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 - LIVE with Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Scott Adsit, Louis CK, Robert Smigel, Michael Stoyanov, Jeff B Davis & Robbie Fulks
Elizabeth: Before 30 Rock and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, there was Sometimes Live. The show, a backstage look at a late night variety show, was written in 1998 by Stephen Colbert, Scott Adsit, Robert Smigel, Michael Stoyanov, and Dino Stamatopoulos, and never made it to air (or to a filmed pilot). This week Sometimes Live finally sees the light of day on Skull Juice, Dino’s podcast that he co-hosts with Andy Dick. The original writers are joined onstage by Tina Fey, Louis C.K., Jeff B. Davis, Andy, and Robbie Fulks for a reading of the pilot, complete with a new theme song. The writers chime in to give the backstories behind jokes and talk about the writing process. While Tina Fey (and the character based off her) is sadly underutilized in the pilot, she steals the show with her portrayal of Sheryl Crow and does a great duet Loretta Lynn duet with Robbie Fulks at the top of the episode. Take a listen and hear what might have been. [iTunes]
Kill Me Now with Judy Gold - Donald Trump?
Leigh: This is a very, very Big League episode of Kill Me Now. Fresh off the high of the first presidential debate, Judy Gold sat down with Donald Trump to really dig in to everything that went down that night. While the description of the episode might lead you to believe Trump is actually comedian Bob DiBuono doing a spot-on impression, many people are saying it’s actually Donald Trump himself. Many people are saying that. Judy and Donald cover a lot of things they didn’t have enough time to cover at the debate like how he never even knew what people were talking about when they said “birther movement,” all the problems with Rosie O’Donnell, and of course, the reason for all the sniffling. We also got some other outstanding issues clarified. Like who’s been conducting his polls, why we don’t hear much about that other daughter, his workout routine, and how many steps he clocks on his Fitbit, his thoughts on Bill Cosby, and which Mexicans will be allowed to stay in the country. And we can all relax because he said members of the band Menudo can stay. I think we can all consider that one a win. [iTunes]
Norm Macdonald Live - Bill Hader
Pablo: With little warning, Norm Macdonald Live returned for its third “season” after a two year hiatus. I put season in quotes because most shows don’t schedule seasons around years-long gambling binges, which is what I can only assume kept Norm busy until he had a new memoir to promote. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to have one of the most effortlessly funny comedians on Earth back in my podcast feed… for now, at least. On this week’s episode, he’s joined by Bill Hader. As you’d expect from two SNL vets, this episode is crammed full of stories from the hallways of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, many of them featuring the late Don Pardo. Hader’s got a couple of tales: One about him filling in for an ill Pardo during the cast introductions and another about sitting on the old man’s balls during an impromptu live V.O. session due to a failed tape recorder. Norm’s story? I can’t even remember the punchline because the way he opens it with “Don Pardo has just lost his wife… well, he didn’t lose her” should be put in the “comedic timing” wing if they ever open a comedy hall of fame. [iTunes]
Hollywood Handbook - Jen D’Angelo
Noah: What better way to ring in the fall season than with a classic formula Hollywood Handbook? Hayes Davenport and Sean Clements have been testing the waters this summer with some low brow high concept episodes tackling all the latest trends, but this week they bring Jen D’Angelo (Loosely Exactly Nicole) to the studio for some old standbys: the long awaited returns of the Popcorn Gallery and the ceremonial awarding of the Pro Version. D’Angelo keeps up with the guys through a series of song parody tweets that showcase Hollywood Handbook’s razor sharp cultural critique while, at the same time, Clements stumbles through one of the most effective “Sean isn’t actually very good at joking around” bits of late. But first, Hayes and Sean offer up a hilariously ill-informed endorsement of Gary Johnson – who they mistakenly believe to be Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau – for president, because he’s not going to poison you with eating bugs and the other two are being crazy. [iTunes]
Featuring With – Shaun Murphy
Marc: Comedy podcasts are seemingly still more highly populated by comedians of the standup variety. Featuring With is a new one out of the Buffalo, New York area, hosted by comic Cody Colin Chase, and its hook is right in line with the title — host Chase interview comedians who are the middle or featured act. The interviews thus far, latest episode included, take place on the premises of the Helium comedy club in Buffalo and it’s from there that Chase draws the majority of his guests. The latest installment features a hometown boy who’s moved to New York City and is doing all right for himself, Shaun Murphy, who started in Buffalo but never hosted (the leadoff position in a typical 3-act comedy show) locally, having started at Helium in the middle spot. The two touch on a variety of fairly typical subjects during the course of the show — life on the road, how do you stay motivated when writing for your act, other opportunities that have come up (Murphy does occasional work as an extra in TV and movies in New York, including playing a dead body in a episode of NBC’s The Black List), and more. Murphy comes across as genuinely interested in his guest and, given his own position as a Buffalo comedian, one wonders if he’s furiously taking notes on the side for his own budding career. [iTunes]
I Was There Too - Diamonds Are Forever with Putter Smith
Mark: We get it, Matt Gourley, you like James Bond. This week Gourley gifts listeners with another 007-themed interview with actor/bassist/human golf club Putter Smith of 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever. Smith played cult favorite henchman Mr. Kidd, who along with Mr. Wint (played by Robert Glover, Crispin’s father) notably killed someone by dropping a scorpion down his shirt, and in a deleted scene, in his mouth. The duo is most memorable for being sexually ambiguous, the first such characters in the Bond universe, and Smith quickly clarifies that indeed, the two were a couple. Putter also mentions that Sean Connery was quite friendly on set, which is comforting to hear about a man who has advocated slapping women in the past. Struggling actors may wince at how Putter landed the role, since he was discovered playing bass for Thelonious Monk. Perhaps the most egregious revelation here is that he considers the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” which he played sessions for, is “silly music.” Maverick, Goose, and a bar full of karaoke-loving pilots-in-training beg to differ. [iTunes]
Secrets, Crimes & Audiotape - Story 1: A Beautiful Spell (Parts 1,2 & 3)
Marc: Podcasts are beginning to congeal into podcast networks at a rate that’s beginning to rival the proliferation of new podcasts themselves. Wondery is one such network, relatively new on the scene, offering a dozen “partner shows” — podcasts that were already up and running such as Storyworthy, Star Wars Minute, and Juicy Scoop — and a couple of homegrown shows: Found and Secrets, Crimes & Audiotape. The latter is a series of scripted, dramatic narratives that are well-acted, with pro production quality. The first tale to be rolled out, A Beautiful Spell, is a dark comedy starring real-life couple Bodhi and Jenna Elfman who, in turn play fictional couple Jim and Franny. Franny wakes her husband up in the middle of the night to let him know that she’s just realized she doesn’t love him any more…and comedy ensues. Seriously. This is no sitcom, though, and the laughs are hard won through some pretty heavy stuff to which anyone that’s been in a relationship for a decade or more can certainly relate. Over the course of the three episodes — each of which runs about a half-hour — the couple explores their feelings, their lack of feelings, and engage in a little role-playing to try to get back to that lovin’ feeling. The Elfmans do a great job letting us hear the characters’ confusion, fear, and other emotions that sweep through them in what turns out to be their long, dark night of the soul. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Not Safe Podcast with Nikki Glaser - Texting Like Chips and Salsa
Ronna & Beverly - Staying Healthy with Our Advice
How To Be A Person - Ali Waller - How To Be Inspired
America News Now - Week of 9/25: Terrorism/Debate Prep/Pick-up Artists
Terribly Funny with Steve Basilone - Chris Kelly
Beef And Dairy Network - Eli Roberts Goes Legit
Definitely Dying - Sunblock & Ghost Talk w/Allan McLeod
Talk Is Jericho - Ron Funches
Zero Blog 30 - Episode 3
Stop Podcasting Yourself - Kyle Bottom
The Best Show - Duh! More Beach Boys! Jim Murphy!
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
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.
Mark Kramer is a writer, comedian & human boy from Staten Island, New York, but please don’t hold that against him.