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.
Happy Sad Confused - The Lonely Island
Elizabeth: On this week’s Happy Sad Confused featuring The Lonely Island, the main point of confusion is the name of the show itself. (While excellent guesses, it is not White Guys in Their 30s Talking About Old Movies or Squawk and the Pooch in the Morning.) Once that gets cleared up Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone play a round of “What’s in Host Josh Horowitz’s Office” and they’re not that far off. They also explain how they got started in comedy and got agents through their short films (passed around on VHS) and ponder how things might have been different if they’d have gotten started in the YouTube age. They flash forward to their current success and the challenges of choosing projects, including turning down things that would delight their 25-year-old selves. And of course there’s plenty of time devoted to their new movie Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. They talk about doing boy band research, the benefits of doing a movie documentary style, and how to interview famous people like Ringo Starr for cameos and who makes the cut in the final film (sorry Ed Sheeran). They wrap things up by ripping on Andy for liking the movie Carol and sharing their most memorable moviegoing experiences, which mainly involved 40s. [iTunes]
Leigh: If there’s one thing Terry Gross wants you to know about this interview, it’s that Marc Maron the person and Marc Maron the character on IFC are not the same. Got that? They’re not the same. She wants to be very clear about that. Mainly because she was so upset seeing the real Maron play the fake Maron this season as he slips back into drugs and watches his life fall apart. While the real Maron has struggled with addiction in the past, it happened at a time in his life when, as he puts it, “I did not have that much to lose.” So because Maron the character hits rock bottom once he’s already achieved a level of success, he shares how terrifying and uncomfortable it was to have to play that out. Also! I’ll be the first to admit I usually check out after the interview is over on Fresh Air, but this week it’s worth sticking around. Hear from a linguist on why the term “I feel like” is used so often today, especially for young people, and what it’s come to mean. I feel like you’d like it. [iTunes]
Kathryn: The Frotcast is regularly the grossest, least politically correct bunch of dudes on the internet that you’d still feel totally comfortable hanging out with. San Francisco writer and comedian Vince Mancini hosts whichever of his friends are available that week to discuss whatever they feel like, create #content, and (when Matt Lieb is in the Frotquarters) even riff lyrics over royalty-free tracks in what remains the only bearable form of musical improv I’ve ever heard. In the game of low-brow limbo the Frotcast goes subterranean, turning “who fucked a furniture?” and “don’t wash your pussy in a dishwasher” into catchphrases. But they’re not afraid to take on serious topics either. This week, the internet at large was patting Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising on the back for including women in the plot as though that’s all it takes to dismantle the patriarchy, and it took the four dudes of the Frotcast to point out that the movie was still written by five dudes, who may not be the best people to write the “feminist empowerment” story. And they even did it in an episode without occasional female representative Jane Harrison. Sometime guest Joey Avery, who once tweeted about Velcro shoes, rightly notes “when five dudes get together and they’re like, ‘we’ve gotta do something inclusive,’ to some degree a lot if it’s because they want to get praised or because they’re afraid, not because they want to genuinely and importantly get across this message they believe in.” Dude feminism can feel forced, but on the Frotcast it never does: they’re consistently one of the most feminist groups of disgusting dudes on the internet, finding delight in the nuanced and the broad (haha, “broad”). [iTunes]
This Is Rad - John Waters
Marc: The This Is Rad podcast is a “convocast” with the hosts and guests talking about things — ostensibly whatever’s in the title for each episode but taking liberties to range far and wide from said topic. Hosted by Kyle Clark (often heard as “the laughing guy” behind Chris Hardwick on The Nerdist Podcast) and Matthew Burnside (regular of The Indoor Kids podcast), here they have their own producer, Natalie Hazen, who chimes into the conversations as well. This episode focuses on filmmaker John Waters, and brings in comedian Megan Rice, a huge Waters fan who once met the avant-garde auteur. Both Clark and Rice seem to have, between them, seen almost every Waters film ever filmed, with the exception of the hard-to-find first short, Hag in a Black Leather Jacket. Co-host Burnside, on the other hand, claims to have seen exactly one Waters film, and that one is dimly remembered at best. A number of the director’s movies contain scenes that some find on a spectrum from disturbing to disgusting and — spoiler alert — Clark and Rice discuss and describe a number of them in some detail. With Waters as a launchpad for the episode, hosts and guest share a number of stories that revolve around either the Waters movies or the elements within those movies that seem to have planted a number of memory milestones in their adulthood development. With its unrestrained language, together with Clark’s trademark laugh and a few conversational “tells” that he seems to have picked up from hanging around Hardwick, the show feels a bit like the Nerdist’s id has escaped to release its own podcast. [iTunes]
Star Wars Minute - Episodes # 131 - 133
Pablo: It took six months, but Alex Robinson and Pete the Retailer finally analyzed, scrutinized, and celebrated every minute of The Phantom Menace. And since they mean every minute, this week is dedicated to the closing credits of the movie that introduced the world to beloved characters like Captain Panaka, Yaddle, and Shmi Skywalker. Along with their special guests/wives Kristen Siebecker and Ella Moran, our hosts manage to discuss way more than you’d think is possible out of four minutes of yellow text on black background. For one, there’s some great McCallum bashing at the sight of Rick McCallum’s name, the prequel producer/punching bag of Star Wars nerds. But there’s also appearances by George Lucas’ daughter before she became an MMA fighter, twelve accountants, and even the British Film Editors Guild! Much of the talk in the first star-studded minute centers around the role agents play in getting their clients to be listed as “introducing” or “and ______ as ______.” They also wonder if it’s legal by Screen Actor Guild rules for Jabba the Hutt’s voice actor to be cheekily billed “as himself.” I’m not sure on those rules, so I asked Trade Federation Viceroy and 1920s Chinese stereotype Nute Gunray: “Ah billing is-ah puh-fact-lee reeeeegal.” [iTunes]
The Seeso Seeshow - Live From The Hollywood Improv
Sam: Let me start off by saying that most live comedy podcast recordings you listen to are usually terrible. The audio is screwed up and a lot of the jokes you sort of had to be there to “get.” However this is not the case with this episode of The Seeso Seeshow recorded live the Hollywood Improv Lab. This was my first time listening to The Seeso Seeshow podcast hosted by Andrew Steven and I was not disappointed. The live podcast features a great lineup with a mix of improv and standup. UCB team Outside Dog improvised scenes between standup sets from comedians John Roy, Sam Jay, Sean Conroy, and Zach Sherwin. There are more Seeso live events coming up at the Hollywood Improv and I suggest you check out their calendar for more events like this one. [iTunes]
Hollywood Handbook - Jon Daly
Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People - Alcoholics Anonymous
Definitely Dying - Walk It Off with Betsy Sodaro
The Moment with Brian Koppelman - Andrew Zimmer
Tuesdays with Stories! - Seal of Semen
Box Angeles - Matt Walsh
Word with Friend - Jostle with Matt Besser
Bodega Boys - Where’s Lake Tahoe
Doug Loves Movies - Shane Black, Jesse Joyce, and Mark Normand
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.
Sam Jae is a writer and comedian based in LA.