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Sklarbro Country Podcast
The following is the third entry in a series of articles covering the booming comedy podcast scene. For the purpose of explanation, a podcast is a program-driven form of digital media (audio or video) released episodically by download through web syndication.
Comedy and sports collide in twin brothers Randy and Jason Sklar’s podcast “Sklarbro Country,” broadcasted on the Earwolf network. The brothers have been working as a stand up team since the mid-1990s and have been in countless TV appearances and hosted “Cheap Seats” on ESPN Classic. Last year they jumped into the world of podcasting with their sports-themed program during the launch of the Earwolf network. Unlike typical sports talk radio that analyzes scores and statistics, the Sklars have a casual discussion of all-things sports and pop culture. After fifty weekly episodes, the duo have cultivated a devoted following known as the “citizens of Sklarbro Country.”
Absurd news stories in professional, college and amateur leagues are discussed with the brothers’ comedic take on the outrageous actions of athletes around the world. Built around a traditional radio program, the Sklars cover recent events in sports, invite actors and comics in for the discussion, and end the program with a short interview with a celebrity voice impersonator. Yet, the success of the show can be contributed to the Sklar’s ability to relate sports topics to audiences from those who watch ESPN 24/7 to those who may not even know the difference between a puck and a baseball.
The Sklars have attracted such comedic stars as Patton Oswalt, Nick Swardson, Greg Proops, and Amy Poehler. Interviews delve into the guests’ involvement in sports, whether as fans or their own interactions with professional athletes. St. Louis native actor Jon Hamm bonds with the twins’ mutual experience of growing up admiring the hometown Cardinals. Roastmaster Jeffrey Ross talked about his experience roasting Shaq and Michael Irvin. And as a testament to the hosts’ ability to appeal to anyone, they got a terrific conversation out of comedian Chris Hardwick (“Web Soup”), who admits to having absolutely no clue to the world of sports. However, he happens to be the son of Hall of Famer professional bowler Billy Hardwick and was able to delve into his childhood years spent touring the bowling circuit with his father and unknowingly developed a detailed knowledge of the bowling world of the 1980s.
Before their decision to pursue comedy while attending the University of Michigan, they developed a brief obsession with the 1980s hit drama “L.A. Law” and applied to and were accepted to law schools. Since they did not take the legal route, they transferred their interest in the law into an occasional segment called “Sklarbitration.” Here, the brothers take a “small claims case” of ridiculous athlete stories and offer their own sentencing plea deal. Each episode concludes with a brief “interview” with a celebrity impersonator, typically comedians Chris Cox and James Adomian. Cox himself is a real talent who portrays Tiger Woods, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, actors Owen Wilson and Sam Elliott, and a racist version of L.A. Dodger’s announcer Vin Scully. And an episode wouldn’t be complete without a “Henderson!” shout-out, a rallying-cry amongst their fans based on Canadian hockey legend Paul Henderson’s game winning 1972 goal against the Soviet Union.
The show recently released their 50th episode with no plans of letting up. Earlier this year, the brothers held their own live taping at the San Francisco Sketchfest. This past 4th of July at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition, second place finisher Patrick Bertoletti sported a homemade “Henderson” head ban and was invited to call into the show. “Sklarbro Country” never disappoints and is consistently funny and interesting, and this coming from a casual sports fan with a real lack of sports history knowledge. Comedy fans, however, will get a real kick out of this comedic duo.