Comedy I can jog to. Should I decide to jog.
July 12, 2008 10:20 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find good radio comedy, sitcoms and sketch shows in particular. Podcast suggestions are kosher.

I have a wild notion that someday I should try to write a comedy podcast/radio program. I'd like to establish a little collection of successful examples of the form. I don't want to immitate, I just want to get a feel for the possibilities/limitations/conventions/etc as they currently exist. I'd like to stick to relatively modern (say, post 1980) shows and to stay the hell away from A Prairie Home Companion.

Plumbing the askme depths came up with a couple helpful comments from YoungAmerican (and I subscribed to his podcast). Though I like many of them, I'm not interested in stand-up, panel shows, or Daily Show/Colbert-esque programs for the purpose of this question.
posted by the christopher hundreds to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And for what it's worth, I've listened to the Hitchhikers Guide radio show many times and have already secured The Flight of the Concords, Mighty Boosh, and Little Britain radio series.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 10:26 PM on July 12, 2008

Stephen Fry, all the way. Young American also nailed it by suggesting NEVER NOT FUNNY.

I've listened to the Stephen Fry podcasts over and over. It's not fall down funny but his off the cuff remarks are hilarious.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:29 PM on July 12, 2008

I like You Look Nice Today. Basically three funny guys talking about whatever seems to come up. Maybe not what you're looking for, but I like it.
posted by MadamM at 10:32 PM on July 12, 2008

I'm listening to Absolute Power from here.
posted by Gyan at 10:42 PM on July 12, 2008

Best answer: I was just coming to mention the Boosh and Little Britain! Definitely seconding Stephen Fry, and I'll add David Mitchell and Robert Webb (of Peep Show, etc.)'s That Mitchell and Webb Sound. I'm not 100% sure if there are other Mitchell & Webb radio shows. If you like Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington.. here's a question about the podcast, and there's also Pilkipedia (a link directly to the XFM shows - click on which series you want for downloads). Oh! For Stephen Fry, I enjoyed his show, Saturday Night Fry, which was chock full of his friends, including Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, and Jim Broadbent.

Also, are you interested in classic (American) humorous old time radio (OTR) shows? is a good starting place for that, but there are LOADS of sites that have old radio shows. Okay, you're probably not interested, but everything in the first paragraph is post 1980.
posted by Mael Oui at 10:47 PM on July 12, 2008 [3 favorites]

Well ">BBC Radio 4's comedy page is the standard source: A current favorite of mine is Cabin Pressure.
posted by w0mbat at 11:01 PM on July 12, 2008

The Best Show on WFMU sets the gold standard for modern long-form radio comedy.
posted by bunnytricks at 11:35 PM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Bugle.
posted by Dan Brilliant at 1:23 AM on July 13, 2008

Chris Morris's ambient/surreal/taboo-busting radio sketch show Blue Jam is available on CD. And he was also involved in On The Hour, a surreal parody of radio news.
posted by beniamino at 1:46 AM on July 13, 2008

Someone finally put together an index for the Best Show segments.
posted by bunnytricks at 3:05 AM on July 13, 2008

w0mbat's Radio 4 link is good. You can find more on the BBC iPlayer (which opens when you click any of the links on the Radio 4 page) and filtering by comedy (this gives you a view of all the comedy on BBC radio that week that you can listen to to).

Armando Iannuci has been involved in a number of ground breaking radio shows (ie worked as producer on On The Hour mentioned above and Alan Partridge). Anything that involves him is worth a listen.

99p Challenge back catalogue can be listened to here.
posted by Gratishades at 3:31 AM on July 13, 2008

See if you can rustle up some old recordings of I'm Sorry I haven't a clue (currently getting some air time on real audio).
posted by singingfish at 6:18 AM on July 13, 2008

In the old days you had comedy for comedy's sake: the Bickersons (not to be missed), Bob Newhart, Jack Benny, on and on. For the most part there was not much of a set-up, just straight comedy. Now it seems you have more often have some sort of an excuse folded in the act, ala Click and Clack, at least here in the States. WFMU is a bit of an exception with several comedy/music bits. One of my favorites from there was Professor Dumb Dumb exploring social class and power structure through nursery rhymes such as Humpty Dumpty. I wish I could get my hands on a copy of that. I practically had to pull the car over I was laughing so hard.
posted by caddis at 6:23 AM on July 13, 2008

Talking and Not Talking (R4, as suggested by bunnytricks)
posted by edd at 7:14 AM on July 13, 2008

Although most of their titles are more like outlandish drama with strong comedic accents, there is a wealth of stuff to be found at ZBS Media, including podcasts and (of interest to some but somewhat hard to find) apparently the only place where old Firesign Theater titles can be purchased on CD.
posted by yclipse at 7:25 AM on July 13, 2008

I used to listen to "Adventures In Odyssey" when I was younger. It's got biblical themes and values, but it's also full of comedy, drama and mystery and has been running for 20 years, so if you're looking for good examples of the form, then it might just have what you're looking for.

You can listen online or find episodes at iTunes Store.
posted by sambosambo at 7:35 AM on July 13, 2008

Give Adam and Joe a listen. You can download a weekly podcast of their BBC 6music show, and some of their older ones from XFM.
posted by jonty at 7:35 AM on July 13, 2008

Phil Hendrie has a pretty funny radio show, IMO. His current incarnation is about 50/50 news commentary/comedy bits, but even the news delivery is usually pretty entertaining. He's on overnight, so I usually download mp3s from
posted by pmann at 7:45 AM on July 13, 2008

I second the Best Show on WFMU. And not just because my voice is in the intro montage. It is a spectacular program, they have a complete archive online, and a podcast
posted by Ponderance at 7:45 AM on July 13, 2008

Best answer: I see a lot of suggests (like NNF or TBSOWFMU) which are awesome but not really what you're asking for.

Saturday Night Fry comes to mind as a possibility. It was a radio sketch show featuring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie (and Emma Thompson). If you've seen my other suggestions, then Will Franken's show, Things We Did Before Reality was probably in there, and Kasper Hauser are another great sketch group with a mostly audio podcast (I produce this show).

There are lots of UK series, but they're generally available in the US only through illegal means... I know Mitchell & Webb did a radio sketch series called That Mitchell & Webb Sound, for example. It's pretty common in the UK to develop TV shows on radio.

Staying away from APHC should be no problem, since you're looking for comedy programs.
posted by YoungAmerican at 8:31 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't link to The Ben & Joey Show (I'm Joey) if I didn't think it was called for!
posted by subclub at 8:42 AM on July 13, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions. Maybe I'll blog my way through them all...
posted by the christopher hundreds at 10:25 AM on July 13, 2008

I download Howard Stern a few times a week. The guy has a knack for making anyone he speaks with more interesting than they actually are.
posted by HotPatatta at 10:54 AM on July 13, 2008

The Bugle, definitely, but it definitely falls into the Daily Show category, as it's news-based and features that program's John Oliver. Still, highly recommended.

Sitcoms? The audio of Blackadder is actually surprisingly good. (One might assume a heavy reliance on sight gags, but not so!) I believe BBC Radio released it on CD, although I hear it's also available via other means.

If you're willing to venture into the medium of Comedy Album, Norm MacDonald's Ridiculous is all sketch-based. It's mostly quite tasteless, but a couple of the sketches are gold. There are also plenty of Monty Python audio sketches on their numerous albums, and so on. All of these are probably available via iTunes.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:10 AM on July 13, 2008

If you're not easily offended:
Opie & Anthony, Adam Carolla, Red Bar Radio.
posted by lunchbox at 11:31 AM on July 13, 2008

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