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.
Mark: Experiencing the Golden Age of Television without listening to Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan break it down is like taking your kids to Westworld – you’ll still get to see some cattle, but what’s the point? The Watch is an essential listen if only to prove to your mother that indeed you can get smarter from watching TV. It’s no surprise everyone’s favorite nong man Jason Mantzoukas is a regular listener and new (hopefully regular) guest. Mantzoukas slides right into the heady TV discussion by pointing out how UCB storytelling has invaded the TV landscape, revealing which of The League’s guest stars immediately took to the show’s improv style, and naming the other show universes Rafi could live in. As usual there’s plenty of Atlanta talk, given his memories of a young Donald Glover at UCB, fresh out of NYU, but keep at it, podcast world – there can never be enough Atlanta talk. Of course, those who play The Watch bingo will have a great time. Revisiting an obscure ‘90s sci-fi movie (Gattaca)? Check. Reviewing a random indie rock album (Beach Slang)? Check. Fanboying over Andre Braugher? Check. Episodes of The Watch, much like Jason Mantzoukas’ outfits, are consistently solid. [iTunes]
Noah: The conclusion of Rocklobsterfest is a podcast fan’s dream come true: the long-anticipated marriage of the Doughboys and the men behind Hollywood Handbook. It’s jarring, occasionally, to hear Sean Clements and Hayes Davenport speak so frankly about the characters they play on their show – especially when Clements actually refers to Sean as a “character” – but Nick Wiger and Mike Mitchell bring out a truly honest side of the pair. That much is clear early on, when in one of the episode’s many highlight segments Clements tells the makeshift story of proposing to his wife Grace in the movie Sex Tape at the ArcLight Theater. In fact, they don’t get to talking about Red Lobster until roughly the halfway point, when Grace becomes the central figure yet again in a riff about her natural dining chemistry with Davenport. Podcast chemistry abounds, plans are made for a lengthy Shrimp Off tag team special in the future, and Wiger spends an unbelievable amount of time doing the math on their fork ratings. For Handbook obsessives andDoughboys loyalists alike, it’s appointment listening. [iTunes]
Elizabeth: Non-millennial Jason Mantzoukas stops by OMFG! this week to share his perspective on social media and why he’s not on it. (Like, any of it.) He discusses missing out on cultural moments online (although he doesn’t really miss them.) They also talk about what the internet has to offer in terms of praise and vitriol and Deanna shares her own experience reading the comments of her Domino’s commercial, in which she portrayed a salad-loving shrew with great breasts. Deanna and Emily give Jason a taste of what he’s not seeing on social media as they read praise and observations about him that have been posted online. And finally, Jason also shares his observations about millennial men and why people don’t have or even need game in today’s fuck society. [iTunes]
The Caddyshack Minute - Creamed and Buffed with a Fine Chamois
Marc: The idea of deconstructing movies in a minute-per-episode fashion seems to be a genre peculiar to the podcast medium. It may have started with the celebrated Star Wars Minute show, and was magnified to absurdity with The Worst Idea of All Time podcast. (That’s where New Zealanders Guy Montgomery and Tim Batt watched Grown Ups 2 once a week for a year and talked about each viewing.) The Caddyshack Minute is currently at Minute 17, which seems to be “one of the more crucial minutes” in the seminal cult comedy Caddyshack, according to hosts Mike DeMaria, Dan Lewis, and Tom Taylor. Major focus for this 60-second chunk is Ted Knight’s Judge Smails as he sails through Bushwood Country Club, threatening to have a car towed from his parking space and bullying Jackie Davis’ Smoke Porterhouse with the line this episode’s title is drawn from: “Oh Porterhouse, look at the wax buildup on these shoes. I want that wax stripped off there, then I want them creamed and buffed with a fine chamois, and I want them now. Chop chop.” How do you fill 26 minutes talking about a minute’s worth of movie? At one point, host DeMaria’s Skype connection goes down, giving his two cohorts the opportunity to badmouth him mercilessly. And later Taylor’s dogs burst into his place, forcing him to relocate to another room. By these metrics, The Caddyshack Minute is going to be WAY longer than the actual movie’s running time of one hour and 38 minutes. [iTunes]
Pointed Questions with Brent Weinbach - Nannying
Pablo: If you’ve ever seen Brent Weinbach’s standup act, you know that there’s nothing conventional about the former Andy Kaufman Award winner. On stage, Weinbach mixes absurd observations and hyper-specific impressions, like Bay Area public school students and Hollywood cholos. But on Pointed Questions, he brings the adept interview skills he showcases as the co-host of DJ Douggpound’s The Poundcast. Pointed Questions, which dropped all 10 episodes last week, features in-depth interviews from a wide-range of people including a rapper, a dwarf, a mortician, and a chef. In this episode, Brent and co-host Donny Divanian interview Victoria, a nanny, on what it’s like to raise the children of Los Angeles’ upper-class. In Victoria’s experience, it’s usually the parents, not the kids, who are the main factors between a cushy job and a nightmarish situation. And in a fascinating observation to this native Angeleno, Victoria says that the Westside parents, who innately understand the role of the nanny, are far less frustrating than the parents raising kids in LA’s hipster Eastside. No matter the geographic differences, nothing tops Victoria’s worst gig: A 5 year old child whose mother still let him wear a diaper. She says that kid is now 13, so let’s just hope he’s at least started potty training. [iTunes]
Bad with Money - Goodbye Depression, Hello Pound Puppies
Leigh: There is no shortage of podcasts where you can hear comedians relay the details of their career trajectories. We’ve heard about how they’ve worked day jobs, hustled, and eventually got some kind of break. But we haven’t really heard that much about the financial details of their struggles and and successes. People don’t want to talk about that stuff. Enter Bad with Money, hosted by Gaby Dunn, an honest, open, and practical (and funny) discussion about money. First on this week’s episode is Dunn’s comedy partner Allison Raskin, talking about success and selling out. Next is Sara Schaefer, who has also talked about dealing with money in her standup. They cover the realities of assuming that just because someone is on TV, doesn’t mean they’re set for life. As Dunn and Schaefer mention, nobody learns how to handle money in school, so most people in comedy are left to figure it out along the way. Bad with Money is a very helpful (and funny) place to start learning. [iTunes]
Back on the Redd Planet - Special Covert Affairs Crossover Episode
Marc: This may be the weirdest “double meta” podcast experience I’ve had to date…and I love it. Back on the Redd Planet is one of those “companion” podcasts that charts the progress — episode by episode — of a TV show. In the case of Redd Planet, it’s a ‘90s sitcom that never actually existed. Hosts Chris, Seth, and Matt just finished going through the first season of the non-show and so this week they gave their podcast feed over to the cast of Covert Affairs, in a special crossover episode. Here’s where the meta gets super-sized: There also is no such thing as the Covert Affairs podcast. (Well, there was – it was dedicated to the USA TV show by the same name but it was canceled a couple of seasons ago.) This Covert Affairs stars “character actor Alan Covert” (star of Grandma’s Boy), who is joined each episode by fellow Adam Sandler hanger-on and actor Peter Dante, along with director Dennis Dugan (Problem Child). And although those are real people, these are not those people. They are, as easily determined by listening to episodes of Redd Planet, the aforementioned hosts Chris, Seth, and Matt. And as portrayed by them, the trio bases most of their interplay on the movies that they were somehow involved with, mostly at the behest of “The Sandman,” the nickname for Sandler they use almost as often as the coattails they’ve used to get ahead. The premise of Covert Affairs is to answer listeners’ emails about romantic affairs, but the letters that get read somehow boomerang back to the plotlines of the movies Covert, Dante, or Dugan have been associated with…which leads them once more into talking about those movies. This weird “one-off” episode is a fun oddity. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hollywood Handbook - Cody And Kevin, Our Facebook Friends
Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler - Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Scary Secrets of Stasis PA - Part 3: “Rat Happenings!”
Hannibal Buress: Handsome Rambler - Bed Bug Bites
The Titanium Physicists Podcast - A Phonon Call
Chapo Trap House - Trap House of Horror: Tha Hanging Boyz ft. @kathbarbadoro
This Week Had Me Like - Rock the Vote (with Mitchell Sunderland)
Truth & Iliza - Peri Glipin
Doug Loves Movies - Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Gourley, & Mark McConville
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.