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.
Lies - Jim Gaffigan Got Cut Like an Abercrombie Model
Leigh: Everybody, take your headphones out for just one second. You hear those cheers off in the distance? Those bursts of excited shrieks? Those are the sounds of people discovering Sara Schaefer has a new podcast. Lies, the newest podcast on the Nerdist Podcast Network, produced by WYNC and hosted by Schaefer, features an interview with a public figure every episode. Seems straight forward enough, right? Not so fast. If you listen to a lot of comedy podcasts, chances are you’ve heard a comedian tell the same story more than once. Well, that will never happen on Lies because, just like the title says, it’s all lies. That being said, you’ve probably never heard about the premiere episode’s guest Jim Gaffigan’s stint as a tattoo model, his time in Estonia studying gymnastics, or the makeup consultations he used to give in Scandinavia. And you’ll probably never hear it again. The episode is incredibly funny, but perhaps the most incredible thing is that Schaefer and Gaffigan only break and laugh once. So if you want to hear about Gaffigan’s line of yogurt or learn where to buy his bikrim yoga DVDs, Lies is your only chance.
You Made it Weird - Live from Bumbershoot 2014
Scott: It’s another live show, but before you get to it, there’s the business of the sponsor. The Squarespace ads are getting nearly infinitely long, it seems. Once inside, though, Pete Holmes is joined in Seattle by Rory Scovel, Matt Braunger, Janeane Garofalo, and Paul F. Tompkins, and the show has one of the weirdest energies since Jon Glaser made it real weird about the E-Trade baby on episode 83. The crowd can’t seem to decide if they’re on board or not as Holmes and Scovel speak ad infinitum about the pronunciation of “infinite,” and they don’t seem on board at all with any joke Scovel or Braunger make once Garofalo is on the stage. Oh, by the way, Janeane Garofalo is actually there and on the podcast! It’s not something they just talk about but never happens. She joins the crew and gives us the weirdest moment by scolding them for going blue as if she’s the mother of the girl Braunger lost his virginity to interrupting their tryst to ask her daughter about schoolwork. You can’t help but wonder, at this point, why this crowd is bringing children with them to a live You Made it Weird, and now you’re back to wondering what is up with this crowd? Thankfully Tompkins comes on to be the safety net into which the whole show lands, providing much needed callbacks and one even more-needed call-out of an audience member who got a little too excited about Facebook Messenger. Weird.
Pauly Shore’s Interested - Sammy Shore, Rudy De Luca
Pablo: There have been plenty of podcasts where guests reminisce about Mitzi Shore, the infamous longtime owner of The Comedy Store. But very little is spoken about comic Sammy Shore, Mitzi’s ex-husband and the founder of the storied club. To make up for that, Sammy made his first podcast appearance this week on his son Pauly’s show, Interested. Like all of the past episodes, it’s a mix of high and low-brow, with Pauly asking his philandering father about “banging vagina” on the road as a young comic while also getting deep into subjects like Pauly’s aborted sister and the sadness he felt in not being the first phone call for movie premieres (that would be Mitzi) during Pauly’s heyday. Backing up Sammy’s claim that he was the “number one number two” both in his family and in show business is his former writer and Comedy Store co-founder, Rudy De Luca, who comments on the Shores’ father-son interview. De Luca slept on the Shore family’s couch in his 20s and has tons of insight into a marriage that was doomed from the beginning. And he gets hilariously cranky whenever Sammy refers to him as his best friend, insisting that he was first and foremost his writer. But the main takeaway from the interview is both Sammy and De Luca agreeing that The Comedy Store would’ve folded in the 1970s if the beleaguered comedians never gave it to Mitzi as part of the Shore’s divorce settlement.
Hound Tall - Harems with Jillian Lauren, Pete Holmes, and Beth Stelling
Elizabeth: At this point a podcast has become a comedic right of passage—like a half-hour special or Tonight Show appearance. Not one to be left behind, Moshe Kasher debuts his podcast, Hound Tall, this week. Each episode will feature an expert, two comedians, and Kasher talking about a topic live at the UCB LA’s theater. And what better topic to start with than harems? Kasher is joined by Jillian Lauren, author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, which chronicles her time as a member of the Prince of Brunei’s coterie of women, as well as comedians Pete Holmes and Beth Stelling. Lauren describes how she went from an 18-year-old exotic dancer in New York to the intimate companion of one of the richest men in the world. Kasher and his fellow comedians ask everything from personal to practical questions—including whether her rent was paid—while breaking into songs from Aladdin every few minutes. There were certainly times when Lauren’s story was derailed by bits, but the commentary also made what could have been a heavy topic funny and it’s satisfying to hear Lauren get a few great jokes in herself by the end. Besides, it’s like they always say – if you want about a subject without Pete Holmes making child molestation jokes, that’s what books and This American Life are for.
Affirmation Nation with Bob Ducca - New Beginnings
Marc: Bob Ducca is back! No word on where he’s been since calling into his own show more than two and a half years ago from a truck stop in “parts unknown.” But he’s back and podcasting is better for it. The creation of comedian Seth Morris, Ducca is the sad sack’s sad sack and there’s more of him now. His previous episodes were rarely longer than five minutes long. “New Beginnings” marks the start of a new format, with a guest (the brilliant June Diane Raphael as hapless astrologer Carol Carawanna), and a tick over 45 minutes of show that kicks off with some mystic invocations, a recounting of his trip to the most recent Burning Man (wherein he thanks several folks, including Jedediah Rusthole, Miranda Stinkwood, Nutella the Hun, and film critic Leonard Maltin), along with a poem about cutting his nails too close to the cuticle. Ducca’s delivery is spot-on perfect for someone who offers often non-helpful self-help advice, with a bit of a Droopy Dog essence hiding in his otherwise resonant tones. Bob, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, it’s just great to have you back.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Nerdist Writers Panel - Manhattan Creator Sam Shaw
How Was Your Week? - Andrea Martin “Hershey Nestlebaum”
Doug Loves Movies - Amy Schumer, Nikki Glaser, Gary Gulman, Paulo Costanzo and Joe Crotty
Call Chelsea Peretti - D and B, as well as BBD
That’s Deep Bro with Christina Pazsitsky - Ryan Sickler and Chang
The Radio Dan Show - Oct. 6, 2014
Comedy Bang! Bang! - Cameron Esposito and Paul F. Tompkins
How Did This Get Made? - Temptation: Confession of a Marriage Counselor (w/ Katie Aselton)
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Scott Reynolds is a comedian and writer in Brooklyn, NY.