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.
Womp It Up! - Paul F. Tompkins
Kaitlynn: Fans of Comedy Bang! Bang! should already know Marissa Wompler. The infamous semi-intern has been throwing on the cans for years alongside her teacher and mentor Charlotte Listler. The triangle-shaped 17-year old has her life documented through various one-off podcast episodes for her birthday with amazing guest stars. Recently, Wompler (Jessica St. Clair) and Listler (Lennon Parham) branched out on their own for her senior school project, recorded in the Marina Del Ray Public Library. Each episode documents the day-to-day while throwing the spotlight on unusual people in their life all while Listler DJs and dishes love advice. This episode brings Mike the Janitor (Paul F. Tompkins) into the spotlight. He reminisces on his first year at Marina Del Ray High School and how he came into his janitorial role as a recent immigrant from England. Ever wonder what Christmas is all about? Apparently, it’s about not getting slaughtered. Why isn’t it called THE Gilmore Girls? Between Wompler, Listler and Mike, each person is a fully rounded character with the quirks and lingo to match; whether Marissa is spreading cream cheese on DiGiorno pizzas or Char-Dog is traveling through time. Each episode is a lesson in improv and character work and this trio is the best of the best. Listen up and you’ll laugh at the bizarre, silly world and you’ll soon be using Wompler catchphrases in everyday life from “womp up the jamz” to “movingon.org!”
The David Feldman Show - Frank Conniff Returns
Marc: If you like your comedy podcasts focused on current news, with a salty (and sometimes buttery) spin, The David Feldman Show should be right in your wheelhouse. While Feldman can do a fairly straight-ahead interview with politicos and celebrities, an episode featuring a roundtable discussion is not one of the same stripe. This week features not only the return of the acerbic wit of Frank Conniff, but comedy writer/podcaster (Myka Fox & Friends) Myka Fox, and comedian/writer/podcaster (Tell Your Friends!) Liam McEneaney. Conniff (Podhouse 90) was a staple on Feldman’s show for a long time, through its different incarnations —at one time, the host ran it like an old-style radio show, with himself in a Jack Benny-esque role as a stingy leftwing political comic surrounded by a rotating cast of characters, many of whom were also comics. After a year away, busy on projects of his own, Conniff has at last returned. On the docket this round is Trump’s play for the presidency, the militant side of the Left, The Open Secret, Amy Berg’s documentary about Hollywood child abuse, and Bill Cosby. Nothing like a slate of touchy subjects to bring out the best (“and worst”, according to Feldman) when four razor-sharp comedians clump together. If you tend toward the politically correct, be forewarned — this show will spike your systolic. The group’s discussion on whether the subject of rape is funny requires that a stream of jokes and references on the subject be used as proof points. The inherent danger of listening to The David Feldman Show in public is that you need to figure out in advance what you’re going to say when someone asks, “What are you laughing at?”
The Todd Glass Show - Anthony Jeselnik
Elizabeth: This week’s episode of The Todd Glass Show is all about arguing and trumpet solos. Todd is joined by Anthony Jeselnik and they dive right in to a brief discussion of Bill Cosby, which means by Anthony’s calculation they owe Hannibal Buress money because he now owns all Bill Cosby jokes. Todd asks Anthony about the first and last thing he ever stole, the latter being a 3-to-2 prong plug converter at Home Depot, while Todd describes being caught eating candy out of a canister in a supermarket and the ensuing confrontation. Later Anthony tells a sound effect-enhanced story about taking an improv class at the Groundlings and Todd repeatedly mentions the price of the vodka he bought, prompting Anthony to call him out, saying “I don’t see this as arguing, I see this as me teaching you how to be a person.” The show ends with a rousing trumpet performance as Anthony reveals the weakest link of The Todd Glass Show. (Hint: It’s Keith.)
Don’t Get Me Started - Drew Spears/Southern Gothic Fiction
Pablo: If you’re reading this blurb, it’s safe to say that you’re a comedy nerd. But what do comedians themselves nerd out on? That’s the premise of Don’t Get Me Started, a show devoted to the obsessions of the people we obsess about. This week’s guest is comedian and Cool Shit/Weird Shit co-host Drew Spears, whose passion is Southern Gothic fiction. He focuses primarily on his favorite author, Flannery O’Connor, and why her body of work hits on all the key notes of the genre: Grotesque characters, themes of redemption, and the use of macabre to symbolize the hypocrisy inherit in one of America’s most beautiful regions also hiding the nation’s ugliest period of history. But Spears doesn’t just highlight the obvious works of fiction you read in AP Lit; he also talks at length about Jody Hill, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green, the men behind Kenny Powers, as well as sportswriter Spencer Hall, the founder of Every Day Should Be Saturday, a website devoted to one of the South’s most important traditions, college football.
How To Be A Person - Matt Koff - How to Parallel Park
Leigh: How To Be A Person is a new podcast hosted by Tonight Show writers Jess Dweck and Mike Drucker. Each week, Dweck and Drucker welcome another comedian or interesting person in order to learn how to be, you guessed it, a person. If you’re like me, you can use all the help in this area you can get. Lucky for us, this is only the sixth episode, which means there’s no reason you can’t backtrack and listen to all of them (episode 2 with Josh Gondelman and 5 with Jono Zalay are personal favorites). This week “it’s a real good one” as promised by the hosts before the episode has even been recorded, as they’re joined by Daily Show writer Matt Koff. While he’s just as qualified to teach the art of drawing Garfield, Koff teaches Drucker and Dweck how to parallel park. But not before a discussion of their first paid jobs in comedy. Koff then gives a thorough step-by-step tutorial on parallel parking, complete with a valuable tip for finding a parking space. We’ve all got plenty of things to learn, right? So how about we keep listening to How To Be A Person and all become people, together. Sound like a plan?
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Who Charted? - Dan Van Kirk
Hound Tall - Magical History
Off Camera with Sam Jones - Lizzy Caplan
Hound Tall with Moshe Kasher - Magical History
Frenemies - My Father, Jerry Seinfeld
Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! - Terry Gross
Pop Culture Happy Hour - Key and Peele and Crowds of Critters
The Moment with Brian Koppelman - Starlee Kine
Comedy Bang Bang - Tig Notaro, Stephanie Allynne & Mookie Blailock
Chewin’ It - Alison Rosen
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.