The comedy podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We’re here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows and each has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
Go Bayside! - Scott Aukerman
LEIGH: While I’m shocked (and embarrassed) that there’s an entire podcast dedicated to Saved by the Bell that I’m just finding out about 79 episodes in, I was even more shocked to hear there’s a person on this good Earth who has never seen a single episode of Saved by the Bell. That person is Scott Aukerman, the guest of this week’s Go Bayside who sits down with host April Richardson to talk about “Snow White and the Seven Dorks,” the classic rapping Snow White episode of SBTB. In case you forgot, this is the episode where the gang puts on a play in a matter of a few short days starring Jessie as Snow White and Zack as the Handsome Prince. When the drama teacher isn’t happy with their onstage kiss, in true SBTB form, things get complicated. Pretty unbelievable that the drama teacher would be so invested in a kiss between two high school kids, right? Guess again, Preppy. Having taken high school drama classes himself, Aukerman shares a story confirming this kind of thing does happen. Going into this blind, Aukerman’s reactions to the fact that Zack can just talk to the audience, something we’ve all just accepted as normal, are hilarious. The episode gets really fun as they break down every little detail of the episode, like the freestyle rapping skills of the cast to the posters hanging in Jessie’s room. And, if you’ve seen every episode of this show several hundred times, it’s fun to remember you noticed these things at one point, too. If you’ve ever found yourself missing the Bayside gang from time to time, definitely check out this episode.
The Steven Brody Stevens Festival of Friendship - Brody Goes to The Comedy Store!
PABLO: The latest episode of The Steven Brody Stevens Festival of Friendship plays out like A Day In The Life of a Comedian. Or night, since comedy shows don’t usually happen at one in the afternoon. Armed with a trusty Zoom recording device, Stevens takes us on the arduous journey from the San Fernando Valley all the way into West Hollywood where the longtime Comedy Store regular is prepared to do one of his signature late night sets. Throughout this installment, Stevens chats with comics like Jeff Richards and Tony Hinchcliffe, Comedy Store manager and Norm Macdonald Live sidekick Adam Eget, and random tourists ending their night with a standup show. We even get to listen to the entirety of his crowd work-heavy set, giving those not in LA a chance to hear how Stevens, with a decade of talk show warmup experience under his belt, effortlessly plucks material out of thin air. Lots of #PositiveEnergy in this one.
Harmontown - with Dana Carvey (and Tenacious D)
MARC: Harmontown is writer/show runner Dan Harmon’s little corner of the world (along with Community and Rick & Morty and their attendant fan bases.) Its citizenry bursts into the confines of the NerdMelt space in Los Angeles every Sunday night, where Mayor Dan holds court with the aid of Comptroller Jeff Davis. But things seem askew in the most recent episode. Davis is late and frequent guest Kumail Nanjiani steps in to kick things off instead. The excitable Harmon seems more ramped up than usual and listeners soon find out why: There are Important Guests milling around, the kind that even a lovable TV curmudgeon like Harmon is not used to having on hand. In a rush, Jack Black and Kyle Gass storm the stage and blast out a Tenacious D song, only to vanish into the night. The audience barely has a chance to recover when Mayor Dan introduces Dana Carvey. His well-known characters — The Church Lady, George Bush (#41 AND #43), Hans (or was he Franz?), Garth – are produced and then vanish like some kind of fabulous magic trick. And then as things settle down, Carvey takes the blame for the “failure” of Wayne’s World 2 upon himself: “I was orange, and high-pitched, and trying way too hard. I’m sorry!” Not even the gushing of Harmon’s fiancée Erin McGathy can jar him out of his comedically-induced funk. Finally, Comptroller Davis arrives (having overslept) just as Carvey makes his goodbyes, giving Harmon the chance to declare, “Dana Carvey has never done anything wrong!” The rest of the program dissolves into tangential discussions, mostly about Davis’ days as a child model and actor, before wrapping up with the customary Dungeons & Dragons session…and a longtime character dies.
How Did This Get Made? - Sharknado 2: The Second One
ROB: Last week, the SyFy channel capitalized on their 2013 surprise hit Sharknado with Sharknado 2: The Second One, which attracted a record 4 million viewers during the premiere. Naturally, How Did This Get Made? – the Earwolf podcast that revolves around parsing such bad movies – had to take the bait and whip up a special follow-up show with the guest from last year’s Sharknado episode, Scott Aukerman, releasing it within a day the movie aired. If you watched Sharknado 2, you know there’s a lot for Aukerman and hosts Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, and June Diane Raphael to chew on: like dozens of cameos, genre “homages,” and weird inconsistencies. And from start to finish, this episode is a frenzy of everyone’s favorite moments, plot interpretations (and faux fights over them), and general bewilderment over Sharknado 2’s campy craziness. But the crew is quite experienced with bad movies – including consciously cheesy ones – so they don’t dig their teeth into obvious topics, like poor production values or bad special effects. Instead the discussion is more of a B-movie connoisseur’s take on the (lack of) logic that went into the film’s casting, production, and plot. Listen for Paul & June’s baby making his own brief cameo, a Comedy Bang Bang “Wipeout” callback and other hilarious banter between longtime chums Aukerman and Mantzoukas, and the possibility of Sharknado 3, written and performed by the HDTGM team.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Nerd Poker - Steve Agee
Tiny Odd Conversations - Episode 161
Industry Standard - Nicky Weinstock
Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank - Mandingo
This Feels Terrible - Emily Heller
My Sexy Podcast - Megan Gailey
We Know Nothing - Ep. 16
The Dana Gould Hour - What’s Yer Thang?
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Rob Schoon lives in Brooklyn and writes about tech, media, comedy and culture.