Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Bonanaz for Bonanza


(Earwolf, 2020) This is pretty much the funniest podcast I have ever heard. I was always supremely impressed by Andy Daley's optimistic, yet inevitably suicide and/or homicide (and hell) bound characters on Comedy Bang Bang, but to be honest 2020 has been so gruesome that I just couldn't take some of my favorite larfs. Early in the lock down I tried re-watching Review and I needed to pause the Ashley Tisdale episode every one minute, and eventually just had to abandon it. I really don't need extra cringes this year. But for Daly to find such a rich, life affirming outlet for his most murderous character has been a genuine delight. Cowboy poet Dalton Wilcox (spoiler: his poems are about dirt hole fucking), his musician pal Mutt Taylor (Matt Gourley, being as funny, charismatic, and weirdly knowledgeable as anyone can pull off while in trainwreck character) and Maria Bamford as a Christian entrepreneur (the brilliant comic's best character ever...literal out loud laughs every week) watch every episode of Bonanza in order. That's the show. Their characters feign obsession with and loyalty to the Cartwright boys, while week after week Daly, Gourley, and Bamford become more and more genuinely impressed by how actively strange, offensive, and confounding the program was. One running theme is Gourley's conviction that the show is recycling pilot scripts from un-produced Westerns  and just plugging in as many Cartwright boys as they need to fill the script. There are guests that watch along with them, and when they appear as wacky characters it's being extra, it proves better to just be yourself and genuinely react to this grand, strange show. The best guest was Brooklyn 99's Dirk Blocker, son of Dan "Hoss" Blocker, who was rightly treated like royalty. The chemistry, the abundant funniness, and the confounding tech (Daly, in quarantine, fumbling to call up the audio from Youtube clips, which they need to describe visuals-wise, is an unexpected pandemic pleasure) make this a can't miss. Of course like most of my fave podcasts, when they cut to commercial there is no commercial, as sponsors have better places to sell their fancy underwear and collapsible mattresses, but if this can hold on just 416 more episodes we can get the whole series in!

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