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HUMOUR SPECIAL

Have you heard this podcast?

Amrita V Nair | Updated on July 31, 2020 Published on July 30, 2020

Looking for laughs: Attention Hell Mart Shoppers!is an audio drama that recounts the escapades of the employees of a hypermarket located over the buried gates of hell - istock.com   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

Six podcasts that produce comedy gold with their tight scripts and talented hosts

Even though the art of the comedy podcast is a difficult one, it is one of the most popular genres in podcasting. In the absence of visual cues, integral to most forms of comedy, it takes talented hosts, exceptional scripting and some fine voice acting to make the punch lines land.

Here are six podcasts that get all these elements right to produce comedy gold.

King Falls AM

Released bimonthly and produced by the Make Believe Picture Company, King Falls AM is an audio drama podcast presented in the form of a late-night talk radio show in the fictional mountain town of King Falls. King Falls is a place where a lot of bizarre paranormal things happen and the podcast’s protagonists, radio jockey Sammy Steven and his show’s producer Ben Arnold, field calls about these events and other happenings in town. Each episode recounts the everyday goings-on in town and features a host of endearing side characters. Additionally, there are also story arcs that span multiple episodes. With a tight script and excellent audio production, the podcast is a favourite among listeners across the world. Listen at kingfallsam.com

Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!

Presented by writer and radio host Peter Sagal, Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me! is an American radio programme that has been in production since 1998. Released weekly, the podcast is a unique hybrid between a panel discussion and a game show. Each episode features a panel that includes a guest (often a celebrity) and comedians chosen from the show’s rotating roster of panellists. Sagal then asks them various questions based on the week’s news stories, resulting in hilarious discussions about current events. This is a great way to catch up with what’s happening around the world while also having a good laugh. Listen at www.npr.org/podcasts/344098539/ wait-wait-don-t-tell-me

The Bugle

Another podcast drawing inspiration from current events each week is The Bugle. Hosted by comedian and writer Andy Zaltzman, the podcast describes itself as “an audio newspaper for a visual world”. Created in 2007 by Zaltzman alongside comedian John Oliver, The Bugle is one of the best works of contemporary satire out there today. Zaltzman’s biting wit and signature style, which extensively features puns and other wordplay, will have you in stitches. He is often joined by comedians from across the world including Indian comics such as Aditi Mittal and Anuvab Pal. Together, they provide hilarious and insightful takes on the world around us. Listen at thebuglepodcast.com

Attention Hell Mart Shoppers!

Horror comedy is a unique genre and one that is quite difficult to pull of successfully. Walking the line between spooky and hilarious is tough but no other podcast does it better than Attention Hell Mart Shoppers!, which is an audio drama that recounts the escapades of the employees of a hypermarket located over the buried gates of hell. With excellent voice acting, an imaginative setting, and plenty of silliness, the podcast is truly delightful. Listen at attentionhellmartshoppers.com

Off Menu

There are so many interview-style comedy podcasts out there that it’s difficult to pick just one. What sets Off Menu apart is its quirky premise — in each episode, comedians James Acaster and Ed Gamble interview a celebrity guest about their ideal meal. Our food habits and dining preferences are often intimately tied to our personal histories. Consequently, these conversations, where the guests choose a favourite starter, main course, side dish, dessert, and drink for a meal at the Off Menu fantasy restaurant are filled with hilarious observations and heart-warming anecdotes. In a recent episode Romesh Ranganathan talks about his love for the Sri Lankan food made by his mother and makes an impassioned plea for papadoms as street food. The podcast, launched in December 2018, has won numerous awards and is one of the most feel-good podcasts out there today. Listen at offmenupodcast.co.uk

You’re Dead to Me

History is not everyone’s cup of tea. BBC’s You’re Dead to Me is one of the few resources out there that can convince even those who hate the subject to think otherwise. According to host and public historian Greg Jenner, the podcast is for “people who don’t like history... or at least people who forgot to learn any at school”. Each episode brings together a specialist historian and a comedian to discuss historical figures or events. The podcast has discussed an exceptionally wide range of topics — ranging from the history of chocolate to the horrors of the European Witch Craze. If you would like to glean some truly fascinating facts about our past while having a good laugh, this is the podcast to turn to. Listen at https://bbc.in/3g7iOJD

Amrita V Nair is a freelance writer, public policy specialist and podcast enthusiast

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Published on July 30, 2020
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