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. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
You Made It Weird - Rob Corddry
SCOTT: Rob Corddry (Children’s Hospital, Hot Tub Time Machine) makes it weird with Pete Holmes this week on a lot of levels. Out of the gate, one of the first major topics is the time Corddry’s mom asked him to come home for Father’s Day so she could come out of the closet as a lesbian. Almost an hour of talk about therapy, overloving mothers, and the magical story of how Corddry met his wife, they realized they never got very far into the lesbian mom story. Or any story for that matter. Oh well. Holmes just came from therapy and he’s going with the flow. There’s very little talk of comedy or career here, with the two men preferring to drift into the depths of discussions about the nature of reality, freudian egos, and the afterlife. But while there’s plenty of weird to go around, the weirdest thing of all is Holmes referencing an episode of YMIW that is apparently all about him hooking his brain up to a machine that controls his DVD player - an episode he insists will have come out by the time we’re listening to this one. Let’s hope that’s just a scheduling mishap and not a reference to another episode doomed to wander the podcast plains, un-listened-to, like the oft-mentioned but never-heard Janeane Garofalo episode.
How Was Your Week - Joan Rivers “A Cup and Saucer Made Out of a Daffodil”
LEIGH: I’m kvelling. That’s really the only way, and the most fitting way, I can explain how I feel after listening to this week’s How Was Your Week, a tribute episode to the legendary Joan Rivers. How lucky comedy is to have had Joan Rivers, and how lucky we are to have this episode. To start, host Julie Klausner shares the piece she wrote for Vulture on what it was like working with Joan Rivers. As for the interview this week, Klausner shares was the 5th episode of HWYW from April of 2011 when Rivers was the guest. The interview, which covers old movie stars, Hollywood Squares, and a quick round of Fuck/Marry/Kill is a conversation you’ll wish you could have been a part of. It took place about a year after her documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work came out, so she goes into how much her life and her career changed after the movie. It goes without saying that if you haven’t already seen it, get on it! Also, after taking a week off from the podcast, there were of course things Klausner wanted to talk about from her vacation (“before Joan Rivers had the audacity to die”). Like her insight on what’s going on in Montauk, or what could someday be known as Girl Island, which could not be more perfect. And of course there’s the dog who ate an unthinkable number of socks. So watch Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and listen to this episode. Doesn’t matter in what order, just get them both done!
Mike and Tom Eat Snacks - Episode 82
JOSH: After a 385 day hiatus. Mike and Tom Eat Snacks triumphantly returned to resume their amusing noshing habits for viewers to, pardon the pun, relish. So, why haven’t we heard from Mike and Tom in over a year? Turns out they both thought the other one was dead — but after a little help from an unlikely source, former NFL great William “The Refrigerator” Perry, the two erstwhile snack enthusiasts were reunited at an award show for entertainment professionals who’ve had a terrible year. “I miss that dull look in your eyes,” Cavanagh affectionately mentions to his snacking cohort. After conversing about Latoya Jackson, snakes, and mice filled cargo shorts, the co-hosts opine about the pros and cons of hard-boiled eggs with the effortless chemistry of an old, snack-loving married couple. This week’s return episode illustrated no signs of rust as Mike and Tom quickly reverted back to the crisp banter and unparalleled attention to improvisational detail that makes MATES such an enjoyably delicious podcast. “Everybody can be a winner in the snack game, but you have to follow your own path,” Michael Ian Black at one point advises MATES fans. Hopefully that path leads you back to the triumphant return edition of Mike and Tom Eat Snacks.
How Did This Get Made - Katie Dippold
ROB: This week’s live show takes on Staying Alive, Sylvester Stallone and John Travolta’s follow-up to Saturday Night Fever, where Tony decides he wants to be a Broadway chorus line dancer – for all the fame and glory that profession is known for, of course. The group’s breakdown of the film is hilarious as always, and hosts Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, and June Diane Raphael are all on deck with plenty of theories, quibbles, and questions about the oddly-misogynistic movie set in the world of a 1980s aspiring professional male dancer. And Guest Katie Dippold fits in well, offering her take when she can get a word in edgewise. But the best part of this episode is the audience interaction factor. Some podcasts don’t work well in front of audiences, and listeners end up seeing the “live” label as a warning to skip that particular episode. Not so with HDTGM, in which the only downside of it being recorded live is that you’re constantly reminded of how much you wish you had been there. Case in point: during a particularly excellent “Second Opinion” (the five-star Amazon review-reading segment) Mantzoukas gets up and forces the whole audience to dance along with him to Frank Stallone’s “Far From Over” – which was seemingly featured in the film far more than the titular Bee Gees hit – and then knowingly yells “Fuck the podcast listeners!” while doing it. But trust me, you’ll still be laughing your ass off just hearing it happen.
Who Charted - Two Charted
PABLO: The best part about “Two Charted,” Who Charted’s guest-less Friday edition, is that hosts Kulap Vilaysack and Howard Kremer (especially Howard) are stripped of having to moderate a structured show and instead let their eccentricities fly freely. And in last week’s episode, the Sultan of Summah lets his off like a goddamn cannon. The normally lethargic Kremer, perhaps due to Labor Day being the unofficial end of Summah, is bursting with energy, ranting about everything from loud music at Bed, Bath, & Beyond to the inane reason why he refuses to confirm appointments with his longtime dentist. Even this week’s commercial features a hilarious tirade. But the show’s apex comes when the duo and Engineer Sam discuss the choice every 20-something must make: Either pay attention to the newest kids cartoons so you don’t become irrelevant as you age, or devote your time to laying down some serious pipe. Also, our hosts divulge that Earwolf has a Andy Daly’s Podcast Pilot Project-esque show in the works featuring Lauren Lapkus. So take off your government pants and download this week’s Twooch because you still have one more month to wear white tees and Mobile Gundam bathing suits.
The Louie Anderson Podcast - Robin Williams, A Legend and Friend Remembered
MARC: Louie Anderson has a solid, decades-long foundation as a headlining comedian in addition to his other resumé items, such as game show host, TV guest star, and even poker player. It seems only fitting that he now adds podcaster to his arsenal. In the first handful of episodes the format has been an interview style show, with guest comedians like Frank Caliendo, Carrot Top, and Harry Basil. For his fifth outing, the interviews continue but in this case they are relatively short chats with fellow comedians on one subject: Robin Williams and how he is best remembered by some who knew him well in the early years, some who met him in passing, and those who hung with him in his final days. The episode is bookended with a couple of memorable Robin bits from his albums and TV specials. In between Anderson engages a quite an interesting lineup of comics, some of whom today’s younger comedy crowd may not even have heard of, such as Jeff Altman, Tim Thomerson, Blake Clark, and Harris Peet. They all were working the Comedy Store when Williams first blasted onto the LA scene. Eddie Brill remembers him from his times in New York and on the Late Night with David Letterman show, where Brill was a talent booker for years. Then from his San Francisco circle, Anderson chats with Steven Pearl and Mark Pitta, who spent time with Williams just a couple of weeks before his death.
Writers’ Bloc Podcast - Jason Ross
ZOE: Guest Jason Ross wants listeners to know this: he loves you, he loves your work, and he’s really looking forward to working with you one day. If you’re an industry vet such as himself, you’ll recognize these words from all those meetings with agents, who, despite their overflowing praise, you never see again. Ross, who lives in LA but works as a staff writer for The Tonight Show, talks to host J.R. Havlan about what it was like to move from NYC, where he wrote on The Daily Show for 11 years, to LA, where he was down on his luck for his first season there. But don’t fret: it all paid off, thanks to a chance reunion with a friend at a barbecue, who offered him a staff job, ironically, on The Tonight Show. So if you didn’t have one already, you now have a bulletproof excuse to always say yes to barbecue, no matter what. Ross is extremely likeable and candid, and gives an honest glimpse into just how hard the industry can be, even if you’ve proven yourself for over a decade on a hit show. For all you hopeful TV writers grueling away from home, hearing about his set up will be sure to provoke feelings of jealousy, but he’s just such a good guy, that you can’t be anything but happy for him. Writers’ Bloc Podcast gives us another engaging look into the writerly life, whether you’re trying to break in or are just curious about its inner workings.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hollywood Handbook - Brett, Sam, and Cody, Our Engineers
Industry Standard - Dan Pasternak
We Know Nothing - Dyslexic Sexts, Small Talk + Pizza Dad
Call Chelsea Peretti - We Didn’t Start the Calamities
My Sexy Podcast - Sheng Wang
Scriptnotes - A Cheap Cut of Meat Soaked in Butter
Lady to Lady - “To Boink” ft. French Stewart
The Carson Podcast - George Schlatter
Beginnings - Chris Kelly/Grace Edwards
The JV Club with Janet Varney - Dave Holmes
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
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.