Anyone who follows this blog knows that I LOVE podcasts. So much so, I spend much of the day walking around with headphones in listening to my favorite comedians, storytellers and educators. My husband and kids are constantly complaining about my addiction. Luckily I can't hear them.
This past year I've even tried creating my own podcast, which unfortunately has been held up by the unavailability of the sound engineer I was working with (that's what you get when you ask people to work for free) but I haven't given up on the idea. In the meantime, I continue to enjoy the immediacy and intimacy of the podcast form and one of my faves is "The Smartest Man in the World" from comedian/actor Greg Proops.
Most people in the US probably know Proops best from the TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway," which shows off his improvisational comedy skills. In fact, his podcast, which is usually recorded live at Bar Lubitsch in Los Angeles, is really one long riffed monologue about such subjects as current affairs, food, drugs, the negro baseball league and ancient Rome. As the title suggests, the breadth of Proops' knowledge and interest is impressively vast and his genius is in pulling all these topics together to make a coherent show while still being incredibly funny.
Proops lived and worked in London for many years and I think is one of the few American comics who regularly tours in Europe. So when I heard he would be performing the podcast live in Paris, I immediately reserved tickets. The show took place at the La Java, a club in the 10th arrondissement which apparently regularly hosts Anglophone comedians and musicians. I don't know why I'm only learning about this now, but in case I'm not the only ignorant one, check out the Laughing and Music Matters website for schedule info.
I'm always a little wary of meeting my favorite entertainers in person, because frankly, sometimes they're dicks. But Proops did not disappoint. Attending the show was just like listening to the podcast with the added advantage of being able to drink (well, I guess I could drink at home while listening, but I tend to be unloading the dishwasher). The topics than night included trying to communicate with Parisian cabdrivers, electronic cigarettes, obnoxious teens at Notre Dame, the death of Olivier Metzner, lawyer to the rich and scandalous, as well as a question and answer session. While I can't quote any particular jokes, Proops made all of these subjects fascinating and hysterically funny.
Proops likes to interact with his audience, often taking them to task for not laughing enough, but he also took the time to go around before the show shaking people's hands. Plus he gave me a free Kittens McTavish t-shirt! (well, he waved it in my general direction and I reached up a grabbed it). If you want to know what Kittens McTavish refers to, I suggest you download his brilliant podcast from itunes or the Smartest Man in the World website, or go see him in person. And to all the other podcasters out there, I urge you to come to Paris and perform in front of a very appreciative international audience. All the cool cats are doing it...