Spotify is unleashing three original comedy podcasts, including a high-concept scripted show from “Saturday Night Live” alum Fred Armisen.
In “The Sketch Factor,” Armisen (“Portlandia,” “Documentary Now!”) plays Xandor Szavost, an inventor, philanthropist and billionaire who’s using his fortune to finance an audio sketch-comedy competition for his own amusement. Each three-to-five minute episode features a sketch to be judged by Xandor. The cast of “The Sketch Factor” includes Kurt Braunholer, Jo Firestone, Maggie Champagne, Tim Robinson, Josh Ruben, Yamanika Saunders and Seaton Smith. The show premieres exclusively on Spotify on April Fool’s Day.
Also debuting on April 1 is “Flameout,” in which a cadre of comedians unravels the biggest business bombs and the unhinged leaders responsible for each of their company’s downfall. Each episodes features insider interviews and juicy revelations — with unfiltered takes on the epic flameouts. Comedians who appear in the series include Michael Ian Black (“Wet Hot American Summer,” “The State”) , Abbi Crutchfield (“Up Early Tonight”), Joel Kim Booster (“The Other Two”), Candice Thompson, Chinedu Unaka, Joel Kim Booster, Atsuko Okatsuka, Alison Becker and Baron Vaughn.
And launching on Thursday (March 25) is Spotify original “Nosy Neighbors,” hosted by Candice Thompson (“Creepy Caress”) and Chinedu Unaka (“The Mindy Project”). The duo highlight the wildest neighbor stories of the week: dissecting and analyzing Karens, settling disputes, unpacking petty posts on local forums, and celebrating good neighborly behavior. Each episode will feature a call from a fellow comedian with their tales of their own notable neighbors.
The comedy slate is part of Spotify’s ongoing efforts to bite off a bigger chunk of the podcast pie. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the company said, 25% of its total user base engaged with podcast content (up from 22% in Q3) and podcast consumption hours nearly doubled year-over-year.
Last month, the streamer debuted a podcast featuring conversations between Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen from the Obamas’ Higher Ground production company. Spotify also has inked multiyear deals with Anthony and Joe Russo’s AGBO and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Archewell Audio. In addition, Warner Bros. and DC are creating exclusive podcasts for Spotify including “Batman Unburied” and an array of characters.
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