True Romance


Episode #843

Date August 07, 2017

Run Time 1:00:46

Cole Kazdin, D’Arcee Neal and Asher Novek tell tales of seductive penne recipes, wheelchair sex and a high school romance turned tragic.

Song: RISK! Theme by Wormburner and John Sondericker

Song: Café de Flore (Charles Webster’s Latin Lovers Mix) by Doctor Rockit

Live Story: Come Fuck Me Penne à la Vodka by Cole Kazdin

Interstitial: Come Fuck Me In-a My House by Jeff Barr

Live Story: What Guys in Wheelchairs Can Really Do by D’Arcee Neal

Song: My Body Was Made by Ezra Furman

Live Story: The Departed by Asher Novek

Song: Someday (The Strokes cover) by Oh Mercy



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6 years ago

People are asking what the penne recipe is! Cole also wrote an article at Refinery 29 on the subject, and the recipe is included. Here’s the link:

6 years ago

I love Risk! and I acknowledge that it certainly takes guts to share life experiences with the world, but I found Asher’s story to be incredibly upsetting. The comedic elements he incorporated are jarring when combined with his cool retelling of Kat (Cat?)’s passing (read: monkey dress). It also seemed incredibly odd that Asher would choose to mention the fact that she was a “starter girlfriend” and describe his apathy about the initial decision to date her. It felt very disrespectful to speak of a dead person in this way…if she was a relative or friend of mine, I would feel defensive and upset. Kat was portrayed a victim, but also somewhat pathetic, which most people would find unflattering. Though it’s seems likely that his portrayal of her was dramatized, one-sided, and not accurate, she’s not here to defend herself, and that makes it worse. If his intent by sharing his story was to own his missteps/culpability and make himself out to be a complete dick, he did a masterful job. I cringed harder during this episode than I ever have.

D'Arcee Neal
6 years ago

First off, thanks to everyone that heard this week’s stories. Doing Risk was quite different and took a lot emotionally to pull out but I’m happy I got a chance to participate. That being said, reading Em’s comments made me rethink the way I heard Asher’s story but all I can say is, that’s high school. Adult grown Asher probably wouldn’t think of Kat in the same way because relationships and circumstances have a much deeper meaning as you begin to understand their purpose. I think perhaps he was attempting to explain the way he felt about her during the time which would include his ideals of being aloof, detached and generally nonchalant. Hearing it with adult ears would sound terrible and unflattering, but writing the story from that perspective is truthful, authentic and appropriate. Unless he were madly in love with her (which he wasn’t,) the way he spoke about her would reflect that, and the entire reasoning for the reflection 15 years later says that her death still made an impact. But it was an interesting story for sure.

6 years ago

D’Arcee Neal – I am so disgusted, but unfortunately not surprised, that someone from my hometown would say something so horrible to you. From another Portlander, my apologies for the ignorant hateful comments you had to endure. PDX has some serious growing up to do. But we’ve got a lot of great people, too, so please don’t let one asshole ruin Oregon for you!

6 years ago

The fact that a group of gay men managed to gather in a forum as homophobic and racist as Xbox Live and still brought much of the same bigotry with some ugly ableism thrown in is just sad. My husband is from Oregon and while I’ve enjoyed my visits there, it does have an unfortunate racist past.

6 years ago

I have been a loyal Risk fan for a couple years and am a patreon (that is to say i’m a Big fan). I am a white heterosexual female from the rural east coast without physical disabilities and i found D’Arcee Neal’s story to be one of the best i’ve heard. Thank you, Mr. Neal, for your courage, despite the assholes that you’ve encountered. (Sorry, Kevin, no offense to the ass as a hole).

6 years ago

Of all the risk episodes I’ve heard, Ashers story was the most unsettling. Even compared to the canabalism story, the sex trafficking story or the drug cartel abduction. This episode made me question why I keep listening to the podcast. Is it for entertainment through some weird sense of voyeurism? Is it to hear people from different/disadvantaged backgrounds?

No – I listen to risk to put myself in the storytellers shoes. What would I have done? Is this person clueless, evil, apathetic, strong-willed, mentally unstable?

So back to Asher. The void in his conscience is the true story here. He apathy to this person’s dismay is worse than malice. To top it off, he seems to wonder where HIS place is in all this. The jokes. This idea that the “show must go on.” It is all disgusting, and frankly, sociopathic.

My cousin has a personality disorder and could be characterized as a sociopath. I haven’t thought about him in over five years, until I heard this story.


John Cooper
6 years ago

REF: “The Departed” by Asher Novek

This was an unsettling tale; distastefully wrought. Novek’s perspective suffers from a coldness and tone-deafness that seems hard to reconcile with the theater family – make out – best man – business. The whole thing was sour, self centered and lacking in a soft touch deserving of a story involving a teen’s very sad demise. Sure, it was Novek’s tale, not Kats (sp?), but the departed are owed a tip of the hat, not a poke with the iron.

We are all imbeciles in high school. And I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to get up and talk about it, so some of the sting of my critique should be muffled by that. I am glad he absolved himself. He should have.

Novek’s nonchalance may have been an act, a self deprecation bit. But there is a sadness in his story that comes off as having to no good end or purpose, and certainly thought provoking only insofar as one wonders how to turn away from a photograph that you wish you had not seen. I hate being so harsh, but I feel like standing up for Kat. I know that sounds odd. I also reserve the right to have misunderstood the tone of the story, and may have missed his sarcasm with himself.

6 years ago

What color is the sun where these moralistic, idealized humans come from and how did they arrive at Asher told a tale of the well-documented self-absorption of teens – both his own and the girl who committed suicide and people are beatifying her and demonizing him?! Stop it, just stop it, you Casters of the First Stones! Practically no tale gets aired by both sides and most are not imbued with a fullness of honesty and with the backward glance of a heavy heart filled with the wisdom of time and maturity. Now go home and ask Mom and Dad what the did about racism in the 1960’s and ’70’s; catch Grandma and Granddad before they go too. Then come back and tell us of the scathing excoriation you gave them about their self-segregation, cooperation with immigrants and erecting of Confederate statues.

6 years ago

Agreed with all the comments on Asher Novek’s podcast being just truly unsettling and a frightening look into the thoughts of someone with no self awareness!! Listening to Novek’s telling of his high school “girlfriend” and her suicide, it was all about him and how he seemed to want to be the reason she “went over the edge”.

At the end of his telling, I just wanted to scream- It’s not about you, none of this story is about you! Her story should not be tailored to be about your vanity! I was waiting for him to say “and I felt like I should have been in her note, in the pictures at her funeral…and feeling that made me realize that I have just been selfishly thinking about myself this whole time. Instead of thinking about myself, I wish I could have said or done something to help her through this.”

It’s one thing to be in high school and be so self-concerned, but he is telling this as someone older who framed this tragic event in an awful way. And I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt, but there was such a lack of remorse or sympathy in the telling…at the end he doesn’t seem upset but almost glib that he could be part of the reason…

I suppose it is an honest telling of someone who is apathetic but just wanted to tell a dark story and somehow pretend they are the most interesting part of that story. The story wasn’t interesting in his telling either, very rote and boring. But it’s frustrating (at best) that he gets to tell this story so the focus of the story is about himself versus the person who it should have been about.

I guess I’m most mad at having had to listen to some mediocre person telling this story as a way to make themselves seem more deep and interesting. Basically- fine, no one is asking you to care. But since you don’t seem to care, don’t use it as a prop to pretend you’ve grown from this, or this has made your understanding of life richer. Because from the sound of it, you are still that mediocre teenager. It’s not even about judgement on whether he cares or not (though that is disturbing), it’s his co-opting of someone else’s pain to boost himself up. F* that.

6 years ago

I feel it would have been more disturbing and unsettling if Asher had told the story you all want him to have told. If he had gone up there and glorified this teenage experience of an ex’s suicide as a defining moment in his life, without grounding it in reality. And while there were some rocky bits, I came to understand that he had indeed authored himself as more important in her story to himself for years, and this story came off as him correcting that imbalance for himself. He acknowledged the relative insignificance of his relationship before Kat’s suicide, the great importance for the year or two afterward, and told the story acknowledging both.

I think it would have been simply awful for him to stand on stage and be utterly remorseful and sentimental, especially to those who knew the real story, without acknowledging the messy reality that framed the story. I’m unwilling to personalize or sentimentalize teenage romance or suicide. Both are messy and a mix of fantastical and mundane details.

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