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.
You Made It Weird - Aparna Nancherla
Mark: Aparna Nancherla is the envy of any working comedian today – she’s been a writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers, Comedy Central just announced her upcoming half-hour special, and she continues to host the coolest and best bang for your buck weekly standup show in NYC, Whiplash (it’s free). However, what makes her the honest weirdo comedy nerds love is her ability to harness that honesty into her material. On this episode Aparna and Pete explore the contradictory nature of living with both existential depression and anxiety, something we all experience on a weekly basis, right? Right? Great. Need a reminder long-distance dating rarely works? They’ve got it covered. Listening to Pete talk about how liberating it was to be recently phoneless will make you want to toss your listening device out a moving window. Don’t worry, if you’re the rare breed that lives life with daisies in your eyes, or knows a proper way to describe happiness, there are still delightful bits about seeing strangers do cocaine on the subway and the virtues of horror movies. Perhaps the most shocking reveal: this one clocks in at a breezy 89 minutes, a blink of an eye in You Made It Weird-time. [iTunes]
How Did This Get Made? - A Conversation with Mel Brooks
Marc: While the How Did This Get Made? podcast, co-hosted by Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas, always provides a series of delightful glancing blows to some of the best worst movies to grace the silver screen, it’s only every so often that they manage to rope one of the perpetrators of these golden turkeys into the studio to either defend or explain themselves. This week offers up a bonus episode, featuring an interview with Mel Brooks, the executive producer of Solar Babies, a movie bad enough for the New York Times to call “an embarrassment.” HDTGM correspondent Blake Harris of /Film gets Brooks on the phone and the man has no qualms about offering up everything that went hilariously wrong with Solar Babies from beginning to end — how the budget went from $5 million to more than $20M, weird location decisions, bad weather, having to beg for more money, and more. I love how open and forthcoming Brooks is about details of the film, including how he had to go, hat in hand, to friends and financiers to try to get more money for production, only to end up nearly broke because of shoveling his own funds into the movie pit of a film. The story has a happy ending for the producer in that, finally, after so many years, the film has finally broken even thanks to its questionable status as a cult “classic.” [iTunes]
How To Be A Person - Emily Altman - How to Speak Italian
Leigh: I think I speak for all people when I say being a person is hard. There are so many things you need to know to navigate this world successfully, things you probably didn’t even realize you needed to know. Lucky for us Mike Drucker and Jess Dweck are here to help figure it all out each week on How To Be A Person. This week’s lesson is learning Italian from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Inside Amy Schumer, and Difficult People writer Emily Altman. And why do you need to know how to speak Italian? For starters, we’ve all been ordering from restaurants wrong. And you know that Italian grandma puppet character on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? If you knew how to speak Italian you’d understand what her name means. Other things you’ll learn along the way this week include what to call Waldo (of Where’s Waldo fame) in every country, how the tap water in New York compares to the tap water in Los Angeles, and some real hard truths about some of Robert De Niro’s recent performances we’ve all been thinking. [iTunes]
Who Charted? - Brittany Ishibashi
Pablo: Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer, but it’s also the official start of summah. That means choosing a summah gum, keeping your summah secret close to the chest, and rounding up your attorneys for summah litigation! Last week, online men’s clothing retailer Jack Threads plastered their website and social media accounts with a marketing campaign that was very similar to the lifestyle championed by one Howard Michael Kremer. And by similar, I mean they used “Have A Summah!” as their slogan, wrote product description copy that came straight from Howard’s brain, and even sold branded Summah Shorts. As Howard explains on this week’s Who Charted, Jack Threads swiftly reached out to him to resolve the issue after swarms of Chartists didn’t take too kindly to Jack Threads’ unethical marketing department. Given that Howard had his business impresario friend Giancarlo Chersich get involved, let’s hope the price was justifiably steep. For fans of frequent guest Giancarlo, Howard also tells a story that involves acupuncture and his ass cheek. [iTunes]
Wooden Overcoats - Piffling Lives: Random Mouse
Marc: Is there anything worse than a well-produced, beloved podcast going on hiatus between seasons? Probably, but I’ve been jonesing for a taste of England’s Wooden Overcoats, one of my favorite sitcoms-in-podcast-form to come along since, well…ever. The producers have pulled together a short (12 minutes) “appeteaser,” with a spin-off of sorts that’s focused on the mouse-based publishing world that the Wooden Overcoats narrator — a mouse named Madeleine — is trying to break into with her behind-the-scenes Memoirs of a Funeral House Mouse. None of the show’s regular characters are on hand but the writing is spirited and fun as we get to hear the publishing staff (all mice) kick around the newest mouse-uscripts to be submitted for publishing consideration. There are tons of rodent puns crammed into this showlet and the delightful spirit of this short offering keeps alive the promise of upcoming season 2 of the main show. The producers also are waving the Kickstarter flag in order to help crank up the self-financing machine to lure the actors and writing staff back to the podcast mics…as well as the studio space in which to perform. Let’s hope they make their goal — it would be a shame if this hilarious show about two feuding funeral directors had to die on the vine. [iTunes]
Anna Faris Is Unqualified - Anna Chlumsky
Elizabeth: Anna Faris meets her talkative match with Veep’s Anna Chlumsky in this week’s episode of Anna Faris Is Unqualified. The loquacious actresses bond over the mispronunciation of their name, motherhood, and their willingness to someday fly first class while their kids are in coach à la Home Alone. Anna C reveals herself to be an opera, Belgian beer, and Star Wars buff, and they talk pregnancy cravings, postpartum tops, and date nights. Both women excel at the game “Who Said It: Politician or Real Housewife,” and they give thoughtful and supportive advice to a caller who’s dealing with judgmental friends and family as she approached the birth of her first child. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Fresh Air - The Lonely Island
Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People - Married to a Monster
Off Camera with Sam Jones - Keegan-Michael Key
Tuesdays with Stories! - Haitian Sensation
Storyworthy - When I First Got To Hollywood with Dan Frischman
Don’t Ever Change - Esther Povitsky
With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus - Jason Manzoutkas
Dazed and Convicted: Craigslost - Macho HeeHeebre and Spa Perv
Views From the Vista - X-Men: Apocalypse w/ Austin Wolf-Sothern
How Was Your Week - I’m Your Neighbor
Pop My Culture Podcast - Quincy Jones
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Mark Kramer is a writer, comedian & human boy from Staten Island, New York, but please don’t hold that against him.
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.