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.
Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast - Live From SXSW: Joy Reid, Amber Ruffin & Jenny Hagel
Mark: Have you ever seen an episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers and thought “This is funny, but my favorite part was when Seth let other people tell jokes”? Then you’re in luck, because on this week’s Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast, beloved show-stealers Amber Ruffin and Jenny Hagel join MSNBC anchor and Twitter megastar Joy Reid on a live panel at SXSW. As Amber and Jenny constantly crack each other up throughout the episode, it becomes clear these two are exactly the same people off-camera as they are on. The three women give a lesson on the importance of representation in the writer’s room, especially in late night, where the same news topics are recycled across the dozens of shows. Women and POCs like these two bring points of view that are valuable in the writer’s room not to check some executive’s diversity box, but to help imbue the show with a fresh, unique voice. On top of doing their jobs well, they bear the burden of publicly representing their underprivileged communities as the only two consistently on-screen female late night writers. Buy stock now before Amber Ruffin and Jenny Hagel take over the world. [Apple Podcasts]
We’re No Doctors - Thyroid Update
Marc: If you think you’ve got problems – health problems, that is – then you’ll definitely identify with Steve Agee and Busy Philipps, a couple of Hollywood actors who identify as hypochondriacs. Right out of the gate in their latest episode, Philipps is unsettled, as she’s only received half a result back from tests around some nodules in her thyroid – one is benign, the other is…unusual. That’s all she knows so far and it’s making her worry more than usual. Agee is headed for a stress test next week, brought on by fellow performer Kevin Smith’s recent mano a mano with a “widowmaker” heart attack. “I can either do the stress test to get my heart rate up,” says Agee, “or they can give me an adrenaline shot. I hate shots! So I’m doing the treadmill.” These two ping-pong their various ailments and symptoms back and forth, including dipping back into treatments for conditions from the past. “Freezing your fat used to be a big thing,” reveals Philipps. “They’d put your stomach in this machine that would freeze the fat but not the skin. It hurt like hell but it worked…I think.” Periodically the things she says on the show cause Agee to let loose with a wonderful squawking guffaw that sounds like some kind of tropical bird. They say you’re not supposed to laugh at other people’s, pain but We’re No Doctors doesn’t really give you a choice. [Apple Podcasts]
Off Book - Bring Your Dad to Work Day with David Wain
Leigh: I’m a little embarrassed. I’m only just now getting into Off Book, despite being told to listen to it plenty of times by plenty of of people. It’s even been recommended to me in this column on this very website. For everyone who hasn’t made this same grave error in judgement, you already know Off Book is the improvised musical podcast hosted by Jessica KcKenna and Zach Reino. As for everyone else, right about now is when you go, “Oh, I don’t really like musicals. They’re just not for me,” and that’s fine. But let me ask you this: Do you like joy? Do you like happiness? I hope you said yes, not only for your own good, but also because Off Book awaits you. This week’s guest is David Wain, who very nonchalantly drops that he plays the drums, guitar, and piano. So we’re in pretty good hands for an improvised musical. What follows is “Bring Your Dad to Work Day” and it’s an absolute delight. It’s worth noting that there is an upside to being so late to the game re: Off Book. If you start now, you’ll have a backlog 34 episodes deep to make your way through. [Apple Podcasts]
Riggle’s Picks - Jetski Collusion & Bathroom Observations
Marc: Comedian and actor Rob Riggle, along with co-host and fellow comedian Sarah Tiana, serve up the laughs in Riggle’s Picks with a heavy helping of sports. Riggle seems steeped in it, as his references to everything from athletes, coaches, and even referees fly fast and furious. Tiana bravely is playing catch-up in this department, but what she may lack in stats she more than makes up for in ruthlessly needling Riggle. For this episode, he’s stuck at the airport in Phoenix, Arizona, talking into his phone near a baggage carousel and next to a women’s restroom. You can tell he’s trying to be cool and keep things low-key, but Tiana is having none of that. She’s constantly taunting and goading him, and he can’t help but to be his loud, boisterous self. Especially whenever she does her impression of a “ham horn,” Riggle is unable to stop himself from responding with an equally obnoxious version of the instrument himself. When the subject of jet skis comes up – Tiana mentioning the running gag host Jimmy Kimmel recently had with one as a prize given to the person with the shortest acceptance speech on the Oscars telecast – Riggle cuts loose with a tirade about how the folks at Kawasaki forced him to NOT use the name “jetski” in the title of an upcoming series focusing around…jet skis. They cover right-around-the-corner baseball (Riggle and his son just got back from Kansas City Royals spring training), boxing, MMA fighting, and basketball. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
WTF with Marc Maron - Ted Danson
You Made It Weird - Naomi Ekperigin
The Bill Simmons Podcast - Bill Hader Live at SXSW
Fitzdog Radio - Pete Holmes
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations - Stephen Colbert: Finding Your Stride
Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast - Trev & Simon
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Photo by Andrew Brodhead.