Senior Producer / Website Supervisor
Jason loves many things: his wife, his pets, his meals. But Jason’s true passion is the Howard Stern Show. Starting as an intern alongside fellow Stern Show producer Will Murray, Jason has gone on to accomplish many things. He now hosts and/or produces such shows as Superfan Roundtable, Back Office Radio, GEEKTIME! and The Fat Guy Show. He is in charge of all things web and recently, was named JD Harmeyer’s boss by Howard himself.
Jason was born and raised in New Jersey where he still lives with his wife Janis. Jason has stated that he doesn’t want kids for fear of how “ugly” his offspring might be. He may not have gotten this far on his looks, but Jason Kaplan has proven himself a truly vital member of The Howard Stern Show.
Anyone who listens to the show on a regular basis (and you must be one of those if you’re reading this!) know that Howard and Robin have been down on meat – glorious, blood dripping meat – for several years now.
Their objections over meat range for health reasons (see Robin’s Vegan Cookbook) and general concern over eating innocent animals (donate to Bianca’s Furry Friends today!). Howard’s even gone so far to all meat-eaters on the staff (and there are still a lot of us) “un-evolved”.
As much as I idolize those guys, I must disagree with their Meat-Phobia. I know, I know, I’m bordering on 300 pounds and hardly the picture of health, so take what I say with a grain of salt (or healthy pinch of salt) but that doesn’t change the fact that meat is enjoyed by all types of people the world over and internationally renowned, award winning chefs still swear by the butcher block.
And nowhere is that more evident than at the yearly “Carnivore’s Ball” that is Meatopia. Esquire Writer at Large and #1 meat lover Josh Ozersky put together Meatopia years ago to celebrate his love of meat and has watched it grow every year since. This year I attended for the 2nd time and am happy to report back that meat eaters are far from an endangered species!
That's a whole lamb on a spit!
Meatopia X: The Carnivore’s Ball was held this year on a rooftop overlooking the Hudson River. Upon leaving the elevator and entering the festival an hour before it was open for the public I was hit with that unmistakable smell of charcoal and wood burning that immediately puts me in heaven. The entire rooftop was coated in a light, blue smoke – a smoke that any half-serious BBQ’er would recognize as the perfect smoke! Just like at Comic Con, I felt at home, with my peers, and I couldn’t wait to talk to talk to all the Meat Heads!
Like Hugh Mangum from Mighty Quinn BBQ who is such a big Howard Stern fan he immediately gave me a Mighty Quinn T-Shirt for JD to…pleasure himself in. Speaking of pleasure, I found much in his serving of Smoked Pork Cheeks! Mmm…there’s virtually no part of the pig that isn’t delicious!
Smoked Pork Cheeks from Mighty Quinn's BBQ
I ate Beef Heart (marinated in Pomegranate) with grits from the chef at NY Hilton Midtown (beef heart was unsurprisingly beefy tasting..and really good)
The classics were there too! One of my favorite dishes was BBQ’ed chicken with Alabama-Style White Sauce from Matt Lightner and Atera. I need a white sauce recipe, and I need it now!
As I walked from booth to booth my eyes darted to all the amazing prep – spit-roasted whole lambs, whole pigs quartered and stuffed, and of course, the crown jewel of the entire event – the full almost 1,000 pound steer that Meat Man Pat LaFreida slow cooked for over 24 hours in a hot box!
Beef Heart - delicious, delicious beef heart
We’ve all heard of whole hogs but this was some serious steer! The entire carcass – head and all – gets lifted out of it’s cooking box by crane to the delight of the meat loving crowd!
Lisa G and I talked to a ton of meat lovers – and while none of them are attending Veg-Fest anytime soon none of them are anti vegetables or anti-vegan (fun fact: most of the meat dishes were served with a side of some sort of vegetable! My favorite were the vendors that pickled their vegetables. I’m sure that makes them unhealthy somehow but it sure got me to eat my veggies!). Most meat lovers just want to be left alone from those that don’t agree with their lifestyle. You stay out of my grill I’ll stay out of yours, you know?
Yup! That's a 1,000 pound full Steer, butterflied and cooked low and slow for over 24 hours!
Besides my love of meat and the people who peddle it my biggest takeaway from this year’s Meatopia is just how prevalent the New York City meat scene is (we did “invent” the NY Strip Steak)! Everyone’s heard of Kansas City Style BBQ and Texas BBQ but you don’t hear much about NYC BBQ. That is changing as most of the vendors were local who got their meats locally (no more mail ordering from Texas!) and who have figured out a way to do real BBQ in NYC (if you think it’s easy to smoke a brisket over wood for 18 hours in the middle of a metropolis with a ton of regulations you just have no idea!). Mighty Quinn’s and The Cannibal - I’m coming to devour your wears!
Hope all you meat lovers join me.
by Jason Kaplan
F Christmas. Screw New Years. Passover can kiss my ass. Because for me there is only one time of year that gets my blood pumping and it's finally here - San Diego Comic Con!
For those who know me from the show (and why else would you be here reading this?) I'm a pretty big geek on a staff full of geeks. I love me a good comic book. I devour geeky TV (never missed an episode of Smallville).
One of the highlights of my career - interviewing Smallville's Kristin Kreuk. Look how suave I am.
Got a Marvel movie? I'm there.
DC's New 52? Time to restock the comic book shelves in my basement (yes, my wife is starting to worry).
Technology? Hold on, I'm taking a call on my Samsung Smart Watch. Video Games? I talk to my Xbox One more than my own wife. Toys and Collectibles? Not my thing per se, but I have more toys and "dolls" than any grown, childless man has the right to have.
I'm a geek. A nerd. Whatever you want to call me. And the first time I attended a San Diego Comic Con it was like coming home.
My Iron Man statue - a gift from Jon Favreau to Howard Stern that Howard turned around and gave to me. So basically, Jon Favreau gave this to me. Thanks Jon!
Yes, I roll my eyes at some of the cosplaying (who has that much time?). Yes, I think some of the things that people are into at Comic Con are "lame", or "silly" or most truthfully, just "not for me". But that doesn't matter.
Comic Con in San Diego is awesome because everyone is there for - ultimately - the same thing. To celebrate their love and passion for the entertainment they consume and live with every other day of the year. To be around other people who feel the same way.
It's awesome because even if you're not into the same thing as the person next to you, you both have the same intense feelings for the things that make you happy. And you bond.
Tom Hiddelston - the best part of the Thor/Avengers movie but more than that, one of the best GEEKTIME! guests ever. Nicest guy too. Nice to get a photo with two villians in it.
For me, I'm not into the "stars". Sure I'm dying to meet Zach Levi (might finally happen this year) and I'd really like to fist bump Stephen Amell, but what really gets me star stuck is meeting the creators of all the entertainment I love.
To me, that is the greatest thing you can do - create. Yeah, Bryan Cranston is AMAZING in Breaking Bad, but to me the real star is Vince Gilligan. Love Community and all I want to do is shake Dan Harmon's hand. I'm sure Henry Cavill is a great guy, but I'd push him out of the way to tell Zack Snyder that Watchmen is one of the most underrated comic book movies ever.
The people who create, they are the ones who love the products I love, they care as much as I do and most importantly, they are hopefully working on something new!
The Legend - Frank Oz. Voice of Yoda, Kermit and Fozzie the Bear. Which are the voices eveyrone does when they are trying to do a bad impression of me. Also made Dirty Rotten Scoundrals, one of my favorite comedies!
So as I'm getting ready to embark on our big trip, this is what is on my mind. Meeting the creators of the entertainment I love and hoping I don't embarrass myself. Seeing all the same people I see there year after year, catching up, talking about all the new stuff we're in to. Seeing what's coming next, where things are going, what's the next story around the corner.
So join me here. I'll update as much as I can this weekend. Share with you Comic Con through my eyes.
And yes, that will include food!
Robert Kirkman! Everyone knows "Walking Dead" but if you're not reading his series "Invicible" you are an idiot