There’s no crying in baseball but there’s laughing in podcasts. That’s my catchphrase. I probably should’ve thought of a more universally applicable phrase but I didn’t, so that is it. Why what’s your catchphrase? I like Ike? Sure, that’s great when you’re around people named Ike or if someone with the nickname Ike is running for president but that’s it. At least, I’m able to use my catchphrase to start a podcast column one time. And start it I shall: Here is our podcast picks:
BRADFORD: WTF with Marc Maron #287 – Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, John Ennis, Josie Long, Neal Brennan
Mr. Show is one of the best comedy shows of all-time, and it’s a great tragedy in modern comedy that its creators and stars, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, live on different coasts and therefore rarely get to work together. Marc Maron did the Lord’s work by reuniting the duo for a live episode of his podcast at the Vancouver Comedy Festival, with John Ennis, the third Bob and David (the Mr. Show equivalent of the Fifth Beatle), along for the ride too. Bob and David have been teasing fans for years by talking about collaborating on various movies and a Mr. Show-centric Earwolf podcast called Mr. Blow, but it’s nice just to hear them shoot the shit with each other on Maron’s show and share old stories. Bob and David fans have no doubt heard the unpleasant story of their first meeting plenty of times, but their chat here also dredges up some amusing tales about writing for The Ben Stiller Show together that I, as a hardcore Bob and David fan, had never heard before. British comic Josie Long and stand-up/Chappelle’s Show co-creator Neal Brennan – with whom Maron has one of his most contentious relationships yet - also make appearances on the live show, but the Mr. Show reunion that makes up the second half of the episode is the big draw here.
JAY: Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank #62: L.A. Story - Steve Rannazzisi, Cort McCown
Cort McCown boarded his first flight to LAX armed with a bad check, Hollywood dreams, and a bag of cocaine. He began partying before the wheels touched down in California and didn’t stop until after his third heart attack. This week on The Skeptic Tank, Ari Shaffir, with the help of The League’s Steve Rannazzisi, find out what happens when you move to Los Angeles, act in two blockbuster teen movies, and get access to all of life’s temptations. Former Hollywood heartthrob Cort McCown discusses his years of partying in L.A. The money, the women, the drugs, the women, the fame, and the women. Did I mention the women? The now sober McCown is refreshingly honest about all of it. Cort entered the world of show business as an extra and quickly got a job as John Stamos’ stand-in on a sitcom (pre-Full House). His next two roles were in the hugely successful movies: Can’t Buy Me Love and Teen Wolf. He was ready to take Hollywood by storm and then the writer’s strike happened and his career momentum stalled out. But that didn’t keep him from partying. Highlights of this podcasts include: Cort’s celebrity girlfriends, smuggling Italian movie cash back into America, his heart attack on the toilet, and his days at the Playboy Mansion. This was back at the time when they had the real parties at the Mansion (not that they aren’t real now – just when Hef actually threw the parties. By the way, if anyone at Playboy needs a comedy podcast reviewer to “observe’ one of their current parties, I know a guy who would happily cross that off his bucket list.) Anyway, Cort gives us his secret about the real place to find action at the Playboy Mansion, his impressions of fame, his new addiction (golf), and finally, his regrets. This episode of The Skeptic Tank is probably as close as we’ll ever get to an uncensored True Hollywood Story.
JESSE: Comedy Bang! Bang! #162 – Andy Samberg, Adam Pally
I had a revelation of sorts listening to this week’s Comedy Bang! Bang!: It is almost always, at the end of the day, just a bros hanging out podcast. I’m not saying the show has mostly male guest; I’m saying it resembles shows like Jordan and Jesse Go more than I ever realized. A usual CBB has a guest whose interview is interrupted by a guest in character but afterward they mostly just hang out like normal except one person is doing a voice. For most CBB characters, the actor is not too far from the surface. The comedians are technically in character but they mostly interact how they would anyway; this is especially the case with Paul F. Tompkins. This dynamic was abundantly clear this episode, as Adam Pally barely acted like his Bro character at all. If anything, they all realized that the bit of him failing to do the character was better than the actual character of a weed salesman. The transition from character to a character that is primarily a failed character happened early on when Samberg called Pally out for “coming in in character and nailing [them] to the wall.” It’s interesting to see how little different the show is when someone is barely doing a character from when someone is truly locked in. I could say that Scott’s preference to have thinly-veiled characters all goes back to his anti-comedy leanings, and I guess I just did, but I already wrote all those above words and that would be a lot to get into. I will say that often podcasts are capturing what it’s like when comedians hang out and sometimes that is very serious conversations about comedy and whatever and sometimes it just about doing dumb bits.
JOEL: Sklarbro Country #98 – Reggie Watts and Chris Cox
Worlds collide with the latest Sklarbro Country episode when musical comedy genius, Reggie Watts, visits the hardest working comedy duo. Before Watts checks in, The Sklar Brothers show off their bounty of “week-of” sports jokes. Showing off their topical range, they manage to sneak in a great Sklarbrotration segment dissing Lil’ Wayne, complete with a Hatfield and McCoy reference. Once Watts steps in, the show really gets going with a steady stream of riffing. Watts is a natural partner-in-crime for the brothers. They kick-start it with several minutes of overanalyzing Watts’ infamous golf sweater. The Sklars make the sports connection with Watts through a fun sports anthem discussion. They explore the process of The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army becoming a sports anthem. Then Watts gives it a try himself, creating a brand new haphazard Dodgers’ anthem. Other gems include a highly inappropriate but hilarious brainstorming session about Native American restaurants and Y2K Museums. Plus, there’s another quality appearance by Tiger Woods (the always on point Chris Cox). There’s a lot packed into the episode, the only way the brothers know how to operate. The Sklars continue to show why they’re the masters of fun with the ability to bring anyone into the sports fold and their awesome house of riffing.
LINDSEY: My Brother, My Brother and Me #108
So, we know that My Brother, My Brother and Me is hilarious, but this week it also proves to be a little disgusting. In the best possible way, of course. Let’s just say that if you want to hide your deepest, darkest secrets from your girlfriend slash the world don’t write about it in Yahoo! Answers. The brothers McElroy will find you, and then tear you to shreds. This is especially the case if you are sexually attracted to Pamela Anderson’s body (circa 1991) with Garfield’s head. You just keep that craziness to yourself. Forever. (And ever.) This episode also features some gold in the form of Dale Earnhardt (R.I.P.) conspiracy death riffing complete with a story of an almost-firing and a boss who is way too into the aforementioned former NASCAR star. Along with the Garfield/ Pam Anderson hybrid we also got to listen to a horny cat who is into rough stuff. Is everyone okay? I feel like this many feline questions with sexual undertones is too many feline questions with sexual undertones. They also reminded us for the fifteenth time this week to watch Comedy Bang! Bang! on IFC. Do you guys have that channel? Invite me over to watch it, please.
MARC: Proudly Resents “Shakes the Clown” – Bobcat Goldthwait
It’s not unusual these days for biggish names to hit the podcast circuit when they’ve got something to promote. Bobcat Goldthwait’s most recent movie was last year’s God Bless America, which grossed a tad over $100K. So you know he’s not in it for the press. It would seem that he and host Adam Spiegelman have history, enough to get the standup comedian/actor/director to open up about his debut film, the inimitable Shakes The Clown. Released over 20 years ago, Betsy Sherman of the Boston Globe proclaimed it “the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.” Cult classic may be a bit of an overstatement but the movie is certainly a cult curio at the very least. And it boasts a huge cast of neophyte, struggling and some recognizable comic faces, mostly cast as clowns. Goldthwait talks about the making of the film, some of the people who didn’t do it, and some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. Over the course of this show (Part 1 of two parts…), he and Spiegelman depart from talking Shakes to talking about Bobcat’s performance career, the misconception that he was/is a drug addict (Spoiler alert: he’s been sober since the age of 19), and some of the artist’s more recent and legitimately memorable films, such as the aforementioned GBA. It’s an engaging chat and Goldthwait is shamelessly candid about his outlook on life, show biz and people that annoy him.
ROGER: The Best Show on WFMU #500 - John Hodgman, Ted Leo, Julie Klausner, Sam Seder, Jason Woliner
For episode 500, it would have been both easy and satisfying for host Tom Scharpling to reminisce with the loyal listeners and his celebrity friends about all of the great moments that took place over the twelve years of his radio show/podcast, but while the first hour of the show focused on the rich past, it was Jon Wurster’s segment that dealt with the future that was the centerpiece. In what has to be the most ambitious and one of the all-time top five funniest segments by Scharpling and the multi-talented Superchunk drummer, Wurster – through a surprisingly convincing science fiction scenario – found himself in the year 2023. For about an hour we discovered the fates of the most popular and longest lasting members of the fake town of Newbridge, that Eddie Vedder restores an outlawed rock and roll when he becomes President of the United States, how Mad Men ends (at Studio 54 with Ayatollah Khomeini. You’ve been warned) and most humorously of all, the ascent and descent of one Tom Scharpling. Apparently the Jersey Kid gets famous and becomes an insufferable egomaniac who is besties with Harvey Levin and Michael Vick and beds several celebrities, including but not limited to Jen Kirkman, the chick from the eighties band Quarterflash, and RuPaul. Some of Wurster’s illusions reward long time listeners, like when he says that Scharpling gets arrested after Kevin Smith disappears after he puts his own comic book reality show on the air, were really funny to the point of LOLdom if you’re a long time listener who knows of Scharpling’s long running dislike and embarrassment of fellow proud Jerseyite Smith. But the comedy veterans know what they’re doing, and even someone who missed the first 499 episodes would find humor in a ridiculous future where Kevin Costner’s 110 year old grandfather, Cyrus Costner (the very mention of this name caused Wurster to crack up, the only time he Fallon’d during the bit) gets in very public feuds with Scharpling, future manager of Guns N’ Roses. When a tornado made by Scharpling’s doodles in 2012 blows Wurster’s character in 2023 away, the host accurately proclaimed, “That is the weirdest thing that’s ever happened on the show.” Not five minutes later, Gary Tha Squirrel, a puppet voiced by Tom, played a remix of a remix of a song of his in which he insults the human associate producer, Mike, who does not hide his passionate hatred. Any future where The Best Show remains on the air, diving deeper and deeper into their own rich and crazy universe, is a future to look forward to.
SAMANTHA: The B.S. Report - Lena Dunham
Host and huge Girls fan Bill Simmons describes this episode as “the gushiest” he’s done yet, and it’s nice to hear someone outside my own particular demographic praising a show I’ve actually been called “a racist” for relating to. Simmons blows my mind early on by saying he thinks Girls is more Louie than SATC, a comparison that hadn’t yet occurred to me but that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. Lena Dunham’s a gracious, great conversationalist, and while there’s plenty of talk about the show’s production and future plans (she may not know what’ll go down in Season 3, but she does know how all the characters eventually die), Simmons doesn’t shy away from more widely contentious topics like Dunham’s frequent onscreen nudity and her “famous” parents. Gushy, yes, but adorably so.
Walking The Room #107 – Jake Johannsen
The Champs – Trevor Noah
WTF with Marc Maron #268- Kurt Braunohler
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.
Roger Cormier manages Chubland Checker