The vast majority of the time I’m working I’m alone. And the last thing I like to do when alone is listen to my own thoughts so each morning I load up my mp3 player with the thoughts of others. Mostly comedy podcasts. If there’s anyone in the world who loves to share their thoughts and has the time to do it, it’s comedians. Here are a few I’ve noted recently.
In the Tank with John Fisch. As a young comedian this podcast is indispensable. Each episode is loaded with great stories and insights about comedy. The host, Jon Fisch and his swashbuckling crew of Dans interview comedians, club owners, bookers, and agents about their careers, the up ands and downs. Fisch is a strong interviewer. He controls his comedic instincts enough to actually delve into a topic, to ask questions that have some sense of direction. And to let his guests answer. A lot of comic podcasters are in too much of a hurry to crack a joke and play verbal grabass that nothing substantive is ever said. The Ross Bennett episode is great. Also Eddie Brill and Keith Alberstadt. There’s too many to list. If this isn’t in your rotation, you’re missing out on a great resource.
Doubling Up. This podcast came to my attention when they received a lot of notoriety after posting a previously unheard interview with Bill Hicks in 1992 conducted by Nick Doody, one of the hosts of the podcast. The Hicks interview is fascinating. Near the end Doody, a budding standup at the time, is invited to open for Hicks at an upcoming show. He’s clearly caught off guard and states that a prior commitment to perform in a play the same evening might prevent him from accepting the offer. Listen to the other podcasts as well.
Stop Podcasting Yourself. Only recently came across this podcast. The couple episodes I listened to were really good. In episode 107 Vancouver comedians Graham Clark and Dave Shumka are joined by guest Mike Thomas. The topic of crowd types comes up and Graham describes his experience opening up for Shane Koyczan, the slam poet who perplexed viewers around the globe at the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics. You remember, right? He’s like a hipster walrus with the mind of a hipster Maya Angelou. Anyway, slam poetry crowds are apparently a bit more civilized than stand up comedy crowds.
“It was people – all ages – that had come to see a show and acted like they were at a show. And, then, the following night, I was working at a regular kind of comedy club, and it’s, like I said, feet on the stage, people showing up so drunk that they’re cross-eyed…. This is people being turned away at the door because they’re too drunk to even get their tickets out of their pockets.”
WTF with Marc Maron. This podcast is one of the best. Maron’s known for his willingness to open himself up and this trait seems to rub off on his guests. Episode 60 is with writer/producer/actor/comedian Bob Odenkirk. He talks about his career and the years he spent putting shows together and preparing pitches for executives. It’s a good guide to navigating the perplexing and maddening system known as Hollywood. On being grounded, Odenkirk says:
“If you’re not lucky enough to die young and just get to be a flaming asshole, you know, life– life– you will be humbled, you will be humbled. Everybody gets humbled. Everybody! Or, if you don’t, then you’re really broken.”
Episode 65 with Eddie Pepitone was absolutely bliss. It follows Maron and Pepitone while on a weekend road gig to arizona. Since doing long boring weekend road gigs is my dream I thoroughly enjoyed the entire listen. Pepitone, whom I’ve heard several times on other podcasts is calm and relaxed, a welcome change from the only other version of him I’ve heard: onstage in front of an audience where he is a loud wild crazy man. In this he He and Maron record much of the podcast while driving. You feel like a fly on the windshield istening to two smart, thoughtful and interesting guys have a conversation.
Also check out Maron’s interview with Robin Williams. You get to hear the entertainer in rare form: conversing like a human being. Turns out when not in jester mode he’s a really interesting and compelling guy.