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.
Nerdist - Judd Apatow Returns
Leigh: The Nerdist podcast hit its 800th episode this week! And as everyone knows, for the traditional 50th anniversary you get your loved ones gold and for the 800th you get them Judd Apatow. They kick things off by talking Garry Shandling and the huge impact he’s had, both on comedy as a whole and Apatow’s own life. At one point, a cringe-worthy interview Shandling once did with Ricky Gervais comes up and it’s worth pausing the podcast to watch it. Not only because it’s every bit as beautifully cringe-worthy as they’re talking about, but it perfectly demonstrates how Apatow describes Shandling as always working to create real moments with people. You can’t talk about people having an impact on comedy without acknowledging all the people whose careers Apatow has influenced and helped really take off. When Chris Hardwick asks what it’s been like to see Amy Schumer take over in the top comic spot, Apatow gives the perfect response: “I always feel bad that I’m part of the team that’s trying to make that happen for a person. But you also know you’re ruining their life.” [iTunes]
Modern Day Philosophers - Brian Regan
Marc: Comedian Danny Lobell, host of Modern Day Philosophers, brings a couple of unique twists to the typical “let’s talk to another comedian” podcast. First is the recognition that there are a number of working comics whose perspectives and presentations could be seen as the musings of philosophers. Secondly is to bring out the writings of a bona fide, card-carrying philosopher and dissect their thinking along with each episode’s guest. Episode 72 welcomes Brian Regan to the MDP microphones, and Lobell engages in a straight-ahead chat with the popular comedian on a variety of topics, including what it’s like to have the label of being a “clean” comic, his childhood, how he found his way to comedy, living in Las Vegas, and the nature of celebrity. It would be a solid, delightful hour if it stopped there but that’s where it really gets interesting. The show’s producer Alex Fossella, who matches a different philosopher with each comedian, has selected Austrian-born Paul Feyerabend, the late professor of philosophy of science, who wrote about rejecting a strict scientific method in favor of thinking more out-of-the-box. What follows is a fascinating additional half hour as the two comedians examine a quote from the philosopher and kick it around in an attempt to apply it to themselves and, particularly, to Regan’s “comedic method.” Lobell feels it helps to show how his successful guest has rejected the traditional trappings of how to follow a show business career path — Regan “opted out” of trying to star in a sitcom or trying to make a living from movies in favor of remaining a standup comedian. Regan acknowledges continuing to evolve his craft, revealing that he’s thinking of stepping out of his comfort zone and adding armpit fart noises to his standup repertoire. [iTunes]
Hard Nation - Sarah Palin Can See in the Dark
Elizabeth: Take a break from the political arguments on your Facebook feed for some political arguments in your podcast queue. Just in time for election cycle carnage, brothers Mark Hard (Mike Still) and Pete Hard (Paul Welsh) bring their political differences—and drive-time talk radio show—to Earwolf’s Hard Nation podcast. The latest episode starts off with the North Carolina’s controversial HB2 law and the importance of urinary health, then the brothers are joined by the former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin (Mary Holland), who is there to promote her new documentary/book, Climate Hustle, which tells the truth about global warming. The Grizzly Mama also talks about her love of The Revenant and gives her take on the 2016 election, revealing that she is currently a surrogate for Donald Trump both on the trail and in her womb. Later, a teenage boy named Dwayne Johnson (Craig Rowin) – who is not the Rock but is willing to be called that – phones in to get help joining ISIS because he’s having trouble with his mother. Hard Nation is only on episode 4 and has already featured Hillary Clinton (Nicole Byer), Donald Trump (Anthony Atamanuik), and Ted Cruz (Paul F. Tompkins), and it may be the most palatable political coverage we’ll hear for the next seven months. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People - The Cycle of Life
improv4humans - 420 Special Live From UCB Sunset
The Allusionist - Continental
Baby Geniuses - Christine Nangle/Zach Sims
The Leisure Hour - Josh Wagner Doesn’t Trust Us
You Made It Weird - Andy Samberg
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.