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.
With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus – The Force Awakens Minute
Pablo: If you asked me to name my current favorite podcast, I’d say Doughboys without hesitation. And if you asked me to pick my favorite podcast on hiatus, it’d be none other than Star Wars Minute, which is currently on a planned break after the hosts spent seven months analyzing The Phantom Menace minute-by-minute. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was to find a tribute/crossover/parody of Star Wars Minute by Nick Wiger and Mike Mitchell land in my podcast feed by way of With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus. After chain restaurants and cucks, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the third-most yapped about topic on Doughboys, mostly due to Mitchell’s inexplicable hatred of a movie he saw four times in theaters. So it’s a goddamn delight to hear him, as Star Wars aficionado Dylan Panini, faux extol on minute 18 stand-out Unkar Plutt and his catchphrase that swept the nation, “One quarter portion!” Joining Panini and Phuck Cumson (Wiger) is mo-cap actress and female Andy Serkis, Angora Butterman (Lapkus). While her HIV-positive character Monk-Monk was cut from JJ Abrams’ magnum opus, she holds the key to unlocking the supernatural, homoerotic mystery of the interlocking Darth Maul tattoos on the asses of Panini and Cumson. I give this episode four and one quarter portion forks. [iTunes]
My Favorite Murder – Your Hometown Murder Email Roundup
Elizabeth: It’s a very special episode of My Favorite Murder as Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstock share listeners’ hometown murders (that listeners heard about, not that listeners committed, although that would be a great episode too.) First, they go over some corrections and talk Marcella and Stranger Things. Then they move on to a few of the hundreds of emails they’ve received from fans sharing their brushes with murderers, serial killers, and at least one ghost. The stories have all the essential creepy elements of a classic scary stories: identical twins, babysitting jobs, vans, an evil dentist, and dinner at Chili’s. From Australia to Santa Barbara, the stories give a terrifying look at how these crimes can happen anywhere and by the people you least expect. [iTunes]
I Was There Too – Goldfinger with Linda Gidley
Mark: Ever wonder what it would be like if your grandmother starred as one of Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus pilots in the 1964 James Bond classic, Goldfinger? Meet Linda Gidley, who at the age of 13 (!) played one of famed Bond girl Pussy Galore’s entourage (not to be confused with Entourage’s Pussy Galore). No podcast host is better suited for this interview than Matt Gourley, who also co-hosts the currently hibernating James Bonding podcast. To the surprise of no one, conditions for the young women weren’t great on set. Yet somehow Gidley describes the two-day shoot with a sense of wonder and level of detail that would impress if she was recounting last month, let alone 52 years ago. After the interview, Gourley presents a thorough round of “I Wasn’t There Too,” listing all the past actors that came close to playing 007. The best almost-Bond is Liam Neeson, who turned down the role in 1994 because he wasn’t interested in doing action movies. James Bonding fans, let this episode fill the Oddjob-sized hole in your ear-hearts. [iTunes]
Bitch Sesh – LIVE from Largo
Kathryn: It was a strong week for live podcasts, with Doughboys and Bitch Sesh both trying out their shows in front of an audience for the first time, both with great success. To my mind there are two key elements to a good live podcast ep: one is that the hosts put in some amount of extra effort, time, or money (or all three) to give the audience something more than they would get from listening to a regular ep in the privacy of their own open-plan office. Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider did go above and beyond for the live debut of their Real Housewives breakdown show, bursting onstage with a string of Housewives-esque catchphrases for themselves, wearing Housewives-collection jumpsuits that cost either $37 or $500 and either way look terrible. They alienated friends to arrange a taste test of Manhattan’s single bottle of Tipsy Girl sparkling rose (by Sonja Morgan). And they even arranged a dramatic reading of a classic RHONJ scene with respected thespians Jessica St. Clair and Melissa Rauch (Rauch in particular has a star turn as Caroline Manzo). The second key element is the audience itself, and Bitch Sesh fans are unsurprisingly rapt, respectful, and engaged. The same listeners who have enough restraint not to tag any actual housewives in their spirited online discussions also have enough restraint not to hijack the show with rambling questions or anecdotes in the open-forum style live recording. They still whoop it up, though. [iTunes]
Buzzfeed’s Internet Explorer – Politics Is Out-Weirding The Internet
Noah: It can be easy to forget – or never find out – that, underneath the crowdsourced gif hub that it’s stereotyped as, Buzzfeed is full of actual journalists and historians like Katie Notopoulos and Ryan Broderick. The pair come together hungover but in the same room for the first time in months for an unusually political episode of Internet Explorer, bringing a cultural perspective to the way that irreverent teenage memes have evolved from 9/11 Truth to today in a truly insightful opening segment. And Notopoulos, who historically has shined in situations where she scratches the surface of internet subcultures like micropenises and the Lucia Cole catfishing saga, is squarely in her element for this week’s headline story. The bizarre theories about the Donald Trump campaign’s then-latest scandal – whether or not the disgraced speechwriter deemed responsible for his wife Melania’s plagiarized speech is a real person or not – are just Trump enough to believe, though the volunteer sleuths planting domain names in Notopolous’s inbox do it no favors. Come to bring your dick out for Harambe, stay for the vast government conspiracy. [iTunes]
The Brilliant Idiots – Survey Says
Marc: There seems to be a bit of tension in the air as Andrew Shultz and Charlamagne Tha God, hosts of The Brilliant Idiots, throw down about the Trump v. Clinton presidential tussle. It’s not that either guy likes one candidate over the other (although Trump is faring the worse of the two, conversationally speaking). It’s more a matter of to what degree each host dislikes the candidates, and for what reasons. Standup comedian Shultz and Charlamagne (“Hip-Hop’s Howard Stern”) pull no punches with each other but slide some laughs in there to soften the blows as they go head to head about the presidential hopefuls. Each has arguments and facts to back their play, but even the veracity of those points are called into question during the course of their discourse. In a race that seems to be shaping up as a study in the “lesser of two evils” (a phrase that’s been used more and more often it seems), you wouldn’t figure that a couple of regular dudes with a podcast could sort through the noise to make some sense of it all, but I came away from the nearly two-hour session with a bit more understanding of the situation than I’d figured on. [iTunes]
Road Stories Podcast – Comics On Duty
Marc: We often hear about comedians heading into the war zones and military bases around the world to entertain our troops, but if you want to get a full-on dose of the hot, sweaty, but rewarding details, the latest drop of Road Stories, entitled “Comics On Duty”, will get the job done. Host Murray Valeriano and guest Steve Mazan recently teamed up on a multi-base, multi-country tour and they tell all here. They are joined by frequent guest and fellow comedian Gary Brightwell, who has done the Comics On Duty run a whole bunch of times, too. They talk about doing comedy in 120° temperatures in such farflung places as Djibouti and Bahrain, where they’d sweat through their clothes so fast it wasn’t even worth showering before the show. And they describe what life as a visiting comedian is like aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Imagine performing for an always-standing crowd of several hundred troops in the hold under weird orange “ready” lights as the mercury creeps up to 130 degrees. And then accidentally insulting the frigging admiral of the fleet because you can’t identify him in the dark.) Comics talk about hell gigs but these were more like sets done in Hell. Except the captive audience – men and women of America’s armed services – was always appreciative to be able to get a laugh. In exchange, these comics got priceless experiences they’ll never forget. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
How to Be a Person - Alex Rubens: How to Be an Optimist
Definitely Dying – Yoink in the Garbage with Pam Murphy
Hollywood Handbook – Whitmer Thomas And Clay Tatum, Our Friends From School
Your Mom’s House – Top Dog, Charo & OMG Maria
You Made It Weird – Chris Thayer Returns
Don’t Get Me Started – Jamie Gaul: Female Serial Killers
Scriptnotes – Don’t Think Twice w/Mike Birbiglia
Mike Prowse Solo Travel Podcast – Japan
Jake and Tom Conquer the World – Jakin’ Off Vol. 1
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Mark Kramer is a writer, comedian & human boy from Staten Island, New York, but please don’t hold that against him.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.