|Hosted by||Dan Harmon|
|Genre||Comedy, entertainment, talk|
|No. of episodes||360|
|Original release||June 16, 2012 – December 3, 2019|
Harmontown is a weekly live comedy podcast that aired from June 16, 2012 to December 3, 2019. It was hosted by writer Dan Harmon, best known as the creator of the television series Community and Rick and Morty, and actor Jeff B. Davis, best known for his work on the improvisational comedy series Whose Line Is It Anyway? Harmontown began as a monthly live comedy show in Los Angeles, California at the NerdMelt Showroom on May 23, 2011, but the show became weekly after Harmon was fired from Community. Since the summer of 2012, each episode of Harmontown has been recorded and released as a podcast, first by Feral Audio through 2017, then Starburns Audio starting in 2018.
The podcast has featured many guest appearances, including Game Grumps, Kumail Nanjiani, Greg Proops, Aubrey Plaza, Bobcat Goldthwait, Rob Schrab, Curtis Armstrong, Patton Oswalt, Jason Sudeikis, Dana Carvey, Felicia Day, Robin Williams, Mitch Hurwitz, Joel McHale, Rob Corddry, John Mayer, Eric Idle, Logic, and Steve Agee.
On March 8, 2014, a documentary about the podcast, also called Harmontown, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival.
The original premise of Harmontown began with Harmon's and Davis's attempts to discuss how to successfully eliminate the flaws of society and create a utopia (which they claimed could be addressed with the creation of a lunar colony) in front of a live audience. The show evolved into what Harmon and Davis call "live therapy sessions" for Harmon, as he discussed with Davis a variety of topics, from anecdotes about his family and work to commentaries on movies, social issues, and scandals.
Format and structure
Harmontown is not scripted; it is largely improvisational. The show frequently feature many guests to help drive the discussion. On its fifth airing, the show began having a regular Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) session at the end of each episode. This led to the introduction of Spencer Crittenden, who leads their D&D segments, having extensive knowledge of the game. Crittenden happened to be an audience member when Harmon and Davis asked for assistance from the crowd with how to play D&D. Crittenden gradually became a part of the main cast. He was then hired as an assistant to Dan Harmon.
Beginning in 2015, with episode #131 "Dirty Little Potato People", the Dungeons & Dragons segment was replaced with a Shadowrun game session, placed towards the end of the episodes and for a similar length as the D&D segment. Crittenden is also the gamemaster for this segment, with guests optionally filling the roles of some characters in the campaign.
From October 2017 to June 2018, the podcast was recorded without an audience due to permit issues with the Starburns Castle venue.
When Davis is unavailable, guest comptrollers include Brandon Johnson, Rob Schrab, Erin McGathy, Kumail Nanjiani, and Duncan Trussell. Occasionally, special guests will serve as comptroller, including Mitchell Hurwitz, Bobcat Goldthwait, and—on the Harmontown movie tour—Gilbert Gottfried, Dino Stamatopoulos, Steve Agee, and LeVar Burton.
Tour and documentary
From January 10–30, 2013, Harmontown evolved from its original format and structure to go on a national tour, leaving Los Angeles and traveling to cities such as Pittsburgh, Austin, and Nashville, all while posting new episodes within two days. The tour became the subject of a documentary produced by director Neil Berkeley. The documentary, also called Harmontown, follows Harmon, Davis, McGathy, and Crittenden. The documentary (Harmontown) premiered at the SXSW Film Festival on March 8, 2014.
While Harmontown continues to perform weekly episodes in LA (currently at the Dynasty Typewriter theater), they still take the show on the road from time to time. In 2016, Harmontown traveled to Australia for a series of performances, and from time to time Harmontown can be found performing at various comedy festivals across the US.
Cast and crew
- Dan Harmon: Mayor of Harmontown
- Jeff Davis: "Comptroller"
- Erin McGathy: recurring guest and comptroller
- Rob Schrab: recurring guest and comptroller
- Brandon Johnson: recurring guest and comptroller
- Spencer Crittenden: Dungeon Master
- Kumail Nanjiani: recurring guest and comptroller
- DeMorge Brown: recurring guest
- Dustin Marshall: podcast producer 2011-2016, founder of Feral Audio
- Steve Levy: producer
- Kristian Boruff: live director
- Sarah Hill: technical coordinator
- Kevin Day: web producer
Harmon's openness on Harmontown has frequently proved controversial. Following season 3 of Community, Sony fired Harmon as show-runner, and many fans noticed the show's tonal shift in season 4, with displeasure. Harmon avoided watching season 4 of his former show for some time, but after finally viewing it, he expressed his opinion of the season during a Harmontown episode. Harmon made comments referencing Jeffery Dahmer (a convicted serial killer and cannibal), and described his experience of watching the season as "like flipping through Instagrams and watching your girlfriend just blow a million [other guys]." Harmon subsequently publicly apologized for his comments.
The A.V. Club wrote that "The podcast is for fans only, but for that undervalued group, it's essential listening." CraveOnline wrote of the podcast: "If you're a Community fan, you're not going to want to miss the brains behind the show. If you're a comedy fan, you're not going to want to miss the show because it is, in all seriousness, the best comedy podcast out there. Harmon is a fantastic talker and storyteller and Davis is just as fantastic to listen to."
- Quah, Nicholas. "Podcast Network Feral Audio Being Shut Down by Founder Following Abuse Claim Against Him". www.vulture.com. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Starburns Industries, Inc. "Starburns is excited to announce the launch of SBI:Audio! SBI: Audio is the new podcast venture from #Starburns Ind". www.facebook.com. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Gibson, Megan. "Harmontown and The Cult of Dan Harmon". Time. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- DeFore, John. "Harmontown: SXSW Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Martin, Brittany (June 11, 2018). "The Best Things to Do This Week in L.A.: June 11–15, 2018". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Faruqi, Osman (December 20, 2016). "Dan Harmon Came To Australia And Ripped Into Our Incredibly Wanky Food Scene". Junkee. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Husband, Andrew. "The New York Comedy Festival's 2018 Lineup Will Feature Marc Maron, Bill Burr And Others". Forbes. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Kirby, Ben (March 11, 2014). "What The Hell Is Harmontown?". Empire. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- Hudson, Laura (January 3, 2014). "Community Gets Funny Again by Embracing Its Own Failure". Wired. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Busis, Hillary. "Dan Harmon on 'Community' season 4: Not good". EW.com. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Ferris, D.X. (July 27, 2012). "We visit Harmontown and binge on Doug Loves Movies in this week's podcast roundup". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 25, 2014..
- Krauspe, Christian (July 9, 2012). "Podcast Review: Harmontown". CraveOnline. Retrieved November 13, 2014.