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 @midnight Podcast - Fozzie Bear Celebrates Beyoncé Day
Marc: Back near the start of this year, Chris Hardwick, the main host of the Nerdist podcast, cut back the schedule from three to just one episode a week. Apparently it caused a great disturbance in the force — or maybe Podcast Nature just abhors a vacuum — because this week kicks off Comedy Central (and Hardwick’s) The @midnight Podcast. To be sure, the new offering requires very little extra effort on Hardwick’s part, as it’s mostly a re-purposing, or “a hand-picked weekly digest of the best @midnight moments,” according to Hardwick. He does provide some opening words, a sprinkling of connective patter between segments, and the briefest of signoffs. But he’s also heard throughout as the show’s host, and joined by a barrage of comic contestants in some of their finest @midnight moments. Included in this opening salvo, besides the titular Fozzie Bear, there’s The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman, Jessica Lowe, Ginger Gonzaga, Rhys Darby, Kristen Schaal, John Hodgman, Jonah Ray, Wil Wheaton, Jim Norton, Bonnie McFarlane, and Jim Florentine. The show comes in at less that a half hour and, considering that’s the running time (with commercials) of each night’s TV presentation, it’s easy to see that Hardwick and company have a stockpile of material to keep this new podcast running strong. [iTunes]
Call Chelsea Peretti - D as in Duh
Leigh: After six long, lonely months, Call Chelsea Peretti is back! Well, technically two months if you count that 25-second episode. To kick things off, listeners get a rare, exclusive peak behind the curtain at the preproduction technical difficulties. We get a tiny glimpse into what married life has been like, though as Chelsea points out, that conversation usually falls flat after the question “How’s married life been?” After a quick restaurant discussion, Chelsea explores the challenge of spelling your name on the phone and the struggle of having to think of interesting words for each letter on the spot. The trick is to keep a running list of good words to help minimize your anxiety. And, in what just may be a CCP record, every single caller was able to carry on interesting conversations. Not just bringing topics to the table, but actual conversations. So while the six month hiatus was hard for listeners, it’s been worth the Wait — that’s W as in Wainscot, A as in, oh you get it. [iTunes]
The Layman - Money on My Mind with Cary Frydman
Pablo: When Jon Gabrus announced his new Howl-exclusive podcast would feature the Long Island-native talking to experts in scientific fields, I thought the premise would be that the action movie-loving stoner is thrust into worlds where he has little-to-no knowledge. But it turns out Gabrus is just as passionate about the scientific method and space travel as he is about Jean-Claude Van Damme’s splits. Whereas last week Gabrus took a visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a crash course on NASA, this week he is joined by Cary Frydman, USC assistant professor of Finance and Business Economics, to talk about the other social construct after race that rules American life: money! But instead of focusing on economics, they instead discuss the science and philosophy behind our spending habits. Through years of studies and thought experiments on how we spend on gambling, entertainment, the stock market, and more, Frydman believes that much of our behavior comes from the Gambler’s Fallacy. In layman’s terms, it’s when we believe the roulette wheel is due to land on red a bunch of times just because it happened to land on black the last seven times. During their discussion of the technical possibility to study if money can buy happiness, what came to mind was that I don’t feel negative emotions when I see the $4.99 autopay to Earwolf on my monthly statement. I personally believe that the acquisition of money can buy happiness, but so can the forfeiture of money to a charity or a podcast company that has given me literally thousands of hours of entertainment.
The Basement Yard - What the Hell Happened In Vegas?
Marc: Podcastland is not just a place where comedians go to stay active and relevant in today’s media-glutted landscape. There’s a liberal coating of YouTube “sensations” populating the podwaves as well. Joe Santagato, host of The Basement Yard podcast, is one such fellow. (A YouTube sensation, for those not in the know, are those folks who relentlessly post content on the world’s foremost video site and can actually make money as the replays pile up.) One of his videos, “Idiots of The Internet Part 9,” shot in his bedroom and posted just two weeks ago, is nearing 2 million views. The latest installment of The Basement Yard is all about a recent trip that the host and his buddies, Ahmed Ghazal and Anthony Davino, took to Las Vegas. Basically, it was the recounting of too much drinking, too much partying, and too much gambling. By the time the three musketeers managed to escape from “Sin City,” we’re kind of surprised the entire trio made it out alive. Santagato is from Queens, New York, and the entire adventure sounds like the Sopranos’ version of Huey, Dewey, and Louie meets Leaving Las Vegas. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Any Time with Vin Forte - Gaby Dunn
Doughboys - Jolibee with Jonah Ray
Tuesdays with Stories! - Snatch Chat
The ParentNormal - Jeannie Gaffigan
Never Not Funny - Diedrich Bader
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.