By Megan Pearson – [email protected]
Ari Shaffir is a stand-up comedian from New York city who you may recognize as the host of the hilarious Comedy Central series “This is Not Happening” or his appearance in the 2016 film “Keeping Up with the Joneses.”
Along with his work in television and film, a lesser known project of Shaffir is his weekly podcast “Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank.”
Every week Shaffir interviews a guest about a specific topic of their choosing. Although most guests are fellow comedians, guests can vary from people like Colt Cabana talking about his professional wrestling career to Cris Italia, a volunteer EMT who was a first responder on 9/11.
Along with a variety of guests, topics discussed have included bedwetting, hunting, prostitution, the Middle East, relationships, mental illness, music, comedy, kids, drugs, fatherhood and many more.
Because this podcast is so diverse from episode to episode, I can’t even begin to review each episode. However, I do want to share my thoughts on two of my personal favorite episodes.
The first is episode 26 “Goin’ Crazy” with comedian Steve Agee. Shaffir and Agee have a very real conversation about both of their struggles with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Agee opens up about his first panic attacks and how they eventually took over his life to the point where he couldn’t leave his house. Along with his panic attacks and depression, he also shares his past experience with alcohol and drug abuse.
Although this sounds like pretty heavy conversation, know that they’re comedians so not much of the conversation is taken too seriously. However, I appreciate how much they emphasized that if someone is having dark thoughts or anxiety they’re not alone and reaching out for help is not something to be ashamed of.
A second episode I really enjoyed was of course an extremely different topic, episode 22 “Holocaust” with Nat Shaffir, Shaffir’s father. Both of Shaffir’s parents were Holocaust survivors and although he occasionally talks about their experience, in this episode his dad goes into detail.
Shaffir first gives his son a mini history lesson on everything leading up to the Holocaust, then gets into how exactly his family was targeted then taken.
It is clear that Shaffir hasn’t heard his dad open up about his experience in the concentration camps which makes it even more interesting to listen to the genuine reaction of a son hearing about a horrible time in his dad’s life.
Overall I recommend this podcast to pretty much every kind of person. Because of the variety of topics and guests it would be impossible to not find something you’re interested in.
However, if you are someone who is easily offended, my recommendation is to find a nice podcast on birds instead.
Not only do I recommend Ari Shaffir’s podcast, but I also recommend his stand-up albums “Passive Aggressive,” “Paid Regular” and “Revenge for the Holocaust” to anyone who enjoys comedy and isn’t easily offended. Shaffir is an underrated comic who puts out quality material worth anyone’s time.