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.
Dumb People Town - Tiffany Haddish
Pablo: Sometimes the podcast scheduling gods shine down upon you, like on this week’s Dumb People Town, which booked the hilarious Tiffany Haddish before Girls Trip blew away box office expectations. While the stories of dumb people usually take center stage, it’s Haddish who has a crazy tale to match each story, which should come as no surprise if you’ve seen her Will and Jada Pinkett Smith swamp boat tale that went viral last week. The first story is about a girlfriend who poured gasoline on her sleeping boyfriend and lit a match, only to change her mind and extinguish the flames with the bucket of urine they kept in the bedroom. Haddish can relate though, since she once pooped in her adulterous boyfriend’s brand new Jordans. Not only did she poop in it and ask her boyfriend to go play basketball, but she meticulously wiped the sides so he wouldn’t know beforehand and ate corn the day before so he’d know it was human poop after stepping in it. For the last story about a child being picked up from a daycare center covered in feces, Haddish has her own bloody version. Growing up in South Central, her mom would drop off Haddish and her siblings at the McDonald’s playpen with $5 and let them run wild for hours. One time just happened to include a child covered in blood with no explanation. The poopy kid got that way because he followed a toddler with a full diaper down a slide. As for the bloody kid? The world will never know. [Apple Podcasts]
The Best Show - One Song Days! Chris Gethard! Boyce From Newbridge!
Noah: Tom Scharpling works another masterful Best Show centered on an inspired topic – what songs you listen to over and over all day and why – that drags out the best combination of dude callers in some time. Between Tom singing to a guy in the hospital, drawling alongside “Say-um” from Dallas, comparing the peaches of Georgia and South Carolina, and GOMPing a fan who questions his friendship with Ellie Kemper, there’s a consistent reverie throughout the show. Jon Wurster calls in as Tom’s overly cordial waiter from the other night in Historic Korean War-era Newbridge, Boyce, to go into detail about some of the lesser known “retired baseball great opens a bar and then he gets sucked into the lives of his patrons” sitcoms and how the trades all depict Scharpling’s fall from Hollywood grace. The call is littered, as usual, with Newbridge slang from the stressing of “nummy” in Miss Bessy’s Nummy Flourless Chocolate Cake to – a new one – referencing the “you’re eating worms” scene from Lost Boys. Add in a promotional call from Chris Gethard ahead of tonight’s Gethard Show premiere on truTV that gives Tom a chance to gripe about how he’s still doing The Best Show, and this has all the trappings of a fan favorite. [Apple Podcasts]
Live from the Poundstone Institute - Do I Need A Bath?
Marc: Already four shows into her own podcast and comedian Paula Poundstone’s enthusiasm to “get less stupid, one topic at a time” has not lessened one bit in Live from the Poundstone institute. The title refers to a report from her first guest, NPR correspondent Allison Aubrey, illuminating on something called “forest bathing,” which is pretty much a glorified walk in the woods. (Although it did give Paula and her guest a chance to use the expression “scratch a bush” twice – one a clean reference, the other not so much.) Also Cathleen Vose, a business professor, talks about a study that indicates keepers of messy desks tend to be more creative than their more anally retentive counterparts. Finally, Poundstone is joined by Dana Carvey, SNL luminary and former fellow standup comedian with Poundstone from the San Francisco scene. She gets some fascinating details on how he hones his impressions just before exposing him to a battery of questions designed to (somehow) reveal which board game he is most like. (Sorry I can’t reveal the answer here…) [Apple Podcasts]
Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show - T.J. Miller and Craig Finn
Marc: It seems like every episode so far of Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show starts at an awkward place and then quickly verges into somewhat uncomfortable, while maintaining a steady downbeat of laughs all along the way. The latest installment is no exception, as we learn that McDonald’s show has been hijacked by the producers and, in an attempt to increase the podcast’s ratings, he is contractually bound to perform the script they’ve written for the show. There’s yet another new announcer, whose name is also, uncannily, Kevin McDonald. The absurdism continues with a sketch about a man fixated on having the best haunted house in town, which is narrated by T.J. Miller. Miller is then introduced as the show’s big guest interview, during which he gives a hilarious recounting of an incident at the college he was attending where McDonald was the special guest improv teacher. The show is closed out with several tunes by Craig Finn from The Hold Steady. [Apple Podcasts]
You Made It Weird - Melissa Villaseñor
Leigh: A lot has been written about season 42 of SNL, a majority of it focusing on a certain scrappy newcomer they put their trust in and gave a shot to try his hand at a certain high-profile impression. But if you were paying attention, you know there was an actual new featured player this season who is truly such a talented impressionist. You already know, because her name is in the title of the episode listed right above this paragraph you’re reading, that I’m of course talking about Melissa Villaseñor. From universal favorites like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to a hilarious JLo (which she’s done a bunch on her Instagram and is also worth checking out) and a spot-on Owen Wilson, she nails every one host Pete Holmes throws at her. Though it’s her impression of a squirrel that’s the real star of the episode. And, say what you will about Pete Holmes’ laugh, and you’ll most likely say it’s distracting or too loud, and I know because I’ve said these things too, but in this episode I swear it’s all warranted. In fact, I bet a bunch of people I rode the subway with while I listened would say my laugh was too loud and distracting. [Apple Podcasts]
We’re No Doctors - Dirt Dick Jones and A Tetanus Based Anxiety
Elizabeth: If you’re the type of person who is up googling your various obviously-fatal maladies at 3:00am (and who isn’t), then We’re No Doctors is a podcast that will speak to you. The new Feral Audio series is hosted by Busy Philipps and Steve Agee, two actors who suffer from a range of conditions and neuroses and enjoy obsessing over the things that have nearly killed them in the past and could kill them in the future. In the first of two episodes released this week, Steve and Busy talk about their battles with sinus infections, skin rashes, the things they don’t tell you about giving birth, and Busy’s horrific MRI experience. Then Busy’s husband, screenwriter Marc Silverstein, stops by for the second episode to give a plug for human growth hormones and Steve shares his experience with temporary blindness, only to be outdone by Marc’s story of temporary paralysis. Unlike a certain Oscar-winning lifestyle guru, Steve and Busy do not claim to have any medical knowledge or expertise, hence the title of the podcast, so pour garlic water into your sinuses at your own risk. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus - Casey Wilson, Danielle Schneider: My Boyfriend Broke Up With Me
Hollywood Handbook - Dom, The Scuzzman, and the Commenter Hunt
Off Camera with Sam Jones - Lauren Lapkus
Don’t Get Me Started - The Sims
Bodega Boys - Bumbaclots!
Nerdette - Forget Cats: Jenny Slate is a Plant Lady
Support For This Podcast - Jon Hamm’s Omelette
RISK! - The Best of RISK! #12
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.