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.
The Nerdist - Samantha Bee
Marc: Most of the focus since Jon Stewart relinquished the anchor desk on The Daily Show has been on his successor, Trevor Noah. But some of the spotlight is beginning to fall on another alumnus of the show: Samantha Bee. The longest-running correspondent on the show (12 years) pops up on The Nerdist this week as part of the publicity play ramping up behind her soon-to-debut TBS late-night series Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Totally comfortable in the Nerdist environment, she and host Chris Hardwick slide easily from topic to topic, whether it’s the expected download about the news-ish, real issues-covering Full Frontal including how she and her writers spent months tossing ideas into a shared file until details started to crystalize, why couples used to sleep in twin beds, and her grandmother’s non-squeamishness talking about oral sex. Bee’s also TV show multi-tasking, as she was producing Detour, a scripted family comedy with husband and fellow former Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones, at the same time she was putting her own show together. As rarified as the idea of running not one but two TV shows sounds, many listeners can relate to her reflections on being a working mom when she gets into the struggle of work/life balance.
Call Chelsea Peretti - Just in the Nick of Time
Leigh: Good news! There’s finally a new episode of Call Chelsea Peretti AND Nick Kroll is there. Bad News! About 20 minutes in Chelsea and Nick are killed and the show gets hijacked. But relax, there’s more good news. While this is of course extremely tragic, consider yourselves blessed that the hijackers/murderers are none other than Bobby Bottleservice and Farley. With Chelsea and Nick being “dead as a doorknob,” Bobby and Farley are left to take calls and keep the podcast going. Much like their relationship, the episode takes listeners on an emotional rollercoaster. Tempers flare and insults are hurled, but it’s all out of love. In fact, they even proposition some callers for a threesome. There may or may not be a marriage proposal. That’s not me trying to tease you and get you to listen, it really is unclear whether or not there’s actually been a proposal. While Kroll Show may be gone, it’s comforting to know that these two are still out there in the world, and they haven’t changed one bit.
The X-Files Files - David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson
Marc: Being a podcast-wielding fan of TV’s X-Files has paid off in spades for comedian Kumail Nanjiani since starting his show, The X-Files Files. In making his way through the show, episode by episode, some of his guest commentators have included people like Dean Haglund, who recurred as one of the Lone Gunmen, and Darin Morgan, who wrote several of the most memorable episodes. This installment is different than most, in that Nanjiani isn’t recounting the next episode in the series, but instead chatting with series stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson – characters Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, respectively. And they’re not sitting in a studio or around a kitchen table for this talk — they’re in a tent at 3:00am, in Canada, between takes on the set of the upcoming X-Files rebooted mini-series. And Nanjiani is there because he got cast in a role in the episode being shot. There’s a podcast host that’s being given some respect! As he emphatically states at the top of this episode, this is not actually an interview with the series’ stars, but he also overly apologizes for what it is – an informal chat recorded on his iPhone that runs about 20 minutes. In spite of that, Duchovny and Anderson are engagingly open and playful, both with each other and Nanjiani. And both are aware of the podcast – Duchovny has even listened to to it. They reminisce about past X-Files episodes, favorites and least-favorites. By the time the actors are recalled to the set for the next shot, the only regret the listener has is that host Nanjiani wasn’t able to keep recording whatever was next to come.
Cookies - The Dangers of Being A Pro Baller in NYC
Pablo: The NBA gets comedy. I mean, compared to the out-of-touch MLB and the upturned nose of the NFL, it gets everything that’s relevant to people under 35. But back to comedy: From Blake Griffin dropping in to do improv at UCB Franklin to the Detroit Pistons hiring Funny or Die to run their Twitter feed this year, it’s clear the NBA is not only the most entertaining of the three leagues, but the funniest. So who better to join hosts Ben Detrick and Jordan Redaelli of Vice Sport’s Cookies NBA podcast than comedy duo and long-suffering Knicks fans Desus Nice and The Kid Mero? There’s a lot to tackle as we close in on next month’s All Star Break, from Kobe Bryant telling a teammate to stop “dunking like a light-skinned dude” to Knicks owner James Dolan’s awful bar band JD & The Straight Shot, whom Mero saw perform live when he took his wife to see The Eagles at Madison Square Garden. But the biggest story is Kanye West’s lame pro-Adidas anthem “#FACTS,” a song he released on New Year’s Eve in his never-ending war against Nike. As Desus points out, Kanye is so washed these days that he wrote a song about Michael Jordan’s brand without invoking the Crying Michael Jordan or What Are Thoooooose memes. If Kanye keeps releasing more songs like “#FACTS” and less like “Real Friends,” he’s on a slow path to irrelevancy like two other sports leagues I know.
Womp It Up! - Jack McBrayer - Spotlight On: Chet Noseworthy
Elizabeth: It’s 2016 and Wompler and Listler are back in the Marina del Rey library to interview Chet Noseworthy (Jack McBrayer), well endowed and unrelentingly positive junior class president and surviving Noseworthy son. After catching up on their holidays—Listler narrowly escaped death and Wompler lost 12 lbs by only eating poppycock and watching Ernest Goes to… movies—they share their New Year’s resolutions. Chet wants to create a recycling program and volunteer at more shelters (his current shelters include homeless orphan and bomb), Marissa has social and political goals for 2016, and Listler plans to get her gun disassembling time down to 13 seconds. Marissa and Chet get cheesed at each other during “What’s Cheesing You,” and Marissa misses out on a date to prom. And finally during “Listler’s Love Lockdown,” they tackle the heavy issues of commitment fears, adoption, and going after the one you love.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hollywood Handbook - Cartoons, Our Close Friends
The Rosenthal & Jeselnik Vanity Project - Johnny Manziel, Master of Disguise
Star Wars Minute - Episodes 36-38 w/ Paul Scheer
Anna Faris Is Unqualified - Aubrey Plaza
Mike and Tom Eat Snacks - Liebniz Butter Biscuits
The Great Debates - Guest Debates with Adam Scott
Trev & Ben - #131
The K Ohle - Get Lost with Wyatt Cenac
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.