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.
Reality Bytes - Gaby Dunn on Queer Identity and Polyamory
Pablo: Earlier this year actress Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s hard-nosed badass Detective Rosa Diaz, casually came out as bisexual on Twitter. Now just a few months later she, along with writer Courtney Kocak, has launched her own podcast about the complications that come with dating, fucking, and loving in the 21st century. This third episode focuses on queer identity and polyamory with guest Gaby Dunn of YouTube fame, who goes into great detail on the particulars of her polyamorous relationship, the sexism she’s experienced in sketch groups, and a very special poster of Lindsay Lohan. But earlier in the episode, Beatriz recaps how her coming out was accomplished with just a few emojis and how her conservative immigrant parents reacted to the news of her queer identity. There’s also a lot of talk about Kate McKinnon. I may be a boring half-white straight cismale, but I have to agree with the hosts: No matter what gender you identify with or where you fall on the Kinsey Scale, everybody wants to do dirty, filthy things with McKinnon’s Ghostbusters character. [iTunes]
Don’t Get Me Started - Nicole Byer - Fake Hair/Stealing
Mark: “Your honor, a podcast told me how to do it. What podcast? Don’t get me started.” That defense will undoubtedly be used by thousands of comedy nerds caught shoplifting after this week’s episode of Don’t Get Me Started. Hosts Anthony King & Will Hines are willing accomplices to Nicole Byer’s crazy detailed instructional episode on how to steal from retail stores. Should Byer ever decide to call it quits on comedy (let’s hope not), she’s sure to find success as the ringleader of an Ocean’s 11-esque crew that steals vibrators and the collected works of Shakespeare from greedy corporations like Spencer’s Gifts and Barnes & Noble. In addition to Shoplifting for Dummies, she explains wigs and weaves to Hines and King, who are as admittedly clueless about the subject as you would expect from two middle-aged white men. Watch out malls across America, you’re about to have a bevy of plaid shirts and copies of Hines’ How to be the Greatest Improviser on Earth magically disappear from your shelves over the next few weeks. [iTunes]
Truth & Iliza - Kevin Nealon
Marc: Iliza Shlesinger’s podcast, Truth & Iliza, continues to be a very popular show. It’s continually on iTunes’ Top 100 Comedy Podcasts, and it is one of the shows mentioned most frequently in this very column. The appeal is clear to hear –- Schlesinger is an unrestrained breath of fresh air, a host who shoots from the hip and speaks her mind. Not to mention she consistently gets great “gets.” She even says so while proclaiming her most recent visitor, Kevin Nealon, to be one. Effortlessly funny, with a podcast-perfect voice, Nealon is ready with answers to whatever questions Shlesinger flips him, whether it’s about past relationships, how he got over his allergy to cats (“I just ended up adopting a lot of cats and it kinda went away!”), or the audition process he went through to land Saturday Night Live. A great story, by the way, which ended with him getting the offer when he met with producer Lorne Michaels in Los Angeles. “Can I have the weekend to think about it?” he asked the unflappable Michaels, who answered, “Sure…but we’ll see you in New York on Monday.” The comedian who never planned to become an actor talks about appearing a new CBS series later this month, Man with A Plan starring Matt LeBlanc, but insists that he’ll be right back on the standup stage eery opportunity he gets. Her guest even has somewhat of a calming influence on Shlesinger, who can get pretty excitable around certain topics — including Nealon flaking on showing up for the previous week’s episode, as scheduled. No matter. Kevin Nealon tends to keep everything on an even keel. [iTunes]
2 Dope Queens - Silk Pajamas
Leigh: Right from the get-go, Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson make it clear what kind of episode, Oprah-wise, this week’s 2 Dope Queens is going to be. And lucky for us, it’s the one where they all go to Australia. Metaphorically only, of course. So don’t expect any Hugh Jackman or Vegemite. But big deal, because what we do get is how to DIY yourself a trip to Italy, some tips for using a Hitachi magic wand if you’re lazy and standup from Phoebe and Jessica’s hilarious friends. First up is Hadiyah Robinson making the case for the childless aunt as the best member of any family and why 12 year old girls are the worst. Then, Jordan Carlos sheds some light on something we’ve all wondered about – how whale sex works. And finally, Kevin Barnett explains what it feels like to be on drugs before you realize you’ve actually taken drugs. [iTunes]
The Flop House - Victor Frankenstein
Kathryn: Yes, Smallvember has come to a close and Shocktober, the scariest season of all, is upon us at last. If this month were a baseball game, Ty Macabre would be pitching, and since it’s the Flop House it would definitely be a no-hitter. No hits allowed, only flops like Victor Frankenstein, starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe. In this episode the Peaches discuss: Was Einstein that good at math? Were Frankenstein and Igor in a homoerotic dom-sub relationship? And would the song “Hallelujah” be so hateful if it were sung by Katey Sagall? Also they discuss the film at some point. Featuring the ongoing debate about whether or not Jackie Chan was in that and Elliot’s truly creepy Jack Palance impression. In conclusion, if you haven’t committed to a long-term lease on the Flop House and you’re still going month-to-month, Shocktober is a good month to pop by. [iTunes]
Our Debut Album - Party Lyin’ Featuring Jessica Delisle
Noah: The beloved co-hosts of Stop Podcasting Yourself, Canada’s premiere comedy podcast, are now pressed up against the halfway point of their Our Debut Album project. This month, they enlist fellow Vancouver tastemaker Jessica Delisle (Retail Nightmares, Energy Slime) to help them record the record’s requisite disco banger. It’s the first time that the band has found themselves being truly counted down by the all-seeing voice that marks their progress through the hour, but that pressure gives the finished product its charm. Delisle is a classically trained pianist and accomplished musician, but she’s also a goof whose eager perspective plays well against the slight detachment that Clark and Shumka have perfected through the past six months. Shumka’s documentation of the recording process is as vibrant as ever, too – but the episode’s highlight comes when they stumble into the apolitical lyric “Medusa’s got a new pantsuit,” later sung in perfect deadpan by Delisle as the cornerstone of “Party Lyin’,” the latest hit in an album full of them. [iTunes]
Mohr Stories with Jay Mohr - Anthony Bourdain
Elizabeth: Jay Mohr may be the ultimate Anthony Bourdain fanboy judging by his enthusiasm to sit down with the No Reservations and Parts Unknown host. Anthony tells Jay about his worst experiences shooting, from having fish thrown at him in Sicily to very real security concerns in Libya. He also talks about the influences behind the look of his shows and how he pays homage to some of his favorite movies. (His dream scene is recreating the bar scene in Goodfellas with Emeril Lagasse as Joe Pesci.) They also discuss how drugs and alcohol have been ruined by people getting overly artisanal and geek out over music and their favorite cover songs. Plus, who knew Rachel Ray was a New York Dolls fan? [iTunes]
Artie Lange Uncensored - 09/30/16
Marc: It’s a little hard to tell what the official title of comedian Artie Lange’s podcast is, but Artie Lange Uncensored on the Radio Misfits Podcast Network seems to be dominant. Personally, I like the Artie Quitter Podcast better, and it seems to work fine, too. In the most recent free weekly installment (you can get his show four days a week on the other side of the Radio Misfits’ paywall…), it’s Lange and his producer, Dan Falato, winging it without a script or a net. To be honest, it’s really just Lange because every time Falato tries to chime in, the host suggests he really hasn’t figured out the “whole comedy thing” yet. But Falato’s laughter helps to keep Lange on a roll and he goes off on one hilariously strange tangent after another — which includes a 20-minute riff involving a vaguely Middle Eastern-accented app developer who’s come up with Klugger, an app designed for people looking to meet other people with an unhealthy obsession with the late actor Jack Klugman. While cheerfully pointing out that some of the stuff he comes up with wouldn’t have lasted more than a minute or two back when he was Howard Stern’s wingman, there’s no disguising the pleasure in his voice and manner at being able to follow whatever flights of fancy he likes on his very own show. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
WTF - Rachel Feinstein
Who Charted? - Rhea Butcher
High & Mighty - Porn w/Jake Hurwitz & Bob Castrone
Not Safe Podcast with Nikki Glaser - Devil’s Bargain
Sucks Radio - Conan the # Barbarian
This Feels Terrible - Chris Gethard
The Best Show - At Best Show! Goner Fest! Sound Collage!
Hollywood Handbook - Brandon Wardell, Our Close Friend
Campfires and Color Wars - Homesickness with Nathan Rabin
Definitely Dying - Narcolepsy and Poop Talk w/Lauren McGuire
Roderick On The Line - The Valve
Always Open - Peeing Your Pants
Chapo Trap House - No Cucks in the Foxhole ft. James Adomian
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.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.