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: Apparently bored with rotating between shows loosely based around boats, pets, and blindfolded guests, Kurt Braunohler decided to change things up and make a straight parody of the popular WNYC podcast Radiolab. Comedy podcast listeners who are not familiar with Radiolab can still appreciate the attention to detail and feel like they are in on an inside joke, considering that the “FactTime” episode sounds generally like you would assume an NPR show would, not to mention the casting of seemingly ubiquitous Nerdist producer Katie Levine to help with making fun of the WNYC show’s usual opening. Braunohler and Matt Oberg nailed Jed and Robert’s back and forth rhythms too, but possibly the episode’s funniest aspect was Paul F Tompkins’s increasingly absurd and needlessly dark squirrel anecdote that the pilot to “FactTime” was focused on.
PABLO: Since leaving The Champs podcast, performer/writer/editor Doug “DJ Douggpound” Lussenhop has taken his sheepish persona and signature bombastic drops to his very own podcast, The Poundcast. Left to his own devices, Douggpound has reached out to his friends in comedy, music, film, and TV to fill in the voids of dead air that aren’t booming with his sweet, sweet drops. This week, Douggpound and frequent co-host Brent Weinbach invite Island’s Nick Thorburn and Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat to discuss Burning Man, spiritualism, and a T-shirt of Bob Marley that says “Bob Dylan.” Douggpound delves deep into Shawkat’s upbringing as the daughter of a strip club owner and granddaughter of the lead in Valley of the Dolls, but the showbiz talk doesn’t stop there. She also discusses a 22 Jump Street chemistry test with Jonah Hill that was notable for a complete lack of chemistry. If DJ Douggpound stays in the mix with dope beats AND insider Hollywood news, Nikki Finke better watch her back.
JAY: It’s the end of the summer and that means its the beginning of the NFL season, which, of course, means the start of the fantasy football season, which means the beginning of the season of The League; starring this week’s Comedy Bang Bang guests: Nick Kroll and Paul Scheer. In a genius move by FOX, the show will attempt to retain its audience by changing days and networks. But Kroll and Scheer are not here to talk about that. They get right down to the nitty-gritty and assume their character roles as Hollywood’s favorite brethren: Sylvester and Frank Stallone. The pair discuss their upcoming projects with Scott Aukerman and even talk about the possibility of doing his collaborative spec script, Rocky vs. Rambo. It is a hilarious premise, but the sad thing about it is: I think we are about 5-10 years from this actually happening. So let’s get that $200 million Kickstarter campaign going! Password is Taco.
Wandertown: High Plains Fest - The Goodest of the Good
SAMANTHA: For those who weren’t able to make it out to Denver’s inaugural High Plains Comedy Fest last week, Wandertown — the podcast that takes you behind the scenes of the country’s best comedy festivals — has got you covered. This wrap-up episode, a two-hour compilation of highlights from the 30+ short missives posted by host Andy Peters throughout the weekend, features dozens of interviews with headliners (like Reggie Watts, Kyle Kinane, Kurt Braunohler, and Matt Braunger) and local comics alike, plus more behind the scenes access than most performers manage to get (if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like be stuck on a party bus full of hungover comedians, for example, you’re in luck). In this installment of Wandertown, tireless and hilarious host Peters gives us a great taste of the High Plains fest, and Denver’s seriously strong stand-up scene.
MARC: This was the interview I had been waiting for, even though I had no idea I’d been waiting for it. Michael McKean has been a presence in our lives and culture — in movies, television, the stage and through his music — for the past 40 years. That’s a lot of presence. And whether you relate to McKean from This Is Spinal Tap, Laverne & Shirley, The Credibility Gap or, more recently, HBO’s Family Tree, there’s probably no one in North America who hasn’t experienced his easy-going manner and well-defined characters. His ability to improvise is smoothly shown off even in his chat with host Marc Maron, who tends to take his interviews off on tangents when the guest presents such tantalizing side streets as McKean does here. Every time Maron switches gears to pursue a new thread, McKean is right there shifting smoothly with him, not worrying if they get back to the main road or not. His credits pile up as the hour and a half flies by, and we’re reminded of his rather startlingly broad body of work, from playing Kevin Bacon’s character’s cinematographer pal Emmett in Christopher Guest’s The Big Picture to the season and change he spent in the cast of Saturday Night Live. He spends the time with nothing to hide, including opening up about the fear and pain he suffered a few years ago when two cars jumped a curb in New York to collide where he was waiting to cross the street, breaking his leg in three places. This interview is simply delightful.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network
This week we talk about how Tom’s not going to the VMAs while Tim proposes a number of Robin Thicke / Alan Thicke Mash-ups. There’s also discussion regarding the current lack of magic shops and spy shops getting muscled out. Tim tells a story about the time Penn and Teller were used as a ruse to watch the Playboy Channel, and the time Tim and Tom went to go see David Blane buried alive. The magic talk wraps up with a remembrance for The Masked Magician who revealed all the magician’s secrets on Fox, before finally leading up to what everyone’s come here for: Tom’s thoughts on Ben Affleck as Batman.
Tom Ruprecht (Late Show with David Letterman) drops by to watch the 1970s action show, S.W.A.T. Tom talks about how cops ain’t what they used to be, discusses how posters were cool in the 1970s, and dishes on J.D. Salinger’s TV obsessions and his new kindle book This Would Drive Him Crazy: A Phony Oral History of J.D. Salinger.
Phil Jackson (UCB Theatre) is back for a bonus shot. When Phil moved to NYC he kept a dating diary just like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. Phil reads an entry about being propositioned for a three-way.
This week on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin, Jeff talks about the only thing on his mind at the moment: Breaking Bad. To do this he brought in Chuck Klosterman and during this episode they talk about the effect the ending has on a TV show’s legacy, whether or not deleted scenes are canon and who’s the best villain on TV.
This week, after a stumbly start, Sara and Nikki call out the trap of striving to be cool and look ahead to the outlandishly busy coming week. The obvious pinnacle of your humble hosts’ next few days is their opportunity to attend the VMAs with handsome hamsters and every famous person on the face of the planet. Amidst their anticipation, the ladies manage to include a loving Beatles rant, live coverage of a GIFfinated Sara blowin’ up the Internet, and a request for Netflix horror-doc suggestions, the sadder the better.
Roger Cormier is five raccoons dressed up in a suit.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA
Arielle Gordon is everybody’s intern.
Samantha Pitchel writes about and watches comedy in Austin and Los Angeles.