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.
Comedy Bang! Bang! 2016 Australia Tour - Perth, WA
Pablo: Listening to the CBB 2016 world tour has been like watching the ‘92 US Men’s Basketball Team: No matter which character is inserted into the lineup, the result is always a 45 point victory over Latvia. In the final stop on their Australian leg, Scott Aukerman, Paul F. Tompkins, Lauren Lapkus, and Mike Hanford visited the city of Perth, which left a lasting impression on the quartet. Literally, as the hotel they stayed at had showers that didn’t work nor toilets with the capability of flushing. The audible combo of annoyance and jet lag you hear in Scott actually works given that two of his three guests, Santa Claus and Ho Ho the Naughty Elf, are some of the biggest assholes in the CBB universe. Santa, who is stuck inside his immortal shell, would give anything for the ability to kill himself, even if it meant death-by-cum-stuck-inside-of-dick, which is how Ho Ho killed his father after an improvised vasectomy. If this all sounds a bit ridiculous, just know that Hanford’s John Lennon is there to keep things level with impersonations of Snoop “The Smoking Rapper” Dogg. It’s that kind of show.
The Best Show - Tom’s Summer Vacation! Stranger Things! Avalanche Bob!
Noah: Tom Scharpling’s role on Steven Universe has been an unlikely but welcome source for a new influx of callers. Two of the best examples come this week, starting with with a ten-year-old boy being put on the line by his dad to “talk to Greg Universe” in a conversation that quickly turns to the cult of Barb on Stranger Things, while the second repeatedly refers to “watching” The Best Show for the first time because he just so happened to seek out Scharpling’s Twitter account while the show was on the air. That caller also caps off a great string of unrelated people insisting to the host that if a cat scratches you, you’ll get toxoplasmosis and it’ll “make you want to buy more cats” - cat scratch fever, as Scharpling sings. Producers Pat Byrne and Mike were off at a Springsteen gig, but everyone else was in good spirits after a week off from the live show, working together to make one of the smoothest listens this year in spite of Jon Wurster’s absence and the lack of an in-studio interview. Even Avalanche Bob and the Z-Man bring the heat, though the show-stealing call comes from Gavin, who absolves himself from having the dumbest first name in a loaded, hilarious, exactly 500 word essay. [iTunes]
Doughboys - Beck Bennett
Elizabeth: Learn the history of cheesecake (it goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks) and discover how a French dip sandwich can go horribly wrong on this week’s episode of Doughboys. Saturday Night Live’s Beck Bennett joins Mitch and Wiger to analyze the country’s preeminent mall eatery chain, The Cheesecake Factory. They talk Chicago cuisine, SNL eating habits, and getting in shape (or not) before diving into their recap of their meal. It was Beck’s first time at at the Factory, a truly memorable experience for any salty boy. From the fried mac and cheese to the enchiladas, all the food gets positive reviews with a few minor deductions for things like seasoning. Finally in Drank or Stank, they take a trip down memory lane with a tasting of the newly rereleased Crystal Pepsi. [iTunes]
Fitzdog Radio - David Feldman
Marc: Sometimes it seems like an episode like the one on this week’s Fitzdog Radio podcast was the reason earbuds were born. Greg Fitzsimmons hosts fellow comedian/writer/podcaster David Feldman in one of the funniest, acerbic, and politically incorrectly-laced shows I’ve heard in a while. I found myself laughing out loud at exchanges that I was also glad weren’t being heard by people passing me on the street. All that laugh-inducing vitriol was also covering up a lot of pain, as Feldman revealed — right at the top of the show — that the very next day was when his divorce decree was coming down. His 30-year marriage was coming to an end, and Feldman chose to share the raw, open emotions that go with an event like that with Fitzsimmons and countless Fitzdog listeners. That’s comedy on the edge, and every bit of it comes through. The two attempt to slip away from the topic from time to time, but Feldman’s impending divorce keeps sliding front and center. Always wary about revealing details of his family publicly — on his own podcast, The David Feldman Show, he’s joked about having three wives and as many as five children — here he talks about his adult son and daughter and how tough it’s been through a painful separation during the past three years as they took sides in the split. Fitzsimmons, ever the consummate interviewer, Is sympathetic to Feldman’s situation while continuing to press for details about what happened and why. [iTunes]
Tuesdays with Stories! - Pop Bubblegum Dogshit
Mark: This week on Tuesdays with Stories our hosts Joe List and Mark Normand have finally returned from their respective European tours opening for little-known comics Louis C.K. and Amy Schumer. The two recount their trips through bright eyes akin to 19-year old study abroad students, with (slightly) less drug intake. Each stop on the tour brings a new observation, a new story, and eventually, new material. For example, List could not believe how visibly excited Jerusalem was to finally land Louis C.K. He also becomes the envy of every listener when he details a walk alongside the canals of Amsterdam with Louis C.K., both comics armed with joints and Boston standup stories. Meanwhile, Normand recalls a wild night out in Dublin that ends in the most appropriate way - with a 6:00am Irish exit. It’s been a ride listening to these two go from up-and-coming talent to global openers for arguably the two biggest comedians in the universe right now. This private jet-fueled episode feels like the culmination of 156-podcasts worth of their hard work, dedication, and accidental slurs. [iTunes]
Pistol Shrimps Radio - Summer Masters Round 6: The Finals
Kathryn: The Pistol Shrimps Summer Masters mini-golf tournament came to an end this week, and surprise, surprise, it was delightful. Without actual Shrimps b-ball to cover over the summer break, Matt Gourley and Mark McConville schlepped their recorder backpack on the road to call mini-golf games at deathly outdoor venues like Castle Park in Sherman Oaks, and the indoor neon hip hop Glow Zone in Woodland Hills. Competition came down to Molly Hawkey and Angela Trimbur in the finals. Mini-golf has fewer players and moves slower than basketball but Mark and Matt still manage to get distracted from the game, interviewing school groups or couples on dates for some local color. The Summer Masters tournament was a refreshing outdoor change of pace for Shrimps Radio, and the final round is doubly refreshing as it signals the return of regular season basketball play in the next episode. Surely a summer without the Shrimps would have put us in dire straits indeed. [iTunes]
The Carson Podcast – Bobby Kelton
Marc: A quarter century may have passed but, for a TV show that ended in 1992, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson continues to provide rich fodder. Not only in reruns on Antenna TV but in the form of fun and informative interviews via The Carson Podcast and its host, Mark Malkoff. The latest installment has him gathering remembrances and stories from comedian Bobby Kelton, who racked up a total of 21 appearances. Amazingly, in that hard-to-land closing spot on America’s most popular late night talk show, he landed his first four 6-minute shots in as many months. Malkoff has done fastidious research and, as is obvious by his ability to reel off facts and verbatim statements from particular episodes, he has watched a ton of Tonight Show installments. Just as impressive is Kelton’s ability to recall bits of minutia from his visits to the show, such as his not minding getting bumped from time to time because of a show running long because – as a struggling comedian – the $600 appearance fee was “play or pay” and always a welcome bonus. Or the time Carson pelted him with several pencils with erasers at both ends – a famous prop he fiddled with at the desk – when Kelton made playful fun of him in one of his famous bits about TV dinners, each of which were designed for specific shows. (“The Tonight Show Dinner, with substitute entrees!” joked Kelton, referring to the array of guest hosts Carson employed when he was on vacation.) For those who never got a chance to catch the master, Carson, at work, these shows may not have the impact they otherwise have for those of us who tuned in and delighted in catching the hot new comedians – like Kelton – that Carson would introduce us to almost every weeknight. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hard Nation - Roger Ailes Needs His Nectar w/ John Gemberling
Fear Based Life - Wet Paper and Judaism w/ Guy Branum
Sooo Many White Guys - Roxanne Gay
Anna Faris Is Unqualified - Eric Andre parts 1 & 2
The Poundcast - Asbergers Are Us & Brent Weinbach
The Mick Betancourt Show - Farewell
Hollywood Handbook - Just Sean And Hayes
Fun Size Happy Hour - Tiki Time
Jordan, Jesse GO! - Horse Dick On A Pony: Dave Shumka
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.
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.