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.
Anna Faris Is Unqualified - Allison Janney
Elizabeth: Actress Anna Faris claims to be unqualified to give relationship advice (although given that she’s married to Chris Pratt, I beg to differ). But she won’t let that stop her from helping the lovelorn, thus her new podcast Anna Faris Is Unqualified. For the debut episode, she and co-host Sim Sarna are joined by Anna’s “Mom” co-star, Allison Janney. Allison shares her knowledge of stage laughing technique and moose knuckles, and she educates Anna on the importance of paying attention to a man’s balls. They also demonstrate an array of fake orgasms using different vowel sounds before helping their caller, 24-year-old Emma from Iowa, whose Tinder date is being flaky. Anna, Sim, and Allison talk about the importance of learning from relationships in your 20s and give Emma a plan: Next time he texts, don’t respond for 18 hours. They wrap up with an acting lesson as Anna blows menthol in Sim and the rest of the crew’s eyes to teach them how to cry. The first episode has fake laughter, fake tears, and fake ball-play with a tube sock – what more could you ask for?
Crybabies - Eliza Skinner
Leigh: This week’s episode of Crybabies kicks off with a quick discussion between hosts Sarah Thyre and Susan Orlean about the crying on planes phenomenon, which I can confirm is a very real thing. And by that I mean, I’ve read a lot about it and a friend told me it’s real. That wasn’t me sobbing on your flight. Now that we’ve got that settled, lets move on to the rest of the episode with guest Eliza Skinner. The three get real sappy, in the best kind of way, about friendship. All kinds of friendships. Complicated friendships, inter-species friendships, friendship between two witches, and friendships between comedy partners. They also bring up those people who claim their mom is their best friend (we all know at least one), check in on how that’s working out for them and make the keen observation that it’s just as weird, if not weirder, for the mom. Your best friend is 30 years younger than you and, oh yea, you created her? If the goal of Crybabies is to make listeners weep in public (the song from Wicked did it for me), as per usual: mission accomplished.
Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast – Chevy Chase
Marc: Count on Gilbert Gottfried to bring in the guests that you didn’t realize you’ve been dying to hear. This week the guest on his Amazing Colossal Podcast is Chevy Chase and, although it takes some initial prodding by the host and his sidekick, Frank Santopadre, to get Chase into the swing of a conversational interview, once they do there are stories for days. He talks about what it was like to be part of the first class of Saturday Night Live and his subsequent regret about leaving so soon. Chase is also totally forthcoming about the movie choices he made – good and bad – as well as indulging Gottfried’s fascination about the movies he wasn’t in that he was offered. Like Forrest Gump. “I read the novel and an early draft of the script. I just didn’t see it. Good for Tommy.” (A reference to star Tom Hanks taking on the role.) Chase shares rollicking stories about working with Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray. “Bill likes to fight,” he remembers, recounting an incident when he’d come back to host SNL and John Belushi had to step in between Chase and Murray to stop a confrontation. He sidesteps the most recent turmoil, the unpleasantness a couple of years ago that had erupted between himself and Dan Harmon, the creator of TV’s Community. (“We’re friends. I don’t even remember what that was about, actually.”) Gottfried’s cackle maxes out a number of times during this episode, particularly when he asks his guest to recount being sued by Cary Grant. The storytelling is so rampant that, even after the host closes the show, he keeps plying Chase for details for another five or six minutes.
With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus - Jon Gabrus: Intern Gino Lambardo’s Drive Time Radio Show
Kaitlynn: It’s one of the greatest podcast premises – Lauren Lapkus has the guest be the host and the host is the guest. Episode 52 is one year into the weekly show and Comedy Bang Bang’s fan favorite interns are reuniting. Gino Lampardo (Jon Gabrus) hosts his drive time radio show with guest Traci Reardon whose speech makes it hard for Gino to learn her name (Weardon? Weirden? Weerdin?). Gino the intern regularly commutes from Long Island to LA to help out Scott Aukerman and grab waters for guests while catchphrase-loving Traci went to prom with Scott and works at Claire’s/Baskin Robbins. Two interns together, and the sparks are flying: “If I thought I was going too far calling you cute, I definitely crossed that line when I stared at your bare ass.” Traci’s butt piercing comes out only eleven minutes into the ep. Is Gino’s Aunt Diane the real Long Island Medium because of her love of medium-sized dicks and meaty-yum dicks? So many world issues are discussed, from the latest Long Island news to ISIS. It takes a while for Gino to head to the call board and his resistance to take “calls” adds another level to the improv conversation. If these two characters had their own radio show, I would never miss a minute.
Fitzdog Radio - The Return of Jimmy Pardo
Pablo: Greg Fitzsimmons and Jimmy Pardo got a lot in common. Both are 49 and married with kids. Both have been doing standup for nearly three decades and started podcasts well before the boom. And both hate the soul sucking environment of a character role audition. They spend a bulk of the episode on this topic and their stories are so cringeworthy that I can’t decide which one is worse: Pardo going back in to retrieve his sunglasses and overhearing the casting director’s ridicule or Fitzsimmons dramatically bursting back into the audition room to ask for a second chance, only to be flatly rejected. They also discuss their mutual confidence for hosting gig auditions, their respect for Chris Hardwick, their identical view on child discipline, and whether they now consider themselves more of a podcaster than comedian these days. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they see eye-to-eye on every topic brought up in this episode. Pardo even tells Fitzsimmons early on that they are “literally the same human being.” Maybe not literally, but if Pardo’s hair ever starts thinning…
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Womp It Up! - Tony Hale
The Nerdist - Justin Theroux
Truth & Iliza - Kelly Carlin
You Made It Weird - Josh Gondelman
The Seeso Seeshow - How to Write a Story
The Todd Barry Podcast - Liza Treyger
Random Awesomeness - The Internet!
Get Up On This - Jon Gabrus
The Thing You’re Doing Wrong - She Didn’t Text Back
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.