If there is one thing comedian Paul F. Tompkins does with his Podcast Pod F. Tompkast it is to hearken back to the golden days of comedy, especially variety comedy. It makes one nostalgic for the days of The Carol Burnett Show with its array of characters and references to popular culture, or a comedy album such as The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart with its multitude of scenarios and the mad, inventiveness of an Ernie Kovacs.
Tompkins, in all manners of his comedy, has always been rather old school and that is what he brings to his Podcast. He imbues what the radio was meant to be, ‘Theatre of the Imagination.’ Absurdity, surreal, and full whimsy are the first words that jump to mind after listening to an episode. But where most comedians point out life’s absurdities as a negative, here is where it comes to be celebrated.
Paul is truly a fascinating fellow of the highest form and his Podcast is an extension of that. The format of the show allows him to use his arsenal of gifts to the fullest. Some of the segments are live recordings of either stand-up or sketch comedy, conversations with cool friends, and in-studio stream of silliness.
A veteran of not one but two hit HBO sketch comedy shows, Mr. Show with Bob and Dave and Tenacious D, Paul has a plethora of characters and voices (some even with accents!) that he parades in front of the mic and on stage for the listening and viewing pleasure of his audiences. All are in a clever and quirky style, and when this man is on his game, it is pure hilarity. Many of the characters are real and Tompkins takes great liberties with what he has them doing to each other, but all in good fun.
It was during one of these HBO stints he met musician/composer Eban Schletter, who joins Tompkins every episode as his piano player and musical arranger. This is most noteworthy, because it is one more thing that separates this Podcast from the others, it has live musical accompaniment – Cabaret style.
Tompkins refers to himself as the “Comedy’s One True Gentleman,” and for the most part he does hold true to that and pushes the boundaries of comedy more with controlled chaos and benign mayhem. But he is also a professional stand-up comic by trade and every now and then he includes a clip from a performance on the Podcast. It is amusing that before hand he will give advanced notice that there will be “Foul Language.”
If edgy or taboo is what you crave or demand then you will be somewhat shortchanged here. Yet, the shows premise is that it is nighttime on the Internet. That image conjures up certain notions, but like any comedian worth his weight Tompkins has taken control of that notion and told the audience what it is going to be. The Pod F. Tompkast show is where the unusual comes to happen and bizarre is in the air.
About the Author: Andrea Elizabeth Mitchell is a professional comedy writer and performer who has been in the business close to thirty years now. She has worked in several types of media including TV, Radio and Print. To branch out even further this year Ms Mitchell's work will be seen on both the internet and the big screen. Yes, a feature film she co-wrote is going into production, and who knows where this internet thing might take her!