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 comedy.
A new podcast in which sketch duo Tremendosaur gathers a panel of comedy writers to read through their worst old sketches, Before Your Were Funny has an in-studio episode this week, with guests Dominic Dierkes (Derrick Comedy, Workaholics) and Shelby Fero (Twitter, The Midnight Show with Pete Holmes). It’s an affable hour of bad sketches, from Dominic Dierkes’s mad scientist sketch to a premise Shelby Fero loosely plagiarized from Bo Burnham to Tremendosaur’s Justin Michael’s sketch that predicted The Social Network five years ahead of time. It’s pretty impressive that a show of bad comedy never gets bogged down in its own (intentional) shittiness, and that’s thanks to the casual tone and the hosts and guests joking around and ribbing each other throughout. The sketches serve as fodder for a lot of amusing conversations that tackle topics like teenage comedy groups stealing well-known sketches, weird Facebook groups, and Shelby Fero’s take on the two best types of sketch endings (“kill everyone or burst into song”).
With the NFL referees returning, the MLB playoffs looming, and the NHL lockout continuing into the foreseeable future, there is no shortage of huge sports stories to discuss this week. And who better to discuss sports than the former hosts of ESPN’s Cheap Seats: Randy and Jason Sklar? But Sklarbro Country is much more than just a sports podcast. It is a venue to hear the humor and insights of the best comedy team working today: The Sklar Brothers. They are joined on this episode by their University of Michigan fraternity brother and New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer. The trio’s deep friendship really comes through as they discuss how they chose where they would attend college, the Cheap Seats pilot, the writing process, and how Dallas Cowboys fans may have found themselves checking out a gay dating website. Make sure you listen all the way through to hear James Adomian call in as Tom Leykis for some classic Leykis 101. You’ll be glad you did, dear.
JOEL: The Pod F. Tompkast #18 – Jen Kirkman, Janet Varney, Scott Rodgers, Janie Haddad Tompkins
It’s been awhile since Mr. Podcast himself, pretty sure this is his official title at this point, Paul F. Tompkins shared a full episode of his joyfully oddball digital comedy offering. Well, he’s back and as curious as ever. The latest Pod F. Tompkast episode brings more of the same comedic curiosity, mixing quality Tompkins riffing, a live show clip, sketches and Jen Kirkman checking-in again. Tompkins’s up top riffing is always a reward for the loyal listeners, featuring some of the most playful comedy around. Riffing highlights include Tompkins talking the pitfalls of the sentient book future and a quality Star Wars illiteracy tangent. The greatest should-be-animated show, “Great Undiscovered Project” gets emotional and introspective with John C. Reilly figuring stuff out with the gang. Tompkins really gets into it in his live clip from this year’s SF Sketchfest, responding to advice letters from “The Probably Dead.” The live clip is a great example of Tompkins’s flexibility as a performer and the variety of the Tompkast. The episode also features a lot of Tompkins prodding his composer and podcast partner-in-crime, Eban Schletter. Things stay weird and fun with a callback to Chris Hardwick trapped in the internet. Jen Kirkman skips the phone call for a fun internet teleportation to a regular ol’ conversation with Tompkins. Loose, silly and offbeat, The Pod F. Tompkast, continues to reward giddy Tompkins fans, while being a grand example of the fun, charm and intelligence that’s possible with digital comedy.
LINDSEY: WTF with Marc Maron #320 - Gilbert Gottfried
I recently realized that I love Gilbert Gottfried. After a great set during the Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne and me stumbling upon a few specials of his, I’ve been talking about him a lot more than I should be. He’s practically all over the place, if that place is my mind. I knew this was going to be a good episode once Maron told the story about Gottfried coming back after the interview to borrow a jacket. Borrowing jackets is never not funny, and even funnier if you get to hear it in Gottfried’s voice. SNL, Michael Richards, and Shecky Greene are discussed, with a few tsunami jokes sprinkled in here and there for good measure. The episode ends with GG reminding us that we can buy an audiobook of him reading 50 Shades of Grey. So I think we should all do that. Quit reading this website and download a raunchy book narrated by this “sweet little old Jewish man”. Because listening to that sounds like the best possible way to spend your weekend. Invite your friends over!
ROGER: The Dana Gould Hour #11 - Doug Benson, Eddie Pepitone
What happens to a human being when their persona becomes internationally known and defines who they are, while becoming as rich as Scrooge McDuck in the process? It’s a good question that was the anchor of this month’s The Dana Gould Hour. Discussions of the legends and wealthy existences of L. Ron Hubbard, Hugh Hefner and Tom Cruise - the latter of which first-time guest Doug Benson and Dana Gould both met (Benson claims he’s a politician that is always trying to remain elected as an actor) - segued into personal anecdotes both somewhat related (Dana Gould lied to his parents and said he wasn’t fired from Working but chose to leave and said it so many times he believed it to be true, similar to Hubbard’s path of inventing Scientology and then slowly but surely believing his own writings) and stories whose connection to the theme was somewhat tenuous. Those tales aren’t by any means unwelcome when they involve Eddie Pepitone recounting his experience working the month-long Edinburgh Festival, or the comedians looking back on their first 9/11 jokes, or a young Gould and his mother shoplifting to save money to send to Oral Roberts. The recurring segment in which the host teaches us about old showbiz and/or infamous cracked weirdos was particularly fun, telling us of the connection between occult devote Aleister Crowley and MI4: Ghost Protocol.
This week, Doug Benson welcomes three of my favorite people to the Doug Loves Movies panel – Charlie Hodge and Matt Bearden, hosts of the best stand-up shows in Austin, and Tim League, founder of the Alamo Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest. On this “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” episode (be cool, guys), League tells us about training to fight a Tae Kwon Do master, Bearden talks about getting hypnotized by conspiracy theorists, and everyone plays it totally cool when the cops swing by the taping, held at League’s soon to be demolished bowling and karaoke bar, the aptly named Highball. Prepare to be confused by a poll of Doug’s Twitter followers, and delighted by a chorus of Stallones. (And please indulge my excitement at these two only-in-Austin moments: Hodge inducting the audience into his new community watch group, SNATCH [Stopping Negative Austinites Through Cocked Halfedness - “Basically, if you see some sorta Johnny Dallas out-of-towner carpetbagging son of a bitch trying to build a Razoo’s on Barton Springs…”]; and Bearden playing the Maltin game for someone with a headshot of Brendan Walsh for a nametag).
This Week in the Splitsider Podcast Network:
This week, Nikki and Sara borrow a studio deep within the Nerdist HQ to bring you more LA updates. Having recently regained consciousness, Sara explains her humbling near-death experience with a bug. Then Nikki tells what was going through her mind during her wholly successful Conan set and shares the compliments the host/her hero paid afterward. In continuing the theme Teen Stars Done Good (see ep. 80), this week’s guest is Nikki DeLoach (The All New Mickey Mouse Club, Awkward). Nikki was a part of the MMC cast with Spears, Gosling, and Timberlake and lived the 90s fantasy of girl groups, perms, and popstar boyfriends. After some reminiscing, Nikki details how she broke out of the machine and strove to get herself educated and acclimated to a realer world. Before long, she reentered the industry with the perspective required to tackle more challenging projects, like her current role as the extremely imperfect mother Lacey on MTV’s Awkward. The episode closes on a very thorough pee-talking session featuring sincere shout-outs to Chris Gethard for his brilliant letter to a troubled fan, Greg Fitzsimmons for his unrivaled podcast, and the fundraisers springing up in Nikki D’s hometown to support a girl with cancer. Dig in.
Oh, hello! In this week’s episode of “Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak,” Dan Gurewitch (CollegeHumor), Brandon Scott Jones (Grandma’s Ashes), and Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers) join Abra in improvising a world where Daniel Craig gets cut, restaurants are for going ape shit, and flat asses shouldn’t even bother.
Jake Fogelnest (The Fogelnest Files, Squirt TV) joins Craig to talk about the Family Ties episode where Alex P. Keaton gets addicted to amphetamines. Join Jake and Craig as they talk about TV drug education, discuss the problem with “just saying no,” and reveal why the author of Twilight should send a cease and desist letter to heroin dealers.
This week, Halle Kiefer yearns for the day when everyone wore a shirt around their waist. A blowout on the L train sends Halle down the crimson gutters of memory lane where she must face the unapproving, capricious whims of Mavis Beacon, the body shame of an adolescent mob, and finally Mr. Dunkle, the human couch, and his gruesome object lesson. Speak friend, and you shall enter. Halle Kiefer is a storyteller and stand-up, a blogger for Vh1.com, freelancer for sites like RollingStone.com, and a woman who would like to talk to you about the end of The Master.
Bradford Evans is Splitsider’s Associate Editor.
Lindsey Allen lives in Austin, TX. She has perfect teeth and a nice smell. A class act, all the way.
Roger Cormier lives by the dumpster full of discarded Butterball turkeys.
Samantha Pitchel writes about and watches comedy in Austin and Los Angeles.