The relentless schedule of the LA Podfest kept rolling yesterday with a full slate of shows starting at 10am with Dining with Doug and Karen. Saturday’s shows included The Indoor Kids, Stuff You Should Know, Giant Bombcast and The Dollop among a strong lineup of mostly comedy podcasts. I was able to attend four shows that had me laughing throughout the day.
Brothers Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy brought their self-described “advicecast for the modern era” to the Sofitel Hotel Saturday afternoon. Justin admittedly had some nerves early in the show, possibly because of the closeness of the audience and the fact that they were being streamed online, but he and the rest of the McElroys shook off any nerves pretty quickly as they got into answering advice questions pulled from listeners, Yahoo! Answers and the audience. Among the pressing issues addressed by the trio: apple picking advice for the elderly, where to hide your daily bushel of 30 bananas, and how to make nachos without waking your wife.
Jackie Kashian hosted fellow comedian Greg Proops on The Dork Forest, the podcast that delves into guests’ obsessive hobbies and interests. Proops talked about films from the 1970s, quickly demonstrating his depth of knowledge on the subject. Listening to Proops talk about movies from the ’70s was a bit like going to IMDB and following a rabbit trail of links for an hour. Proops listed dozens of movies from the era he admired, pulling names of directors, producers, actors and screenwriters from the depths of the movie database in his head. Kashian helped drive the bus, guiding Proops through movies and adding little nuggets along the way. Proops meanwhile, kept pushing on, peppering his movie discussions with quick impressions that ranged from Gregory Peck to Sylvester Stallone to Madeline Kahn. Needless to say, this one was absolutely enjoyable–a great show put on by two fantastically funny people.
Marc Maron stepped out of the garage and into the ballroom for an episode of WTF. Maron’s guests were rock radio legends Jim Ladd and Frazer Smith. Ladd and Smith talked about their time as DJs during early FM rock radio, telling stories from the glory days of FM radio that could rival those of the bands whose albums they played and discussing the decline of the medium through the consolidation of station owners. It was an interesting subject at a festival celebrating a relatively new audio medium that is arguably more accessible and open than its radio cousin, but that is going through some of the same growth and interest from established media companies radio once experienced.
I wrapped up my night by attending Paul F. Tompkins’ newest podcast, Spontaneanation, a fully-improvised comedy show performed by a rotating cast of improvisation masters. The show kicked off with an unintentional pratfall when Tompkins fell off the stage while trying to sit down. Seemingly unscathed, Tompkins laughed it off, returned to the stage and launched into his customary free-form monologue. Tompkins was then joined by his special guest for the night, comedian and actor Andy Daly. After a Q&A with Daly, Tompkins invited Spontaneanation regulars Janet Varney, Matt Gourley, and Craig Cackowski to join him and Daly in acting out a narrative based on his discussion with Daly. The improvisers were quick, their characters hilarious, and the story outlandish, mashing up bits of Saturday Night Fever and Greek mythology along the way to a thoroughly entertaining show.
We’re on the home stretch, and if the past two days are any indication, Sunday should find the Sofitel Hotel filled with laughter from morning to night. Sunday’s shows will include The Adventure Zone, Never Not Funny, The Todd Glass Show and Superego.