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.
Who Charted? - An All New Era
Pablo: After announcing that Two Charted was no more because of the increased workload that comes with creating your own TV show, Kulap Vilaysack also revealed this month that changes were coming to Who Charted. And with episode #255, the changes have arrived. A new theme song by Howard Kremer replaces Adam Ant’s “Apollo 9,” whose survival over five years is proof that Mr. Ant does not have a lawyer on retainer. Great new claymation-esque artwork replaces the previous monstrosity that inexplicably lasted for years, probably because they didn’t want to hurt an intern’s feelings. And lastly, a new format, where Ku-Ku and Howie do the music and movie charts by themselves, Two Charted-style, while the guest pops up for the final segment. While I’ll miss not having an extra episode per week, it’s still essentially the same show. It only takes Howard 30 minutes to compare The Martian’s Matt Damon complaining about the hardships of growing food on Mars to Jared Fogle whining about there not being children in jail.
Cash Withdrawal – Matt Knudsen/Steve Mazan
Marc: Comedian Cash Levy has had a good thing going, namely Cashing In with T.J. Miller. The long-running podcast features Levy always needing to have Miller fill in for his perennially missing “scheduled guests.” But lately Miller (one of the stars of HBO’s Silicon Valley) has been too busy to hit the podcast regularly and the gimmick wouldn’t work if Levy had to book actual guests on the show. So the host has started moonlighting with a second show, Cash Withdrawal, as a kind of therapy to quell his jonesing over missing his interaction with Miller. He dumped a trio of episodes within days of each other in his new feed on the Nerdist network, just to give listeners a taste of what they can expect in the Millerless format. Episodes one and three leapfrog guest comic/actor Matt Knudsen over episode two, which features comedian Steve Mazan. The conversations are wide-ranging and funny, loosely wrapped with Levy’s amateur psychoanalytical method being used to probe deep on subjects such as “What was your first R-rated movie experience?” (Knudsen’s recollection can only dredge up a momentary flash of a woman’s bare breasts in the movie Airplane!) Or Mazan’s failure to properly supply s’mores to a Levy family barbecue. (“I got chocolate syrup instead of bars because I figured you were just going to melt the chocolate anyway!”) Levy assures listeners that his first devotion is still to the Cashing In show, but he doesn’t want to leave listeners hanging between the difficult-to-schedule episodes. After hearing the opening salvo of this new show, listeners will likely enjoy a little Cash Withdrawal to tide themselves over.
Nerdist Writer’s Panel - Casual
Leigh: It’s a great time to talk about what a great time it is in television! Which is why Nerdist Writer’s Panel is such a great podcast. This week host Ben Blacker sits down with the people behind Hulu’s newest show, Casual. As always, this podcast is a great resource for anyone who wants to write for television, and probably even if you already are. But this episode is especially full of great advice. For starters, show creator Zander Lehmann shares the story of writing the pilot on spec and how important it was for him to write it in his own voice, not just what he thought a studio would buy. There’s also an interesting discussion at the end about what shows get classified as comedies vs dramas these days and how it’s changed over the past few years. If you’re like me and have already fallen in love with Casual you will especially appreciate hearing the evolution of the Leon character. If you haven’t already, just give it time, it will happen. And, bonus! Tommy Dewey, one of the show’s stars, joins the panel at the end.
Baby Geniuses - Kristen Schaal
Elizabeth: It’s the hundredth episode of Baby Geniuses and to mark this auspicious occasion, Emily and Lisa are joined by Kristen Schaal of Last Man on Earth and Bob’s Burgers to learn about fearsome critters, which are mythical beasts that became part of the folklore of lumberjack camps in North America. Kristen also shares her experience of seeing a ghost with tuberculosis in a Santa Monica hotel and having her teeth knocked out after falling off a bike during a wine tour of Santa Barbara. They also chat about the probable existence of Bill Cosby tattoos and how they can be fixed (turning them into butterflies, obviously), what they would do if they could stop time (nap), and Kristen’s impression of the first and second Fifty Shades of Grey books (not good and she hopes E.L. James isn’t listening). Finally, expert hour becomes excerpt hour, as they revisit some of their favorite moments from the segment. Tune in to celebrate 150 hours of podcasting or just to hear Emily’s Martha Stewart impression.
Sex Nerd Sandra - Sexual Harassment Double Standards with Kyle Hill
Kaitlynn: Get your engines going cause this episode gets hot and hits every sexual topic. What starts out as a conversation between host Sandra Daugherty and guest and Nerdist Science Editor Kyle Hill. Fifteen minutes in and anal sex, sexual studies and long distance relationships all get covered in a somewhat rambling, honest and likely nerve and situational-induced eruption of feelings. He discusses his recent tumultuous breakup and comes out with the painfully heartbreaking phrase, “I don’t know the last time I was happy.” Get ready for a statistical breakdown of sexually translated disease statistics, especially if you’re preparing for an orgy at Burning Man. The comedy comes in the obvious trepidation of a sex party, and what kind of questions would need to be asked to feel comfortable. When the topic gets brought up halfway through the episode, Sandra discusses her experience at the WonderCon comic book convention. Kyle explains his views on being sexualized because of his looks and why men feel like they should welcome the attention. Broaching male sexual harassment is a subject that is hard to talk about without sounding like you’re undermining a female’s experience. It may seem taboo but as a good-looking man in LA it’s made Kyle wary of talking about his viewpoint and how he feels resigned and embarrassed. It may get awkward and depressing, but it’s human and emotional and insightful too.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hollywood Handbook - Stephanie Allynne, Our Close Friend
Guys We Fucked - You Jerked Off to Lightning?
Call Chelsea Peretti - A Great War Is Upon Us
Gettin’ Up - Marriage Is Mind Over Matter on a Cellular Level
International Waters - Risk! Switcheroo with Kevin Allison
Nerdist - Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Comedy Bang Bang - Fred Savage, Wayne Federman & Matt Gourley
The JV Club - Rhea Butcher
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.