Skip to main content
Pop Culture Tournaments

Pop Culture Tournaments

By Patrick DeSpain, Rob Matthews, and Bruce "Slat" Veach
A podcast devoted to the Facebook group "Pop Culture Tournaments" - come join us and vote on the best of the best of pop culture! '80s songs, movie villains, cereal mascots, TV theme songs - anything pop culture, we will host a tournament and you decide which is the best! In this podcast, the hosts discuss past results and upcoming tournaments.
Where to listen
Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Currently playing episode

TV Families and Board Games with Grant Lyon, Game Creator

Pop Culture Tournaments

TV Families and Board Games with Grant Lyon, Game Creator

Pop Culture Tournaments

Hair Metal and Muppets with Nate Downs
We welcome our friend and Muppet expert, Nate Downs, to the podcast to preview the "Greatest Muppet" tournament. Nate laid down some impressive Muppet knowledge and trivia, from the origins and cultural significance of Miss Piggy to Veggie Monster (a real thing? Find out!). We also review the results of the "Greatest Hair Metal Group/Artist" tournament.
June 09, 2021
MLB Player and Hair Metal with Jef Westbrook
With Slat absent this week, Dan and Rob welcome Jef Westbrook to the episode to discuss the results of the "Greatest Major League Baseball Player of All Time" tournament and we cover the results to date in our tourney-in-progress, "Greatest Hair Metal Group/Artist". 
May 30, 2021
Greatest MLB Player of All Time with Tim Wiles, former Baseball Hall of Fame Director of Research
In preparation for our "Greatest Major League Baseball Player of All Time" tournament, we have a fascinating conversation with Tim Wiles, who served as Director of Research for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for over 19 years. Tim has authored or co-authored several books, articles, exhibits, and essays about baseball. He also has traveled all over the United States and Canada as Casey in performances of "Casey at the Bat," portraying the legendary character over 2,500 times. We discuss how player performance and public perception are affected by steroid and amphetamine use; who Tim thinks should be in the Hall, but isn't; well-rounded players vs. players with exceptional skill in one area of the game; his interactions with other sports' halls of fame; how the Hall verifies artifacts in their collection; Babe Ruth calling his shot; and we get his thoughts on the first-round match-ups in our upcoming tournament, including his opinion on who the "Greatest MLB Player of All Time" actually is. We also review our past two tournaments, the "Greatest Fast Food Restaurant" and the "Greatest Broadway Musical." Join us in voting for the "Greatest MLB Player of All Time" by joining our Facebook group, Pop Culture Tournaments! 
May 09, 2021
Cocktails and Fast Food Restaurants
Dan, Rob, and Slat welcome a fellow member of the seeding committee and architect of the "Greatest Fast Food Restaurants" tournament, Nancy Reese, as a guest on the podcast this week!  We talk about the recently-concluded "Greatest Cocktail" tournament. The final standings were: 4th place: Tequila Sunrise 3rd place: Long Island Iced Tea 2nd place: Rum and Coke Which cocktail do you think won the "Greatest Cocktail" title? Listen in to find out if you're right! We also preview the first-round restaurant matchups. We have many national chain restaurants in the tournament, some regional favorites, some we think are in Iowa but aren't, and 11 (by Dan's count) that make us ask, "How do you define 'fast food restaurant'?"  What is the greatest fast food restaurant? Listen and find out if our seeding committee agreed with you! Better yet, join us in the Facebook group "Pop Culture Tournaments" and make your voice heard where it really counts - in the ballot box! 
April 13, 2021
TV Game Shows and Cocktails
Slat couldn't join us for this episode, unfortunately, but Dan and Rob welcome special guest Ann Marie Nordby to the podcast. Ann is a working actress, a member of our permanent seeding committee, and spearheaded the "Greatest Cocktail" tournament. She and Dan share a wealth of knowledge about the drinks in our field of 64.  We also review the results of the "Greatest TV Game Show" tournament. Which shows made it to the Final Four? Would you like to use a lifeline? Join the "Pop Culture Tournament" Facebook group to vote on your favorite cocktails! Also, check out Dan's other podcast, "Another Bourbon Show," on your podcast app or visit their Facebook page here:
March 30, 2021
The Greatest TV Game Show with Willie Tyler and Lester
Dan, Rob, and Slat discuss the upcoming "Greatest TV Game Show" tournament hosted in the Facebook group "Pop Culture Tournaments".  Special guests Willie Tyler and Lester stopped by to talk about their frequent appearances on the classic game shows "Match Game" and "Hollywood Squares". You'll also hear about a game show pilot they shot, BB King's drummer falling off of a stage, "Family Feud", and a few of Lester's famous cousins! We also review the results of our previous tournament, the "Greatest Marvel Superhero". The results were heavily influenced, as expected, by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  You can join in the voting for the "Greatest TV Game Show" and all of our tournaments covering all facets of pop culture at  Willie Tyler and Lester are on Cameo! Get a personal message from them here: Check out the documentary in production about Willie and Lester! Find it here:
March 14, 2021
Marvel Superheroes and Love Songs with Comic Book Artist John "Joltin' Johnny" Lucas
Rob and Slat welcome new co-host Dan Schmidt to the podcast and chat with comic book artist John "Joltin' Johnny" Lucas! In preparation for PCT's "Greatest Marvel Superhero" tournament, which starts Monday, March 1st, we talk with John about his experiences in the comic book industry, his favorite comics, characters, and artists, and he helps us break down the first-round matchups.  You can join in the fun of voting for "Greatest Marvel Superhero" here: We had such a blast talking with John, who has worked on such titles as "Detective Comics," "Superman: The Man of Steel," "Batman: Streets of Gotham," "Before Houdini," "Fantastic Four," "X-Men Unlimited," "Ghost Rider," "Punisher", "Wolverine," and "Deadpool". He also has a story in "Slow Death Zero," which ships March 15!  Rob, Slat, and Dan also review the results of the "Greatest Love Song" tournament. Journey became a two-time PCT champion, much to the chagrin of some in the group (including Slat). They also had the 3rd place song! The King and REO rounded out the top 4.  We'd like to thank John again for spending over an hour with us and sharing his tales, thoughts, and quite a few laughs! You can find John at the following places: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Patreon:
February 28, 2021
Saturday Morning Cartoons and Saturday Night Live
A review of the completed "Greatest Saturday Morning Cartoon" tournament and preview of the first-round matchups in the upcoming "Greatest Saturday Night Live Cast Member" event, plus Deep Dive segments on Jan Hooks and Phil Hartman. We cover the gamut of cast members through 46 seasons, pitting the best 64 against one another in a battle to claim the title of the Greatest.  Will it be an old school cast member, such as Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, John Belushi, or Chevy Chase?  Next generation stars, like Martin Short, Joe Piscopo, Eddie Murphy, or Billy Crystal?  Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Tina Fey, or Chris Farley?  Will the voters send Dennis Miller, Cheri Oteri, Cecily Strong, David Spade, Jon Lovitz, Darrell Hammond, Kevin Nealon, Tracy Morgan, Kate McKinnon into the second round or beyond?  A fun and funny conversation, as well as some history and trivia.  We'd like to invite you to the Facebook group "Pop Culture Tournaments" to cast your votes and join in the conversation! No politics, no drama, just a daily dose of fun!
January 24, 2021
Saturday Morning Cartoons and a Deep Dive on "Clue Club" and "He-Man"
Patrick, Rob, and Slat break down the brackets of the "Greatest Saturday Morning Cartoon" tournament, which starts 1/11/21 in the Facebook group "Pop Culture Tournaments". We touch on all of the greats, including "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?", "The Herculoids", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "Speed Buggy", "The Smurfs", "Spider-Man", "The Pink Panther", and many more (58 more, to be exact!).  We also take a deep dive on two shows: "Clue Club" and "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe". Learn how and why "Clue Club" came to be and what amazing invention a voice actor on this show created! You will also hear how Star Wars is responsible for creating He-Man and why each episode ended with a "life lesson". 
January 10, 2021
Holiday Movies and Year-End Review
Patrick, Rob, and Slat welcome Todd back to the podcast to discuss the results of Pop Culture Tournament's "Greatest Christmas/Holiday Movie" contest. They also take a look back at the tournaments held since March and how much the group has grown since then.  Join us for this retrospective and then come join our Facebook group to participate in the "Greatest Saturday Morning Cartoon" tournament, which starts January 11th! We'd love to see you there and hear what you have to say about your favorites!
December 26, 2020
Board Games and Christmas/Holiday Movies
We welcome guest Daniel Schmidt (host of "Another Bourbon Show" podcast) to discuss the results of the "Greatest Board Game" tournament and preview the upcoming "Greatest Christmas/Holiday Movie" tournament.  It wouldn't be a "Christmas Movie" discussion without wading into the topic "Is this really a Christmas movie?" and Slat passionately lays out the case against such classics as "Die Hard", "It's a Wonderful Life", and "While You Were Sleeping", which all show up on many lists of top Christmas movies. You cannot miss his rant. It's epic. Do those three movies make our field? Will they vie for the title "Greatest Christmas/Holiday Movie"? We reveal the entire 64-movie bracket in this episode.  What are your thoughts on these topics? Listen, join our Facebook group, comment on the polls, send us an email...however you do it, we'd love to hear it and you may hear your comment on our next episode when we recap the results of the "Greatest Christmas/Holiday Movie" tournament! 
December 12, 2020
TV Families and Board Games with Grant Lyon, Game Creator
We're proud to be joined by comedian, author, actor, screenwriter, and game designer Grant Lyon! Grant's new game, "Curmudgeon" just launched and can be found in game stores and on Amazon! We discuss our upcoming "Greatest Board Game" tournament and highlight many of the first-round matchups.  We also review the "Greatest TV Family" tournament, which just concluded. The results were the Taylors from "Home Improvement" in 4th place, the Munster family from "The Munsters" in 3rd, and the Keatons from "Family Ties" coming in 2nd. Who was the champion? Listen and find out!
November 28, 2020
Greatest TV Family with Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster)
Patrick, Rob, and Slat welcome Butch Patrick as a guest to the show to discuss the entries of the upcoming "Greatest TV Family" tournament! A veteran of many television shows and movies, Butch also played Eddie Munster on the hit show "The Munsters". He shares stories of his days in television and helps us break down the brackets and match-ups of all 64 TV families in the tournament.  We also review the shocking results of our "Greatest Sports Movie" tournament.  Join the fun and vote on your favorite TV families at  Voting starts Monday, November 16th!
November 14, 2020
Halloween Treats and the Greatest Sports Movie
Patrick, Rob, and Slat are joined by guest Alex Bacchetti to discuss the results of the "Greatest Halloween Treat" tournament and preview our next tournament: Greatest Sports Movie. You'll hear great stories about thousands of Reggie! bars being thrown onto the field at Yankees Stadium, the movie that Slat hates (wait 'til you hear why!), Patrick managing to tie "Rudy" to the success of "The Mandalorian", as well as our "Staff Selections" of movies that are personal favorites but which did not make the field. For the "Greatest Sports Movie" tournament, 176 movies were considered. Which movies made the field of 64? Here are some hints: 10 are baseball movies 9 are basketball movies 1 is a bobsled movie 1 is a bowling movie 9 are boxing movies 16 are football movies 4 are golf movies 4 are hockey movies 2 are horse racing movies 1 is a karate movie 2 are pool movies 1 is a track movie 1 is a cycling movie 2 are wrestling movies 1 is a dodgeball movie( but you already knew that) 25 are based on true stories Can you guess? Listen in to find out which movies made the cut and how the brackets shaped up!
October 31, 2020
'80s Song Tournament Review & Halloween Treats
We wrap up our 10-week, epic "Greatest Song of the '80s" tournament with a look at the upsets, early exits, colossal battles, finishes, and our champion. What an amazing, unpredictable, fun ride it was! We also preview the "Greatest Halloween Treat" tournament. We absolutely could not stop talking about this. What is your favorite? Join the Pop Culture Tournaments group on Facebook to vote and comment!
October 18, 2020
The Martha Quinn Greatest Song of the '80s Grand Finale!
Slat and Rob discuss the results of the 1988-89 tournament and preview the "Martha Quinn Greatest Song of the '80s" tournament! Three months of preparation, four qualifying tournaments, and two months of voting has produced a 64-song beast of an event.  Join the Pop Culture Tournaments Facebook group to vote on your favorite '80s music! It starts Monday, October 5th!  Our final field includes Billy Joel, Survivor, Tommy Tutone, Run DMC, Poison, Toto, Irene Cara, Queen, Eddie Money, Bryan Adams, U2, The Outfield, Beastie Boys, Bon Jovi, Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Kenny Loggins, and Cyndi Lauper. Who else made the cut? Listen to find out! 
October 03, 2020
The Best Song of the '80s! Pt. 4 (1988-89) with Don Jamieson!
Patrick, Rob, Slat, and Todd review the recently-concluded 1985-87 tournament and take a look ahead at the 1988-89 tournament. We see a surge of rap and heavy metal in these two years compared to our first three tournaments.  Speaking of metal, we are thrilled to welcome Don Jamieson to the podcast. The comedian, host of his own podcast, and co-host for 14 seasons of VH-1's "That Metal Show" talks about how "That Metal Show" came to be, how metal emerged and joined the mainstream in this particular era, weighs in on Greta Van Fleet, and gives us his personal "Final Four" metal albums of the '80s!  Join us as we talk about '80s artists and groups such as Def Leppard, Living Colour, Milli Vanilli, Billy Joel, George Michael, Cheap Trick, Rick Astley, Billy Ocean, Technotronic, Guns N' Roses, Depeche Mode, Warrant, Madonna, Metallica, Tom Petty, Tone Loc, Poison, Skid Row, Young MC, and many more!  Join our Facebook group to vote on your favorite '80s songs!
September 13, 2020
The Best Song of the '80s! Pt. 3 (1985-87)
In this episode, we look back at the 1983-84 tournament and the wild ride that it was with 13 upsets and no #1 seeds making the Final Four. We discuss the first-round match-ups in the 1985-87 tournament, including one in which a band is playing against itself.  Tune in as we discuss '80s hits from a-ha, Don Henley, Crowded House, Mr. Mister, Wham!, Foreigner, Berlin, The Outfield, Eddie Money, REO Speedwagon, Chicago, Bon Jovi, Tears for Fears, Madonna, Wang Chung, Pat Benatar, Prince, Bryan Adams, Katrina and the Waves, Lionel Richie, Dire Straits, Run DMC, and many more!  Join our Facebook group to join in on the action! 
August 29, 2020
The Best Song of the '80s! Pt. 2 (1983-84)
Rob, Patrick, and Slat welcome a guest seeder to the conversation this week: Todd McDillon! We review the recently-concluded 1980-82 portion of the tournament and take a look at the first-round matchups in the 1983-84 tournament, which kicks off Monday, August 17th.  The hosts discuss the surprising run by a sixth-seeded Queen song, the love/hate relationship of the group with "Jack and Diane" and Journey, and announce the songs that are advancing out of the 1980-82 bracket into the Granddaddy Finale tournament to crown the "Best Song of the '80s".  In the preview of the 1983-84 bracket, we talk about such groups and artists as Dexy's Midnight Runners, Corey Hart, Prince, Yes, Men Without Hats, Naked Eyes, Huey Lewis & the News, The Eurythmics, Night Ranger, Air Supply, The Tubes, Kenny Loggins, Michael Jackson, Toto, Duran Duran, and many, many more!  Come vote for your favorite songs from 1983-84 at 
August 16, 2020
The Best Song of the '80s! Pt. 1 (1980-82)
As we launch our epic "Best Song of the '80s" tournament in the Facebook group "Pop Culture Tournaments", we preview the first-round matchups from 1980-82. Rob and Patrick welcome Bruce "Slat" Veach as our third host!  140 songs were considered. 64 made the cut. Listen as we discuss the merits of each song, how we think they will fare, and interesting trivia about many of the songs and artists.  Some of the artists or groups that made our field: The J. Geils Band, Journey, Survivor, Toto, Blondie, The Human League, Rick Springfield, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Duran Duran, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, and many more!  Who else made the list? Here are some hints: 19 songs are by solo artists 13 songs were the only time the artist appeared in the US Top 40 13 songs feature female lead vocals 8 songs are from movie soundtracks 3 songs are duets or collaborations 2 songs never made the US Top 40 1 song is a TV theme Tune in to hear all of the contestants in the "Best Song of the '80s" tournament, then come vote on your favorites at "Pop Culture Tournaments"! 
August 04, 2020
How We Got Here and Where We Are Going
In this introductory episode, meet the hosts, Rob and Patrick! We discuss our Facebook group, "Pop Culture Tournaments", how we came to form the group, some of our past tournaments, and the upcoming epic "Greatest Song of the '80s" tournament, which kicks off August 3rd, 2020! Join us and vote every day on your favorite music of the 1980s! Click here to join: "Pop Culture Tournaments" is a group for voting on the best of the best in pop culture. Tournaments will be set up in the style of the NCAA basketball tournament, though some tournaments may have more entries while some others have fewer.  Who is the best movie villain of all-time? What is the best song of the '90s? Who is the best DC Comics character? What is the best arcade game of the '80s? You decide! Join us today!
July 26, 2020