This Week in Comedy Podcasts

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What are you asking for this Christmas (Hanukkah, etc.)? More podcasts? Really? Ok! Well with degrees dropping like flies (flies are also dropping like flies from the cold) there is no better time to have your headphones hug your bare-skinned ears. While there, they might as well whisper you some sweet podcast nothings. Here are our favorite whispers of the week:

BRADFORD: Pop My Culture #61 – Phil LaMarr

The ideal Pop My Culture guest is someone who occupies a unique spot in TV and film history and can join in with hosts Vanessa Ragland and Cole Stratton’s riffing with ease. Phil LaMarr (MADtvFuturama) is exactly that kind of guest, as his eclectic resume provides fodder for some great conversation and he’s game when it comes to joking around with the hosts. Some of the best bits in this week’s show are LaMarr recalling the diverse projects he’s been in over the years, including an early voice role in Mr. T’s shoddily-produced animated series in the 80’s and a small but significant part in Pulp Fiction. Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist podcast empire recently picked up Pop My Culture, and with episodes like this one, it’s not hard to understand why. Phil LaMarr is game for Stratton and Ragland’s unique blend of humor and chat, gelling with them right away and feeling like he’s there every week. It’s a good listen for fans of LaMarr and comedy podcast enthusiasts alike.

ELI: Guys with Feelings: December 13, 2011 – Rob Delaney

If you are on Twitter and you are on this website, then you are familiar with Rob Delaney. But if you only know Delaney from his tweets about offering to munch on strange women’s boxes, then you are unaware that he is also a brutally honest writer and, for all appearances, a nice guy (who’d like to get at that box, strange women). Both these qualities are well served in this episode of Guys With Feelings in a wide ranging conversation with hosts and fellow comics Jason Nash and Jeff Bumgarner. Delaney touches briefly on his history as a stage actor and use of Twitter to gain notoriety before things GET DEEP with Delaney’s recovery from alcoholism, child-rearing based rage fits, and Vietnam vets committing suicide. All in all, a solid episode of dudes talking ‘bout their feelings and an interesting look at the man behind the tweets. Also, Delaney and his wife let a 20 year old with Down syndrome drown when they first met.

JESSE: WTF with Marc Maron #235 – Donald Glover

Is there anything Donald Glover can’t do: he raps, sings, writes on your favorite sitcom of three years ago, and stars on your favorite sitcom of one year ago. Well, add podcast guest to that list. Donald is a force of nature, a man whose talent is so boundless that he spends every free moment creating something new. It’s always interesting how a person grows to become that way and luckily Glover seemed excited to be honest with Marc. He talks about being raised by parents who took in many VERY troubled youths, being called gay by black classmates, and being picked on for being black by white classmates. It’s clear the drive to prevail over this adversity, eventually translated into is work ethic that has brought him so much success today. Last year, when Ira Glass was on, he told Marc of a theory he held that Marc was an asshole to anyone younger than him and deferential towards anyone older. Generally, this is true with the exception of the youngsters he thinks are absolutely brilliant. This is how views Donald and as a result the interview has a fun excited energy about it that usually is only reserved for legends.

JOEL: Walking The Room #81 – Patton Oswalt

Intimate and insane, as always, Walking The Room offers up another energetic episode with Patton Oswalt. The closet chat session quickly turns into a crazy mess. A fun crazy mess. Behrendt, Anthony and Oswalt create the best kind of hangout session, free form and full of passion – no matter the topic. Behrendt classic recap of his Camp Freddy experience sends Oswalt to a giddy state. Oswalt chimes in throughout with his usually awesome storytelling, connecting the dots between the Anthony and Behrendt ranting to his own absurd happenings. Oswalt relays an epic glee club fail moment and his story about running into crazy fallen-apple hoarders. The guys offer up a hobotang PSA, of sorts. And the episode concludes with some bonding over complaining about shitty neighbors. The universal sitting around and bitching topic. Don’t worry – they still manage to sneak in some more “horse shit.”

MARC: Judge John Hodgman – “The Bedding Crasher”

As the scramble for podcast territory widens and grows, it’s fun to see how certain personalities morph to squeeze into the narrowing niches still available. The sly, cynical wit of John Hodgman (well-known from his appearances on The Daily Show and as the PC pitted against Jason Long’s Mac in those oft-parodied TV commercials) is somehow perfectly suited to be a self-anointed judge in Judge John Hodgman. The fact that each “case” Hodgman hears is ludicrous plays well against his mock seriousness about the supposedly grave matters at hand…and this case is no exception. In “The Bedding Crasher “episode, he listens to the Skype-driven testimonies of two people bringing a case against a third friend because he wants to imposition them into putting him up when he visits from out of town. When the verdict finally comes down — give the out-of-towner a special set of keys until he grows up enough to stop sofa surfing — one gets the feeling the complainers are going to go against court orders as soon as the web connection is severed. Every episode is topped off with Hodgman and his bailiff, Jesse Thorn (who hosts and produces a couple of other podcasts through the MaximumFun.org space), lounging around the judge’s chambers, sifting through his email.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Comedy Bang Bang #135 – Paul F. Tompkins, Erinn Hayes, Dan Telfer

Doug Loves Movies – Sarah Silverman, Brian Posehn, Edgar Wright

Improv4humans #5 – Sean Conroy, Jill Donnelly, Colton Dunn

Superego – “The Season of Giving” A Christmas song by The Journeymen

Jesse David 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.

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!