mon 04/03/2024

Comedy podcasts round-up 4: plus a vodcast and some retro audio | reviews, news & interviews

Comedy podcasts round-up 4: plus a vodcast and some retro audio

Comedy podcasts round-up 4: plus a vodcast and some retro audio

Anniversary release for Fawlty Towers vinyl

From left: Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, John Cleese and Connie BoothBBC

Fawlty Towers: For the Record

A special, limited-edition vinyl release of the entire comedy series written by John Cleese and Connie Booth to celebrate the BBC sitcom's 40th anniversary. The 12 episodes offer a masterclass in comedy writing and performance – even if they now come with a trigger warning, that some of humour is “of its time”. Much of the special linking narration for the six white vinyl LPs – by hapless waiter Manuel (Andrew Sachs) – is unique to the vinyl version and hasn’t been available since the original pressings. As well as Cleese appearing as harassed hotelier Basil Fawlty, Prunella Scales as his wife, Sybil, Booth as their maid Polly and Andrew Sachs as waiter Manuel, it's nice to be reminded of some cracking guest performances, among them Bernard Cribbins, Joan Sanderson, Geoffrey Palmer, Nicky Henson and Una Stubbs.

Demon Music Group


Ed Venturing

Not a podcast, but a vodcast, this is an interesting project by Ed Byrne who, when he's not standing up telling jokes (or sitting down telling them on panel shows) likes nothing more than to get up on his hind legs and climb mountains. Here, he combines his work and play by inviting various comedy pals – including Rhod Gilbert and Stuart Maconie – to accompany him on a socially distanced walk in their locality (Pembrokeshire and the Lake District respectively with the afore-mentioned), as they chat about their careers, the beautiful scenery and whatever else comes into their heads. A lot of fun, and a format that throws up some unexpected delights and reminiscences.



Spit or Swallow

Really not as rude as it sounds as good-value celebrity guests – including Jimmy Carr, Christopher Biggins and Ayesha Hazarika – join comedians Lou Conran and Sally-Anne Hayward for a chat over a drink of the guest's choice. Secrets and stories, often very funny and revealing, are shared and some disgusting drinks offered – a supermarket's cheap own-brand version of Bailey's, anyone? And then – to justify the title – Lou and Sally decide whether their guest's favourite tipple is good enough to swallow or bad enough to spit.



Richard and Greta

Shenoah Allen (one half of sketch duo Pajama Men) and ventriloquist Nina Conti appear in this tremendous spoof as Richard and Greta, two wacky but unqualified New Age-y Canadians, who dispense dreadful relationships advice – “How to get the most, or too much, out of your partner” – and handling your emotions. They pontificate on diverse subjects including polyamory, “blowing boners” and how we can be more Roman – “having a group shit”. Or even whether you should buy a cat. And to add to the fun, if you listen closely you'll hear some strangulated vowels and sharp edits – the moments when Allen and Conti are about to descend into giggles.



Mayim Bialik's Breakdown

Mayim Bialik played scientist Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory from 2010-2019, but before that the former child actor had taken time out from her acting career to gain a PhD in neuroscience. Here those two fields are merged in a quirky and fact-packed podcast aimed at breaking down the myths about mental health and emotional well-being. Bialik combines her academic background with personal experience to give practical advice. Her intelligence and empathy – and that of her expert guests - power through, but there are laughs to be had too as Bialik seeks to explain often complex theories in relatable language.


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