Eli and Alex it’s more like the old show, but less structured. I hope you enjoy the mix and it keeps you from getting bored. The other new aspect is that I’m going to pepper in more interview-style shows here and there with some of my professionally funny/geeky celebrity-type friends (like this one with Chris Hardwick).

So that’s it. If you’re a previous listener, I hope you jump back on board and if you’ve never heard the show before I hope you give it a shot.