I'm a big fan of Harry Shearer for a number of reasons.
His best known work is voicing characters for the Simpsons, but there are many different facets to the man as well. His career started as a child actor in the 50's, but in the 1960's he started making a name for himself as a comedian, satirist, journalist and seemingly every other noble career.
His academic background was in Political Science, including a spell as an intern in Sacramento. His journalism however, was not limited to the political, and he found time to interview rock bands such as Creedence (!).
His profile was massively raised when he co-wrote and co-starred in This Is Spinal Tap (as well as the other Christopher Guest movies: Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show, A Mighty Wind and more recently For Your Consideration). All of these films have a large emphasis on improvisation, and in the musical ones (Tap, Guffman, and A Mighty Wind) the cast wrote much of the musical content. I must admit, I'm a fan of Shearer's songs as well. Check out 'Wanderin' from A Mighty Wind, or indeed his recent satirical effort '935 Lies' (below):
I make time every week to listen to his podcast Le Show. Again, its gentle humour/humor that includes many "copywrited features" such as The Apologies of The Week (accompanied by a gentle backing track that sings 'Sorry' over and over again), News of the Warm (a global warming segment), The Trades (professional journals reviewed) and News Outside the Bubble (non-US reportage).
Shearer also seems to take a more in depth look at some issues that have not received great coverage in the US Press [surely that's everything?- ed] from the formaldehyde content in the trailers provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina('F is for FEMA') to the failure of the digital TV switchover. You can subscribe or listen to it from HERE.
No doubt Shearer is lambasted as one of Hollywood's 'liberal elite', but his humour and satire has a "quiet dignity" (For Your Consideration) that is seldom found in much broadcasting either side of the pond.
May it long continue.