Andy Zaltzman

Andrew Zaltzman (born 6 October 1974) is a British comedian and author who largely deals in political and sport related material. He has worked extensively with John Oliver and their work together includes Political Animal, The Department, and The Bugle. His performance style is centred on verbal dexterity, and on his love (and extensive use) of puns, especially in extended "pun runs" (for example, within The Bugle podcast[1]).

Andy Zaltzman
Zaltzman performing at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Born (1974-10-06) 6 October 1974
United Kingdom
MediumStand-up, radio, podcast
Alma materUniversity College, Oxford
Years active1999–present
GenresPolitical comedy
Relative(s)Helen Zaltzman (sister)
Notable works and rolesPolitical Animal
The Department
The Bugle

Early life

Zaltzman is of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry. He is the son of South African sculptor Zack Zaltzman and the older brother of Helen Zaltzman, of The Allusionist and Answer Me This! podcasts.

From his prep school, Holmewood House School in Langton Green, Kent, he then attended the private Tonbridge School. He has a degree in Classics from University College, Oxford. While at university, Zaltzman was sports editor for The Oxford Student.[2]



Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Zaltzman has been performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 1999, when he was a finalist in the prestigious So You Think You're Funny? new act competition along with Josie Long, Russell Howard, and David O'Doherty.[3]

His debut full-length Edinburgh Fringe show Andy Zaltzman versus the Dog of Doom received a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Perrier Comedy Awards in 2001.[4]

In 2004, Zaltzman began – initially with John Oliver – hosting Political Animal, a stand-up show in which different acts perform political themed material; Zaltzman has hosted solo since 2006. Political Animal later transferred to BBC Radio 4.

Zaltzman also appeared in a late-night show with fellow stand-ups Daniel Kitson, David O'Doherty, and Alun Cochrane entitled The Honourable Men of Art, at The Stand in 2006 and 2008.

Year Show name Notes
1999 So You Think You're Funny New act competition. Finalist
2000 The Comedy Zone New act showcase
2001 Andy Zaltzman versus the Dog of Doom Nominated for Best Newcomer at the Perrier Comedy Awards
2002 Andy Zaltzman Unveils the 2002 Catapult of Truth
2003 Edinburgh and Beyond Showcase. With John Oliver and Rob Deering
2004 Erm... It's About The World... I Think You'd Better Sit Down With John Oliver
2005 John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman issue a list of demands and await your response with interest With John Oliver
2006 Andy Zaltzman Detonates 70 Minutes of Unbridled Afternoon
2007 Andy Zaltzman, 32, Administers His Emergency Dose of Afternoon Utopia, Steps Back And Waits To See What Happens
2008 Andy Zaltzman Boldly Unbuttons The Cloak of Civilisation, But Is Perplexed And Perturbed By What He Finds Lurking Beneath
2010 Andy Zaltzman Swears to Tell the Truth, Half the Truth, and Everything But the Truth
2011 Andy Zaltzman: Armchair Revolutionary
2013 Andy Zaltzman: Satirist for Hire
2014 Andy Zaltzman: Looks At Some Of The News (briefly) And Is Confused By Most Of It
2016 Andy Zaltzman: Plan Z
2017 Andy Zaltzman: 2017 – The Certifiable History.
2018 Right Questions, Wrong Answers.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Zaltzman performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for the first time in April 2007, winning the coveted Piece of Wood Award, given to the best show as voted for by other comedians.[5]


In 2011, Zaltzman appeared as a guest stand-up comic on Russell Howard's Good News Extra. In 2013 he also contributed a review of that year's World Snooker Championship to BBC Television's regular coverage of the event.[6]

Since mid-2014, Zaltzman has toured Satirist for Hire, where questions and comments are solicited from potential or confirmed audiences (usually via email or social media) before performing at venues, giving parts of the show a constantly evolving order and structure.[7]

In December, 2014 Andy performed at the Lord’s Taverners charity Christmas lunch without incident.

From June 10, 2016 Andy is hosting Zaltzman's Summer of Sport podcast published by The Guardian.

From November 17, 2017 Andy is co-hosting The Urnbelievable Ashes with Felicity Ward, a podcast published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.[8]

The Department

Zaltzman and John Oliver gained their first big break when they teamed up with the multi-Perrier Award nominated Chris Addison on The Department, a short running radio show based on the premise that Chris, Andy and John, were a three-man organisation brainstorming to solve societies problems.[9]

The Bugle

Zaltzman has co-hosted The Bugle, a weekly satirical comedy podcast, since 2007.

From October 2007 until June 2016 the podcast was hosted by Zaltzman with John Oliver. In June 2016 Oliver left the show due to other commitments. The show was officially re-launched on 24 October 2016. Producer Chris Skinner remained on the show along with Zaltzman and a rotating group of co-hosts. The first set of new co-hosts include Wyatt Cenac (US), Hari Kondabolu (US), Tiff Stevenson (UK), Nish Kumar (UK), Alice Fraser (Australia), Anuvab Pal (India), Tom Ballard (Australia), and Helen Zaltzman (UK).

The Bugle was hosted by The Times until December 2011[10] and the podcast has since been independent, relying upon listeners' contributions to continue.[11] In 2016 the podcast relaunched and became a member of the Radiotopia podcast network.

In December 2018 it was announced The Bugle would be leaving Radiotopia.


Zaltzman has worked with Rory Bremner on a number of projects, these include Transatlantic, a US election special for BBC Radio 4 and several series of Bremner, Bird and Fortune.[12] In June 2007, BBC2's The Culture Show commissioned Zaltzman and John Oliver to write a mock farewell speech for departing Prime Minister Tony Blair. The speech was then animated by Triffic Films, with the voice of Blair played by Bremner.[13]

In November 2008, his first book, entitled Does Anything Eat Bankers?: And 53 Other Indispensable Questions for the Credit Crunched, was published.[14]


In July 2009, Zaltzman hosted a Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 5 Live entitled Yes, It's The Ashes, taking a comic look at the 2009 Ashes.[15]

Zaltzman presented his own four part BBC Radio 4 programme in December 2009 entitled Andy Zaltzman's History of the Third Millennium, Series 1 of 100. Also featuring Rory Bremner and Bridget Christie, the show contained stand up and sketches focusing on the last 10 years.[16]

Zaltzman was a regular co-host, along with comedians Al Murray and Rebecca Front of the satirical news programme 7 Day Sunday (also broadcast as 7 Day Saturday). The show had been running on BBC Radio 5 Live since starting in January 2010.[17]

Zaltzman is also an occasional guest on the on-line cricket radio commentary station Test match Sofa and on TalkSPORT's cricket show Howzat. More recently he has appeared on Test Match Sofa's successor and was an occasional member of the team when they broadcast the programme from a central London sports bar for the 2015 Ashes.

In 2016 Zaltzman became the scorer for Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 on the Sri Lankan tour of England.

In 2017 he wrote and performed a three part series on ancient philosophy including Stoicism, Epicureanism and Cynicism for BBC Radio 4.[18]

In 2018, along with comedian and occasional The Bugle co-host Anuvab Pal, he wrote and performed in Empire-ical Evidence a look at the rise and fall of the British Empire produced for BBC Radio 4.[19]


Zaltzman is a huge fan of cricket and in November 2008 began a regular blog for Cricinfo, named "The Confectionery Stall" after a famous piece of commentary by Richie Benaud, where he described a shot by Ian Botham during his innings at the third Ashes Test Match at Headingley, in 1981 as having "gone straight into the Confectionery Stall and out again".[20][21] Alongside Jarrod Kimber, he hosts a podcast on cricket known as The Cricket Sadist Hour.

Zaltzman's blog covered the 2011 World Cup for Cricinfo, supported by a number of podcasts.[22]

Zaltzman has also appeared on the internet radio site Guerilla Cricket, and has played for the Authors XI cricket team.[23]

Personal life

Zaltzman's wife is a barrister and they have two children, a daughter born January 2007 and a son born December 2008. Zaltzman delivered his son at home due to his wife entering labour suddenly.[24] His sister Helen Zaltzman is a comedian and podcaster.[25]

Zaltzman voted to remain in the UK's Brexit vote. He said later, in an interview for The Guardian, "I could understand the result of the referendum. I voted to remain and I feel European as much as I feel British, but I could see that there were good arguments on both sides, it’s just that the bad arguments seemed to completely drown them out. The whole tone of the leave campaign was negative and xenophobic, and a lot of the remain campaign was just selfish. It seemed to focus on people’s personal finances rather than any idea of what we should be aspiring to as a nation and a continent."[26]


  • Does Anything Eat Bankers?: And 53 Other Indispensable Questions for the Credit Crunched. Old Street Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-1905847938[27]


  1. "Bugle podcast - Bonus Bugle Satirist for Hire #2". Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  2. "Andy Zaltzman – The Comedy Club". The Comedy Club Limited. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
  3. "Russell Howard interview – 'That's me and the Fringe done'". The Scotsman. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
  4. "if.comedy – Newcomers". Archived from the original on 11 March 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
  5. "Comedy Festival Awards – Piece of Wood". Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
  6. "Andy Zaltzman on the World Snooker Championships 2013" via
  7. "Andy Zaltzman: Satirist for Hire (Review)". Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  8. "The Urnbelievable Ashes Podcast". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  9. "Perrier winner and nominees profiled". 27 August 2005. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  10. Goodman, J.David. "Times of London Cancels Comedy Podcast That Mocked Murdoch". Media Decoder Blog – New York Times. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  11. "The Bugle Podcast".
  12. "Avalon Entertainment Limited – Andy Zaltzman Profile". Retrieved 22 April 2009.
  13. Culture Show - Tony Blair Farewell Speech - BBC Two. YouTube. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  14. "DOES ANYTHING EAT BANKERS? And 99 Other Questions to Cheer Up the Credit Crunched". Archived from the original on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  15. "Cricket show for comic Zaltzman". 7 May 2009. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  16. "BBC – BBC Radio 4 Programmes – Andy Zaltzman's History of the Third Millennium, Series 1 of 100". BBC. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  17. "BBC – BBC Radio 5 live Programmes – 7 Day Sunday – Episodes". BBC. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  18. "BBC Radio 4 - My Life as a..., Series 1, Stoic". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  19. "BBC Radio 4 - Empire-ical Evidence, Series 1, Episode 1". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  20. "BBC Sport - Richie Benaud - much more than a cricket commentator". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  21. "Cricket World Cup 2011 - Running between the Cricket - Video diary". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  22. "On the Road with Zaltzman". ESPN Cricinfo. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  23. "The Authors XI". 13 May 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  24. "The Bugle 57 – Hats off to Obama, shoes off for Bush". London: TimesOnline. 21 December 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  25. Cain, Sian (2 September 2014). "All in the family: the Zaltzman comedy siblings" via
  26. Duffy, Owen (13 November 2016). "Andy Zaltzman: 'Trump decided the way to power was debasing humanity'" via
  27. "Does Anything Eat Bankers?: And 53 Other Indispensable Questions for the Credit Crunched". Amazon.
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