Did you see the announcement of the South By Southwest Comedy Lineup? They might as well call it “Pod By Podcast,” amiright? Nope? Fair enough. I’m just saying there is a lot of podcasting going down. I like to imagine there is one podcast diehard who is going to SXSW just to see those live taping, oblivious to the music festival swirling around him or her. If you’re out there Mister or Miss (it’s probably Mister), godspeed noble podcast fan, let me know what it’s like to see Greg Proops beautifully ramble for an hour, surrounded by the smell of smoked cow and spilled tequila.
BRADFORD: The Marc and Tom Show
When Marc Maron and Tom Scharpling appeared on each other’s shows for the first time last year, the two fell into a natural and funny back-and-forth that led to discussions of doing a podcast together. Being that these are two of my favorite comedians and podcasters going, I grew very excited about the prospect of hearing them talk to each other on a more frequent basis. When I interviewed Marc Maron for Splitsider last year, however, I was disappointed to hear him say that doing a podcast with Tom Scharpling was “a whimsical idea that didn’t have legs.” Much to my surprise this week, I noticed Maron and Scharpling had gone through with recording a show together, and it was every bit as entertaining as I’d expected. From Scharpling’s funny and surprising defense of Christian Bale’s on-set blowup to Maron’s bleak predictions about the future of his career, The Marc and Tom Show is a thoroughly entertaining conversation between two of the biggest names in podcasting. Maron refers to this as a “one-time show” on his blog, but here’s hoping these two sit down to record another chat soon.
JESSE: Ronna & Beverly #20 – Jeff Garlin
I got absolutely giddy when I saw Jeff Garlin was going I be on Ronna & Beverly. Not because he’s very funny, which he is, but because I knew exactly how Ronna and Beverly would react. Jeff Garlin is like Justin Bieber to 50 something Jewish divorcees, which Jamie Denbo and Jessica Chaffin perform as with eery accuracy. Not surprisingly, the proceedings were particularly charged, leading to Mr. Garlin laying out exactly how he wanted to sex Ronna (her ass would definitely be in the air and so on). The pair don’t break character or wink to the audience because they are the best. Ronna & Beverly is new to the Earwolf network and I’m excited for them to get access to all those earholes because they are so absurdly good at what they do.
JOEL: The Todd Glass Show #32 – Jen Kirkman, Daniel Kinno (Part 1)
This week’s Todd Glass Show is an exercise in killing time. As they wait for their late arriving guest (Jen Kirkman), Glass, Kinno and the rest of the studio crowd spend this episode screwing around with reckless abandon. There’s some healthy pivoting between the silly and sincere. At this point, the show’s foundation of exposing the riffing process and good-natured fun among Glass and his crew provide more than enough comedic fodder. The episode is filled with lots of fake anger. There’s more fun with music, including a Johnny Cash sing-off. Kinno steps up in the guest void with some stellar needling of Glass. Listeners are treated to another “Todd as fake cop” story – basically a reoccurring (and semi-alarming) segment at this point. Glass offers up the not-quite-classic-yet improv game of “yes and meaner.” It’s all full-steam ahead riffing. The show is in full tangent-in-bloom mode. Already looking forward to the next time Glass and the gang have some time to kill.
MARC: The Nerdist #170 – Seth Myers
The legitimacy of podcasts overall seems to be ever on the rise, judging by the caliber of guests that appear week in and week out on various shows. Nerdist is one that has been consistently scoring and Ep. #170 is no exception, with SNL’s Seth Meyers the big catch this week for host Chris Hardwick. Meyers doesn’t have to go far, as the chat takes place in the late night show’s green room (with Hardwick’s usual compatriots Jonah Ray and Matt Mira absent), which creates a challenge: The musical guest the week this interview was taped was Sleigh Bells, who are sound-checking next door most of the time, and it’s more than a little distracting. But Meyers busts through and manages to be charming, funny and forthcoming about his life during and before he broke on SNL a decade ago. He talks about the challenges of moving from the midwest to do improv theater in Amsterdam, where the humor almost but not quite always translated. He feels he was saved from possible Not Ready For Primetime obscurity when Lorne Michaels plopped him into the anchor chair for the vaunted Weekend Update segment. (And he relates a simple camera move he got from WU alumnus Dennis Miller that he said made all the difference in the world.) Hardwick tries to dig into the long history of behind-the-scenes in-fighting on the show, asking “Isn’t it super-Darwinian?” Meyers relates that, in actuality, “It’s never ‘back-bitey’ but it’s also not ‘back-patty’.” And although Meyers has come into performing stand-up relatively late in his improv and sketch heavy career, he relates how it really stood him in good stead when he performed in front of President Obama at the most recent Washington Press Correspondents Dinner where, he said, once he saw he’d made the Commander-in-Chief laugh, he knew everything else that night was going to go all right.
ROGER: Best Show on WFMU – Julie Klausner, Ted Leo
For two weeks every February, WFMU, the long time freeform radio station that accepts no money from sponsors, launches into all out fundraising mode to finance their station for the following twelve months. Considering that the likes of Patton Oswalt, Aimee Mann, Paul F. Tompkins, John Hodgman and Ben Gibbard have appeared on previous “marathon” shows, it’s no surprise that this week’s podcast review superstar Tom Scharpling and his The Best Show On WFMU generates the most buzz and cash for the station. The first money begging show of 2012 is worthy of a listen for Julie Klausner and Ted Leo’s earnest interpretations of “Kiss From A Rose” and “Different Drum” alone, but Gary The Squirrel’s incessant hazing of associate producer Mike and Vance The Puppet’s conversational detours into his beloved prog rock (both of the creatures of felt are voiced by Scharpling) making their fundraising debuts almost took the spotlight away from the podcast celebrities. Frankly, the fact that Scharpling is portraying two puppets should be lame and maybe even a cry for help, but it fits right in with the show’s sincerity with teeth dynamic. Jon Wurster’s Philly Boy Roy phone call was the only disappointment, if only for the fact that when Wurster has been live in the studio during these shows the energy was a lot higher. That being said, P.B.R. outing real life human being, veteran Best Show fundraising co-host and WFMU DJ Therese as his secret lover, which Therese admitted to, can lead to a lot of fun stories in the future. To help keep the show and the station stay on the air, make a pledge at wfmu.org
Comedy Bang Bang #145 – David Wain, James Adomian, David Wain’s son, David Wain’s dad
Here to Help #20 – Matt Mayer, Matt Cutler
Sklarboro Country #82 – Chris Fairbanks, James Adomian
The Dana Gould Hour #2 – Ed Crasnick
WTF with Marc Maron #254 – Bill Maher
Jesse David Fox is a freelance writer, cat person, and Jew (in that order). He lives in Brooklyn. His iPod is broken.
Bradford Evans is a writer living in Los Angeles.