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.
Analyze Phish – “Who’s Got My Goo Balls?” with Tom Scharpling
PABLO: Like our favorite drug-addled movie stars, our favorite podcast about a horrible drug-addled band keeps finding ways to reinvent itself. On the latest Analyze Phish, The Best Show’s Tom Scharpling replaces co-host/torture victim Scott Aukerman as the poor soul who Harris Wittels tries to turn into a Phish Phan. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t go well for Wittels and the crunchy grooves he adores. Perhaps a sign that he’s given up on finding the right tunes, Wittels plays Scharpling some of the band’s classic hits that have already been showcased on the podcast, like the one where a grown man rhymes tweezer with Ebeneezer. This tactic doesn’t work though, as Scharpling turns on Phish right away and brings up some solid points, like the fact that Phish’s rhythm section, especially the piano player, don’t bother keeping a rhythm during Trey Anastasio’s guitar solos. While Wittels fails again at converting a civilian into Phish Head, maybe he’ll have better luck in a few weeks once the special “Live at the Hollywood Bowl” episode of Analyze Phish drops. But I’ll bet you a flagon of rice he won’t.
How Did This Get Made? – Fair Game with Danny Zuker
ZOE: By the end of this week’s episode, guest Danny Zuker deems Fair Game the worst movie he’s ever experienced before quickly admitting he never saw From Justin to Kelly. When a reviewer feels the need to compare a movie to From Justin to Kelly, it’s probably worse than From Justin to Kelly. Backing that up, Paul Scheer calls it maybe his favorite HDTGM film ever. Starring supermodel Cindy Crawford and super Baldwin brother Billy Baldwin, Fair Game is the tale of a civil divorce lawyer running from a renegade KGB team who wants her dead for no apparent reason. As with all the best HDTGM episodes, the fun is in listening to how joyfully the hosts trip over themselves to reveal an even more mind-blowingly ridiculous detail than the last. This is especially true this week, where there’s so much material to cover — a computer program that locks every hotel door in the world, having an account at a pizza parlor, bongo drums on a terrorist vessel — that the hosts can only riff for a few moments before jumping to the next “OH MY GOD, AND THIS” revelation. At one point, Mantzoukas suggests they bring in MythBusters to fact check the movie, which we can only hope actually comes true. Weirder things have happened, like this movie getting greenlit and me definitely watching it this weekend.
Making It – Natasha Leggero
SCOTT: Natasha Leggero joins Riki Lindhome for an episode that feels less like Making It and more like You Made it Weird. Leggero doesn’t want to adhere to the standard format of the podcast, which is typically a tour of the guest’s early efforts at building an entertainment career, and instead tells a bizarre story about being in love with a 42-year-old con-man when she was 22. She talks about moving across the world with a man who wasn’t remotely what he claimed to be, about him taking all of her money, and how she was essentially his hostage in Australia. LIndhome does an expert job transitioning from this story into the format of the show, leading Leggero to talk about her days as a struggling actress, her first times on stage, and how standup is ultimately what led to her getting cast in acting roles. The episode is rife with surprising revelations from both women, including the origin of Leggero’s standup persona and the fact that Lindhome, a musician, would never date a musician and essentially hates music.
Pep Talks with Eddie Pepitone – Fish & Melatonin with Glenn Wool
MARC: Eddie Pepitone, the Bitter Buddha, is out on his own. His unique voice has been a part of the podcast landscape for the past few years. Often guesting with the likes of Marc Maron, David Feldman, Dana Gould and others, Pepitone has also been part of the host quartet for The Longshot Podcast. Now he’s launched this solo effort, and it’s a place that his celebrated angst can simmer without interruption. He’s on the road for episode two, where he was performing in Ireland. The intro portion is Pepitone by himself, followed by a sketch between two characters (both voiced by Pepitone) discovering that they only live in Eddie’s head. Canadian comedian Glenn Wool joins him for the rest of the show, and the two talk about everything from the business of comedy to health care, the banking industry, flying (Pepitone apologizing “It’s hard NOT to talk about it when you’re flying all the fucking time”), and many other topics. For a guy who famously is always needing to let off some steam, Pep Talks seems to be the perfect way for Pepitone to vent.
The Fogelnest Files – Julie Klausner, Dave Hill and Katie Notopoulos
JOSH: Live from New York — the Bell House in Brooklyn specifically — it’s The Fogelnest Files. This week, Jake Fogelnest welcomes Julie Klausner, Dave Hill, Kitty and professional “Curator of weirdness” Katie Notopoulos to join him in combing through the never-ending treasure trove of internet ephemera. After an audio introduction from Tom Scharpling, the show digs into the baffling mystery that is the 1-877-Kars-4-Kids phenomenon. I won’t link the jingle since the mere mention of the phone number has undoubtedly triggered the catchy tune which you will now have in your head for about, well, forever. Since one jingle is never enough, the conversation turns to the effects that the “800-588-2300 Empire Today” song has on dogs. According to research (YouTube) the Empire Today jingle, as well as the Law & Order theme song, causes dogs to go absolutely nuts. You learn something new every day. Al Pacino’s finances, cavemen twerking, McGruff the Crime Dog, the Benny Mardones classic “Into the Night,” and more are waiting to give your ears a hug on this week’s episode of The Fogelnest Files.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network
This week we’re talking about personal finance, and to kick it off we decide to talk about a bunch of things we don’t understand, such as the iPhone app Bitstrips, the NSA, running robots, soldiers’ personal assistants, Second Life destroying relationships, addicting iPhone games and Snapchat. Later Tom rants about the new fancy pants “Coin” credit credit bluetooth do-hicky for your phone while simultaneously defending his nerd watch, leading to Tim demanding to go through Tom’s wallet card by card live on air.
Matt Mira (Nerdist podcast, James Bonding) watches a recent episode ofPawn Stars. Matt gives his evaluation of the show’s merchandise, talks about some of his own collectibles and dishes about his time working at a funeral home.
This week on this extra curricular Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff appears on a cross-over podcast episode with the Indoor Kids’ Kumail and Emily, with Patrick Cassels as well. They play the Meta Game and during it they have to make arguments for why dodgeball is the most stressful thing, why saying Google will get you laid, and why Hungry Hungry Hippos is the best symbol for people who have no friends.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Scott Reynolds is a comedian and writer in Brooklyn, NY.
Zoe Schwab is a writer/fraud living in NYC who is somehow up-to-date with ABC Family’s Melissa & Joey.
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.
Photo credit: Earwolf