I don't pretend to understand all the issues that are discussed on No Pressure To Be Funny, the excellent monthly panel show from England. That's partially because a number of the subjects are UK-centric and partially because I'm not as well read as I should be.
Each month the show's creators, Alistair Barrie and Nick Revell, stir a pot of lively discussions featuring journalists and comedians. This month it's Hal Cruttenden, Michael Deacon, Jo Jo Smith and first-timer James O'Brien (who normally serves as the host for the show.)
While the results are frequently humorous, the show stays true to its title and not everything is played for laughs. The panel has a field day knocking Russell Brand and his style of comedy around for a bit. At one point Deacon points out how actual numbers make ludicrous one of Brand's points in his recent book Revolution, which prompts Cruttenden to say, "You are ruining the poetry with facts."
A lot of this episode keeps poking at ongoing UKIP (United Kingdom Independent Party) scandals, which are making easy targets of a host of politicians. Series co-creator and comedian Revell fires up a wicked salvo against the lazy, self-entitled nouveau riche and how they compare so poorly to everyone else during this season of giving. (I love his line, "I've acquired ADHD from living in the modern world, although I prefer to call it 'multitasking'.")
If you're not afraid to learn a little something along with your comedy, you're likely going to enjoy this show.
Pete Holmes is no stranger to "going deep" with some of the guests on You Made It Weird. And it's a treat to hear his conversation with SNL veteran Dana Carvey, a comedic performer that we don't hear from very often or know very much about what makes him tick.
In a conversation that verges on three hours, Carvey lets his guard down a bit to reveal elements of a difficult home life, fighting stage fright to get up on stage, and details of his health problems including a botched bypass that were never fully revealed.
Maybe the secret was that Carvey was just off a 13-hour road trip and Holmes had just finished an appointment with his shrink. (Carvey told me in a conversation shortly after this interview was recorded that he didn't know what to expect and he just decided to go wherever the conversation ended up going.)
If you've ever wondered what's behind the man behind The Church Lady (one of many Carvey characters that gets talked about here), this is going to be good listen.
Also listening to: The Adventure Zone #2: Here There Be Gerblins; and Selected Shorts - Bad Boy: Celebrating Hunter S. Thompson: Stephen Colbert w/Alec Baldwin, Anthony Rapp & Michael Imperioli
These reviews originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com.