Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'll See Your "Jordan Jesse Go" and Raise You: The Bugle

For a while I was limiting my comedy podcasts to bootleg RSS feeds of the CBC's Wiretap --Jonathan Goldstein's weekly offering which lands somewhere between a solo sitcom and a Larry David-inflected version of NPR's This American Life.

But while it was funny, it was an acquired taste. Like David Sedaris' work, you had to get used to the voice, and then the mind behind the voice, and over time, as you got to understand Goldstein's quirks and the regular foibles of his co-stars, the humor built up occasionally into laugh out loud moments.

Then the feed stopped. Don't know why.

Then, a chance bit of Facebook trivia ("Brett S. has joined the group The Bugle- Audio Newspaper for a visual world") led me to follow the link to, of all places, the The Times Online, the web site for one of the United Kingdom's national newspaper.

The Bugle has British comedy writers John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman dissect the news of the week. They've been compared to The Onion, but fake news is a mere 5-10% of their show. They comment on the news-- it's more like The Daily Show (Oliver, is, in fact, a writer and correspondent for that show).

The two hosts also play off each other, like the Car Talk guys, but, I have to say, English accents work way better for this shtick than Boston ones.

With Zaltzman based in London, and Oliver in New York, they tend to cover world affairs... and it's surprising how many laughs they can generate over political violence in Zimbabwe, the war in Iraq, the global response to climate change (true, much of the humor is at the expense of the United States). The international perspective on American politics is nice to hear, and they even make British sports (rugby, cricket, football) funny knowing that their American audience has little idea what they are talking about.

At least one laugh out loud moment, usually more, per episode.
3 out of 4 episodes will actually find me in tears from laughing so hard.

Available on iTunes, or get episodes here: The Bugle

1 comment:

cjereneta said...

I like The Bugle very much.

Brett S had his emails read on the podcast something like three weeks in a row (this past winter). I don't remember the episode numbers.

Part of my initial attraction to The Bugle were the British and world history references that I *didn't* get. I suppose I enjoy the feeling like comedians are smarter than me. (The humor overall is a bit cerebral, especially Zaltzman--the man behind the audio crossword and the descriptions at the top of each show of the special sections of the audio newspaper that went "straight in the bin.")

I will note that I used to cue up The Bugle first thing every Monday morning, and have begun to listen to it later and later in the week.

Part of my love lost for the show is the recurring segment "The American", in which they pose questions to a "typical American". Both Oliver and Zaltzman find this character (and the comedian who performs him) WAY more funny than he actually is. It's these segments that feel the most like Car Talk, with a constant devolution into giggling fits.

Whereas I'll download and listen to Jordan! Jesse! Go! as soon as I see Jesse Thorn's post on Twitter that the episode is live. At this point I've developed an emotional connection to that show and those guys. Good effort, though. Keep trying.