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.
How Did This Get Made? - The Running Man (w/Kulap Vilaysack)
Mark: For whatever reason, The Running Man has seen a resurgence as of late. Not only did Jon Gabrus and the Action Boyz hilariously cover the ‘80s film on a recent episode of High & Mighty, but screenwriter Steven de Souza discussed it extensively on a fascinating March episode of I Was There Too. Maybe it’s because of the obvious parallels between today’s bitter marriage of entertainment and politics. Perhaps it’s because the charismatic former wrestler-turned-politician Jesse Ventura stars, while the charisma-less politician-turned-wrestler Greg Gianforte of Montana now stars in the US Senate. Whatever the reason is, I bet it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it’s the 30th anniversary of the movie’s release. The HDTGM gang + Kulap cover this classic in detail, focusing less on societal metaphors and more on the all-around bizarre fashion choices. As always, a heated debate over whether or not Arnold is a precursor to Katniss from The Hungie Games takes place. I’m willing to bet that if The Capitol sent an overweight, opera-singing, electrically-charged sexual deviant after Katniss, the Hungie Games films could have been an even bigger box office hit. Long live Dynamo. [Apple Podcasts]
Guys We Fucked - Was It Self-Tanner or Her Period?
Come to Papa - Get on the Bus
Marc: Tom Papa’s back in New York. Or he was just this past week, doing some live shows and holding down a hotel room within view of the Freedom Tower. Along with fellow comedian Paul Morrissey, both of whom are getting ready to dash out to do another show before their time in Manhattan is done, Papa does some freeform riffing a variety of unrelated topics, starting from missing the Yankees game and riding the subway, where he encountered a man who “didn’t look like a homeless situation but” when the smell hit his nose, “it was a combination of human feces, burning tires, and goat’s ass.” From that encounter, he and Morrissey take us on a whirlwind random tour of great eateries in town before segueing to the state of performing in comedy clubs today. A big chunk of the show (as hinted at the by the title) is about the myth, mystery, and romance of the indestructible VW microbus. While their automotive historical knowledge proves to be a little spotty, they more than make up for the lack of details with their collective stories of VW buses and bugs. There’s a spin through the world of men’s ultra-casual fashion (think tank tops, sweat pants, and flip flops) just before the boys are done, rushing off for just one more gig before heading back to Los Angeles. [Apple Podcasts]
Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast - Bonus Episode
Elizabeth: What’s a Late Night writer to do when the show tapes at 6:30 and there seems to be a breaking news alert every day at 5:30pm? Late Night with Seth Meyers is on hiatus this week, but the podcast carries on as segment producer Henry Melcher and “A Closer Look” writer Sal Gentile sit down with some scotch to talk about the batshit crazy month of May. Since Sal sends his first draft in the night before, even the period when news was breaking at 9 or 10:00pm was rough. They talk about how they incorporate breaking news into the show, whether it’s fitting it in at the last moment or finding a way to mention it as a preview for what will be covered the next night (that is until some other news breaks). Part of the episode is spent just trying to remember what happened in April. One can only hope that the news cycle slows down, if not for the sake of the national psyche, then for the well being of late night writing staffs everywhere. [Apple Podcasts]
Retail Nightmares - Mega Famous Actor, Writer, and Comedian, Brent Butt!
Noah: Brent Butt’s sharp, jolly wit has always been a natural fit for podcasts. And as the star, creator, and cultural icon behind Canada’s mid-2000s smash hit prairie sitcom Corner Gas, which hosts Alicia Tobin and Jessica Delisle rightfully acknowledge as the predecessor for the concept of retail nightmares, he’s is in his element for the landmark 100th episode of Retail Nightmares. Butt’s sheer star power – Alicia’s dad wants to know how to watch the podcast – blends well with Jessica’s comparatively younger sense of humor, with Jessica pouncing on Butt’s older line ideas about “getting frosted” and her simmering appreciation for hanky codes giving him the perfect thing to latch onto as a thread through the show. Butt regales with some stories about his rise to stardom, unsurprisingly has some great nightmares from a pizza joint he worked at, and formally announces that he’s planning to move forward on his own podcast next month. Also, have we mentioned what a great jingle “What’s Your Favorite Grape?” is? [Apple Podcasts]
No Such Thing as a Fish - No Such Thing as a Courgette in Your Ear
Marc: The quartet of researchers behind the scenes of the hit British TV show QI — James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber — continue to be as entertaining as hell as the podcast equivalent of a stack of trivia books on the back of the toilet. And I do mean that as a compliment. Spoiler Alert: I COULD make you listen until the very last trivia tidbit is revealed but a courgette is also known as the common zucchini. And you should never put anything smaller than that in your ear. (Here in the States, BTW, we say it’s anything smaller than your elbow.) How they got there is simple: If you draw a dot of ink on your eardrum, a short time later it will appear on your earlobe. I’m not going to reveal how, otherwise why listen at all? Unless you want to hear these trivia experts discussing things such as the US Army has to use specially made hypodermic needles because the field personnel tend to be so muscular a regular needle won’t piece deep enough to be effective. Or did you know that the former president of Soviet Georgia drives around and digs up full-grown trees from the country to transplant to his estate? And those are just a sampling of the many delectable factoids you’re going to pick up from this week’s show – happy audio browsing! [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Who Charted?- Drew Tarver Reality Bytes - Matt Mira and Doree Shafrir You Better DON’T! - Greetings from Dummytown High & Mighty - Highdeas w/ Max Silvestri and Noah Garfinkel How to Be Amazing - Al Franken The Best Show - Kurt Vile! Steve Gunn! Jello Man! More! Hollywood Handbook - Tawny Newsome, Our Close Friend My Dad Wrote a Porno - S3E1 - ‘London; Thursday 15.55 Local Time’
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
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.