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.
Comedy Bang Bang #238 – Marissa Wompler’s Birthday Pool Party LIVE
JOSH: This week’s aquatic episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! is chock full of ziplines, deception, marriage proposals and (unfortunately) “Not enough Combos for all your Asian friends,” which can mean only one thing: It’s Marissa Wompler’s Birthday Pool Party Extravaganza! All your favorite Wompler-adjacent characters visit the Marina Del Rey common area pool to celebrate 17 glorious years of Womping it up. Marissa’s step dad Seth drops by the above pool platform to discuss his sexual gamma rays and his past dependency on “emotional flashcards” to better understand human expressions. Ms. Listler keeps the party rocking with her “Best of 1990s Will Smith” party mix and takes a break from attempting to lure Seth to a tarp-covered couch him to introduce her new boyfriend Karim. Discover how the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days doomed the epic Wompler/Gutterman romantic saga and uncover all the steamy details of a tantalizing love affair involving Marissa Wompler’s arch-nemesis on this week’s Comedy Bang! Bang!
By The Way: In Conversation With Jeff Garlin #16 - Vince Gilligan
ROB: Your first impression after listening to Jeff Garlin talk with Vince Gilligan is, “How could a show about such terrible things be written by such a nice guy?” The latest episode of By The Way is a bit of a mismatch: a quiet, self-effacing Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, being interviewed by the blustering comic Garlin, but it works perfectly. Case in point, Garlin mentions that whatever Gilligan’s next show is, people are going to watch. Gilligan woefully responds, “Whatever I do next is going to be a disappointment,” which made the crowd murmur in support for him. But then Garlin bellows, “You guys moan, but he’s right!” referring to how anything following Breaking Bad is likely to be criticized. Garlin is clearly a fan of the show and (obviously) a fan of, and well-versed in, the medium as well. But while Garlin spends quite a bit of time in the beginning just praising Gilligan’s work, the conversation ends up being a lot more freewheeling than just an interview about Breaking Bad. There are some good tidbits in the conversation, including one about how the production design on Gus’s “superlab” was so authentic that they could have actually made meth in it. And Saul Goodman fans will have something to chew on, as Gilligan talks about how he’d love to work with Bob Odenkirk again. But the conversation also takes turns into philosophizing about film and television media, how great old “batshit crazy” public access used to be, and Garlin continually making fun of Albuquerque and telling Gilligan he has enough money to buy an island (get it?).
Jim Florentine’s Comedy Metal Midgets – TSA Issues
JAY: Jim Florentine is mad as hell and he’s not gonna take it anymore! His weekly podcast, Comedy Metal Midgets, is a chance for Jim to rant about whatever topic is currently bugging him. This week, the bull’s-eye lands squarely on the back of everyone’s favorite government agency: the TSA. Florentine covers everything wrong with air travel from the outlandish prices, to the cancer-causing x-rays, to the attitude of the TSA agents. As an added bonus, we get to hear him adeptly backpedal and support a new fantasy football sponsor, even though that very hobby has been the subject of a previous rant. The episode concludes, as always, with a classic prank call - this one highlights just how little telemarketers actually listen. Air travel has gotten exponentially worse in the last 12 years and Jim Florentine is just the person to remind us of that.
The Bob Zany Show #27 – Steven Wright
MARC: The march of standup comedians into podcasting continues, seeming to swell with each passing month and why not? The promise of getting to continue to call your own shots in a new medium is a strong one. Among the most recent is veteran Bob Zany, teaming with relative comedy newcomer Zan Aufderheide for The Bob Zany Show. They’ve already had some nifty guests (George Wallace, Budd Friedman, Kevin Nealon) but for episode #27 the duo happened to run into Steven Wright, master of the eclectic observation, in a Starbucks in New York City. And it’s a rollicking yet a bit uneven ride, as Zany and Zan didn’t have time to pull up Wikipedia or do even the most primitive research. So, although Zany and Wright have clearly crossed paths before, it’s still a voyage of discovery for the podcast host and what we get is the loosest glimpse of Wright that I’ve yet heard from the few podcast and radio appearances he’s done. Normally quiet and contemplative, for Zany’s show, he lets out frequent bursts of laughter and has a lot of fun trading verbal jabs with both of the hosts. He also reveals how much Johnny Carson influenced his choice to get into comedy as well as his technique for writing jokes. (Spoiler alert: He texts them to himself). Even if future shows are planned out, it makes you wonder who Zany might run into next.
WTF with Marc Maron #413 – Bill Hader
ROGER: Continuing the greatest running gag in podcasting outside of Scott Aukerman’s Borat and BNL impressions, Marc Maron added yet another strange Lorne Michaels anecdote to his collection of strange Lorne Michaels anecdotes after his sit-down with recently-departed SNL cast member Bill Hader. Hader recounted in fantastically specific detail the conversation he had with Michaels when he told him that he was leaving the show, as well as the entire long story about how he got on SNL in the first place. The attention to detail to those SNL and South Park stories was one thing, but Hader providing the funny and accurate impersonations to the real life characters in the stories made it that much more entertaining. His impression of John Goldwyn, with the film producer sounding like a measured, yet possibly more psychotic Robert Evans, was impressively funny, and you don’t need to have ever heard Goldwyn’s voice to laugh.
Ménage à Trois Radio #19 – Opus Moreschi, head writer of The Colbert Report
ARIELLE: Ménage à Trois is a relatively new podcast with “real life lovers” and comedians Murf Meyer and Diana Kolsky. The two discuss matters of sex, sexuality, love, and relationships with a variety of guests, ranging from mayoral candidate Jimmy McMillan to Marcelle Karp of BUST magazine. This week, the pair sat down with Opus Moreschi, head writer of The Colbert Report, and things got super interesting. When Diana asked about how Moreschi presents his job to women, Moreschi admitted that it’s a point of insecurity for him to have such a cool title. He said he usually just opts for “writer” and tries to avoid the question if women press further. For their “sexy science” segment, the threesome (heh) discussed the recent controversy over whether a teen who is transitioning from a female to a male should be allowed to use male bathrooms in his high school. Moreschi brought up the fact that the generation currently in high school has a completely different view of sexuality and gender than the generation currently crafting such policy decisions, which made for an interesting discussion of the future of openness with LGBTQ topics. Tip for the funny ladies who are interested in bringing home one Opus Moreschi – he’s wary of fellow comedians, as he said that nothing is more painful than watching someone bomb on stage. All in all, it was a hilarious and fun episode, and definitely a good introduction to the show.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network
Tim finally crosses off an item on the ol’ Mundane Bucket List by finally staying in a sleeper car on a train. This week we’re talking about riding the rails, whether it’s via First Class like Tim or hoping in an open box car as it ambles through a country field. The future of train travel is also discussed as we debate the merits of Elon Musk’s “Hyperloop”, which will get you from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under 30 minutes by going 1,102 km/h. This of course leads to an intellectual argument about musks and colognes.
Nick Turner (Best Week Ever) introduces Craig to the British TV show Coupling, with a half-English, half-Hebrew, half-gibberish episode called “The Girl with Two Breasts.” Nick and Craig discuss British TV shows coming to America, find out what a “gusset” is and talk about Nick falling out of a canoe.
This week on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff talks to Dan Parent, a comic book writer and artist probably best known for his work with Archie Comics. He talks to him about Kevin Keller, the first gay character in the Archie universe and a character that Dan pitched, the different universes of Archie Comics, what it’s like at the Kubert school, and what we can expect from the upcoming Archie movie.
Roger Cormier knows they have backyards in Westchester too.
Arielle Gordon is everybody’s intern.
Rob Schoon lives in Brooklyn and writes about tech, media, comedy and culture.
Josh Sorokach is a comedy writer living in NYC who was once referred to as a “Poor Man’s Joshua Jackson” while on a date.