The 2011 Bob Ducca Awards For Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Podcasting
“Those of us whose many hours alone have given us a rich inner life must always be sure that the conversation we’re engaged in is taking place in reality.”
– Bob Ducca
“Exclamation points make writing come alive.”
– Olive Duster
Yes, the era of the Bob Ducca Awards starts now! When a show comes along that leaves all others in its wake, when every 15 episodes could easily be released as a stand-alone comedy album, when a man can combine inspirational stories, advice to his listeners in the areas of health, psychology, and love, all the while providing much needed in-depth reviews of all manner of medical products, simply offering that show an award seems insufficient. Therefore, without consulting my higher-ups*, the Donnybrook Writing Academy is proud to present Affirmation Nation with Bob Ducca its own award show! You can learn all you really need to know about this show by listening to Episode 3: Guided Meditation. Absolutely brilliant! And you will thank me for it!
Anyhoo… Let’s start handing out these fuckin’ thangs!
Celebrate some failures, not just be a hater, with your indomitable hosts, Paul Sheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas. While this episode is stellar in its own right, it is the significance of bringing Lexi Alexander into the studio that makes this particular show a runaway winner for this year’s Best Single Episode Ducca. Prior to Lexi Alexander’s appearance (along with Patton Oswalt subbing for Mantzoukas), HDTGM essentially consisted of three smart comedians making snarky, incredulous commentary about films that are just plain bad (Sandra Bullock-bad). With an Academy Award-nominated director in the mix, the show transformed from being just dumb fun to a fascinating exploration of the behind-the-scenes machinations that could lead a talented filmmaker to produce a movie filled with more brutality and senseless violence than a Cormac McCarthy wet dream. Since that watershed moment, HDTGM has elevated its game by including guests who actually worked on these shitty movies and finally trying to learn how, in fact, they ever got made (the recent interview of Jack O’Halloran is not to be missed)!
Despite having a face that looks like something rich people use to clean off their golf cleats, Brett Gelman has an inner beauty that shines through every time he opens his gob. Ever since Gelman was banned from Comedy Death Ray for dropping the truth bomb entitled “iBrain” in 2010, comedy fans everywhere have been clambering for this comedic mastermind to create a weekly forum for his unique brand of insanity. While coarse language, sex, and drugs are often fodder for hack comics looking for an easy laugh, Gelman uses his filthy mind and dystopian mindset to orchestrate a collage of depravity and disturbing imagery that leaves listeners stunned, scared, and submissive to his throbbing genius. If society is a padded cell, Gelman provides the thorazine (and cocaine, gay prostitution, and cannibalism).
Next up is the I Forgive You Award presented to the podcast whose outstanding achievements this year warrant a pardon for previous crimes against the comedy-loving world. And the Ducca goes to… The Smartest Man in the World (with Greg Proops) !!!
When Niels Bohr and others proffered the infamous Copenhagen Interpretation of Thomas Young’s earth-shattering Double-Slit Experiment, he likely had no idea that Greg Proops would become the Schrodinger Cat of comedy, conceivably alive and dead at the same time. When Mother sees Greg Proops, she perceives a man who contributed to one of the worst comedy disasters of the last decade, something historians are calling, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” a show whose idea of humor consisted of middle- aged men pretending to be velociraptors hailing a cab (or whatever) for the amusement of an aging all-White audience who thinks that setting an ABAB rhyme scheme to jaunty piano music is hilarious. When I see Greg Proops, I perceive a man who loves to opine on everything from the Occupy Movement to Gwyneth Paltrow’s newly-installed outdoor pizza oven with an acid-tongued wit and panache that would make Dennis Miller, himself, yearn to swing from Proop’s man bags. Greg described himself thusly: “I like to think of myself as reassuringly shallow. Intelligent, oh, no question – I’m amazingly smart – but, I’m not that deep. I’m kinda like a rain gutter.” This is why you will hear him drag on and on about bonuses given to Wall Street executives (who help employ millions of Americans), but he will never EVER question the obscene payouts given to major league baseball players (who help employ those in the steroid, domestic violence, and illegal gambling industries). I forgive you, Greg, because I no longer think of you as that jackass wearing an over-sized Styrofoam cowboy hat straining to squeeze something funny out of an ill-conceived premise, and now I can only picture you as that middle- aged hipster, high out of your mind, trying to reason with a wayward lizard in your living room while wearing fuzzy slippers and a bathrobe. Also, Satchel Paige, raspberry dawns, and “Oh, kittens!”
The Ducca for Best Guest Appearance was hotly contested this year. And while all of our nominees deserve to be mentioned, I don’t feel like it. Therefore, without further ado, this year’s Ducca goes to… Andy Daly for his portrayal of Andy Callahan in Episode 119 of Comedy Bang Bang!!!
Andy Callahan has written a “humor book”, a light-hearted collection of true, funny stories that occurred on the job while working as a nurse on the long-term treatment floor of a New Jersey hospital. True to form, Andy Daly starts off innocuously enough, but further probing by host Scott Aukerman, and guest Gillian Jacobs, reveals a darker side to the healing craft. Fans of Daly’s Nine Sweaters (A Special Thing Records) will not be disappointed!
Before we move on to the award everyone is here for, Best Comedy Podcast, let’s take care of some other business. Earlier this week in my living room in Denver, CO, a number of other podcasters were honored at the 2011 Bob Ducca Awards for Outstanding Technical Achievement in Comedy Podcasting (“The Casties”) and I’d like to list the winners here.
Best Writing: Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, The Thrilling Adventure Hour!!!
Enjoy this “new-time podcast in the style of old-time radio” and realize that even though you are a fine writer, there will always people out there who are better at it than you will ever be!!!
Hardest Working: Paul F. Tompkins!!!
Paul F. Tompkins is one of my favorite comedians working today. Not only is his monthly podcast, The Pod F. Tompcast, always at the top of my queue, Paul stars in the Beyond Belief series as part of the Thrilling Adventure Hour, he hosts The Dead Authors Podcast, he is a frequent guest on Comedy Bang Bang, as well as other podcasts, he hosts a monthly variety show in Los Angeles, he is forever on tour, and he may be making a weekly appearance on your television in the near future (if his pilot gets picked up)!!!
Best Co-Hosts: Mike and Tom Eat Snacks!!!
What happens when Yogi Bear and an effete comedy legend eat and rate snacks for half an hour? Comedy, that’s what. I recommend the Pop Chips episode and the Guacamole episode (one of the hosts almost dies!). I also loved the one where Michael Ian Black describes the medical examination of his testicular lump (I only wish I could remember which one that was)!
Best Theme Song: Eben Schletter, Sparks Nevada Theme Song, Thrilling Adventure Hour!!!
Best known for his work on Mr. Show, Eben Schletter is a musical chameleon of the highest echelon. Eben plays background music for the Pod F. Tompcast, he writes music the Thrilling Adventure Hour’s others series, and he has several CDs of original holiday music that reflect his keen sense of humor and unique style. The Sparks Nevada theme song is sung masterfully by Marc Evan Jackson, a native of Amherst, NY (wherever the fuck that is).
Best Concept: Analyze Phish!!!
Harris Wittels is a 27-year-old recreational drug user who, therefore, likes Phish. Scott Aukerman doesn’t think he likes jam bands that showcase stupid, quasi-clever lyrics and whose sole purpose seems to be to provide people with an excuse to take ecstasy. The podcast will end if Harris can convince Scott to agree that he likes Phish (it’s not going that well so far)!
For the uninitiated, no, this is not a weak rip off of the Mike Myers Coffee Talk sketch on SNL. This podcast gets better with each new episode. The interplay between Ronna and
Beverly, two Jewish besties from Massachusetts, is an ever-evolving mini-drama of friendship, jealousy, tension, and humor that forms a perfect coalescence of scripted and improvised material to a masterful effect. When their sniping is not directed at each other, these ladies turn some of the best and brightest comedians working today inside-out with a flurry of highly personal questions that cut to the quick like no other hosts working today.
And there you have it! It’s hard to believe that so much great comedy is just waiting out there for you to enjoy FOR FREE, PEOPLE! Take advantage of it and help support all of these amazing comedians by downloading their podcasts and leaving them positive reviews on iTunes!
Oh, and one more thing…
I LOVE YOU, BOB DUCCA!!!
* Olive Duster’s higher-up would like to give honorary mentions to her favorite comedy podcasts of 2011: Uhh Yeah Dude, and WTF with Marc Maron.