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.
Brad: The Todd Glass Show #64 - Pete Holmes
The success of an episode of The Todd Glass Show largely depends on how adaptable the week’s guest is to the show’s fun, anarchic energy, and there’s perhaps no comedian better suited to the show’s spontaneous, silly nature than Pete Holmes. Holmes dives right in, playing along with Todd Glass’s various running bits with aplomb. Pretty soon after he enters the studio, Holmes comments between laughs, “I didn’t know I went to the fun house or Chuck E. Cheese. Where am I right now?” Pete Holmes doesn’t seem to be familiar with the show or any of its running bits at the start of the podcast, but listening to him discover Glass’s bells and whistles with the infectious joy of a first-time listener is a delight. Holmes really sinks his teeth into a bit where Todd Glass plays a rotisserie chicken salesman that is an episode highlight thanks to the two committing hard to a very absurd joke.
Jay: The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons 9/19 - Seth Meyers
Bill Simmons’ column succeeds because he writes from the fan’s point of view. Luckily for us, Bill is also a huge comedy fan. On the podcast this week, he interviews current head writer of Saturday Night Live, Seth Meyers. The episode begins with a discussion of the rumor that Seth would co-host The Today Show. They get into sports for a bit with talk of the Red Sox and the NFL. But then its back to comedy, as Seth explains what is going on in this “transition year” at SNL with the departures of Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg and the hand off of the Obama duties from Fred Armisen to Jay Pharoah. They discuss the difficulty of the cold open, Seth MacFarlane’s performance, future hosts, the cast selection process, election season impressions, and more. Seth Meyers gives us a great glimpse into the behind-the-scenes workings of the institution that is SNL. If you’re not lucky enough to win the ticket lottery, this may be as close as you’ll ever get to Studio 8H. At least until Simmons interviews Lorne Michaels (fingers crossed.)
Jesse: How Did This Get Made #45: “Roadhouse: Live!” – Doug Benson
Paul Scheer will sometimes point on that there are two varietals of How Did This Get Made movies: 1) Shitty movies that suck, and 2) Awesome movies that are crazy. Roadhouse is craaaaaaaaaaaaaazy and the gang is super pumped to point out all the ways it is. For example, there is a good three-minute span in which seemingly the only words said are “raw doggin’ it.” The only thing that could’ve made it better is if Jason Mantzoukas got that baby he asked for. Yes a baby. He heard a baby in the crowd and wanted to hold it to help punch up all his jokes. It never came to pass but the baby did get to hear about breast implants that look like “rocks on their chests,” “vaginal discharge,” and of course someone getting their throat ripped out. By the end, Scheer placed Roadhouse with Fast Five and Crank 2 as the best films in the history of the podcast. Sounds about right.
Roger: Comedy Bang Bang #176- Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas, James Adomian
James Adomian’s brilliant impersonation of misogynistic shock jock Tom Leykis was first brought forth into the podcasting world’s spotlight on the all-time classic March 16th episode of The Todd Glass Show. This ultimately led to a bit of a disappointing feeling to Adomian’s recent WTF with Marc Maron. While the show was really good at getting into Adomian’s personal struggles, Maron, in one of the biggest mistakes of his career, switched topics on his guest while he was trying to set himself up to do the impression. Fortunately, Adomian’s Leykis - which is a deft combination of sexist id spewing machine and surrealistic terrestrial radio host vernacular - came back to wreck havoc on Comedy Bang! Bang!, this time in a raspier tone and with the huge bonus of Amy Poehler and Jason Mantzoukas being forced to take it all in. It was predictably entertaining to hear the two known improv veterans reacting to such a bombastic caricature, with Poehler pretending to be attracted to the sexist Leykis and not understanding why and Mantzoukas pragmatically trying to understand the weirder, anatomically strange things coming out of Leykis’ mouth, and at times egging him into darker territory, to Scott Aukerman’s pretend chagrin. Add the return of the freestyle rap battle, shelved since Poehler’s previous appearance when she was dubbed G.O.A.T., and this makes Adomian a part of another superb hour plus of podcasting.
In a recent conversation with Ben Blacker, co-creator/co-producer of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, he told me that neither he nor partner-in-crime Ben Acker really had much exposure to “old time radio” in their young lives. Nonetheless, each installment of THH harkens back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with an uncanny resonance. Sure the humor’s a bit saltier now but everything from the performances (in this case by Paul F. Tompkins and Paget Brewster as Frankie and Sadie Doyle, a kind of Nick and Nora (The Thin Man) Charles with a supernatural twist) to the music and sound effects are not just dead-on but all conjure up a delightfully funny theater of the mind. THH features rotating installments, Beyond Belief being just one offering but also one that is consistently amongst the snappiest in terms of rhythm and laughs. This episode finds the Doyles trapped in an old curiosity shop by a demented demon, where they’re joined by other stranded characters including a soldier played by Thomas Lennon. I’ve yet to catch one of this company’s live shows at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles but, until I do, I’ll keep watching each chapter unfold…in my mind.
Samantha: Making It With Riki Lindhome #61 - Thomas Middleditch
This week, Making It host Riki Lindhome presents another “tipsy podcast,” proving that interviews can be way more fun when there are a few beers involved. She’s joined by actor and improviser Thomas Middleditch, and their bubbly friend chemistry – they’ve worked on five projects together – makes the hour and a half especially great. Middleditch’s background, from growing up in rural Canada to performing improvised Shakespeare to his current projects (the forthcoming Fun Size and the recently announced Office spinoff), are covered, but when the Miller Lite’s start kicking in, things get a little deep, with talk of dating and breaking up, growing out of your slutty phase, and generally learning how to act like an adult. With his analogies and cryptic wisdom, Middleditch proves to be a bit of a Buddha; you’ll have to listen to find out why you “need more unicorns in your life.”
This Week in the Splitsider Podcast Network:
Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak #2: I’m Not Meant to Be In Florida with Matt Fisher, Connor Ratliff, and Tracey Wigfield
In this episode of “Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak,” improv gems from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC Matt Fisher (The Law Firm), Connor Ratliff (I’m Too Fragile For This), and Tracey Wigfield (30 Rock) join Abra in getting comfy and creating a world where Goofy runs a meth lab, Lane Bryant has a gang, and the Family Circus finds a home in a butthole.
A Funny Thing #27: - The Sing-Along with Julia Wiedeman
A stranger in a strange land, her mop incarnadine against the native dred, Julia Wiedman wanted what any of us would: simple human connection and a part in the school production of Pan! But what could possibly tie this pale newcomer to the bosom of her adopted tribe? A rope of kindness? A bridge of common humanity? Or early 80’s folk troubadour, Suzanne Vega? Listen to find out!
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show: - A.V. Club Editor Keith Phipps
This week on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff’s guest is A.V Clubs editor Keith Phipps. They talk about what it’s like to be a professional critic, how the AV Club spun off from The Onion, and the implosion of The Oogieloves.
You Had To Be There #79: - Joe DeRosa
This week, Sara justifies her pricy haircut and Nikki presents their guest, comedian Joe DeRosa (Comedy Central Presents, @joederosacomedy). Joe’s currently putting the finishing touches on his new webseries We Should Break Up, in which he and our very own Nikki Glaser star as a couple who by all accounts should call it quits. But minutes into the conversation, a twist! — Joe and Nikki actually dated IRL before tumultuously splitting some time before this calmer collaboration (set to debut in just a few weeks). What results is not relationship rubbernecking but something much richer: a blunt, relatable rundown of the life cycle of a couple and the logistics of somehow remaining friends afterward. Get ready, huge range of emotions on this one.
On this week’s episode of The Complete Guide to Everything, we talk about the dating scene and go over some of the finer points of wooing a lady. Look, we realize it’s tough out there, finding a gal and convincing her to give you a shot, so naturally we consult the internet and go through the foolproof steps as outlined by wikihow.com. We should probably mention that Tim probably drank too much whiskey before we recorded, and talks about a number of things that should probably stay private, but since this episode was uploaded a day late (the reasons for which we discuss at length), we’re trudging ahead with the episode as is. In another installment of Fifty Shades of Tim, Tom describes another chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey in which things finally start getting hot and heavy in an elevator, prompting Tim to sing the hits of Aerosmith and reminisce about his time spent on Aerosmith’s Rock n’ Rollercoaster. We also solve a problem from a Bay Area woman who has some issues with a neighbor’s dogs in Tim and Tom Solve Your Problems.
Eliot Glazer (It Gets Betterish, Eliot’s Sketch Pad) stops by to watch an episode of “Oprah’s Life Class” and gives a first hand account of the time he attended a life class. Find out what it’s like to be surrounded by thousands of Oprah’s minions, learn how to keep a checklist of the five things you’re thankful for everyday and hunker down to hear a whole lot of self-help bullshit.
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 is great at speed Kierkegaard trivia.