The Smartest Man in the World

by Sriram

As we have touched on in this space from time to time, comedy podcasting has started to become a more vital part of my commuting and listening rotation.  Indeed, like how now is the best time ever for television (providing you know where to look) – the lower barriers to entry have allowed comedians to find audiences with more efficiency than ever before.  Yeah, the podcasts themselves do not make a ton of money, but the exposure is invaluable.  It is the digital version of musicians giving away singles in promotions – maybe you’ll want to see them perform.  Indeed, as card carrying fans of Marc Maron’s podcast, we piggy-backed on it to see him do stand-up near our little hovel here, and he pointed out how new it is for people to come to a show to see him.

However, as a vehicle to promote his comedy – Greg Proops’ Smartest Man in the World podcast might be the one that does it the best.  While Dana Gould fashions a fairly produced program, and other podcasts rely on an interview, chat show type of format – Proops’ show is simplicity itself – he comes up before a live audience, and away he goes.  For a solid hour plus, he just talks – when in Dublin, he might talk about his last time performing in Ireland or going to a chipper that did not have chips.  You see the improv chops he showed on TV in his most famous incarnation – unlike his stand up set (which we saw), here there is a lot of crowd interaction, and a lot of just riffing on stuff, including current events and politics of today.  (put simply, he is no William Kristol, let’s just say) But politics is merely a component – no more a component than boinkable rock bands, how the band Rush became more boinkable due to Geddy Lee’s love of Negro League baseball, Caravaggio’s love of donkey phalluses in poetry, and hating on Phil Collins.  (for what its worth, Proops himself when he makes fun of songs sounds like a credible Elvis Costello impersonator).  Overall, this is the rawest of the podcasts I can think of – no guests, no other ballasts for the entertainment, but also no recycling of material and not just performing stand up.  If Maron is the best overall in the medium, Proops’ is simply the funniest.

 

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