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.
The New Hollywood Podcast - Alan Marlowe & Adam McKay
Marc: Podcasting once again shows off its prowess as a medium that’s versatile enough to pull off the unexpected without a whole lot of hassle and difficulty this week with two adjacent episodes of The New Hollywood Podcast, hosted by Brian Flaherty, that both dropped this week. Monday’s installment was short – just 15 minutes – and featured Flaherty’s interview with ‘70s movie producer and schlockmeister Alan Marlowe. You might remember some of his forgettable films like The Sins Of Elmira, An Arrangement of Marriage and Flowers and Eddie The Mute. The jig is up, as the mugs used to say, in Wednesday’s episode, when Flaherty reveals that Marlowe was portrayed by Adam McKay, who is then interviewed for 40 minutes in the latter installment. It’s a zany example of a show cross-promoting itself. I exchanged emails with Flaherty, who revealed how the idea came about: “I had an idea to do a bit with him (McKay) because my show is primarily older guys from the ‘70s,” Flaherty responded. “So he pretended he was this ‘70s producer character and did about 12 to 15 minutes of pure comic improv genius.” McKay’s Marlowe is pretty seamless improv – for those familiar with Andy Daly’s sleazy producer character Don DeMello from Comedy Bang! Bang!, there’s a certain similarity – and his turn as himself is a chance to catch some fascinating backstory from before he and comedy companion Will Ferrell hit the big time. He even catches listeners up on what’s going on with his daughter, Pearl, made famous in web video form as Ferrell’s irate, 2-year-old landlord on Funny Or Die.
This Feels Terrible - Wedding Spectacular Part 2
Pablo: This Feels Terrible is a podcast that normally covers the awful, cringeworthy parts of being in a relationship. But after an extended hiatus, the show has returned with a miniseries that focuses on the complete opposite of the show’s premise: a marriage. Host Erin McGathy and Community creator Dan Harmon recently tied the knot and, in what I think is a podcast first, decided to record the nuptials for our listening enjoyment. While not quite on the level of KimYe’s ceremony, this show business wedding does have its fair share of celebrity guests. On hand to officiate is comedian Duncan Trussell, who offers the couple some sage advice before the rings come out. And in between the wisdom of Mr. Trussell is a rambunctious serenade by Jack Black, star of Harmon’s cult pilot Heat Vision and Jack. While Black’s singing voice sounds as buttery as it did in the early days of Tenacious D, he unfortunately doesn’t stick around to handle the RIG-A-DIG-I-DO’S (sorry).
The Todd Barry Podcast - Brooks Wheelan
Leigh: The greatest thing about The Todd Barry Podcast is that its consistently a solid, straightforward conversation between two comedians, without the distraction of or pressure to fill the time with bits. This week is of course no exception as Barry talks with Brooks Wheelan. Wheelan, who was on SNL last season, talks about what it was like getting hired to work there, initially as a writer, and then eventually what it was like getting fired – both of which he has such a cool, positive attitude about. They cover what he’s been up to post-SNL – touring, opening for John Oliver, recording an album (which comes out at the end of the month), and watching Pocahontas. Not to be overlooked, there’s mention of how good the wings are at the Comedy Cellar. I’m glad 2015 is starting off by giving this important staple of the New York comedy scene the attention they deserve.
Who Charted - Kyle Kinane
Kaitlynn: Kulap Vilaysack and Howard Kremer are joined by the salt of the earth standup comedian Kyle Kinane. Ghosts are theorized, music is criticized, and the Kinane/Kremer friendship bromance is realized. Whether they are bonding over a dislike of comedian Christmas parties, memories on tour, or blindly guessing the stars of the movie The Money Train, these two show how mutual respect and friendship can translate comedically, without hopping on the “bits” train. Perhaps it was the early recording time that caused the perfect easygoing nature. Whatever it was, it worked and gave listeners a very funny episode that will always be remembered by Howard’s quote during a debateL “Accusing me of a lack of knowledge is a great strategy.”
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
In The Casa with Sara Benincasa - Julieanne Smolinksi
My Dumb Friends - Jessi Klein
Affirmation Nation with Bob Ducca - Holistic Movie Reviews with Jon Daly and Jason Mantzoukas
WTF - Paul Thomas Anderson
The Casa Mirth Podcast - The Christmas Special!
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.