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.
The Bill Simmons Podcast - Nathan Fielder on Life as a Millennial, Magic, and More ‘Nathan For You’
Mark: Despite this being Nathan Fielder’s third appearance on a Bill Simmons-hosted podcast, the pair’s pre-established rapport does not get in the way of the uncomfortable brand of comedy Nathan for You fans have come to know and love. For example, I guarantee you will not hear another podcast this year in which the guest goads the engineer into looking up steampunk porn on-air. There is a bit of sports talk, but if you didn’t think Fielder was a sports fan, think again. As he bluntly puts it, “it seems like sports are really fun.” Of course, as one of the first living millennials, Nathan has a lot to say about Generation Z. He points out a PBS Frontline piece about “selling out” that will make you question our country’s entire education system. Ironically, the fame-seeking behavior Simmons and Fielder criticize is also what made many past Nathan for You segments so compelling. Season 4 cannot get here soon enough. [Apple Podcasts]
Dumb People Town - Keegan-Michael Key
Marc: Sheer stupidity never fails to entertain, especially when it’s served up by the hosts of Dumb People Town: Jason Sklar, Randy Sklar, and Daniel Van Kirk. Throw improv and sketch maestro Keegan-Michael Key (Friends From College, Key and Peele) into the mix and things heat up fast. There’s a bit of conversation in the early going about what guest Key has going on, but it’s not long before the floodgates of stupidity open wide. The trio of whacked-out news stories covered in each episode are submitted by listeners, and it seems that the well of dumb is bottomless, starting with a woman on a Tinder date getting stuck in a window trying to retrieve her own poop, then a segue into a DIYer popping himself in the chest with a nail gun, then topping the whole thing off with an explosion when a couple tries to BBQ some pork chops on an open gas grill in the back of their moving SUV. The jokes at the expense of the poor schmoes involved in these tales of “Whoa!” fly fast and furious and that, my friends, is how things get done in Dumb People Town. [Apple Podcasts]
Handsome Rambler - Chris Rock
Elizabeth: Chris Rock admits that he’s fighting podcasts when he stops by Hannibal Buress’s Handsome Rambler, following their shows at The Chicago Theatre. They talk about how Chris is preparing for his new tour, which will take him all over the world from Dublin to Dubai. He describes his standup and writing process and they debate whether or not Hannibal should write a movie. (Chris is on the side of no, because unless you have a movie that’s dying to get out of you, “why would you write a movie if you already have money and are fucking awesome women?”) Chris tells Hannibal about his first visit to SNL with Sam Kinison and they compare their experiences on the show. Hannibal recalls how Chris pushed him to get on camera when he was working as a writer, giving him the same pep talk that Chris got from Eddie Murphy. We also learn how much Chris pays at the barbershop (and why you’ve got to spend time in the shop), why Hannibal keeps a low overhead, how they feel about luxury cars and, of course, how they feel about the Knicks. [Apple Podcasts]
Blank Check - The Devil Wears Prada
Kathryn: The Newmannium is upon us as Griffin’s younger sister Romilly guests on Blank Check, bringing the Newman:Sims ratio to 2:1, the mercury-in-retrograde of podcasting. Usually Blank Check highlights how accomplished directors use (or abuse) the freedom earned through escalating critical/commercial successes – Shyamalan doesn’t get to make The Last Airbender without doing The Sixth Sense first. But occasionally they’ll do a one-off episode in a crisis situation, like The Book of Henry, or for a special guest. Griffin’s younger sister brings with her the undisputed masterpiece The Devil Wears Prada (2006), a shining outlier from the director of Collateral Beauty, Marley and Me, and season 1 episode 7 of Entourage. Romilly, a food blogger and one of those elegant post-Disney teens, is a great guest – the rest of the youth could learn a thing or two from her reverence for second-wave Meryl comedies. Plus Griffin and David get to fawn over Anne Hathaway’s facial expressions, Emily Blunt’s star power, and Stanley Tucci’s everything. It’s easy to forget that The Devil Wears Prada is chock-a-block with stellar performances all the more impressive because they are not obliterated by Adrien Grenier’s black hole. Suddenly I see why the hell this perennial cable channel favorite means so much to me. [Apple Podcasts]
Defend Your Movie - Ilana Glazer “Defends” Austin Powers
Marc: Comedian Sean Donnelly kicked his Defend Your Movie podcast off at the beginning of this year and he’s had some funny guest comedians on to do their best to protect the honor of a favorite movie, even if it’s just a guilty pleasure. This week it’s Ilana (Broad City) Glazer and she puts up her verbal dukes to defend a favorite from her youth, Mike Myers’s Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. While it turns out that Glazer’s recollection of the film is a little dim – it’s been years since she’s seen it and parts of the two not-so-good sequels keep getting jumbled up when she tries to remember the plot. Having been pretty young when the movie was released, Glazer also isn’t sure the humor holds up today, which sends her and host Donnelly off discussing the difference in comic sensibilities between yesterday and today. The conversation wanders far afield at times but circles back to underscore that the movie still can get some laughs even today. [Apple Podcasts]
Back on the Redd Planet - Back on the Redd Planet
Marc: Back on the Redd Planet has been (mostly) spending the past 66 episodes recounting every episode of all three seasons of classic 1990s sci-fi sitcom The Redd Planet. With this installment, hosts Chris, Seth, and Matt had reached the end of the series — a TV show which, in case you’re not in on the joke yet, never existed. But that hasn’t stopped these guys from cracking themselves up every week creating a whirlwind of crazy plot points, unhinged characters, and irreverent callbacks that could have been part of such a wackadoodle show. The fact they’ve reached the end of the fictional series means they’ve reach the end of this nonfictional podcast. So if you are just hearing about this series now, it’s time to put your binge-listening jammies on and cram some Redd Planet into your earholes. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
High & Mighty - Conspiracy Theories w/ Anthony Atamanuik
Mission to Zyxx - What Happens on Magnifiku
Step By Stapp - Valentine’s Day in September
TV Guidance Counselor - Sean McCarthy
Tuesdays with Stories - Stomping C*nt
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.