Podcast Review: The Smartest Man in the World , Coyotes

2015-05-15-1431704298-6960555-proops.jpegConsistently funny and semi-educational (even the host disclaims the source of some of the information he spouts during the course of The Smartest Man in the World), host Greg Proops holds his own for an hour and a half of his latest installment, Coyotes.

Live from the Bellhouse in Brooklyn, he ranges from reading emails from listeners (some of whom turn up in the live audience) to pontificating about recent elections in Canada. The title for this week's episode was from a riff he gets into about California's drought, where he talks about seeing coyotes skulking around the streets near his house, and about the legion of wildlife that's come down from the hills seeking water.

It's always kind of a challenge to put a pin in the podcast enough to nail anything resembling main topic, as Proops is the master of tangential monologue. Which is a bit of an amazing feat for someone to pull off who is only talking by themselves. Example: In the course of reading an email from a PhD candidate, he rails against people referring to their college experience as a "career," the media using "urban" as their code word for black people, breaks into a Diana Ross song, which then leads to an impromptu capsule review of The Wiz, concluding with a sprinkling of art history.

Baseball -- a favorite topic of the host -- is touched upon, with some amusing anecdotes about the great Satchel Paige. And that's just a small chunk of the whirlwind of self-conversation in this episode, which has a grand finale featuring a couple of Ben E. King songs, including Stand By Me, played in honor of the great singer-songwriter's passing last month.

Sidenote: For anyone interested in capturing an enduring sample of the Master of Eclectica, Proop's new The Smartest Book in the World is out this month. It's a delightful book stuffed with random information, with his true voice brought to life on the page.


Podcasts I'm also listening to this week: The Larry Miller Show: Victory In Europe!; and Illusionoid: The Demon in The Darkness