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.
How To Be Amazing - Kevin Smith
Elizabeth: For the latest episode of for his podcast How To Be Amazing (the latest episode being released for free, that is), Michael Ian Black sits down with director Kevin Smith in his DVD and weed–filled home to find out how he’s made his way in Hollywood. Smith admits, “I don’t know how to be amazing, but I do know how to get started.” He describes paying for Clerks on his credit cards and in comic book store credit and dropping out of film school to do his own thing, rather than have Canadians lecture him about the meaning of films. Smith emphasizes doing (and not waiting for permission) throughout the interview, whether it’s making independent films or podcasting, and tells Black why he’d rather shoot porn than direct a major Marvel or DC blockbuster. He also shares the best advice he ever received, which came from his sister who told him: “Don’t want to be a filmmaker. You are a filmmaker, you just haven’t made a film yet.”
Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend - Chris Hardwick
Leigh: I’ve lost count, but I think there are about one billion different places you can catch Chris Hardwick these days. Though, it’s not everyday we get to hear from him while someone else does the hosting, which is only one of the reasons why this week’s episode of Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend is so great. Other reasons: Hardwick’s positivity, insight, humor, openness, I could keep going but you get it. Hardwick shares what it was like growing up as a nerd and trying to fit in as a kid, how MTV tried to un-nerd him, and what it’s like now when people tell him he’s not a real nerd. He and Rosen also cover his book The Nerdist Way, future projects for Nerdist, what exactly a rabbit hole is, and feeling like an impostor (which always feels kind of therapeutic to hear successful people talk about). If you listened to the Matt Mira episode of ARIYNBF from a few months ago, Hardwick sets the record straight about the origins of the Nerdist Podcast. By the end of the episode it’s easy to understand exactly why there are about one billion different places you can catch Chris Hardwick these days.
Comedy Bang Bang - Solo Bolo: Dos Lo with Ben Schwartz
Kaitlynn: Oh CBB, sometimes I listen and wonder if you will ever have an off episode. When a second solo episode popped up on my podcast app I was excited. Actor/improviser/all around cool guy Ben Schwartz is back on the show for a one-on-one special episode with host Scott Aukerman. Rewind a year to episode #285 and you will hear the first “Solo Bolo.” What is a bolo? Not a clue, but it rhymes! The first episode was filled with songs, riffs, impressions and some good ole’ fashioned chat. The newest (and hopefully second in a long line of future episodes) Solo Bolo featured all your favorite harmonized musical theater songs, jokes between bros, and new features like a lip sync battle, catchphrases, and games galore! Scott and Benny Schwaz (as he is now known by Comedy Bang Bang fans) have amazing chemistry that’s cemented by their similar interests and love for all things silly. They sound like the best of friends who love recording the fun podcast for themselves then happen to share it with the rest of humanity, making the world a better place one Little Shop of Horrors song at a time. All joking a(side) salad, this episode is bonus treat, but do yourself a favor and listen to the episode uno first—you won’t be disappointed.
Rafflecast - Johnny’s Bananas Season 4 Writers’ Room
Pablo: Making fun of Entourage and its portrayal of an opulent brotopian Los Angeles is like shooting fish in a barrel, if those fish had a date rape conviction and a collection of over two dozen New Era 59FIFTY caps. However, in this time of mass Entourage ridicule, two satires have stood out among the pack: The Assistant to Doug Ellin Twitter account and the Johnny’s Bananas’ writers’ room episode of Jon Daly’s seemingly-dead podcast Rafflecast. And just like The Boys, the boys (and one girl) of that writers’ room are back, baby! Once again, Daly has assembled a murderer’s row of real-life TV writers including John Gemberling, Tom Scharpling,Jake Fogelnest, Gil Ozeri (pre-Entourage <marathon), Gabe Delahaye, Joe Mande, John Levenstein, and Shelby Fero to figure out Johnny Bananas’ season 4 character arc and, more importantly, what to order for lunch at Fat Sal’s. Despite being one of the most ridiculous podcast episodes of the year, it actually makes total sense given that the comedians I follow on Twitter were waaaaaay more excited about the Entourage movie compared to any of my bro-y friends who unironically enjoy the exploits of The Boys.
Pistol Shrimps Radio - Shrimps vs Black Dahlias
Marc: This new show (eight episodes so far) is the answer to the prayers of listeners who love the action of women’s rec league basketball. Sort of. The LA-based Pistol Shrimps really exist (as featured in a GQ article last fall) and one of their team members is Amanda Lund. That’s where the trouble starts. Lund is the girlfriend of podcaster Matt Gourley, ringleader and cast member of the Superego podcast. He’s got two more shows besides this one and “I thought, ‘I only have three podcasts. I really need a fourth.’” That’s what Gourley shot me back when I asked him the question “Why?” on the Internet. He dragged fellow Superegoist Mark McConville in to help him provide a running play-by-play and color commentary of the basketball games as they were actually happening, set up more or less courtside. The whole thing is completely improvised with no editing (“The one rule I made for myself is that this show gets NO EDITING,” wrote Gourley. “That’s what kills me in podcasting.”) The two guys, as the announcers, bounce back and forth between drooling over sexy male refs and leering at the players, in between describing the action on the court — which is ever more obtuse as neither guy in real life knows much about basketball. In the halftime break they’re joined by podcaster/rapper/wrestler Jensen Karp, who describes in detail the socks worn by the players. The whole thing’s funny, fast-paced, and has hilarious flubs along the way because of Gourley’s “no editing” rule: “It’s the loosest thing I’ve ever done - and that’s kind of the point. It’s nice to do something really mediocre - it’s much harder to fail at it!”
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Who Charted - Brett Morris
Ronna & Beverley - Live at UCB w/ Jeff Garlin, Matt Walsh
Call Chelsea Peretti - TIM
Dear Hank & John - The Debut: Do You Pee on Your Own Head?
Truth and Iliza - Carnie Wilson
The Nerdist Podcast - Allison Janney
Never Not Funny - Cristela Alonzo
Deetales Podcast - This Gon’ Be
You Made It Weird - Andy Dick
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
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.