Saturday, September 11, 2010

Top 10 Best Guests to Have on a Comedy Podcast

In no particular order here are the ten best guests I've heard on comedy or interview comedy podcasts ever and the guests I would do anything to get on my show if I had one. All of them have at least B list or above notoriety and each and every one of them will put your podcast on the top of the download chart. If you line up all ten of these in successive weeks, you may have to start hiring help just to deal with the clamour of advertisers wanting a piece of your time (literally). Remember, podcast community, this is just guests. I'm not saying anything about regular cast members on shows. That will come later when we have more regular cast members on shows (or at least more regular cast members on shows other than just David Feldman's Comedy Podcast (a very good show with a very good regular cast)).

 Adam Savage
Yeah, the mythbuster guy with the red (partially singed off) hair. This dude is funny. He's got a thousand stories. He's ratings gold and he will work hard to make the podcast great. Something that not all comics or celebs can or will do is work with the host. Most of the people on this list not only do it, they excel at working with the host, they go out of their way to help out. They (these top 10) are, as Adam is, gifted intellectually. They may argue that they are not (false modesty) but they, to a person, are razor sharp and lightning fast. They (and again I mean this of Adam and the others) appear to read the other people on stage with them very well. They pick up what's going on and immediately get on the same page. They also, and this is especially true of Adam Savage, can speak extemporaneously and at length on many subjects, make it funny, interesting and fill up some time. Adam Savage is a great "get".

Thomas Lennon
Best known as Lt. Dangle on Reno 9-1-1 (try not to call it Reno 9-11 in front of him), Lennon, has written and performed nearly everywhere, for nearly everybody and every studio. (Yeah, I'm exaggerating, but the guy has done shit tons of stuff). This is another guy that gets your premise, even if you just made it up, and can run with you at top speed to the end of the bit even if neither of you knows where it's going and he will make it funny. Lennon pops up on a number of podcast on the circuit in the same way that folks with movies coming out hit the talk show circuit. Lennon is comedically generous and will go to whatever extreme is necessary to help you flesh out your impromptu bit, supplying either new ideas to it or riding with you on yours. He seems fun to work with and from what I've heard on podcasts and read, he's willing to show up with not much warning. A guy who is this good and will bend a schedule to help you out is priceless.

Doug Benson
Some of the people on this list have podcasts of their own but that doesn't mean they can't guest somewhere else, now does it? Doug host the podcast fav "Doug Loves Movies" (reviewed in this bog previously) and is known as this generations pot comic by some. He's really more than that. He's funny, he's quick witted (even stoned) and he brings his A game to the mic every time. Also, Doug works all the time. He does road gigs several days a week. He does his own podcast at least once a week (unless he needs to can one for upcoming schedule conflicts. He does other podcasts fairly regularly. He does the Benson Interruption (a show that has been picked up by Comedy Central for sometime later this year) and he does TV and movies. If he didn't smoke as much pot as he does, it is entirely likely that Benson would just fill every spot at every Laugh Factory, Yuk Yuks and Comedy Store. But he's a great guest because he brings the funny. When he's not being funny he's reasonable and articulate and most of all, he knows what damage a bad guest can do and he'd never do that to you.

Jon Hamm
Yep, that Jon Hamm. Madmen Jon Hamm. Who new he was funny? Well, apparently everybody in the stand-up union because they all seemed to know him and no one was surprised when he started popping up on podcasts and killing . When I say killing I don't mean outright laugh your ass off and choke on your vomit killing but great "guest" killing. Guest killing is supportive, brings ratings, is entertaining, engaging, pleasant, personable, has stories worth telling.  Also, if you do a live podcast in front of people, you could do worse than to have one of the best looking men in Hollywood on your show. He's a veteran of many media; stage, Silver screen, small screen, computer screen, improve, etc. He can handle himself and he can lend a hand. He's nearly egoless and still thinks of himself as trying to make it so there isn't a lot you could throw at him that he wouldn't do because he had to protect his image.

Paul F. Tompkins
PFT is everybody's go to guest in the podiverse. He will show up early and stay late, help write the bits and probably take tickets at the door. Tompkins has been quietly building his following through electronic media for the better part of the last 20 years (he is often credited with being the first to use Twitter to fill a comedy club and his on line presence has consistently been, since before everybody else was doing it, the place to find him, his gigs and his peeps gigs. His community circle includes pretty much everybody in the business. He can open, he can middle and he can headline and I suspect that if you need him to deal with the lighting guy he can do that too. He recently started his own podcast (which is strange considering he's been first in so many other things) but that hasn't stopped him from becoming a regular on the podcast wheel. He would be, in 1970's terms, the center square on Hollywood Squares. He's always there, he's always plugged in and ready to go and he's always a good guest,.. count on it.

Craig Ferguson
Let me preface by saying I dig Craig Ferguson. I like his style, his attitude (or lack of an "attitude"), and I get his funny. He's also, such a big name now that getting him on your show puts you on the map is one move. If you can hang with him, you're pretty good. If you can't keep up, he'll help you and slow down. He won't step on your lines or bust your joke but that's to be expected from a pro. Better than all the other reasons, Ferguson is wild, a little crazy, a lot funny and just exactly the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with (if he still drank). Since he's a TV host, he can feel your pain as the host of your own podcast and he will bail you out of jail if you talk yourself into it. @Craigyferg, his twitter name, isn't cowed by taboo, can drop an F bomb with the best of them, but doesn't rely on foul language when funny ain't happening.  You want this guy on your podcast. You need this guy on your podcast.

Greg Proops
Universally recognized as the King of improv, Proops has headlined both the British and American versions of Whose Line is it Anyway, and worked in every improv club and with every improv troop in this country, most in Canada and many in England. You will not put him in a position where he can't box his way out of it and make it humorous. Some of the best comics are very smart and the best of the best improv folks have encyclopedic knowledge from which to draw and they do so with such speed that, regardless of funny, it is amazing to see in process. Good news for your fledgling podcast. If you get Proops, you'll be able to get most of the rest of the folks on this list simply because you can say, "Proops was on last week and he loved it, had a great time and the audience loved him."

Kevin Smith
Kevin has his own podcast. In fact, as of this writing, Kevin has his own near network. He's spun off 5 or 6 podcasts from Smodcast, including Tell'em Steve-Dave, Jay and Silent Bob get Old, Blow Hard with Malcolm Ingram, Hollywood Babble-On, Highlands: a Peep Hold History and God only knows what. There's also a whole line of online animations of smodcast snippets put to flash animation. In his spare time Kevin writes and directs movies, goes mobile with the smodcasts and appears on other people's podcasts.  Did I mention that he owns and runs his own theater (the SmodCastle) in (or near) Los Angeles. If anybody knows how to be on a podcast, it's Kev. The only one of his pods that hasn't been number one on iTunes is peephole and it got close. Though Smodcast proper was a little funnier before Kev started smoking so much dope, it is still 10 times more interesting than your average podcast.  All of the outside podcasts he appears on are all better for his being there. He will work hard to make it move and even if the funny is scatological, it is still funny.

Tom Arnold
Some people roll their eyes and moan when you mention Tom Arnold. They have an idea in their heads already about what his story is, what his style is, what, in fact, he is. (Kinda how I react to Todd Glass) But they're wrong. Here's how I know; Everybody would love to book Tom for their podcast and he's a go to guy on TV talk shows when other folks don't or won't show up. If that many people want him, book him and or try to book him, he's got something going on. Tom Arnold will quite literally give himself a heart attack trying to make his segment on your show fun, fast, entertaining and human. And, contrary to what somebody else might have told you, he doesn't do it at anybody else's expense. I've still never heard him say anything about his former wife Rosanne Barr that was negative that didn't also come with an explanation and a bag full of caveats that made her actions, words or position seem absolutely reasonable in the situation. Tom is an every man except he's funny. He's the guy you invite to the BBQ because it just wouldn't be as much fun without him. He might spill some shit, it might get noisy or messy from time to time and he might even take over your duties as the burger flipper, but you will have a good time and that,... is a great guest.

Kevin Pollak
Another guy with his own podcast and spinnoffs but who has made the rounds of the podcast circuit, Kevin Pollak is a seasoned pro stand up, actor, writer and director. He's "A" list and he's as deep as he is funny. As a bonus, if things start slowing down, he knows every old joke in the book and does flat out the best voice impressions in the business. (I want to see him in a Walken-off with Jay Mohr and Christopher Walken). If he's on your show, you won't have any dead air.

1 comment:

  1. This was well written. I didn't know there was this whole pod universe of things and people going on. Thanks.