I was listening to one of my audio regulars when I realized Karl Pilkington is one of the obsessions I haven’t made remarks upon. It’s difficult to qualify him. He isn’t a comedian but he’s the funniest person I know. He isn’t educated but his observations make you stop and wonder why you haven’t thought of them before. He’s an enigma, and he has no clue why people are fascinated with him. It’s precisely this unconcerned, “un-celebratized” air that he has (seriously, he’s for real) that endears him to all his fans. Heck, he makes the current Ricky Gervais (one of his best pals) tolerable (when they are together)
My obsession started when I was searching for “english podcasts” on itunes. There were a ton of results, ranging from the Stephen Fry ones (which, of course, I already possessed) to grammar ones and, most importantly, this.
Now, you know I can’t turn down anything that has to do with the English – and seeing its outrageous high rating/popularity didn’t hurt. So I clicked – anticipating a quirky discussion on why the English are awesome. incredibly enough (and luckily enough) I had no idea that these were comedic podcasts – the description (from Audible) was cute and whimsical:
AUDIBLE RELEASE DATE20/04/2009
The Ricky Gervais Guide to… THE ENGLISH.
In celebration of St. George’s Day, this last episode in the present series focuses on the English – their culture, history, and how they are perceived internationally.
Join Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant, and Karl Pilkington as they take tea, maintain a stiff upper lip and generally comport themselves as fine examples of the Bulldog Breed.
In this episode: Karl harks back to halcyon days; Ritzy crackers; the archetypal Englishman; weddings; Karl on cafe culture; help the aged; Ricky’s royal etiquette; dung beetles and dead badgers; fair play and the crossbow; dragon slaying and tongue-grabbing; Steve’s spectacles; and Ricky reads a Brooke.
For your listening pleasure: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/audio/2010/apr/23/ricky-gervais-podcast
So I listened. I was pretty confused why Ricky was so hostile towards this Karl dude (esp the infamous ORANGE HEAD intro), who seemed pretty laid back and was just taking all this crap. Maybe it’s because I am also somewhat of a self-professed weirdo, but I was sort of nodding my head with some of the stuff Karl was saying. Anyway, by the end, I was hooked – and I started to listen to Season One of the show (the guides happened after 5 seasons) – those were even better – my favorite segment till now has always been “KARL PILKINGTON’S DIARY”. It’s the combination of the funniest non-happenings, Steve’s dead-pan delivery, and Ricky’s screams of laughter that makes it hilarious.
As is per my habit, I devoured the podcasts in less than a week and began scouring for more. It wasn’t until I found the XFM (a London alternative music radio station) shows that I became a devotee. These are recordings of this weekly radio show that Ricky did immediately following the first season of The Office (oh, Tim). Karl was the producer (responsible for “pressin’ the buttons an- that”) and wasn’t even suppose to be on-air. But over time, Ricky became obsessed with Karl’s strange and fantastic outlook on life and began to drag him into the on-air conversations. The rest, of course, is history.
Most fans agree that the latter half of XFM Show 1 and the first half of XFM Show 2 are the funniest things they’ve ever heard. I have loved them for 2 years now and though I know every episode like the back of hand, they never fail to cheer me up.
It’s difficult to find just one clip to represent the trio is so amazing, so I am going to be self-indulgent and pick a few of the classics:
Karl’s Diary: the Inauguration
Suzanne’s (Karl’s longterm partner) Birthday!
You Never See An Old Man Eatin’ A ___________
And we end with the Man himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz0DKtWl-Eo
How about you guys? Any favorites?