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.
Edge of Fame - David Letterman
Marc: Geoff Edgers makes getting the hard-to-get interviews look easy. His latest drop (and first season finale) features great slices out of not one but two interviews he recently did in the field with the once-king of late night television, David Letterman. Edgers is The Washington Post’s national arts reporter and has considerable experience in getting a lot of information squeezed into a half-hour episode. He and Letterman touch on a variety of topics, ranging from his family life in Indiana to getting onstage to do comedy for the first time at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles to the excitement of hosting Late Night on NBC to the crushing disappointment of not beating out old friend-turned-rival Jay Leno for the coveted spot behind the desk vacated by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. After 30 years under the TV lights, though, he’s relaxed into a more leisurely pace, and the way he talks is literally (his words) like a man who’s been released from prison. Edgers also talked with other people from Letterman’s life like Merrill Markoe (who helped create his onstage persona and wrote with him), other writers from the TV shows, and more. And all in a half hour…it’s quite a season finale. [Apple Podcasts]
Late Night Whenever - What’s Even The Point of a Buffet?
Elizabeth: Comedian Michelle Buteau brings the classic late night comedy format to the podcast world in her new WNYC Studios podcast Late Night Whenever. The show is recorded in front of a live audience and has all the hallmarks of the genre, including a monologue, a music director, and audience segments. Buteau kicks off the debut episode talking concerts with music director Rob Lewis, who shares his past performance triumphs and failures and reminds everyone about D’Angelo’s “How Does It Feel” video. Then she’s joined by Jason Jones of The Daily Show and The Detour, who shares his favorite guilty pleasure: quiet alcoholism. Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. stops by rocking an author turtleneck and promoting his new book, Failing Up. He gives Buteau some career wisdom and steals the title of Black Oprah from Lewis. The show wraps up with audience members asking Jones and Odom Jr. for life advice, from how to balance a checkbook to knowing whether a guy is really interested in you. [Apple Podcasts]
I Was There Too - Jordan Katz
Kathryn: Jordan Katz, the banjo player and bandleader for Drop the Mic on TBS, played a student in the climactic prep school tribunal (?) scene in Scent of a Woman. You remember Scent of a Woman, the 1992 drama that finally won Al Pacino an Oscar for, not the best, but certainly the most Pacino performance of his oeuvre. It’s the source of the immortal “hooah,” and Katz was there, or at least around there, eating a bag of chicken in the green room of a church. On this week’s IWTT Katz tells Matt Gourley and guest co-host Mark McConville about Pacino method acting as a blind person while a room full of 15-year-olds failed to respect a director named “Martin Brest.” [Apple Podcasts]
Dumb People Town - Kevin Pollak
Marc: The brothers Sklar (Randy and Jason), along with Dumb People Town co-host Daniel Van Kirk, welcome Kevin Pollak (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) to help them expose the growing menace of dumbness creeping across the land. The three stories covered are not only submitted by listeners but seem to be getting wilder and wilder each week. Pollak has a great time occasionally wielding his uncanny impressions of Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, and more as the DPT team talk about closed-circuit camera sex caught on an Australian train, a dude setting fire to his neighbors’ car because he thinks they stole his lawn mower, and a guy named Bruce Wayne who dresses up like Batman to break his streak of eating Chipotle food after 500 days. Although it’s found in the comedy category, DPT is also consistently one of the best true crime podcasts around. (FYI, if you’re not getting enough dumb in your week, they’ve added a Dumb People Town mini-episode on Fridays.) [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.