Just a quick warning: You may have noticed by now that some of us here at Splitsider prefer the company of Paul F. Tompkins to that of other comedians. If this reality has not been made evident enough before (and it has, obviously), it will be abundantly clear in the list below. If you are offended by the inclusion of multiple podcasts that feature this man, then you should probably just go ahead and avoid reading any further. For we are in the midst of a golden age of Paul F. Tompkins-involved podcasting, and we don’t know how long it will last, which should explain why we’re putting thermoses up to the spigot and carefully capturing it all for posterity. If you have any recommendations for shows that don’t feature PFT for some reason, please leave them in the comments below. Otherwise, here are the best comedy podcasts of the week:
Top 5 Comedy Podcasts This Week (In alphabetical order)
Jordan Jesse Go — Chris Hardwick
When people work together long enough, they tend to fall into complementary patterns and rhythms with each other, as any performer who’s ever had a partner will attest to. Nerdist host Chris Hardwick has only been on JJGo a few times over the years, but the interplay between him, Jordan, and Jesse already feels polished, finely honed, and comfortable. Just witness their shared invention of a Bob Vila-hosted makeover show called These Old Tits, and the recurring callbacks to it. Elsewhere, the three have a very detailed analysis of the shittiness of Showtime’s original programming, and discuss why dogs and babies should have gender neutrality up to a certain point. Also, this week’s Momentous Occasions voicemails from listeners seemed more interesting than any other episode in recent memory, including one call that recounts a wildly racist incident at a country club. Listening to this wall-to-wall solid begs the question, why haven’t Jordan and Jesse been guests on The Nerdist yet?
The Long Shot Podcast — Nervousness (with Jon Daly)
One of the great things about The Long Shot Podcast is the mix of personalities between the four hosts, and how these personalities bump up against each other sometimes. When Sean Conroy mentions that Artie Lange’s book was “great,” for instance, Eddie Pepitone is quick to challenge, “In what way?” Later on, when Eddie mentions his “absurd” fear of going to jail, Amber Kenny mentions that it’s not such an absurd thing for him to fear, and you can sense everyone wondering how her comment is meant to be taken (right before they call her out on it). Clearly the hosts all know and like each other well, though, as evident in the MADTV characters they make up for each other on this episode. Throw a funny comedian like Jon Daly into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a show. The guest’s story of doing his “Sappity Tappity the Drunken Tree” show in front of 25 conservative Muslims prompts a seriously engaging discussion about how comedians deal with different kinds of potentially tense moments.
Pod F. Tompkast — Episode 11
As mentioned above, Paul F. Tompkins is on so many other podcasts it’s very easy to forget that the best place to hear him is his own. This episode, like each other one, really, is a variety show, with many different segments displaying the comedy stylings of the “yell boss” PFT. There are two top-notch rambles on display here — one about video game makers and one about how awful it is to be a kid. Also, if two Comedy Bang Bang episodes worth of Cake Boss is not enough, this month’s Great Undiscovered Project also features a ridiculous scene of him and Mr. Brainwash. Of course, Jen Kirkman tells a delightful story, and this week’s is about attending the sham Cameo Kids acting school. Still, the best part was from his monthly live show. Even the Google Voice Theatre, which is usually not that great, had a great bit when the Google Voice program [SPOILER ALERT] came to life.
Who Charted? — Ken Marino
This is a big episode for Who Charted for two reasons. 1) Ken Marino is the guest. Unlike certain other members of The State (looking at you, Thomas Lennon), Ken has almost never appeared on any podcasts. That’s a shame, though, because as heard this week, he is simply wonderful. 2) It’s the special “Summah” preview on Who Charted this week. If Howard Kremer is known for anything other than this podcast, it’s for his “Have a Summah” bit (here’s the video version) that consist of him talking about the season in his very, let’s say, special way. Meaning, after listening to My Morning Jacket Howie asks Ken if he has a special “summah jacket.” It turns out he has two. That’s why they call him, Hard-Hitting Questions Howard (they don’t call him that).
WTF with Marc Maron #179 — Dan Harmon
On this episode, Community creator Dan Harmon beats Marc Maron at his own game of being really intense. Of course there are typical WTF discussions of growing up, parents, and why he goes to therapy. Still, it really busts open when Marc starts asking about Community. Topics include: him consciously trying to not be the crazy control freak he is prone to being, why people watch shitty TV, and why he couldn’t have created Two and Half Men or 30 Rock. The best are his discussions of why the show wasn’t named “Community College” and why they didn’t go off campus until this year. It is apparent how singular his vision is and how deliberate the evolution of the show’s world has been. It’s a must listen for Community fans.
Affirmation Nation with Bob Ducca
When I interviewed the Earwolf co-founders a couple months ago, I asked about a potential Bob Ducca show and Scott Aukerman replied, “I don’t know if you could listen to Bob every week. Could you? I would love it. Just how depressing his life is from week to week. I think it would cause mass suicides from listeners.” Well here it is and it is fantastic. The episodes are coming out daily, they’re few minutes long, and very Bob Ducca. It’s arguably worth any of the resulting deaths.
The Apple Sisters #1 — Paul F. Tompkins, Ptolemy Slocum
Who likes Old-Timey voices? Everyone, of course, that’s why Hudsucker Proxy is universally considered the best Coen Brothers movie. OK, maybe that’s not true, but only one episode in and the Apple Sisters have already showed they’re great with the kinds of voices that filled that movie. Unlike most podcasts, this show seems to have really hit the ground running, probably because the girls have been performing as the Apple Sisters for a while now. Also, Paul F. Tompkins stops by to voice FDR, of course, otherwise how would anyone know that the show was in fact a podcast?
Comedy Bang Bang #106.5 — Andy Richter, Paul F. Tompkins
The Cake Boss mythology grows on the second half of last week’s episode. In addition to having been bitten by a cake bug and a cake scarab, we learn that since his last appearance Cake Boss has had a run in with a cake wolf. Like Chekhov always said if you introduce that a cake wolf bit someone early on in a podcast, then they must eventually turn into a cake wolf. Luckily, Scottabot took a class on cake wolves in college.
Comedy Film Nerds #60 — Pat Francis
For charity, they asked their fans if they would prefer Graham never do an accent again or do an episode only of bad accents. Not surprisingly, the people overwhelmingly demanded borderline offensive accents. And that is exactly what they got. It very quickly shifts from funny to annoying to completely grating to fun.
How Did This Get Made #11 — Natasha Leggero and Gil Ozeri
While this show functions just fine when taking aim at a total apocalyptic disaster of a movie, like Old Dogs, it somehow becomes more entertaining and illuminating when the focus is a terrible movie that somehow made money. That is the case in this week’s episode, in which the hosts do a hilarious post-mortem on The Tourist, a film whose international box office take was nearly $300M. Natasha Leggero’s withering dismissal of Angelina Jolie’s performance in this movie is funny enough, but the general discussions about the director’s incompetence make this episode.
Pop My Culture #44 — J. Elvis Weinstein
There is a lot of talk of spank banks. No, it’s not an extra saucy PMC. Mostly, it seemed like Vanessa never heard the term before and decided to use it like a kid with a new toy. The guest was a writer on Freaks & Geeks (apparently, PMC can’t go 3 episodes without some one F&G related) and one hell of an Elvis Costello impersonator. The latter we find out because he and Cole have a very long, incredibly Elvis Costello impersonation duet/competition.
The Nerdist #93 — Robert Kirkman
This is a surprisingly funny and unsurprisingly nerdy live offering. The Walking Dead creator, Kirkman, instantly forms a great rapport with the boys, mostly by making fun of them. After Lost creator, Damon Lindelof drops in, there is a great moment when he reacts to Kirkman being asked if he knows how The Walking Dead is going to end. It’s almost worth listening to find out what “sasquatching” is alone.
The Smartest Man in the Room #14
Greg Proops is an improviser of singular ability and he’s also an accomplished stand-up, so it makes sense that his freeform, anything-goes podcast — recorded live at a comedy club in Hollywood every two weeks — would be comprised of an entertaining blizzard of words. Or perhaps a “-lanche of aval”, as he memorably describes a certain disaster on this latest installment. Elsewhere he takes a long moment to berate the good people of Smirnoff’s apparently futile efforts at marketing their product (“Nobody wants to drink Smirnoff. Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks, ‘By the night, Smirnoff I shall quaff.’”) Eventually, of course, he offers Smirnoff the opportunity to sponsor his show.
There’s really no show out there like Superego with its lightning paced, cleanly edited, improvised scenes. This wasn’t the best episode but it definitely had some great section. The highlight was the absolutely nuts scene featuring CBB staple Don Dimelo (Andy Daly) directing John C. Reilly (Paul F. Tompkins, of course) and Nick Nolte.
Totally Laime #69 — Paul Rust
Host Elizabeth is one adorable ball of charm. This week’s episode showed what it sounds like when two charmballs collide. The second ball is funny person, Paul Rust. They talk about Brad Pitt, Parisian prostate exams, and the semi-anti-Semitic way people react to Paul when they find out he’s not Jewish.
Jesse Fox is a freelance writer, podcaster, cat person, and Jew (in that order). He lives in San Francisco. His iPod is broken.
Joe Berkowitz edits books and writes stuff. He also has a Tumblr.