By Bob Cochran – MT Weekly – May 3rd, 2012

      Even though Greg Proops came out of the late 70’s San Francisco scene that also produced Robin Williams and the vastly underappreciated Steven Pearl, I first became aware of his comedic talents through the British radio and TV, especially Whose Line is it Anyway. US readers may know him from the US version of Whose Line, Nickelodeon’s True Jackson or his appearances on Chelsea Lately and other late night shows.

      His podcast, The Smartest Man in the World is recorded live during Proops’ appearances in various comedy clubs and venues across the globe. New episodes are available on a weekly basis. Proops’ stand up style is far from the standard set up and punch line. It instead is a unique combination of the well-informed, highly amusing comedic lectures of the UK’s Mark Steel and Rob Newman with the wildly tangential story telling reminiscent of Billy Connolly and Ross Noble. Add to that the ability to use his highly eclectic pool of knowledge to come up with some hysterical improvisation and brilliantly funny references, and you end up with something that will leave you both laughing out loud and applying for extra college credits. Where else will you hear Ronnie Montrose and Sammy Hagar discussed in the same podcast that someone reads from Aldous Huxley’s letter to George Orwell regarding the then newly published 1984. In another recent episode, recorded in Glasgow, the topics range from Turkish shaves to pasties and the love life of pandas. I’ll also credit Proops for the most accurate description of Wilkes-Barre, PA, a town where I spent a “good” chunk of my life, that I ever heard in an early episode of Smartest Man.

      Proops is not afraid to make an audience feel less intelligent than he is, or make them work for a laugh. It’s not so much to make himself feel superior, as it is to bring the audience up to his level by making them think as well as laugh while he skewers the idiocy rampant in current media, politics and society. His podcast is not the right place to go if you’re looking for comfort food comedy. If you are looking for humor that is smart, funny and you don’t mind having a sacred cow or two gored every now and then, The Smartest Man In the World is a definitely must listen.

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