Earwolf Challenge Update: Week Three

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With the third week of the Earwolf Challenge now over, the number of competing podcasts is dwindling fast. Host Matt Besser was once again joined by two guest judges — Paul Scheer, host of the Earwolf podcast How Did This Get Made?, and Matt Gourley of Superego — to cut the number of competitors down from eight to seven. This week, the podcasts were tasked with submitting a two-minute recurring segment for competition.

As was pointed out several times throughout the Challenge this week, the sketch shows were at a disadvantage when it came to developing a strong recurring bit. While the definition of what constitutes a recurring segment became a little muddled, Matt Besser provided a great example of short one within a sketch show in the Kids in the Hall’s “It’s a Fact” bit, which involved a schoolgirl running in from the woods and rattling off an absurd fact to the camera. Either way, though, a strong recurring segment on a sketch show is a little harder to lay out than one for a chat show because chat show segments can get away with feeling a bit trifling and these shows usually rely on trivia or games for their recurring bits. Chat shows like Totally Laime (which Besser anointed as the Earwolf Challenge’s frontrunner in Wednesday’s episode) and The Little Dum Dum Club had an easier time nailing their submissions down this week, while sketch-based programs like Ham Radio with Brett Hamil and Left Handed Radio struggled a little bit — and justifiably so.

Guest judges Paul Scheer and Matt Gourley were a perfectly-matched pair, their feedback reflecting each of their sunny dispositions. In past weeks, the judges’ comments have leaned a little on the critical side of constructive criticism, but Scheer and Gourley’s natural optimism gave their advice a refreshingly positive feel.

As in previous weeks, Besser and his fellow judges evaluated the submissions and selected a Bottom Three. This week’s Bottom Three consisted of The Fort Podcast, Ham Radio with Brett Hamil, and The F Plus. It was the second time in the Bottom Three for The Fort Podcast and Ham Radio, with The F Plus making its Bottom Three debut. The judges ended up eliminating Ham Radio, which was disadvantaged by this week’s challenge not being geared toward sketch shows. I’ve listened to Brett Hamil’s podcast a few times and really enjoyed what he’s doing. Hamil is a performer with diverse abilities, providing all of the voices for the show’s characters himself, and has created a fast-paced and inventive podcast. It’s still a young show, but it’s definitely worth checking out. You can listen to Ham Radio on iTunes or at the podcast’s official site.

Listen to the Earwolf Challenge on iTunes or at Earwolf.com.

Bradford Evans is a writer living in Los Angeles.