The Rise of the Comedy Podcast

Long, long ago (maybe eight months) my friend Adam introduced me to a great new way to while away the hours – the comedy podcast. Now, I find this new pastime racing up the ranks my geek hierarchy, nipping at the heels of such unassailable giants as videogames and cartoons. So, what the heck happened? I’ve never been much of a fan of talk radio, aside from a love/hate relationship with NPR during some long commutes. Moreover, I’ve really never been more than a casual fan of standup comedy. So… lately, it has struck me as kinda odd how much time I’ve been spending with standup comedians. And that’s the feeling. The podcasts that really draw me in feel more like having intimate talks with friends than hearing a performance. What I’m learning seems to be that some of the most irreverent people in show business can also be the most sincere, the most vulnerable, the most genuine. All of which, is a refreshing change of pace for the entertainment industry. best comedy podcast

Oh, also they’re hilarious.

For me, it all started with Never Not Funny, the Jimmy Pardo podcast. That was my gateway podcast. I listened to a few episodes with Adam, then I bought a few individual episodes, and before I knew it I was buying up back seasons. Now, I’ve listened to hundreds of episodes and every Monday morning I’m excited for new content. Never Not Funny is engaging on a lot of levels. Again, it’s hilarious, but it’s more than that. The show often veers toward the personal, especially towards the self-identified faults and insecurities of the host. What I’m learning is that some- maybe most -of the best comedy is born from a variety of personal issues. (Ok… maybe I already had some inkling of that.) There is some real artistry to finding the funny in all of this sincere introspection, but Jimmy Pardo and Matt Belknap (the producer and co-host) are real masters of coaxing the humor out of any topic. Plus, they’re just good company.

Some of my other favorites these days are WTF with Marc Maron, Paul F. Tompkins’ Pod F. Tomkast, and Walking the Room with Dave Anthony and Greg Behrendt. WTF is a little more introspective than silly. The Pod F. Tomkast is more silly than introspective. And Walking the Room… is often a little more manic than anything else.

Ah well, I guess I’m doomed to add comedy nerd to my other nerd credentials. Don’t worry other nerd-loves; there’s room in my heart for one more. On a related note, comedy podcasts and videogames are two great things that go great together. Try it. You’ll see.

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