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.
Make Me Like It - Not Having Kids with Naomi Ekperigin
Elizabeth: Considering the state of the planet, should people bring children into the world? Dan Klein and Kelly Hudson are solid yeses, but Broad City and Great News’ Naomi Ekperigin is a pretty definite no. On the latest episode of Make Me Like It, hosts Dan and Kelly talk with Naomi about deciding whether or not to have kids, adopting, beige babies, and being pet parents. Dan shares his talent for playing American Girl dolls and his experiences with pseudo-parenting as a Big Brother, while Naomi describes her upbringing and how it’s impacted her decision to skip the whole baby thing. They also talk about how having children opens up new opportunities for male comedians (such as Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan), while that isn’t the case for female comedians. They also chat about their non-diverse college experiences, white guilt, and why eyeglasses are such great accessories. [Apple Podcasts]
Live from the Poundstone Institute - Is That T-Rex Coming On To Me?
Marc: After guesting for years on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and A Prairie Home Companion, comedian Paula Poundstone is stepping up to the plate as the host of her own podcast, Live from the Poundstone Institute. Humor cloaked in the guise of a “factoid podcast,” Poundstone’s show is a brisk listen, covering a variety of disparate topics in a little over a half hour and all presented in front of a live crowd. Assisted by Adam Felder, “amateurfessor” Poundstone nimbly fires off jokes and quips related to each subject as they come up, from hurricanes (Did you know that hurricanes with female names are more destructive than those named after males?) to T-Rex sex. Bringing in the facts are brief visits with actual professor types, like the paleontologist who reveals that the Tyranosaurus Rex was likely a tender lover. Or the researcher who braved the bush to play recordings of talk show hosts in order to find out how mountain lions react to the human voice. (Spoiler alert: They ran away faster than Sean Hannity would from real journalism.) Poundstone is joined by Larry Wilmore in the last segment of the show, plugging his new Black on the Air and taking Ms. P’s “Poundstone Psychology Psurvey.” [Apple Podcasts]
Hollywood Handbook - Spencer Crittenden, Our Close Friend
Noah: If the increasing frequency of Sean and Hayes insisting that they’re ending the show has been stressing you out, this week’s episode with Harmonquest’s Spencer Crittenden is only going to make it worse. But if it truly is the end, could there be a nobler way to go than with the boys telling all the new Earwolf shows to suck on these (except Throwing Shade – they’d get mad), doing an episode of Harmonquest with Sean playing Bartman and Hayes “rolling the dice” for the group by doing an impression of Tom Scharpling doing an impression of Andrew Dice Clay doing an impression of a woman, and trying to take a reach into the Popcorn Gallery only to have to call in executive producer/bruv Colin Anderson for further disciplinary issues with their engineers? It’s a corker in that chaotic and sometimes demeaning way – oh, honey – that only Hollywood Handbook can be. As a bonus, Santa-Man has finally gotten his own razor company off the ground and Hayes further deals with the conflicting ad messaging of Chapman University: “I’d Chap That.” [Apple Podcasts]
You Made It Weird - Bassem Youssef
Pablo: A 75-minute You Made It Weird interview is rarer than a Transformers movie under 2 and a half hours, but it’s always a good sign. It usually means the guest is of importance and that Pete Holmes doesn’t want to waste his time with bits. And while this week’s guest, Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, is game to be silly, there’s always the dark subtext that he will never again step foot in his home country due to his comedy. Youssef, exiled and starting over in America with a new book and documentary Tickling Giants, tells Holmes how he went from physician to comedian, covering Egypt’s failed revolution that saw dictator Hosni Mubarak step down after 29 years and General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi removing democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi in a military coup. Throughout it all was Bassem’s criticism of those in power, resulting in legal and physical threats from Islamists backed by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and secular militarists under Sisi. Youssef’s story has gotten a lot of airtime thanks to Jon Stewart, but it’s never dull to hear him retell how he found the bravery to create satire at a time when journalists were arrested and citizens were being killed in the street. On a lighter note, Youssef reveals how Must See TV helped him improve both his English and understanding of American comedy, as he started with Friends and then gradually began to comprehend what made Seinfeld and Frasier funny. [Apple Podcasts]
The Adventures of Danny and Mike - Reunion Demands, Mike’s Latest Fave Ep & Ween!
Marc: Whatever happened to those two kids who played the titular brothers from Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete that ran from 1993 to 1996? You can still see them as young’uns in reruns on Nick, but you can hear them as adults Danny Tamberelli and Michael Maronna every month on The Adventures of Danny and Mike. First off, if you were (or are still) a fan of the TV show, the two guys, joined by their producer Jeremy Balon, spend ample time chatting about Pete & Pete. They remember very specific moments, both in front and behind the cameras, from seemingly every episode — and they enjoy busting each other’s balls over moments that occurred two decades ago. In this installment, they’ve recently returned from a Pete & Pete reunion show in Chicago. These get-togethers, while hardly on the level with a Comic-Con, draw a healthy crowd of wistful well-wishers who want to hang with the brothers Wrigley. The guys are also big fans of the band Ween and talk about their obsession with the Pennsylvania-rooted band that started back in 1984. It helps to know the Nick show these guys are from but if you’re like me and you don’t, you’re going to be able to catch up real quick. [Apple Podcasts]
Hard Nation - Arnold Schwarzenegger Has A Ferret (w/ Ryan Stanger)
Mark: Bernie Sanders. Michelle Obama. Richard Nixon’s ghost. These are just some of the luminaries that have appeared on past episodes of Hard Nation. Add another titan of politics this week in the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, played by ⅓ of the Action Boyz and ½ of the Dumbbells, Ryan Stanger. You would think Stanger would draw upon his vast knowledge of ‘80s Arnold action films, but no – the entire episode hinges on Arnold’s love of ferrets. It’s surprising we haven’t heard about this from the mainstream media, but apparently while Schwarzenegger was Governor of California, he worked to legalize exotic animals so he could legally own a ferret. Later, in a revelatory performance, Arnold showcases his acting chops with a Shakespearean recital of the lyrics from the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin.” That is a sentence never before uttered in the English language. Mark and Pete Hard also learn some body tips from the former Mr. Olympia, which entail putting literal clay over your muscles and sculpting them as you please. As Arnold so frequently repeats, the only way to accomplish all of these things is to work day and night, and all of these things. [Apple Podcasts]
Comedy Bang! Bang! - The Freak
Kathryn: First-time listener Kyle Mooney promotes his film Brigsby Bear (“the feel-good kidnapping movie of the year” – Vanity Fair). Twin brothers Benny (Paul Rust) and Barrett (Neil Campbell) Bachelor own a record label on top of a building and a sub shop on the bottom. Terminally ill young person Rosie Jipps (Fran Gillespie) suffers from big chromosomes but that doesn’t get in the way of her dream of owning an ice cream cone franchise with her mother, who is probably manipulating her into believing she is sick and using it to rack up GoFundMe donations. Terrifying remedial high schooler Chris Fitzpatrick debuts a demented summer school song. Yet still some questions go unanswered. Should Garry Marshall rest in peace or not? We may never know. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air - Senator Al Franken and Comedy’s Relationship to Politics
Hold On with Eugene Mirman - Hasan Minhaj and the Pursuit of Prom
The David Feldman Show - Marc Maron
View from the Cheap Seats - Dave Koechner
Fact Up - Disease
Never Not Funny - Tom Arnold
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.