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.
2 Dope Queens - Bonus Episode! The Advice You’ve Been Waiting For
Elizabeth: If your criticism of 2 Dope Queens is that there’s not enough Phoebe and Jessica, then this special bonus episode is for you. The first season of 2 Dope Queens may be over, but Phoebe and Jessica will be treating listeners to bonus episodes throughout the summer, and first up is a quick helping of advice and straight talk. The Queens answer listener questions and share their thoughts on how to be there for a friend who got dumped over the phone, how to grow your hair long, and how to become comfortable with sexuality after growing up in a religious home. If you’re dealing with a workplace crush or trying to educate your boyfriend on racism, listen up and let Jessica and Phoebe explain it all. Plus, Phoebe introduces her new side piece, a podcast called Sooo Many White Guys, which interviews awesome creative people who aren’t white dudes. [iTunes]
Adam Ruins Everything - Mass Extinction & Video Games with Emily Axford
Marc: Another body recently made the leap across the media divide into Podcastland, and its none other than Adam Conover, member of the CollegeHumor crew and host of his own TV show on truTV called Adam Ruins Everything. Now he’s brought part of that show, including the title, with him upon laughing the new podcast. Conover, in the course of his half-hour TV show (dubbed an “investigative comedy”), pokes holes in the beliefs and assumptions that people have about all sorts of things. The format is pretty different in this audio medium, where the host engages with a guest about a variety of topics. There is a bit of a structure in place, in that Conover attempts to start to broadly approach a topic with his guest then bores down to a more granular level. His guest in episode #3 is Emily Axford, a fellow CollegeHumor-ist and somewhat of a sidekick on the TV show. The two start off talking mass extinctions and the possibility of mankind being snuffed out of existence, waltz through shared reminiscences about favorite music and scenes from old video games. (Remember saving a game at a particular point just so you could watch it over and over again? Adam and Emily do!) Instead of this particular episode getting down to the nitty gritty, however, it merely collapses into fits of giggles and riffs about the inanity of magnetic poetry, for which Adam apologizes profusely. No need — we’ll be back. [iTunes]
Doughboys - Pinkberry with Lauren Lapkus
Leigh: When you think of Pinkberry you probably don’t think of savage beatings and sexually explicit tattoos, but those two things are part of the reason why the Pinkberry founder is now in prison. And as regular Doughboys listeners know, fast food chain owners who are also monsters isn’t all that uncommon. But that didn’t stop hosts Nick Wiger and Mike Mitchell, along with this week’s gust Lauren Lapkus, from checking out the once very popular yogurt chain. In a world that’s become overcrowded with yogurt places, Lapkus knows the little differences and nuances of all of them. Even with the tons and tons of options there are now, she’s sticking with Pinkberry. Wiger and Mitch take a trip down frozen yogurt memory lane, remembering the first time they tried this once very weird dessert. The three also try and figure out why Pinkberry, which seems to have given in to the self-serve craze, may have fallen from grace. And! There’s a great breakdown of check-splitting etiquette when you go out to eat with friends. While everyone agrees the Pinkberry experience is just kind of meh, this episode is anything but. [iTunes]
With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus - Don Fanelli & Laura Willcox
Mark: This week on With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus, UCB stalwarts and real life married couple Don Fanelli and Laura Willcox play hosts Chap(pie) and Joyanna Baines. Chap and Joyanna are hosts of HBTV’s Fixher Upper, a fake, but should be real, home and upper body improvement show for women. Willcox nails Joyanna’s total disdain for Fanelli’s overenthusiastic Chap, which makes me laugh but also wonder about their actual marriage dynamics. In typical Lapkus fashion, her former HBTV intern character Victoria Burlap starts off sweet and quickly devolves into insisting Joyanna chew on her Slim Jim-shaped nipple. It wouldn’t be comedy without tragedy, as we learn that one of the characters from Friends has gained several hundred pounds and even worse, married pervy Victoria - you’ll never guess which one! Do listen if you’re into Bugs Bunny blowjobs, stillborn puppies, and unadulterated silliness – and if you’re not, I don’t know, find a tree to sit under. [iTunes]
The Premium Pete Show - The Bodega Boys
Pablo: “Albanians confuse the fuck out of cops!” While it’s a positive step for America that topics like white privilege are finally being discussed on a broad scale, the rhetoric born from liberal arts colleges and sustained on Tumblr blogs bores a White Mexican like myself, whose vacillating identity crisis isn’t solved by dissertations on critical race theory, regardless of the author’s level of wokeness. Thankfully, there are comedians like The Kid Mero and Desus Nice, guests on this week’s Premium Pete Show, who don’t care if they come off as problematic when talking about race. While this episode touches on a score of topics, the first half mostly focuses on race after host Premium Pete brings up his past beef with MSNBC’s Toure, a story that leads the Bodega Boys to discover Pete is actually white and not Puerto Rican. From there they dive deep into how racism works in NYC, from cops treating people from the Bronx and Brooklyn the same no matter what color they are to the troubles of interracial dating when your girl’s Puerto Rican neighborhood or Italian grandma aren’t too keen on the mingling. Since the other big chunk of the show revolves around Mero’s fatherhood, I would’ve liked to hear his thoughts on how his three half-Dominican half-Jewish boys will be perceived by society compared to his experiences. But I can’t complain when he also tells a story about Slick Rick staring at Mero and his son while the latter was peeing in a Poland Spring bottle held by his old man. [iTunes]
My Dad Wrote a Porno - Best of Book One
Marc: I can safely and confidently say that this is a truly unique premise for a podcast. I’m reviewing this particular episode because it is a bit of a summation and look back at the previous 13 episodes (and some stray footnotes and addenda), during which host Jamie Morton reads aloud from Belinda Blinked, the pornographic “novel” penned by his 60-year-old father (who is only identified by his nomme de plume on the book: Rocky Flintstone. For reals). Morton is not alone in this endeavor. Oh, no, because where’s the comedy in that? His two friends James Cooper and Alice Levine join him to create frequent stopping points during his recitation of the book, during which times they toss out jokes, offer editing suggestions, or just express their concern over Rocky’s grasp of the notion of erotic literature. Add to this that the three all sport beautiful, cultured British accents and the entire show bumps up to an entire new level of “never heard this before and I can’t imagine anyone else would try to beat them at this game.” In this “Best Of” edition, they replay some of the most amazingly clumsy and bizarre passages in the book, along with some of the crew’s cleverest bon mots and observations. Season 2/Book Two kicks off on the 4th of July, so you better get to binge listening the first season right away! [iTunes]
Definitely Dying - The Chicken Nuggets of Tuna
Kathryn: Episodes of Definitely Dying start off right around where WTF ends, spiritually; the first question for each guest is “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you fear death?” Proud hypochondriacs and UCB comedians Ben Axelrad and Madeline Walter explore the (often irrational) health-based fears they and their guests have. You learn a lot about a guest, like this week’s Brandon Johnson of Rick and Morty or previous guest Betsy Sodaro of Another Period, listening to them identify their fears and trace their origins, which often go back to recurring dreams in childhood or a singularly terrible college illness, in real time, and the guests seem to be learning about themselves too. It’s as probing as a Maron podcast, but doesn’t take itself as seriously (sorry, Maron). Like Ben and Madeline, I was not born with a “fun” constitution: anything can be a vice. Forget drinking and drugs, in the summertime I have to take care not to make myself sick eating an irresponsible amount of fresh fruit. As an old person living in a young person’s body, it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone. In “The Chicken Nuggets of Tuna,” Johnson delves into astrology based medical complaints and offers his recipe for the safest possible way to cook chicken, and Ben and Madeline play a sadistic body-horror game for the first and last time that truly makes the listener grateful than podcasting is not a visual medium. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
You Made It Weird - Shannon O’Neill
The Todd Barry Podcast - Jo Firestone
Don’t Ever Change - Ahmed Bharoocha
That Awful Sound - Full Moon (Wheatus - Teenage Dirtbag)
Hollywood Handbook - Sharon Horgan, Our Close Friend
The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified - Pilot (Robot)
Death, Sex & Money - Tituss Burgess Airs His Dirty Laundry
Not Safe With Nikki Glaser - In Your Dreams
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.
Mark Kramer is a writer, comedian & human boy from Staten Island, New York, but please don’t hold that against him.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.