Ryan John Lee
Pizza News

Love Talking Pizza? So Do the Celebrity Guests on This Podcast

From rock stars to actors and comedians, Alfred Schulz and Arthur Bovino have hosted an impressive list of guests on "Pizza Pod Party."

By Charlie Pogacar

If you love talking about pizza, you are the type of person Alfred Schulz and Arthur Bovino love talking to. The duo co-hosts “Pizza Pod Party,” a podcast sponsored by Ooni Pizza Ovens, where Bovino is head of content.

The podcast launched in July 2023 and consists of interviews with people who seemingly have little to do with pizza, followed by a news segment. Guests have included comedian Roy Wood Jr., actor Michael Ian Black, comedian Mo Rocca and restaurateur Andrew Zimmern. Conversations have a tendency to stray from pizza, but Schulz and Bovino faithfully pull it back.

The hosts have impressive, if disparate, credentials. Bovino is the former executive editor of The Daily Meal and runs @NYCBestPizza, an Instagram page with over 17,000 followers. His book, “Buffalo Everything,” is about cuisine from Buffalo, New York, and argues in favor of Buffalo-style pizza as a distinct and delicious style of pie. Perhaps Bovino’s most notable pizza-related work, however, is the series of 101 Best Pizzas lists he used to create for The Daily Meal.

Related: Meet The Woman Who Started a Pizza Truck Before It Was Cool

Two men eat pizza outside of John's at Bleecker Street in New York City.
Ryan John Lee

“I get pigeon-holed as a ‘pizza expert,’” Bovino said. “I don’t claim that. I love that George Motz calls himself a ‘burger scholar.’ I consider myself a pizza scholar—that’s part of the reason this is so much fun. There’s always so much to learn. And the more I learn about pizza, the more questions I have.”

Schulz, born and raised in the Chicagoland area, has worked for SiriusXM, hosted numerous radio shows and podcasts over the years and possesses the deep, booming voice to match. One of the shows he co-hosted, “Sit Down With Alfred and Chris,” once ran a special episode on the topic of pizza. It was such a hit that the show started regularly airing pizza episodes where listeners would call in to talk about pizza. When Alfred went searching for pizza experts who could come on the show and elevate the conversation, he met Arthur. A friendship began, one that ultimately led to the formation of ‘Pizza Pod Party’ years later.

“I was a typical kid that ate Domino’s and pizza like that,” Schulz said. “As I got older, like many people in Chicago, deep dish became an obsession. Unlike Arthur, I’m not well educated on food—I don’t know much about food, in fact—I just love pizza.”

While a love of pizza unites the duo, the subject also has the ability to divide them. Bovino and Schulz playfully bicker over whether Chicago or New York has superior pizza. The truth is, they both love all types of pizza and fervently feel it is a food that will keep on growing until more styles achieve ubiquity across the country. As evidence, they point to the recent surge of Detroit-style pizza places popping up across the country, or the fact that New Haven-style pizza appears to be primed to do the same.

“Pizza has been a national fascination for a long time, but I think that’s only becoming more true,” Bovino observed. “For years, I’ve been hearing people saying, ‘Oh, it’s a bubble! It’s going to pop!’ Okay, well, I’m still waiting for it to pop.”

Two men laugh with one another with an open pizza box in front of them.
Ryan John Lee

Schulz and Bovino have trouble naming their favorite “Pizza Pod Party” moments to date. There are too many, so they shotgun-list them instead: Mo Rocca saying D.C.-style jumbo slices pair well with shotgunning beers; Michael Ian Black detailing his history as a touring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for Pizza Hut; Steve Gorman, drummer for The Black Crowes, saying he wasn’t allowed to go anywhere near the pizza-making process at the shop he worked at because he “wasn’t good enough.”

There are more serious moments that have bubbled to the surface on the podcast, too. Roy Wood Jr. told the story of how he would have to walk to the other side of his college campus, Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Florida, to pick up a pizza delivery because drivers wouldn’t travel to “that” side of town. Anil Dash, a tech entrepreneur, begrudgingly gave a nod to Domino’s Tracker feature and said he thought it might be the future of delivery technology.

These anecdotes illuminate the journey that is “Pizza Pod Party.” While the guests talk pizza, they’re hardly talking about pizza at all.

“A goal [of the podcast] is to ground pizza,” Schulz said. “Not everyone is buying tickets to go to a pizza expo in Las Vegas, but everyone loves pizza. When you get them talking about it, you realize pizza is about nostalgia, Americana, kids’ birthday parties… people are very passionate about pizza. We find that when you ask questions about pizza you end up in some really interesting places.”

The podcast comes out weekly and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and just about everywhere else. The hosts have been happy with the progress of the podcast and believe it offers a little something for everyone. You don’t have to be a pizzeria owner to enjoy it, but if you happen to be a pizzeria owner you might especially love it.

“We’re still really new,” Schulz said. “We just want to have a conversation that’s different from what’s available when it comes to the pizza scene. It’s really important to us that the guests have fun when they come on. Half the time when we finish, the guest is like, ‘this was so fun!’ We’re lucky this isn’t a chore for our guests, and hopefully, that shines through.”