Much as I hate Rupert Murdoch, I have to admit he has funded some of my favourite things – Firefly, The Simpsons and, best of all, The Bugle. The Bugle – self-styled ‘audio newspaper for a visual world’ – is a Times Online podcast from sublime political comedians Andy Zaltzmann and John Oliver (the former from … the Now Show, but that rather does him as disservice, the latter from the Daily Show).
The Bugle is a thing of beauty. Many podcasts would aspire to the lofty heights to which it ascends. If I’m honest, when I did my podcast, I was trying to be The Bugle. But I think I can say with complete confidence that if there’s a better podcast than the Bugle out there, I haven’t found it yet. Enough, gushing, what’s so good about it?
It is, quite simply, hilarious.
Andy’s comedic style is typified by fantastically inventive jaunts into bullshit facts, perfectly complimented by Oliver’s biting sarcasm. In short, they’re very, very funny. The early Bugles had features like the ‘Audio Cryptic Crossword’ where Andy would read a cryptic crossword clue to the audience. That’s it. Another section was ‘Hotties from History’, which began because of the pair’s continuous and increasingly lewd references to Florence Nightingale. Probably one of my favourite sections is ‘The American’, where a very (very) American guy (who I think is a Daily Show producer)
Some podcasts, as good as they are , are essentially one big long plea for a radio series (I’m looking at you, Collings and Herrin), but the Bugle is nothing of the sort. It’s brilliant from beginning to end. One issue is the overuse of the theme music, but it doesn’t matter that much – it’s good theme music. Seriously, if you’re not listening to this podcast already (and I can’t think why you wouldn’t be) you should go and subscribe. Now. Seriously. You won’t regret it.