Podcast Roundup III

Podcasts Hosted by Comedians

I didn’t want to say Comedy Podcasts because podcasts hosted by comedians are not necessarily going to have the punchline density of a stand-up show. I would call (one of my previous recommendations) The Bugle a comedy podcast, because it features pre-written material, often performed in a live comedy setting. But most podcasts are not live shows, and comedians are essentially troubled people, so going off-script can get very dark.

Bill Burr is a great comedian who hosts a podcast. In Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast he doesn’t have guests, it’s just him talking to himself alone in a room, answering emails from fans, telling stories off the top of his head. That sounds terrible. I’m not criticising, I love it. He’s brilliant at it. And he would probably be the first to admit that sometimes it’s less a comedy podcast and more an existential crisis. While I recommend it whole-heartedly, I won’t call it a comedy podcast. It’s something different. I like when his wife joins in the podcast sometimes. She’s a welcome moderating influence. Bill can be a bit intense.

podcast roundup iiiThe Adam Buxton Podcast is a podcast hosted by comedian Adam Buxton. Fans of Channel 4 late-night nineties comedy shows should remember The Adam & Joe Show, that’s where we first saw him, and we will always love him for it. Adam’s stand-up is great too, and his live show ‘Bug’ where he gets into the viral web and picks out the gems from the comments sections. As a podcaster he’s more earnest and sincere, not cracking wise every two seconds. It’s more conversational, he generally interviews a guest from the world of entertainment. He doesn’t call it an interview, he calls it a Ramblechat. Ramblechatting has its own jingle. There are a few other interstitial jingles that Adam made for the podcast, weird funny bits of music that tie it all together. I particularly enjoyed when he interviewed Bill Burr, Adam was so nervous. It was nice for me to hear two of my favourite podcasters chatting together. And it was nice to hear Bill Burr talking to another person.

Another podcast hosted by a comedian recommend: WTF? with Marc Maron. Before podcasting he was known for his misanthropic comedy full of excitable neuroticism. He always gave the impression of being unfiltered and spontaneous, of being capable of saying anything that might occur to him. My girlfriend made me turn him off because he’s a bit shouty. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Marc Maron is a giant of podcasting. He’s near the top of every recommended list on every podcasting app or platform you ever open. If you’ve never listened, give it a go. He’s had a lot of interesting guests pass through his podcasting garage, a lot of probing conversations in his inimitable style. There’s bound to be at least one interviewee you’d be interested in hearing. He interviewed a sitting president, for crying out loud. What more do you want? Usually it’s a fairly good-natured chat, but he gets guests to reveal a lot about what they’ve been through, how it has shaped their lives, their careers, their worldviews. Comedians, actors, directors, musicians, entertainers and artists of all kinds can find themselves talking to Marc. He’s not afraid to ask awkward questions, he’s not afraid to ask any kind of questions. One of my favourite episodes was the one where his interview with deluded egomanicacal comedian Gallagher went completely off the rails.

Norm MacDonald is a fantastic comedian as well. I love his stand-up. But would I strictly call this a comedy podcast, or another podcast hosted by a comedian? It’s borderline. In Norm MacDonald Live he interviews a guest, usually another comedian. Norm may sound shambolic, and he seems to affect the persona of a crotchety old-timer, but he is sharp, unpredictable and irreverent. The man does not give two shits what you think, it’s probably the funniest thing about him. Okay, I think I’m coming down on the side of calling this a comedy podcast. As a matter of course, he mercilessly berates and psychologically destroys his loyal sidekick Adam Carolla (what a good sport). I watched a few of the episodes on YouTube, his interviews with Stephen Merchant, Jim Carrey, Russell Brand, Sarah Silverman and Bill Hader, before all of Norm MacDonald’s YouTube channel became unavailable in my region – apparently Norm suddenly decided he hates Ireland and the Irish. Norm’s affability and unpredictability made these interviews really interesting and entertaining. He gives good podcast. It’s worth watching, if you are able to. If you can’t watch due to finding yourself on Norm’s ever-growing list of hated nations, you can still listen wherever you find your podcasts.