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Funkhouser: The Oral History

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The namesake: William D. Funkhouser. Known, of course, for his rousing skull ventriloquism act.

Two years ago KSR launched Funkhouser, a site dedicated to pop-culture being covered in the most ridiculous manner possible.  In the years since then, the writers at Funkhouser have covered everything from the latest album releases to the biggest TV shows, the best movies, and everything in between.  From the outside, this meteoric rise to the top-right of the KSR subhead banner might seem like all-day-bubbly fest and Mississippi caviar, but before Funkhouser could become the most talked about pop-culture page named Funkhouser, there was work to be done.  

This is the oral history of Funkhouser.

Funkhouser

Chapter One: A Time to be Born

God (our creator): In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

CM Tomlin (Funkhouser Boss): Funkhouser began as an idea about four years ago, even though it only launched about two years ago.

Kalan Kucera (writer)Kind of a lot happened in between those two things.

Megan Suttles (writer): I don’t know how Funkhouser started.  A lot of people assume that it was created to house all of KSR’s Bachelor Show Recaps without the threat of comment section dissent.  The real story is that Funkhouser almost didn’t happen.

Josh Juckett (writer):  “I remember a time, not long ago

When KSR had no insight, on my favorite show”

Tomlin:  Matt and I would talk about how it would be great to have a sub-blog-type area to cover pop culture, and how with the right combination of writers it would probably work.

Josh: “Back in those times, it’s still in my head,

We didn’t have updates, of The Walking Dead.

Those days were dark, those days were sad.

I needed a forum, to discuss Breaking Bad!

Annoyed UK Fan (reader): Really KSR??? What does this have to do with UK sports???

Tomlin:  We made a list [of criteria] which included knowledge of popular board games, Terminator enthusiasm, electronic dance music critique, and late night talk show clip curation.

Kalan:  I remember how exciting it was when KSR put out the call for pop culture writers.  It was like, “YES.  Finally, an outlet for all of these opinions I have about Saddam Hussein’s romance novels!” I really think this excitement that everyone had is what drove Funkhouser’s creation.

Megan:  In 1996, a treasure hunter and his team aboard a research vessel searched the wreck of what was thought to be an unsinkable ship for a necklace with a rare diamond, the Heart of the Ocean.  They recovered a safe containing a drawing of a young woman wearing only the necklace dated April 14, 1912, the day the ship struck the iceberg.  Curiously, that woman was also holding hilarious stock images of various campuses in the United States.  That startling image was really, probably, the inspiration for Funkhouser.

Tomlin:  I feel like we filled all those roles nicely.

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Chapter Two: A Time to Gather Stones Together

With the idea for a pop culture blog firmly in place, and a list of writers chosen from hundreds of great entries, it was time for Funkhouser to take root and grow.  

Kalan: Starting out was pretty intimidating.  We had to start finding our voices, had to carve out time to write, and we had to figure out how to market the site in a saturated environment. Like when Richmond [Bramblet] came up with our logo.  He was reading a book and saw, what I have to believe, is an ancient Miskatonic symbol for keenness of wit, our standard Funkhouser ‘F’. But then you had to run it through the trademark databases, there were lawsuits left and right.  I’m pretty sure it ended up with Richmond’s cousin representing him and proving that there’s no way Sam Tipton could’ve come up with a similar logo at breakfast, not if he was going to attend to his regionally famous grits.

Richmond Bramblet (writer, designer):  I just randomly made it [the logo] one day at work.  Just thought of an idea and played with it.  Showed it to Tomlin and Matt and they approved.  Just random.

Kalan:  Was that it, or is that My Cousin Vinny? I have a hard time remembering things.

Megan:  I had no place for my musings on all things Bravo.  Funkhouser was the perfect home for my ramblings on theme songs and new favorite shows.  I answered the call for writing submissions on the site and gave up when I didn’t hear back in about a month.

Tomlin:  Funkhouser is something people remember is up on the subhead banner and pop over to check out during their morning routines.  I really do feel like we have some of the best pop culture writers and tastemakers in the state right now (and we culled them from a great pool of other great writers), and it makes me excited to be able to help bring their voices to the site.

Richmond:  Funkhouser has really come into its own over the last two years.  We’ve gone from the section that got confused with KSR College, to a section where less people ask, “Why is this here?  I thought this was a site for UK sports.”

the old coach (reader):  KSR… heading down the tubes? When you said you were looking for new writers we had no idea. Would you be interested in posting a few lines about my kids birthday party this Sunday?

Megan: One day, I almost called into the radio show because I was made at Shannon T. Dude for not respecting Kara Lawson’s announcing abilities.  I was heated.  I’m embarrassed to say that I even wrote out talking points.  But, luckily, I thought to check and see if I’d gotten the Funkhouser writing spot before I gave Shannon an intense verbal lashing.  I think this saved me a lot of embarrassment.

Josh: “But life has improved, I now have the power.

To discuss this pop culture, I go to Funkhouser.”

Tomlin:  We really do have a writer capable of handling any pop culture / entertainment situation.  And we’re ready for anything.  Our “Gerard Butler Dies in a Freak Hot Air Balloon Collision” story is in the can and ready to go, as is our “Suzanne Somers Wins Custody in Baby Goat Court Decision” piece.

Richmond:  I honestly think about Funkhouser all the time.  I think about it at my real job, in my free time, while I’m driving, etc.

Kalan:  When do I think about Funkhouser?  That seems like a really private question.  When and if I think about Funkhouser, that’s between me, God, and my records database at Google and the NSA.

Tomlin: You have to be ready for these things; that’s part of the job.

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Chapter Three: A Time for Love

Firmly entrenched in the .html banner and in the “Blogs” section of the official KSR mobile app, Funkhouser had proven that it had “the stuff.”  Now, in it’s 3rd year, it’s safe to wonder what Funkhouser can be and to wonder if Transcendence is right around the corner.  Hopefully not.  That was a terrible movie.

Matt Shorr (writer):  Funkhouser is my good friend whose opinion on pop culture I respect.  The other FH writers almost always listen to and see things before I do, so if I need to know whether or not to see Mad Max: Fury Road on the big screen or to wait until Netflix gets it, I read the review.

Richmond:  Honestly, we are starting to see Funkhouser be successful, being linked to by outside sources, making it to the main page.

Josh: “Everything is covered, from movies to shows,

Music and book, well anything goes.

They cover conventions and award shows as well,

Wrestling and food, and there’s more to tell!”

Richmond:  Sometimes I don’t realize that I get to do all of these cool things.  Funkhouser has allowed me to write about the things I like, and hopefully reach out to people who like the same things.

Kalan:  I think the future is bright for Funkhouser.  We have a slew of talented writers and we’re getting to a point where we really hit the rhythms of pop culture for really fascinating coverage.  Spoiler alert:  I think that’s a winning combination.

Neal Orac (reader): Thanks for the spoilers.

Matt Shorr:  If Funkhouser were just reviews, fine.  I like our reviews better than almost anybody else’s. But it’s more than that.  From time to time we dig into deeper issues within pop culture with incisive and introspective writing.  It’s good to see more into current mass media than just what’s on the face.  Lest the reader think that it’s all one or the other, though, we aint’ above parody and general silliness.

Megan:  Now I’m calmer at gatherings.  I talk less about Bravo and save it all for the blog.

Richmond:  I think people will be surprised with Funkhouser over this next year.

Kalan:  I just know that people are psyched for the parody pieces this year.

bigblue86 (reader): …

Kalan: My mom’s excited for them anyway.  I think.

Josh: “So for some fun and news, from board games to Bowser,

Make sure to stop, and visit Funkhouser!”

Matt Shorr:  So as a longtime Funkhouser reader, writer, and lover, happy 2nd Birthday! It looks good on you.  Here’s to a whole lot more.

Tomlin:  I hope people will keep reading.  We’re having a lot of fun over here, and we’re proud of what we’ve carved out.  I hope more people will discover it in the next two years.


Thanks everyone for reading Funkhouser these last two years, we love you most of all, dear readers!

Keep up to date with everything we’re doing and cheers to you amigos!

@FunkhouserKSR

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Funkhouser Main Page

Article written by Kalan Kucera

So by your account Harold Potter was a perfectly ordinary Englishman without any tendency towards being a Scotsman whatsoever?