Entries in doug benson (11)


The Earwolf Challenge Recap - Week 8: Using a Famous Guest

My apologies, Earwolf Challengers -- my schedule finally caught up with me last week and made posting a recap all but impossible. It had to happen eventually. Well, maybe it didn’t have to, but...it did.

However, I couldn’t let it go completely, because this was probably my favorite week of The Earwolf Challenge so far. What makes it so good?

Besser rants. Our host dedicates several minutes at the top of Monday’s show to explaining the difference between constructive criticism and asshole criticism. And it’s not exactly, um, calm and level-headed, which is what makes it so compelling. Besser’s forthrightness and raw honesty starts the week off with a bang.

I’ll admit, this great opening isn’t unmitigated. Besser and Producer Frank pose the question: “how can we make sure everyone gets the same wisdom from Besser every week during the coaching sessions?”…and then immediately dismiss it as unsolvable. How about the solution of adding a little off-air prep time with Besser? Prepping some “wisdom” for the contestants ahead of time? Too much to ask?

Interesting challenge. This may be the first week with a challenge that actually feels like something you’d see in an actual reality-show competition. The playing field is leveled; everyone has the same resources to work with and the same standards to meet. Plus, it’s specific. It’s not just “hey, go find a guest and do something with them,” or even “give us some original material.” It’s “here’s Nick Thune for an hour; come back with five minutes of material.”

Meet the Producer. Spending a little time with Producer Frank does a lot to counteract the impression I’ve gotten in previous weeks that Matt Besser sometimes barely tolerates his producers. It’s nice to see evidence of his interest in Frank.

Harrs Wittels *Photo by Megan BerruGuest Judges. Maybe it’s because I’m still riding high on Harris Wittels’ absurdly hilarious turn on last week’s Comedy Bang! Bang! (I listened to his episode with Adam Scott and Chelsea Peretti twice in a row), but something about him just being on the show really brings it up a notch for me. Of course, Wittels is more of a podcast regular than a podcast expert but it seems appropriate for this particular challenge. Besides, joining him is Doug Benson of Doug Loves Movies, who qualifies as something of an authority. Between the two of them, they contributed a good mix of humor and insight.

Doug BensonReal tension. It’s getting down to the wire now, with only four competitors still in the running (as of Week 8, anyway). Everyone turns in a competent submission, even if some are more competent than others. By Wednesday, it really feels like it could be curtains for either Totally Laime or The Bob and Dan Cast. In the past, the week’s last-place finisher has been pretty easy to pick out. This week it really seemed like it could go either way.

I happen to think it went the right way, incidentally. Both Totally Laime and Bob and Dan revealed that they’d lost sight of the goal of the challenge and possibly the contest as a whole. Elizabeth and Andy make the mistake of thinking “knowing your audience” means “play to the judges.” Worse, though, Bob and Dan refer to themselves as a couple “nobodies on the Internet,” revealing pretty conclusively that they’re just not ready for what Earwolf’s offering. I like those guys, but they need a hook.

A good lesson. Just about every week’s challenge is rife with subtext, but everyone seemed to miss this one. For example, when the judges tell Left Handed Radio their submission is so Nick Thune-centric that it didn’t give a good impression of who the hosts are, they answer back with “But the challenge was ‘Using the Guest’!” Yes, but it’s not “Using the Guest to Showcase the Guest.” It’s really “Using the Guest to Make Your Podcast Compelling.” It’s a fine line, maybe, but an important one. And, certainly a contributing factor to Bob and Dan’s downfall.

Now that we’re down to the final three, I’m psyched to find out how it’s all going to wrap up. All three of the remaining competitors have been the front runner at some point (that The Little Dum Dum Club has never been in the Bottom 3 is really pretty remarkable). I can really see any one of them coming out the winner.

Before we get to that, though, I’ll have to get to it and give Bob and Dan a proper listen. That’s right -- I’m literally going to hear them later. On to Week 9!


Doug Benson Releases Potty Mouth

Our website muse and comedy podcast leader, Doug Benson, released his new ablum this week. Expand the Doug Benson comedy in your life by picking up Potty Mouth.

Expect more laid-back, witty humor and maybe a few extra dirty words from the stand-up album. Plus, no casino is taking bets on the number of stoner jokes recorded.


New To Plop List: The Benson Interruption

Doug Benson is at it again with his latest podcasting endeavor: The Benson Interruption. Originally a live stage show, the podcast proclaims to follow its title: Benson interrupting his friends’ stand-up routines. However, the show typically plays out as conversational riffing between comics. The show is usually recorded in front of a live audience at The Largo in Los Angeles, giving a familial backdrop to the banter. There’s a wide range of comedic topics - from “use of the word cunt in films” to “Nicki Minajs’ fake ass” - all within a single episode. Thus, proving no topics are off limits. Ultimately, Benson is almost too polite to actually interrupt once his guests are on a roll. Although, when the interruptions really start coming, it’s always funny and purposeful, making the show less awkward than the title suggests. Also, included for the price of your admission are a few “tweet-offs,” and who doesn’t like those.

The show also had a short-lived Comedy Central television version this past year. Benson also continues to release weekly episodes of his popular Doug Loves Movies.

The Benson Interruption episodes plop semi-regularly and are available for download at AST Records or in the iTunes album section. 


The AV Club: Podmass June 30-July 6

The AV Club released another collection of their favorite podcast episodes for the week via their Podmass post. As usual, comedy reigns supreme, with many of the recognized shows coming from the comedy side of things. The AV Club writers tend to give weight to the bigger show names (Doug Benson, Earwolf and Marc Maron). It's still all relatively undiscovered at this point. And, these longer running big name shows are doing the heavy digital lifting, bringing polished quality episodes to fans on a consistent basis. No need to hate on that. The comedy highlights include:

The Apple Sisters #6: Independence Day - featuring Jason Ritter
The Best Show On WFMU
Comedy Bang! Bang! #111: Hi, How Are You? - featuring Harris Wittels, Brett Gelman, David Guy Levy
Doug Loves Movies - featuring Tom Lennon, Ben Garant, Samm Levine
How Was Your Week? #17: “Cat Bride” - featuring Michael Rapaport, Larry Murphy
Sklarbro Country #49: The Sprint Panda - featuring Brian Unger, Ugly Duckling
WTF with Marc Maron #188 - featuring Christopher Titus
WTF with Marc Maron #189 - featuring Nick Thune

Check-out the full Podmass recaps here.



Splitsider Top 5 Comedy Podcasts: July 7


Jesse Fox and Joe Berkowitz, Splitsider's intrepid digital comedy reporters, released another strong Top 5 Comedy Podcast list. The heavy hitters won the day, or week, this time around. At the start of the month, The Pod F. Tompkast and Superego plop new episodes - it's pretty much a make-shift comedy combo available on the 1st of the month. Tough luck for other shows releasing episodes early in the month. Good luck for comedy fans, however.

Comedy Bang! Bang! #112 - featuring “Weird” Al Yankovic, Paul F. Tompkins
Pod F. Tompkast #12: Live - featuring Jen Kirkman, Judy Greer
The Smartest Man In The World:  Dogs
Superego #3:5 - featuring John Hodgman, Andy Daly, Erinn Hayes, Julie Klausner, Paul F. Tompkins
WTF with Marc Maron #188 & 189 - featuring Christopher Titus & Nick Thune

The not-quite-Top-5-worthy mentions are Doug Loves Movies (featuring Tom Lennon, Ben Garant and Samm Levine) and a bonus Comedy Bang! Bang! #111 (featuring Harris Wittels, David Guy Levy and Brett Gelman).

Check-out the full Splitsider Top 5 Show recap here.


Podcasts Take Center Stage In Bumbershoot Comedy Lineup

Doug Benson and Scott Aukerman are bringing comedy podcasts to the center of Bumbershoot, the popular Seattle music and arts festival. Bumbershoot released its 2011 comedy lineup this week. Live recordings of Doug Loves Movies and Comedy Bang! Bang! (co-hosted by Paul F. Tompkins) will be headlining shows at the festival this year. Quite a feat for the supposedly sideshow podcast wonders. Other performer highlights include Eugene Mirman, Anthony Jeselnik, Rory Scovel, Kurt Metzger, Hari Kondabalu and The Gregory Brothers.

The Seattle Times has a solid recap of the lineup. Stop Podcasting Yourself will also be making an appearance, adding to the comedy podcast fun for festival goers. Northwest comedy and comedy podcast fans will have a full weekend of quality shows this September.


The AV Club: Podmass June 16-22

The AV Club released their weekly Podmass recap of their favorite digital comedy shows from the week. Pop Culture and silliness seemed to reign supreme. Plus, another strong showing from the Earwolf team with Apple Sisters, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Sklarbro Country receiving nods. The AV Club recaps include these highlighted comedy shows:

The Apple Sisters #4 "Opposite Day"
The Best Show On WFMU
Comedy Bang Bang #109: featuring Andy Samberg, Adam Pally
Doug Loves Movies: featuring Bill Simmons, Jon Hamm & Adam Scott
How Was Your Week With Julie Klausner #15 “What’s This? It’s the Style”: Ira Glass & Anaheed Alani
Nerdist #100: Simon Pegg
Sklarbro Country #47 "Buddhist Retreat": Jordan Rubin, Chris Cox
WTF With Marc Maron #185: Joel McHale, BJ Novak, Dwayne Perkins, Allan Havey, Jim Earl & Eddie Pepitone

Click here to bask in the full podcast recap glory of the Podmass.



Possible T.J. Miller Podcast On The Horizon

Photo by Susan Moss - www.susanmossphotography.comOne of comedy's current favorite sons, T.J. Miller, received a nice write-up by Deborah Vankin and The Los Angeles Times today. The article does a great job capturing the rad Miller combo of goofiness and intelligence in his approach to his numerous comedic pursuits - acting, stand-up and much more. Part of that "more" for Miller may include a regular podcast all his own. The article mentions Miller's plans for a podcast in the near future, along with his pending rap comedy album release. Check-out the full article here.

Until the world receives a T.J. Miller-hosted podcast, comedy and podcast fans should always take note when Miller makes an appearance on Doug Loves Movies. His frequent appearances on the part movie talk part trivia game show, hosted by his friend, Doug Benson, are typically some of the best and comedy happenings - podcast and beyond. Benson and Miller share a great familiarity with each other and often purposefully go after each other during the shows. Few guests can fluster Benson the way Miller does on Doug Loves Movies. It's always a treat. It's a pretty safe bet, Miller will be able to capture that obnoxious comedic spirit whenever his own show takes shape.

Miller is finding a semi-permanent home for his live comedy in Los Angeles with the creation of his new monthly variety show at the critically acclaimed Largo Theater in Los Angeles. The show debuts this Sunday (June 5th).


Doug Benson Keeps It Coming

Fans of podcast leader and "plop" originator, Doug Benson, will continue to get more of what they love. Benson's defacto online home and record label, A Special Thing, announced yesterday a slew of new Benson programming available via their record store.

Benson's popular weekly show, Doug Loves Movies, remains free and available for download at the usual spots. This year, Benson started recording bonus "road" episodes of the show, recorded at various venues nationwide. Again, these bonus episodes are available for purchase at AST Records and the iTunes store (under the Doug Benson album category). Season 2 of Doug Loves Movies is available for purchase in archive form via AST Records. This great Doug Loves Movies collection of 51 episodes of one of the tightest and most consistently funny shows around, dates back to 2008 and features numerous great guest appearances from stars from film, television and comedy.

On top of the ongoing Doug Loves Movies extravaganza, Benson is a few months deep into his second audio adventure - a monthly podcast edition of his popular live show, The Benson Interruption. The show consists of Benson interrupting guest stand-ups during the sets. It's a simple format with surprising comedic results. Comedy Central aired a late-night televised version of the show this past Fall, as well. These episodes plop monthly and are available for sale, again, at AST Records and iTunes (the album section). The episodes run over an hour and play like a great one-of-a-kind monthly comedy album - with multiple great comedians.

Editor's note: The Benson Interruption will be coming to The Plop List directory soon.

It's great to see Benson and AST continue to find ways to push quality comedy to fans. They continue to demonstrate their willingness to lead in podcast content and distribution.

You can check-out the full Benson archives at AST Records and iTunes.


The AV Club: Podmass May 12-18

The A.V. Club released their weekly Podmass recap, highlighting their favorite shows and moments from podcasts of all types. Once again, the comedy shows occupy much of the mindscape of the A.V. Club writers. The A.V. Club highlights the latest great episode of the joyful Doug Loves Movies. Benson’s latest episode featured Paul F. Tompkins, Jen Kirkman and Tony Thaxton (drummer for Motion City Soundtrack) battling wits in the playfully over-hyped kick-off for the Leonard Maltin Game Tournament Of Championships.

Another mention from the A.V. Club writers goes out to How Did This Get Made? for their Adam Pally-guested episode discussing the ridiculousness of Mac & Me. Hosts Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukous enjoy some classic rants on the films' numerous proposterous set pieces.

Another highlighted show was the friendly and thoughtful visit from Demetri Martin to Randy and Jason Sklar's Sklarbro Country. The episode also featured music from Army Navy and some great inpersonation work from the uber talented James Adomian.

Marc Maron earned gold A.V. Club stars for his engaging interview with George Carlin's partner, Sally Wade on WTF with Marc Maron. They discuss Carlin's life, career and Wade's recently released book, The George Carlin Letters: The Permanent Courtship Of Sally Wade.

Check-out the full Podmass post here.