2016 was a very, very bad year no matter how you slice it. In tough times, comedy is often a form of escape that people turn to when they need comforting. With that in mind, we asked our contributors to pick the one piece of comedy in any form that they turn to when they really need cheering up. We’ll be sharing their choices throughout the week in a package we’re calling “The Best Medicine.”
Vancouver comedians Graham Clark and Dave Shumka wrote the playbook for comedy podcast chat shows when Stop Podcasting Yourself burst on the scene and emerged as one of the first great programs from the initial boom of the early aughts. A regional comedian and regional public broadcaster, respectively, Clark and Shumka punched above their weight with hilarious weekly guests and an easy flow of stupid bits – like their brief insistence on reading tweets from @fanta every week. To the rest of the world, they quickly became the unlikely figureheads of a bustling comedy scene in the Pacific Northwest. Sketch comics and comics who sketch on stage all joined and continue to join Canada’s premiere podcast like lightning in a bottle to create the ultimate dumb show that smart people love.
With 457 episodes in the can at year’s end, Stop Podcasting Yourself is coming up on nine years of nearly unbroken weekly episodes. Two weeks off in nine years of service is admirable by any definition, but in 2016 their dedication to the consistency became a source of great comfort. Every time a beloved celebrity dies, there’s a new favorite to be found surprising you with their stories to the boys. As you watch the ascendency of a shit monster to United States President, you can take comfort in watching Clark’s own rise. There’s no need to get down on yourself when you’re feeling lonely and unproductive, because – guess what? – “not much” is up with Shumka, either. It’s there for you every week, even when you lack the strength to be there for yourself.
Noah Jacobs is a writer, podcaster, and mark who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.