Podcast of the Week is finally escaping the public radio/news vortex to reach another formidable realm of podcasting: comedy. This week's recommendation is The Bugle.
I was delighted to learn about The Bugle last spring because I was very sad that John Oliver was leaving The Daily Show for his own show on HBO and because I still have not managed to persuade anyone I know to hand over their cable login info so I can get HBO Go. But it turns out that you can get Oliver -- for free! -- on this long running podcast (they just posted their 277th episode). It's a conversation with British comedian Andy Saltzman, of whom I had not previously heard but who it turns out is pretty funny in his own right. They just banter about current events, politics in the U.K. and the U.S. and whatever the hell they feel like. And it's funny. Take for instance, the most recent episode, which discusses daredevils from Nick Wallenda to some guy in Australia who decided to surf on a dead whale surrounded by sharks.
This is especially recommended for Anglophiles who want to get more British humor, especially topical/political humor (why they don't play more of the funny stuff on BBC America is beyond me -- I love Star Trek: The Next Generation and all but there are so many treasures in the BBC library!). Do you like Veep/In the Loop/The Thick of it? Ever seen an issue of Private Eye? Are you a Steve Coogan fan, especially in his brilliant Alan Partridge persona? Do you prefer the original Manchester-set "Shameless" to the well-meaning but pale-by-comparison American version on Showtime? Do you know what "taking the piss out of" means? Then this show is for you.
On a side note, it turns out you can get extended excerpts from Oliver's new show, Last Week Tonight, on YouTube and I highly recommend it. He does honest-to-God journalism in an engagingly funny way. Especially recommended: the piece on the Miss America pageant, the piece on drones and the season finale with the salmon gun. OK, that last one doesn't count as journalism but it is hilarious.
If you haven't listened to podcasts, you can do so on your smartphone (podcasting app on iPhones, Switcher on Android, on your computer via iTunes or Soundcloud, or at individual podcasts' websites.
- Open Culture has recommendations for "intelligent shows"
- This is an older piece, but relevant to today's post: "How Podcasts Conquered Comedy" from the New Yorker
- The Serial theme/Miley Cyrus mashup that is embarrassingly fun to listen to
- Radio about podcast! Sarah Koenig and Ira Glass discuss Serial on Brian Lehrer's show on WNYC, and specifically discuss why post one episode a week and not all of them at once like a Netflix series