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 with Michael Ian Black - Megan Mullally
Leigh: This week on How To Be Amazing, host Michael Ian Black sits down with Megan Mullally to talk about all the amazing work she’s done throughout her career. They start at the beginning (a very good place to start) when Mullally, a very quiet kid, just made the decision at age 3 that it was time to start performing. It’d be a pretty boring podcast if she just started seeing success after success from that point on. Lucky for listeners, that wasn’t the case. Instead, Mullally shares what it’s been like to have something amazing happen after nearly two decades of hustling to make it as an actress. After doing a string of pilots that either didn’t get picked up or were canceled pretty quickly, there actually came a time when Mullally told her agents she was done auditioning for sitcoms. Her agents insisted she try it one last time. And, we all know how that turned out. Mullally’s husband Nick Offerman’s career has taken a very similar trajectory. When she asks what are the odds that two people in the same household would both land iconic roles on successful sitcoms, MIB has done the math and is very prepared with the correct answer. They also discuss how she feels about fame and getting recognized, her role on Childrens Hospital, her band Nancy and Beth (nobody in the band is named Nancy or Beth), and the evolution of the character Karen Walker, including of course, how that voice came to be.
The JV Club – Kelly Carlin
Marc: Having just concluded her “Boys of Summers” series of guest on The JV Club, host Janet Varney returns to what she does best, interviewing the women of showbiz. For her episode 170, Varney brings us Kelly Carlin, daughter of comedy god George Carlin (“I worshipped him, so he was a god to me,” explains Carlin). She’s just released her book, A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George, which is not dissimilar from her one-woman show that she’s been touring with for the past few years. Varney is an engaging host, able to get her guests to go pretty deep, and Carlin is no exception. There’s details shared about the double-edged nature of being raised in the shadow of a legend, and what it’s like carrying the torch of that legend forward. The pieces of her show began coming together after her mother passed away but her father was still alive. Carlin talks about the dichotomy of her father’s reputation as a “truthteller” but the painful reality that he would never watch her perform because her truth about family was too painful to bear. There are many lighter moments in this episode, thanks to Varney’s deft chatting skills, yet it’s also nice to know that when a comedy podcast gets real about comedy itself, it doesn’t always have to come out funny.
Bodega Boys - We Got Wings
Pablo: It always feels good to see your favorite undiscovered comedians achieve professional success. But sometimes that comes with a price, like when the Desus vs Mero podcast ended so that the eponymous hosts could jump ship to MTV2’s line of talking head variety programs. It’s an especially heavy price when you’re a cord-cutting millennial like myself who doesn’t really have the willpower to torrent an episode of Guy Code. But thanks to Red Bull, BX’s finest are back in audio form with Bodega Boys (I would’ve gone with an off-brand corner store energy drink like Pittbull, but I’m not complaining). Fortunately, not much has changed since DvM. The guys are back to clowning on Memphis Bleek’s Jay Z-sponsored lifestyle, rowdy Bronx BBQs, and Backpage prostitutes with watermarked images and “If you’re a cop, you gotta tell me” legal disclaimers, just like in the old days. The only difference is that now they also have stories about Amber Rose and Black Chyna wanting to beat their asses while doing red carpet promos for MTV. I guess if you’re being blessed by His Holiness Jaden Smith at the VMAS, then change isn’t really all that bad.
Who Charted? - Jake Fogelnest
Elizabeth: Strong statements abound in the 250th episode of Who Charted? Jake Fogelnest joins Howard and Kulap to count down the charts and discuss the important issues such as crowding in The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, why there’s still a late night war, and the song of the summer (or lack thereof). Jake remembers his first appearance on the podcast three years ago—his first time on any Earwolf podcast—and shares a few details on his project with IFC, which he assures Charters will be very important—like, more important than Transparent important. Howard announces his presidential campaign slogan, “That’s it. So what?,” which may be the first honest slogan in political history. Seemingly perfect families play a big role in this week’s movie charts and A Walk in the Woods may just be The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain. Finally, Jake gives his opinion on Rotten Tomatoes, shares his idea for an all “Smuggler’s Blues” Sirius XM channel, and talks about having a TV show in high school and directing the sketch show “3 Busy Debras” at The Annoyance Theater in Brooklyn. In the words of Howard, that’s it. So what?
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hound Tall with Moshe Kasher - Fame
WTF with Marc Maron - Fred Armisen
Truth and Iliza - Alonzo Boden
Guys We Fucked - You Were Molested At Fat Camp?
Unsafe Space - Feminism
Comedy Bang! Bang! - Wompler’s REAL 17th Birthday Womptacular
The New Hollywood - Richard Linklater
International Waters - Vice vs The Biggest Problem In The Universe
High and Mighty - Dogs with my Dawgs Dan Gregor and Doug Mand
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.