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 Best Show - Meet My Friends The Friends – Season One Episode 1 “The Pilot”
Noah: Tom Scharpling has been railing against low-rent recap shows on The Best Show for years including in the short-lived fan favorite Podcastin’ with Gary and Roy sketches, and there have long been rumors that Tom was in the process of watching the entirety of Friends for the first time despite radio silence from him on the topic. So it shouldn’t take a comedy savant to understand why Tom’s latest and arguably most ambitious project – recapping all ten seasons of Friends one episode at a time for 236 straight days – is overdue appointment listening. Fans of Scharpling’s characterization on Hollywood Handbook will thrill to hear him stumbling uncertainly at the helm of a hastily produced cash grab with sponsors like the 49 Cent Razor Club (“Go easy on your wallet, not your face”), envelopes.net (“Jam it in and lick it”), and season 3 of the Duplass Brothers’ HBO standup venture Stan’ Dup’ (“You’ve gotta stand up for something or you’ll never stan’ dup’”). One thing no one can take away from Scharpling is the care and attention he puts into every minute of his satire, from the classic “I’ll Be There for You” soundalike midi theme by Red Sox organist Josh Kantor to the segments he uses to pad out the short, 10 to 15-minute runtime like “Fun Friends Facts” and “Rank the Friends.” Each episode will temporarily stay behind a Patreon paywall beginning Monday, but the wait has – and will continue to be – worth it. [Apple Podcasts]
Yeah But Still - Boondock Saints 3: Irish w/ Conner O’Malley
Pablo: Whether it’s TruthHunters.com host Mark Seevers, NYC’s #1 Masturbater Tony Camarabi, Mark the Wrigleyville Cubs Playboy, or just an outlet mall special ops soldier, Conner O’Malley has tapped into a very specific personality in Trump’s America: white, dumb, loud, and obsessively fearful of others. In the latest episode of Brandon Wardell and Jack Wagner’s Yeah But Still, Conner gives a rare interview that delivers insight for fans of his strange visceral comedy. To O’Malley, Trump reminds him of his father: a Baby Boomer who wasn’t a hippie. As he tells it, the former Late Night writer’s dad drove through bad Chicago neighborhoods so his kids could dump trash and got reprimanded at his job for drunkenly calling Chicago’s first female mayor. It’s behavior that any of O’Malley’s aggressively boorish characters might be seen bragging about to a single mom outside of a rundown Kohl’s. [Apple Podcasts]
Why Mommy Drinks - Forging Independence w/Rob Corddry
Marc: Comedian moms Amanda Allan and Betsy Stover juggle careers with motherhood, and each sports three kids apiece. This week they invite three-time Emmy winner and parental unit Rob Corddry on to ask “What broke you this week?” The hosts take a running jump at their topic by each pouring their hearts out first and, in this case, Corddry tries to offer them some measure of solace since his two daughters are a little older than the hosts’ double trio of kids. If losing is winning, then Stover gets the prize for having to cart all three kids to the doctor only to find out her husband was laid off of work the same day. Corddry spins out some great stories of his slightly older girls, which leads to the topic of this episode all about kids finding their independence. All three parents talk about the uncomfortable dynamic of wanting their kids to be more independent while, at the same time, not wanting them to pull away too far from the nest. Listeners without kids will be entertained, but parents with earbuds will definitely discover that they are not alone in the adventure that comes with trying to keep their offspring from killing themselves. [Apple Podcasts]
The Daily Zeitgeist - Carl Tart
Kathryn: Look, we don’t need more news. There’s too much news right now. What we do need is someone exactly like us, but a little bit smarter, willing to sacrifice body and mind to read all the news every day, pick out what’s worth our time and why, and shoot the shit on those topics in a chill way, speckled with jokes and ‘90s references, to stave off our collective panic attack one more day. Good thing Cracked founder Jack O’Brien (RIP Cracked) and writer/producer/director Miles Gray teamed up in 2017 to do just that with The Daily Zeitgeist, a HowStuffWorks podcast. They’re equal parts nerdy and cool, one reference ahead but never leaving the listener behind. They really do drop a new episode every day, often with a super cool and/or super informed guest. On a fresh 2018 episode with comedian Carl Tart, who has his own new podcast Culture Kings, they discuss why white musicians seem to be pivoting from R&B to country, if Young Thug’s “Family Don’t Matter” is the Toni Morrison’s Beloved of hip-hop, and how the plot of Rambo: First Blood Part II applies to the sociopolitical morass in present day East Asia. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Doodie Calls - Betsy Sodaro
Hollywood Handbook - Mary Sasson, Our Close Friend
Fitzdog Radio - Alison Rosen
The Bugle - New Year Revelations w/Alice Fraser
Good One - Natasha Leggero’s Burning Man
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.