Monday, 6 September 2010

Comedy podcasts

In addition to the recommendation of the Russell Brand Show as listening material a few weeks ago, here are several other shows worth catching up with:

Peacock & Gamble podcast

This developed in the aftermath of the Ray Peacock podcast, in which the eponymous Peacock and fellow comedian Ed Gamble mocked former Eastenders actor Raji James in what was half classic comic stooge conceit and half sincere frustration.

What made the original show so rewarding were these moments that the loose setup was lost and we saw behind the curtain, hearing stories of incidents involving the three and occasionally leading to what felt like genuine disagreements.

The show eventually began to feel as if it had run its course, and its fate was sealed when some listeners began to stray beyond the comic 'bullying' in the podcast to simply abusing James through other virtual channels.

It still remains worth listening to though, and the collection can be found here:

The Peacock & Gamble podcast that launched in 2009 loses James and has a distinctly different feel, with more reliance on both riffing on each other's material and taking turns to play the straight man and the foil. It is very funny, with an interesting mix of the puerile, wacky, intelligent and knowing humour, and seems to be getting stronger with every episode. Download if just to hear Ed Gamble's explosive laugh:

Collings & Herrin

This podcast, originally intended to be a comic breakdown of the week's newspapers, was a slow-burner that began to pick up momentum as the two writers/comedians Andrew Collins and Richard Herring found their feet.

Collins initially played the straight character with Herring providing more of the comedy material through his increasingly outrageous suggestions and reactions. In more recent podcasts we have seen Collins develop his own style of comedy, and this has contributed to and culminated with his recent Edinburgh fringe stand-up show.

At the same festival, the podcast produced ten live shows which should be listened to solely for Herring's daily heckling of select members of the audience in increasingly imaginatively abusive ways, later put down as the work of his comic alter ego 'Herrin'.

It's a podcast that is perhaps not as immediately accessible as the Peacock & Gamble material, but rewards the listener for sticking with it through multiple episodes with moments that will suddenly have you laughing out loud.

In addition, the duo have a 6 Music radio show which has a distinctly different feel, as Herring is suddenly reigned in by broadcasting regulations, a comic tension that he relishes pushing to the limits of its acceptable boundaries.

Gervais, Merchant, Pilkington XFM
All of their more recent work is well-known, but the real joys can be found in the entire back-collection of four series-worth of radio material they presented back in the early 2000s. All of the stories later rehashed on the podcasts made their first outings here in what Gervais frequently refers to as 'the most shoddy radio show' every produced.

The live factor leaves no doubt as to Karl's real character, occasionally knife-edged studio tension and anger, as well as moments of hilarity.

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