There’s no doubt that in a day and age of stuffy talk show personalities, Boaz Frankel is a breath of fresh air thanks to his Pedal Powered Talk Show, America’s Only Talk Show in A Bicycle.
With each episode Boaz and his buddy, Phillip Ross, will pedal up to their destination to interview someone new and the people that he interviews can range from 80-year old drag queens, actors like George Clooney, Sesame Street Puppets and Donald Trump.
Talk Shows and Cargo Bikes
Since starting his talk show in 2011, Boaz has been a fixture both in online and offline media thanks to the quirky nature of his talk show because who wouldn’t be interested to be interviewed by a guy who pedals up in a converted cargo bike that also serves as his own Johnny Carson style desk?
Some would say that talk shows in 2017 are dead because most hosts are content to keep recycling or interviewing the same guests, thankfully the Pedal Powered Talk show in Portland is both fun to watch and also interesting at the same time because Boaz and Phillip are not afraid to take their cargo bike anywhere to interview guests.
Frankel got the idea for the show when he was crossing the country using alternative forms of transportation for the Unroad Trip, and all the news crews came out to greet him in gasoline-powered vans. He hooked up with Ross, and together they came up with the idea of bringing the show to the guests by bicycle.
Ross provides the pedal power, riding the equipment-laden bike to whatever quirky Portland location Frankel chooses for the show. (The loaded bike weighs around 100 pounds, so until he can add an electric assist, Ross has limited Frankel to a 30-mile radius.)
Upon arrival at OMSI or the Keen Footwear factory or Modcott Piano Co., the lights and cameras are removed and the cargo box becomes the desk around which Frankel and his guests gather. Made from engineered wood with a black walnut veneer, it’s designed to look like Johnny Carson’s desk circa 1968, with a Metrofiets twist.
Despite the cool factor of the bike, however, the show isn’t about cycling. It’s a vehicle for local talent with national appeal, featuring some well-known Portland players and others that the producers think should be well-known.
Frankel said, “I like that the bike is an intrinsic part of the show. We’re catering to people who are excited about new bands and authors and things happening in the arts.”
In the first episode, which can be viewed at pedaltalkshow.com, Frankel interviews actor Daniel Baldwin on the top of the Hotel deLuxe, talking with him about his brothers, his past drug abuse, and his current work.
Frankel also introduces his young nephews, who appear in every show asking a question via video.
About Boaz Frankel
Over the years fans have wanted to know more about Boaz Frankel including his background and how he got his start with talk shows.
In a recent interview with OPB in Portland, Boaz sat down to discuss his background and what makes his show so unique.
Well, I think it probably goes back to high school and middle school, whenever I could get away with making a movie for something. My friends and I would film Civil War re-enactments in our back yard and sort of do as many videos as we could. And then I went to college and majored in playwriting at NYU and quickly realized that I was less interested in playwriting than I was in TV production and stuff like that. So I started getting involved in the local TV channel at NYU and started a late-night talk show there, and then started making films and different sorts of little interstitial stuff to air on there.
A Personality Made for Talk Shows?
On the set of Clips and Quips
Unlike most celebs who are given talk shows after long careers in other forms of entertainment, Boaz Frankel seemingly has been a successful talk show host since day one.
While studying at NYU Frankel co-created a late-night talk show, On The Cusp, that became the most popular program to ever air on NYU TV. In 2004, in his final year at Tisch, Boaz appeared on the Today Show’s “The Intern” segment where he went on to win the top prize. Also during his senior year, he became an intern on the Last Call with Carson Daly. It was during his internship that Frankel heard about auditions for the WB reality show, Studio 7, in which he appeared on one episode in August 2004.
After graduating from NYU in 2004, Frankel created and hosted Clips & Quips, an offbeat entertainment talk show that aired online and on college television stations nationwide for three years. He arranged the first kazoo-sponsored TV show and taught Peter Sarsgaard to play kazoo and Sarah Silverman to play dreidel. Amongst other celebrities who appeared on the show, Frankel has interviewed Natalie Portman, Pierce Brosnan, Dame Judi Dench and Will Ferrell. In June 2007, Boaz brought Clips & Quips to an end and began development of Backstage Live, a new online entertainment talk show for Social Strata.
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Sadly, like any form of creativity in movies or the media, it’s ultimately copies and the concept of the Pedal Powered Talk show has been copied in different cities.
The most recent incarnation of this talk show concept has occurred in New York where The Bike Show, featuring a New Yorker who looks like a young Alec Baldwin, has taken to the streets to interview people from, you guessed it, a cargo bike.
Some would say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery while others would be downright annoyed with imitators but as for Boaz Frankel, he continued on with his Pedal Powered Talk show, entertaining PDX people and fans around the world.
What makes Boaz different than his imitators is that he’s not afraid to go anywhere on his bike across Portland or the entire state of Oregon.
Interviewing Ed Begley Jr.
Was the show inspired by Portlandia? Yes, Boaz will admit that it was inspired by the hit TV show and he’s not afraid to capitalize on the success of the hit IFC show by interviewing everyone in PDX and Oregon from an Enterprise, OR tractor collector, a Rogue River rafter, local celebrities, national celebrities like Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell, and environmental activist/actor Ed Begley Jr.
Before the Pedal Powered Talk show, there was the Un-Road Trip.
The basis for the series was a two-month trip Boaz Frankel took in spring 2009. While involved in other projects, Frankel kept in touch “with executives or producers” at cable networks including the Discovery Channel, hoping to turn the video footage from the trip into a series; executives at the latter “wouldn’t quite commit, but were …eager to keep in touch.”
When Frankel became aware of Halogen TV, a secular channel owned by The Inspiration Networks, he contacted them. Marshall Nord, Halogen’s program director, had him flown to North Carolina to meet with staff producer Todd Lewis; as a result, Halogen licensed the video footage Frankel had made during his spring 2009 trip, and “signed him to produce, co-write and host a 10-episode series of 30-minute” episodes. In late July 2010, Frankel returned to North Carolina where intro segments he wrote for the series were recorded; the segments were set in a “rustic wood cabin that once served as a general store in Jim and Tammy Bakker’sHeritage USA amusement park” and featured Frankel, two of his friends and an actress playing a third friend, …pretending to listen to Frankel as he describes slides he has taken on the real trip depicted in the video footage he licensed to them. Their “(often-sarcastic) responses lead into actual video vignettes, which then form the core of the series.
“I was getting a lot of press for that project and the thing that struck me was, I’d be kayaking down a river and all these news trucks would be driving up to meet me. I thought, this is weird, I’m not driving but I’m causing all this other driving. It didn’t feel productive. So, I wondered, what if there was a mobile bike TV studio instead?”
Frankel says the show features notable Portlanders (it’s not about bikes). So far, they’ve filmed episodes with local musician Laura Veirs and Steve Smith (the man behind Tazo, Stash, and now Steven Smith Teamaker).
While the show’s content isn’t bike-centric, the bike obviously plays a huge role as both a branding tool and for practical purposes. This afternoon Frankel says they’re filming on top of a downtown hotel and then tomorrow they’ll ride it into the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
What Does Boaz Frankel Do On His “Spare Time”?
When he’s not creating new episodes of the Pedal Powered Talk show his fans may have wondered what does Boaz Frankel do in his “spare time” if he has any left?
In fall 2009 Frankel took a freelance job with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. producing videos describing some of the eccentric mail delivery methods used by the U.S. Postal Service. He became the U.S. project manager for the Earth Day celebration in 2010, responsible for various aspects of event organization from producing videos to writing educational materials for schools.
In addition to the above projects, Frankel has carried out freelance reporting assignments for Current TV.
Besides his cool freelance gigs, Boaz has also established himself as a nationally recognized copywriter and his services are in demand.
Anyone can connect with him via his website at stuffbyboaz.com and retain his services which are certain to bring an interesting twist or spin to a company’s marketing campaigns.
When he’s not filming, writing or getting new copy writing gigs, Boaz has also been known to set a world record every now and again including his most recent world record (2009) for having the most high fives in one hour.
Passion Versus Tradition
At the ripe old age of 35, Boaz Can certainly be considered to be a voice of his Millennial Generation and he’s not been shy about using the internet or media to promote his interests or passions.
Boaz is not alone in his belief that many Millennials would rather work on their passions instead of being “chained” to tradition or day jobs like their parents, grandparents or other people were from generations past.
Married in 2016 to Brooke Balls-Barker, Boaz and his wife both share the same passions for non-conformity and having life experiences versus embracing the traditions of previous generations.
Boaz and Brook met at We Work building in Portland Oregon where Boaz is known to work on a wide variety of his creative projects
Those projects include an upcoming book called Sad Animal Facts, a daily calendar for sale at Powell’s among other stores, and a YouTube talk show that eventually led to a Portlandia appearance.
“I feel like every few years I’m going to have to keep reinventing myself, and everyone will have to as everything develops, to try and stay relevant,” Boaz says.
The couple’s exciting careers exemplify a trend among millennials — 60% of whom have changed jobs several times in the last four years. For many, money alone isn’t motivation to take a job.
“I think the main thing is that I’d be doing things I liked,” Brooke says.
What’s Next for The Pedal Powered Talk Show?
Now that Boaz is married the big question is will he settle into married life and stop producing new episodes of his talk show? Thankfully the answer to this question is no.
Boaz continues to be active with producing new episodes of his talk show including a recent trip to the top of the Seattle Space needle in April to meet with the iconic tower’s facility manager to discuss his day-to-day duties for keeping the Space Needle an iconic part of the Seattle Skyline.
Learn more about the Pedal Powered Talk Show by visiting their website at http://pedaltalkshow.com or you can also find their episodes on YouTube.