A Chicago Reunion Stand-Up on ‘You Made it Weird’, ‘Judge John Hodgman’ Takes on Spoilers, and More!

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It’s getting’ hot in here, so play your podcasts now. These, of course, were the original lyrics to “Hot in Herre” but Nelly’s label wisely said, “What’s a podcast, Nelly?” Still, this whole episode doesn’t make Nelly’s words any less true. Even if you take off all of your clothes, it will still be hot. All we can really do is try to distract ourselves. Which brings me back to podcasts. Podcasts are cool (or kewl) and cool (or kewl) things cool (or kewl) you down. Pop any of these ice cold podcast picks into your ears and you will be more chilly than a wintertime Inuit’s nose whilst eskimo kissing Chilly Gonzales.

BRADFORD: The Best Show on WFMU #501

In my eyes, Tom Scharpling is one of the funniest people on the planet, so it’s always frustrating when ordinary schmoes call into The Best Show and talk over him. Not one but three different callers this week try to steamroll Scharpling, and it’s a shame considering how much of a hot streak he’s been on lately. As one caller points out, this last string of episodes (which included The Best Show’s landmark 500th installment) have been particularly great, and Scharpling manages to keep the show fresh and funny despite the fact that so many of his callers are completely inept this week. From a Jon Wurster call as Philly Boy Roy describing Mitt Romney’s recent trip to a New Jersey Wawa convenience store to Tom Scharpling riffing on Russell Brand’s movie career and Bad Company’s catalogue, this episode is full of highlights. It isn’t just the callers talking over Tom that’s aggravating this week, though. One caller brags about his ability to play the spoons (the musical instrument) but spends an eternity hemming and hawing when Scharpling asks him to play on the air. Despite the caller’s reluctance, it ends up being one of Episode #501’s best moments when the guy finally agrees to play the spoons while Scharpling sings Soundgarden’s “Spoonman.” If there’s anything future callers can learn from this episode, it’s 1) Don’t talk over Tom Scharpling, and 2) Be cooperative with whatever magic Tom Scharpling tries to create.

JAYDoug Loves Movies - Neal Brennan, Seth Herzog, and Megan Neuringer

Doug Benson stopped in Baltimore on his way back from the Bonnaroo “Music and Mud” Festival to record Doug Loves Movies in front of a packed house at Baltimore’s Comedy Factory. How do I know this? I was there! If you have never listened to Doug Loves Movies, it begins with Doug talking to his guests about recent movies, continues with Doug’s movie-related games, and ends with the guests choosing an audience member (by picking their name tag) to represent in The Leonard Maltin Game. The winner of which gets a bag of random prizes donated by the the panel. It is all the comedy of a late night talk show with the audience participation excitement of “The Price is Right.” In this episode, Doug is joined by comedians Neal Brennan, Seth Herzog, and Megan Neuringer. They are all “in the room” for movie talk, ABCD’s Nuts, Build-a-Title, lots of mic drops, and of course, The Leonard Maltin Game. If you have the chance to attend Doug Loves Movies, do it. Even though my Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back name tag was not chosen, I still had a metric ton of fun. If you enjoy comedy, movies, and podcasts (and if you are reading this, I assume you do), check out this week’s Doug Loves Movies. And, as always, Willem Dafoe is a sh*thead.

JESSE: You Made it Weird #59: Live from Chicago – T.J. Miller, Hannibal Buress, Matt Braunger, Sean Flannery, Robert Buscemi, and CJ Sullivan

In your best Kyle Kinane voice, say it with me, “Chi-cah-gO! Sadly, Double-K wasn’t there but the rest of his Chicago crew was. Pete came up in Chicago with a who’s who of contemporary thirty-something stand-ups. This gave the night a decidedly high school reunion feel with all of its remember whens and old bits. There were MANY friendly impersonations, especially of Hannibal Buress, who was impersonated more than he actually spoke. The MVP was CJ Sullivan, who should definitely win the Sharpshooting Award for Sharpshooting.

JOEL: Judge John Hodgman #64: “A Quashed Plot Never Spoils”

The always silly but never not proper, Judge John Hodgman tackles a topic of our times this past week with a spoiler-centric episode. Plus, we get a healthy amount of Breaking Bad references. John Hodgman delightfully turns the proceedings into a mash-up discussion of pop culture references and a deep-seeded character study of the spoiler and spoil-ee. The debate centers around a roommate supposedly spoiling Breaking Bad. Adam and Andrew, the fake podcast plaintiff and defendant, make several attempts at bringing humor themselves. At each turn Hodgman’s ready with a healthy amount of fake ire. Another fun bit of business is Hodgman repeatedly throwing out obviously false Breaking Bad spoilers along with a few real spoilers. Despite all the fun, the group still squeaks out a bit of serious academic analysis on the idea of spoilers. Hodgman’s smatry-pants comedy persona and on-the-fly riffing skills make this lighthearted courtroom satire always a quick listening treat.

LINDSEY: Making It with Riki Lindhome #48- Shannon Woodward

I feel like Riki Lindhome is still getting used to being an interviewer. She asks pretty straight-forward questions, and usually the guests aren’t all that ready to divulge a lot due to the lack of thought put into the topics. This week, however, everyone’s TV crush (we all have a crush on her, right?) Shannon Woodward (Raising Hope) is full of awesome stories about being a delusional child and getting her start in Hollywood. We all knew these kids in school who were way too into theatre and TV and being somebody. I guess it’s time to suck it up and realize that some of them make it, and they are better than you. Also, they will probably appear in a Tommy Lee Jones movie filmed in your town and you will never see it out of jealousy. Funny women in comedy is discussed because it is everyone’s favorite topic this week, apparently. Their insights will surprise you! (Or not, because they are not monsters.) So yeah, this one was great and Shannon is great and I’m pumped that Raising Hope is coming back. And that Minnie Driver gives great advice that we should all listen to, even if we’re not trying to become famous. We all are. Let’s not kid ourselves.

MARC: The Funny Indian Show #99 - Jordan Berman

Stand-up comedian Rajiv Satyal has been running The Funny Indian Show since the middle of 2010, a dozen years after doing his first comedy set in Montgomery, Ohio. In his 99 episodes to date (one posts every Thursday), he’s talked to a lot of Indian folks but a number of others and not just comics. In his latest ‘sode, Satyal is in New York and visiting with producer/entrepreneur/madman Jordan Berman, who is the brains behind Bikini Barbershop, the first season of which aired on Mark Cuban’s HDNet and featured chicks from Jersey in bikinis cutting guys’ hair. Berman also stars in his own web series called Career Fist, as martial artist Chuck Smith who teaches his skills to those looking to get more productive at work. Satyal’s an affable host who knows how to push his guest into going deeper and deeper into his own stuff, until Berman’s life starts to sound like its own reality show. (He even had a filmmaker follow him as he went, as the character of Chuck Smith in full karate regalia, to Berman’s high school reunion.) TFIS is a refreshing break from the round robin of comedians interviewing other comedians. Instead, Satyal uses his comedy chops to do some worthwhile one-on-one crowd work with his guests.

ROGER: Kevin Pollak Chat Show #150 - Dan Harmon

He sometimes has issues with tact, and there was a point during Sunday’s Kevin Pollak Chat Show where Dan Harmon began a sentence with “Now that they fired me I get to tell this story…” but no, sorry, the recently dismissed former showrunner of Community didn’t really burn any bridges or urinate in any ashes. In his first interview since being canned, Harmon displayed some generic bitterness towards the system, but the man who is currently in business with Adult Swim and has had at least one meeting with FX according to the podcast is in no position to name names and keep himself in the headlines for the wrong reasons. But it didn’t matter that Chevy Chase’s name was never mentioned, because viewers and/or listeners (KPCS is available both in video and audio form) were still treated to two hours of Dan Harmon, the funny, intelligent, at times uncomfortably honest and unpredictable individual who can make pillow forts interesting for three 22-minute installments. On the serious side of things, Harmon pontificated on Asperger’s and self-diagnosing himself with the syndrome and his embarrassing nervous breakdown after Heat Vision and Jack wasn’t picked up. This was balanced by the humor in Harmon’s warped version of everyone’s advice on how to become good at stand-up and/or writing (“Prove that you suck”), stretching a running gag for two hours originating from Pollak accidentally referring to Hugh Jackman as “Jew Hackman” and providing a new jingle for a potential new segment for the podcast. Unless you happen to be the Sony executive that Harmon outed as someone who is hilariously way too confident in his writing skills (the suit’s name wasn’t provided), or Tyra Banks (Harmon’s “Fuck Tyra Banks” line didn’t come off as incendiary so much as facetious to me, but could be to the Oprah wannabe), or the creator of the canceled show Pan Am (Harmon needed a quick example of a “shitty” show and blurted “Pan Am”, which ironically or not was run by Sony), Kevin Pollak’s 150th show came off as one of its best efforts.

SAMANTHA: It’s That Episode #21 - Matt Besser / Teen Mom

After watching a recent episode of the existentially depressing reality show Teen Mom, host Craig Rowin and guest Matt Besser have some big questions, like, why don’t the teen moms rap? And what’s the relationship between pregnancy and piercings? (“Too much sticking things in holes.”) They imagine the eventual reality shows the teen mom babies are going to end up with, and pitch a special episode where the moms are dropped in the desert with some peyote and a few cameras, and I really hope there’s an MTV exec listening because both of those are gold.

Honorable Mention:

Fitzdog Radio  - Michael Ian Black

The Long Shot #513 – Jessica St. Clair

Totally Laime #124 – T.J. Miller

Who Charted? #81- Eric Andre

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.

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

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

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 would kill for a gig at the Zukers on Passover.

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