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. Also, we’ll keep you posted on the offerings from our very own podcast network. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural funny.
Bradford: Jordan, Jesse, GO! #238 - Dave Hill
I listen to a lot of podcasts every week, but this was the only one I heard in the last seven days that involved the guest telling a story about having an exploding bottle of hobo urine thrown at him. The guest, Dave Hill, author, comedian, and host of The Dave Hill Podcasting Incident, has plenty of wonderful stories to tell and falls into sync with hosts Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris right off the bat, leading to a lot of amusing goofing off and riffing between the trio. It’s a particularly fun and silly episode of an always fun and silly podcast.
Jay: Mohr Stories #84 - Charlie Sheen
Say what you will about the force of nature known as Charlie Sheen, but the man has been consistently relevant since 1984’s Red Dawn. With his new FX show “Anger Management” getting a 90-episode renewal, Sheen continues to defy the odds. What a perfect time for Charlie to conquer the next media frontier: the podcast and who else would attempt this herculean interview but Jay Mohr? Mohr takes the high road and talks to Charlie Sheen the actor, not Charlie Sheen the train wreck. And it pays off. The podcast begins with baseball talk. Charlie is a big baseball fan, but what else would you expect from Ricky “The Wild Thing” Vaughn? Next it’s on to amazing Platoon and Apocalypse Now stories. The conversation then moves on to deeper discussion of religion and relationships. Sheen lays out a case for Sean Penn being a better actor than Daniel Day-Lewis, admits to checking out the Ashton Kutcher episodes of Two and a Half Men, the magic of the “Created By” credit, and Academy Awards nomination robberies. As if it couldn’t get any deeper, the pair goes into Beatles lyrics and what crazy people read into them and the moon landing (recorded prior to the death of Neil Armstrong.) The podcast concludes with Charlie talking about his current vices and if he thought Sgt. Barnes wanted to be killed in “Platoon.” This episode of Mohr Stories showcases exactly what I love about podcasts: a chance to see celebrities as real people.
Jesse: The Moth – Mike Birbiglia
In honor of the release of the film Sleepwalk With Me, The Moth rebroadcasted Mike Birbiglia’s 2008 version of that story. Comedians like Mike Birbiglia are ringers for storytelling series, as they are trained to control a crown and make them laugh. Maybe most interesting about hearing this story now, is you can see exactly how it could be expounded upon. There are three distinct parts, that can become three distinct acts. It’s like a very, very entertaining pitch for the movie. In a brief interview before they played the story, Mike talks about how he was sick for a month leading up to the performance. It’s funny to learn this after the fact, knowing that the performance would fundamentally forever change his life. From this one story, he met Ira Glass, who in turn played the story on This American Life, which lead to a successful off-Broadway show a book and a movie. All of this from one story. One really great, funny, sad, honest story.
Joel: The Crabfeast #16 - Sarah Tiana
The end of summer is a great time to get laid back. I mean really laid back. The Crabfeast always seems to deliver that easy-going vibe with hosts Ryan Sickler and Jay Larson and guests sharing stories and some friendly back-and-forth ribbing. One of my favorite podcasting feats is when a guest slides right in as a seemingly permanent part of the team. Comedian, Sarah Tiana, always overflowing with charm and wit, visits for a fun late summer visit with lots of childhood and baseball stories. The three comedians make every conversation turn a fun one, including a bunch of baseball talk, nickname sharing and childhood reminiscing. Tiana and Larson jump all over Larson’s oddball youthful fantasies and subpar nickname attempt. Thanks to Tiana’s baseball knowledge and passion, the show slides into some borderline sports talk radio but the three keep it fun and personal. Tiana also shares a bit of quality behind-the-scenes writer’s room tidbits about her writing for Jeff Ross’ new show, The Burn. Tiana’s great combo of ball-busting and sincere sharing make her a rare comedic gem and an excellent podcast guest. It’s an earnest and friendly hour with a ton of funny stories, not a small feat in the pals shooting-the-shit podcast land.
Lindsey: WTF with Marc Maron #308 - Andy Daly
We all love Andy Daly because we are smart and he one of the best podcast guests of all-time. Also because of Eastbound and Down. Now we have another reason to love him: Andy Daly is Rushmore. He was heavily involved in extracurricular activities, including a student government position handed to him by the principal and writing a humor column for the school paper. (One incendiary column about the cheerleading squad caused the football coach to call him an asshole during practice.) And he was flunking. Then he went to college (based solely on the fact that David Letterman went to college) and barely passed his first year because he was watching television and not sleeping because he “couldn’t go to bed knowing that there was pizza out there”. So listen to this episode if you want to know that Daly is still one of the greatest people to ever live. And if you want to hear Maron give a one man roast saying things like “you worked hard at things that didn’t matter.’ and you played some music for people that didn’t care.” He has a new show coming out on Comedy Central and I want him to succeed, but I don’t want that to take him away from his podcast guesting duties. Don Dimelo, Ben Alterman, Hot Dog, etc. need to stick around and talk about killing themselves some more.
The comedy podcast landscape is littered with dozens of “shooting the shit” shows — a group of people (mainly guys) sitting around and yakking about random topics AKA “pop culture” — which usually comes off as a bunch of dudes drinking beer and talking over each other. The DGH is a fine example of how to do this format right. First of all, be a professional comedian or writer. Gould is joined on this episode by Blaine Capatch and Rob Cohen, which is one of each. This episode is a mixed bag chat of stuff that just doesn’t come off right. Capatch on the logic of wearing pantsless chaps: “My ass is boiling hot, but my thighs are freezing!” Interspersed with the main conversation, Gould breaks out into different solo flights, and has a monologue about people thinking they are the first to do something that millions have others have done before them – like being a teenager or seeing Blue Velvet by yourself. The show’s one regular feature, “Political Talk with Two Guys From Boston”, features Gould and John Ennis, this time talking about clowns and misguided good deeds.
Roger: The Todd Glass Show - Camping with Tommy Chong
To celebrate their one year anniversary, during which they ran the funniest podcast episode of the year (the March 16th, James Adomian episode), those crazy kids at the Todd Glass Show decided to go “camping”, where the usual cast of characters were joined by their spirit animal Tommy Chong for half of the episode. Camping is in quotes because Glass, Daniel Kinno, Rory Scovel, Blake Wexler and all of the recurring comedians and engineers actually do not leave Glass’ house (I’m really surprised that there wasn’t a long comedy riff in the rich “Glass House” vein), but get away with the episode’s title with their acoustic guitar led sing-alongs and the program’s general bonhomie being on full display. Fans of the show that have been with Glass since the beginning are rewarded by hearing Chong’s tales about Redd Foxx, one of the podcast’s favorite topics, and hearing recurring bits work despite “Camping’s” ban on sound effects. A second part to the special, which was released on Monday, is simply one hour of the group talking with no special guests, edited to keep skipping ahead throughout the night until three thirty in the morning, when only Glass and Wexler were still awake. Despite the late hour and hosting the show for the last several hours, the host was able to make Wexler laugh so loudly that it’s a miracle that the rest of the group didn’t wake up.
This Week in the Splitsider Podcast Network:
A Funny Thing #24 - Sam Dingman “Downtown Dinner Party”
Just how far will you go to get what you want? How high a price for fame, for love, will you deduct from your dignity to deposit on the watermelon sweet lips of ambition’s prize? This week, Sam Dingman, aspiring actor and jaunty-angled fedora donner, finds out exactly what he’s willing to put on the table, or leave on the warehouse floor, in his misinformed climb up the showbiz ladder. Who will save him? Urban Dictionary? Big Wang Lucious? Or indie titan John Cameron Mitchell? Listen to find out!
It’s That Episode #31 - Fallon Bloggers/’The Fresh Prince’
Cory Cavin and Josh Lay (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Bloggers) stop by to watch an episode of The Fresh Prince involving kidnapped mascots and home security. Find out the essential rules of mascoting from Josh’s experiences as the New Jersey Devil and the Tennessee Vols’ mascot “Smokey,” hear about the time Craig snuck onto the set of Men In Black II, and discover how dank it gets in the Late Night blogger’s “cave.”
Have you all been following the latest celebrity gossip? No? That’s okay, because this week Tim and Tom get you all caught up on what you need to know about the brightest stars in all of showbiz. From Snooki’s new baby to Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace, there is literally no other place on the internet to hear about celebrities and their exploits. One would think that a fertile topic like celebrity news would be well covered on various blogs and news sites, but we checked, and it turns out that this podcast is the only place to hear about it.
This week on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show – an appetizer of Expendables 2 chat, followed by an hour of discussing Breaking Bad season 5. I’m joined by Pat Cassels (who has written about the comedy of Breaking Badfor this very site) and Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich. When we did this podcast at the end of season 4, Darren correctly predicted that season’s final twist. What are we looking for this year?
You Had To Be There #76 - Emily Heller
This week, the ladies describe the agony and the ecstasy of handling hecklers, inspired by a recent showdown Nikki won at the Cellar. Sara recounts a potentially scary exchange from the road that ended the best possible way and invites hilarious comicEmily Heller (John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show, Baby Geniuses podcast) to tell a horror story of her own. Next, the competition for Most Similar to Emily begins: is it Sara, who once played Emily on national television, or Nikki, with whom Emily shares a fun neurological condition/super power? The trio delve into difficult dating, toxic friendships, and mild sex cults, but close out on a positive note by talking pee (trademark pending) about some of their peers. So listen up, you might get a brain tingle or two.
Jesse David Fox is a writer, cat person, and Jew (in that order). He lives in Brooklyn. His iPod is broken.
Bradford Evans is a writer living in Los Angeles.
Lindsey Allen lives in Austin, TX. She has perfect teeth and a nice smell. A class act, all the way.
Roger Cormier drank every time Todd Glass said he liked the music playing in the background and all he got was a lousy hangover.