Brain Cigar review
Many moons ago, when this blog was all fresh faced and smelling of SMA (other milk formula is available), I had this podcast recommended to me by someone (I thought it was my brother, but apparently not). Since then it has laid cold and lonely in my podcast list, waiting for its turn to get played. This week, I realised I had 200 unplayed episodes of various podcasts saved on my phone, so this has been picked at long last.
So what’s it about?
Brain Cigar is a comedy podcast by Peter Bayhnam and Jeremy Simmonds. There are surreal stories, interviews with weird characters and strange sponsor adverts that all coalesce into some strange alternate reality.
Pete Bayhnam has worked as a writer on many satirical comedy shows for decades. His film credits include the films of Sacha Baron Cohen, and the animated films Arthur Christmas and Hotel Transylvania. To some he will be the face of the 90s Pot Noodle adverts, but to me though he will always be the grubby, friendless basement dweller who got picked on by Richard Herring on Fist Of Fun.
I seem to recognise Simmonds’ voice, but I can’t place him. Likewise, an internet search produces many people by that name, but no exact results. I’m aware that I will no doubt be proved wrong by this statement, but I’d like to know what else he’s done apart from the NMTB writing etc.
The entire series is only six episodes and a “Christmas special”. I managed to get the whole lot finished easily in a few hours. When you look at the running time, it could obviously be done quicker than that. I had to keep rewinding certain parts though, because they were so funny.
The parts in question are the readings of John “Throat” Church’s autobiography The Architecture Of Bacon. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so loudly at a comedy show anywhere (probably series one of A Scottish Podcast). I suspect that “Throat” is voiced by Simmonds, but I’m not sure. It’s such a brilliant character that you really can’t tell.
Is it any good?
Put it this way, it’s my joint favourite comedy podcast. I almost wish I could forget all about it so I could rediscover it all over again. Seriously, I reckon I’ll be listening to this every year for a long time. I don’t think it will ever stop being funny.
The humour here is generally quite dark, as you’d expect from someone with Baynham’s writing pedigree. It never plumbs depths as deep as Chris Morris’ show Brass Eye for example.
Julia Davis, who you’ll no doubt recognise from many well loved comedy shows gives a great performance in episode one as the completely awful founder of loneliness charity LAUK (pronounced “lowk” apparently). In fact she plays a whole range of awful characters as the series goes on. The highlight of which must surely be the New York Times reporter who reviews a Welsh funeral.
If you’re a fan of anything on TV by Armando Ianucci, Chris Morris, Sacha Baron Cohen or Steve Coogan then you’ll love this. This is one of those series that I almost wish I had an extra point to score with. I really can’t recommend this highly enough. Also, contrary to the thoughts of “Doug in Colorado”, I loved The Architecture Of Bacon readings and would quite happily own that audiobook.
Earlier I said that I would listen to this once a year, but I can’t help myself, I’ve just downloaded the whole thing again. I’ll just have to ignore the weird looks I get on the train as I burst out laughing.
As you well know by now. This is where I give a link to the website and say “you can get Brain Cigar here” etc. Unfortunately, there is no Brain Cigar website. I suspect it was lost in the same tragic server crash that lost the first six episodes of this show, and the the first 38 instalments of “H from Steps’ Guide to Affordable Laptops”. You can find it easily enough though. So find it, and listen to it.
It seems I was wrong about the website thing. I should have known there’d be some sneaky business involved. I had even seen the website in the search results, and discarded it because of the Spanish language used. So to return to a more traditional ending (because we all like familiarity don’t we, even if it does breed contempt). You can get Brain Cigar here:
or wherever you get your podcasts