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.
Nerdist - Kristen Schaal
Leigh: Kristen Schaal is on all the best shows. So it’s no surprise this episode of Nerdist was great. When her and host Chris Hardwick start talking about who’s going to take over The Daily Show, it becomes clear that this was recorded before last week’s announcement. While there’s certainly no shortage of places you can hear people speculate about who the new host will be, listening to this conversation is especially interesting since you, the listener, know the answer. It’s probably the closest you’ll ever feel to being a time traveler (though, if it isn’t and you know another way, let’s talk?). Schaal tells the story of how she knocked her two front teeth out, and also, exactly what episodes of Last Man on Earth to pay close attention to to notice her fake teeth. They also cover Comic Con, the Bob’s Burgers Live tour, working on Flight of the Conchords, and why jokes about taints may not work in Montreal. Make sure you listen all the way to the end. Even when you think it’s over, keep listening.
Heteronormative - Guy Branum
Pablo: We live in a heteronormative society. That won’t ever change due to the simple fact that most human beings are heterosexuals. So even though we live in a time where gay rights are flourishing, LGBTQs still experience life differently from the vast majority of people. One of those people is comedian Chris Laker, a heterosexual who started Heteronormative to talk to individuals in that community about growing up in societies that, at best, are not systematically built for them or, at worse, straight up outlaw them. This week’s guest is standup Guy Branum, who is doing the podcast circuit to promote his new album Effable. Branum grew up in gay-friendly Northern California but as he tells it, that hospitality was not extended from his parents. So he left NorCal for the snowy tundra of Minnesota, earning a law degree which taught him that he was breaking state law every time he had anal sex. If you’ve ever seen Branum perform, it’s no surprise that he’s accessible to answering Laker’s inquisitive questions or that he’s so open about his sex life, which includes knowingly having sex with HIV positive men in the past. He also has tips for young gay men leaving their small towns about how their interests should inform their decision: LA if you’re good at hosting, NYC if you can sing and dance, San Francisco if you want to fuck.
How Was Your Week? - Full Deenie
Elizabeth: Julie Klausner is back after a hiatus with new episodes of How Was Your Week. For the second podcast since her return, she catches us up on the past few months, starting with the assassination of the Fashion Police and the saga of Giuliana Rancic a.k.a. “the world’s frailest piece of jerky.” Thankfully, Julie read a people.com article on Rancic’s new biography so you don’t have to and she reports back with the major revelations including Rancic’s experience with scoliosis—or the full Deenie. Julie also shares her guilt and joy about the fact that her annoying neighbor moved out (after she got him in trouble for playing fetch with his dog in the hallway) and her thoughts on Trevor Noah and the height of women as talk show hosts, which was during the Rolanda Watts and Ricki Lake years in the ‘90s. Finally, if you receive a Facebook friend request from Julie, be excited, but know its mostly for Tinder, so she can see more people with embarrassing hobbies.
How Did This Get Made? - Lake Placid LIVE!
Marc: If you love to hate bad movies, you’re likely already on the beam with How Did This Get Made? hosted by Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukis, and June Diane Raphael. This podcast set the standard for bashing crappy cinema. Usually, the episodes happen in the dank depths of an Earwolf studio but occasionally, like this week, it’s a LIVE event and the derision rises to new levels with the live audience to cheer it on. Regular Raphael is off this show but is amply replaced by guests Paul F. Tompkins (The Paul F. Tompkast, Superego) and Nate Corddry, host of the Reading Aloud podcast. The movie is 1999’s Lake Placid, a laughless (and horror-less) send-up of the horror movie genre. Scheer and the others have a raucous heyday ripping the movie to shreds. Starting with the emotionless delivery by star Bill Pullman and the reading of stage directions-as-lines by co-star Brendan Gleeson, to Bridget Fonda’s know-nothing scientist and Oliver Platt’s puka-shelled “monster sighting collector,” the cast can’t catch a break from the crew of sharp-shooting comic snipers. Each remembered horrible moment sends everybody scrambling to pile on with their take on the misery that is this film, with extra-special derision being reserved for Betty White’s foul-mouthed-giant-crocodile-feeding recluse. If you’re a fan of Lake Placid, I dare you to mount a sensible defense against this show’s hilarious onslaught. And yet, I am strangely driven to see it again…
Down with Joe DeRosa - Emotional Hangs with Kurt Braunohler
Kaitlynn: This is episode two of “Emotional Hangs” where Joe and Kurt spend time together talking about friendship. Kurt sums up the idea of the show as “two men opening up to each other to become friends.” It is currently released under Joe’s namesake podcast but will likely branch out into its own (I would personally coin it BBF: Best Bros Forever). During the first episode, these two friends tried to understand what emotionally hanging out was and wondered if it was interesting. Well, whatever the reasoning behind the idea—it works. They discuss a number of topics in this relatively short episode including why a friendship break-up in your thirties can hurt so bad. Children bond over the tiniest things when young innocence meant friendships galore. Joe calls Kurt out on his outdated references and burping and they spend a fair amount of time listing their best friends. Are these two really pre-teen girls in disguise? It might seem so at times. It is refreshing to hear two grown males discuss friendship and feelings. The episode hits a high note when the guys discuss a recent text message conversation where Kurt drops the L word and how Joe responds.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast - 4/6/15
Truth and Iliza - Megan Rosati
Welcome Back Andy - Apps and Phones
Spontaneanation - A Mechanic’s Garage
Fitzdog Radio - Andy Kindler Stops By
The World of Mindshaft – Story #2: A Grave Mistake
Guys We Fucked - Jason: You Got A Blow Job Prostitute?
Comedy Bang Bang - Athlete’s Head
Never Not Funny - Matt Walsh
The JV Club - Zelda Williams
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.