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.
WTF with Marc Maron - Laurie Metcalf and Tom Segura
Marc: Both of Marc Maron’s guests on Monday’s installment of WTF are finding themselves in relatively new territory lately. Tom Segura has been playing theater venues – much bigger than the comedy clubs he’s used to – on the heels of several Netflix specials he’s done, which have served to build up his audience. Still, he doesn’t find himself getting that much further ahead, as the commissions to his agent and such get larger, plus there’s his small child to raise, along with wife and fellow comic Christina Pazsitzky. Maron’s main guest, Laurie Metcalf, is unused to the attention being shined on her following her supporting turn as the mom in last year’s Lady Bird. We get to hear about her role as one of the founding members of the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre crew, doing time there with Gary Sinise and John Malkovich. And as a self-avowed “theater rat,” that’s where this talented thespian has put in a lot of her work. But then there’s the TV side – Roseanne for nine seasons (10, counting the revisit to that show coming up on ABC this March), and as Sheldon’s mom, recurring on Big Bang Theory. (The delightfully dark comedy series, Getting On, that had three seasons on HBO, never gets mentioned.) And although she had done a movie or two along the way, she pretty much credits her turn in episode 3 of Louis C.K.’s pay-per-view series Horace and Pete for getting her a bat in the big leagues (“I feel like I’ve been eating at the kids’ table, and now I’m at the grown-up table,” she says) as the passive-aggressive and somewhat distasteful mother in Lady Bird. Maron refers to her at the close of the show as being “a sweet genius” and that seems like an apt description indeed. [Apple Podcasts]
Glowing Up - Glowing Up Your Finances with Gaby Dunn
Leigh: Now that we’re this deep into January, we’ve stopped pretending we care about resolutions. But that doesn’t mean we need to give up on trying to get all aspects of our lives in order. This week Glowing Up hosts Caroline Goldfarb and Esther Povitsky are joined by Bad with Money host Gaby Dunn to get all sorts of glowy about all things money. We all have it, we all want more of it, and we all have so many questions about how to do that. Especially when it comes to people who do comedy. How are they actually making their money? How are they managing their money? How do they have time to write jokes all day? Chances are you’ve wondered these things but maybe have never said them out loud. Because money is something nobody talks about because it’s weird and it’s tacky. But, as Gaby Dunn is here to point out, it doesn’t have to be. She’ll even walk you through a few scary things to get started. Plus, Caroline’s story about dealing with customer service to get back money from a gym membership is not only hilarious, it’s straight-up inspiring. By the end, you may just be fired up enough to start canceling all your own frivolous memberships. [Apple Podcasts]
High and Mighty - Lunch w/ Phil Rosenthal
Pablo: For 95% of people working on a TV show, the job means long hours for little pay. But if you get on a show with amazing craft services… you can pretend to be the executive producer for 30 minutes. So it’s nice to hear Phil Rosenthal, super successful co-creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, speak about a crafty and set lunches with the bright-eyed zeal of a rookie PA. Most Americans look to dinner as the apex of their daily meals, but to Rosenthal and host Jon Gabrus, it’s all about lunch. Rosenthal even plans a perfect lunch as the centerpiece of his day. To him, lunch is a tentpole that holds up his morning and afternoon writing sessions. And if that tentpole collapses due to an overly filling lunch or one that disappoints, his whole day is ruined. You can tell by his ever-present giggle, but Phil might be the luckiest, happiest man in the world. While Raymond residuals pile up faster than he can deposit, Rosenthal spends part of his time traveling the world and indulging in its lunches on his new Netflix original Somebody Feed Phil. [Apple Podcasts]
Suicide Buddies - Chris Benoit
Mark: There is dark comedy, and then there’s Suicide Buddies. No, Suicide Buddies is not the Muppet Babies version of Suicide Squad. In each episode, co-hosts and standups Hampton Yount and Dave Ross choose a famous suicide and unravel every noose, in hopes of imbuing the toughest subject with some levity. Past episodes include a Sylvia Plath-family trilogy and the “9/11 Christmas 4/20 Spectacular.” Like I said, it’s dark. This episode is focused on former WWE superstar Chris Benoit’s suicide and the preceding murder of his wife and kids. I tried to warn you. Yount and Ross extract every ounce of laughs from the tragedy, from CTE (the E is for Extreme!) to everything wrong with WWE CEO Vince McMahon. And like every episode, this one begins with a Rage Against the Machine impression and ends with an unexpected lesson on mental health and empathy. It’s not for everyone, but Suicide Buddies is easily the funniest podcast about suicide. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus - Jon Gabrus, Betsy Sodaro: Unpacking the Wolf
How To Be A Person - Jeff Loveness - How To Write Comics and Climb Mount Everest
The Landlord and Tenant Podmess - Roman Catholic Priest Darren Springer
Doodie Calls - Michael Hitchcock
The New Yorker Radio Hour - Jerry Seinfeld, Tracee Ellis, and Jon Hamm
Why Won’t You Date Me? - Would You Date a Chucklefucker? w/George Kareman
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
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.