Kittens McTavish! If you've never tuned in to the dulcet meaderings of the Proopster, Proopmaster, Prooptacular One, Proopnosticator of Proopitude, or... nope, I just Prooped out of monikers (but, trust me, there are several more), then it may be difficult to convey the type of electrifying, off-beat, vodka drenched, thought provoking, fun, depressing but in a good way, uplifting, irreverent, topical, exhilerating, political, satirical, scholarly, profane, unrelenting show this is. Actually, that description isn't a bad start, but somehow I would still have to include the many locations that Mr. Proops broadcasts from as they are varied and vast in proportions yet he always makes it back to the salubrious confines of the Bar Lubitsch in LA.
Now, go have a couple drinks, come back and read that last paragraph in the voice of Jeremy Irons while arguing with a paper cut-out of a cat, and tossing it all into the atmosphere so it dazzles in a swirling vortex of twinkling wonder. If you did it right, Satchel Paige should've appeared in a puff of smoke next to you and given you a pat on the back.
A Little Background
Greg is a performer of many talents and has had a long splendid career. While he may be most known for his improv work on the show "Who's Line is it Anyway?" (Both the UK and USA versions), Greg is an experienced road comic who has been traveling around the world doing stand-up comedy for decades. When viewing Greg's official website the list of his upcoming appearances from Cinefamily in Los Angeles, CA, to The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY, and then skipping "across the pond" to the London Soho Theatre in London, England can boggle the mind. Considering the distances he travels for one of his "sexy gigs," I'm forced to believe that the term "road comic" is just not fitting enough for this globe-trotting quipster.
Aside from his performances, Mr. Proops has also had other roles in television, film, and has guested in a number of other podcasts (that number would be a high one). When listening to the rapid-fire references and hilarious stories the Proopmeister rolls off the cuff with ease, the listener feels the strong impact of how all of his experiences organically blend together during a performance.
What to Expect
Just loads of sitar music for about an hour and a half. You know, if he did do an episode like that, I wonder if he would get jeers or praise for pulling such a tactic? I'm sure you guessed this to be untrue by now, but with the randomness that makes up Greg's train of thought, it wouldn't surprise me if he'd attempt this at some point, or at least host an entire episode of sitar music and discuss the offerings at length.
So, where was I? Oh yes, sitar music is the invariable introduction to the show which has not changed in the podcast's history. As the podcast consists of tapings of his live stage appearances, a crowd is heard as Greg is introduced to the stage by an announcer, and then from there, it's anyone's guess. There are standard segments for most episodes such as covering corrections from previous shows, a couple of hilarious rants which Greg delivers with frenetic exuberance and passion, answering fan questions, answering questions from the crowd, going off on a tangent or two which involves the telling of an entertaining story from his drug-addled past (not that he's not currently stoned and/or drinking heavily), and other great features the fans have come to know and love (especially the "Boring preachy part"). But, Maestro Proops is not a slave to format and can easily surprise you with committing an entire episode to answering a single question or even reminiscing about the wonderful foods he's had the pleasure of sampling from all corners of the globe. The lavish manner in which he is able to describe the epic meals he's devoured is a tantalizing treat in itself, but be wary of the cravings that may arise when it occurs.
Okay, we should really start this article already...
The real brilliance about the podcast is the fact that Greg creates such an interesting atmosphere on stage that any subject can become riotously funny or madly intriguing. His style of delivery is bold and confrontational yet packed with knowledgable insight and genuine wisdom, but he's also extremely self-deprecating. Even the podcast name, "The Smartest Man in the World," is just a humorous twist as he DOES NOT think of himself as an intellectual giant. He's well-informed with very strong stances on issues that he finds relevant and fascinating, but anyone who has listened to Proops perform knows that there are no ego trips involved. Of course, if his ego did become inflated, his very smart and loving wife would deflate it in no time.
That last line may stick a bit if you've ever listened to an episode or seen Greg Proops live. He adores old cinema and has no problem peppering in little melodic snippets of tunes from Doris Day movies in between jokes. He also enjoys good food, good wine, impeccable clothing, and "manscaping" is an obvious lifelong obsession. His magnificently pompadour can almost glisten in the stage lights... but yes, he does have a wife. He is heterosexual and he regularly admits that he "makes no case for it whatsoever." This is just another aspect of Greg's sharp wit as he is able to manipulate stereotypes of appearance, or intelligence, or morality in such a way as to squeeze a heaping helping of laughter out of every punchline. Well, almost every punchline, but nobody's perfect.
Vodka flavored Vodka
If you've enjoyed reading about this outstanding podcast, then you really should listen to an episode because there's no way this article comes close to capturing this inimitable performer. Although, if you imagined Jeremy Irons reading it to you the entire time, then it may have come close.
You can find this podcast on iTunes and you can find other great podcasts in my previous article Auditory Aureation: Podcasts You Should Listen To. If you'd like to post your own comments about this podcast or anything else that's on your mind, don't hesitate to use the section below. Thanks for reading.