Heard of Pappy’s? We think they’re awesome.
At heart a comedy sketch group, Pappy’s – aka Ben Clark, Matthew Crosby and Tom Parry – moved into podcasting back in 2011 and have not one but two podcasts, hosted over at The British Comedy Guide.
Pappy’s in the early days (then known as Pappy’s Fun Club):
If you’ve not heard of them, Pappy’s started in around 2006 as a four person sketch group, playing the Free Fringe in Edinburgh.
After a succession of increasingly well-received appearances at bigger and bigger venues at the Fringe, and with a reduced line-up, they reached a peak in 2011 with their show All Business. Experiments in radio (a Radio 4 one off) and TV (The Mr and Mrs Hotty Hott Hot show for Channel 4) didn’t develop any further, so Pappy’s diversified into podcasting.
Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown
Flatshare Slamdown is basically a panel show. Starting with a comedy sketch based in a fictonal house in which the Tom Parry and Ben Clark are tenants in a flatshare with landlord Matthew Crosby, the show tries to settle an argument within the group over who does some task or other.
Cut to the studio, in this case a live audience at one of London’s Fringe theatres, and with guests to help them, Tom and Ben compete to win the slamdown and get the other one to do the task.
Each episode has games based around the theme, along with regular rounds, such as Beef Brothers – a courtroom drama that attempts (and fails) to settle a problem in the flat of one of the audience, and the quickfire round, where the answers are usually puns and the jingle preceding the round is anything but quick.
Into its sixth series, this show knows what it’s there for, and sets up plenty of opportunities for chaos each episode. The contrast between maverick Tom, spaced out Ben and the more punctillious ringmaster Matthew has things loose and off the wall when they need to be, yet never far from the point.
As far as jumping on points go, Series 1 Episode 5 is about the point where the format is solid enough that the show works. It also turns out to be the one in which a rather drunk Rufus Hound makes a highlight of himself.
The flatshare scenario undoubtedly helped them pitch and create their BBC3 sitcom Badults:
Bangers and Mash
Bangers and Mash came out a little earlier than Flatshare slamdown. All things being equal, this podcast is more for existing fans of the group than it is for creating new ones.
If Flatshare Slamdown is working for you, then jump into this podcast too, because it’s great, but perhaps this isn’t the place to start to get to know Pappy’s.
The format is straightforward. The team sit down and have a chat in front of the microphone. They shoot the breeze, allowing the conversation to flow as it will. Afterwards, they edit the chat into the bits they want you to hear and that’s “the mash”.
When they listen back to it, they come across ideas which could be turned into sketches, so they create sketches for them and insert them into the flow, and those are your “bangers”.
The quality of sketches is pretty high, which is impressive, given they’ve written, rehearsed and performed them within the day of the recording. The majority of the time in this podcast is spent on the chat, which again is more likely to appeal to fans who already know the characters.
Listening to this is a bit like witnessing a comic writing exercise. The creative process for comedy is to think about a subject and then develop big concepts into jokes. You can hear this happening in each episode of Bangers and Mash and it’s very well done and fascinating.
While the panel show format isn’t new, and while some of the games within Flatshare Slamdown seem redolent of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue (which I mean in a complimentary way), overall Pappy’s can make some claim on innovation within their podcasting work.
The way they’ve used podcasting to reach their audience, or used some live audiences to extend the reach of their podcast, has worked very well. Bangers and Mash on the other hand is a unique format, and should be an inspiration to comedy fans and aspiring writers alike.
Overall, Pappy’s are most themselves when live. Go and see them if you can. If you can’t then their live podcast is the nearest next best thing.