There are several things to remember when starting a podcast. A podcast starter kit should include an array of elements. For one, there’s the technical equipment. There are other things to remember though. When starting a comedy podcast, a good brush-up in comedy doesn’t hurt.
What is a Podcast?
A podcast is essentially an episodic series of audio digital files. There are many different types of podcasts, although the conversational and interview/interviewee style is quite popular. Podcasts can usually be streamed on different applications and platforms or downloaded into the user’s computer or device.
It’s important to understand that a podcast is basically an audio format. There are podcasts on YouTube, complete with a video portion. Video is a sort of an added value, however. A podcast is very much a podcast even if there are only purely audio files available.
Some of the basic technology needed to start a podcast may include: microphone, recording software, hosting service and website design.
Podcast Starter Kit: Comedy is King
Many podcasts rely on comedy to drive the conversation. Let’s take a look at a few comic podcasts and try to understand what they do and how they do it.
‘Tiger Belly’ is a podcast hosted by comedians Bobby Lee and Khalyla Kuhn. The setup of the podcast is relatively simple. Bobby Lee and Khalyla will talk to a guest for about two hours at a time. The guests are usually, though not always, fellow comics. The conversations are rather free-flowing, about different topics. They’re often humorous.
The ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ is a well-known podcast. Although it moved to Spotify and left YouTube, the podcast still commands a formidable audience. The YouTube channel still exists, though it only carries clips and not the full library.
JRE is hosted by Joe Rogan, a comic among other things. The podcast is interesting in that it doesn’t only do comedy. It also has very long conversations with ‘serious’ guests.
Hosted by comic Marc Maron, ‘WTF’ is a rather underrated podcast with a string of very interesting guests. Although the podcast seems dormant, for about a year already, the library is quite interesting.
‘Kitboga’ is a very unusual and fascinating podcast. The creator succinctly describes his channel like this: “Everyday there are scammers taking advantage of people. I call them to waste their time, walk people through their “script” and lies, report info when I can, and otherwise make light of a dark situation.”
The Basic Elements of a Comedy Podcast Starter Kit
There’s an array of elements that should be considered in any podcast starter kit. Their need and impact becomes all the more pressing when the podcast will be centered around comedy.
Hosts and Supporting Roles
The host is evidently the protagonist of a podcast. As such, the host is in charge of conducting the interview and pacing the conversation. In the case of comedy podcasts, the imprint of the host in the style is vast.
A podcast sometimes has one single host. This is true of the ‘WTF’ podcast we mentioned above as well as the ‘JRE’ podcast. There are some podcasts which have a second host. The ‘Tiger Belly’ podcast is one such example.
A supporting cast, so to speak, is often a valuable asset. These are the people who are not usually heard but who are also working on the podcast. They may include the people who produce and sound engineer the show. They may sometimes interject and participate in the podcast and as such are a valuable way to keep the rhythm of the comedy going.
A Basic Template
A podcast starter kit will also usually include a basic template. Most of the podcasts we commented on earlier in this article use a basic free-flowing interview setting. The basic template is therefore a typical interviewer/interviewee situation. This is fairly typical of podcasts.
Occasionally though, a stricter and more nuanced template is needed. Podcasts may be very long. It may sometimes be challenging to keep the conversation going. There are a few things to take into consideration here: (I) First of all, a basic understanding of three-act structure and dramatic form is useful. (II) Secondly, some sort of ‘aid’ so to speak may help. Consider for instance selecting a number of articles you’ll comment on and discuss. ‘Riffing’ on these sorts of things may help keep the momentum of the podcast going.
For more information and tips on developing a basic podcast script, read this article. The key is to develop the basic building blocks of the script, allowing for the natural flow of conversation.
Comedy podcasts will always work better with a great guest. This type of podcast will usually invite comics and have them as guests. In case the guest is not a comic, however, the type of interview is nevertheless often comical.
The Audience and Platform
Understanding the target audience is vital. Some platforms will be ideal for certain audiences. A podcast starter kit will consider the issue of where exactly to place the podcast.
Troubleshooting Comedy Podcasts
Occasionally, a comedy podcast may encounter some problems. Listed below are some typical situations, along with their possible solutions.
The Podcast is Sagging!
Podcasts are quite long. To manage such length, it’s wise to revisit the structure of content. As we know, content is usually structured along a traditional three-act structure. The content is divided into three acts. Such a structure may be loosely followed as well in a podcast.
Another useful asset is having some sort of script. Consider creating some sort of basic podcast script template, even if sparsely written, and allowing for improvisation.
Preparation is key. If the podcast will revolve around a guest who has recently released a book, it’s necessary to read it. Knowing the guest’s biographical info is also invaluable.
Relying on the support staff may often prove to be invaluable as well. We’ve mentioned that a co-host may be extremely useful in bringing the funny and will help strengthen the interviewing process.
It’s Not Very Funny!
Comedy is deceptively difficult. Trying to teach or even learn comedy may prove to be a very convoluted affair. If the host is simply not very funny, there are some fixes that may be useful. Learning about comedy is an essential part of any comedy podcast starter kit.
Stand-up comedy is a definite influence in comedy podcasts. It’s definitely true that comedy is probably one of those things that can’t really be taught. Having said that, studying the great stand-up comics may definitely provide a lot of input and inspiration to a would-be comic podcast host.
The Art of Comedy
Some of these comics may be very inspirational in developing a comedy style. Watching and studying these comics is surely part of any comedy podcast starter kit.
Categorizing a stand-up comic is very difficult. In many ways, it’s often unfair, since a comic may have a rich and textured act, which need not be described in a few pithy words.
This is certainly the case of the great Steven Wright. His comedy style is replete with irony and surreal jokes. His one-liners are nothing less than brilliant. The delivery is certainly an integral part of his comedy act. The lethargic and slow voice as well as his deadpan style definitely adds to the comedy. If you’re interested in watching Steven Wright, start with ‘I Have a Pony’.
Jerry Seinfeld is a comic who needs no introduction. He’s well known both for his stand-up comedy and his television series ‘Seinfeld’. His stand-up comedy style in particular features observational comedy. His show ‘I’m Telling You For the Last Time’ is very useful for aspiring comics and comedy podcast hosts.
Larry David is the co-creator of ‘Seinfeld’ and the creator of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. Although he started as a stand-up comic, he doesn’t really tour or have stand-up comedy specials to his name.
Regardless, it’s possible to catch some of Larry David’s stand-up skills in different ways. Some of his award acceptance speeches are essentially stand-up comedy routines. Also, it’s possible to find compilations and bits and pieces of stand-up from some of his television work. His interviews are usually also hilarious. It’s a good idea to scour YouTube for Larry David; these clips will seldom disappoint.
Ricky Gervais is a very interesting example. He’s best known as the co-creator of ‘The Office’ (UK), arguably the best television comedy of all time. He’s also a prolific stand-up comic with a very interesting style, combining observational, satire and black humor.
Although ‘The Office’ is probably his best work, check out ‘The Ricky Gervais Show’ because it’s essentially a comedy podcast. His stand-up comedy shows are also a good resource.
How Bunny Studio Can Help
When thinking about a comedy podcast starter kit, think Bunny Studio. There are a number of ways in which we can help.
Bunny Studio originally came to be as an online hub of voice talent. Nowadays, the voice talent component at Bunny Studio is very robust. You could very well find talent to record some of the scripted content for your podcast. Alternatively, you may find the perfect voice to go with the recording of certain spots, and much more.
Imagine that you have most of the podcast starter kit already. You may need help in putting the podcast together. Bunny Studio is able to edit your podcast and post-produce it to perfection.