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.
Dumb People Town - Matt Braunger – Gentlemen’s Day
Marc: I love that Randy and Jason Sklar (Sklarbro Country), along with Daniel Van Kirk (Hindsight) have teamed up in Dumb People Town to focus on weird crime stories — the stock-in-trade of so many basement podcasts — and give them the comedic love and banter they deserve. Along for the ride this time out is Matt Braunger, who is driving the bus to Crazytown as much as the hosts. The three stories they cover, which include a pantsless man run amok with a baggage cart at the Orlando International Airport, a woman who gives her ex a beatdown for making out with her mother, and a wrecking crew of a maid of honor at a wedding, are really just comedy delivery systems for the four guys, who cram the time full of non-stop humor and also spin off into related tales of their own along the way. Unlike some of the yackfest podcasts that would like so desperately to be this show, the hosts and guest know how to work a mic and have true give-and-take without stepping on each other even once, nor is there a moment of dead air to be heard. It’s an hour and a half of true entertainment. [iTunes]
Crybabies - Kyle Kinane
Leigh: Today, there seems to be an constant stream of new things to cry about happening all around us. So to forget about all that for a bit, Kyle Kinane joins hosts Sarah Thyre and Susan Orlean this week on Crybabies to talk about some things that have made him cry in the past. Despite saying he’s not the kind of person to say things like “feeling good energy, man,” a lot of these things seem to be about feeling good energy, man. Whether it’s turning on the waterworks on in the middle of a crowd while watching LCD Soundsystem play at a music festival or crying alone in a hotel, it’s all about allowing yourself to have a moment and just feel everything. Which is just plain old good advice. And as he explains, when it comes to crying, it’s about striking the right balance between bottling everything up and letting it all out in the middle of the supermarket. On a personal note, as someone who can tear up at even the most corny commercial, it’s comforting to think about Kyle Kinane cry while watching The Bucket List. [iTunes]
Oh No Ross and Carrie - Ross and Carrie Await the End Times (Part 1): Amazing Facts Edition
Noah: How many qualities can qualify as “bread and butter” before you need to start sending in some other food groups? Either way, Oh No Ross and Carrie serves up a buffet this week with a relatively lighthearted investigation borne of a fringe religious spam mailer for a neighborhood church called Amazing Facts that Ross’s wife Cara couldn’t bear to throw out behind his back. Ross leads a double life typical of his style – as an obsessive Bible bookworm who happens to win a bunch of prizes because of a dad joke about the longest word in the dictionary, though his eagerness embarrasses him when he absent-mindedly raises his hand to claim that he doesn’t want to be there today. Carrie nails some impressions of her subjects that are as silly as they are obvious while taking her turn as the audience surrogate entering another one of their brazen Christian cults, distracting herself from the tedium of Pastor Doug’s runged lecture series by pranking Ross with $10 charcoal lemonade (and there are hot drinks). For Amazing Facts, the Devil is in the Vatican, but for Oh No Ross and Carrie, as always, the Devil is in the details. [iTunes]
WTF with Marc Maron - Bill Paxton/Dylan Brody
Marc: Marc Maron kicks off the earlier of this week’s episodes with his opening comments from “an undisclosed location,” hinting only that it’s on an island and that he’s basically unplugged from society at large for a recharge. It’s a double header of an episode, with comedian Dylan Brody swinging by the garage to show off his new resplendent wardrobe — “British gentleman/professor – and notice that the phone is on the watch chain” — and plug his upcoming streaming comedy special on NextUp. The main event is Maron’s guest Bill Paxton, who may have starred in many movie and TV projects but acknowledges that he is most often remembered for the memorable lines he uttered in Aliens (“Game over, man! Game over!”) and he’s not the least bit sad about that. With a bit of residual Texas twang in his voice, Paxton is an engaging raconteur during his visit, whether he’s talking about being a kid outside Dallas and seeing John F. Kennedy in person the day before the fateful day of his assassination, or how some of his best throwaway lines in Weird Science came from stuff his dad said when he was growing up. [iTunes]
Last Things First - Scott Aukerman
Pablo: To promote Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Netflix special that he co-directed, Scott Aukerman is hitting the podcast guest circuit, and you know what that means: Serious, introspective Choctaw, baby! Even though he plays the straight man in all of his projects, it’s always gratifying to hear Aukerman talk about the comedic process without having to wrangle the maniacs of the CBB universe. Ironically, he reveals that the initial form of the podcast, then a radio show on LA’s Indie 103, was akin to a WTF-esque style show exploring said process. But thanks to a station programmer at the now-dead rock station, he switched to the improv and character-heavy format that’s led to 469 episodes and counting. There’s basically zero talk of the Michael Bolton special, which is a little disappointing, but we do hear how Between Two Ferns went from being essentially finished after a limp 2nd episode to a pop culture phenomenon that had Brad Pitt leaving voicemails on Zach Galifianakis’ phone begging for an appearance. Host Sean L. McCarthy and Aukerman also broach the topics of how The Birthday Boys’ UCB one-nighters reminded him of his early live work, the influence of Harris Wittels nearly two years after his death, and a fantasy where he was considered to replace David Letterman after his IFC show reached Portlandia levels of popularity. [iTunes]
The Mindhouse Podcast - Jen Statsky
Elizabeth: This week on The Mindhouse Podcast, Josh sits down with writer Jen Statsky of NBC’s The Good Place to get the inside scoop on life in a TV writer’s room. Jen, who has also written on Lady Dynamite, Parks and Recreation, and Broad City, talks about still feeling nervous about first drafts and the pressure to prove that you’re funny when you enter a new room. She also shares her experiences working at Fallon and the intense pace of working in late night. They discuss the qualities of a good showrunner and the importance of being supportive, rather than competitive, in a room. And of course they weigh in on President Tiny Hands and the difficulty of being empathetic towards his supporters. If you’re dreaming of life as a TV writer, or just want to be refreshed on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, definitely give this episode a listen. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hollywood Handbook - Julie Klausner, Our Close Friend Once Again
The Hilarious World of Depression - Paul F. Tompkins Sees Dead Grass and Has Screwed Up Relationships
My Favorite Murder - Valet Area
The Bugle - Tolerance is just laziness
Sooo Many White Guys - Phoebe and Margaret Cho Hope They Die Alone
Monster Party - An Evening with Jeffrey Combs!!!
Retail Nightmares - Katie Garnham
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.