All posts by KS

The 500 with Josh Adam Meyers

Music and Comedy have very similar purposes to society. Can you name a civilization in the history of the world that didn’t have a version of music or comedy? It is a universal constant throughout the history of the world. The 500 with Josh Adam Meyers combines the incredible world of music and comedy into an hour and a half of podcast gold.

This Spotify exclusive podcast counts down the top 500 albums according to Rolling Stone magazine but with a twist. The host Josh Adam Meyers, a hilarious comic, invites his funny friends and uses “facts from the albums and song meanings as a road map to interview each guest.” The guests are either already fans of the artist/ album they are talking about but you can really tell they did their homework before going into the studio to chat with Josh.

Comedians are also the most suitable people in the entertainment business to comment on such albums. The best of both music and comedy evoke deep emotion from their audience whether it is a song that makes you cry or a joke that makes you laugh (or in today’s society enraged), there is always a reaction. The journeys of a musician are so similar to comedians as well. It takes experience to become a respected musician and years of rejection (for the most part, at least the artists of the albums on The 500 list), which almost every comic has had to experience. There is not one comic that doesn’t have a story about them bombing or a bad show.

It is self-described as “The 500 is the first Music Album Book Club representing the next decade of his life’s work talking to creative about the greatest recorded music in history. The first episode is the last and the last episode is the first. This is the only podcast where you know when it will end, on May 31st, 2028.” You will want it to last forever but unfortunately there is an expiration date.

Josh has gotten great comedians! Every episode has something to offer but here are some notable episodes

  • White Stripes White Blood Cells with Bill Burr
  • BB King Live in Cook County Jail with Ryan Sickler
  • Elvis Costello Armed Forces with Dana Gould
  • Marvin Gaye Here, My Dear with Roy Wood Jr
  • Cyndi Lauper She’s So Unusual with Big Jay Oakerson
  • The Smiths (Self-titled) with Christina P
  • The Fugees The Score with Andrew Santino

For a full list of episodes click here! The podcast world is evolving and can sometimes feel like listing to the same story from the same people. The 500 stands out in the sea of interview podcast! Take a listen!

THe HoneyDew With Ryan Sickler

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt there was no escape? Have you ever experienced something that you didn’t think you could come back from? Do think about it now and realize that it only made you who you are today?  When you tell the story of it now, are you able to laugh at it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then The HoneyDew with Ryan Sickler is the perfect podcast for you.  Every Tuesdee, you can hear some of the best storytellers talk about some of their lowest points in life. Hear how they bounced back and are able to laugh at it now.

If you answered no to any of these questions then this is the perfect podcast for you too. Listening to Sickler and his guests talk about some of the darkest moments can provide some much needed therapy and perspective. As the tagline says, The HoneyDew is “Highlighting the Lowlights”. There hasn’t been a more concise and accurate motto ever.

The HoneyDew is only a year old but with 300+ episodes of CrabFeast, Sickler is a professional interviewer at this point. Having been in the game so long, he is able to bring the best storytellers in the entertainment landscape. Guests like Adam Ray talking about his childhood sheds light on Ray’s origin story to becoming a comic. You can “hear in the throat clear”.  Joey Diaz, who has more stories than anyone, talks about fighting a nun. Brad Williams virginity story is hilarious. Relive the stroytelling show Comedy Works had in January 2018 with Ari Shaffir by listening to Steve Simeone’s episode. It always goes deep but is able to remain playful and fun because Ryan Sickler’s ability to guide the conversation, his authenticity, and of course his laugh. This podcast is more than just your usually interview and people aren’t just going to promote things. Everyone seems excited to be there.

One of the most interesting things about this podcast is the format and what it will become in the future. The HoneyDew was made with the fans in mind. Not just to make a podcast that entertains fans but also to involve fans. Eventually, once the podcast becomes huge, which is just a matter of time; there is a chance you can be on it! Comedians aren’t the only people that have crazy stories and Sickle Cell knows that. He knows there are plenty of you out there with great stories and wants to provide an outlet in which fans can highlight their lowlights. With an ever-changing platform, fan involvement is just the next step in podcasting. Plus what better way to get through the hard times than to have Ryan Sickler’s laugh as constant reminder that it going to get better.

The Daily Beast’s Last Laugh

The Daily Beast’s Last Laugh is a podcast that has gotten some big names from the newer and older generation of comics. An interview podcast in which Matt Wilstein has conversations with “some of the biggest names in comedy—as well as the new voices crashing the party—about what it’s like to be a comedian in this current cultural and political moment.” The first episode was only released in late March of 2019 and they already have an impressive archive of comics. Starting with Sarah Silverman ranging to Mindy Kaling, Bill Burr, and Judd Apatow.

Podcasts can be long and sometimes hard to follow. The Last Laugh is structured into segments. It still flows well but there are scripted questions more like an actual interview, which makes it easier to keep the conversation to about an hour. Though this format is not for everyone, it does provide a change from the other comedy interview podcasts, like Joe Rogan Experience or Bertcast, which can last up to 3 hours.

Matt Wilstien dives into comedians’ works, specifically referencing a certain joke and asks the comic the process and feelings behind the joke. If you haven’t seen the special or heard the joke Wilstien plays the joke or bit in which they are talking about to give the listener context. Nick Kroll discussed Big Mouth and the upcoming spin off series Human Resources. Desus and Mero talk about the switch from Vice to Showtime. Bill Nye shows that he is more than just the science guy.

The podcast does speak to today’s cancel culture and how comedians are adapting to this new wave of “woke” comedy. From the interviews conducted on this podcast it seems that comedians like Bill Burr and Anthony Jeselnik are not going to be affected by the new culture. Comedy is the same as it has been…funny is funny.

Greg Giraldo: Good Day to Cross the River

Greg Giraldo, to some people, is considered an insult comic, just a roaster, but he was clever, dark, and relevant. A comic who provided more insight to current events, society and culture that was beyond his time. With the politically correct culture of today, wouldn’t it be great to hear what Giraldo would have to say? He was always working and pushing material that could offend but instead ended up shedding new light on a topic instead of preaching at an audience. The main goal was to be funny, but he was able to educate the audience to view things in a different way. Greg Giraldo was a Harvard educated lawyer that decided to leave that life for a comedian’s life. Good Day to Cross the River is an incredible album no matter where it would have been recorded but the venue and audience definitely helped. That venue was Comedy Works Downtown in Larimer Square and that audience was you!

Good Day to Cross the River was recorded in April 2006 and was released October 2006. This was Giraldo’s debut album and what a honor it was that he chose Comedy Works to record it. He opens with a pretty generic statement about Denver and where he is from in New York City. But of course Giraldo makes it his own in a matter of seconds winning the crowd over very quickly. He touches on religion, marriage, gay culture, and immigration.

Giraldo died on September 29th, 2010. It is sad that we will never hear any more new Giraldo comedy. He will be forever immortalized in this album and his sophomore album, Midlife Vices. This prolific comic was always the best on the Comedy Central Roasts. If you want to learn more about Greg Giraldo read his biography, Greg Giraldo: A Comedian’s Story by Matt Balaker and Wayne Jones. Best of all he has inspired a whole new generation of comics. Many comics today, especially coming out of New York right now, idolize Giraldo.

You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes

We are going to keep it weird this week. You Made It weird with Pete Holmes started out as Pete finding himself through talking to his friends. There have always been the 3 categories: Comedy, Sex, God. Which eventually became the title of Pete Holmes’ book that was released earlier this year. You Made it Weird started in 2011 and still has a strong following today. Listening to this over the years you are able to hear and enjoy Pete’s incredible journey both in his spiritual enlightenment and comedy evolution. This podcast propelled him to get his own show on TBS, spearheaded by Conan O’Brien; although short lived any weirdos that tuned in would see the fun inside jokes of the podcast on the screen. WASH MY DAMN TOWELS! HBO’s show Crashing felt like if the podcast were a show. You Made It Weird gave the fans of Pete Holmes to experience the real time development of Pete Holmes as a comic, person, father, and husband.

This comedy podcast started out with Pete interviewing his closest friends that consisted of his Chicago class of comics like Kyle Kinane, Kumail Nanjiani, and TJ Miller. It wasn’t long before Pete got the likes of Bill Burr, John Mulaney, and Hannibal Burress. All of which were long time friends of Pete as well.  Then there were some notably guests that are no longer with us like Harris Wittels and Brody Stevens. The list goes on and on. If you are interested in seeing the list of incredible guests click here to see the entire archive.

Do yourself a favor and listen to Bert Kreischer on You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes back in 2013. Before either of them were the household names like they are now. The giggling alone is worth the listen! At the end, they rewrite Ke$ha lyrics (starts at 153:10) and it is personally one of my favorite moments in podcast history. Also we can all agree that this is as classic as a Ke$ha song will ever get. Comics remain true to themselves no matter how the world around them or their thoughts have changed. You Made It Weird is the perfect example of just that. Always remember to KEEP IT CRISPY! Go forth and enjoy comedy!

Introduction to favorite podcasts

Podcasts changed the entertainment industry for better or for worse. In many ways, podcasting becoming a global phenomenon has propelled hard working comedians into the stratosphere. Some comedians have been doing comedy for 20 years and now can make it big on their own terms. The executives and gatekeepers are still there but do not carry as much clout as they once did. Not only are fans getting a weekly dose of their favorite people in entertainment, but also they can connect with the comics and sometimes have inside jokes or a secret language that only fans of the pod would understand. (FGTRTD for all those mommies out there).

For all the good that can come from comedian’s podcasts for fans and talent alike, there are downsides. A stand up set is a planned and deliberate telling of thoughts and ideas that are meant to evoke laughter.  Comics for the most part aren’t aiming to offend but to entertain unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t always work. Like bombing on stage, even the best of the best have off nights/days and say things that were funny in their head but when it was said aloud…it didn’t come out the exact way in which it was intended. Podcasts are, for the most part, friends sitting down with friends learning more about each other and breaking down the fourth wall to help the fans get a closer connection with their audience. Every word is recorded and aired without the ability to test the material beforehand so of course every 3 hour podcast that you listen to will not be squeaky clean and hilarious because just like everyone else, comics are human and say things they don’t mean or take something out of context. But if you want to be in this industry that is just a risk that you must be willing to take and fans couldn’t be happier that our favorite comics are willing to take that risk for our entertainment.

With all that being said, every Friday there will be a new blog about Comedy Works’ favorite podcasts. They could be new podcasts like 5 words with Sean Patton and Caitlin Cook, podcasts that have finished like Crabfeast with Jay Larson and Ryan Sickler, or shows that set the tone and landscape for the current podcast culture like Opie and Anthony. Check in next Friday to see which podcast will be the first of our favorites.

Who knows soon this may become a podcast about how great other podcasts are. There is a place for everything and everyone in the world of podcasting.

TOUGH CROWD WITH COLIN QUINN

Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn ran from 2002 to 2004. It was a breathe of fresh air in a politically charged society. It also started a format that is still used today in the podcast world. Colin Quinn was the host and would have a variety of topics that his 4 comic panelists would share witty and sometimes controversial opinions. With regular appearances from Nick Di Paolo, Greg Giraldo, Patrice O’Neal, and Jim Norton, the show from beginning to end was smart, clever and funny. Tough Crowd is probably best known for when Dennis Leary and Greg Giraldo got into a fight while taping. Never a dull moment, Tough Crowd is a great throwback to a time when funny was just funny. Watch the video of Di Paolo, Giraldo, Carlin and Norton on Tough Crowd. Though it is topic driven, it still remains relevant and speaks to the culture today. To see more episodes head to Youtube where most of the episode are available.

Andrew Schulz: Crowd Work Special

On August 26th, Netflix released Sticks and Stones from Dave Chappelle. This special was only announced a week prior to its release and of course got a bunch of publicity. That same day another special came out on Youtube. It was a completely spur of the moment set with no jokes planned. This was Andrew Schulz: Crowd Work Special. Over the past year Andrew Schulz has taken the comedy industry by storm. He went against the traditional route in waiting for the industry to notice him. A true DIY comedian, Andrew Schulz, has built a brand and has done so on his own terms with the help of his talented friends Alexx Media and Mark Gagnon. A month after its release Andrew Schulz’s Crowd Work Special is over 1 million views.

Andrew states “As a comic it’s my job to push the limits of my craft. Every special I do I want to push comedy forward into the next phase. I think we accomplished that here. I hope you feel the same way. ” This special did not disappoint. Andrew very much accomplished pushing comedy forward and will continue to do so.

Gary Gulman is back with an HBO SpeciAL

Gary Gulman has been a mentor and idol to many successful comics in the industry today. From #GulManTips on twitter to his openness and honesty on stage, Gary Gulman’s newest special is sure to be the best one yet. It has been 3 years since his last hour came out and a lot has happened over those years. After this special Gary will not only be an inspiration to comedians trying to make it in comedy but to the general public on how to deal with life and laugh in the face of depresh! Check out Gary’s newest special, The Great Depresh, October 5th on HBO.

Jeselnik without Apology

Anthony Jeselnik had a show years ago on Comedy Central called The Jeselnik Offensive. It was short lived and cancelled. Anthony Jeselnik has since gone on touring, being his unapologetic self, and recording a Netflix special. After his on going success, Comedy Central must have realized they made a huge mistake letting Anthony go. Jeselnik is back on Comedy Central with a new talk show that is raw, funny, and really answers the hard questions facing comedians today. Good Talk with Anthony Jeselnik premiered earlier this month and continues to bring a much needed raw and dark talk to the talk show landscape.