Podcast review: WTF #322 – Phunny Business
On episode 322 host/producer Marc Maron examines the story of Chicago’s All Jokes Aside, which he calls “the nation’s first major black comedy club.” In one interview he talks with documentary filmmaker John Davies who produced the film Phunny Business about the club along side comedian Ali LeRoi who, who performed. In a separate interview Marc asks the former owner of All Jokes Aside, Raymond Lambert, to discuss the motivation for opening the club and its history.
I appreciate that Maron inserts the Lambert interview mid-way through the episode to provide some backstory and context to fill out the portrait of All Jokes Aside after Davies and LeRoi have given a good introduction. This marks Maron’s growing sophistication as a podcaster and broadcaster, giving the necessary context to keep listeners engaged without having to spoon-feed or create something more appropriate for a weekend NPR program.
Though he openly laments the criticism he receives from some assumedly white listeners who chafe at the way Maron openly addresses race, I admire the way he acknowledges the existence of a separate African-American comedy circuit, with different audiences and sensibilities. In this episode his guests also openly take on how black comedians who cross-over to play “mainstream” majority-white venues have to modify the approach to their act.
This is definitely a well-executed and thought-provoking episode.