‘The Midnight Gospel’: What Podcast Is the Netflix Series Based On?

The Midnight Gospel, available on Netflix since Apr. 20 of this year, is an animated TV series about a podcaster in space. Main character Clancy, the “space-caster” who uses “the simulation” to travel to different planets and find guests to interview, is based on an actual podcaster. Much of the dialogue in The Midnight Gospel is taken directly from a real, Joe-Rogan-esque podcast. Which one?

What is Netflix’s adult cartoon ‘The Midnight Gospel’ about?

The Midnight Gospel
The Midnight Gospel | Courtesy of Netflix

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In the eight-episode The Midnight Gospel, comedian Duncan Trussell is the voice behind space-caster Clancy. According to The New York Times: in each 22-minute episode of the Netflix animated series, Clancy talks to “authors, spiritual guides and others that the comedian Duncan Trussell conducted for his podcast, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour.”

What is The Duncan Trussell Family Hour? On Apple Podcasts, the bio reads: “A weekly salon-style supershow, where comedian Duncan Trussell and guests explore the outer reaches of the multiverse.” On each episode of DTFH, Trussell interviews musicians, motivational speakers, philosophers, comedians, artists, etc.

Who is comedian and podcast host Duncan Trussell?

Duncan Trussell, comedian and podcaster
Comedian Duncan Trussell performs in 2015 in Pasadena, California | Michael Schwartz/WireImage

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As IndyWeek reported in 2016, “Duncan Trussell is an out-there kind of guy.” The comedian/podcaster is known for his interest in psychedelics — something he has in common with podcast giant Joe Rogan. The publication wrote:

Anyone who’s familiar with the Asheville-born, Los Angeles-based comedian, whether on his The Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast or as the cohost of Syfy’s short-lived Joe Rogan Questions Everything, knows that he can go off on some trippy, stream-of-consciousness riff.

“One thing that I have become known for, to some degree, is that I am an advocate for psychedelic plant medicines, as they’re called these days,” Trussell told IndyWeek.

‘The Midnight Gospel’: Who are the experts interviewed on the podcast episodes?

The Midnight Gospel
The Midnight Gospel | Courtesy of Netflix

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A lot of the discussion around psychedelics comes up in The Midnight Gospel. Especially the first episode, in which Clancy talks about drug use with “the president of an alt-Earth overrun by zombies.” Dr. Drew Pinsky, formerly the host of Loveline and an “addiction-medicine specialist,” voices the president.

Other podcast guests-turned-space-cast-guests include Dharma experts and Buddhism teachers. The Times wrote:

The mortician and author Caitlin Doughty, represented as the Grim Reaper, talks about the ‘death-industrial complex’ that sold Americans on embalming. The writer Jason Louv, drawn as a ‘soul bird,’ explains concepts from Buddhism, making an extended analogy between the ‘dream of life’ and an immersive game like World of Warcraft.

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But the Midnight Gospel season finale brings it all home.

“All this comes together in the astonishing final episode, made from recordings of Trussell and his mother, Deneen Fendig, before her death from cancer in 2013,” the publication continued. Trussell’s mother also happened to be a psychologist, so she has more than a few great takes on grief. Fendig “talks tenderly and lucidly about accepting her passing and tries to help her son accept it, too.”

If it sounds heart-breaking, it is — but in the best way possible. Opening your mind just a tiny bit to explore the crazy world The Midnight Gospel asks you to dive into will take you on a funny, odd, interesting, and cathartic journey.

As The New York Times put it: “The show simply asks you to drink from its bottle, Alice-like, and shrink or expand to its level.”