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.
Dr. Gameshow - Off The Rails (w/ John Reynolds, Conner O’Malley)
Noah: “I know it’s kinda, like, part of the show to be, like, ‘It’s going off the rails!’” In this divisive episode of Dr. Gameshow, guests John Reynolds and Conner O’Malley hijack the show to such a degree that not even Manolo’s infectious chill can bring it back on track. The great irony is that even the games – an adorable bluffing contest called “Professor Meow Meow,” a macho version of The Dating Game called “Date a Pro Wrestler,” and the super gross rhyming game “Just the Rhyme Amount” – are some of the best that Jo and Manolo have taken on Earwolf. O’Malley and Reynolds, though, take the opportunity to seemingly drown out the rest of the world, with some minor attention paid to renowned caller Mr. Jokes as they occasionally remember to try to woo him, and one-up each other in chaotic improv (“What’s up, my dudes? It’s me, your boy, the Dad of Town!” is a last-minute contender for podcast one-liner of the year). It culminates in them writing commercials together for Wendy’s while Manolo, back in the actual Gameshow, is desperately trying to clarify how much doody a caller could fit in his mouth. It’s no question that Jo knew what she was getting into when she booked these two together, but the uninitiated are in for a shocking treat. [Apple Podcasts]
Alison Rosen Is My New Best Friend - Jake Weisman
Pablo: Soul-sucking corporations are the new nations. That’s one of the heady reasons Jake Weisman co-created his new dark workplace satire Corporate. Comedy Central normally shies away from those two adjectives but lucky for us, his sharp, existential take of the world is no longer confined to LA open mics. As a guest on Alison Rosen’s podcast, Weisman tells her that he, along with director Pat Bishop and fellow comedian Matt Ingebretson, aimed for a show that mixes Office Space with American Psycho. Weisman’s comedy is heavily rooted in depression and what he considers his innately Jewish anxiety, and here he explains how the show reflects modern day office life in a much more distinct manner than Comedy Central’s other workplace sitcom. Right on topic, Alison explains that her parents hid their Jewish heritage from her until her 20s. If I was a friend of her parents back then, I would’ve figured it out from the last name and self-loathing. [Apple Podcasts]
Friends Without Benefits - Keith Coogan
Marc: Comedian Jason Horton has made friends with a lot of showbiz folks since moving out to Los Angeles from the East Coast and Friends Without Benefits is his chance for both him and us to get to know them better. He kicks off the New Year with a chat with Keith Coogan. If you don’t immediately know who that is, a lot of the show is spent browsing through his impressive filmography — the guy started acting when he was five years old. You’d recognize him off the bat (if you’re of the right age) from such ‘80s classics as Adventures in Babysitting and Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. It’s kind of rare to come across someone who was a child actor who not only sounds reasonably normal as an adult, but also is still acting. Coogan is full of great stories and his memory is sharp and vivid when it comes to recalling anecdotes, whether it’s his one-year stint on TV’s The Waltons or playing three different kids on various episodes of CHiPs. His real ace in the hole is that he had to start out under an assumed name — Keith Mitchell — because his Hollywood-savvy mom didn’t want him coasting on his grandfather’s name. That was Jackie Coogan, another famous child-to-adult actor who went from playing opposite W.C. Fields to being last remembered as Uncle Fester on TVs The Addams Family. [Apple Podcasts]
Mark: Wanna feel old? Raised by TV is only 9 episodes in. So far, it’s been a frenzied, unfocused ride, with all-star hosts Lapkus and Gabrus getting by solely on a Mountain Dew and Gushers-fueled sugar rush. This first live episode signals a bright future where just the slightest structure helps keep the momentum and laughs rolling. Fellow podcasters Nick Wiger and Betsy Sodaro guest to pick their respective Mount Crushmores (previously titled Mount Fuckmore) of ‘90s characters. After some strenuous mental gymnastics over the ethics of choosing underage characters played by adult actors, the four dive right in. All remain on brand, from Peggy Bundy to Kevin Arnold to the animated Aeon Flux to the Cryptkeeper. You can probably guess who picked who. Christine Lakin from Step by Step later joins for an impromptu round of “Where Are They Now?” Raised by TV is carving another satisfying niche into a comedy world already saturated with nostalgia. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
WTF - Marc’s Family
Dumb People Town - Todd Glass
Hollywood Handbook - Listeners, Our Close Friends 4
Bill Simmons Podcast - Paul Thomas Anderson on Pursuing Filmmaking, Loving Adam Sandler, and Making ‘Boogie Nights’
Classroom Crush - What a Brazen Lie with Hayes Davenport
Modern Day Philosophers - David Koechner & Alexander Hamilton
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Mark Kramer is a writer, comedian & human boy from Staten Island, New York, but please don’t hold that against him.