British comedian Andy Zaltzman goes global as host of The Bugle. The topical podcast, which covers current affairs as well as weird anecdotes overlooked by the media, often includes guests like Jen Kirkman and Aparna Nancherla. Originally launched in 2007 with friend and former co-host John Oliver, The Bugle live show brings Zaltzman’s trademark satire to the stage. We caught up with Zaltzman before he comes to Laugh Boston on Feb. 28.
How did you get started in comedy? I had a brief go at university and then gave up for a couple of years after my first, what you might say “proper gig,” went very badly indeed. I then was persuaded by my then-girlfriend, now wife, and another friend to give it a go on the London open-mic circuit. That was about 20 years ago now, and it accidentally became what I do for a living.
How did The Bugle come about? The Bugle, in its first incarnation, began in 2007 when John Oliver and I were offered a deal to do a podcast. Podcasts were relatively new then, and we didn’t really have any idea about what it involved. So we did that for the Times newspaper for about four years, then went independent. We’d worked together for quite a long time before John moved to the States to do The Daily Show and our agents managed to get us a deal to do a weekly topical podcast.
How do you decide what to cover on each show? It’s a mixture of the stories that are biggest in the news with a bit of a bias toward Britain and the USA, but we try to cover things from all over the world and keep a good balance. It’s really a question of doing things that are the big stories in the news but also interesting things that you might not have heard about or that aren’t getting as much media traction or are just a bit weird.
What’s your favorite topic to discuss? Obviously, Brexit has been the comedic gift that keeps giving. Albeit, what you receive isn’t necessarily what you want—kind of like a bad Santa Claus. I do enjoy the random, odd stories from around the world that are kind of out of nowhere. That’s kind of the joy of doing a podcast; I get to decide week to week what I fancy.
What do you hope audiences take away from the live show? I hope they laugh a lot and I hope they take away an increased sense of confusion about the planet.
Photo: Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX
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