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.
Womp It Up! - Jessica Chaffin - Spotlight On: Donna “Pep” Delpepio
Kaitlynn: Follow the life of Marina del Rey’s Marissa Wompler and her teacher Charlotte Listler. Fans of Comedy Bang! Bang! had been waiting for 16-year-old intern Marissa to get her own spin-off. We are twelve episodes in and those bodies (and voices) be banging in the public library where they record. This episode is a spotlight on fellow Marina del Rey High School student Donna Delpepio (Jessica Chaffin). Donna hails from Boston when she came to Marina del Rey at age 13…on a train looking for her aunt. Whether Donna is singing along to Charlotte’s music or asking Marissa to sew her diapers, the trio is on their improv and comedy game; maybe it was the theme song that was bang on or the first burp from the guest. Singing along and inputting “Pep” into every sentence gives these characters extra weight. Whenever another person is added to the Wompler/Listler-verse, it’s a win-win for characters and listeners alike.
Truth & Iliza - Adam Ray
Leigh: “She’s got problems with a lot of stuff.” In the first few minutes of this week’s episode of Truth & Iliza guest Adam Ray sums up what’s so great about this show. Who wants to hear people talk about all the great things happening around them? I hope you answered “nobody,” because that’s what I was going for here. Ray also shares what the interview process for playing Wolverine at Universal Studios was like. Other pet peeves discussed this week include Sprint, curating the life you want people to think you have on social media, dumb teachers, rules at the gym, and the price of pies. Also! We’re treated to not one but two great stories about Iliza’s mom. Maybe all the truckers out there can band together and petition to get more of these. And finally, some opinions about accents. Fans of the show will have already figured out by now that the podcast moved to a different network, so you have to subscribe to a new feed to get new episodes. For the rest of you, ignore that last part but still check out the new feed!
The New Hollywood – Bill Hader
Marc: Some people walk away from Saturday Night Live never to be heard from again. Others end up hosting late night talk shows. Bill Hader, on the other hand, seems to be everywhere these days, from movies (last year’s amazing The Skeleton Twins) to Apple commercials on TV. This week he turns up with host Brian Flaherty on The New Hollywood podcast and seems in no hurry to be anywhere else. The conversation ranges from stuff we’ve heard elsewhere, like about Hader’s Tulsa, Oklahoma upbringing, to the minutae of why and how he selected some of the cinema obscura to show when he guest hosted on Turner Movie Classics (one main draw were movies that were unavailable on DVD). Calling out favorite actors based on out-of-character parts was another area staked out in conversation, such as Henry Fonda’s turn in Once Upon A Time In The West, “because he shoots a kid!” Flaherty also gets his guest to get pretty deep into the action behind IFC’s Documentary Now! mockumentary series from Hader and Fred Armisen. By the end of the hour and a half chat, it seems Hader is surprised it’s over and he’s ready for more…and so are we.
Sklarbro Country - Sklarbro County (Josh Gondelman, Daniel Van Kirk)
Elizabeth: Josh Gondelman, out for the Emmys with the Last Week Tonight crew, is making the LA podcast rounds this week. (Does three podcasts count as the rounds? I say yes.) In addition to Never Not Funny and Get Up On This, Josh swings by Sklarbro Country for an midweek episode of the County. He talks about putting together his writing packet for Last Week Tonight, how the show comes together each week, and his upcoming book, You Blew It: An Awkward Look at the Many Ways in Which You’ve Already Ruined Your Life. Josh and the Sklar brothers talk about how to make a too-nice audience boo you (hint: just insult Boston) and Daniel Van Kirk joins the conversation to share some headlines. They all count the red flags in a story of a back alley penis enlargement, and agree that unless you’re a pediatrician, “Dr.” should not be followed a first name. They’re talking to you, Dr. Phil. They also review a masterpiece of a Canadian political ad and discuss a crime that’s classic Florida.
Human Conversation – Molly Goggles
Marc: The simple act of conversation. That’s really the essence of what comedic types Erin McGathy and Wayne Federman are up to each episode of Human Conversation. How’s it different from the tsunami of other yakfest podcasts out there? First of all, the hosts are funny. Pound for pound, Federman has to be one of the driest, drollest humans on the planet. And McGathy is one of those frothily funny people who is just fun to listen to as she gamely keeps pace with her co-host. In talking to Federman during last weekend’s 4th Annual Los Angeles Podcast Festival, I learned that the “gimmick” to the show is that neither he nor McGathy refer to Google, the internet or any other resource during their chat. Which is why the conversations are so human – they’re filled with factual errors, half-remembered statistics, and lots of “you know who I’m talking about – that guy…”. So part of the entertainment is when you find yourself yelling corrections at no one in particular as the show unfolds. In this episode the hosts share their semi-lucid memories of doing ecstasy…or was it molly? Also clothing styles that may or may not be flattering depending on the wearer. Oh, and there’s another built-in hook to keep listeners coming back: Each subsequent episode kicks off with a rundown of corrections to all the mistakes made in the previous installment. THAT would be a nice addendum to have in real life conversations.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
How To Be A Person - Gary Whitta - How to Write a Movie
Bananaland with Bob Rubin - ATC Network Debut
Changes in Latitudes - We’re All Striving for Balance
Never Not Funny - Pat Francis
Mark Forward Comedy Podcast - Apps
Comedy Bang! Bang! - Good Night In The Morning
Twinnovation - 8 Pocket Guac
Doug Loves Movies - Sarah Silverman, Leonard Maltin, Owen Benjamin, Esther Povitsky
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.