344. A Totally Terrific Talk on the Terrace with The Tangential Trio (feat. Tom Morton)

What? Another new episode? Slow down Luke! We can’t keep up! OK I will slow down, I promise. I am going away on holiday tomorrow and I will be quiet for a couple of weeks so I just wanted to upload another podcast before I go. While I’m away you’ll have a chance to catch up with all these new episodes. This is #344 and it’s another rambling conversation with podPALS Amber & Paul, but this time we’re joined by a fourth member of the team. Could this be The Fantastic Four that LEPster Olga mentioned in a recent comment? Only you can decide… Topics of conversation include: jingles, voice overs, the Queen’s birthday, the monarchy, Princess Diana and more…

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I’m not going to spend much time on an introduction to this episode (yeah, right) except to say that in this episode you’re going to hear another a fast conversation between 4 native speakers, recorded for you to listen to.

You’ll hear the pod-pals – that’s Amber, Paul  & me (The Thrilling Three or the Tangential Trio) having our weekly chat on the terrace in the sunshine. But this time we are joined by a 4th member to our team in the form of Tom Morton, a friend of ours from the stand-up comedy scene here in Paris. You might remember that Tom has been mentioned briefly on this podcast before and that we’ve established that he looks a bit like Dave Grohl the drummer from Nirvana and Tim Curry the actor from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and… that’s it! That’s all you know at the moment!


So, just to fill you in a bit – Tom is a professional actor and voice-over artist. He’s done voice-overs for TV and radio advertisements for companies like Mini, L’Oreal, Sky TV, McVities biscuits and Nintendo Wii. He’s is half English and half French and speaks both English and French like a native. “What’s Tom’s accent?”, you might be wondering. Well you’ll find out for yourself in a bit when you listen to him, but in English he speaks with received pronunciation, which is essentially that neutral accent that we associate with the BBC and the universities – no particular regional inflections although he spent lots of time in West London when he was growing up. So, he speaks a bit like me basically, but he has his own unique sound of course, as you will discover in a moment. As ever I am keen to know what you think. What do you think of Tom’s voice? Leave your comments on the website.

Here’s what you’ll hear in this episode

First you’ll hear the three of us give Tom a sort of job interview as part of his initiation onto the podcast. After a couple of minutes though, the job interview goes downhill and is abandoned. We then just mess around, letting you get to know Tom a bit, doing improvised voice-overs on a few royalty-free Apple jingles, before the conversation goes off on a number of tangents (what a surprise). And those tangents cover these things:

  • the complexities of explaining puns and jokes in English
  • doing voiceovers on adverts for the ‘megaknife’ – a knife that is so sharp it can cut through a shoe
  • the Queen’s birthday
  • what British people think of the monarchy
  • the death of Princess Diana
  • public reactions to tragedies like when a famous person dies (this was recorded just a few hours before we all learned that another celebrity had died – the American musician Prince – just another legend who died this year after Lemmy, David Bowie, George Martin and a bunch of other people including British celebrities Terry Wogan, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett and Victoria Wood – you might not know who they are but they were all much loved comedians and entertainers who died this year) So – public reactions to the death of famous people
  • when old people say racist things, like Prince Philip or your grandparents
  • Amber’s son Hugo has learning a new word
  • getting a letter from the Queen on your 100th birthday
  • the drama of Paul and Luke getting attacked by flying insects (ladybirds)
  • Amber’s story about a woman she saw whose scarf had slipped between her bum cheeks making it look like she had a tail
  • the moment one of my neighbours burps very loudly in the background from another apartment (I’m pretty sure you can’t hear it)
  • then finally, which members of The Fantastic Four we would be – I’m Mr Fantastic (because I’m the leader I suppose), Amber is the invisible woman (because since she had a baby she’s become invisible to men), Paul is The Human Torch (because he’s on fire sitting in the sun, and because he’s so hot right now in the world of comedy), and Tom is The Thing (neither French nor English, just an amorphous blob).

It’s a real mix of both serious and light-hearted topics, and yes, I am aware that the conversation moves pretty fast and we talk over each other quite a lot – that’s just what happens when a bunch of friends get together like this. It might be a difficult episode to follow – or maybe not – maybe you’ll have absolutely no problem keeping up with this, but in any case I hope you just enjoy listening to another completely spontaneous conversation between a group of Brits who are getting a bit too much sun on their heads.

You should know that there’s some swearing in this episode – there you go, you’ve been warned.

Also, we’re not talking about the results of the interactive lying game from episode 343 yet – that’s going to come in an another episode soon.

So that’s enough introduction. I will now just let you listen to another outdoor episode of LEP featuring the The Talkative Trio with Tom Morton.


*Conversation begins*


That’s it! Check out the page for the episode. There are a few notes and a brief summary of some of the main points in that conversation, so if you didn’t understand something you can just google it or wikipedia it!

Just a reminder about italki before I say anything else. With italki you can have your own rambling conversations with native English speakers if you like, or if you prefer you can have properly structured English lessons too, and all from the convenience of your own internet connection at home, or anywhere else really. They have loads of qualified teachers to choose from, and when you buy some lessons italki will give you a voucher worth 100ITC which is a nice discount on future English lessons. To get that offer and to check out italki go to teacherluke.co.uk/talk or click an italki logo on my website.

001APVAD1400I’m going to be on holiday for about a week and then I’ll be very busy marking student exam papers so I don’t know when I’ll be able to upload a new episode. But I’m sure it won’t be that long, and anyway I’ve given you so many new episodes lately you could probably do with a little break too – or maybe not! Maybe you’re desperate for more. Don’t forget to check out my other podcast – A Phrasal Verb a Day. There are now over 130 episodes of that. The episodes are much shorter and I get straight to the point in every single episode and just focus on teaching you a new phrasal verb every time – and you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of phrasal verbs in English. They’re a vital part of fluent, natural English. So check out teacherluke.co.uk/pv for the episode archive – some of them have videos too.

Right – enough rambling! I’m off! I’ve got lots of exam marking to do! Have a nice day or night or morning or whatever and I’ll speak to you soon. Cheers! BYE!

Photos (clockwise – left to right) Princess Diana, a ladybird, Fantastic Four logo, The Queen, Tim Curry, Dave Grohl, LEP logo.

  • Lin Jhen-Ru

    Nice one! Thank you so much! I really enjoy the ladybird part especially when Paul exploded with panic. I was in my offine and I had to try very hard to restrain myself from laughing out loud…

  • Alex

    The podcast should definitively be renamed to ‘English learning with laughter’. Had several bursts while this episode. Tom Morton was great. Keep up your chats with your friends.

  • altergrain@mail.ru

    Could you explain those joke about russians, please? You have been laughing at it for 3 or 4 episodes but there was no f,,,ing explanation! It turned out i was so stupid to understand the subtle humor. Explain it for us, idiots please!

    • Sorry you don’t understand this. Don’t worry – it’s not a joke about Russian people. You’re not missing anything serious. Let me try and clarify.

      I have explained this (bad) joke several times on the podcast, but I will do it again here because I don’t want you to feel that you’re missing something. (You’re not missing anything big I promise)
      The joke is not complicated – it’s actually very simple. The reason we are laughing about it is because I have to keep explaining it all the time – like in this comment! (but it’s ok I don’t mind really)

      So, during a recent comedy show, I was on stage performing jokes. Some people came into the room, late, and I spoke to them.
      I said, “Hello! You’re late… Where are you from?”
      One of them said, “We’re Russian.”
      I said, “Well, you obviously weren’t ‘rushing’ to get here on time, were you!” (They weren’t “rushing” to get to the show, because they are late – ‘rushing’ means moving very quickly to avoid being late, as I am sure you know ;)
      (The ‘joke’ is simply that the words “Russian” and “rushing” sound very similar – that’s it. It has nothing to do with Russian people or anything like that.)
      Nobody in the room laughed, because they didn’t understand it. In fact, they didn’t even realise I had made a joke. I was quite proud of the joke because I had made it quickly, without any preparation.
      So, I decided I would stop the show and explain the joke to the audience.
      You don’t normally explain your jokes during a show (as you know) so this was an ironic moment. It was funny to me that they hadn’t noticed the joke. Most of the audience members were non-native speakers of English. I thought they would enjoy the joke if they understood it. So I explained it for them for fun.
      Still, nobody laughed. In fact the audience just looked at me and had no idea that I was saying something humorous.
      They didn’t understand or notice the word-joke “You’re late – where are you from?” – “We’re Russian” – “Well, you weren’t ‘RUSHING” to get here on time, were you”. And they just continued to stare at me. I felt lost and alone in the universe.
      I felt embarrassed and a bit annoyed. Paul, who was in the room at the time, found it hilarious to see me struggling on stage. The audience had no idea. The rest of the show was fine after that moment.
      Then, on an episode of the podcast (I think it was in December last year) Paul and I told that story to Amber. It was just a funny embarrassing story of how I made a joke and nobody understood it.
      Then, one or two listeners wrote comments saying that they didn’t understand the Russian/rushing joke either, and could I explain it (although I had already explained it twice – once on stage in the story and once again when I told Amber).
      So I had to explain it again! And again!
      Now – this joke is definitely NOT funny! It’s a crap joke that you tell quickly and then move on to something else, so it is ridiculous that I keep having to explain it to people and they continue not to understand it.
      Every time I tell the story somebody doesn’t understand the joke and I have to repeat my explanation all over again. It feels like I’m trapped in time!
      In fact, this is a tragedy! I told a quick joke and nobody understood it. When I explain it, even more people misunderstand it and the situation just keeps repeating itself! In fact, it’s happening again in this comment! This joke is haunting me like a ghost or something!

      So – you must understand that this joke has been explained several times on the podcast already – but I think you didn’t notice those explanations. The joke is not deep or complex – it’s just a word joke (the pronunciation of Russian / rushing in an English accent). It contains no comment about Russian people, so there’s no deeper meaning. The humour is not very subtle. It is now just an embarrassing story (and that’s why everyone keeps laughing at me) about how nobody understood my joke and I have to keep explaining it.

      Remember, this is not a joke about Russian people. It’s just a joke about the sound of the word “Russian” and the word “Rushing” :)

      Please let me know if you now understand this.

      And don’t worry, I’m not angry or anything. In fact I find this situation to be frustrating, but funny.

      • altergrain@mail.ru

        Finally, I have understood it! Thank you very much! That was witty joke, indeed! Yeah, this comedy ended up being, sort of, “comedy of errors”. I didn’t mean you had something offencive in this joke. The problem was, for me, that I didn’t catch the difference between “russian” and “rushing”. It became clear when I read it. Sometimes I don’t hear “ing” and some vowles quite well.
        Thank you again for such a long respond!

      • YES! I’m delighted that you got it.
        Exactly – it’s a comedy of errors.
        I’m glad you didn’t find anything offensive about it.
        Yes, the words “Russian” and “rushing” do sound very similar.
        I expect my audience didn’t even realise I’d said two different words, making my fairly ‘clever’ joke completely invisible to them. It’s the story of my life!

      • Александр Сергеевич

        Hello, Luke! I’m from Russia (and my name is Sasha) and I’ve understood too! It’s really funny when I caught this joke)

      • Ptholome

        It’s a good joke for people who are used to listen to stand up comedians. I believe I would laugh at it if I had been there, but I will also laugh a lot, even more, seeing you explaining it again and again. You told in one of your episodes, wher

      • frymock

        Listening to the podcast I didn’t understand this joke too.
        It’s just a word play.
        Thank you for explanation.

  • Ruslan

    When somebody says “Luke’s English Podcast” it can sound like ” Luxe English podcast” and it is true! LoL!

  • Ricardo Sendulsky

    Hello Jedi Luke,

    The new jingle is amazing! It reminds me the 90’s dance music prologues.
    I’d like to make only one suggestion: If I could, I would change that little part after the girl’s voice: “Who are you?”. My answer would be ” I’m Ronnie Pickering!”

    I want to give some recomendation for the trio’s name:
    Threenglish tandem
    The Brithreesh
    the Britri

    Enjoy your holiday!
    Thanks for the episodes

  • EVAT

    Enjoy your holiday!!
    I really enjoyed listening to this episode. I like them all but the ones with many people mean that I have to listen very carefully to follow the conversation and that make me improve my listening skills.
    Thanks a lot.
    Congratulations to all of you 4 ! You are a great team !

  • Juan Pablo

    It would be amazing if you could record on video the podcast with you three (or four)… I would watch it again and again and it could be funnier for sure!!!

    My name for the TRIO: THE TNT LAP xD

  • MayumiM

    Loving your new jingle. So cool!

  • Inigo

    You guys, the TRIO, are great, but the QUARTET the greatest. I’ve really enjoyed the episode. Congratulations.

  • Andrii

    Mix-jingle is awesome!
    And ladybird moment made me laughing in the middle of a street.

    • Daniel

      Hello Andrii!

      I am sorry for contacting you through the comment section, but I have noticed in one of your previous comments that you speak Russian. I am a Czech student currently studying in France and I am passing an exam in my Russian class on Thursday. Please, would you mind translating a couple of sentences for me from English to Russian?

      I would be really grateful! :)

      Thank you for any response!

      LEPSTER Daniel