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: A Bit of a Chat with Ken Plume – Armando Iannucci
It’s always a pleasure when someone who’s a stranger to the world of podcasting drops in for an interview. This week, we saw Will Ferrell make his comedy podcast debut on Nerdist, but another titan of modern humor also made a rare podcast appearance: the UK’s Armando Iannucci, creator of The Thick of It, Veep, and dozens of other amazing projects. Iannucci rang up Ken Plume, who hosts the delightful interview show A Bit of a Chat, and shared some insight into his creative process and the forthcoming season of The Thick of It. This is a bite-sized, 23-minute installment of A Bit of a Chat. The show normally is home to longer tête-à-têtes, but Plume’s skills as a conversationalist shine through, even in this sitcom-length episode.
Jay: The Perfect 10 Podcast #2 - The Old, The New, and The Slutty
The Perfect 10 Podcast debuted last week and while I usually like to give podcasts a little time to find their footing, hosts Ralphie May and Lahna Turner are such professionals, they are already in mid-season form. This married pair of comedians brings the podcast world two great tastes that taste great together: the funny and the sexy. It’s reminiscent of the days in which comedians would play strip clubs. This week’s episode begins with a proper 1980’s sitcom style theme song, sung by the hosts. Ralphie starts off the show with a memory of lunch at The Friar’s Club and meeting comedy legends, such as Milton Berle’s hog. Ralphie came up at a time when he was lucky enough to get to know some of the last “Show Business” guys in their golden years, like Buddy Hackett and Rodney Dangerfield. Lahna and Ralphie then discuss their recent purchase: Dave Matthews’ tour bus. Lahna tells us about the finer points of Brazilian waxing. Next comes the first “Slut Story,” an anonymous (voice distorted) story from a woman, detailing her sluttiest night. This will be a recurring segment on the show, but hopefully next time they’ll choose a different voice because this one sounds like Jame Gumb from “Silence of the Lambs.”The Perfect 10 Podcast is new, but it already has a great format. I am looking forward to listening to it again.
Jesse: Professor Blastoff #64: “Tig’s Cancer Diagnosis/Autism”
At the end of the episode, the Pro-Bla gang joked that they’ll submit the episode for funniest podcast at next years Comedy Awards. Sure, the laughs didn’t come fast and/or furiously but they were there and they were genuine. Not surprisingly the conversations mostly centered around Tig’s recent breast cancer diagnosis. What is so special about gifted comedians is they are ultimately more comfortable talking candidly about the most difficult parts of their lives. As a result, the first half or so of the episode gives as much an insight into the mind of anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, as it does into Tig’s. The result is difficult and powerful and really, oddly fun. The contrast of Tig’s signature dryness to the gravity of the situation is arresting and, in turn, quite funny. It is special.
Joel: The Bugle #203: “No Medals for Syria”
It’s Olympics time so it’s necessary to return to the always funny British podcasting duo of John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman, aka The Bugle. Zaltzman has been dutifully churning out short Olympic-themed episodes of late, but episode #203 sees (hears?) Oliver and Zaltzman back together, in the usually clever tip-top satirical form. Oliver jumps right in, jabbing Zaltzman about his severe case of Olympic fever. The two agree on the sociological working theory of the Olympics being created to allow us to ignore human catastrophe. There’s top-notch bashing of the opening ceremony, including some quality Queen mockery. (Always a favorite.) There’s a lot of badminton humor, including an abundance of “shuttlecock” jokes. And there’s talk of horse dancing. Too easy for the Bugle duo, perhaps? Highlights come when the two comedians try to make each other laugh with their descriptive jokes and one-liners. It’s a friendly competition that always raises the humor bar. The prewritten bits by Zaltzman and Oliver always add an extra bit of comedic layering, as well. They even add onto the Olympics BS with some poignant satire of the current Syrian violence and political strife. The jam-packed episode concludes with Oliver recapping the recent Chick-Fil-A/homophobia silliness with a dutiful bit of comedic criticism, complete with an inquisitive bit of rage on where other food chains stand on the important issues. Yet, again The Bugle sounds the alarm for all of us sane and sighing at the world.
Marc: The Nerdist #240 – Will Ferrell
Comic actor/writer/braintrust Will Ferrell makes what he calls his “second-ever” podcast appearance, the first being “some sports thing.” (Google puts him in studio with sports dude Rich Eisen back in November of 2010.) Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray and Matt Mira are beside themselves with delight at having Ferrell with them and, given his somewhat chameleon-like nature, it takes just a few minutes of being swathed in their fanboy banter before he’s up to speed and riffing on the same frequency with them throughout the interview. There’s plenty of chatter about the recent press blast he and The Campaign co-star Zach Galafianakis just completed, the funniest part of it all being how much of it wasn’t very fun or funny. Ferrell recounts how he and his co-star would sit around during idle moments and laugh hardest watching a compilation reel of sketches that one or the other had done on Saturday Night Live that got little or no laughs from the audience at all. He gives fascinating and humorous insight about how comedy lured him in as a young adult, the strange and arcane SNL audition process (“You go into Studio 8H and it’s just an empty sound stage, a camera, a light on you, a boom mike…and no one else in the studio.”), and the vagaries about not knowing if anything you do will be liked. As heavy a set of improv chops the guest of honor may have, there are a lot of pauses where he’s clearly thinking about his answers and they’re not all played for laughs. It’s an hour and a half well worth a listen where you come away thinking you may have actually caught a whiff of the man behind all those funny characters.
Roger: You Made It Weird - Live from Montreal: Eric Andre, Ryan Hamilton, Sean Patton, Jamie Lee, Chelsea Peretti
Going in I expected the episode to be centered around the inherit awkwardness (which the podcast’s title would suggest I describe instead as weirdness) from Jamie Lee being a guest on the program, who Holmes has repeatedly mentioned on the podcast was his ex-girlfriend. Instead, the show was somewhat stolen by the first guest Eric Andre from the second he was introduced. The host of The Eric Andre Show walked onto the stage doing an impressively accurate impression of Pete Holmes by only using the same few words over and over again in unnecessarily energetic tones, which would later be described as a combination of T.J. Miller and the mom from Bobby’s World. Andre and Sean Patton outing each other’s secrets was also an unexpected and voyeuristic highlight, another example of comedians giving each other crap always being funny. Chelsea Peretti continued to be an entertaining professional frenemy of Holmes, giving the future television late night host a devil on his shoulder that he can sometimes use. With discussions about which celebrity you pleasured yourself to first, actual OCD compulsions, and mistaking a female friend for a “better looking woman” and telling her about it (which Holmes only revealed in the show’s synopsis as being Nikki Glaser), Lee and Holmes’ history took a backseat on the crazy bus, which was not disappointing once Jamie Lee offered a story about a former roommate’s suicidal cat.
Samantha: Roadstories - Moshe Kasher, Kyle Kinane, Matt Braunger
What do you do when someone yells, “I hope there’s a second Holocaust!” at you after a show? This week’s Roadstories explores international disasters, from Ireland to Australia, and with that gem about an audience member dubbed “Little Aussie Hitler,” Moshe Kasher might’ve won the shitty post-show approach lottery. And, as much as we love Kyle Kinane, there are some crowds who’d apparently prefer a serenade from an ukelele band than a set from one of the best comics out there. Host Murray Valeriano talks to Kasher, Kinane and Matt Braunger about their weirdest work experiences, touching on why crowd work can be the worst, how to deal with an audience member who’d rather be on the phone than give you his attention, and more nightmares scenarios.
This Week in the Splitsider Podcast Network:
A Funny Thing #21 - Andrea Rosen “Code Brown”
Paper plates, salad bowls, the unwilling folds of a boyfriend’s testicles. What won’t our intrepid heroine squeeze her excreta into/onto? Not much, apparently. Listen with a rictus of disgust, but listen well, as Andrea Rosen, Mayor of Brown Town, not-so-reluctant tamer of the wild mudsnake, leaves a deposit where any can go and even where some never dare!
It’s That Episode #28 - Casper Kelly/’Client List’
On this episode, Casper Kelly (Adult Swim, More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer) stops by to watch the Jennifer Love Hewitt cleavage-fest that is The Client List. Listen as Craig and Casper discuss a show that was never meant to be watched by men and get ready for a story about Casper directing Mark Hamill while taking a huge dump.
Left Handed Radio: “A Week of Afternoons”
On this episode: C100 is having a contest blow-out summer, Groundr coffee shops have a premium service, Blendy’s Southern Style menu, Boots dials 911 again, a retirement commercial for Baby Boomers, two members of Heaven’s Gate decide they aren’t in a cult, the Big Green Pill, Denny doesn’t have Netflix, a clerk get his sandwich blown out, and the Steve Koplitz Development Conference.
The Complete Guide to Everything: Vampires
This week they cover vampires. Four years ago Twilight and True Blood exploded into the pop culture lexicon and brought vampires to a whole new audience who are now sick of hearing about them. What better time to cover them in a podcast then, especially one where you’re going to stick almost exclusively to folklore and ancient mythology? Were vampires the result of people simply not having the internet yet and being bored? We also cover the wide range of beliefs behind how to prevent a vampire coming back from the dead, from stuffing a lemon in their mouth to trapping them with their own OCD. Also while trying to solve a listener problem Tim reveals his secret childhood desire to become a clown.
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show #55 - Paul Sheer
Paul Scheer started a weekly podcast called How Did This Get Made? just to talk about bad movies with his friends, so when he was on my show I was very excited to compare notes on the worst cinema we’ve ever experienced. We also discuss the difference between good-bad and bad-bad, which terrible movies influenced Paul’s show NTSF:SD:SUV, and the Star Trek conventions he attended as a kid.
You Had To Be There #74 - A.D. Miles
This week, Sara’s living room is packed with friends and fans as Sara and Nikki begin with their usual catching up. Nikki recalls a haunting coincidence involving the Katy Perry movie, and Sara shares a horrifying incident on the subway involving a stranger’s spit. Then, the ladies welcome the always insanely funny A.D. Miles to join the chat. Miles is the head writer forLate Night with Jimmy Fallon, but has had a long comedy career (Wet Hot American Summer, anyone?) starting way back when he moved to New York City with Zach Galifianakis. He tells an absolutely hilarious story about those early days, and also, he and the ladies discuss babies, ghosts, vodka tampons, and much more. This is one of the most delightful episodes we’ve ever had!
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.
Roger Cormier would love to visit Idaho: The ShamWow state.