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.
Dino and Andy’s Skull Juice - Are We Rolling?
Marc: Take two guys in comedy that have known each other for 25 years, didn’t talk for 10, then came back together again — both a little worse for wear — and you end up with the new Dino and Andy’s Skull Juice podcast. Andy Dick you mostly likely know (or at least recognize), either from standup or his many TV appearances in shows like NewsRadio or the attempt to reboot Get Smart. Co-host Dino Stamatopoulos is a bit more invisible, though his comedy stamp has been on things like SNL, The Dana Carvey Show, Moral Orel, and Community. Their first episode, during which they are trying to find a name for their show, is a hilarious shakedown cruise. Be warned that the language gets pretty dicey, especially when Stamatopoulos threatens their in-studio guest Dustin (who somehow ended up in this mess by having the winning bid on a celebrity auction to have lunch with Dick) that he’s going to get in a time machine and go back to do unspeakable acts with his 12-year-old’s body. While you might end up worrying, along with the hosts, how they’re planning to sustain the rambling lunacy of this show, it seems to me that they’ve barely scratched the surface. Now if they can just keep their friendship from imploding…again. [iTunes]
You Made It Weird - Kenya Barris Returns
Pablo: The last time Pete Holmes talked to Kenya Barris in 2012, the future Black-ish showrunner was just another working TV writer (albeit one with what I can only assume is a lucrative America’s Next Top Model co-creator credit). But this time when the two friends and former colleagues sat down at Meltdown Comics, Barris’ life is a whole lot different as the creator of a hit network sitcom and writer of two upcoming studio films. And while he’s being recognized on the streets of Nashville by white people these days, Kenya himself is still the same funny and brutally honest man he was in the past interview. Barris recently made Hollywood trade news when he lashed out at a reporter who asked him “How many black people watch your show?”, explaining that after three critically acclaimed seasons, he’s tired about every single interview being about diversity and the black community instead of the quality of his TV show. And while this episode does touch on race in network TV and presidential politics, it pivots to marriage and love halfway through. While Anthony Anderson’s Black-ish character, who is based on Barris, is happily married, the actor and writer bonded in the first season over their mutual marital woes. And Barris’ current living situation itself sounds like a sitcom: He’s separated from his wife, but still lives in the same house. I can only imagine what that’s like, but he mentions a piece of domestic minutia that really stuck with me: When he argues with his wife over bills, it makes him feel like there’s still something there. [iTunes]
Ronna & Beverly - Jessi Klein
Leigh: The podcasting gods must be smiling upon us, because Jessi Klein is on the latest episode of Ronna & Beverly. Klein, who Ronna introduces as a silver or bronze medalist in the Jewish Women’s Beauty Contest, with Rachel Weisz taking the gold every time and Natalie Portman, Gal Gadot, or Bar Refaeli possibly taking the middle spot, is on the show to talk about her new book You’ll Grow Out of It, though not much talking about the book actually happens. As Ronna puts it, it’s not so much of an interview about the book, and rather “nothing but chit chat for 45 minutes.” But if you’ve ever heard Ronna, Beverly, or Jessi Klein talk about anything at all, 45 minutes of chit chat is nothing to complain about. When they’re not talking about the book, they’re getting sidetracked down the most delightful tangents. Like how Jonathan Adler is doing, Boston high schools, what the hell Oprah’s been up to lately, Beverly’s explanation of what went down in Benghazi, what happens at a bris, shopping at Barney’s, and living in LA. I actually have to take back what I said about there being nothing to complain about. With all those tangents and more, 45 minutes of chit chat between Jessi Klein, Ronna, and Beverly is not nearly enough chit chat. [iTunes]
Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People - I Cry When I Run
Noah: Chris Gethard brings great stories out of people when Beautiful/Anonymous hits its groove, but oftentimes the creative juices on the other end can start to dry up toward the forty-five minute mark. So it’s a delight when Gethard, rather than continue to mine for details about his anonymous caller’s dislocated jaw (which, to be fair, is a tale well-told), breaks the regular format of the show and brings the guy’s friends into it. Caller #2 offers the episode’s true bombshell when he describes how the original John Doe was once stripped and tied naked to a tree by their camp counselors – Gethard darkly refers to it as “a nightmare” for the kid and his “present-day fantasy” in the same breath – and opens their universe up for a truly engaging and funny back half. Whether Gethard can continue to find little success with the form-bending he’s known for, this week’s call is cut off mid-sentence, and that’s a welcome respite from the small talk. [iTunes]
Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend - Erin McGathy
Elizabeth: Erin McGathy’s marriage may not have worked out, as the host of This Feels Terrible reveals on this week’s Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend, but she knows how to throw one hell of a bachelorette party. She joins Alison in dining room studios to chat about her path from growing up as a military kid to ending up as an expat in Ireland, including her wedding and bachelorette party, which featured 12 wedding dresses mistakenly received from the internet, mushrooms, and a hat carved from a bucket of Neapolitan ice cream. Erin talks about her marriage to Dan Harmon and losing herself in the relationship and shares how her stint as a farm volunteer or “woofer” in Ireland helped her gain clarity and brought her and her love of moody weather and wearing coats to the country full-time following her divorce. Erin, who is back in the country for a podcast tour, also talks about how her show This Feels Terrible began and how it’s getting back to its roots as a live show. [iTunes]
Black Men Can’t Jump - Suicide Squad
Mark: Thank the metahumans Black Men Can’t Jump (in Hollywood) is here to talk about the movie that launched a thousand thinkpieces: Suicide Squad. Somehow, hosts Jonathan Braylock, James III, and Jerah Milligan review the movie without Jared Leto-purple lenses on, so they deserve a round of internet applause for that alone. Our hosts quickly realize that despite casting Will Smith as the traditionally white Deadshot and having an atypically diverse ensemble, Suicide Squad features the bogus Hollywood diversity reminiscent of the ‘90s Power Rangers. This is a movie where the Mexican guy plays a tattooed gangbanger, the Japanese lady wields a katana so her name is…Katana (missed opportunity to name Deadshot “Gun”), and Killer Croc (played by Lost’s Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a crocodile, inexplicably wears a tracksuit the entire film and is last seen watching twerk videos from prison. And despite featuring quite a few diverse cast members, the only two romantic relationships developed in the film are between white actors. Needless to say, the three had plenty of material to draw from. As always, the important social commentary is sandwiched between silliness like Braylock’s retro Will Smith theme song and Milligan and James III shipping hilarious fanfic swirls for the movie, which include Killer Croc getting out of the squad zone with Enchantress in a sewer. If that made any semblance of sense to you, this episode is a must listen. [iTunes]
Not Safe Podcast with Nikki Glaser - Where Do We Go From Here?
Marc: This companion podcast to Comedy Central’s Not Safe with Nikki Glaser TV show could soon be companionless. As Glaser and her co-host Dan St. Germain kick it around in this episode, the current season of the TV show (which both appear in) has just drawn to a close and no one is certain if Comedy Central is going to have them back for another run. The pair is joined by Lindsay Crystal, a producer on the TV show, who is tenuously glad to be able to get back in sync with her kids after months spent helping to bring off every episode of the show. Glaser dredges up a painful memory of an ex-almost-boyfriend trying to enlist her to play a part in a comedy sketch he wrote in which she discovers that the Nikki character is subjected to cruel revenge by the writer’s doppelganger in the sketch. Most of the show is spent reminiscing about the season just wrapped, and speculating on what sorts of jobs they each might pursue if they could no longer do comedy for a living. [iTunes]
Comedy Bang Bang - Pop TarTender
Kathryn: Todd Glass, Jon Gabrus, and Matt Besser turn out to be a perfect combination of guests to join Scott Aukerman on the mics at CBB. They’re all stellar guests in their own right, but there’s something about having them altogether: Aukerman’s stubborn pursuit of ridiculous tangents, Glass as the unshakeably earnest wildcard who only follows a tangent if he damn well wants to, Gabrus’s nimble character work as beloved intern Gino who is ready to take either side and always chooses correctly, and Besser a masterful enough improviser to build a character without ever making any choices. His undecided voter LaMary would be insufferable in other hands. But before that, we pick up where the best episode of U Talkin’ U2 To Me? left off in exploring the patented Todd Glass party. If you’re throwing a Todd Glass party – and please do – you’re gonna need recorded music, a live drummer, tape for the lights, pop-tart ice cream sandwiches and party rulebooks to hand out at the door. Yeah, this episode of CBB is another round of four white dudes riffing, but it’s still pretty great, and the hour and a half run time feels too short. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Judge John Hodgman - This Is The Sound Of A Raffle
2 Dope Queens - Bonus Episode! Cream Girls
Hollywood Handbook - Julie Klausner, Back Again
WTF - Werner Herzog / Godfrey
Tuesdays with Stories - Dissmis N’ Steal
High & Mighty - Star Wars w/Nick Wiger & Erin Mallory Long
The Baby-Sitter’s Club Club - Kristy and the Mother’s Day Surprise
You Should Love Wrestling: Matt McCarthy - Undertaker vs Mankind from WWE Hell in a Cell 1998
How To Be a Person - Caroline Eppright - How To Be Friends with Dweck
Pistol Shrimps Radio - Summer Masters Round Four
Bodega Boys - Slave Teeth
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Mark Kramer is a writer, comedian & human boy from Staten Island, New York, but please don’t hold that against him.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.