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The Bugle:The Trumpet majors of political comedy

August 25, 2009


THERE isn’t a better satire show available anywhere on TV, radio or print than the free weekly podcast The Bugle starring Daily Show star John Oliver and recent 5Live Ashes presenter Andy Zaltzman. GM should really add the word period at the end of the last sentence to emphasise just how good The Bugle is like most bloggers would. But we won’t.
Every week Oliver and Zaltzman, old friends from the comedy British circuit, discuss the important events of the week globally via an ISDN line and routinely kick the lining out of everyone from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Silvio Burlusconi to American footballer Plaxico Burress and Vladimir Putin.
It is a riveting joy for comedy fans across the globe because it breaks out of the ghetto of localised back biting which typifies much of satire and makes pertinent the first rule of comedy: idiocy by anyone in a position of power and prominence is funny.
Oliver, known to most British comedy fans as one of those who made the first series of Mock the Week go with the lyrical and swing it no longer has, has learned much from his time on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and now swings with the subtle glove of satire rather than the heavy fist of hate displayed in much of British primetime satire.
Zaltzman is, however, the grunt, the pack soldier who appears to do much of the work with weekly bursts of brilliant nonsensical facts which add a great dollop of surrealism to the show.
It is a self professed audio newspaper for the visual age which comes like most broadsheets with lots of sections you throw away. Unlike real newspapers, it tells you why you should throw them away and these sections are often the funniest. Much post modernist fun to be had if you like that kind of thing – and we at GM do.
It achieves that most wonderful of compromises: of being utterly savaging yet also being somehow gentle.
It takes in football, cricket, the machinations of the US legislative system, Silvio Burlusconi’s libido and all points in between.
Have a look at the clips below and then head to iTunes to download 87 editions currently available.
It’s a joy and opens up another debate: when should you start paying for content as good as this?
It comes from the News International stable as a Times Online product, is offered for free and as we know Murdoch is putting pay walls up on all his print products soon.
The answer is that we should all be paying for content as good as this because there is nothing better available in the English speaking world. BBC has nothing even approaching how good The Bugle is and only Oliver’s real job on the Daily Show and its stablemate The Colbert Report rival it.
If that seriously overrated one trick pony Ricky Gervais can still colonise the iTunes chart as the highest selling audiobookist then a travesty is being played out.
Download The Bugle and see how comedy realy should be done.
Have a listen below at the youtube highlights, more to folow this week.
The Bugle on the BNP

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