The scruffy, uncompromised punk rock to commercial radio’s slick and bloated yacht pop, podcasts have provided a wealth of free and vital content in recent years, allowing comedians, broadcasters and just about anyone to put their thoughts on tape without the need for the middle man of radio management. One of the key podcasts is FOFOP (an earlier incarnation was called TOFOP), a series of rambling but often riotously funny conversations charting TV presenter/writer/ comedian Wil Anderson’s life as he moves to the US and decides to focus solely on comedy. As FOFOP passes the 100 episode milestone, here are some favourite epsidoes:
FOFOP 26: Snoop Dog
The most memorable appearance of ‘World’s Worst Co-Host’ Ramona, a French bulldog Anderson looks after, who almost pays the price for her curiosity in this excruciatingly funny tale. As with a lot of the best comedy, it flirts with tragedy and farce in roughly equal measure. Recorded just after the incident, this is a great piece of storytelling made all the better for Anderson and co-host Lindsay Webb’s still raw sense of relief and bemused disbelief.
FOFOP 67: Lil’ Bats
An ideal introduction to the winningly frivolous and pop-culture obsessed side of FOFOP, this is one of many episodes to feature comedy industry legend Justin Hamilton. The pair have an amazing rapport and an ability to hilariously riff on any topic, though their conversations almost inevitably return to a shared obsession, Batman. Here, they take on artisanal meth for hipsters, Robin Thicke and a range of other lengthy but inspired digressions. The best bit, however, is one of the podcast’s patented ‘gritty reboots’, this time a pitch for a pint-sized Gotham city crusader which is both an absurd concept and a better idea than many Hollywood studios have had lately.
FONUS: An Unexpectedly Serious Conversation
A massive outlier in the reliably hilarious FOFOP back catalogue (and released as a bonus episode with the disclaimer that it won’t be for everyone), this is definitely the most sobering episode put to tape, but all the more memorable for its serious nature. Anderson and frequent guest Dave Anthony discuss the former’s shock as he deals with the news his sort-of-friend has been arrested for possessing child pornography. A thoughtful, disquieting look at how a crime affects a community, including those only tangentially involved.
FOFOP 53: Everyone Does It!
One of FOFOP’s best reflections on the intricacies and banalities of our obsession with celebrity culture, this hugely funny episode sees Anderson reunited with another JJJ alum, the hilarious and likeable Scott Dooley. The title here comes from an extended improvisation stemming from the most unlikely of starting points: an entry in the Daily Telegraph’s ‘celebrities spotted’ section where someone reported seeing Claudia Karvan using the bathroom in a Redfern café. What follows can only be described as inspired nonsense.
FOFOP 91: Foflanniversary
Recent FOFOP episodes have approached the more serious bent of off-shoot podcast Wilosophy and this chat, where Anderson recounts a massive surprise party thrown for him when he turned 40, is a joyous celebration of friendship and finding your niche in life. For long-time T-baggers, it’s also something of a payoff as Anderson had outlined the surprise party as his ultimate birthday present in an old TOFOP episode, only to forget about it as friends set about planning it in stealth. The laughs per minute quotient is probably not as high as a lot of other episodes, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the pure exuberance of this instalment.