I took a recent trip to Los Angeles, and it turned out to be one great comedy nerd adventure where I saw tons of shows at the Upright Citzens Brigade Theatre (UCB).
The adventure doesn’t begin with a trip to kayak.com to book the flight. It all began with comedy podcasts.
Most comedy nerds love to geek out about podcasts. Comedy podcasts are so popular that podcasting networks are springing up — e.g., Earwolf and Nerdist.
More and more comedians are starting to host their own podcasts, and more are starting them up every week.
If your favorite comedian isn’t hosting a podcast, then he is likely to appear on several as a guest. Paul F. Tompkins, while hosting his own superb podcast, “The Pod F. Tompkast,” is a wonderful podcast guest. His “appearances” garner such a great following that some genius has created a website solely dedicated to tracking what podcasts you can find Mr. Tompkins on.
One of my favorite podcasts, Comedy Bang Bang with Scott Aukerman, is even being adapted to a television show for IFC.
While comedy podcasts are in themselves a great way to have some funny pumped straight into your earholes, they can also be a great way to meet like-minded comedy nerds.
I was so excited when I met someone at Team Trivia and the first thing he said to me was, “Nice ‘Who Charted?’ shirt!” Instant friends! He introduced me to some new favorites like “The Mental Illness Happy Hour” with Paul Gilmartin. He’ll never get me to like the “Adam Carolla Show” though!
Podcasts also have helped me keep in touch with some old friends. No matter how far away my college buddy Melissa and I are, we always have our favorite podcasts, like “Who Charted?” to discuss over IM. I met my friend Caroline on Facebook after discovering her fan page dedicated to the podcast formerly known as Comedy Death Ray (now Comedy Bang Bang).
A few years later, we met in real life when I visited her on my trip to L.A. We had a great time hanging out and seeing shows at the UCB – bringing it back to the beginning, nerds!
I saw so many of my comedy heroes perform during my trip. It was perfect timing because some of the performers only perform once a month at the UCB. Some highlights (or names the non-comedy nerds might appreciate due to their current television sitcom gigs) were Donald Glover from “Community,” Ben Schwartz from “Parks and Recreation,” and Adam Pally from “Happy Endings.” Can I nerd out for a sec on how Donald Glover parked right in front of me on the street? Or that I was so close to Adam Pally that I accidentally touched him when clapping?!!
I also saw some of the best improv comedians around, notably Matt Besser, host of “improv4humans,” and Jason Mantzoukas, co-host of “How Did This Get Made?” You can find both on the Earwolf network. I was also star struck (pun-intended!) when I saw Martin Starr of “Freaks and Geeks” and “Party Down” fame present an award at the Instagrammys. Yes, I saw an awards show dedicated to Instagram photos. The biggest surprise of that night was another presenter who wasn’t slated to be there: Stephen Merchant. The creator of “The Office,” people! How awesome is that?!
I hope all comedy nerds get to make the trip to L.A. for a visit to the UCB. Until then, you can get your comedy fix straight from iTunes.