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Improv comedy doesn’t translate well to video. You watch a recording of a show only to find the intimacy created the night it was recorded is lost; the show seems flat, the energy of the room doesn’t linger on film.
Luckily, improv DOES prevail on podcasts. An input of just audio and then letting our minds create the rest, works beautifully.
With podcasting hitting a new high and popular improv podcasts like ‘Improv 4 Humans’ and ‘Comedy Bang Bang’ charting on iTunes, I thought to share 5 improv podcasts you may not have yet heard but are worth a listen.
1. The Department of Promethean Science
With 20 plus years experience, Jorin Garguilo is one of the most well-respected and articulate improvisers in Chicago. His anything goes playfulness, mischevious charm and analytical mind are on display here.
The true prize of the show is that he doesn’t just do a killer scene but afterwards talks listeners through each moment. Delving into his thought process, parsing through why something did or did not work and what inspired each choice, making it equal parts performance and class.
Newer improvisers especially will have a lot to gain by becoming subscribers.
Bonus: Ever the tastemaker, Jorin’s tips at the top of each episode on what to read, watch or listen to, are a to-do list for those looking to find a new obsession.
2. With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus
Having had incredible success in tv and recently film, Lauren is first and foremost a phenomenal improviser and as close to podcast royalty as it gets.
Popping up as a guest on half a dozen of the most listened to podcasts each month, Lauren’s show continues the template in which she operates most comfortably.
With a brilliant, "why didn’t I think of that," idea; each episode her guest is the host of a new show, and Lauren, in character, is the guest.
She’s sharp as a tack, flourishes under any circumstances and the amount of joy generated each episode between her and her guest is palpable.
3. The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project
Making a career playing the most uptight white guy you know who craves validation, might pigeon hole some, but through improv Daly shrugs it off.
Hands down one of my favorite improvisers, he can oscillate between obscure literary references and saying a line so filthy you hope for rain, just to feel clean again.
Each episode he fleshes out a new character; the premise being that each is vying for their own podcast.
A seemingly bottomless well of knowledge and character point of views, you’ll surely draw attention as you choke laughing on your daily commute listening to this show.
4. Spontaneanation with Paul F. Tompkins
I have yet to hear Paul F. Tompkins falter. As a frequent collaborator on "Comedy Bang Bang" and "The Thrilling Adventure Hour," he knocks any project he’s attached to out of the park with an enviable wit and vintage delivery all his own.
His improv comes off so polished it seems scripted and he has enough confidince and ease to pull out the best in everyone around him. With such noteworthy improv guests as Janet Varney and Craig Cackowski, I tend to re-listen to each episode to catch anything I missed the first go round.
5. The Poor Choices Show
No actual improv takes place on this show but host Mark Colomb (and for a brief time Matt Owens), sits down with some of the best improvisers in the city of Chicago (many who have gone on to make a career in comedy) to uncover their journey.
Mark coaxes out backstories and opinions on the craft in a manner that’s more in the vein of great conversation over dinner, than agenda driven talk show host.
It’s a fantastic source for anyone new to improv and a must if you enjoy getting to know people’s avenues into the community.
Sadly the show is no longer going but you can find an archive of about 200 episodes online.
‘The Dead Authors Podcast,’ 'UCB Long-Form Conversations,' 'The Hooray Show,' ‘Improv Nerd,’ ‘The Overshare Podcast,’ and ‘One Shot.'
Adal Rifai is on an improvised podcast -"Hello, From the Magic Tavern," you can find it in iTunes or by going http://hellofromthemagictavern.com/.
He has been performing improv in Chicago since 2007.
You can see Adal at iO with the house team "Revolver," in the weekly show "Whirled News Tonight," and around the U.S. with "Pudding-Thank-You," and "BagCat."
Past iO credits include "Swim Buddies," "Our Feature Presentation: The Improvised Movie," "Radical Concept," and "Hunter Family Crest."
He has performed at Second City as a member of "Twisty" and "HouseCo."
Along with performing Adal also coaches and teaches at iO and around Chicago, runs the Incubator and coaching program at The Playground Theater, and has taught and performed improv all over North America.
Follow Adal at @adalrifai on Twitter.
Read Our Exclusive Interview with Adal - Here