Why Podcasts Are Changing The Face of Comedy

Words by: J.W Denholm

Stand-up comedy has been around since the 18th century in one form or another and, with the exception of the microphone, technology has done very little to alter the way it is presented.

However, this is no longer the case, there is one piece of technology that is dramatically changing the face of comedy: the humble podcast.

Podcasts are a great medium for both comedians and their audience and here’s why:

It’s a conversation

Dave Anthony host of The Dollop Podcast put it like this:

“Because comedians can talk directly to the fans with no middle man, comedians can talk about what they want to talk about, and fans can get to know them better than thru any other medium. It’s the most empowering thing that has ever happened to comics.”

And I think he’s dead on. As a long time comedy podcast enthusiast I can say I know more about some of my favourite comedians than I do about people I work with, and it’s great.

The intimate, and somewhat still secret, nature of live podcasts events have also provided me with a great opportunity to meet some of my comedy heroes.

The Dollop’s Co-host Gareth Reynolds has also pointed out that the comedians you listen to on podcasts are “… as funny or funnier” than they are on stage.

It’s not breakfast radio

Breakfast radio has long been one of the few breakout opportunities for budding comedians. It provided them with a chance to really connect with their audience and gain a following – but podcasting is changing that too.

Justin Hamilton, Melbourne based comedian and host of the podcast Can You Take This Photo, Please? said on the topic: “It’s an opportunity to hear people have discussions without censorship, company policy or a song ruining an interesting moment”.

And it’s so true, with any luck the shallow 60 second conversations between songs will soon become a thing of the past. Audiences now want more in depth relationships with their entertainment, which leads me to my next point…

You get to hear what they really think

I mentioned earlier that I know more about my favourite comedians than most of my co-workers and I wasn’t exaggerating. Comedy genius and host of podcast FOFOP, Wil Anderson, put it this way: “Podcasts are the ultimate free speech. You can say whatever you want…’

And he would know, he has made the paper more than once for his podcast antics. Things like smoking weed live on Doug Benson’s Getting Doug With High is just one example of the kind of thing you would never get to see, or hear, in any other medium.

They are entertaining and they are free

If all of these things just aren’t enough to get you to listen to podcasts then this should do it: they are free and they are entertaining. Since I discovered podcasts three years ago there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t listened to them and it hasn’t cost me a cent.

With respect to their entertainment value Gareth Reynolds weighed in on that too:

“I’d say this about comedy podcasts: When you find one you like, you will probably love it quickly. I find with podcasts I love they make me not care about traffic. That’s fucking saying something”

As did Wil Anderson: “… did I mention they are free. Also, can I borrow $5?”

There has never been a better time to be a fan of stand-up comedy, if you do want to get into comedy podcasts, and I suggest you give it a shot, here are some podcasts I recommend starting with:

If you liked these words why not check out the author on twitter @jwdenholm? He is a comedian and writer, you might enjoy what he has to say.