This Week in Comedy Podcasts

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“I love podcasts!” So said Jenny Slate when I met her at a Marcel the Shell with Shoes On book reading. Maybe she was being genuine; maybe she was trying to pander to me in a shrewd attempt to sell books; maybe (and hopefully) it was response to the long rumored Bestie x Bestie podcast. Full discretion: That rumor, if there is one (there isn’t), was started on this site. But come on, what a delight that would be. Until then here is our picks for this week’s bestie podcasts.

BRADFORD: Who Charted? #49 — Ben Schwartz

The best episodes of Who Charted? are the ones where the guest hasn’t appeared on or listened to the show before and is caught off-guard by host Howard Kremer using his distinctive original songs as musical bumpers and the segment that has become the highlight of the show week after week, “Chart Roulette.” Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio on Parks and Rec; he’ll be appearing in Showtime’s new series House of Lies in January) is exactly this kind of perfect Who Charted? guest in that he comes in unfamiliar with the show but seems genuinely thrilled and entertained as he discovers its more eccentric elements over the course of the hour. Schwartz is game for Howard Kremer’s absurd, convoluted line of questioning, going along with the silliness naturally. Schwartz also draws attention to host Kulap Vilaysack’s soothing radio announcer voice, leading her to give a funny, extended sampling of her exaggerated pro broadcaster routine. Kremer, Vilaysack, and Schwartz’s conversation is fun and charming all around, so much so that Ben Schwartz doesn’t seem to want to leave by the time the episode’s over, a clear-cut sign that Kremer and Vilaysack know how to entertain their guests.

ELI: You Made It Weird #5 — Chelsea Peretti

This episode of You Made it Weird is probably a good listen if you happen to be a creep and/or scuzzbucket because podcasts don’t get much closer to eavesdropping than with this (very funny) conversation between Pete Holmes and his fourth best friend Chelsea Peretti. That’s a testament to the two stand-ups’ familiarity and affection for one another, which Peretti describes as two insane people confessing how they think of each other. From the first of Holmes’ many sarcastic exclamations that Peretti is “the worst,” it’s obvious that these two are the type of friends that often riff over a quinoa and egg white brunch (which is what they did before the recording). They debate the merits of talking shit, dating within the comedy world, and how Peretti’s sense of humor belongs in a 4’2”, bearded man’s body all while Holmes’ whips his head away from the mic to keep listeners’ ears from exploding due to his bursts of laughter. So, it’s also a good listen if you aren’t a creep and/or scuzzbucket. Let’s stand together on this one, creeps and/or scuzzbuckets.

JESSE: The Dead Authors Podcast Chapter 3 — Dorothy Parker featuring Jen Kirkman

Have you thought to yourself, “I wish more podcasts really stuck it to Jules Verne?” If so, you are in luck, as a couple of this episode’s first few minutes are spent with H.G. Wells (voice by, you guessed it, Paul F. Tompkins) railing against the man who shares the credit with him for inventing science fiction (despite as Wells point out his “books are 99% science and 1% fiction”). The podcast follows H.G. as he uses his time machine to bring famous authors to the UCB Theatre for a brief interview. I know what you’re thinking, “Authors!? Books!? If I liked to read I wouldn’t’ be listening to podcasts in the first place.” Fret not, prior knowledge of each episode’s dead author is not entirely necessary, as it seems the comedians themselves barely skimmed their Wikipedia page. This episode casts Jen Kirkman as the witty lush Dorothy Parker. Parker was known for her clever proto-Sex-and-the-Cityian pun-heavy turns of phrase, so much of the episode’s fun came from Kirkman trying (and mostly failing) to turn everything into a quotable quip. This is only the podcast’s second episode (though it’s billed as the third since they’re still editing the second); however, the stage show has been going on for well over a year, leaving Dead Authors ready for podcast primetime (which is actually the morning commute).

JOEL: Guys With Feelings — Andrea Savage & Jake Kroeger

The “been here for years” podcast street cred applies to Guys With Feelings. I’ll admit to not taking the walk with hosts Jason Nash and Jeff Bumgarner as often as I should. They always deliver with a fun free flowing chat that can be real or get really silly really fast. The show is always a treat.  The latest episode featured visits from comedian/actress Andrea Savage and Jake Kroeger from The Comedy Bureau. Savage as the co-star of Nash’s upcoming web series has an easy conversation with the guys. Nash is one of the best hosts working today. He coaxes tons of great Savage stories, highlighted by her honest and engaging story of very recent experiences at her grandfather’s funeral. Savage somehow pivots to some honest talk about stand-up, sexual past and on-screen kissing. Plus, Nash and Savage humorously try to offer up girl advice for Jake Kroeger. Roller coaster of emotions, indeed.

MARC: Kevin Pollack Chat Show #134 — Patrick Warburton

Although it started out as an Internet video show (and still is), the Kevin Pollak Chat Show (KPCS) has been “simulpodding” an audio version of the weekly program for a while now. Since it’s basically just comedian/actor Kevin Pollak and a single guest squared off over a round table, there’s not a whole lot to be missed visually, so KCPS makes the jump to podcast pretty seamlessly. His guests are pretty awesome, week-to-week—while rarely the biggest names on the marquee, they do tend to be up above the ranks of the rotating podcast guests we keep hearing on a lot of the shows. This week he puts in almost two hours with Patrick Warburton, well known as Puddy on Seinfeld, a cult fave as The Tick, and holding down a steady sitcom gig the last six seasons on Rules Of Engagement on CBS. Some microphone problems in the early going make for a slow start but then Pollak and Warburton are off on a whirlwind guided tour through the actor’s life and career. While not laugh-a-minute funny, there’s something genuinely entertaining about getting the unvarnished truth from Warburton’s own wry delivery. And every episode of KPCS is always worth waiting for the Larry King Game at the end of the show.

SHAUN: Doug Loves Movies — Cake Boss, El Chupacabra, Don Dimelo

When I saw the guests for this episode of Doug Loves Movies, a single tear fell down my cheek. Could it be? Three of the greatest podcast characters of all time have decided to assemble all at once? It sounds too good to be true, but it is. If you’re a fan of the normal format of DLM, have no fear but brace yourself for something a bit bizarre. Instead of normal guests, the audience is graced by the presence of Cake Boss (Paul F. Tompkins), El Chupacabra (Nick Kroll), and Don Dimelo (Andy Daly). These character juggernauts  are almost too much comedy to endure as host Doug Benson (Benson Interruption) has real trouble keeping it together. As the panelists riff about cake bugs and Rapunzel, Doug tries to stay on topic but eventually gives up (much to my delight). This episode is the perfect storm of funny and surreal, which ultimately leads to zero recollection of the Leonard Maltin game.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

-Comedy Bang Bang #130 — Bobby Moynihan, Jenny Slate, Elizabeth Laime

-WTF with Marc Maron #224 — Chris Rock

-Sklarboro Country # 67 — Maria Bamford, Jason Nash

Jesse Fox is a freelance writer, podcaster, cat person, and Jew (in that order). He lives in Brooklyn. His iPod is broken.

Bradford Evans is a writer living in Los Angeles.

Eli Terry writes for the house UCB sketch team Gramps. He is on Twitter with few followers.

Shaun Diston is a Writer/Improviser/Sailor of the Ocean.

Joel Mandelkorn is the co-Founder of The Plop List, Producer at CleftClips, Producer of The Super Serious Show.

Marc Hershon is host of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast and author of I Hate People!