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.
Professor Blastoff #86 – Janeane Garofalo
SAMANTHA: What’s better than a good conspiracy? Not a whole lot, which is why this episode of Professor Blastoff is an especially fun one. Guest Janeane Garofalo – a former Air America host who notoriously quit the internet in 2004 (a story she goes into in detail) – is the perfect person to get into it with. She’s the personification of most rational people’s approach to “alternative” theories,” acknowledging the improbability of outlandish claims while questioning the kernels of truth in their foundations. Starting with a classic – the moon landing – and working their way through the Flat Earth Society, a variety of 9/11-related scenarios, and the JFK assassination, the Professor Blastoff team shifts between dubiousness, defensiveness, and silliness (the word “nipple” is giggled at twice, as it should be). Another conspiracy discussed: are Kyle and Tig slowly morphing into one another? And/or will they ever get glamour shots? Also, the episode’s cutest moment comes about 80% through, when Garofalo realizes she recognizes Kyle from his role on Reno 911.
MARC: Sometimes podcasts are better off in bite-sized chunks. The three-headed monster of Ten Minute Podcast (Mad TV’s Will Sasso and Bryan Callen, Whitney’s Chris D’Elia) could easily fill an hour. These guys start jabbering before, over and during their theme song and they don’t slow down for anything, including each other. The vibe is a similar to those podcasts out of the middle of the US – dudes sitting around just BS’ing – except these guys know how to get the funny out of the tap every time. In this installment, D’Elia is crowing about how funny the guest shot he just had on Conan was, just to have Callen, a veteran stand-up comedian, try to rip him out of his good mood. Rather than keeping the peace, Sasso just runs around spraying gas on the fire. After a few of these episodes, I found myself wishing for bigger bites.
Here’s The Thing - Judd Apatow
LINDSEY: On the most recent installment of Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin, we learn something very important: Judd Apatow makes his movies longer on purpose! So I guess we can stop complaining about it because he already knows. This episode is full of great moments. Alec fondly remembers a joke from The Larry Sanders Show and quotes it, only to find out that Apatow wrote that line. (When they mentioned the episode with Alec appearing, I instantly knew what joke they were referring to. It really is a classic.) Then Judd talks about going to lunch with Albert Brooks and immediately going home to jot down all of the memorable lines he spouted during the meal in a journal afterwards, which everyone of us would do for sure. Plus stories of Apatow and Sandler’s friendship before either one was famous. He’s just so easy to listen to and it feels like we all grew up loving things that he was a part of. The Freaks and Geeks love isn’t going away, The Larry Sanders Show just gets better and better with every re-watch. Not to mention all of his movies. Speaking of movies, Apatow is so right about side characters being the best part. If they made a movie about Albert Brooks’ character from Broadcast News I would be the happiest girl ever. It could just be him singing and reading. Well, now I have to go watch Broadcast News for the millionth time.
You Made It Weird # 114 - Aziz Ansari
JAY: A great comedy podcast can take many forms. My favorite is the “listening in on a conversation between old friends” format. Even if the participants just share a common history, it makes for a fascinating snapshot of a certain time and place. That is what is going on in this episode of You Made It Weird. Pete Holmes and Aziz Ansari seemingly continue an ongoing conversation that began years ago in New York, early in their comedy careers. Like a couple of old friends, the pair start with some small talk about catchy songs and soap, but then it’s on to the business of comedy. They discuss the New York comedy clubs, like The Comedy Cellar, which Pete found intimidating. Then its on to a master class on stand-up comedy. Aziz drops some great comedy advice for stand-ups who are trying to build an act. They talk about encores, changing your act when it becomes less challenging, the writing process, and living a life worth commenting on. The conversation turns to fame because, let’s face it, Aziz became really famous really quickly. He and Pete posit that one person “blowing up,” while drawing scorn from a certain group, is ultimately good for comedy. The podcast continues for over another hour after this point, with insights on stand-up, comedy careers, relationships, and more. If you’ve ever wanted to try stand-up or are just interested in the process, you must listen to this episode of You Made It Weird. Aziz is definitely not bored.
A Bit of a Chat with Ken Plume - Paul Feig
BRADFORD: Bridesmaids director/Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig sits down with host Ken Plume for his conversation podcast this week. As usual for Plume’s interviews, he has a friendly, intimate rapport with his guest right off the bat, which is helped by this being Feig’s second appearance on the show. Feig and Plume walk through Feig’s career, discussing some projects that even hardcore Feig fans might not be familiar with, including his unsuccessful 1997 independent film Life Sold Separately, the five months he spent working on a Bridget Jones sequel before walking away, and his childrens’ book series Ignatius McFarland. And of course, it’s Paul Feig, so he has to talk about women in comedy. It’s a nice look into the ins and outs of the career of one of the most successful and talented comedic filmmakers going.
WTF with Marc Maron #349 - Michael Keaton
ROGER: True story: I’ve never seen Beetlejuice, and I only saw and mostly forgot either Batman or Batman Returns once to avoid doing homework in 1994. While I just lost all of your respect, please know that I did learn over time to appreciate Michael Keaton, both from the high praise given to him by many people in the comedy world whose opinions mean something, and from catching some of his other work on stuff like 30 Rock and Jackie Brown. Keaton also earned a lot of respect by not participating in the showbiz game without disappearing from everyone’s radar entirely - IMDb shows that he swings by Letterman every few years, but doesn’t sit down with much anyone else to chat. Enter Marc Maron, who managed to book Keaton after a year long back-and-forth following a chance meeting at a Florida airport. Maron deftly led his guest to cover all of the key moments in his career chronologically in a natural manner, from his days marveling at fellow stand-up newbie Larry David’s gumption in telling off an unreceptive audience to how he ended up designing the look of that Beetlejuice fellow. All of Keaton’s stories were new, seemingly unrehearsed and spanned a lot of time and entertainment circles, making the episode fascinating to even a cinematic dumb person like myself.
Tell Your Friends! The Only Podcast that Matters! #1 - Eddie Pepitone
ELISE: In this first episode of Liam McEneaney’s Tell Your Friends! The Only Podcast That Matters! (launched in connection with his Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film!), Liam interviews the great Eddie Pepitone. The two wander around Central Park discussing their early days in comedy in New York, being a part of the Hollywood problem, and maintaining an angry persona when life’s actually going pretty well. More of a magazine-style show than a straight comic-on-comic interview, the podcast also features a fantastic story by Bob Powers and a bizarre moment with Stacey Nightmare. Because it’s designed as a short-run promotional series rather than an open-ended weekly podcast, Tell Your Friends! has a more polished feel than the average podcast, tightly edited with jingles and commercials that you won’t need to skip through. Upcoming episodes include interviews with singer/songwriter Mike Doughty, Totally Biased’s W. Kamau Bell, and SNL writer Bryan Tucker.
This Week in the Splitsider Podcast Network:
This week, Sara and Nikki are back from their break with news of humorous iPads and difficult dads. This is comedian Nick Turner’s (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, If You Build It at UCBeast) third time as a guest on the podcast, a stratospheric record matched only by Kurt Braunohler. Nick gives a preview of the upcoming Best Week Ever reboot he’s currently gearing up for, inspiring the ladies, each of whom was recognized in public over the holidays, to share infant-TV-show stories of their own. Nick’s tale of a date tainted by Twitter spurs an entire talk about the faux pas lurking in Tweets and texts. The three wrap up by talking pee about Skrillex’s addicting behind the scenes videos, Grace Helbig’s Daily Grace webseries, and Bruce Willis’s first old-Bruce-meets-young-Bruce movie since Disney’s The Kid, Looper.
This week’s episode is the first installment of our new series of Urban Legends themed episodes (which will appear monthly, or until we forget about them). This week we’re talking about college. Are sorority houses illegal under some states’ brothel laws? Do you get straight A’s if your roommate commits suicide? Did some nerd win a car for reading the small print in a textbook? Do you really get 200 points on the SAT for spelling your name correctly? Tim and Tom get to the bottom of these questions and more, with the help of the extremely informative website snoops.biz. Also, we discuss mistakes we made on New Year’s Eve and somehow get on the topic of Kindergarten Cop. In a new Tim and Tom Solve Your Problems, we help out a smart dude with a dumb co-worker. (There are Go-Karts involved.)
This week on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show my guests are UTK and Shockwave of Freestyle Love Supreme, a group that improvises incredible music based on audience suggestions. In this episode they discuss the mechanics of beatboxing, how to create rhymes on the spot, and make up a rap based on suggestions I’m reading out of a Sesame Street book.
Matt Fisher (30 Rock, The Law Firm) starts off the new year like everyone should, by watching “The Twilight Zone.” Craig and Matt zone out on “The Zone,” and get sidetracked by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Disney talk.
Our story this week: Nicole Byer, she of the Bushmills, she of the floor-pizza, takes us on a charming tour of the mind and predilections of the oversexed urban drunk. Also, she borderline kidnaps a guy for sex.
Lindsey Allen lives in Austin, TX. She has perfect teeth and a nice smell. A class act, all the way.
Elise Czajkowski is a freelance journalist in New York City.
Roger Cormier loves to spend more time explaining why he doesn’t have time to watch a movie than it would take to see one.
Bradford Evans is the Associate Editor of Splitsider.com.