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.
Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast - Dan Harmon
Marc: Since starting his Amazing Colossal Podcast ten months and 42 episodes ago, comedian Gilbert Gottfried has played host to a pretty amazing retinue of show biz folk — including Danny Aiello, David Steinberg, Barbara Felton, Adam West, Frankie Avalon — it’s mind-boggling. And he’s never afraid to wander into the darkness with his questions. That’s never more in evidence than in the latest episode with guest Dan Harmon, creator of TV’s (and now Yahoo’s) Community, and host of podcasting’s Harmontown. Right out of the gate, Gottfried asks Harmon about a story that’s circulated that he did a little sexploration with a Sharpie pen as a young man. To his credit, Harmon doesn’t shrink from that subject or the others that come up during the show, including confirming reports that he once order and cohabitated with a realistic rubber woman, or that he once referred to Steve Spielberg as “a moron” in a piece of correspondence that then got out onto the internet. Gottfried’s co-host Frank Santopadre occasionally pulls the dialog out of the mire with more straightforward, “normal” questions, but it doesn’t take too long before the show’s namesake is at it again, cackling like a madman as he guides Harmon down another shameful memory lane. Like the infamous incident in which he invited the assembled crew at the Community season-ending wrap party to shout “Fuck you!” at Chevy Chase. Again, Harmon leaves no question unanswered and manages to rationalize his behavior at every turn. It’s an entertaining example of one man embracing his humanity.
The Hooray Show - Trouble With Boys
Pablo: When Horatio Sanz’s The Hooray Show popped up on Earwolf Presents, I wasn’t sure how the podcast’s odd format would translate on a weekly basis. It’s not that I disliked the pilot (I especially enjoyed hearing Sanz grill his old SNL castmate Chris Kattan about his love life) but I thought the herky jerky editing, random character bits, and Sanz’s dabs-induced wandering conversational style would get old quickly. I was wrong as shit. When you listen to dozens of podcast episodes each week like I do, even the favorites become predictable to a certain extent. But thanks to its composition, The Hooray Show is anything but predictable. While last week showcased sketches about Harrison Ford’s plane crash and an eccentric dispensary owner interspersed with an interview featuring the gals from Guys We Fucked, this week’s episode is a more straightforward affair. Joining Sanz at his home studio is Pedro the Lion’s David Bazan, who also wrote The Hooray Show’s theme song. There are no recurring character sketches or live performances here; instead, the guys talk about John Belushi, giving up drinking in your 40s, and the time Dave Matthews’s tour bus dumped 800 pounds of human feces onto a bunch of tourists sailing through the Chicago River. It’s a simple episode of Hooray, but looking at it back-to-back with last week’s spectacle - and realizing next week’s episode will also be substantially different - is what makes it what one of best new podcasts of the year.
With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus - Me 2 I’m Talkin’ U2 To U Too
Kaitlynn: Believe it or not, Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott weren’t the only ones with the idea for a U2 podcast. Andy Daly actually had the exact same idea before Scott and Adam started recording U Talkin U2 to Me? and he’s finally debuting his show Me 2 I’m Talkin’ U2 To U Too. Joining him on the episode is Allison Gondry (Lapkus), an Amoeba Records employee. The U2 talkin’ starts about halfway in after discussion of The White Album, Charles Manson, and Allison’s physical deformities, which include a forked tongue and not having a proper butt. They focus on the album Boy, which Allison doesn’t like because she can’t get the songs to stick in her head. Later Traci Rearden stops by for her regular feature, “Help Me Rhonda,” to give advice to her Twitter followers on everything from parking in Boston to how to make someone like barbecue sauce.
Improv Nerd - Jill Soloway
Leigh: “I want to do something nobody’s ever done before and I want to change the world.” When you hear Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent, say things like this on this week’s episode of Improv Nerd, it’s no wonder her show is such a success. Host Jimmy Carrane start’s the conversation off by asking Soloway whether or not she’s enjoying that success. And of course (and unfortunately), part of handling success is dealing with criticism. Carrane and Soloway talk about her start at The Annoyance Theater in Chicago and her shows there, including The Real Live Brady Bunch, writing for a great show like Six Feet Under, and writing for some not so great shows. Though writing an essay about Courtney Cox’s asshole is what she cites as her big break. She’s also got some great advice for people who want to do what she does. And no, it’s not quick tips for getting started, but advice on asking people for advice. Through everything Soloway says, she always comes back to how important it is for her to create stuff that makes her laugh and makes her friends laugh. So again, it’s no surprise Transparent is so good. It’s also no surprise that I’m now telling you this is a great episode and hope you listen to it.
Goosebuds - The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb
Kaitlynn: Paul, Dom and Chad are three friends who love R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps. They may be men in their mid-twenties but still believe young adult fiction includes them. If you were young in the nineties you likely read the books or watched the ensuing television show (which even featured a young Ryan Gosling and Scott Speedman). In eighth grade my brother wrote a three page memoir and named R.L. Stine as his favorite author. It had a huge influence as most young peoples’ first introduction to the thriller genre and related nightmares. The nostalgia for childhood drives this podcast as you can follow along with the hosts by reading each book in their written order. This episode is the fifth in the chronological series and follows a young kid named Gabe who travels to Egypt during Christmas break to visit his uncle and cousin who obviously just spent their days exploring mummies’ tombs. After the initial discussion about the film Running Man they delve deep into the story. While wondering if the book was ghostwritten, they discuss why R.L. Stine created a main character that is “a piece of shit.” Gabe, his uncle, and his cousin explore tombs like they just keep popping up. Gabe is constantly falling into holes, making terrible jokes and making ‘90s era references like “Have a cow man!” and not being able to beat Super Mario Land. I won’t spoil the story for you, but the ending involves child abduction, a curse, and murder (and the hosts decide the best place to hide a body would have been Ground Zero after 9/11).
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Who Charted - Jason Mantzoukas
Skeptic Tank - Weirdo with Brent Weinbach
Human Conversation - I Have a Lot of Friends Too
Down With Joe DeRosa - Emotional Hangs with Kurt Braunohler
WTF with Marc Maron - Alex Karpovsky
I Was There Too - Jenette Goldstein
Dark Angels & Pretty Freaks - The One Year Podcasting Birthday Show
Nerdist Podcast – Workaholics
Call Chelsea Peretti - Everyone Is Evil
We Know Nothing - Quiet Bozos
Truth and Iliza - Jessie Rosen
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
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.