Sunday, February 27, 2011

Are you a "comedy nerd?"

Much like Music Snobs there are a flock of people called Comedy Nerds.  While some people (like me) don't necessarily like being called Music Snobs, most Comedy Nerds are proud of the label.  Here are a few traits:
  • They know not only who tell the jokes, but also who writes them
  • They are interested in influences of comics
  • They are interested in "comic trees" (i.e. Writers of 1 specific show that have branched out)
  • They consume hour long comedy podcasts in massive quantities
There are more traits.  I can't exactly list them because I think I'm a Comedy Nerd in training.  It's become a new passion of mine.  How did this all get started?  For me at least?
I got into Kevin Pollak's Chat Show.  My obsession with KPCS has been documented.  That podcast (that flirted with a pay option, but is free again) really got me interested in the process of comedy.  I found the specific paths of comics extremely interesting whether it be from training at Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade or from hitting the road as a Stand Up.  Or, and this is a very legitimate theory, I just enjoy conversations that involve funny people.
Regardless, here are the comedy podcasts I listen to every week. (Note that every one, as of February 2011, is free to download from the iTunes Music Store):
  • Kevin Pollak's Chat Show: It's video.  It's also the most well produced and "professional looking" of all the podcasts I subscribe to.  It's Charlie Rose with humor and profanity.  Episodes usually run close to two hours each - posted weekly.
  • The Nerdist: The more established comic of the three is Chris Hardwick (the other two hosts are Jonah Ray & Matt Mira).  The show is much less interview-y and more conversational.  The easiest way to describe it would be to call it, "A conversation you wish would also involve you."  They are posting two episodes a week (one featuring a guest).
  • Comedy Death-Ray Radio: This is Scott Aukerman's podcast.  Knowing that name is a good litmus test of whether or not you are a comedy nerd.  The man was a writer on The Larry Sanders Show and Mr. Show.  I didn't know this, and it kept me from listening to this podcast for the longest time.  Mr. Aukerman has since formed Ear Wolf studios, which records many podcasts and runs a very popular stand up comedy show in LA by the same name.  The show is about 90 minutes every week, and is the closest of all these listed as an original radio program with recurring games and characters.
  • WTF with Marc Maron: Could me the most famous of the genre, or most well respected.  The best blend between "interview" and "conversation" you'll find in comedy podcasts.  It's also the most raw, unfiltered, talk you'll hear.
  • Sklarbro County: If you ever liked Cheap Seats from ESPN Classic's past - you need to listen to this show.  A lot of sports story-related  comedy, but also consistently has funny guests.
  • Doug Loves Movies:I'm listing this last only because I think it's the most difficult to explain.  A bunch of stand up comics tangentially talk about movies, play something called "the Leonard Maltin Game" and rif jokes throughout.

    Not listed is Jimmy Pardo's "Never Not Funny" and "Pod F. Tomkast" by Paul F. Tompkins.  I'm not saying that those two are not funny, but I'm not listing them in the above list only because I'm not currently subscribing to them...  But I know people that listen to, and enjoy, both of them.

    Long story short: if you're looking to fill 6-9 hours of your week listening to funny people - check these out.  I recommend scanning past episodes to pick a show featuring a guest you already know to start.


    1. Very surprised The Ricky Gervais show is not included, which is the most popular podcast in the world and also is comedy-based.

    2. You are totally right Anonymous!
      Sadly, the #1 reason I don't subscribe to Gervais is because I think (?) they are are no longer free.

      There's another podcast I just started listening to - called "Pop My Culture" but don't have a large enough sample to write a critique.

      Like I said, I'm kinda new to the comedy podcast world - but the Gervais omission is inexcuseable.

    3. It is absolutely hilarious. I'm sure you probably know, but audio track to the radio show is combined with cartoon animation to create the HBO Ricky Gervais show.

      One side-effect of listening to a few episodes of the show is that it makes one appreciate *another* TV show a little more, named Idiot Abroad, in which Ricky and Stephen Merchant (2 of the 3 "hosts" of the Ricky Gervais show) send their "average-Joe" dope of a friend Karl Pilkington (the 3rd "host" of the show) to travel the globe and see the Wonders of the World. Karl is very uncultured and is probably the British equivalent to a rednecked American. Anyway, at least check out the podcast, but if you can, watch the HBO show!