It’s hard to explain the Long Shot – a comedy podcast where 4 diverse comedians team up to check in with each other and talk with a guest. The host is legendary improviser, stand up and sketch writer Sean Conroy, a frequent Asssscat performer and founding member of legendary improv team The Swarm, who’s Slow Waltz Around Rage Mountain show invented the Monoscene. His old short form buddy and star of Steve Fineart’s excellent documentary “The Bitter Buddha” Eddie Pepitone. Eddie (who is performing at the Soho Theatre next month) is thoughtful invective mixed with pure rage against, the banks, the system and corporate sponsored parades.
Then there’s Amber Kenny, a relatively new face and “ray of sunshine” who is now in the dance troupe Liquid Feet, but at the start of the podcast was just in Sean’s sketch classes. Amber has an oft-mentioned incredibly distinctive bright, bubbly laugh but she’s also incredibly quick witted and as the show progresses more than holds her own against Conroy and Pepitone. And then there’s comedian and producer Jamie Flam, who is now booker of the LA Improv and is part of the Tim and Eric style musical performance group “The Spanglers”. Jamie is hard to explain – he often has fun and interesting stories and amusing asides, but he can also just zone out or introduce weird little stories that go nowhere. That’s not a criticism per se – they often lead to some of the funniest moments of the show – like his recent interactions with Bob Goldthwait.
I’ve been listening to the Long Shot since Sean Conroy impressed me on a particularly great episode of Improv4Humans and dove in from the first available episode (301 with Bill Burr). I quickly became hooked and it’s one of the few podcasts I manage to keep up to date with. The interplay between the 4 hosts (the guests are fun but an added bonus) is delightful, honest and intelligent. Especially when it produces the wonderful absurdity of “The Animal Bank”.
As a fan, I decide to purchase Season One on iTunes, and have just bought Season Two, which after a long delay was recently released.
The pilot episode is a little timid – you can hear them settling into their roles and finding their feet. It’s also incredibly depressing in places – one of the best things about the show is how when the hosts “check in” with each other they don’t pull any punches and reveal sometimes quite dire circumstances. Which they proceed to skilfully mine for comedy. It’s quite apt that Conroy ends the first episode with the famous Chaplin quote “Life is a tragedy up close, but a comedy in the long shot”. The first season also has a lot of sketches, some better than others, although one of the highlights is Dog Shoes a Flam sketch so off the wall and bad it produces rage, then unrestrained giggles from the gang. There’s also a bonus episode where they explain their origin story and critique the first season.
Season Two features less sketches, (although there’s a very good one about Civil War letters) and sees the introduction of a frequently discussed topic on the show “The Immaculata” Jamie Flam’s cult like lifestyle program. The honesty of the show is one of it’s main appeals, as they aren’t afraid to say what they feel even if it flies in the face of an industry peer or more frequently one of the co-hosts. It almost feels like Sean and Eddy are going to come to blows at one point during a discussion over parades. And no one is shy about telling Amber what they feel about her suggestion to talk about Coloured Pencils. There’s also a very revealing discussion on the bonus episode on Season 2 about Flam’s sudden departure from the show, and just as sudden return.
Catch up with past and present episodes of the Long Shot – it’s worth your while.