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.
Hollywood Handbook - Mike Mitchell, Our Close Friend
Noah: One of Hollywood Handbook’s hidden talents is their penchant for loose, longform, multi-series stories – beginning with their sprawling epic with Tom Scharpling (and Julie Klausner), they’ve recently roped High and Mighty and Jon Gabrus into their extended universe as well. Developing parallel has been their critically acclaimed narrative with Mike Mitchell and Nick Wiger, which kicked into a higher gear last fall when Hayes Davenport and Sean Clements closed out Rocklobsterfest. And now, in addition to their at-long-last return to Doughboys this week, Mitchell makes his Handbook debut in lovingly tense fashion. It’s an easy joke to make Mitchell eat something stupid and rank it on a needlessly complex scale, but the longstanding rivalry between the shows – and Hayes’s well-documented in-character bombast – pays off in spades when the food stunt is revealed as cold ramen, cigarettes, and chopped up liquid medicine tablets. Extended riffs on Doughboys co-host Nick Wiger’s dastardly motives and a giggly pre-guest farce detailing how to take a bath like a Hollywood elite round out another one in Sean and Hayes’s record books. [iTunes]
2 Dope Queens - Bonus Episode: Love Advice with Jessica’s Mom
Elizabeth: Is your love life in complete shambles or maybe just in need of a refresh? Are you looking for advice from an expert, perhaps one that knows how to raise a Dope Queen? In honor of Valentine’s Day, Phoebe and Jessica sit down with Jessica’s mom, Maria, to answer listener questions. They tackle faking orgasms, losing your virginity, farts, dating a Trump voter, and much more. Maria, who is a legit relationship counselor, breaks down the five love languages and explains why they are important for refilling your lover’s tank. She also gives some brilliant insight on the importance of taking things slow or having a crockpot relationship in a microwave world. Maria gives Iyanla Vanzant a run for her money and definitely needs to come out with a relationship book by next V-Day. [iTunes]
Doughboys - BJ’s with Sean Clements & Hayes Davenport
Pablo: Doughboys in a nutshell: This episode with Hollywood Handbook’s Sean & Hayes features significantly more talk about bugs (the spider that bit Peter Parker, picnic nuisances, A Bug’s Life, entomology, etc.) than last month’s episode featuring a guest named Bug Mane. Yes, Sean and Hayes have appeared together on a Rocklobsterfest episode, but this is the first time they’ve guested as a duo on a proper episode of the show, finally fulfilling the Doughboys’ promise to eat at Sean’s beloved BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. It’s the most epic pop culture crossover event since The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones, and not just because podcasts also exist in a universe exclusively occupied by white people. Does Mike Mitchell regale us with his youthful tales of Robotripping in Quincy, MA? Yup. Is Nick Wiger genuinely scared of a power hour with shrimp instead of beer? Duh. Was Ray Liotta supposed to play the role of Sebastian in La La Land according to a drunken conversation that Sean overheard? You bet your sweet bippy! It’s only a matter of time before the Hollywood Boyz are invited back by the ‘Boys, but when that happens, I demand that the Sopranos cast member teased in this episode is actually booked by Spoonman. It’s Uncle Junior, right? [iTunes]
Good One: A Podcast About Jokes - Jim Gaffigan and His Good Looking Newscasters Joke
Marc: Vulture Senior Editor (and former Splitsider editor) Jesse David Fox has jumped into the podcast abyss after commenting from the sidelines for years. Good One: A Podcast About Jokes is a comedy offering that gets about as granular as one can about humor. As modeled in his kickoff episode, Fox features a single joke – really more of a self-contained “chunk” of material – from a standup comedian and then wades in to deconstruct the material. Helping him in this effort is the actual comedian, in this case Jim Gaffigan. The joke they look at is about why TV newscasters are so good looking (in part: “TV newscasters are so attractive that, when they interview a regular person, it’s visually distracting”). How can a show about one joke last three-quarters of an hour? That’s the brilliant part of Fox’s formula – breaking the joke down all the way to its DNA opens the door to him interviewing his guest about the writing process, when the joke first appeared (the version played on Good One comes from Gaffigan’s Cinco special on Netflix), and other topics that can range far afield of the joke’s conception. With a hard-to-burn-out premise like that, it seems Fox’s new show has legs. [iTunes]
Roundball Rock - LeBron’s Not About That Meme Life (w/ Mike Mulloy)
Mark: This week’s Roundball Rock serves as a reminder that it’s still nice to listen to people joke about something other than politics. Boston guy Mike Mulloy joins the crew (Roundball Rockers?) to talk about the action-packed week in the NBA, which includes the Charles Oakley-James Dolan debacle. If Dolan really wanted to punish Oak, he’d force him to sit through all of his JD & The Straight Shot concerts. Our hosts Sean Keane, Dave Schilling, and Joey Devine also cover the league’s reactions to the Under Armour CEO’s support of Donald Trump, and Steph Curry makes a case for himself as the GOAT of Dad jokes. It’s not all NBA talk – Mulloy reveals his hidden talent of getting blocked by celebrities on Twitter and shares those stories about Rob Lowe and rapper/not-a-fish Benzino. Mulloy also gives a few details on the pilot he worked on, The Upside with Ian Karmel, where he made ESPN’s Amin Elhassan face the wrath of real-life Twitter backlash. We’ll see if Mulloy puts his money where is mouth is – he announced a $5,000 reward for anyone who punches Milwaukee Bucks big man and outspoken conservative Spencer Hawes in the face. The Bucks’ next game is against the Utah Jazz, so let’s hope Boris Diaw is in desperate need of a new espresso machine. [iTunes]
The More Perfect Union - What Trump Is Getting Right
Marc: With America in the throes of one of the most controversial presidents ever to come to power in, well, history, it’s hard to find a podcast NOT talking about Donald Trump. In the case of The More Perfect Union, that discussion is both funny and astute. It’s been around for 78 episodes and is made up of a politically diverse panel from Rebeka Kuschmider (liberal Democrat), Kevin Kelton (moderate Democrat), and Greg Matusak (“Catholic Democrat”) to D.J. McGuire (Republican-in-exile) and Helena Henry (“evangelical conservative”). Flying under the banner “real debate without the hate,” the hosts try to look at the issues facing the USA without the usual name-calling and rhetoric that tends to cloud rather than clear those issues. Using humor is one way the panelists keep the proceedings light — Kelton is a former writer for SNL and other TV comedy shows — and the others display levels of comedy genetics as they riff their way through the show. In this most recent episode even the conservative side of the panel has difficulty coming up with things that the incoming POTUS has done without misstepping along the way. They also bat around the fracas between Mitch McConnell and Elizabeth Warren, how Kelton’s alum mater, SNL, has been needling the new administration, and the First Eldest Daughter’s split with Nordstrom. MPU is a handy way to get a fairly balanced and humorous take on the latest political hot potatoes. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hound Tall - The Case for Ending Civilization
Anna Faris Is Unqualified - Charlie Day
Chapo Trap House - War Is Heck feat. @PissPigGraddad
I Was There Too - Back to the Future Trilogy with Tom Wilson
You Made It Weird - Artie Lange and Judd Apatow
Pod Save America - Pod Save America Takes Brooklyn (w/ Bill De Blasio & Alex Wagner)
Marty & Sarah Love Wrestling - Scary Boys & Sassy Girls
The Watch - Looking at Pop Culture Through the Political Prism with Chuck Klosterman
Missing Richard Simmons - Where’s Richard
The Best Show - Viles-Time Day! Kurt Vile and Jello Man In Studio! Steve in D.C.! Tom Sees John Wick 2!
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Marc Hershon is host of Succotash, The Comedy Soundcast Soundcast and author of I Hate People!
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Mark Kramer is a writer, comedian & human boy from Staten Island, New York, but please don’t hold that against him.
Noah Jacobs is a writer, podcaster, and mark who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.>