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.
Pablo: For those who went to college for non-drinking reasons, Power Hour is a game where you take a shot of beer, every minute, for an hour. A shot of beer every minute seems deceptively easy until you do that math: roughly 5 beers in 60 minutes. But eating 60 nuggets in an hour, as the Doughboys and guests Nicole Byer and Jon Gabrus do in this episode? There’s nothing deceptive about that challenge. While Gabrus, who suggested this event in an earlier episode, routinely brags about his eating prowess on his own podcast and Byer says she’s a 3-plater at buffets, the Doughboys are upfront about their fears going into this event. Those fears are not entirely unfounded as Mike Mitchell starts visibly sweating and complaining about a numb penis around nugget 25. Fellow co-host Nick Wiger gives up around the halfway mark, a wise decision considering the three remaining contestants start to question their morality at nugget 35 and come to the realization at nugget 40 that they all have dead dads and will be meeting them very soon if they continue. As they reach the home stretch, the now-cold nuggets help our bloated heroes venture forward but Byer and Mitch reach their limit around nugget 45. However, Gabrus cannot be stopped. While he did take the food challenge equivalent of steroids in blazing up a baseball-sized joint prior to this event, Gabrus can be heard nibbling on Burger King chicken fries during this gut-busting challenge. So while a burp at nugget 52 nearly causes him to fall out of his chair, the self-proclaimed Number One Fuckboy finishes the challenge and dedicates the 60th nugget to all of their dead dads. If you’re the podcast listener who gets annoyed when hosts eat on mic, you might want to skip this tribute to Kobayashi, Joey Chestnut, and frat boys across this gluttonous country. [iTunes]
Why Oh Why - Hotter On Bumble, Part 2
Noah: Andrea Silenzi is the queen of cold calls. Way back when Why Oh Why was on the radio, Andrea began a yearslong live-in relationship when she took a first date on Skype under the guise of her show. She’s quietly assembled some of Squarespace’s best ads in some time by forcing her Slate co-producer Chris Berube to confront a man with the same name and better search engine optimization than him on the phone. And now, she’s landed an interview and – spoiler – a date with Mike, the hottest guy on Bumble. He’s the one who shows up as a prospective match seemingly every time she opens the app and who prompts Google to ask “did you mean ‘muscles’?” when she reverse image searches him. The quest for Mike has been the crux of this two-parter that explores the “hotter on Bumble” phenomenon, with help from writer Reynald Adolphe and developer Chris Volinsky, and explains how the consensus between young singles that Bumble users are better looking than Tinder users is actually the result of a pretty poor algorithm. The revelation about the profound fallibility of dating apps is complemented by the main event: Andrea’s hilariously, awkwardly manufactured meet cute with Mike. A level beyond “cringe comedy” or “car crash TV,” it’s just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her on a podcast where she once recorded herself getting an IUD. [iTunes]
The Nerdist - TWCH the Cast of Silicon Valley
Marc: If Howard Stern is the King of All Media, then Chris Hardwick must be fast approaching the title of Crown Prince. Or Clown Prince, given his standup comedy background. On the heels of his quadruple threat TV successes — his Talking Dead and Fear of the Walking Dead wrap-up shows on AMC, the @midnight panel game show, and The Wall game show on NBC — he’s now sporting a once-a-week talk show, Talking with Chris Hardwick, every Sunday night on AMC. The concept is allowing him to double dip a bit, content-wise, which is why Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods, and Martin Starr (all from HBO’s Silicon Valley) could be on TV with Hardwick last Sunday and then be featured on his Nerdist podcast this past Monday. The audio presentation is nearly twice as long and none of the curse words are bleeped out. And other than the fact that there’s the sound of a studio audience responding with laughter and applause to the 4-way conversation, it’s pretty much like many other “talked” podcasts. It’s also highly entertaining, from stories of all three guys relating their childhood karate/taekwondo classes. Woods admits to “peeing his gi” (the traditional martial arts robe), while the other two guys bailed when the sparring started. There’s plenty of talk about the hijinks on the set, Starr talks about doing research on the Satanist angle of his character, and Middleditch talks about his four months at sea doing improv before moving to LA a few years later. Hardwick’s been doing the chat show game for a while now and he’s got no problem engaging the guests, the viewers, or the listeners (depending on which medium you’re using). [iTunes]
Hello! And Good News - Good Job Science with Mary Holland
Elizabeth: In an age where every Twitter refresh and New York Times notification makes you want to crawl into the fetal position beneath your desk, it’s nice to have some good news every once and awhile. Each week on Hello! And Good News, host Hannah Kanengieter sits down with a fellow comedian to talk about what’s going right in the world. This week Mary Holland of Veep and Shrink joins Hannah to discuss the wonderful things going on around the world, including a tool library in Minnesota comprised of donations from a local senior citizen and a dad who went viral making his daughter feel better about peeing her pants at school. Hannah also announces some great environmental news, from an awesome caterpillar that can eat plastic to Britain’s coal-free day. The show wraps up with a look at some great non-profit organizations in Mary’s hometown of Galax, Virginia, including Smokey’s Bunny Haven, a home for special needs rabbits. And if that good news doesn’t help you forget about North Korea momentarily, I don’t know what will. [iTunes]
Pod Save America - “The odorless gas of misogyny.”
Marc: Ostensibly, Pod Save America is a political talker. After all, the four-headed host is made up of former aides to President Obama aides: Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor. But these guys are pretty comedically savvy and the pace is nonstop. They’re also unabashedly liberal and lean far left, for the most part, with no love at all for the current American President. Dropping days before that Trump’s first 100 days in office, the hosts cobble together a pretty disgraceful report card for the Commander in Chief. Favreau seems to be the main ringmaster here, and he leads the way through botched policies, errant aircraft carriers, and the spectre of grabbing naughty bits. Partway through the show they’re joined by Lauren Duca from Teen Vogue, who recently won a Shorty Award. Lauren lets loose on the most sexist parts of the Trump Universe and proves by her questions that there are some younger journalists who have developed some serious Fourth Estate chops. [iTunes]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hollywood Handbook - Employee Reviews, Our Useful Tool
2 Dope Queens - 2 Derp Queens
The Dollop - Edward Clarke vs Girls
Can I Pet Your Dog? - Marnie the Dog and Chihuahuas 2.0
Still Buffering - How To 13 Reasons Why
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.