Tag Archives: Andy Zaltzman

The Bugle’s “Hotties From History” Compilation

John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman’s weekly “The Bugle” podcast has been on hiatus for a lonnnng time. I’m not supposed to be upset about it because John and Andy’s careers have been on such an upswing since the show started in 2007 that it’s become difficult for them to find time. The Bugle is a half an hour to 45 minutes of well-crafted political comedy. If it were “two guys get a tiny bit lit and then argue about last week’s episode of ‘Daredevil’” it’d be easy to maintain a consistent schedule but it wouldn’t be as interesting or funny.

The guys keep saying that a relaunch (as a monthly) is in the works. I can’t wait. In the meantime, I’ve been listening to old shows. Many of The Bugle’s fans have cut together their own compilations.

Here’s 90 minutes of The Bugle’s “Hotties From History” segments. This fine tradition started with one of the guys’ throwaway references to Florence Nightingale. Listeners started writing in with their own picks for historical figures capable of inducing downstairs tinglage, and at that point the bit became an unstoppable force.

“Unstoppable force” is also an apt description of Andy’s heroic acts of stamina, courage, and more than anything else “looking on Wikipedia for lists of things,” in the form of his epic pun runs. They’re like the performance art of Marina Abramovic, a single act that might seem like the product of a burning self-destructive impulse achieves a kind of stature and grandeur when it’s placed within the larger context of the artist’s life’s work.

I’m keeping tuned to The Bugle’s Twitter feed for news on the show. If John and Andy never recorded another show, I’d still be vastly grateful for what for years was the best podcast of my week. But I really hope they can find a way to keep the show going.

The Andy Zaltzman Pun Run To End All Creation

A dog I once knew loved a stuffed chicken toy. He carried that chicken toy everywhere. It was a love that had no rational foundation, and like many instances of true love, anyone outside of that relationship was at a complete loss to explain it.

But it was a pure love. Witnessing this love made me happy. Happy enough to overlook the fact that the chicken — which, I will remind you, spent all of its time being slobbered over by a dog that rarely brushed its teeth — was filthy and torn and gross, and I guess it was smelly, too, but if you looked at it you wouldn’t instantly think “I need to get closer to that chicken and then take in a good whiff of that.”

If there’s one man on this planet who can understand the love between the dog and that chicken, it’s Andy Zaltzman (co-host of The Bugle podcast). He has this same relationship with the concept of puns.

To Zaltzman, a pun is like a broken bottle in the street. The whole world regards these things as a nuisance at minimum, a hazard at worst, and wishes they’d all just disappear. Puns, we all recognize, are a menace to the public peace. Zaltzman is the crazy man who keeps scooping these things up and carefully pocketing them, after examining them with great interest and delight.

It seems like an unhealthy relationship. But only when you see him fondling a single pun. When he assembles a whole chain of them into an epic pun-run, you sense that perhaps he sees something to this jangle of crusty artery-piercers that has escaped the rational world.

And when two whole hours of his puns are cut together? Then the bizarre genius of Andy Zaltzman’s puns finally assumes a recognizable shape. He has been carrying these things to an empty lot in the desert and building a massive towering cathedral of shimmering multicolored facets. His puns are individual pieces of junk that achieve a sort of grandeur when assembled on a monumental scale.

It’s beautiful. Not just the thing itself, but also the evidence of a brain that could maintain such a commitment to such a thing over such a consistent span of years. Though I don’t condone the use of puns in the hands of the casual dabbler, when manipulated by a master who takes such raw glee in their construction and deployment, respect must be paid.

Do pray for the soul and sanity of Zaltzman’s brother-in-Bugling, John Oliver. You and I have the freedom to stop and start Andy’s puns whenever we wish. Poor John can’t…though Lord knows, he and the show’s producers do keep on trying.

Dear iTunes: Where Are My God Damned Bugles?

Dear Mr. iTunes:

First, I love your store. Generally-speaking, it’s a terrific way to discover and purchase music, whether I know specifically what I want to buy or just know vaguely that I’m interested in discovering new music.

But this is the second time the iTunes app has told me that there’s a new episode of the Bugle podcast waiting, and then not allowed me to download said podcast.

I don’t think you understand the dramatic impact that this failure has upon my Friday and Saturday workflow, Mr. iTunes. I will, charitably, conclude that you’re like the little kid who steals a fire extinguisher from their school just for a lark, without really thinking it through.

Well, iTunes, let me put it to you plainly: The Bugle is certified for class A-B-C-D fire-suppression and though it lacks formal Class K certification, it can, and has, been used to successfully combat grease fires when the user has the presence of mind to thoroughly wet the episode down properly. I ask you: what happens when that pile of combustible metals that I’ve been meaning to recycle suddenly lights up and white-hot flames of magnesium are lapping at my Precious Moments figurines? What do I do after I leap to my MacBook and click the “Get Episode” button, only to be left with a little round exclamation point icon in my hands?

Yes, you’re sorry and you didn’t know what you were really doing when you allowed your friends to goad you into taking down those Bugles. But “I’m sorry” won’t rebuild my rec room, will it?

And before you even try it, don’t go blaming The Bugle for this. I know it’s an election year and it’s so easy to just blame all of your problems on an incumbent podcast but it’s time for you to step up and own your failures. I see the latest episode right there. 10/21/10: “Poor, Poor Britain,” thirty-nine minutes and nineteen seconds. I know that John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman recorded the episode and Chris the Producer edited and posted it. They’re fine, decent men. Andy has a wife and children; John has an accent that’s breezily reminiscent of Eric Idle in the “Nudge, Nudge” sketch; Chris, to my knowledge, has never dressed up any of his cats as Captain Jack Sparrow.

While you, Mr. iTunes, sell more than two dozen different recordings of “Sometimes When We Touch.” Including one by Donny Osmond.

Put yourself in my position, iTunes: who would you believe was the more trustworthy party in any given dispute?

This sounds like it’s a really big issue, but really, iTunes, it isn’t. Just give me my Bugles.

Give. Me. My. Bugles.

Good day, sir.