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.
Sooo Many White Guys - Phoebe and Hasan Minhaj Talk Turkey
Mark: In just its seventh episode, Phoebe Robinson’s Sooo Many White Guys is already hitting its groove. This week, The Daily Show’s Hasan Minhaj visits the WNYC studios fresh off his trip to the RNC in Cleveland. Minhaj brought back with him some frank insights, which boil down to the realization that “You can legislate bigotry. You can’t legislate stupidity.” Then how do we battle ignorance? The two drift into a timely conversation about the need for more powerful representation in the media for all underrepresented groups. This has been a scorching hot internet topic of late, but Minhaj adds to the discourse with a stirring story about teenage Hasan that will make even the iciest heart melt (you should probably defrost that thing). He’s even making the extra effort to visit less diverse cities on his Homecoming tour to prove to these parts of the country they can relate to a Muslim guy from California. No matter your race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, Sooo Many White Guys is filling a podcast void all Americans need filled these days. Especially if you’re Kurt Metzger. [iTunes]
Hard Nation - Gabby Douglas and Ryan Lochte Get Bacon
Kathryn: Whether or not our country survives the election in November, I hope Hard Nation does. What started as a pundit based election-cycle podcast can and should expand outside of politics, as evidenced by their Olympics episode. Mike Still’s not-so-thinly veiled (that counts as fat shaming) Bill O’Reilly is simply spot on, and Paul Welsh as lefty Pete Hard nails the most measured, accurate statements of fact as punchlines – in this episode we hear recordings of Filipino divers as they lusted after bacon during their ill-fated leaps into the water, and Pete noting that the microphones must have been water-resistant gets the biggest laugh. And even though the talking heads decided to step away from politics to cover sports, it doesn’t feel like they went far. Everything is political these days, from policing Gabby Douglas’s facial expressions to apologizing to the world for the oafish douchebaggery of Yiannopoulos-haired Ryan Lochte, truly a quintessential American. As Lochte, Drew Tarver reminisces about the wonders of the world on which he’s taken confused shits and admits that he can’t read. As Douglas, Kirby Howell-Baptiste slashes the sides of her mouth into a joker-esque perma-smile to hopefully appease everyone, since as we know the cheeks are the windows to the soul. [iTunes]
The Dollop with Dave Anthony & Gareth Reynolds - Roger Babson’s Fight
Marc: Podcasts are turning out to be a great source of learning – both on purpose and inadvertantly – and The Dollop is a grand blending of the two. The formula certainly works: Take two comedians in the form of Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, add in a historical subject with a bit of a punched up narrative via Anthony, and let Reynolds riff on the topic as the story unspools. The latest entry focuses on Roger Babson, a true “self-made man” from the turn of the last century who lived well into it. He made millions with his analysis and commentary of the stock market and business in general, savvy enough to have predicted the Crash of 1929 a month before it happened. But the real spark for the truly funny riffs in this episode come from Babson’s fanatical focus and hatred toward the power of gravity. Dating back to the accidental drowning of his young sister, Babson was convinced that something had to, and could, be done to negate the harmful effects of gravity. This obsession took many forms, which Anthony and Reynolds hilariously run down during the course of the one-hour show. Here are two guys that have made learning history fun again, for the first time. [iTunes]
Your Mom’s House - #358
Noah: “This is one of the best conversations of my life,” Tom Segura says after a wild ride of a phone call with his dad, the inimitable fan favorite known only as Top Dog. When Segura and Christina Pazsitzky make the call, they’e hoping to mine some laughs out of Top Dog’s military career by asking him how many people he’s killed, but an unusually subdued Mr. Segura doesn’t want to talk about it. So Tom flips the script and reads out some blonde jokes from the internet, and the resulting ten minutes are the most true to form Your Mom’s House has been in months. Top Dog’s wheezing laughter between mutterings of “can you imagines” and “dumb broads” – like these are true stories, not street jokes – is just what listeners have come to expect from the family dynamic, and highlight what makes Your Mom’s House format a cult sensation. The first half of this week’s episode focuses on which variations of grotesque bodily harm Segura and Pazsitsky separately find funny, but the comedians are well aware of the parallels between them, theirs, and our weekly barrage of fresh YouTube absurdism. [iTunes]
Race Wars - #RapeWars
Leigh: Unless today is your first day waking up from a coma or you’ve just returned home from outer space, you’ve probably heard about Kurt Metzger and his recent string of Facebook posts (though if it is, congratulations or welcome home!). So I know you don’t need any back story to the most recent episode of Metzger and Sherrod Small’s podcast, Race Wars. They’re joined by Charlemagne Tha God, Erin Gloria Ryan, Keren Margolis, as well as a retired New York City police officer, so between the six of them, there’s a mix of perspectives about the whole situation. Later in the podcast, comic Barry Crimmins, who is the subject of Bobcat Goldthwait’s film Call Me Lucky, calls in and offers another point of view on the issue. You’ve probably already formed your opinion of Metzger and everything he’s said. And whatever that opinion may be, I don’t think listening to this podcast is likely going to change that. Nor do I think that was the point of recording this. But, what I do think is that it’s worth hearing him explain where he thinks things went wrong, what he wants to apologize for, and what he maintains he’s still right about. Now, regardless of where you stand, there are definitely things said in these 90+ minutes that will rile you up, but at the same time you may be surprised to hear some things you agree with. Which is why it’s worth listening to, even if it is last week’s news – whether you’ve simply moved on or you’re using last week’s rage to fuel more productive, insightful conversations. Or maybe you’re just sitting and patiently waiting for this week’s new internet shit storm. [iTunes]
My Two Cents with Bill Engvall - Travis Moran
Marc: Another standup comedian hit the podwaves back in June: Bill Engvall. Also known from his appearances in such fare as Blue Collar TV, his own The Bill Engvall Show, and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, Engvall brings a little bit of a different voice in the comedy podcast arena. In a laid-back manner, with a bit of Texas twang in his voice, he’s more about relating life experiences than running bits, a formula that had me smiling at our similarities rather than laughing at our differences. The show’s engineer, Austin, alternately responds to questions from Engvall or tosses in some occasional commentary on the topic at hand, sounding a lot like John C. Reilly at times. Although the subjects slide around from one thing to another very conversationally, the main topic for this episode is fishing, mostly because Engvall’s guest is tournament fisherman Travis Moran. I’m going to bet that this is the first time Moran has ever appeared on a comedy podcast but he makes for an affable guest, and is an ardent fan of Engvall’s, having seen the host’s star turn on the movie Bait Shop numerous times. Engvall has some great stories along the way about camping with his family, each of which is a launching pad for his easy, homespun brand of humor. I think if Hollywood wanted to go for a reboot of The Andy Griffith Show, Engvall might well be the man to pick up that fishing pole and whistle his way down to the crick. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
WTF - Kristen Wiig
Truth & Iliza - Sarah Colonna
Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People - Noodlebody
How Did This Get Made - Gods of Egypt w/Erin Gibson & Bryan Safi
The Best Show - Best Show Mini-Show! Best And Worst Summers!
Story Worthy - How I Met My Husband by Leigh Koechner
2 Dope Queens - Bonus Episode! Boob Sweat
Campfires and Color Wars - Michael Blieden
Pop Culture Happy Hour - Small Batch: A Conversation with Amy Schumer
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.
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.