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.
ROGER: It was fun to hear old chums Todd Barry and Colin Quinn talk about everything and nothing for almost an hour, with the two essentially following a pattern where Barry makes a declarative one sentence statement (usually in an intentional or unintentional sarcastic tone), Quinn expresses his paragraph long opinion almost as quickly, and Barry elaborates on his actual opinion or moves on to a similar topic. Quinn isn’t an ubiquitous podcast presence, so his annotations on the comedy advice he gave out in his recent Just For Laughs speech were new. Naturally, the two veterans got into old standup anecdote territory, with Quinn’s tales of bad openers and fighting passive aggressive behavior with more passive aggressive behavior being the highlights. Barry opening up a conversation about Twitter by pretending to congratulate Colin in a begrudging tone on his funny Twitter account, leading Quinn to admit to having a “gift for a turn of phrase that just irritates everybody,” was just as entertaining, and a sign that Barry is getting the hang of this hosting a one-on-one interview podcast thing.
JOSH: Back from hiatus, Mike and Tom make their long awaited return this week and immediately fall back into their trademark banter that makes them the very best snack-related comedy podcast in the game today. If you’re one of those purists who believe that the literary works of William Shakespeare have no place in snack-based audio comedy, then this episode is not for you. Michael Ian Black brings the majestic words of the Bard to life for the commoners when he performs a few of his “Impressions of Summaries of Shakespeare in the Park.” These two sultans of snacking effortlessly return to their nimble brand of quick-witted humor by referencing a plethora of inside jokes that longtime fans will enjoy and ever so briefly discuss Michael Ian Black’s new podcast venture. Our co-hosts implement their PER system to Tim’s Cascade Style Potato Chips and even find time to dispense some invaluable potato chip=-inspired romantic advice on this entertaining episode of Mike and Tom Eat Snacks.
The Jimmy Shubert Show #2: Jason Lawhead
MARC: In case you were afraid that the supply of comedian-fueled podcasts was going to run out anytime soon, you can relax. This week, I got a chance to catch veteran standup and Philly native Jimmy Shubert roll out the second-ever episode of The Jimmy Shubert Show. The rasp in Shubert’s voice is ever-present and adds an edge to his comedy and commentary which, in this case, is encased in a kickoff rant about the shenanigans of The Sexual Harrassment Politician of the Month, San Diego mayor Bob Filner. It’s a springboard to making a point about the social accountability that our elected officials ought to have and how the quivering faith in our electoral institution is being rattled apart on an increasing basis. Pretty serious motif without a lot of laughs, but Shubert springs off the soapbox quick enough when his guest and fellow comic Jason Lawhead gets into the mix. Shubert rounds out the show with a phone call from his retired Philly cop dad and one of his brothers who are on their way out the door to the local gun range. It’s a homey, personal show that manages to be entertaining while still finding its legs in the podcast world.
The Reality SHOW Show #34: Jarrad Paul
PABLO: Fresh off their wins at the Teen Choice Awards for Most Choice Podcast and Most Yolo Tweet Stylings, Hayes and Sean are back in the Earwolf Studio to take on this week’s viewing platter of reality shows. First up, the guys review SyFy’s make-up artists-meets-Top Chef show Face Off but deem its alternative anti-comedy approach to be just too much to handle. Later in the show, the Reality SHOW Show boys invite Allen Gregory creator Jarrad Paul to discuss the time he went to a Bachelorette viewing party filled with Hollywood power players. If you love name-dropping, you’re in for a treat! Especially if you’re a fan of Jake Busey and the guy who plays Cam on Modern Family. In a more serious segment, Sean, Hayes, and Jarrad discuss whether you can say “the l word” to your significant other without having consummated your relationship. Also, whether you can say “the f word” on The Reality SHOW Show. SPOILER ALERT: You can’t say “I love you” to someone you haven’t had sex with, but you can definitely say “fingered” on a podcast.
The Comedy Cellar: Live From the Table #73: Is There Such a Thing as Alternative Comedy?
ELISE: From the famous comic’s table at the Olive Tree Cafe, Eugene Mirman and Kyle Dunnigan join Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman and regular Dan Naturman to discuss what alliterative comedy is, if it is in fact anything. The conversation starts out quite politely but eventually delves honestly into the impressions that both the alt and clubs scenes have about one another, how alt comics go over at the Cellar, and what audiences are expecting in different rooms. It’s a fun, insidery kind of discussion that highlights just how disconnected comedians in the same city can be, largely by choice. As time goes on the entire episode seems like it may have been a ploy to get Naturman a gig on Bob’s Burgers, but it’s worth it for the undeniably intriguing notion of Mirman playing the Cellar someday.
ROB: What do you get when you mix geeky, viral, Reddit-type topics with NPR production techniques and throw in a dash of Earwolf comedians? The debut of the Cracked Podcast. Cracked.com, which has turned into something like a funny New Yorker for millennials, has teamed up with Earwolf to bring its longform content to your ears. This means you get to hear things like Brian Posehn talking about semen in his stomach and discussions on historiography, cultural memory, and intelligence — all in the same hour. In keeping with the highbrow/lowbrow mashup of material, the Cracked Podcast’s style mimics Radiolab’s presentation, while the snarky banter of cohosts Jack O’Brien and Michael Swaim reminds me of Uhh Yeah Dude. If you like comedy/in-depth mixes like StarTalk Live! or The Dana Gould Hour, this is definitely a podcast to check out. One of the best segments this episode has Swaim and O’Brien dissecting the trailer for the first Die Hard movie as an example of the Flynn effect. It’s a good example of what Cracked’s podcast is going for: high-production, tightly themed, and funny.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network
This week, Sara and Nikki explore the ways of responsible adults and examine the lies that subway ads tell us about childhood. Nikki then launches an antismoking ambush and puts out a call for either tips or sympathy for her totally flawed bedroom setup.
This week, we were all set to record a thrilling episode all about magic and magicians, with a bunch of super interesting anecdotes and jokes, but then Tom started talking about video games and when Tom starts talking about video games, well, it’s kinda hard to stop him. You just gotta let him tire himself out.
Phil Jackson (UCB Theatre) is not the “three-peat” coach of the 1990s Chicago Bulls, he’s a dude who loves Sex and the City. Phil charts and discusses the academics of the HBO show, breaks down how much sex Wilt Chamberlain had and figures out which Sex and the City character Craig is.
This week The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show is the long awaited sequel to the first conspiracy theories episode. Jeff talks to Patrick Cassels about their favorite pop culture conspiracy theories like Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” being a metaphor for the JFK assassination, an arcade game called Polybius being a psychological weapon, and Taylor Swift being an active member of 4chan.
Roger Cormier and his Soviet bloc, high-rise penthouse apartment is punk rock.
Arielle Gordon is everybody’s intern.
Robert Schoon lives in the heartland and pays less rent. He also writes about technology and media.