This Week in Comedy Podcasts

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Who let the pods out? Casts, casts, casts casts casts! Is that the worst one yet? Probably but it did make you wonder why the original song’s lyrics weren’t “Who let the dogs out? Cats, cats, cats cats cats.” Because cats don’t really like dogs, you know? You know. Seriously though, lots of people let the podcasts out and we are so so so (your boat) thankful. If they didn’t, what would we write about each week in this column? It’s called “This Week in Comedy Podcasts” what other choice do we have? Ok, I guess we could critique the casting styles of the fisherman who use funny looking pods filled with worms. But would you read that? You would! You’re the best. As a thank you, here are this week’s podcast picks: 

JAY: The Mike O’Meara Show #562: Jalapeno & Cheese Flavor

In the 1980’s, Diff’rent Strokes invented the “very special episode,” in which a comedy show would tackle an important issue in a dramatic fashion and everyone learned an important lesson in the end. Seeing comical characters speak about serious matters is effective because it is jarring and a stark contrast from the expected. Tuesday’s Mike O’Meara Show is a very special episode, but not in a cheesy sitcom way. The usual format of TMOS is a daily humorous take on pop culture, sports, and the lives of the guys on the show. Each podcast ends with Robb Spewak’s Audio Vault and Buzz Burbank’s News. No matter the topic, the fellas always bring the funny. That is why Episode 562 is a significant part of the show’s history. It begins with a short opening vignette. The first topic up for discussion is Mike’s recycling conundrum. We then get to the meat in this sandwich: Oscar Santana’s helluva night. Comedy is great because it allows us to be brutally honest. Podcasts are great because they allow us to be totally uncensored. Oscar’s story is one you don’t normally hear in today’s media. It is shocking. It is amazing. It is sad. And unlike Arnold and Dudley at Gordon Jump’s bike shop, or Uncle Ned’s drinking problem, or Jessie Spano’s caffeine pills, this very special episode takes us through a real tragedy and teaches us a real life-affirming lesson and a renewed faith in humanity. It is a story you won’t want to miss. While this episode may not be the funniest one on the list, it certainly deserves to be included as one of this week’s best comedy podcasts. And I promise; next week I will get back to the funny.

JESSE: Thrilling Adventure Hour #68: Beyond Belief, “Nuns The Word” – James Urbaniak, Kate Micucci, Janet Varney, Jeri Ryan

It’s not new for me to proclaim my love for the “Beyond Belief” series but usually the focus is put on the loveable and loving relationship between its leads Paget Brewster and Paul F. Tompkins but with Paget’s Sadie away at the spa, we get 20 minutes of Frank, which is great because Frank is voiced by Paul F. Tompkins, who is great at voicing voices. The episode explores Frank’s past as a boy of the church, which he wasn’t to fond of – as he puts it, “Punching a ghost in the face is no way to spend your teens.” That sentence is my favorite sentence of all potential sentences. Frank was brought by his former colleagues to murder a half-vampire/half-werewolf baby, which should be easy enough if it didn’t have the cutest, little toesies. One could call this episode a satire on the inflexibility of the church to understand areas of moral grey; however, that person would be pretentious – I’m just saying it’s a silly fun time.

LINDSEY: The Todd Glass Show #41- Eddie Pepitone, Daniel Kinno

Eddie Pepitone received a beautiful, touching, personalized song this week. Don’t worry, it didn’t soften him in the least. His return appearance on The Todd Glass Show is just as loud as ever. He yells, makes everything super uncomfortable and even does a Charo impression because he knows it will be hilarious. Guess what? It is. Case in point: Todd proposes the idea of a silly dance party, and it (obviously) ends with Pepitone criticizing the gang’s authenticity of their movements. He’s not upset about all of the Turkish children he’s killed, he’s mad that you are trying to look good. Quit trying to look good. (Video of said silly dance party is below and must be viewed by all. Todd’s face!) This episode is a much better experience than last week’s installment, which is commented on in the intro and makes me feel a lot better about the state of things to come. Because honestly, TTGS has most likely become one of your favorite weekly podcasts because you are smart and like cool things and of course you love it. It’s nice to know that the kinks are still being worked out and we can all say we knew the show before it became amazing. Plus, if you don’t listen now, how are you supposed to find out that Aunt Sarah is a whore? Seriously, you need to know these things. Straight up whore, that Sarah.

MARC: Walking The Room  #100 - Patton Oswalt, Karen Kilgariff

One hundred shows feels like a milestone regardless of the medium, but in the largely unprofitable world of comedy podcasting, it seems impressive indeed. Greg Behrendt and Dave Anthony, hosts of Walking The Room, have done it and done it in front of a live audience at LA’s Meltdown. (Most of the previous turns have taken place inside of a closet at Behrendt’s house.) The show proves that it is still not for the meek, with its barrage of random body function references and not-so-gentle sick-and-sardonic homoerotic jabs between the hosts. (Be warned: If you’re not a regular cuddler – the boys’ name for their listeners – the two guys have developed so many phrases and slang terms for stuff they regularly talk about that it’s like listening to a foreign language most of the time.) The gain gets turned up when first guest Patton Oswalt emerges and deftly keeps Behrendt and Anthony at bay with his verbal jousts. But when he reveals that he’s seen an advanced screening of The Avengers movie, the nerd sabres are unleashed and a swift round of one-upsmanship is joined as to who has done the coolest stuff. After that culminates in an odd story in which Anthony claims to have extended the life of comic actor Don Knotts. Karen Kilgariff appears to share her perspective as a staff writer on the now-defunct Rosie show. She then sings a funny song (the title of which is never revealed but more is to be had on her digital LP Behind You) and just like that, the milestone performance is over, with the promise of more filthy, disgusting and howlingly hilarious podcastery to come.

ROGER: Probably Science #17 - James Adomian

It was fitting that Probably Science talked about Majorana fermions, which is a particle that is its own anti-particle. Majorana fermions are so us, with our existential dualities that rule are lives in ways we cannot possibly entirely imagine and our uncanny abilities to be our own greatest worst enemy. Look at your typical comedian, being paid to talk in front of strangers while not always secretly believing that he or she is in no way capable of doing such a thing. And such self-destructive behavior was evident when hosts Matt Kirshen, Brooks Wheelan and Andy Wood took turns openly saying that one’s news story “wasn’t interesting” and admitting that a question they posed was “really stupid.” Adomian, currently edging out Jon Daly as the best impressionist in the podcast game, had very little to work with, leading me to believe that aside from being friends with the hosts that he was only on the show to see if he can be on more podcasts than Paul F. Tompkins. It wasn’t until the final 15 minutes of the show when the cool fact of Adomian’s grandfather being an Armenian aerospace engineer who has his own Wikipedia page! connected guest to niche podcast.

SAMANTHA: The Duncan Trussell Family Hour #16 - Natasha Leggero

This week’s episode of The Duncan Trussell Family Hour is fucking fascinating. It’s true for all the usual reasons — the host’s mind-blowingly psychedelic monologues, the conversations that delve into deeper material than most dare approach — but also because the guest of honor is Natasha Leggero, who was one half of Trussell’s former show, The Lavender Hour, until the couple’s breakup several months ago. Though most of us would prefer not to publicly chronicle the most personal, painful moments of our lives, in a lot of ways Trussell’s new solo show does just that, and so it seems logical that in the wake of their fairly public split the two would choose to have their longest conversation post-mortem recorded. Knowing intimate details of someone else’s relationship always feels a little icky, especially when it’s not going well, but here’s the thing: Trussell and Leggero handle the potentially horrifying set-up with such incredible grace that, while this is the exact equivalent of eavesdropping, it avoids crossing the line into TMI (or TMZ) territory. The hour’s revealing but respectful, and while the two do touch on “the elephant in the room,” it doesn’t dominate (there’s plenty of time for a UFC primer, for example). The show opens with advice from Trussell on how to silence your inner baby (or at least “feed some love pulp to that screaming baby inside you”), plus a lengthy sponsor promo followed by a lengthy commentary on people who complain about lengthy sponsor promos. The segment “What Do You Do” interviews pancreatic cancer fighter Bill Hoyler, and, around minute 48, the host sits down with his featured guest for a fascinating, funny, duly awkward and definitely revealing look behind the scenes of the podcast and the pair’s personal lives — and a pretty good lesson on how smart adults should treat people they care about.

Honorable Mention: 

Girl On Guy #44 – Jay Mohr

Who Charted? #73 - Natasha Leggero

You Made it Weird #43 – David Koechner

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

Jay Kuperstein is a writer, founder of ComedyK.com, and attorney working in Washington, DC.

Lindsey Allen lives in Austin, TX. She has perfect teeth and a nice smell. A class act, all the way.

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

Roger Cormier is a professional Adventurer.

Samantha Pitchel does things for CultureMap AustinHuffPost Comedy and SXSW Comedy.