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 Rosenthal & Jeselnik Vanity Project - RJVP Series Finale for a Reason
Pablo: Back in October I reviewed the first episode of The Rosenthal and Jeselnik Vanity Project and gave my conflicted thoughts. While I was ecstatic that my favorite standup unexpectedly started his own podcast with his best friend, I was apprehensive about it being released by the image conscious NFL. It turns out both my excitement and worries were spot-on: After less than four months, one of the funniest podcasts I’ve ever listened to is coming to an end after figuratively bumping heads with the corporation built on literally bumping heads. I think. It’s hard to tell since Jeselnik is so tongue-in-cheek with everything he says. While he may be joking about his feud with NFL Commish Roger Goodell and how ending the show is the only thing that will save Greg Rosenthal’s career with the NFL, there’s probably some truth to it. After all, I doubt The Shield was happy about producing a podcast where Jeselnik’s pick for the NFC Championship Game was Junior Seau’s CTE-induced suicide and his pick for the AFC Championship Game was Antwaan Randle El admitting he has trouble walking down stairs at age 36. So if this really is the end of the podcast – I think there’s a good chance it’s back next season – at least we’ll have the memories: Your Old Droog’s love of newspapers, “Touchdown, Air Bud!”, The Last Boy Scout starring Jerry Jones, and, of course, the “Edited due to _____” censorship drop that was the podcast’s longest running bit. R.I.P. RJVP. If you read the previous sentence in a whisper, you understand my lament. [iTunes]
The JV Club - Emily Heller
Elizabeth: Janet Varney and comedian and writer Emily Heller explore their sliding-doors teenage years in this week’s episode of The JV Club. Before diving into the social politics of high school, they chat about actual high school politics, from what position to hold in student council to how Emily stole a middle school election from a more popular but less qualified boy. Janet marvels at Emily’s debate prowess and her collection of trophies. (Janet has no trophies.) Emily also shares her experience as a camper and counselor at Camp Winnarainbow, Wavy Gravy’s circus and performing arts camp. Much of the episode is devoted to the difficulties of ill-fated teenage relationships, as well as the different— but no less painful—difficulties of adult relationships. As always, the show wraps up with a game of MASH, ensuring a fried chicken and Weinermobile future for Emily. [iTunes]
Employee of the Month - Sarah Silverman
Leigh: In each episode of Employee of the Month host Catie Lazarus sits down with a range of interesting people and talks to them about their interesting careers. There are no shortage of boring interviews out there where Sarah Silverman is asked again and again how and why she became a comedian. Thankfully, this isn’t just another boring interview. Starting with her appearance on Seinfeld (bonus: a quick, not so surprising story about what Michael Richards was like on set), Lazarus jumps around asking about the career highlights she finds most interesting. That also includes Silverman’s dramatic performances in the movies Take This Waltz and this year’s I Smile Back and a one act play she wrote with Doug Benson about a prostitute named Pineapple. The episode ends with an endearing story about the time an eager, young Catie Lazarus emailed Sarah Silverman about working on The Sarah Silverman Program. You know that thing where you write an email about someone and then you get nervous you’ll accidentally send it to that person? Well, the story ends with one those incidents. [iTunes]
The Seeso Seeshow - Looking For Bill Murray
Marc: Sometimes that podcast you’re looking to listen to doesn’t need to be some interview marathon or long rambling discourse about how the writers of a particular TV show got it all wrong. Maybe you’re just in the mood for a relatively short and savory snack of a podcast, the kind of thing that runs just long enough to get from point A to Point B. The Seeso Seeshow is just that. Connected to the new streaming comedy channel in ways I’m still trying to figure out, and hosted by Andrew Steven, episodes have yet to run over a half hour and most are between 10 and 20 minutes. Some even shorter than that. Most recently, Steven featured Mike Bonifer, whom he discovered through the Storyworthy podcast, and he wanted to have Mike share his interesting quest: To track down Bill Murray with the hopes of getting him to star in a movie he’s written about his father, aka “Cowboy Bob.” In his search, he crisscrossed the country with a video camera, asking people if they had recently seen Bill Murray. He even became friends and writing partners with Bill’s younger brother, Joel, during the hunt. The story is funny and touching, by turns, and how it ends up… Well, that’d be what we like to call a “spoiler” in the movie business so you’re just going to have to listen to the short but satisfying tale yourself. [iTunes]
Kaitlynn: Emotional hangs is back with Kurt Braunohler and Joe DeRosa and it gets deep from the get-go. Kurt was in New York while his mom was ill and they discuss how to show sympathy without it being interpreted negatively – how saying “I’m so sorry” is the best thing you can do to someone who is experiencing a tragedy. Guys, it’s like you’re speaking from my brain. This duo’s self described “sausage party” is finally cut short by their first guests Georgie and Karen. The women discuss how their friendship began through a get together at Joe’s Thanksgiving party. What does it mean when someone is consistently late? Why does someone leave abruptly at a hangout or party? Joe and Karen have a great history of post-party phone call conversations. Why don’t more friends discuss a party the morning after? So many questions are raised but the four get along and talk about friendship so seamlessly you’ll appreciate the additional female energy. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Not Safe Podcast with Nikki Glaser - Getting Deep
How to Be a Person - Dana Schwartz - How to Write a Short Story
This Feels Terrible - The Return of This Feels Terrible
Bodega Boys - Ur Fav is Problematic
Bananaland - Own It! And Bath Chairs
Anna Faris Is Unqualified - Jaime Pressly
Comedy Bang! Bang!- LOVE is Thicker Than Water
The Todd Glass Show - Jen Kirkman and Jake Fogelnest
Ronna & Beverly - Live at UCB with Ben Feldman and Reid Scott
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.