The inaugural episode of the Krassenstein brothers’ podcast is only 46 minutes long, but it took me six tries and nearly a week to walk this lonely road to perdition. The experience of listening to the episode changed me, and not in a good way.
If you don’t already know the Krassensteins—twins Ed and Brian, who (frequently) boast about their combined Twitter following of more than 1.5 million lost souls—turn back now and save yourself. I won’t fault you, life is so short!!
A quick refresher for those less wretchedly online: They’re basically reply guys to Donald Trump, huge with #Resistance Twitter for their frenzied tweeting about how, any day now, the hero Robert Mueller’s investigation will be curtains for the whole Trump clan.
The Krassensteins are obviously not the most powerful or important people out there, but they have a real and substantial following, and they’re a leading example of the kind of people who think that if we can just worship the FBI hard enough, everything will snap back into its rightful place. This stuff is self-serving fanfic for the saddest libs, and now it’s available in podcast form. Like a moth to a flame, I had to listen.
Now, AS A PODCASTER MYSELF, I felt equipped to critique the Krassenbros’ latest offering. What follows is my accounting of the episode, which is only semi-coherent because I began to experience brain death about 10 minutes in.
I did this all for you; I will never, ever get these hours of my life back.
The first episode of KrassenCast—titled “‘The Ingraham Anger’ and Krassenstein Cuddles” opens with a shredding metal music intro, like a parody of one of those Bob & Tom Fuck Your Wife in the Mornings AM radio shows, but without a hint of irony. (Unfortunately, that latter bit will become a theme.)
The brothers tell us that the subtitle of this creation is “defending what’s left.” Already, I’m starting to suspect nothing is left to defend. It’s all gone to people like this, and we’re doomed.
The Krassenbros make an obligatory joke about living in their parents’ basement—they say they don’t, for the record—and joke that this could be their first and last episode of the show. If only, I sigh, before one brother clarifies: “I’d say the chances of that are as good as orange man Donald Trump resigning in the next 10 minutes.” I swear on daddy Mueller’s grave that this is all real.
So far the podcast already feels deeply scripted, but like the casting director is just offstage shouting at the brothers to deliver the lines as joylessly as possible, so that when the “jokes” do arrive, they’re easy to miss.
Next comes this widely circulated, deeply weird throwaway line: The brothers are twins, you see, so they’ve “actually known each other for 38 years if you count all the time we had cuddling in our mom’s womb.”
Normal dudes! Very normal thing to say, carry on!!!
Just who are we, the Krassensteins ask the listener? Asked and answered: People say they’re “nobodies” (true), or they’re “Twitter famous” (kill me) for often being among the very first to respond with variations of YOU’RE FIRED, SIR to everything Trump tweets.
I’m barely two minutes into this thing and I’ve already heard two jokes about getting paid by George Soros. I’m so very tired.
The brothers make a joke about how you can tell their voices apart that involves one of them being smarter. I’ll spare you the particulars; what matters is that their voices are truly indistinguishable to me unless they explicitly identify themselves.
Then, finally, we’re getting some meat off of this rotting carcass: Krassenstein One is recounting an anecdote about the comedy of being a liberal living in the MAGA swamp that is Southwest Florida. I’m going to loosely paraphrase this story (direct quotes where noted), which most certainly, without a doubt, is a real thing that definitely happened:
His wife sent him to the store, and in the checkout line, some guy recognized him and said, “Oh, you’re that Trump hater from Twitter.” Everybody stopped and looked at him. He responded: “No actually, I’m the American truth teller from Twitter.” (Here one Krassenstein promises the story gets better. It does not.) Then the MAGA aggressor asked: “How many illegal immigrants have you taken into your house?” He was not bested: “How about you, how many homeless veterans have you taken into your home?” Checkmate, opponent owned to oblivion.
Then we come to the interview portion of the episode, featuring Curtis Ingraham, brother of Laura, the most consistently vile, racist Fox News host, which is a true distinction. Ingraham has been outspoken about distancing himself from his little sister, having called her a “monster” and claimed they grew up in an abusive home with a Nazi-sympathizing father.
This is where things really start to get genuinely painful, rather than “watching your friend bomb at their first open mic” painful. Ingraham speaks eloquently about previously being “extremely close” with his sister, who publicly supported him when his longtime partner died after a battle with AIDS. Laura Ingraham has responded to all of this by characterizing Curtis as the “estranged” black sheep of the family, and he tells the Krassensteins that the price for his “whistle-blowing” has been that he now moves through life “like an only child now.”
In response to this emotional account, one of the Krassensteins cannot help but use the opening to dunk on Generalissimo Cheeto, asking Ingraham, “Do you remember her building walls between your bedrooms with blocks?”
“No, no,” Ingraham responds quite seriously, because what he’s talking about is serious and deeply personal, and also because some jokes are too bad to be acknowledged as such.
I look desperately at my phone. I’m only 20 minutes in, not even halfway. And then, I kid you not, one of my kittens starts leaping at my phone, attacking it, trying to use his small body to muffle the voices coming from my phone. Beautiful, sweet boy who will never grow up to embarrass me with a podcast. Eventually, as we all do in this life, he gives up and lays down, staring out the window forlornly. This is much more interesting then the words coming out of my podcast app; by the time I snap out of it, the interview has nearly ended. Small mercies.
I force myself to dive into the sludge for a third time. I must finish what I’ve started.
I’m immediately greeted with Krassenstein Two (again, it could still be One, I have no earthly idea) explaining that he too was taken in by shocking footage showing Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann beaming a shit-eating grin in an older Native American activist’s face—until he saw the FULL, UNEDITED VIDEOS.
“The media made a mistake jumping on this too quickly,” one Krassenstein says. Another (the same?) points out they deleted their tweet about the matter in part because Sandmann “is a minor” and the students were “victims of early reporting.” Neither brother acknowledges that they’re in lockstep with Trump’s White House on this point. Finally, some justice for the rich white kid, who was so threatened by a peaceful activist’s approach and is not at all sorry for what he did!
I pray for this segment to end, and it does. I’m back to bargaining with God like an eighth grader who hasn’t studied for the big test.
It’s becoming clear that this show has roughly one million different segments. To introduce what’s next, one Krassenbro says, “We want to have fun with our audience” in this one. I’ve never felt lower.
This one is called “unhinged attacks,” the voice of a bad Trump impersonator tells me. Among them: anyone criticizing their choice to depict Robert Mueller as a shirtless, swole crusader in their deranged children’s book, which they are very sensitive about.
“Oh geez,” one says. “It’s an adult parody book, first of all, and it is suitable for kids.”
Duly noted, thank you sirs! There are other “unhinged” attacks the brothers wish to dispel—they were investigated (just like Hillary Clinton!!) by Homeland Security but not charged, they actually only sometimes tweet at Trump from the toilet. I have a whole new appreciation for anyone who manages to be Online while also nursing anything approaching personal boundaries.
FINALLY, I arrive at the final portion of this thing. My spirits lift. It’s called “DEEP THOUGHTS,” which is again said in the Trump voice. My spirits plunge into darkness once more.
Here’s a representative, directly quoted exchange from what the brothers claim to think deeply about:
Ed: It is the fear of differences which build walls, while open minds build bridges.
Brian: That’s a good one Ed, but I think I can actually trump that.
Ed: Don’t use that word!
Brian: I think I can actually Obama that one.
Maybe nothing has ever been funny, I think. Humor is an illusion that exists to briefly distract us from the immutable fact that with each passing moment, our minds and bodies are breaking down before they eventually expire, and we are cast into nothingness.
I stare into the void, and the void stares back, as it becomes clear that that was not, in fact, the final portion. But if you’ve made it this far with me, you deserve a reward—I will do what the Krassensteins would not and end this thing now.
As we reach our breathless conclusion, the brothers wish to remind us that there’s already a paid version of this podcast available for the true masochists among us. Supporters will also get a signed children’s book and access to “some pretty horrific outtakes.” Chilling.
“We’re horrible at this podcast thing,” one says. Finally, truth is restored to the world.
“We’re not begging you for this,” a Krassenstein says of their bid for supporters, before adding, “All right, we are begging.”
As ever, it’s not clear if they’re joking.