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 Bugle - VIB: Very Important Bugle
Marc: It’s over. This will be a short review because it’s a short episode of The Bugle. The show’s been on life support since, well, since co-host John Oliver hit it big and busy with his Last Week Tonight with John Oliver popped on HBO. The wings had already been shaking when he stepped in to guest host for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show a couple of years ago. But “buglers” held out hopes that Oliver would one day be back with cohost Andy Zaltzman on a regular basis. Not so. He does return for this “farewell…for now” episode of said goodbye and to thank the fans. And Zaltzman reveals that a new version of The Bugle will return in September, to feature himself and a revolving cadre of guest hosts (including his podcasting sister Helen Zaltsman of The Allusionist fame.) Until then, it’s bye-bye to The Bugle. [iTunes]
Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People - Jack Mormon
Sam: Beautiful/Anonymous is a podcast hosted by comedian Chris Gethard where an anonymous caller calls in and talks to Chris for one hour about anything they want. Here’s the kicker for you podcast listeners out there: Because the caller is anonymous, they have the ability to be extremely vulnerable, honest and share things they would never say. For a podcast where the host is a comedian, this particular episode was super deep and not for the faint of heart. But fans of The Chris Gethard Show would expect nothing less. The caller on this episode is a Mormon husband going through an identity crisis from a lapse of faith in his religion. A big issue if you’re Mormon. If you are interested in hearing a discussion on the purpose of life, struggles with faith, following your passions, or you’re just really interested in what Mormons do when not riding bikes with their helmets on, this episode of Beautiful/Anonymous is for you. Also if you want to call in to Beautiful/Anonymous, follow Chris Gethard on Twitter, where he tweets the number to call in when whenever they record a new episode. [iTunes]
Doughboys - Baja Fresh with Claudia O’Doherty
Mark: I’ve never eaten at a Baja Fresh. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a Baja Fresh. I’m glad I didn’t let that deter me from listening to this episode of Doughboys that reunites our favorite couple from Netflix’s Love, Mike Mitchell & Claudia O’Doherty. Much like the lemon she squeezes over her KFC chicken, O’Doherty cuts through the greasy aggression between hosts Mitch and Nick Wiger. This is a surprisingly Simpsons-heavy episode, from O’Doherty’s disappointment in “Bart vs. Australia” to a cringeworthy story from Mitch that fans of The Simpsons or poop humor will appreciate. How they go from rating mediocre Mexican food to writing the movie adaptation of a deck of cards only makes sense in the Doughboys universe. Nothing about this will make you want to try Baja Fresh, but the banter might make you spit take your food – I give it five forks. [iTunes]
Bitch Sesh - December: Berkshires County
Kathryn: In theory, Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider use Bitch Sesh to dissect the Bravo reality TV canon centered on the Real Housewives. But as the episodes get longer week to week, we’re spending more and more time in Casey and Danielle’s own personal lives. Wilson and Schneider are delightfully uncensored and chat as though no one were listening, something few other podcasts actually achieve. This week, without a guest to entertain, they brag about their yoga buddies Colin Farrell and Nev Schulman from the MTV show Catfish while also criticizing their yoga form and general physique (well, Farrell’s anyway). Wilson delivers a scorching hot take on Hamilton and a mind-boggling true story of herself “catfishing” the understudy for the role of Mark in a touring production of Rent the day before taking her SATs in high school – a tale more gripping than Wilson’s recent experience literally shitting the bed. Don’t worry about actually watching the Housewives shows – past guests include obsessed fanboy Jerry O’Connell and barely tolerant bystander Matt Besser – this show has something for everyone. [iTunes]
The Artie Quitter Podcast - Joe Buck
Pablo: To sports fans, Joe Buck is the ultimate punching bag due to charges of nepotism and an announcing style that is best described as a pre-Trump GOP presidential candidate. But I’ve grown to like Buck the man, if not the broadcaster, due to his penchant for laughing at his public persona and embarrassing moments. For the latter, I’m of course talking about the infamous Artie Lange segment on his short-lived HBO show Joe Buck Live. This might come as a surprise to the assholes who tweet at Buck every Sunday, but he and Artie are good friends after Artie “destroyed” Buck’s show. And to hear them recount that live broadcast, it was already a disaster before Artie got on stage. Buck had just wrapped up a couple dull interviews with Brett Favre and Chad Ochocinco, so the HBO producers essentially told Artie to go wild, and once he heard the laughs, he couldn’t stop the cum-covered, nicotine-stained train. It certainly didn’t help that the usually funny Jason Sudekis and Paul Rudd looked as stiff as Buck did, further exasperating the situation and making a TV pro like Buck look visibly uncomfortable and sweaty. So while many might still think Buck holds a grudge against the Jersey comic, it’s nice knowing that the two are such good friends that they would gladly be the sandwich bread in a Lucky Pierre. [iTunes]
Employee of the Month - Tituss Burgess
Elizabeth: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Tituss Burgess delights on this week’s Employee of the Month. Host Catie Lazarus pulls up his yearbook photo and asks about being a big fish in the small pond of Athens, Georgia. Titus talks about getting his start (and his equity card) at Disney World and his positive and negative experiences on Broadway (positive being The Little Mermaid and negative being the very short-lived Beach Boys jukebox musical Good Vibrations). He also speaks about the importance of religion in his life and how hard it was to be gay and Christian growing up. He also shares some exciting news about his wine label, Pinot by Tituss Burgess, and the episode ends with Tituss being put to the test with a blind tasting of PBTB, Three-Buck Chuck from Trader Joes, and a Pinot from Joe’s Pub, where the episode was taped. As always, Tituss rises to the occasion. [iTunes]
How To Be A Person - Jake Weisman - How To Keep in Touch
Leigh: You probably already know Jake Weisman as a hilarious comedian. Or maybe you know him for his perfectly curated Instagram account. Or as a cat lover. But how about as Jake Weisman, really nice guy? Or as Jake Weisman, great friend? Because you’re about to. This week, he’s on How To Be A Person teaching hosts Mike Drucker and Jess Dweck how to keep in touch with friends. What starts out as a few obvious tactics, like texting friends whenever you think of them or sending them YouTube links you think they might like, quickly evolves into what should be called How To Be A Better Person. The key is to make your friends feel like they’re being thought about. And there are so many ways to do that. Whether its an email, a postcard, or just some small random thing you order them from Amazon, it’s so easy, as Jake points out, to not just stay in touch, but remind people that you care about them. Bottom line is, if you’ve got any kind of a heart at all, you’re going to be moved by the sentiments behind this episode and wish you were as good a friend as Jake Weisman. You may even be motivated enough to actually get on Amazon to send some of your own friends gummy worms or garbage bags. [iTunes]
My Favorite Things - Life with Ross Marquand
Marc: One positive byproduct of hardworking comics and actors and actor-comics in Hollywood is, when the jobs aren’t coming in as fast as they’d like, many often turn to podcasting as an outlet. Case in point: Mike Truesdale. An actor, comic, and improviser with Groundlings and UCB chops, he’s also the host of My Favorite Things, an interview show where he talks to (mostly) other working and waiting actor/comic/improvisers about his favorite things. Most recently he caught up with Ross Marquand, whom he worked with on the short-lived cable show Impress Me but is more widely recognized as Aaron from The Walking Dead. In the podcast style, the interchange is more conversation that interview, a format that allows Truesdale the chance to — as promised by the title — bring his favorite things into the chat. Marquand doesn’t have children but somehow it’s a perfect point for Truesdale to talk about his own kids, as well as the rabbit that seems to have the run of the house. (The bunny’s name is Vulva, but space prohibits unreeling the story behind that here.) You’ll hear no Walking Dead spoilers in this episode but we do discover that Marquand is a charming guy who is happy to follow wherever the host leads and occasionally throwing in a pretty dead-on celebrity impression or two. (Personally, I was hoping to hear more impressions, since both host and guest are known for doing them, but perhaps they’re not among Truesdale’s favorite things…) The chat goes from light to real from time to time, with the pair delving into living on the edge of not knowing when the next job might come in to ruminating on the world’s religions and each other’s own beliefs. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Never Not Funny - Tom Bergeron
Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank - Door Guy 2 with Bobby Lee
The Meat Improv - Dads & Chads
The Mortified Podcast - Naomi: Harry Potter Fan Fiction
Tuesdays with Stories! - Back Sack
Don’t Get Me Started - Sarah Claspell (Barenaked Ladies)
The SchmozzFest - The Mayor of Parts Unknown
Not Safe Podcast with Nikki Glaser - Missed Connections
The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First - Dick Gregory
Two Beers In: A Tipsy Political Roundtable - Alex Wagner, Anthony Atamanuik, Brian Faas, and James Folta
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.
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.
Sam Jae is a writer and comedian based in LA.