I’ve mentioned this before on the site, but I strongly feel like comedy — all types — lends itself perfectly to an audio medium, especially podcasts. Whether it’s standup or improv or sketch comedy, it’ll work on a podcast. Another podcast in this market is the aptly named The Tom and Jack Podcast, a British-style comedy podcast that’s part segmented, part improv.
The Tom and Jack Podcast started after two friends knew they like comedy radio segments but didn’t want to be confined to rigid time specs or formats. Instead, they realized the low barrier of entry from podcasts and just went with it.
I had a chance to speak with Tom recently about their podcast, who they wanted to model it after, and the challenges related to creating a podcast from scratch. See below for our full interview.
Discover Pods: What’s your podcast about?
Tom: We host a comedy radio show that is not actually currently available on radio, featuring snatches of music, features and much bickering. We style it on British comedy radio like the Russell Brand Show, the Ricky Gervais Show, Jon Richardson on Radio 2 etc. Imagine that but the hosts don’t have any sense of taste and decency or any idea what makes for good radio.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast?
Tom: Like all the podcasts and comedy we love, people feel like they’re sitting in the pub having a chat with their (idiotic) friends. I think our slightly surreal outlooks and attitudes make it unique and hopefully it’s funny.
Some of our features are particularly unique as well (although that’s not necessarily a positive). From our backgrounds in internet and student radio we essentially present a radio show that only exists as a podcast.
It’s also got a ramshackle, homemade quality to it that I like to think is a deliberate punk/DIY attitude. Although it’s probably ineptitude and laziness.
DP: Is your podcast scripted, improved, or somewhere in between?
Tom: We bullet point ideas and talking points but largely it’s improvised. Some items like A Spoonful of Weather (the weirdest Trip Advisor reviews we can find) are read out verbatim but our reactions are real. Occasionally we have pre-recorded stuff like our spurious celebrity interviews but it’s mostly improvised.
DP: What’s the biggest challenge in regards to your podcast?
Tom: Getting Jack to prepare anything is an on-going losing battle I fight. Apart from that finding time to make more out there stuff is difficult. When we first started we were both unemployed and could easily spend all day ringing bakeries for a 30 second long clip (Master Bakers). Apart from time, anecdotal links are difficult because I’ve told every remotely interesting thing that’s ever happened to me at least twice now. And I currently live a very uninteresting life. Oh and Garageband once deleted an entire podcast the second we finished it.
Now I think about it getting people to listen is difficult as well. Even close friends and family don’t bother. I know it’s a hugely saturated market and there’s a lot of dross but ours is good so you should listen to it.
DP: What type of equipment do you use to record?
Tom: We use two CAD Audio U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphones. I’ve no idea why; I think they must have been on sale when I was looking for microphones. They work reasonably well. I’ve managed to fool my Macbook into recording two separate USB microphones simultaneously; again how this was done is lost knowledge. I edit on Garageband, I used to use Adobe Audition but we never do anything complicated (even for jingles) and Garageband is idiot proof.
DP: What are your top 5 favorite podcasts?
Tom: In no particular order:
(1) Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast
(2) The Comedian’s Comedian Podcast with Stuart Goldsmith
(3) Distraction Pieces with Scroobius Pip
(4) Russell Brand on Radio X (6 Music and Radio 2 ones are also incredible)
(5) Anything from the Brit Pod Scene. It’s a network of independent British podcasts and I don’t want to pick any in particular because I am constantly impressed by the quality and variety available – check them out!
DP: Why did you choose to podcast?
Tom: There’s no barrier to entry with podcasting. If you can afford two microphones and a computer you can begin. We knew we wanted to make comedy but had no way into traditional industries. We cobbled together a podcast with no idea what we were doing and ran with it. We both love radio but the podcasting lets people listen when and how they want. There’s no set format either, so while we keep our episodes fairly formulaic, we have had bonus episodes where we’ve sat and talked about the short film we made for half an hour. Plus you can edit out all the swearing and libel/slander before you let people hear it (incidentally if anyone knows if a podcast recording would be libel or slander please get in touch).
DP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Tom: If you know a radio station that needs presenters (ideally in South East England) please let us know so we can leave this horrific medium behind us.
More seriously, watch our short film and sketches they’re actually pretty good. And listen to the podcast. And check out Brit Pod Scene.
DP: Where can listeners find you?