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: It’s been nearly ten years since Judd Apatow finally earned the commercial success to match the critical praise he had been receiving since the early 1990s. That singular achievement, Anchorman, allowed Apatow to write/direct his own feature films and take over Hollywood with an exponentially growing list of talented actors who have grown under his wing. With the victory lap of the Apatow Decade culminating this week in the release of Anchorman 2, author Bret Easton Ellis invited the filmmaker onto his podcast to discuss the past, present, and future of the silver screen. Ellis is a passionate and articulate film aficionado who spent much of his previous episodes discussing film with guests Kanye West and Marilyn Manson. But with Apatow, Ellis goes deeper into the business side of the industry. Over the hour, the two chat about snark, critics not understanding This Is 40, and whether disliking Fruitvale Station makes you a racist. This episode is part one of a two-part conversation that will conclude next week.
Getting Doug with High #10 - Joey Coco Diaz
ZOE: Ever wonder what getting ripped with a mafioso sounds like? This week’s episode of Getting Doug with High with guest Joey Coco Diaz feels kind of like that, except the mafioso happens to be your friend’s super chill uncle. Past guests on the show include Sarah Silverman, Jenny Slate, and Jeffrey Ross, but there’s something incredibly endearing about hearing Diaz tell Benson he’s “like a fuckin’ soldier” when he goes in for another bong hit. Since the two are buddies and well-matched in their weed use, this episode is a heartwarming glimpse into two friends trading smoking tips and stories. When Benson thanks Diaz for coming by, Diaz says, “This is tremendous. I haven’t smoked like this since the fourth grade.” For an extra treat, watch the episode on YouTube, where your experience will be enhanced by witnessing the spread of bongs, pieces, and VPN mugs that underline this super entertaining hang sesh.
SCOTT: Just when you thought comedy podcasts couldn’t get more insider-y, What’s New, hosted by Christian Spicer, comes along and gives us an intimate look at how standup comedians tick. In the first half of the podcast, Spicer hosts a live show at Nerdmelt where established comedians do brand new material. In the second half, while a headliner rewards the live audience for their support, the comedians and Spicer talk about the sets and discuss the process of creating material. The comedians on this episode are Joe DeRosa (The Pete Holmes Show), Chris Thayer (The Pete Holmes Show), and Dave Ross (introduced as “not a writer for The Pete Holmes Show“). The sets are fine, even funny (including DeRosa bringing up a random audience member onstage to discuss his set as it happens), but that’s not what we’re listening for. In the breakdowns after (for which DeRosa couldn’t stay, leaving the others to spend time working on DeRosa impressions), we are treated to a deep look at each comedian’s process. They all write, but think they should write more. While nobody wants to be the guy that constantly asks “Could this be a bit?” about every word out of his mouth, Spicer admits to being the guy that just randomly whips out a notebook to jot things down as they may pop up in normal conversations. Twitter is seen as simultaneously helpful and harmful to joke writing, and that it’s too easy to get caught up in how many fav’s a tweet gets and then not bother trying to write a joke to use later at a live show. We learn what they think about typing versus long-hand, old-fashioned pen-and-paper writing, how they mine old material later when they’ve had a chance to become better comedians, and what each one thinks he needs to work harder on. What’s New is a must-listen for any would-be standup comedian, or standup nerd, because you’d never get to look this far behind the curtain short of starting your own What’s New podcast.
ROB: Some bad movies like The Room or Road House are fun to watch and easy to make fun of. Then, there are the bad movies that are so disjointed, weird, and simply boring that they pose a challenge to mockery. This week’s How Did This Get Made? takes on Crossroads, the 2002 Britney Spears film, which is definitely one of the latter. Splitsider’s own Jeff Rubin joins Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas in this episode to dissect one of the strangest pop-star vehicles of all time. What seems, at first glance, like it would be an airy teen road trip movie — full of pop musical numbers and premature sentimentality — is definitely not. And though HDTGM makes it clear from the start that Crossroads is boring, schizophrenic, dark, and not fun, they still manage to delightfully tear it apart: including exposing the film’s bizarre underlying anti-pregnancy bias, its idiotic sense of how burying a time capsule works, and its incoherent juxtaposition of the “innocent” (but not really) Spears character with a horrifically tragic subplot involving a supporting character, which Spears originally wanted to play. (She was not allowed to, for reasons that become obvious.) It’s this fundamental disjunction between road trip chick-flick and almost Rob Zombie-level trailer park bleakness that Rubin spotlights, by bringing up the difference between the playful, bubblegum Crossroads DVD cover and the subplot’s climax. That sets up Mantzoukas for a signature explosion of frustrated incredulity, which every good HDTGM episodes needs. Also great: the ex post facto coinage of the term “virgin whore” for Spears’ “not a girl, not yet a woman” image pumped out by the film and her publicity machine at the time, Scheer’s new film quiz segment, and Mantzoukas’s Creed impersonation. It’s a hilarious listen, even if you can’t make it through the movie.
JOSH: Remember when Britney Spears was forced to write three episodes of the hit television series ALF? I didn’t but I do now thanks to intrepid Hollywood insiders Sean Clements and Hayes Davenport. This week, the dynamic duo of celebrity enlightenment subtly skewered the Golden Globe nominations before welcoming special guest Jake Fogelnest. The host of The Fogelnest Files effortlessly assimilated himself into the conversation as the three discussed his tenure with the Mickey Mouse club and reminisced about his experiences with his former Mouseketeers — you know Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Carmelo Anthony, and former “Long Island Lolita” Amy Fisher. No podcast knows how to drop a name like the Handbook. The celebrity references are so prevalent throughout that ardent listeners would be wise to band together to create an interactive Hollywood Handbook Celebrity Bingo Challenge (sponsored by Skype). If you had Lisa Bonet, Adam Carolla, Matt Besser, Ellen Barkin and Martin Scorsese on your bingo card this week, you won!
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network
This week we’re talking Home Alone 2, and nothing but Home Alone 2. Except of course for the first like 20 minutes or so where Tim recounts a harrowing tale of a hamburger delivery gone wrong. But then after that, it’s like almost all Home Alone 2 talk. Is Home Alone 2 just a direct rip-off ofHome Alone 1? Or have the events ofHome Alone 1 made Kevin McCallister into a sociopathic monster hell-bent on ruining his family’s life and torturing criminals for his own sadistic pleasure?
This week on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff is joined by Kari Love, a former Broadway costume producer who now helps build prototype space suits for commercial use, and for space tourists to go into space with. They talk about how she got started on Broadway, what it was like working on the Spiderman musical, how she made the transition into space suits and how the two fields are similar.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Scott Reynolds is a comedian and writer in Brooklyn, NY.
Rob Schoon lives in Brooklyn and writes about tech, media, comedy and culture.
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.