Since the early days of comedy podcasting, the art form has grown massively. The Ricky Gervais Show is widely regarded as having been the main instigator for others to do something similar and it is now the norm for many big name comedians, particularly in the US, to have their own podcasts. The amount and variety of comedy podcasts available, for free, to the general public is a great thing and you should get onboard if you are in any way interested in comedy. This list is by no means definitive, there are loads of other great shows out there, but these are the ones that I find to be the funniest at this point in time.
1. The Bugle
The Bugle is a weekly satirical podcast presented by John Oliver (the English dude from the Daily Show) and his mate Andy Zaltzman, a fellow Brit who still resides in the UK and is a fantastic stand up comedian in his own right. The show is presented as an “audio newspaper for a visual world” and rips shit on political news from around the world. Sheer bullshit is the podcast’s aim and it wholeheartedly delivers on that promise, particularly from Zaltzman whose ability to craft ludicrous stories about politicians, countries and celebrities is second to none. This is classic British political satire at its best, available for free every single week. Listen to this clip of the pair riffing on a figure that has featured prominently in The Bugle due to his unmitigated sexual promiscuity and amazing levels of corruption, Silvio Burlusconi.
2. Walking the Room
This is a podcast made by two 40-somethings, Greg Behrendt and Dave Anthony in a closet in Los Angeles and is, for the most part, pretty fucked up. The pair’s chemistry is what makes this show great. Behrendt is the starry eyed lover of life, frequently referencing his love of fashion and expensive guitars, much to the chagrin of Dave Anthony, who comes off as the surly drunk guy in the corner of the pub who hates everything and everybody. The pair have crafted an entire vocabulary of their own with phrases like hobotang and grip em ups which is the act of tying a weight to the end of a stick which you then shove up your arse and squat to strengthen your sphincter, something the two suggest is necessary as you move towards old age and want to make sure that you don’t involuntarily shit yourself. As I said, it’s pretty fucked up. But they also love candy as this clip suggests.
3. Never Not Funny
This is the only podcast on here that you actually have to pay for ($20 for 26 episodes) but it is totally worth it. The host of the show is Jimmy Pardo who has to be one of the sharpest comedians out there. Each week’s episode offers a new guest (invariably a stand up or improv comic) with whom Pardo and co-host and producer Matt Belknapp talk to about whatever may arise, whether that be the art of comedy or improv, stories about life on the road as a comedian or inane issues that everybody deals with and can relate to on some level, but which Pardo and his guests are able to offer hilarious insights on. Dan the intern and Elliott the cameraman round out the NNF crew with many laughs coming from Pardo’s incredulity towards the two for their supposed incompetence. He frequently threatens to fire them for their missteps, though it is all done in jest. Here is a clip that features Greg Behrendt from Walking the Room.
4. Comedy Bang Bang (formerly Comedy Death Ray)
This is the most conceptual of all the podcasts on the list. Each week consists of host Scott Aukerman chatting to a guest, normally someone from the world of comedy or film, which is then interrupted by a character or characters performed by a long list of comedians. The show is truly amazing when everything clicks. Characters in the past have included piss takes on famous people such as Alan Rickman and Paul Giamatti and invented characters such as Don Dimello (played by Andy Daly), a twisted children’s theatre producer with a love for doing extreme things to women during his shows often involving drugs and animals. There is the odd dud episode, but it is mostly great. It has also recently been made into a tv show on IFC. Here are two clips, the first including an invented character played by Nick Kroll called El Chupacabra and another that features Matt Besser playing a song in character as Bjork.
5. Who Charted?
This is another show on the Earwolf network and is presented by Scott Aukerman from CBB’s wife, Kulap Vilayasak and comedian Howard Kremer. The show uses movie and music charts to get to know each week’s guest and finishes with a chart about the guests themselves. Howard Kremer is what makes this podcast awesome. He is such a strange man, his comedy stemming from his awkward view of the world and of film and music. He is currently on a high because it is ‘summah’ in the US and he has chosen his ‘summah gum’, something that Kremer suggests is essential to “having a summah”. He also makes music under the Dragon Boy Suede moniker that is pretty damn funny. He also pops up as his brother Lee, which is just Kremer putting on a gruffer voice as this clip shows.
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