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 Late Show Podcast - In The Bad Room with Stephen
Marc: David Letterman has said his last goodbyes and his show’s set in the Ed Sullivan Theater has been carted off, consigned to the showbiz Dumpster. Next up is Stephen Colbert, who is busy running test shows, whipping his writers into a frenzy to generate material, and trying to nail down the new character that he’ll become to replace the OLD Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Fortunately for his fans that have been jonesing for his return, Colbert has turned to podcasting to fill the spare moments in his busy days getting ready for the September 8th launch of the new version of The Late Show. And the debut episode is a yack-packed 20 minutes that doesn’t disappoint. Recorded in “the bad room” – a square, windowless chamber in the bowels of the show’s production office, Colbert is joined by Tom Purcell, his executive producer, and Opus Moreschi, the head writer and supervising producer for the new show. Their conversation rambles around a lot of subjects having to do with the process of gearing up for the show. Colbert’s improv chops are in full view, as he throws off great, bone-dry lines and quasi-jokes as this initial show unwinds. One topic checked off is the width of the new audience seats in the studio — will they be 21 inches or 24 inches wide? Equated by Colbert as being for “the European ass or the American ass” and, as one might expect, his studio’s seats are going to be spec’d for the American ass. The Late Show Podcast may well be become a viral phenomenon of its own before the three months runs out and CBS takes the wraps off of the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert television show.
The Todd Barry Podcast - Emily Heller
Leigh: Through the power of modern recording technology, Emily Heller is on this week’s episode of The Todd Barry Podcast. Heller, who is calling in from her tour, is the show’s very first “phoner.” The two set the record straight about their Twitter feud and talk late night sets, what counts as a tour date, morning radio, surprise parties, magic from Davids (both Blaine and Copperfield) and uncalled for rants and advice from musicians. And! There’s even some advice from Todd Barry himself. You’ll learn a little about comedy on the road, and a whole lot about travel. Covering everything from packing tips to cashing in miles, a topic that’s come up a lot on the show, you will no doubt be a better traveler after listening.
Mike and Tom Eat Snacks – Quaker Oats White Cheddar Rice Cakes
Marc: The popular (and only) snack-rating show, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, may also be the most sporadically appearing podcast (besides my own) on the web. But hosts Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh are back for two consecutive weeks now, so maybe there’s a trend emerging. Or maybe it’s just because Cavanagh’s character, the Reverse Flash, was killed off at the end of the first season of the CW’s The Flash series and neither of the gentlemen are overly busy at the moment. In any case, fans of the show (or “maties,” as they’re referred to by the hosts) get at least a couple of nice hits in a row. This week — spoiler alert — the boys’ snack pick is Quaker Oats White Cheddar Rice Cakes. As always, the snack is the least important element of this show. It’s the banter between Black and Cavanagh that offers so much listening fun. This episode offers up what can best be termed an angry history lesson about the Greeks by Cavanagh, who seems ill-equipped to actually enlighten us about the topic. This follows a rant about “unnecessary Smart cars” and wristwatches, both of which are contributing to the downfall of mankind. There’s also a cool song provided during the break, ostensibly from a fan, about the show itself. I don’t want to give away much more but suffice it to say that if you think they’re going to laud the humble rice cake (complete with white cheddar flavoring), it doesn’t end up faring so well.
So, You’re Going Through a Breakup - Shark Place to Shark Place
Elizabeth: Breakups are hard. Especially since by definition you have to do them alone. So each week therapizers Dr. Saunders Beth (Caitlin Bitzegaio) and Dr. Pan Tatanningtan (Timothy Dunn) sit down with one of their patients to talk them through this difficult time. After discussing their experience filming a reality show called Slapping Your Mom and their ill-fated double date, Saunders and Pan are joined by Berph Chest (Don Fanelli), a sun-damaged man of the sea who leads shark outings from his boat, The Pooch. Berph is still reeling from losing the love of his life, Pink Galapagos, and his beloved pug, Ham. Together they go through the highs and lows of the relationship, from their first date (catered by McDonald’s), to traveling around the world in a matter of days, to a surprise drop-in by Pauly Shore. Even through he expanded his boat to five stories, Pink was drawn back to the land and Berph gave up happiness for the sea and the sharks. Love, like the sea, is a harsh mistress.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Truth and Iliza - Jamie Clayton
WTF with Marc Maron - Haley Joel Osment/Jerry Stahl
Drive-Time Podcast - If The Brandy Bunch Kids Found A Porno Tape
Chillpak Hollywood Hour - Favorite Funny Ladies of Stage and Screen
Spontaneanation - The Student Lounge at a Performing Arts High School
Nerdist Podcast - Mike Judge
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.