By Joel Mandelkorn – The Ploplist – June 9th, 2011

      Last night at The Comedy Central Stage, I finally caught a live recording of Greg Proops’ indomitable ongoing podcast affair, The Smartest Man In The World.

      The experience of the live recording reveals why the podcast is such an intimate experience. It’s just Proops and you, the listener. There’s no fan fare. Proops takes center stage at small table and chair setup with a single microphone. Then he’s off. An hour of great conversation that flies by at a break neck clip. He crams the feeling of a great two-way conversation into the lecture-style format of a one-way conversation.

      Part professorial, part crazed comedian, Proops forms the show around his talent and passions. The show flows like a love letter to tangents. Greg Proops is one of the best improvisers and compliments those skills on the show with an affable approach and an impressive knowledge of the important and the mundane.

      Last night’s show was no different. There was a dose of San Francisco Giants memories, some political detours, the lamenting of a possible Amsterdam freedom shift, a half-hearted and fun revision of America’s best/worst decades, the remembrance of Geronimo Pratt, heavy pop cultural and literary riffing and many more topics.

      One of many great Proop lines from the night came when he was detailing his memories of visiting Capri and it’s ever present aroma of lemon and bay leaves. He equated the memory like this:

      Now you know what the rabbit smelled before the lid comes down on the pot.

      Produced by the great AST Records, Proops’ The Smartest Man In The World is an elevated podcast experience. The joyful combination of intellectual engagement and simple fun. Definitely not a take-for-granted experience. The next episode plops later this week.

      While this particular show took place at The Comedy Central Stage at The Hudson Theater. Proops regularly records his show most Wednesday nights in West Hollywood at the swanky back room of Bar Lubitsch. Both the live recordings and the podcast itself are a great listen for smarty pants and smarty pants fans alike.

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