Did you read the New York Times profile of Scott Aukerman? I won’t lie; I felt weirdly proud when the writer spent the last third of the article only talking about Analyze Phish. Anal-ish is great and all but it’s also pretty minor in the world of podcasting so for it to get such mainstream press was a big moment. In general, a lot of the podcast fans hopes rest in Aukerman. He’s our small pond’s big fish so hopefully he isn’t eaten up by sharks or Daniel Tosh when he’s dropped into the bigger pond of cable. Speaking of fish… fish can be food so… lets eat a snack… and peruse this week’s podcast picks.
BRADFORD: Sklarbro County #1
Sklarbro County is a new weekly podcast from the Sklar Brothers, dropping each Wednesday on the Earwolf Network. As the Sklars explain at the top of the show, they created Sklarbro County to address news stories that they aren’t able to get to on their other show, Sklarbro Country (with an “r”), because of that program’s longer production time and reliance on big-name guests. Instead of a guest in this first episode, the Sklar Brothers are joined by Dan Van Kirk, a writer/performer on their other show who’s been playing Mark Wahlberg on that podcast for a few months now, and he proves here he can score laughs when just playing himself. The first edition of the new bite-sized series has plenty of outstanding moments, skipping the rocky start that most podcasts go through because the Sklars have been working on Sklarbro Country (amongst other projects) for years now. From an odd news story about a family hiding a criminal in their childrens’ bedroom to some riffing on Will Smith giving Roger Federer a Men in Black suit, the trio finds plenty of ground to cover in the new show. Sklarbro County may be shorter and more laid back than Sklarbro Country, but it’s still jam-packed with laughter and merriment.
I cannot believe it has taken me this long to formally recognize the inspiration for my foray into comedy writing. Kevin Smith’s Q&A documentary Too Fat for 40 convinced me to act like Gretzky and “skate to where the puck is going.” Thus, the pixels you see on the screen right now. I may have never watched that telecast had I not already been a listener of SModcast. This podcast features the aforementioned airline safety threat and medical marijuana enthusiast, Kevin Smith and his Askewniverse co-producer and hetero-lifemate Scott Mosier. The long-time friends give their take on today’s news stories, which often lead them down the rabbit hole of memories, improvisations, and behind the scenes show biz discussions. This week’s episode begins with the mind-blowing true(!) story about a naked man who was shot and killed (by Miami PD) while he was eating another man’s face. Naturally, the conversation progresses to zombies, Batman, and Meat Loaf. Next is another news story from Florida (which furthers Adam Carolla’s assertion that all crazy stories come from either Germany or Florida) about a man who went into a hospital for a penile implant and left without a penis. They end with a story about a Canadian who was dragged from an outhouse by a black bear. Look for the attackee’s new podcast on the SModcast Network: Attacked! with Danny and Gord. If you enjoy Kevin Smith’s sense of humor, check out SModcast. You won’t be disappointed. For Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, I’m Jay Kuperstein. Have a week.
It might take you more time to read this write up than it would to actually listen to On Cinema. Just cracking five minutes, this is actually a relatively long installment. This brevity is essential as there is a thin line Tim Heidecker walks between anti-comedy and just not comedy. The majority of this episode is spent promoting a live episode of the podcast that intends to celebrate the canon of Lily Tomlin and John Travolta, which is real but doesn’t sound like it. The earnestness of their plea, regardless of the fact the event involves a screening of the awful Moment by Moment, comments on the inherent self-seriousness of some podcasters (says me, in a self-serious sentence). The film pick this week is the “hidden gem” Krippendorf’s Tribe but Tim spends the entire time calling it “KIippendorf’s Tribe”. I don’t want to say too much and ruin the basic joke of the whole thing; however, I will say, right now, in this very sentence, that On Cinema is not necessarily a weekly listen, as it intentionally gets quite repetitive, but it is wholly necessary as a satire of the entire genre.
JOEL: Weird Adults With Little Esther #3 – Michael Kosta
Comedian and all-around troublemaker Esther Povitsky, aka Little Esther, recently started yet another hangout session podcast on the newly formed podcast collective, Feral Audio. Her Weird Adults show puts Little Esther at the center of her own 1-woman exploratory committee with friends and fellow comedians to discover the reasons for their own weirdness. Definitive answers aren’t always discovered, unless you count Little Esther’s constant and fun stream of neurosis, sharp sarcasm and infectious laughter. Just a few episodes, she’s already off to a strong start, letting the honesty and weirdness flow freely. The show switches back and forth between half-hearted probing questions on her guests supposedly weird traits and sarcastic tangents with her guests. The strong-jawed comedian and seemingly normal Michael Kosta stops by for a visit, and the push-pull of personalities during the interview is quite a treat. Throughout, Kosta, also the co-star of one of Little Esther’s web videos (http://youtu.be/TZDokdxXGj4) fights off claims of weirdness. They spend a lot of time analyzing the details of Kosta’s “normal” life and his apartment, where they recorded the show. It never stops being stupidly playful but some real honest stories sneak out and that’s the fun. Little Esther has a knack for creating a laid back space that gets rid of the pretense. She never stops having fun either. This makes for a fun listen. It’s going to be great to listen as Weird Adults continues to develop, while Little Esther keeps prodding her guests into obnoxious conversational corners. Little Esther’s an easy fit for podcasting, sharing her unique comedic voice and weirdness with the masses.
LINDSEY: The Ronna & Beverly Podcast #27- Connie Britton
Connie Britton is not Asian but she may have slept with Andrew McCarthy. Plus, she got drunk with Ronna and Beverly so we should all look past her ethnicity and embrace her with open arms already. This week on The Ronna & Beverly Podcast the three discuss “that football show”, Jessica Lange’s level of craziness and most importantly Britton’s luscious, beautiful red hair. (Oh, that hair.) Ronna and Bev also share their many opinions about Britton’s career, about how she should be the husband next time(?) and show off her body more. Honestly, these women seem like they know what they are talking about and we should all be so lucky to listen to them offer advice, even if it’s not for us. Laugh out loud moment of the episode, where you may or may not make awkward eye contact with a stranger walking his dog: Ronna calls Hayden Panettiere a “spinner” which is crude and perfect and now you will never be able to look at her without thinking about that term. Good job, ladies.
MARC: Fitzdog Radio – Steven Wright
The first and only time I met Steven Wright was for a week in 1983, when I running the Comedy Underground in Seattle. One night he asked me to watch his act, to help him figure out why he wasn’t connecting with the crowd. He would do his set and scan the audience but, while he was looking at them, he wasn’t looking AT them. I gave him this observation and he thanked me. Never sure if he paid it any mind, nor have I seen him since. But during his appearance on Fitzdog Radio this week, I finally know what that blank scan was all about. “I was terrified,” he reveals to host Greg Fitzsimmons. Turns out the the first few years he was doing standup, he had trouble remembering his act joke to joke and he would blank out. After a few seconds, he’d take any joke his panicked mind could recall and say that, which eventually led to the purposely pauseful act he’s now famous for, as well as the halting stream of non-sequiturs. The early days of Boston comedy, his love/hate relationship with Hollywood, why he has so much trouble writing a feature-length film — he is equally forthcoming the rest of the chat, an interview deftly handled by Fitzsimmons even though (or perhaps because) he is an unabashed fanboy when it comes to Wright. A must-hear for any comic nerd.
ROGER: How Was Your Week #64 - Retta, Patton Oswalt
On the 64th edition of How Was Your Week, host Julie Klausner actually talked about podcast reviews, which is admittedly weird for yours truly since I’m currently writing the first sentence of a review of How Was Your Week for one of the two websites Klausner mentioned by name. Instead of going into the infallible method to which us aesthetically pleasing scribes choose what comedy podcasts to talk about on a given week, I’ll avoid the potential meta blackhole for now and write about the top notch quality of the interviews Klausner conducted with Retta and Patton Oswalt. Retta portrays Donna, the no nonsense, treater of her own self employee of Leslie Knope’s on Parks and Recreation but recently has been getting attention from her stand-up and writing funny, Donna-esque instant reaction tweets about Downton Abbey and whatever other shows she happens to be watching at the time. Klausner and Retta have a good rapport, aided by the fact that both watch and love talking about Smash and Girls, which in turn freed a comfortable Retta to get even more so. Klausner and Patton Oswalt also had a good back and forth, which isn’t surprising considering they are both weirdos that are sometimes unabashedly positive about mainstream works that are usually thought to be lame, without any trace of irony. They discussed Robin Williams’ great works, and went into length about the brilliance of The Birdcage. Klausner’s podcast is never as gluttonous as most of the others, keeping the guest segments under 30 minutes no matter how famous they are. Factoring in the occasional airtime devoted to non comedians and writers (!), HWYW is influenced less by other podcasts and more by late night talk shows, specifically Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show back when it was 90 minutes long and authors like Norman Mailer would occasionally pop in. (Jesse noticed noticed the late night show influence long before I did.) The only differences between Klausner’s show and Carson’s is that Klausner’s is entirely in audio (admittedly that’s a big difference), there’s a spoken epilogue instead of a musical guest at the end, and the sidekick is a feline who as far as I know does not give away comically sized checks for millions of dollars. Second banana and cat Jimmy Jazz made an appearance during the epilogue, where Klausner facetiously claimed that if Jazz had a podcast it would be written up because he is a man. That is of course silly: the reason why the podcast would be written up is because A CAT WOULD HAVE ITS OWN PODCAST.
SAMANTHA: Last Week on Earth with Ben Gleib #28 – Tony Clifton
SModcast’s description of this episode begins “***WARNING: DO NOT LISTEN IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY ANYTHING. TONY IS NOT A NORMAL PERSON***”. To those familiar with Clifton’s act — which began as an Andy Kaufman bit and has grown into a multi-player project in the decades since — the caveat is unnecessary. For everyone else, know that you’re in for an hour and a half of the most cavalierly racist, sexist and straight-up absurd shit you’ve ever heard (there are several N-bombs within the first two minutes, to give you an idea). Joined by Cliftonettes Maxim and Phoenix, and what sounds like several rounds of drinks, the comic is promoting his upcoming run at The Comedy Store that, of course, will include a hooker raffle (don’t worry, it’s for charity). The conversation touches on a wide variety of insane topics — at one point, Clifton tells a story that gets him likened to ‘the creepy German guy from Human Centipede — and it’s definitely not for everyone, but for fans of the Clifton mystery, it delivers.
Gelmania VIII - Live
The Joe Rogan Experience #220 - Bert Kreischer
Totally Laime #121 – Luka Jones
Who Charted #78 – Paul F. Tompkins
Jesse David Fox is a 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.
Lindsey Allen lives in Austin, TX. She has perfect teeth and a nice smell. A class act, all the way.
Roger Cormier is above making fun of Dick Cheney and the Olive Garden.