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.
No Pressure To Be Funny – Season 6 Episode 1
MARC: This ambitious, topical, panel-driven live podcast is back for a sixth season. Served up monthly from the stage of the SoHo Theatre in London, the show is hosted by James O’Brien and framed up by the three comic minds of Nick Revell, Alistair Barrie, and Jake Waring. In addition each episode is anchored by a revolving guest panel of (mostly) liberal journalists and pundits who bat around issues of the day. Frequently deriving laughs from the live audience, there are also moments of sober reflection and commentary that has some heft to it. In this episode, the panel consists of Angela Barnes, Rich Peppiatt, Dan Smith, and Richard Herring, and they chat about the recent decisions in Europe on whether women should be permitted to wear burkas, as well as the actions of lacivious politicians. Discussion is broken up by such silliness as Revell’s emergency alert from Milan that women’s handbag with straps have suddenly been declared to be out of style, and a song by Steve Gribben about male panda love in honor of the soon-to-be born panda in the Edinburgh Zoo. Some truly brilliant stuff here.
Comedy Bang Bang #245 - Amy Poehler, Paul F. Tompkins, Neil Campbell
ROBERT: When you see a lineup like the one on this episode, you know it’s going to be good. There’s no over-arching storyline or theme, and Alan Thicke, a new character from Paul F. Tompkins, barely gets developed throughout the second half of the show (especially compared to some of Tompkins’ other complicated, backstory-infused personas like Cakeboss). But that doesn’t matter. You’ve got Amy Poehler, Tompkins, and Neil Campbell talking with Scott Aukerman, and their interactions are gold, without any long-form context. In fact, Tompkins doesn’t really need to bring a character to the show anymore to be hilarious (I’m still glad he does). The first half of the episode features Aukerman doing one of the things he does best: the bullsh*t interview. He asks Poehler leading questions about her Emmys appearance (which, of course, hadn’t happened yet), among other things, steering the conversation through several flippant, sudden turns. It’s an art that Aukerman has mastered, and while also part of the TV show, the podcast is the best place to fully appreciate his improvisational interview style, because there’s no editing. “Alan Thicke” appears later in the show, but they only jab at his son Robin’s rapey Blurred Lines, without fully exploring (or exploiting) that obvious comedic target; Tompkins was more interested in the elder Thicke’s TV theme songwriting career, anyway. Campbell takes a backseat most of the episode until the end, where we get to hear a CBB rarity: the freestyle rap battle. It’s great to hear a FRB in any episode, since it’s so challenging that even seasoned improvisers like Tompkins and Poehler get nervous. And if you’ve ever heard freestyle raps by Poehler and Campbell, you know this episode’s battle is between of the GOATs.
Who Charted #147 - with Jason Mantzoukas
JOSH: Zouks, there it is! America’s favorite asthmatic Jason Mantzoukas drops by Who Charted? to discuss his myriad of medical maladies, crying during movies, and his aversion to social media. “I would do Pinterest, but for myself to gather stuff. I would not do it to reveal to people that I’m looking at a number of different apothecary jars.” This week’s episode features a count down of the top grossing dance movies of all time, which leads to this insightful review of the Julia Stiles classic Save the Last Dance by Howard Kremer: “Race is a factor in this one.” In non Julia Stiles news, Jason Mantzoukas invents a new idea for a Netflix style system that would allow him to read the diaries of America’s youth. “I suspect this is the wrong thing to do, but you know what teenagers just feel free to send me your diaries.” Cram-stuffing, pizza sauce M&Ms, Mantzoukas’ Fast & Furious 7 audition, the reason Kremer has never seen The Karate Kid, and more on this week’s exceptionally funny episode of Who Charted?.
The JV Club #80 - with Kate Micucci
JOANNA: Before she formed the comical musical group Garfunkle and Oats, and way before she was featured on TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, Kate Micucci was a bit of a loner. In fact, during this episode of The JV Club, the Pennsylvania native reveals she never had friends over in her high school years because she was happy enough “drawing and playing music.” Through engaging conversation, the very artsy Micucci opens up about her marching-band years up to adulthood and even mentions her brother works in Nick Offerman’s wood shop. This episodes’ lighthearted banter almost made it seem like it was accidently recorded during a much-awaited brunch between friends. Check it out to hear Micucci candidly revealing her experiences in the entertainment industry, her performances at UCB, the stress of auditions and how music helps her deal.
Sklarbro Country- Terrell Owens &Chris Cox
PABLO: In over 200 episodes of the sports/comedy podcast Sklarbro Country/County, Randy and Jason Sklar have interviewed plenty of comedians, but never an athlete from one of the three major American sports. That changed last week when future Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens dropped by the Earwolf studios. Given that he’s best remembered for the hilarious post-touchdown stunts he pulled during his glory days, the easygoing Owens is a perfect choice for the Sklar’s first pro athlete guest. While the interview goes smoothly for the most part, a potentially awkward situation arises when Owens mentions that he believes homosexuality is a choice during a discussion of possibly-blacklisted/probably-gay free agent Kerry Rhodes. In the hands of more contentious hosts, the ensuing conversation could have turned ugly and combative. Instead, the Sklars take on Owen’s scientifically-disproved belief with their signature Midwestern niceness. The Sklars don’t let T.O. off the hook by any means, but by being civil with their guest about his explosive opinion, the episode avoids turning into a standard episode of loud sports talk radio.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network
You Had To Be There #113:Here’s My Big Secret
This week, Sara and Nikki are back from an unplanned hiatus caused by power-touring and binge-working. To get back into the podcasting spirit, the ladies read your tweets as jumping off points for discussing shame cheese, anger yachts, and gracefully splitting a bill. When you’ve got time, check out Nikki’s favorite podcast for quoting Stuff You Should Know and keep tweeting topic suggestions, the more scandalous the better.
The boys talk about the video game that has already made literally $1 billion dollars: Grand Theft Auto V! As you might expect, Tom has basically lived his life inside the game since it was released while Tim is only vaguely aware that it’s even out.
This week on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin show, Jeff is making a New York bucket list to prepare for his move to Los Angeles. To help him he brings on previous guests who live in New York, to suggest something for his bucket list.
Robert Schoon lives in the heartland and pays less rent. He also writes about technology and media.
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.
Joanna Hausmann is a Venezuelan writer/comedian/fro-yo enthusiast .
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA