Audible

Audible is looking to add some laughs to its lineup of podcasts. The company says it has recruited famed funny people such as Fred Armisen, Will Forte, and Janeane Garofalo among others, for a slate of six new scripted comedy podcasts. The Audible Original series will begin rolling out this month, with debuts set to continue into 2022.

"Audible has set a very high bar with our recent line up of ambitious scripted comedy podcasts, and we are just getting started,” said Zola Mashariki, Head of Audible Studios. 

Comedy is not new for Audible. It already has produced more than 30 comedy podcasts since it broke into podcasting a year ago. They include shows such as Hot White HeistHit JobCut and Run, and Eat Sh*t Kenny Daniels.

For the new additions Audible has recruited several acclaimed writers and visionaries behind some of comedy’s most biggest hits including Paul Lieberstein (The Office), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul, SNL, Mr. Show) who is collaborating with his son Nate Odenkirk, Achilles Stamatelaky (Broad City, Hit Job), Joe Rumrill (Chris Gethard Presents), Matthew Chauncey (What If…?), and Dan Abramson (The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon) and Matt Klinman (The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon). 

Audible will work with producers including Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco, the comedy production company Above Average Productions and “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video.

“Our listeners around the world crave high-quality entertainment that's exceptional in every way,” said Mashariki. “By joining forces with brilliant comics -- legendary and emerging -- we continue to be the home to extraordinarily witty, provocative and hilarious content,” she said in a statement.

The first show set to be released by Audible is a series called Middlespace: The Rebels Attack, And Then The Other Side Attacks As Well. Created, written, and directed by Paul Lieberstein, and co-produced with Above Average Productions, the show stars Will Forte who plays a spaceship captain who is bored with his job and daydreams about opening an intergalactic burger franchise. But Starship Captain George Cottonhammer’s life changes forever when he refuses to answer an intergalactic distress call that turns out to be a trap, giving the universe's least likely hero a chance to actually become one. The series is set to debut November 18.

In December, Audible will release a podcast called Christmas Delivery. Created and written by Achilles Stamatelaky and featuring a cast that includes Gillian Jacobs, Sam Richardson, Janeane Garofalo, J.K. Simmons, and Ashley Tisdale, the series offers a modern day twist on the Charles Dickins classic “A Christmas Carol.” It will be released on December 16.

Four other new comedy series will be released, one a month, from January through April. New podcasts include Self-Centered (Jan. 13), Lem Can Help (Feb. 10), Summer In Argyle (March 10), and Blood Weed (April 20). Each of the podcasts are exclusive to Audible and will require a subscription to the service.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Audible EVP/Head of U.S. Content Rachel Ghiazza said the comedy series could also find new life elsewhere, such as on its sister Amazon TV service. “Our main focus is always just creating great audio,” she said, but added, “We think about how content can be expansive and how it can create worlds and so we are frequently working back and forth on different projects with either Amazon Studios or other groups.”

Lieberstein said for an actor or writer, an appeal of podcasting is that it allows a project to take shape more quickly and with fewer of the rigors of big-budget TV. Still, the Audible comedy podcasts will have budgets in the high six figures depending on their cast according to the Times.