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.
You Made It Weird - Anthony Atamanuik
Leigh: If you’ve been watching Anthony Atamanuik’s brilliance on Comedy Central’s The President Show, it should come as no surprise to you that this week’s episode of You Made It Weird would be anything short of tremendous. Atamanuik, who doesn’t care how you pronounce his last name, offers up some pretty good advice about happiness and getting through the times when you’re feeling shitty. And yes, of course, there’s plenty of Trump talk, or as Pete Holmes puts it, “some questions about playing that thing.” They cover the obvious stuff like his favorite parts of the impression and what it’s like in that fat suit, but the conversation takes a somewhat unexpected turn when they discuss things about “that thing” you could see having empathy for. And of course another topic there’s really no way to get around: Alec Baldwin’s impression. This is the 374th episode of YMIW. So that’s 373 (not a typo, keep reading) times a guest has ended the show by saying “keep it crispy” (because real nerds remember the episode Chelsea Peretti refused to say it). And, while I haven’t listened to every episode or probably even half the episodes, I feel confident saying Atamanuik as Trump’s closing “keep it crispy” is hands down, without a doubt, the best one. In fact, it’s tremendous. [Apple Podcasts]
Reality Bytes - Happy Hour with Gabe Liedman & Daniel Zomparelli
Pablo: On this week’s episode of the sex, love, and relationship podcast Reality Bytes, the guests are writers and newly-weds Gabe Liedman and Daniel Zomparelli. Splitsider readers likely know Gabe from his comedy partnership with Jenny Slate and his hilarious Twitter account, the same account that led to he and Daniel, a poet living in Canada, to start a relationship. As Gabe and Daniel tell it, theirs is an extremely modern love tale born from a dual inclusion in the same #FollowFriday. After flirting over tweets and DMs, they began a long-distance relationship that soon moved into IRL territory and culminated in an engagement on their one-year anniversary. Gabe and Daniel were both on the same page, literally, as these two lovebirds unknowingly created the same gift for each other: a scrapbook of their first internet interactions. But the last page in Daniel’s scrapbook had a proposal, although Gabe didn’t think it was serious at first since it ended with LOL. While they initially planned on a long engagement, that whole “Donald Trump is president” thing led them to expedite the wedding before the GOP could put a kibosh in a gay Canadian becoming a married American citizen. For fans of Gabe’s tweets, you’ll be delighted to hear that their wedding invitations ended with SEND. [Apple Podcasts]
The Podcast For Laundry - Tom Scharpling
Noah: It’s about time Brett Davis entered podcasting, and nobody out there could complement The Podcast For Laundry’s dry and thoroughly absurd premise like Tom Scharpling can. Davis’s coming out party was a minor arc as Smith on The Chris Gethard Show two years ago, but he and Scharpling point out that careful listers of Tom’s program will remember him calling into WFMU long before he ever stepped foot on a comedy stage. The Best Show influence is loud and clear in the back room of the Grove Laundromat in Montclair, New Jersey, as Davis embodies every fool Tom has ever suffered all rolled into one deluded, antagonistic, idiotic bundle. In a convoluted segment called “Turn the Tide,” Davis prods him with an exhaustive list of incidental laundry in popular culture – “Ross and Rachel had their first kiss in a laundromat… everybody has memories of watching Friends…” – and then the games fall off in creativity and effort, with some only necessitating a yes or no answer from the interviewee. Davis does a parody of Justin Timberlake’s hit “SexyBack” that moves Tom to curse, and a heated argument puts the narrow theme podcast boom on notice. At the Grove it was a threat, but this podcast will definitely blow up… with a certain type of comedy fan, at least. [Apple Podcasts]
Baby Geniuses - Andrew Ti / Jon Daly
Kathryn: Summer is upon us, the season of theme parks, and Baby Geniuses touches on the two big ones this week: Disney’s California Adventure and Lapland New Forest in Hampshire, UK. So far this summer Emily got too high for California Adventure and too high for the 4th of July. Guest Andrew Ti of Yo, Is This Racist? stops by to read the Wikipedia page for a short-lived Christmas-themed sadness fest in England and to offer advice on engaging with creationists on Twitter without getting too heated. Speaking of loins, Heller and Hanawalt also spend some time reappraising Josh Gad – is he as bad as we assume? yes – and exploring first fictional crushes, which results in too much time spent on the sexualization of Sonic and too little time on Hercules from Disney’s Hercules, in my opinion… For expert hour, Jon Daly’s Kelsey Grammer is an expert on basically everything, including his memoir Thus Far and on saying the word “Seattle” repeatedly. Grammer’s silky radio croon seems even silkier in podcast form. [Apple Podcasts]
Unpopular Opinion - Songs For Fighting Russian Spies
Marc: Podcast host and comedian Adam Tod Brown has been busier than ever since leaving as editor of Cracked. In addition to juggling several shows as a host, he’s now at the helm of the new Unpops network, and the show that he’s had since 2013, Unpopular Opinion, is the flagship of more than a dozen podcasts. He and his co-host, fellow comic Jeff May, usually shoot the bull about pop culture politics and the usual fodder for a couple of comedy dudes with microphones. Every so often they welcome a guest, and this week movie and TV music composer Nate Barr is on hand to talk about his work scoring A&E’s popular The Americans, AMC’s The Son, True Blood from HBO, the big screen The Dukes of Hazzard and more. The story of how the Russian-tinged main theme for The Americans is more interesting than you’d think. That instrument that sounds like weird harp? It’s actually an upright “prepared” piano that Barr sliced in half so he could directly strum the strings. We don’t often get to hear from the folks that make the music that sets the mood in these shows and it proves to be an engaging chat. [Apple Podcasts]
Mark: Even though Game of Thrones has been off the air for far too long, After the Thrones alum Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald haven’t spent the last year vacationing in Dorne. On this superb episode of The Watch, the two welcome occasional guest host Jason Mantzoukas. He isn’t even there to promote The House – as a professed GoT nerd he’s The Watch’s #1 fan (sorry Jake Johnson). A post-Baby Driver debrief bridges into a larger, thought-provoking discussion about nuance in the internet age. Not every opinion needs to be labeled a #hottake and not every #hottake is a valid opinion. As Greenwald’s stance on Baby Driver proves, there is a reasonable middle ground to most arguments that has eroded away in today’s thumbs-up or thumbs-down era. That being said, The Watch is the smartest pop culture podcast out there and if you disagree, you’re a total idiot. Later in the episode, listen to Andy Samberg and Mantzoukas yes-and their way into a beef with that punk Jack McBrayer. [Apple Podcasts]
Unhappy Hour with Matt Bellassai - Angela Kinsey
Elizabeth: Comedian Matt Bellassai debuts Unhappy Hour, a new podcast dedicated to venting about things people hate. He kicks off the first episode by taking a deep dive into everything that’s wrong with the state of Texas, from the draconian laws to Gary Busey (Texas in human form), Fritos, and fajitas (aggressive food you have to assemble yourself). Then he sits down with Angela Kinsey of The Office and Haters Back Off to talk about the things that she hates – namely musicals and moving to Dallas as a kid from Jakarta, a place where people didn’t get eyeliner tattoos as freshmen in high school. Angela also recounts her time as an operator at 1-800-DENTIST and her encounters with a frequent caller known as the P-Man. They wrap things up with a round of Office-themed “Which Is Worst” and then Matt ends the episode with a chaser of things he’s loving to temper all the ranting. [Apple Podcasts]
Heart Shaped Pod - Did Kurt Really Live Under A Bridge?
Marc: Another show that Adam Tod Brown is co-helming, in addition to running the new Unpops podcast network, is Heart Shaped Pod, dedicated to the music and the history of the band Nirvana. He and co-host Travis Clark are currently spending each episode going through the chronology of Kurt Cobain’s life, debating and dissecting how it formed the underpinnings of Nirvana. (Clark, like Brown, is also a comedian as a well as a musician and writer. He also co-hosted Tiny Odd Conversations, a podcast, along with his wife Brandi Clark.) In this installment, the two guys pretty much put to rest the myth that Cobain, after being tossed out of his house by his mother at the age of 16 for having sex with his high school girlfriend, lived for a time under the North Aberdeen Bridge in Washington State. Mentioned in the Nirvana song “Something in the Way,” fans long bought the legend. It turns out that a lot of Aberdeen kids hung out there and smoked weed, including Cobain, but that neither him nor anyone else actually lived under the structure. The true story of where he spent those early years of forcible eviction is actually more interesting, part of which was living in a refrigerator box on the porch of Dale Crover, drummer for The Melvins. Brown and Clark also favor us with a bootleg song from Nirvana’s first gig, playing a party at a house in Washington. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
2 Dope Queens - Bonus Episode! Vagina Dentata
My Favorite Murder - My Own Sinkhole
Las Culturistas - Party Time with Sasheer Zamata
Story Worthy - Meeting My Wife with Davy Rothbart
Salty Language Podcast - More Pod God Dammit!
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.
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.