Like any good Philadelphian, Hal Lublin loves to bicker about the little things. He just happens to have made a living out of doing it.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Montgomery County, Lublin is one half of the argumentative duo behind the We Got This! With Mark and Hal podcast from podcast network Maximum Fun. Since 2015, Lublin and cohost Mark Gagliardi (a Tennessee native) have taken comedic, debate-laden looks at mundane arguments and minor topics to settle which side is right, once and for all.
Topics on We Got This! include "Best Color of the Rainbow," "Best Movie Snack," "Pirates or Vikings," and "Bar Soap vs. Liquid Soap vs. Foam Soap" — minor, sure, but topics close to our hearts. Often, decisions come from celebrity guests like Philly's own comedian and actor Paul F. Tompkins or former Mythbusters cohost Adam Savage.
Lublin and Gagliardi will bring their antagonistic act to Philadelphia next Friday, July 21, at the Ruba Club in Northern Liberties as part of the Philadelphia Podcast Festival, which runs Friday to July 23. Tickets, which are currently available, are $20 to $35. Author and Philly native Maureen Johnson will guest.
We recently caught up with Lublin and Gagliardi to talk about the show, and had them settle some age-old, minor Philly arguments, from convenience-store preferences to sports teams. Check out the interview below:
How did the We Got This! come together?
Mark Gagliardi: Hal and I wanted to put together a show that is what Hal and I tend to do when we're sitting in a diner anyway, which is settle pointless debate. Our pilot episode was "Should You Put Ketchup on a Hot dog?" We talk for nearly an hour about that [in that episode], and we delve in deep. But, like many "bar-guments," as I call them, we tend to argue a lot about "the best." Like, "Who was the best James Bond?"
Well, Philly loves to argue. Hal, do you think your being from the area has anything to do with the podcast's existence?
Hal Lublin: Yeah. Like all Philadelphians, I'm always ready for a fight. There's a scrappiness there, and whatever my opinion is, I will die on that hill. We actually did a "Best Cheesesteak" episode, and I engineered it just to refute my father, who is a Tony Luke's guy. I'm a Jim's guy. I do not like his choice at all, so I was like, "All right, let's settle this on a podcast, Dad."
In the tradition of the show, would you guys mind settling a few topics close to Philly's heart?
MG: Sure. We don't have facts about many things, but we have opinions about all of them.
How about hoagies vs. subs?
MG: We actually did a full episode about what people like to call a long sandwich full of cold cuts. But remembering the outcome of that episode, I don't think you should listen to it.
HL: If you want to hear a Philadelphian beaten to the point of submission over the course of an hour, you listen to that episode. The premise of the show is that we decide, and it's decided forever, and that's the way it is for everybody for all time. I would never walk into a sandwich or pizza place in Philly and ask for a "sub," because I want to live.
How about Sheetz vs. Wawa?
MG: I have very few opinions about these Philadelphia topics, but as a Southerner, "sheets" has a negative connotation. And "wa-wa" is what toddlers adorably call water. So, Wawa.
HL: They spell it with a Z on the end. What is this, 1999?
MG: Yeah, they lose.
HL: I remember going to Wawa as a kid, and now when I come back, it's amazing. The store is, like, completely automated now, and you can order your Shorti on a touch screen. Wawas are the future. With Sheetz, I picture a burned-out shack.
MG: A burned-out shack that provides jobs.
HL: You got me there.
Cheesesteaks or roast pork sandwiches?
HL: Roast pork sandwiches are good, but a cheesesteak, that was the sandwich that was the treat for me as a child. If I come back to town, I have to get a cheesesteak. I don't have to get a roast pork sandwich.
MG: My father's side of the family is all from the Philadelphia area, all from Glenolden. That was our treat as well. When my grandparents would come to visit, they would fill their car with their suitcases, and the rest of the way with Philly cheesesteaks. But I've never had a roast pork sandwich.
Another classic: Rocky vs. Joe Frazier?
No explanation necessary?
MG: Nope — Rocky, 100 percent. Again, this is a personal one that goes back to my father. He was the exact same age [as Rocky], from Philadelphia, Italian, and obsessed with the Rocky movies my entire childhood and life. I was forced to watch them at least weekly.
HL: Smokin' Joe gets points for being an actual human being, but kids don't run up the steps of the Art Museum like Smokin' Joe Frazier did.
If you're into football at all, what about Eagles vs. Cowboys?
HL: Keep those filthy, stupid Cowboys — I can't believe you're actually going to print the word Cowboys. There are people who I know that are from Philadelphia who like the Cowboys, and I wonder, like, who hurt you when you were a child?
It does seem contrarian sometimes.
MG: Yeah, like you're only doing this to be a jerk.
HL: Like, "What are you trying to prove here?"
Best/worst Philly-born celebrity? Have any in mind?
MG: For best, Ben Franklin.
HL: But he's from Boston. He's synonymous with Philadelphia, but he's from Boston.
MG: Guys, I'm really just pointing out that I know nothing about Philadelphia, apart from what I've heard from my father.
HL: Right now, the worst has got to be Bill Cosby. But there was a time when he would have been the best.
Any chance any of these topics will be making it into the live show here in Philly?
HL: We have a short list from the guests, but we have yet to decide. People who come to the show will discover the topic when we announce it onstage.
MG: Hopefully, as Philadelphians, they will enjoy it, because otherwise, we'll get booed.
Nah, you'll make it through the booing. That's the more minor Philly-crowd stereotype. You just don't want us to start throwing stuff at you.
MG: [Laughs] Here come the batteries!