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.
Roundball Rock – Give Me A Great Passer With A Big Butt Any Day
Mark: Los Angeles Clippers and Kia commercial star Blake Griffin’s animated pilot was picked up by Fox last week, putting comedy and basketball in the spotlight once again. These two pillars of pop culture have always had a mutually beneficial relationship, and like any long romance the next step is to have another podcast baby together. Enter Roundball Rock, hosted by Guardian writer/humorist Dave Schilling and comedians Joey Devine & Sean Keane. This week’s episode with comedian Eric Dadourian covers a bevy of topics relevant to even the most casual basketball fan. For example, they address the age-old debate, who’s better: Michael Jordan (in Space Jam) or LeBron James (in Trainwreck)? They also dream up hypothetical trash talk battles between all-time greats like MJ and Larry Bird, which needs to be a TV show hosted by Jeff Ross immediately. Since this is only the fifth episode Roundball Rock hasn’t even covered a current NBA season yet, but between Tim Duncan’s retirement, the Olympics, and Draymond Green’s accidental dick pic, there’s plenty to talk about. Besides, any podcast named after one John Tesh’s magnum opus is an automatic must-listen. [iTunes]
Wow! What A Story! – A Thanksgiving Story
Kathryn: Professional storyteller Matt Radlow started the Wow! What a Story! podcast with little more than $80,000 and a life full of amazing experiences, from losing his virginity to finding God to having Thanksgiving dinner. Ordinarily I’d dismiss a show with so much punctuation in the title, but one can only listen to the same comedians interview each other for so long before one needs a change of pace. UCB NY performer Radlow presents the series of five to 10-minute scripted episodes like a more soothing, more grotesque version of Welcome to Nightvale, or like an NC-17 David Sedaris with a cheerful backing tracks, like a deranged lullabye. Speaking of “like a,” metaphors are the star of Wow!, with unexpected turns that make even the silliest jokes feel satisfying. In each episode, our lunatic narrator chuckles at how crazy his normal friends and family are, and he almost always relates it to testicles in some way. In ‘A Thanksgiving Story’ we learn that the real spirit of the holiday isn’t about the food, or the presents, or the Christmas tree… it’s about gravy. This podcast is weirder than the science in the movie Weird Science, and like that movie, should spawn an 88 episode TV series and big-budget remake because stories are like buttholes: Wow! has more than you’d expect. [
Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show – Episode 1
Marc: It’s been 30+ years since the Kids In The Hall first got together as a comedy troupe in Canada. And although they rarely perform as a unit these days, it’s good to see the “kids” are all right on their own. Kevin McDonald kicked off his new podcast this past week, part of the Forever Dog Podcast Network, and it’s quite a production. More like a nighttime TV talkshow, McDonald’s show sports an announcer, a couple of fairly big name guests (Wallace Shawn and the Crash Test Dummies’ Brad Roberts), and some supporting sketch players. McDonald starts off in a pretty self-deprecating mode, recounting the diminishing stature of his projects over the years since TKITH, with his podcast finishing off the list as a kind of last grasp at fame. There’s a sketch with Wallace Shawn appearing as Sherlock Holmes at a party where he solves a murder. McDonald then chats with Shawn, who doesn’t often appear on talk shows (“I’m a slow talker and a slow thinker,” Shawn says to explain his absence from the circuit.) He explains that he never quite got the humor of the movie he became best known for, The Princess Bride, and reveals that director Rob Reiner had to act out all of his scenes, which he would then copy what Reiner had done. Brad Roberts chats about growing up in frigid Winnipeg, with music being pretty much his only alternative to not being a hockey player. He then performs Superman’s Song and Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm before the live audience at Brooklyn’s Union Hall. If McDonald is able to maintain this level of production on subsequent episodes, he’s got nothing to be embarrassed about for doing a podcast. [iTunes]
Juicy Scoop – Special Bonus Episode
Marc: This is a little bit of an odd episode for Heather McDonald, the comedian and a writer on the late Chelsea Lately, produced mainly because the audio quality on a phone interview she had on previous Episode 59 was so poor. That show revolved around her chat with Taylor Chandler, former girlfriend to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, and quite a wild story. But McDonald fielded so many comments via social media about how hard it was to hear Chandler that the Juicy Scoop host issued this “special bonus episode” to mainly recap the story and the main parts of the interview. It’s actually better this way because it benefits by McDonald getting to toss in some of her trademark saucy, snarky comments that she didn’t get to use during the actual interview. The middle part of the bonus episode is some frank talk about sexual harassment on the heels of Donald Trump’s ridiculous “perspective” on the topic. And then McDonald brings it home by sharing a recording of a recent live standup set she did in New York. A bonus indeed! [iTunes]
Marty & Sarah Love Wrestling – Getting To Know Cesaro
Noah: Around the time that Raw and Smackdown publicly split from one another on WWE television, comedians Marty DeRosa and Sarah Shockey left the MLW Radio podcast feed for one of their very own and continue to break the mold of pro wrestling podcasts. If you’re looking for play-by-play recaps of the week in programming, look elsewhere: this week, the continuing adventures of their impressions of a lonely Roman Reigns, Lil’ Enzo Amore, and “Sexual” Mauro Ranallo welcome a new breakout star to the fold as DeRosa takes on the persona of the world-weary immigrant Antonio Cesaro – formerly Claudio Castagnoli, it’s not a big deal, it’s his real name, get over it. Cesaro’s impromptu interview with Shockey is a beautiful mess, detailing his wide-eyed and accidental forays into sex work disguised as pro wrestling. It’s an absurd premise that soars for DeRosa and Shockey’s commitment to the bit and to the overarching world that they’ve built for their characters. [iTunes]
Steve Agee Uhhh… – Adam Goldberg II
Pablo: Actor Adam Goldberg has sustained a solid 25-year career by playing a cavalcade of nebbishy, anxiety-ridden hypochondriac Jews. And from his appearance on this week’s Steve Agee Uhhh…, the real Adam isn’t far from his characters, minus one attribute: he’s not imagining his health problems. Goldberg and host Steve Agee first became friends upon discovering that they both suffered from debilitating bouts of vertigo, the main topic of discussion for this episode. From nightmarish three-month-long bouts of dizziness to distress over being hit with the spins while on set, the two talk at length about this affliction with no cure. It’s that lack of any treatment that takes this episode to some truly dark moments where they half-jokingly refer to contemplations of suicide if their symptoms didn’t improve. On a lighter note, the non health-related chunk of the episode has the two friends discussing how they dislike the professions they chose in their 20s and are now more or less stuck with. Well, it’s lighter by default. It’s an honest talk that will, at the very least, make you feel better about your own problems! [iTunes]
Baby Geniuses – Kate Micucci/Jared Logan
Leigh: If you follow Emily Heller on Twitter, you’ve certainly seen her now famous doormat. This week on Baby Geniuses, she and co-host Lisa Hanawalt, discuss the complete saga of the doormat. And if I may be so bold, I’d have to say it’s the best story about a doormat I’ve ever heard. Kate Micucci stops by the show to talk about the overwhelming Anti-Barney (yes, that Barney) feelings of the 90s, how theme restaurants had a real moment in the 90s, her past jobs as both a clown and sand castle instructor, and of course the movie she’s in, Don’t Think Twice, which if you haven’t seen it yet, run don’t walk. Also on the show is Martin Phelps (Jared Logan), who all you De Niro-heads out there already know, is Robert De Niro’s personal assistant. Consider this the be-all, end-all, behind the scenes look at the movie The Intern. From what Anne Hathaway is like on set (always tap dancing) and De Niro’s on set schedule and demands (French bread) to a deleted guacamole scene, and the reasoning behind the lack of diversity in the movie, it’s everything you didn’t know you needed to know about The Intern. [iTunes]
Elizabeth: Jason Biggs may be the guest on this week’s OMFG but the real star is his wife, Jenny Mollen, who he stars alongside in the new movie Amateur Night. Jason, Deanna, and Emily gush about all things Jenny, from her books to her ayahuasca retreat segment with Chelsea Handler. In addition to giving his daily reminder that he is not Jewish, Jason shares some tough advice for marriage success and talks about the importance of therapy, even when things are going well. In the second half, Jason proves his knowledge of youth culture and millennium vernacular and Deanna and Emily read a string of his text messages aloud and remind him that his dog is dead. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Any Time with Vin Forte – Rocket Launches and Writing Retreats w/Nicole Perlman
WTF w/Marc Maron – Seth Meyers
CineTalk – Suicide Squad SPOILER EDITION!
Steel Toes Required – ���Everything Is Under My Control:” Graham Clark
Jordan, Jesse GO! – Murder Kroger: Steve Agee
This Week Had Me Like – Ibiza Babies w/ Debby Ryan & Louis Virtel
Mohr Stories – Lisa Ann
Not Safe Podcast – Where Do We Go From Here?
Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend – Mindy Cohn
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.
Mark Kramer is a writer, comedian & human boy from Staten Island, New York, but please don’t hold that against him.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.