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 - Make Man Buns Great Again
Elizabeth: 2 Dope Queens (a.k.a the Hamilton of Brooklyn) is back. The season premiere is also a celebration of Jessica, who is turning the ripe old age of 27. To kick off the show, Phoebe talks about a man-bunned dude who wasted her time and Jessica gives advice on how to talk to women. First up is Eric Andre, who covers everything from Anthony Bourdain’s asshole (what a mess!) to his character Andrew Nice Clay (what a feminist!). Jessica’s former boss Jon Stewart comes out to share the stage with Phoebe and Jessica and talk about his background and what he was doing at the age of 27. Jon also gives Phoebe some tips for dating older Jewish men (don’t hug them too hard.) And finally, the white Angela Bassett, Jessi Klein, chats with the queens about her worst fuckboi situations and why it’s important to quit while you’re ahead. [iTunes]
Dead Pilots Society - Formosa
Marc: This week marked the ironic dropping of the pilot of a new podcast, Dead Pilots Society (although there was an Episode Zero that was recently released). No connection to The Dead Authors Podcast (other than the fact that DAP creator Paul F. Tompkins appears in a starring role in this debut episode), Dead Pilots is a compelling concept: Take pilot scripts for television sitcoms, written by some of the funniest minds in Hollywood, rejected or shelved for one reason or another, and bring them to life using some of the funniest people on the planet. Add to that an interview with the writers about why the project never took off, went south, or was otherwise scuttled and you’ve got a compelling hour-long podcast. Formosa is a pilot script written by Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant — two guys from The State who’ve brought us Reno 911, The Night At The Museum films, and more — set in 1940s Hollywood. The story revolves around a pair of brothers, Frank and Frenchy, who are sleazy skin flick filmmakers who have deluded themselves into thinking they’re actually in showbiz. The leads are portrayed by Tompkins and Ben Schwartz, with other parts being brought to life by Craig Cackowski, Alessandra Torresani, Ana Ortiz, Cedric Yarbrough, Carlos Alazraqui, Janet Varney, and Kyle Bornheimer. The script is edgy (one of the leads gets an ear sliced off), politically incorrect (non-PC terms for Latinos and Italians are tossed around), and based on the premise that it would be an ongoing storyline, not just a bunch of one-off episodes. The standard of today’s fare, but not so much back in 2002 when this script was commissioned then abandoned by Fox TV. The brainchild of Hollywood writers Ben Blacker (Thrilling Adventure Hour) and Andrew Reich (Friends), if Dead Pilots catches on there are literally thousands of sitcom pilot scripts waiting for their big break. [iTunes]
My Dad Wrote a Porno - Footnotes: Thomas Middleditch
Kathryn: Unless you’re really really addicted to MDWAP, the footnotes mini-sodes might be skippable. There’s always a fun guest fan of the podcast like Daisy Ridley or Elijah Wood and they’re unilaterally delightful, of course, but if we don’t actually hear Jamie Morton read a new chapter in his dad’s erotic saga Belinda Blinked, what are we doing? We need content! Who is Belinda meeting, what kind of thong are they wearing, and what’s she doing with her vaginal lids! But on the latest footnote, Jamie, James and Alice chat up Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch who just binged Belinda series one and two in about two months (as I did), who so skillfully embodies every character it’s almost like living in a Belinda expanded universe. Don’t skip it. His Peter Rouse is disjointed and alien, his Jim Sterling is the Irish daydream of an American boor, his Dr. Robbins is a tittering Dutch maniac. Cast Middleditch in every role in the Belinda film, please. [iTunes]
Why Oh Why? - The Single Straight Guy Focus Group
Noah: If fans of Andrea Silenzi’s original iteration of Why Oh Why? on WFMU had any doubts about her new revival on Panoply, they were shattered in the first few seconds of the single straight guy focus group. Unassuming as a focus group for a fledgling sex and dating podcast pilot might be, when the familiar braggadocio of Silenzi’s longtime friend and subject Randy quickly finds itself at home among the innocent – or at least not yet guilty – voices of the din, everything about the episode’s pretense shifts and it becomes clear that this show will be grounded in the same brilliant social engineering that brought it to the dance. “Anyone who uses the phrase ‘lay pipe,’ they’re not going to have much sex,” Randy decrees to an increasingly drunk and hostile millennial crowd. For once, Randy is the one speaking some semblance of chivalry. And the other men, hooting and hollering at the mere sight of a single lady, straddling the line between real and Why Oh Why?’s unique kayfabe, fall right into Silenzi’s hilarious, harrowing trap. [iTunes]
Any Time with Vin Forte - Kelly Carlin
Pablo: My introduction to George Carlin, and to basically all standup that wasn’t on Premium Blend, was after I bought a used CD of Complaints and Grievances in middle school. True to its title, it’s a brilliant hour of complaints from the mundane (white guys who shave their heads) to the profound (he knocks the 10 Commandments down to an efficient 2). But what I didn’t know until recently was that Complaints and Grievances was cobbled together after 9/11 scuttled plans for the album he was planning: I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die. But thanks to the work of his only child Kelly who discovered the tapes, recorded on 9/9 and 9/10 during his Las Vegas residency, we were blessed this month with another hour of previously-unheard material from the greatest standup of all time. Talking to Vin Forte, Kelly discusses how the album came together and why there’s little chance of another one ever coming out. Since Carlin’s death in 2008, Kelly has assumed the mantle of keeping his legacy alive by making many podcast/radio appearances in which she talks about how he was as a father and a man. But even something as innocent and genuine as that has perils, as Kelly mentions she quit social media due to nasty backlash from fans who put George on a pedestal. As wonderful as it is to hear new jokes from one of the sharpest minds ever to pick up a microphone, it’s just as satisfying to hear his thoughts that went unrecorded and were only passed down verbally to Kelly. In his later years, Kelly says, George said that people who thought he got angrier in his later work simply weren’t paying attention. [iTunes]
Attempted Comedians – Alexis Dubus: Festival Circuit & Alt Gigs
Marc: Fans of Flight of the Conchords are aware that there’s comedy emanating from New Zealand. In fact, there’s a whole comedy scene there, which is brought more and more to light with every episode of Attempted Comedians, a show hosted by a trio of NZ standups — Dave McCartney, Scott Long, and Tony Lyall. Their guest is Alexis Dubus, a UK comedian who finds himself Down Under quite a bit, although he’s a bit off of the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the one in Adelaide as well, reasons for which he elaborates on. Through his stories and the hosts’, the NZ scene feels more like a collection of road gigs more than some major clubs in a couple of cities. Everyone seems to take turns driving the other comics on the bill around, and it lends more than an air of camaraderie to the setting. Dubus talks about his first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well, and how he wrote his debut show, A Bloody Brief History of Swearing, because he hadn’t developed enough standup material his first time through to fill an hour. He shares stories of the alt comedy room he had going for a while in London, called Falling Down, which had comics like Russell Brand dropping in. And it’s also where his fairly famous French alter ego, Marcel Lucont, got his start. The three hosts carry the show with their freewheeling banter and the energy that only comes with being a struggling comedian trying to make it — no matter where in the world you happen to be. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Gosh Darn Fiasco - The Zoo LIVE
Marty & Sarah Love Wrestling - SmackDown After Dark
Fitzdog Radio - Alison Rosen
Bodega Boys - The Xandman
Talk Is Jericho - TalkN Shop Live In Australia
Monster Party - Worst Horror & Sci-Fi Clichés! with Mark Pitta
The Best Show - Chris Gethard! Sal Vulcano! Beach Boys! Gary The Squirrel!
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.