Pop My Culture



Paul F. Tompkins

Cole, Vanessa and our favorite returning gentleman humorist Paul F. Tompkins (“The Paul F. Tompkast,” “Best Week Ever”) talk lots of American Idol, some college, Lars Von Trier, the Arnold Schwarzenegger fiasco, The Rapture, Scotty’s weird mic holding technique, The Brothers Grimm, Bridesmaids, So You Think You Can Dance, participation trophies, Fargo vs. The Big Lebowski, Beyonce, William Castle, and Cole nearly putting Vanessa on podcast time-out.

Leave the answer to the firsts question (the first award, trophy, prize or medal you won and how you got it) on our website for a chance to win a Freak Wharf CD signed by Paul!

Freshly Popped



Paul F. Tompkins and hosts Vanessa Ragland and Cole Stratton


  • Comment by Mattamatics — May 23, 2011 @ 8:03 am

    The first trophy I ever won that wasn’t a Participation award was when I won a Cub Scout cake baking contest. I made a baseball glove shaped cake with a Little Debbie snowball decorated like a baseball.

    Great podcast as always guys, and great to hear PFT again!

  • Comment by Brendan — May 23, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    Cake Boss would be proud of Mattamatics.

    My first trophy was simply for being in a soccer league when I was 6 but what’s unique about it is that I don’t think I understood the concept of trophies. I took off the kid playing with a soccer ball guy on top of it and would play with him as an action figure. I remember my dad was pissed.

  • Comment by Caroline — May 23, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

    My first award was ULTRA nerdy: Perfect Attendance/Never Late for All Three Years of Elementary School Choir. I later went on to study music collegiately, and to attend therapy to cure me of my obsessive punctuality. Thanks a LOT Ms. Hastings!

  • Comment by NL — May 23, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    I’m downloading right now, haven’t listened yet, but I am super happy that Paul F. Tompkins is back on the podcast. Yea! Thanks for brightening up my Monday morning!

  • Comment by Valerie — May 23, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

    One of the first prizes I remember receiving was a ribbon awarded to me by our town’s Art Council for an honorable mention in their egg decorating contest. I covered an egg with buttons. The ribbon said “Ridiculously Weird”. Seemed like a backhanded compliment even at 8 years old.

  • Comment by Terry — May 23, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    My first trophies were from a middle school math competition. I can still recall the most important calculation resulting from my winning: number of girls impressed = zero.

  • Comment by Enohead — May 24, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    I received my first trophy when I was ten. Our soccer team got First Place in our league. I did absolutely nothing to earn the trophy – apart from showing up to all of the games and practices. Oh, and getting a concussion from being hit in the face by a soccer ball. Totally a Sympathy Trophy.

  • Comment by Chase Roper — May 24, 2011 @ 11:38 am

    The first award I recieved was in 5th grade. I was awarded the “Funniest Player” award on our flag football team. It isn’t until just reflecting on it today that I realize, this isn’t the kind of thing you want to be awarded in sport.

  • Comment by Aurora Nibley — May 24, 2011 @ 11:39 am

    When I was six years old, my mother made me a Sleeping Beauty cotume for Halloween and let me wear REAL make up, and then we went to the church Halloween party, where they gave out prizes for people’s costumes in different categories.

    I was so sure that I would win the “Most Beautiful Costume” award that when I didn’t, I threw a major temper tantrum (as I remember it, I ran away and hid, but I might have just pitched a fit in front of everybody. I was six). Because I was six years old, they reinforced my negative behavior by making up a different award and giving me that one to make me feel better.

    I don’t even remember what it was.

  • Comment by NL — May 24, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    The first actual trophy (and only, I guess) that I won was in 11th grade. It was for a Quiz Bowl competition. My team *finally* won first place (and under my leadership, thank you).

    The first award I won was a writing contest in first or second grade. The contest was about “How the Gulf War Affected Me” and I don’t remember what I wrote. But my prize was marching in a parade. But the weather was bad, so my mom didn’t let me go. I watched the other winners on TV.

  • Comment by NL — May 24, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    Sorry for *another* post. I hit send and then it was too late. Anyway, this was a terrific episode. Super funny. Thanks!

  • Comment by Ryan — May 24, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

    Great episode! First time listener. I’ll be sure to check out more.

    First award I received was for winning our school’s spelling bee in 4th grade. I believe I spelled “February”. I remember being briefly carried on shoulders, which is, of course, utterly ridiculous, but just like the classic Metallica opus, the memory remains.

  • Comment by Mickeyitaliano — May 24, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

    PFT just gets greater. Great show. Dame Andrew LLoyd is the best.

  • Comment by Mickeyitaliano — May 25, 2011 @ 12:19 am

    this is comedy gold, man. PFT great luck on your show.

  • Comment by SpookyJanelle — May 26, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    The first prize I got was for winning — no joke, fellow MSTies — an essay contest! In fifth grade, I won a medal for writing the best D.A.R.E. (Drugs and Alcohol Resistance Education) essay about what the program had taught me and how I had planned to not abuse drugs or alcohol in the future. Although the medal was pretty sweet (eat your heart out, Olympic athletes), the prize did require me to read the essay in front of the school. I still don’t think I’ve lived that down. Although, obviously, the writing bug has stuck with me.

    Oh, and by the way, hearing my name sung and said by Cole, Vanessa and PFT, er, I mean, Andrew Lloyd Weber, was the highlight of my day yesterday. I can now die happy.

  • Comment by Oskar — May 28, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    Excellent episode, PFT great as always!

    The first medal I can remember winning was a bronze/third place in a Judo tournament when I was about ten or so. That may sound more impressive than it really was as there were only three people (me included) in my weight class… Even so, I got to step up on the podium and stuff and I remember feeling silly and proud at the same time.
    Oh and I’m pretty sure I didn’t tell anyone the petty details of how I won the medal once I got home 🙂

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