Sunday, 31 July 2011


In an idea in no way ripped off from The Onion A.V Club’s Podmass section
I give you Podmess:  A recap of the podcasts I’ve listened to in the last week.

25th July - 31st July

The Apple Sisters

A more high-concept podcast, three sisters who have a cabaret act in 1943 are given their own radio show. It certainly limits the ability to do any topical material which makes it unique among podcasts, and at only 20 minutes it has a tighter more scripted focus though certainly it is also heavily ad-libbed. This week the sister’s guests are The Banana Brothers who turn out to be pretty well developed characters in their own right for only having this one time appearance. This show does seem like it can only go so far with getting repetitious, but this episode certainly manages to keep things fresh.

Comedy Bang Bang

I’ve waxed lyrical on here before about Comedy Bang Bang. This week’s episode puts together David Wain, Ken Marino of Children’s Hospital and Paul Rudd of many Judd Apatow Movies.  The episode is largely themed around the movie Wet Hot American Summer, which is a bit of a cult success, but it’s a bit of niche episode, unusual in that there are no characters, but the dynamic between the guests is enjoyable as they clearly know each other well and the highlight of the episode is the rap contest. It's a very old improv game but one that’s new to Comedy Bang Bang. I was very tentative that they were using such an old game but in these circumstances it turned out great.

The Best Show on WFMU

Tom Scharpling host a weekly live radio show in New Jersey, featuring regular callers, many comedian guests and often semi-scripted phone conversations with Jon Wurster. On this occasion Tom has two co-hosts - regular callers to the show Laurie and Geneva. It’s a nice concept that fans of the show could be allowed to be involved to this extent on occasions. It makes for a slightly shambolic but fun episode. A running joke lately has been Tom’s running paranoia about where the episode will be placed in The A.V club’s weekly podcast review section. Here he threatens to sue them 80 million dollars if they review the episode. Well they reviewed it anyway but placed it at the top so who knows what’ll happen there.

Best Show Gems

Best Show Gems is a highlights reel of some of the best snippets of The Best Show.  Usually featuring a Jon Wurster call. This week Wurster is a lawyer calling on behalf of Robbie Robertson of The Band claiming to be placing a lawsuit against Tom for remarks he made against The Band. Tom then threatens to counter-sue for which the lawyer offers to represent Tom. This goes on to a long spiel of all the various double lawsuits and the various shady practices the lawyer is involved with. As is typical for the show it's a great concept that’s allowed to explore all sorts of directions, a strong episode as ever.

Who Charted

Howard Kramer and Kulap Vilaysack (wife of Comedy Bang Bang host Scott Aukerman) host this podcast that’s has various top 5 chat rundowns that allows a single guest to delve into discussion about that and other topics. Even without a very interesting guest Howard and Kulap’s rapport makes for enjoyable listening, but it’s a lot better when there’s a good guest having fun with the concept and this week Bob Odenkirk is fantastic on it. It features some enjoyable stories on his career, he makes some superb commentary on the movie clips, and has utter contempt for some of the mawkish songs on display of the UK singles chart.

How Was Your Week

Julie Klausner is one of the few female podcaster’s around, she’s a great storyteller and very engaging to listen to, it’s always remarkable how long she’s able to carry much of the podcast on her own. This week has one of the best female comedians around in Maria Bamford; she’s got a truly unique comedic mind and is very charming in discussing some of thoughts and anxieties.

WTF with Marc Maron

The live episode departs from the norm, rather than the very personal discussions Marc usually gets into with his guests, here Marc interviews various guest in a more comedic setting. The highlight being the earlier mentioned Tom Scharpling. Tom has a great ability for making fun of Marc though they don't have much experience together they make a really strong podcast, the episode was recorded shortly after Maron had appeared on The Best Show which also shows evidence of their skill when working together. Other fun is had where Wyatt Cenac takes issue with Marc because unlike many other comedians, they don’t have any issue’s with each other and Wyatt suspects the only reason Marc doesn’t treat him badly is because he’s black.

Greg Proops – The Smartest Man in the World

The Proopcast has become one of my favourite podcasts and one of the most impressive as Greg essentially performs an entirely new hour every week in front of an audience. It’s not as honed as stand-up, but it comes from a much more personal place, and is also more topical in its nature and he also takes questions from the audience. If you only knew him from Whose Line is it Anyway you won’t quite have any idea what he’s capable of. He’s a fascinatingly intelligent and well-read man able to pick through the huge depths of his knowledge and articulate himself brilliantly. This episode features stories of being at comedy festivals, tales of working with people from whose line is it anyway. Then later gets onto some territory he’s travelled before, namely his anger over the tax cuts for the rich, while the poor are charged more but he’s always entertaining when ranting about this.

Doug Loves Movies

Doug Benson hosts this podcast usually taking place in front of a live audience which changes the dynamic slightly as there’s a higher energy to the podcast and the guests perform more. The podcast usually gets away from the topic of movies, before he and his guests play “The Leonard Maltin game” In which guests compete to guess the name of a movie from hearing members of the cast in reverse in order and based on a few clues from Leonard’s reviews. Though this week’s was a studio bound episode which creates a different dynamic and feels more like any other podcast.

Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio

Pretty much the only British podcast I listen to. Sorry we’re just not as good as the Americans at that or television the moment, I wish I could say otherwise. Frank usually has two co-anchors in Emily Dean and Alan Cochrane though this latest episode featured Steve Williams in his place. The co-hosts don’t usually add much themselves but they allow Frank to springboard into some fantastic one-liners and stories and this week even the subject of the difference between pelican, toucan and belisha beacon crossings is very entertaining.

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