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.
PABLO: When wizened old men write the history of the great podcast boom of the 2010s, The Reality Show Show will go down as the Freaks and Geeks of the medium. TRSS was short-lived, only lasting a year before cancelation, but its cult following is sure to grow as more and more people discover the super-sarcastic, bit-laden comedy of Sean Clements and Hayes Davenport, two writers who have worked on shows like Workaholics and Eastbound & Down. Luckily for us, Earwolf has retained the duo for a new podcast, Hollywood Handbook, which continues the writers’ running joke that they’re two of the most powerful assholes in Hollywood. In this week’s episode, the hosts discuss Scarlett Johansson’s Oscar chances for her audio-only role in Spike Jonze’s latest feature Her. Needless to say, it was a gripping performance that caused Clements to stop a dinner full of showbiz power players and exclaim that Johansson just “took a big ol’ fat fucking stinky shit” on the work of Andy Serkis. This week’s guest is multi-hyphenate Donald Glover, who takes a break from Instagramming super depressing hotel stationery confessions to discuss 50 Cent’s love of practical jokes on interns and to reveal just who exactly is the rapper known as Childish Gambino.
ROBERT: Like a lot of boys, I was once obsessed with the deranged, creepy white-masked character Michael Myers. Walking to the local video rental store one week in late October, many years ago, I gorged myself on every Halloween movie available at the time, including Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. But the thing about this Halloween sequel is that, even though John Carpenter produced it, Michael Myers is not in the film. At all. And it’s a total disaster. But what was once an unwanted, unexpected detour in my compulsive adolescent horror movie marathon is now comic gold with this episode of How Did This Get Made? This is their first episode with no guest, but that’s all right: there’s a lot to cover in a movie that involves Stonehenge, lasers, Halloween masks, robots, ancient witchcraft, and an alcoholic doctor-turned-detective protagonist who seemingly acts only out of the impulse to get laid. There are just so many idiosyncrasies in this film that it’s impressive how comprehensive Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael manage to be. Some of the best bits involve the hosts talking about how the sex-machine protagonist always looked like he reeked of Bud Light and cigarette butts; how a huge unresolved plot point, involving a 5-ton stolen piece of Stonehenge, was “explained” away by the bad guy saying only “well that was quite a story - you wouldn’t believe how we did it”; how a seemingly podunk novelty and mask company apparently had the marketing budget of Apple; and, as always, Mantzoukas working himself into comic exasperation: “Oh, I’m sorry. A lot of these people in the movie… are robots?!” This is a great episode for the season and an instant HDTGM classic.
MARC: I’m not sure how many more favors or friendships host Paul Mecurio can tap as he continues to bring in great “gets” for his podcast, but I hope they don’t end soon. In the case of his most recent guest, Rob Corddry, their both having been in the Daily Show fraternity together helps to bring a level of camaraderie and informality to the conversation. From the creator of Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital, we learn that watching actors audition to get on the show is just as painful as when Corddry has to audition himself on other projects. Also that Corddry and his comedy writer/actor brother Nate once pitched a show about two guys who ditch their careers and take up music – even though the characters can’t carry a tune. (No network picked it up). Mercurio’s guest has also been so busy with recent acting roles that the sixth season of Childrens Hospital is coming in a little later than usual, but it WILL be here.
JOANNA: Don’t let the title fool you, there are no lulls in conversation during this explosively absurd episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! Although Aukerman and his new incompetent college intern Gino Lambardo (Jon Gabrus) try to keep the identity of their guest of honor under wraps, it’s impossible to ignore Pete Holmes’s infectious and equally recognizable laugh. The standup who hosts his own TBS show kicks back with the duo and proudly segways from topic to topic including lofty subjects like gay marriage and orgasming babies taking drugs. Midway into the frenzied conversation dives Lisa Bartin (Pamela Murphy), an extraordinary athlete who recently swam across the English Channel. Sadly, heartbroken Lisa seems way more interested in talking about her horrible break-up with her boyfriend Kyle than about breaking an athletic world record. But don’t worry too much abou Kyle-obsessed Lisa, the boys give some her some great dating advice that make her cry. Also, don’t miss this week’s bonus Bang Bang episode with Amber Tamblyn and Todd Glass
JOANNA: Rarely do people peak their heads out from the star-studded world that is Hollywood and talk candidly about what their career is really like. This week’s Writer’s Panel is not strictly about writing. In fact, it is the host of an actor’s roundtable complete with a crazy collection of today’s leading episodic actors including Joshua Malina (Scandal), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights), Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights), Devon Gummersall (My So-Called Life), Nick Wechsler (Revenge, Roswell), Wilson Bethel (Hart of Dixie). This particularly personal episode reveals that the people who have one of the most sought-after careers in the world, also experience the pits of loneliness and hard times. In other words, these actors erase the façade of stardom and talk about the world of entertainment as human beings; emphasizing the importance of sticking to who you are. In perhaps one of the most enlightening and encouraging moments of the podcast, one of the panelist says, “There is a hole in the market in the shape of you.” Throughout the revealing conversation, many of the actors you see on TV today talk about their menial day job before they “made it,” the importance of creating your own material and how rejection continues to sting in the wishy-washy town of Los Angeles. Times passes quickly as you listen to what could be one of the most refreshingly entertaining episodes of The Writer’s Panel.
ELISE: It’s a tough thing these days for a comedian to start another loose, converation-based podcast with LA comedians; there simply the need for it. But Jeff Garlin’s podcast, recorded in front of a live audience at Largo, is so relaxed and pressure-free that his chats with his comedian friends can end up being the most interesting. This week’s conversation with Sarah Silverman isn’t particularly deep or revealing, but Garlin clearly and openly adores Silverman and they have a sweet, comfortable friendship. As is the way with these things, the conversation meanders, hitting on Silverman’s slow path to superstardom, how Garlin’s son is just like her, why suicide is whimsical, how Conan helped her make her name, the move from comedy clubs to theaters, the problem with feeding grapes to dogs, WoodyAllen, Eddie Murphy and Jon Stewart, and why Silverman just likes to stay home watching TV.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network
This week we discuss Electronic Dance Music (EDM), an entire genre of music that Tim just learned about by reading an article in the New Yorker, officially making him an irrelevant old man. To be fair, Tom doesn’t really understand much about it either, and the two of us just fumble our way through trying to decipher something that is meant for people much, much younger and cooler than us.
Charlie Sanders (Key and Peele) watches an episode of “Diners Drives ins and Dives.” Craig and Charlie get distracted by a dog in the room and then get into a conversation about how podcasting is worthless and life might be pointless. Enjoy?
This week on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin show, Jeff talks to Extreme Cleaner Matt Paxton from the show Hoarders. They talk about how he got into cleaning hoarders’ houses, what things you discover when cleaning a hoarders house, what makes people a hoarder, and what it takes to get out of a hoarding lifestyle.
Elise Czajkowski is Splitsider’s Associate Editor.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Joanna Hausmann is a Venezuelan writer/comedian who felt weird writing this in the third person.
Robert Schoon lives in the heartland and pays less rent. He also writes about technology and media.