Earwolf Challenge Update: Week Five

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The fifth week of the competition is now over, and we’re down to the Final Five podcasts competing for a year-long contract with Earwolf. Things are heating up in the Earwolf Challenge as the number of remaining podcasts continues to drop, and this week’s task was kind of a curve ball.

While the past weeks’ challenges have catered more toward the chat shows, this week’s assignment - to produce a comedy sketch of three minutes in length or less — gave the sketch shows a definite advantage. While The F Plus and Bob and Dan Cast occasionally produce sketches, the competition’s other two remaining non-sketch shows, The Little Dum Dum Club and Totally Laime, have never featured sketch comedy  up until this point. Dum Dum and Laime were, as host Matt Besser pointed out a few weeks back, the Challenge’s frontrunners, so it was interesting to see them tasked with something outside of their respective wheelhouses. Despite the fact that these podcasts don’t contained sketches, the hosts of both shows were quick to point out that they do have experience with performing sketch comedy in a live setting.

For this week’s elimination round, Matt Besser was joined by two podcasters from the world of Earwolf - Tig Notaro, the host of the metaphysical-themed chat show Professor Blastoff, and Seth Morris, the man who voices Bob Ducca on Affirmation Nation. Notaro and Morris offered some very helpful and constructive advice and selected the podcasts that would fill out the Bottom Three: Bob and Dan Cast, Totally Laime, and The Fort. The judges took it easy on Totally Laime, giving the show a pass because the hosts were out of their element producing a comedy sketch. It’s only fair, since the competing sketch podcasts have been given a break in past weeks when the challenge has been a little more oriented toward chat shows. Bob and Dan were also deemed safe, leaving The Fort to become the eliminated podcast.

The Fort hosts were very polite upon receiving the bad news, one of them saying, “We were very grateful to even be a part of this contest to begin with.” As a consolation, they’ve probably picked up a ton of new listeners from participating in the contest and lasting this long. The Fort has been one of the more ambitious shows in the Earwolf Challenge, the only podcast to feature both guest interviews and sketches. The sketch they submitted this week wasn’t their best moment (As the judges mentioned, it seemed to have three different, unrelated premises), but the hosts are talented guys who have created an enjoyable podcast that’ll continue to get better if they keep working at it this hard.

We’ve reached a halfway point in the Earwolf Challenge, so it’s an appropriate time for a quick refresher on who’s still remaining. The podcasts in the Final Five are:

1. Bob and Dan Cast – hosted by Jonathan (Bob) Kearns and Daniel Huffman

2. Left Handed Radio – performed by Adam Bozarth, Dan Chamberlain, Matt Little, Taylor Moore, and Anna Rubanova

3. The F Plus – hosted by a group of about a dozen people who use wacky code names

4. The Little Dum Dum Club – hosted by Tommy Dasallo and Karl Chandler

5. Totally Laime Podcast – hosted by Elizabeth Laime and “Psychic Andy”

New episodes of The Earwolf Challenge drop every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on Earwolf.com

Bradford Evans is a writer living in Los Angeles.