When Jacob Bach and I met up for chai lattes earlier this week, I knew immediately that he was the type of person that anyone could talk to for hours. Which is perfectly fitting, because I was meeting to interview him about Yeah, Bro!, a podcast where "straight men talk about gay things."
Bach started in the performing arts as a dancer until he joined a group at Comedy Sportz, an improv comedy show in Milwaukee, as a freshman in high school.
"I hated it my first year," Bach admitted about his improv career. But after his friend convinced him to give it one more shot, he fell in love and has been doing improv ever since.
With his background in dance and acting, entertaining has always been a passion for Bach. Creating a podcast was a whole new medium for him.
"I've never done anything by myself...I'm constantly collaborating," Bach said when asked why the idea of starting a podcast intrigued him.
Bach threw himself into the podcast world kind of on a whim. Earlier this year, his friend was a stage manager at PrideFest and needed gay comedy acts. He told his friend to slot in an hour for him to do a live podcast. This was the push Bach needed to finally start creating his own podcast.
"It gave me a deadline to start," Bach said.
The idea for the podcast arose after Bach experienced what most of us experience in early adulthood: friends moving all over the place.
"I used to have a very tight-knit group of friends and then we went our separate ways," Bach said. Like most twenty-somethings, they went on to different places and career paths.
After this transition in his life, Bach found that the majority of his friends were straight males.
"I have very supportive straight male friends," Bach said,"which is very rare."
Because of this, Bach wanted to create a podcast centered around experiencing gay culture with his straight friends.
"Gay culture is 110% different than straight culture. There's even a different vernacular," Bach said. "It's been a pleasure of mine to educate people on the LGBTQ+ community; the good, the bad, the pretty and the fucking ugly."
"We are a Midwestern town. We are taught two things: 1. Don't talk about yourself, 2. Don't talk about others." Because of this mentality, some people end up only ever being trapped inside small talk for most of their lives. However, Bach explained the more we "become vulnerable, the better of a society we can become."
The biggest misconceptions straight people have about gay culture in Bach's eyes is "that they're not allowed to talk about it...people don't want to be seen as rude."
Yeah, Bro! provides an open outlet for these conversations to happen.
After Bach recorded the first episode, he fell in love with podcasts, which are very different than performing improv in front of a crowd of hundreds every night. The podcast not only offered Bach a new outlet, but also changed his personal relationships.
"In three months, I have gone from being the friend that people joke around with and I have become the friend that people want to have open conversations with."
Bach has many ideas for his podcast and its mission. Next summer, he will be doing a PrideFest tour around the nation, he's working on getting bigger names onto the podcast (an episode will soon be featuring the Warwick Rowers, the rowing team famous for their naked calendars, and with them he's working on a fundraiser with Sport Allies, a program that reaches out to young people who have been victims of bullying and homophobia.
Ultimately, Bach wants to get rid of misconceptions in the straight community as well as get rid of the discrimination in the LGBTQ+ community.
"The sooner discrimination decreases in the community, the faster we'll reach equality."