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Podcasting has become a national phenomenon over the past few years with the innovation of reliable audio streaming services such as Stitcher and Podbean. The Infinite Dial study, done by Edison Research and Triton Digital, has revealed continued growth in the popularity of podcasts. Last year, it was discovered that 24% of Americans had listened to a podcast within the past month. According to the most recent study, the number of Americans 12+ years-old who have ever listened to a podcast has increased by 4% since the record last year at 40%. Whether you want news, comedy, or just a voice in your ear, the great wide world of podcasts probably has an option for you. Join me over the next few weeks as I explore some of the most important podcast feeds to date by genre. Today I’d like to spotlight comedy podcasts, and talk about two of the more influential shows.

Comedy

Everybody likes to laugh. Now, I understand some of us prefer comedy which makes use of facial expression and goofy physicality, but there is a discreet skill which comes along with making someone laugh simply with your voice. In a way, it removes the potential for schlocky prat and allows for a more complex style of comedy which requires a keen wit from the performer, and an acute awareness from the listener.

Comedy Bang! Bang!

(Source: BAM)

The forerunner of the long-form comedy podcast, Comedy Bang! Bang! is one of the reasons why listening to podcasts has become so prevalent. Aukerman, also the creator of cult-hit Mr. Show with Bob and David, introduced the first episode in 2009 after finding success as a stage show called Comedy Death-Ray at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Within the absurd and irreverent 1-2 hour format, Aukerman hosts a conversation with new and old comedians. The show casually switches between conversation, improv comedy, and live music. Part of its massive success is its sister television series on IFC produced by Aukerman from 2012 until it’s last episode in 2016, in which famous musicians (Weird Al, Reggie Watts, and Kid Cuddi) acted as bandleader sidekicks, creating a late-night talk show vibe.  The show has garnered huge attention world-wide and has been included in serval best podcast lists. Comedy Bang! Bang! Is produced by another Aukerman creation, and comedy podcast titan, Earwolf studios.

Harmontown

(Source: Harmontown)

Community creator and Rick and Morty writer and producer Dan Harmon lives in two worlds. He’s a talented writer and incredibly successful showrunner who experiences crippling self-doubt and refuses to struggle with alcoholism. Beginning in 2011 as a monthly stage show at the NerdMelt showroom in LA, Harmontown received its official podcast release in 2012. Since then, avid audiences have loyally followed along as Mayor Dan Harmon and Comptroller Jeff B. Davis hold live “town-hall” meetings. In these meetings Harmon discusses recent events in the headlines or in his own life and gives the citizens of Harmontown insights into comedy and television writing. Not only that, but when the show had a proper audience (spoiler!) Harmon developed long lasting relationships with the regulars, and even adopted one: Dungeon Master Spencer Critenden. A place for writers, performers, and outcasts Harmontown is a complex municipality of interactive discussion, drunken hijinks, and tabletop role-playing games. Part hilarious, part heart-breaking, but always real, come on down to Harmontown! Produced by Feral Audio.

Stay tuned for more podcast spotlights in the future!
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Gil Cruz

Gil is a writer, gamer, and student. When he isn't thinking about D&D, preparing for it, or playing it, he likes to watch movies and spend time with his cat, Mala. He'll seek his Master's in English at Fordham University in the Fall.

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