The Podcast You Absolutely Have to Listen To: Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank


ARI SHAFFIR SKEPTIC TANK FINAL

“The Podcast You Absolutely Have To Listen To” is a new series where we talk about the  podcasts on the internet you should be checking out.  If you’re living on planet Earth, you already know about the most famous ones– like WTF with , The Show, The , The Experience, and Comedy Bang Bang.  But there are literally thousands more and we’re combing through them for you, to let you know which ones you should check out first.  

This week, “’s Skeptic Tank”.


Openly Jewish with a subtly crass sense of humor, Ari Shaffir is quickly growing to be one of the top touring comedians in North America. Brought to the masses by prodding hot topics such as racism (The Amazing Racist videos), Shaffir is a model for any young comedian trying to make it as a headliner. Whether you’re looking to hear a new comedian or you want to learn the inner workings in the business of being funny, you absolutely need to listen to Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank. The podcast is a weekly update from Ari and includes interviews with special guest comedians you may or may not have heard of before. A recent great Skeptic Tank find — , a comedian with Asbergers — is now on my list of comedians to watch, for example.

The discussions on Skeptic Tank can flow in and out of comedy.  Sometimes  the conversations can get intimate and even go to uncomfortable places.  Shaffir has no problem talking to guests with terrible experiences such as rape (ep. #124), cutting (#122),  miscarriage (#118) and even Ari’s own father recollecting his own personal experience during the Holocaust (episode entitled #22 Holocaust (Nat Shaffir, released April 8, 2013). Skeptic Tank not only lets the guest tell their story, but Shaffir always makes the point to highlight their coping mechanisms.  A wide net of problems and disorders are on display here and listeners struggling with similar issues  may find an odd sort of therapeutic outlet.

If you can stomach the human condition and really enjoy finding the funny in uncomfortable situations, Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank must be added to your weekly downloads.

Ari also brings an interesting angle to discussing the creative process– Shaffir has brought the “director commentary” phenomenon to comedy.  Through Shaffir, comedy nerds can enjoy comedian commentary for their favorite albums.  This year, Ari deciphering his own hysterical ‘Revenge for the Holocaust’. After each album track Ari stops the album and discusses where his head was at when he wrote the joke, why the joke was placed where it was in the set and how he feels about the joke now.  It’s incredibly cool to hear, especially for up and coming comedians and hardcore comedy fans.  And you get exposed to comedy albums that you may not have heard before.  It’s a new feature and there have only been two so far– Ari’s own, and more recently,   gave an in depth analysis to his own first album Thrilled (#159). I’m a big fan of this concept and I really hope to see more comedians stop by to give their own album commentaries.

Ari Shaffir has a real talent for finding interesting guests and exploring different comedic avenues. If you can stomach the human condition and really enjoy finding the funny in uncomfortable situations, Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank must be added to your weekly downloads. While you may not agree with some of Ari’s opinions, you’ll quickly commend him for his honesty. Shaffir is a master at finding the weird and pinpointing great talking points with his guests. You can tell that Shaffir loves to dive head first into the taboo. My question is, are you willing to take the dive with him?

The VITALS:



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Burdened by a name that garners many "unique" nicknames and compliments, Jason Steele likes to spend his time outside of work hiking with his pitbull/boxer mix, Hennessy. He also likes to attempt open mic standup comedy around Rochester NY, writing articles and short stories, and playing guitar. During his overnight work hours he spends his time stocking shelves and listening to a wide variety of comedy podcasts.

3 Comments

  1. 8thgentxn

    May 2, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you for writing this great review, I am looking forward to hearing Ari on the show.

  2. FreddytheGreek

    May 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Good call on Ari’s podcast.  I listen to a lot of these, and agree with everything said

  3. XTallOne

    May 4, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Skeptic Tank  #163 was a great Podcast.  Thanks I-bang for bringing this out of the podcast jungle.