By Katherine Feeney – The Sydney Morning Herald – April 6th, 2011

      Greg Proops is an American who doesn’t hold back. Not on stage, not on radio, and not on television.

      Nor is the telephone a platform Proops thinks is suited to restraint.

      Shortly after the start of an interview about his forthcoming Australian tour, Proops had bared his incisors, attacking political issues with the dandy dexterity he is renowned for.

      “I don’t think that the people who run TV and radio, pardon the expression, know fuck about anything,” he says. “The media and the government really don’t want anyone to know anything that’s useful in building an opinion and employing your mind in critical thinking. Not to be too depressing about it, but that’s the truth.”

      Rarely does a public persona share their convictions so openly on a promotional phone call to a member of said media.

      But that’s partly why Proops is so successful and why his comedy continues to grab attention.

      There is a need for more people like Proops – spade-callers who try to prompt social change through chuckles.

      And his opinion about the media and the government, though somewhat reflective of a modern left-wing, American viewpoint, is all the more interesting given it stems from nearly three decades of personal experience.

      Best known for his improvisational television work on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show, the college drop-out from San Francisco found success in radio and film as an actor and voice artist, as well as an internationally touring stand-up comedian.

      But the experience seems to have left him more than a little jaded “with the system”, so to speak.

      “A [radio] station in San Francisco used to have me on for about an hour or two in the mornings,” he says. “Last time, I was on for about ten minutes before they rushed me off so they could play a Katy Perry record. You’re left going, first of all, Katy Perry appeals to what, 11-year-olds? The idea that me and Katy Perry are in the same Venn diagram is like… well,” he trails off, before changing tack. “Radio, especially in America, has become so corporatised and anodyne and reduced in its impact. [The government] is talking about taking the money away from the National Public Radio – which is largely funded by oil companies by the way – but they’re talking about taking that money away so that we won’t even have a national radio anymore.”

      As to why this is a problem for Proops, the answer is simple.

      “Because intelligent people are allowed to speak on NPR and intelligent people have informed opinions,” he says. “That’s not what television and radio are about in the United States, you’ve seen it and you’ve heard it: it’s a lot of shouting and a lot of nonsense.”

      Which brings us to Proops the podcaster.

      Since October 2010, the funnyman, like thousands of his peers, has found a seat on the same self-publishing bandwagon currently revolutionising the entertainment industry.

      Called the Smartest Man In The World, Proops’ podcast is available for free, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

      This “freedom of information” and the potential audience it offers is a potent catnip for creative forces, Proops says.

      It grants entertainers in many fields the power to avoid the restrictive nature of a “narrowing” media, its governing bodies and the “middle-men” is near impossible to resist.

      “Podcasting offers comedians the opportunity to take back their means of expression,” he says. “It’s a lot more personal than our stand-up… it’s more personal thoughts and feelings and I think that’s the power of it. And it makes comics more honest.”

      You get the impression truth is all Proops really cares about. But then, perhaps realising our conversation has done more to promote his opinions rather than his tour, he confesses he’s really only “in it” for laughs.

      “Comedy is only so important,” he says. “You can only tell your jokes and hope that people laugh. As far as thinking, if you wish to think after coming to the show that would be good, but I don’t expect anyone to subscribe to my opinion. But I’d encourage people who disagree with me to remember that laughing at something you disagree with is called being sophisticated.”

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