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.
JOEL: Not all comedy needs to be have a label or be put into a box. But sometimes it does needs a dark, cramped room to really fly. Straight from the closet, comedian Dave Anthony and Greg Behrendt let loose a particularly joyful and angst ridden bout of comedy during their weekly editions of Walking The Room. This fun-anger combo is usually reserved for youthful punks. So it’s actually a pretty grand revelation that Anthony and Behrendt, a few steps beyond their early years, are so at ease with sharing their disgruntled and slightly demented dark sides. It’s usually their jumping off point, and it’s all delivered with a heavy dose of laughter, too. The fun is in the share – whether it’s a story, an off-putting life theory or just some regular ol’ shit that happened that week. Fellow comedian Baron Vaughn visit the guys for episode #128, skillfully stepping into the now-classic give-Anthony-crap mode. Vaughn manages to push the guys into a few different quality conversations. The episode is great bridge between the of-the-people filthy comedy circle and the meta-heavy “alt” comedy camp. They readily switch conversation gears from prostitutes to abusive step dad clichés to theorizing about young comedians. It’s all a bit hectic and messy, but that’s most of the fun of a visit to the closet.
LINDSEY: The Weasel was on WTF this week so why are we talking about anything else? I know you have all missed him and have been clutching your vhs copies of Encino Man near your chest, but he his back and ready to chat. And mainly talk about his mom, I guess. Which is fine because she is super interesting and fascinating and I could listen to Maron do his impression of her all day. This whole interview was awesome, and as someone who grew up with Pauly through reruns on tv, a fun look at his roots and personal life. Porn stars and love and even an Obama rap! (Oh, god, that Obama rap! No words.) He ends by giving us a bit of The Weasel (because we listened to the whole episode without skipping ahead to find it and we deserve it) and filling everyone’s hearts with some joy. If you didn’t get any joy, go watch Encino Man again you cold, heartless husk of a person. Shame on you.
Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown Series 3, Episode 3 - Rhys Darby, Jason Byrne
ELISE: Unlike the free-wheeling nature of many American podcasts, there is a tendency towards more structured, even-scripted shows out the UK, such as the panel show style of Pappy’s Flastshare Slamdown. The show’s premise is that sketch group Pappy’s share an apartment, with the group’s only real grown-up Matthew as landlord to flatmates Ben and Tom. Each episode, Ben and Tom compete to avoid an unpleasant household task; in this week’s episode, it’s defrosting the freezer. Fans of silly game shows like IFC’s Bunk will appreciate the nonsensical and vaguely-themed challenges, such as singing with a mouth full of ice, and the abundance of ice-based puns throughout the episode. This week’s teammates are Irish comic Jason Byrne and New Zealand stand-up (and Flight of the Conchords co-star) Rhys Darby.
The Green Light Show 11-02-12 -The President Show!
MARC: At first I had trouble figuring out the appeal of GLS. With its foul-mouthed, opinionated helmsman, DJ Scott, longtime compatriot Brandon Bozeman, and newest teammate, Alex Edwards, rambling away on and off topic, it first seemed like just a roomful of guys, yakking about nothing. But then it hit me: There’s an actual chemistry at work here. A PODCAST chemistry. These are three guys with nothing that resembles radio chops that have, through perseverence (the show’s been around in one form or another since 2005) and effort, figured out how control the spew. And they have discernible opinions and personalities that, disgusting as some of their riffs tend to be – everything from bodily fluids and finger-banging to referring to hurrican victims as “losers” - have learned the subtle art of conversational give-and-take without being the least bit subtle. Their latest installment was live on Election Night and, as timely as “The President Show!” was, it remained just as unhinged, irreverent and as “vulgar, explicit…and stupid” as their website promises. GLS is currently up for the 8th Annual PodcastAwards so, clearly, something’s working.
Wits #5 - Dave Foley, Mike Daughty
ROGER: It turns out that it is legal in a state that is not New York or California to operate a high standard variety show. Wits was merely a monthly live event from St. Paul, Minnesota’s Fitzgerald Theater - hosted and co-written by twitter superstar John Moe - before recently taking the leap to full on weekly podcasting, becoming no longer strictly for lucky listeners of Minnesota Public Radio (and those who knew to check the show’s website). After four episodes of interviews and recorded segments from earlier Fitzgerald Theater shows, last Saturday the podcast released the previous night’s live show in its entirety. Dave Foley proved to be a game guest, participating in all of the sketches and taking the question of why Matthew Perry gets so many chances and not him in stride (“Television can only sustain one has been Canadian at a time.”) The sketches about what Canada is really like and the Hotel California’s reaction to Don Henley’s portrayal of the establishment sound on the surface like nothing special, which makes the humor extracted from it all the more impressive. A highlight was definitely the instant public service announcement game, even though it did not move me to ever reconsider eels.
This Week in the Splitsider Podcast Network:
It’s been a week since our episode recorded right before Hurricane Sandy hit New York City. The good news is that this week we were able to be in the same physical space to record! The bad news is that Hurricane Sandy devastated our city. We discuss our own personal experiences during the storm (spoiler alert: neither of us were affected much more than mildly inconvenienced), the 24 hours news cycle making everyone think everything is over-hyped and Tim almost gets punched in the face while waiting in a long line for gasoline. Also Tom visits the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for the first time and discovers it’s just full of horrible children. We also solve a listener problem concerning trick or treating as an adult/non-child.
On “It’s That Episode” Craig Rowin (UCB Theatre) invites guests over to watch any episode of any TV show they want. They discuss the episode and other crap. Dan Klein and Kelly Hudson (Above Average’s Rejected Pitches) stop by to watch an episode of Ren & Stimpy. Dan, Kelly and Craig talk about the brain dead, blunt, and hilarious world of Ren and Stimpy, and discuss why it’s easier to draw inspiration from TV and movies than real life.
This week we bring you a two-fisted double feature from storyteller Jiji Lee. First, an ode to the indignities and vagaries of the New York public transit system, the ever present male gaze and good customer service. The second, a tragic tale of the racial anxiety, envy and high drama swirling within a high school production of an all-white Rashomon.
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 believes that cadence has always been his strong suit.