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.
WTF with Marc Maron - Sacha Baron Cohen
Marc: Having interviewed a sitting president as WTF host Marc Maron did last year has no doubt made it a bit easier luring in those hard-to-land guests. Case in point: This week’s visit by Sacha Baron Cohen. It’s not that Cohen is reclusive so much as it is that when he makes a talk show appearance, it’s usually in the character he’s playing in the latest release of whatever he’s starring in — Borat, Bruno, Ali G. As Maron himself points out in the intro to this episode, we rarely get a glimpse of the man behind the men he plays. Not so here. In a nearly two-hour sit-down with Garagemeister Maron, we are treated to, first of all, his actual voice — devoid of wildly bizarre accents or affectations. We get details of his upbringing in northern London (his father an accountant, his mother a popular “keep fit” teacher, and his teething comedy of choice: Monty Python). He was so much a student of Python that he attended Cambridge University, where half of the famed British troupe matriculated from, in hopes of joining the Footlights comedy sketch program. He bombed out in his audition and retreated into the world of regular theater performance. From there he developed his unique spin on characters, their voices, and their takes on the world around them. Maron does an effortless job of getting Cohen to spin details of some amazing behind-the-scenes anecdotes from his movies, including a full-scale riot that broke out at a UFC-style match in Texarkana. It was for the climactic final scenes of his upcoming new movie, The Brothers Grimsby, and things got hellaciously out of hand, culminating with Cohen having to pull a vanishing act through a trapdoor in the middle of the octagon. There are plenty more stories where that came from and Maron’s got ‘em. [iTunes]
Crybabies - Beth Stelling
Elizabeth: Relationships dominate this week’s episode of Crybabies, from boyfriends to fathers to romance scammers. Comedian Beth Stelling sits down with Sarah and Susan to chat about the the songs, movies, and poems that make her cry, including Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” The Wrestler, and the poetry of W.H Auden. Fellow former gymnasts and So You Think You Can Dance fans Sarah and Beth share their experiences with abusive relationships and talk about comparing your suffering to that of others. Susan reveals her fascination with romance scams and catfishing, and they all bond over their mutual loves of memorizing poetry, creating archives of printed e-mails, and the orgasmic pleasures of Staples and the Container Store. The episode wraps up with a discussion of the dangers of exes and parents on Facebook and the smooth sounds of The New Basement Tapes. [iTunes]
Anna Faris Is Unqualified - Lisa Kudrow
Leigh: While the name of the show might suggest otherwise, Anna Faris seems pretty qualified to give relationship advice. Maybe I’m unqualified to make this call, but she is always open and honest with callers about their problems and consistently offers up some pretty solid advice. Faris, who stars on the sitcom Mom, is joined this week by Lisa Kudrow, who was once on a little sitcom at one point (which Faris was actually on in its last season, bet you forgot about that). The two discuss the strange art that is multi-cam sitcom acting and shooting in front of a live audience who seems to always think you’re coming up with everything you’re saying yourself. From there they move into the rapid fire segment. However, if you had Lisa Kudrow on your show you’d want to hear more detailed responses too, so making it the “not so rapid fire” segment this week only seems natural. If not, we may have missed out on hearing Kudrow’s take on hoarding and what the best job on a cruise ship would be. That may sound boring, but when these two are discussing it, they become genuinely interesting topics. [iTunes]
Star Wars Minute - Every episode from the last week
Pablo: I have a secret love for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It might have something to do with its release when I was nine, but I don’t think that’s the reason. It’s a horrible movie, for sure, but it’s packed with so-bad-it’s-good rewatchability whereas Episodes II and III are boring CGI dour fests. So I’m loving the latest season of Star Wars Minute, especially the last three weeks (and counting) where hosts Pete the Retailer and Alex Robinson have meticulously analyzed the Boonta Eve Classic podrace with guests like Paul Rust and Asterios Kokkinos. There is a surfeit of material: Who exactly was Boonta? Why didn’t George Lucas do another take when Anakin’s friends clearly missed a high-five? Why does Watto bet on Sebulba when his reasoning, that “Sebulba always wins,” means the payout is incredibly minuscule? And if Qui-Gon Jinn has no problems using the Force to affect Watto’s chance cube, why the hell doesn’t he just unethically use the Force to steal the damn spaceship part they need to get off Tatooine? I’m just glad I’m not the only dork on this planet who enjoys learning the backstories of Anakin opponents in the Boonta Eve Classic, many of whom die in incredibly violent ways for a children’s film. [iTunes]
Beef and Dairy Network Podcast – Eli Roberts Investigation
Kaitlynn: Beef and dairy are delicious to most people. Steak and ice cream are my two of my favorite foods, so why wouldn’t I listen to a monthly podcast for those involved or interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herd? The premise is so deadpan that it could be easily mistaken for reality. Hosted by Benjamin Partridge, his Welsh accent makes the humor sound even more deadpan. Blunt and to the point, I wonder if there is a podcast actually dedicated to beef and dairy or if the audience can’t see the humor. This episode investigates Eli Roberts, whose slaughterhouse was burned down and is now selling meat on the black beef market. Benjamin is kidnapped and tied to a rocket and sent to outer space. We’re left with Benjamin and Eli on rocket in space while Eli ponders if it’s that important to use separate cutting boards for raw and cooked meat. Absurd in concept and pure deadpan in execution. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Who Charted? - Jon Gabrus
Hollywood Handbook - Deadpool, Our Close Friend
The Language of Bromance - No No in the Mud
The Light of September - They Thought He Was a Goner
Truth and Iliza - Ralph Garman
Comedy Film Nerds - Oscar Predictions - Doug Benson
Not Safe Podcast with Nikki Glaser - Moves Like Jagger
Bitch Sesh - Spinning a Web
Chewin’ It with Kevin and Steve - Oscar Picks 2016
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
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.