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.
ELISE: Never Not Funny #1117 - Richard Lewis
It’s an unusual episode of Never Not Funny from top to bottom this week. Jimmy and Matt start things off with a cold open to explain that this week’s guest, Richard Lewis, has long been an idol of Jimmy’s, and as such, he was pretty much given free reign over the show. It must be a record for how little Jimmy says in the course of one episode, and I’m not sure the others combined get more than five words in the entire show. Instead, Richard regales Jimmy with stories of old comedy and his boozing days while worrying about his safety at the NNF studios and calling Jimmy a moron about a dozen of times. It’s a free-wheeling episode with a comedy legend that is fun and fascinating in equal measures.
JAY: The Adam Carolla Show - Chris Elliott
Chris Elliott has put together a Hall of Fame comedy career. Whether you know him from Late Night with David Letterman or Get a Life or There’s Something About Mary, you have probably laughed at his absurd sense of humor. This week, Adam Carolla sits down one-on-one with Chris to talk about his career and his new book, The Guy Under the Sheets: The Unauthorized Autobiography. The main reason you should listen to this episode is Chris’s insight into the notoriously secretive world of Late Night. Elliott also tells stories about his legendary comedy family, including his father Bob (of the comedy team: Bob and Ray) and his daughter Abby, who was the first second-generation Saturday Night Live cast member. Chris Elliott has lived the modern history of comedy, and it is a treat to hear him reminisce on a career which, if we are lucky, isn’t even close to over. Once you finish this episode of The Adam Carolla Show, you will want to yell: “these pipes are clean!”
A few weeks back, I heralded the return of The Pod F. Tompkast to the series of tubes after its brief hiatus. Little did I know, Paul F. Tompkins and his composer and podcast partner-in-crime, Eban Schletter, were about to unleash a digital bounty of comedy awesomeness this month in the run up to their special live show in Los Angeles. In the span of a week, they released three full episodes. That’s over three hours of free comedy. The episodes are full of personal riffs, sketches, live show clips, interviews and, yes, even a bit of Tompkins’ ol’ pal, Jen Kirkman. It’s top-notch internet hijinks. Guests include Thomas Lennon, Jessica St. Clair, Paget Brewster, Andy Daly, Rich Sommer, Laraine Newman, Justin Kirk and Jen Kirkman. If this were any other medium, our corporate overlords would have surely packaged the 3-in-1 week event with an overbearing marketing name like “Tompkins-aggedon” or the quaint but effective “Tompkins Week.” But that’s not how podcasts roll. Tompkins simply plopped those bad boys online for the listeners. No extra BS needed. Tompkins just keeps plugging ahead with litany of stellar podcast appearances and his own great show, featuring some of the most engaging and smart comedy today. Time to say thanks for the free comedy bounty and celebrate a week of Tompkins overload.
LINDSEY: Two Charted? #36
I think I like Two Charted? more than Who Charted? proper at this point. There’s no guest to throw of the flow between Kulap and Howard so we get to pretend that we are just in the room listening to them talk and we are their best friend, too. This week we got to hear five of Ku’s “dark, sexy songs” on her iPhone and then how Howard would “hit the downbeats” and do some damage. Seriously, there are way too many choice moments from this chart alone: Howard describing Kulap as a fire-starter, getting dark and saying everyday doing the podcast is a day without his kids, and also the fun visual of him driving around in a Smart Car. These all happened BEFORE Howard brought out his notebook from 2002 where he wrote down what he did everyday. This is coming back (a regular feature??) and we are all the better for it. I want to know what Howard does during every moment of every day. Howard met Don Charney? And got free clothes from AA? The best. Also, the question “should we beep out hando?” is uttered which is perfect and I want to ask it all the time.
MARC: The Dork Forest with Jackie Kashian #142 - Retta, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Laurie Kilmartin, Rory Scovel
One of the most eclectic shows in the comedy podcast arena, Jackie Kashian’s The Dork Forest usually features the host going one-on-one with a guest — often someone from the world of comedy but many other visitors hail from backgrounds far from the business of show. This time around, rather than do a deep dive into one guest’s personal dorkdom, Jackie has assembled her first live dork panel, featuring a quartet of assorted friends who bat their strange proclivities around like so many conversational shuttlecocks. Retta the Joke Diva, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Laurie Kilmartin, and Rory Scovel crammed into the performance space at Meltdown Comics on a recent evening — all doing a favor for Jackie who, when scheduled guest Maria Bamford had to cancel, panicked and overbooked like crazy. The conversation passes around smoothly between all five folks like a pop cultural talking stick as they move from sensory deprivation tanks (Scovel’s obsession), dark chocolate (Retta’s avoidance), Bikram yoga (Rajskub does it even through her distain for smelly, sweaty, crowded rooms), and one of the best book titles ever (Kilmartin’s Shitty Mom). Many other topics were touched on, nobody was judged. (Apart from this one-of-a-kind episode, I now have first-hand evidence that Jackie is truly the queen of dork — this past weekend at the first annual Los Angeles Podcast Festival, she had to bug out of a panel appearance early so she could make a D&D game on time…)
ROGER: The Nerdist #271 - Live at JFL42 with Andy Kindler
If you’re reading this you know who Andy Kindler is, and most likely you’re now reading this in his voice, so you’re welcome for that. The Last Comic Standing judge is known lately for his “State of the Industry” addresses at the Just for Laughs comedy festival, where he viciously but almost always fairly (and most importantly of all humorously) drops truth bombs about The Industry. Considering that he wasn’t afraid to even make fun of sacred cow Louis C.K. last year, it’s surprising that Kindler admitted to constantly worrying if he’s burning every single comedy bridge possible during his first ever appearance on The Nerdist. The young Toronto festival audience (for a comedy festival that was also in Canada that is abbreviated JFL but is not Just for Laughs) didn’t seem responsive to Kindler’s humor during the first half of the show, which of course was perfect for the comedian that draws energy from believing that he isn’t doing well. Compound that with three co-hosts who clearly respected their guest and earnestly wanted to know as much as possible about his process and what he actually wants (Hardwick asking “What is it that you want?” followed by the more direct “What do you want?” was a definite highlight, since I certainly didn’t know) made it an enjoyable and even educational listen.
SAMANTHA: How Did This Get Made #47 - Super Mario Bros. with Jenny Slate
After an hour of ripping into Super Mario Bros., Jason Mantzoukas implores HDTGM’s audience to “drop acid and watch this movie,” which is incidentally exactly how I recently experienced this 1993 “adaptation.” The film has almost nothing in common with its 8-bit predecessor; as Paul Scheer explains, it’s got “everything about the game that you love, but none of that,” including a character who resembles a “stalactite of jizz” and an eerily accurate 9/11 prediction – not to mention exceptionally terrible special effects and a plot with more holes than there are Goombas in Brooklyn. Between discussions of orphan porn and pastaface, the panel throws in plenty of mindblowing trivia (did you know Tom Hanks was originally attached to play Mario? Or that Bob Hoskins admits to being drunk for most of the filming?), and since the episode was recorded live at Bumbershoot, there are even a few questions from the crowd. Whether you love the original game or not (or didn’t even know it existed, like Hoskins), the episode’s an especially fun one (PSA: The whole movie’s on YouTube).
This Week in the Splitsider Podcast Network:
On this episode: The Going-Out-Of-Business Store opens and the Grand Opening Store closes, the Pentagon demands more zombie shit, the MacCloud’s have nosy neighbors, a man’s found memories of his dead brother’s widow, two old friends catch up in a sanitarium, a virgin travels through time, Mark Jacobs uses the Puppy Defense, contract negotiations with the devil, a mom condescends to Halloween horror, and Cranston has become the hunter and the hunted.
Oh, hello! In this week’s episode of “Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak” Aaron Jackson (Salmon Diane), Abbi Jacobson (Broad City), and Jim Santangeli (The Curfew) join Abra in creating a world where Colonial Williamsburg is the new Hollywood, VHS nests protect babies, and ham hocks make your pee pee smoky.
Adam Wade was young man, a fragile asthmatic, unprepared for the rigors of band. He needed a place in the world. Until that is, a kindly, but slow, gym teacher took Adam under his verbose wing and they began their master-blaster-like symbiosis. But could one act of boozy hubris tear young Adam from this protective bosom, or might or hero learn that a helping hand can shake both ways? Adam, your father must be proud of you.
This week, Nikki and Sara toss around contest-caliber costume ideas for Halloween before losing their minds welcoming back to the show comedian Rory Scovel (Conan, Twitter). Rory and the ladies bond over a shared love of yelling at strangers in public, especially in Des Moines, home of the Most Difficult Audience on Earth. Before long, the discussion focuses on eliminating the BS from relationships and marriage myths, an issue groom-to-be Scovel feels particularly strong about. The episode ends goofily enough as Rory fails a pop star audition and Sara and Nikki ban a shameful celebrity from their TV show before it’s even begun. Hear, hear!
This week on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff moderates a panel at the New York Comic Con consisting of the nerdiest people working at Collegehumor and Dorkly. They talk about writing nerdy comedy for the internet, some of the stuff that’s bombed, and how many original Mario jokes that are left to write.
Hey, let’s get down to business here. Week after week, Tim and Tom spend an hour talking about a bunch of nonsense that, frankly, isn’t all that important. Well, all that is going to change this week. Finally, we sit down and talk about something of substance: the 2012 Presidential Election, the most important election of any of our lives. Of course, before getting into the issues, we talk about Tim’s new health kick. Oh, and Tom getting slapped in the face on a subway. And also we talk a bit about a very interesting new costume he spent a lot of money on for Halloween this year. And then real quick we talk about DNA testing.
Elise Czajkowski is a freelance journalist in New York City.
Lindsey Allen lives in Austin, TX. She has perfect teeth and a nice smell. A class act, all the way.
Roger Cormier can muster some enthusiasm for informing a fellow human being that the Kraft macaroni was not 35 cents for a nine figure salary.
Samantha Pitchel writes about and watches comedy in Austin and Los Angeles.