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? - Virtuosity: LIVE! (w/Sarah Silverman, Taran Killam)
Marc: Perhaps a question from the live audience for this episode of How Did This Get Made? put it best: Is this (Virtuosity) the worst movie with the best cast ever in the canon of the show? Hosts Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas did this episode live at Largo in Los Angeles. And to make it uber-special, they bring in special guest Sarah Silverman (I Love You, America) and Taran Killam (Killing Gunther, SNL). This mighty sniping quartet makes hash out of Brett Leonard’s 1995 monumental stinkbomb followup to his laughable Lawnmower Man. You’d think that having a young n’ hunky Russell Crowe and an always dependable Denzel Washington onboard would guarantee a certain level of success, but Scheer and company can’t seem to find a speck of polish on this cinematic turd. The good thing for us is that their dissection session is constantly hilarious, from mocking the multiple storylines that don’t seem to get anywhere to lambasting Crowe’s seemingly nutty performance as a VR creation brought into the real world to wreak havoc, mayhem, and just a little bit of dancing. Oh, and Denzel has a robotic arm. [Apple Podcasts]
With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus - Jessica St. Clair, Lennon Parham: Getting Comfy
Elizabeth: Welcome to Getting Comfy with Tate and Mary! Unfortunately, Tate and Mary were in a horrific accident this morning so segment producers and lovers Rebecca (Jessica St. Clair) and Tatum (Lennon Parham) fill in because the show must go on. They talk Shark Tank with Kinsey Riperton, a former contestant and sexual partner of Mark Cuban. Kinsey is the prolific inventor behind a speaker/headphone combo and a dust buster attachment that intimately lacerated Barbara Corcoran. Plus, Paula Poundstone swings by to make cat flats, Jose Cuervo serves up some Argentinean beef, and Traci Reardon answers listeners’ questions and helps Tatum and Rebecca reconnect romantically. While Tate and Mary don’t make it, Rebecca and Tatum may still have another chance at love. [Apple Podcasts]
Hound Tall - What It’s Really Like in Prison
Pablo: If you’re American, especially an American man of color, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be sent to prison in your lifetime. Incarceration is what our country does best. But what’s life really like behind bars? On the most recent Hound Tall, Moshe Kasher invites former prisoner Big Herc to dispel all the preconceptions you have from decades of prison-related films and TV. Moshe gets things started off with the first question on my mind: Which prison gang do Jews join to survive? As Big Herc explains, it’s pretty normal for your non-gang-affiliated prisoner to survive as long as they keep their head down and don’t bring attention to themselves. He also dispels the obvious second question: Is rape really that common in prison? These are just some of the many fascinating insights Big Herc, who hosts the prison YouTube show Fresh Out, has throughout a must-listen episode. There’s purposely little focus on the prison industrial complex or the politics behind mass incarceration; that’s not the point of this live show. But if you want to be educated on pooping etiquette around your cellmate or how not to get your wig split, you better listen before you get locked up. [Apple Podcasts]
Dead Pilots Society - Tuned
Kathryn: Episode 17 of Dead Pilots Society is a lost pilot for a musical show about a rare brain disorder causing auditory hallucinations. How could it not have gone to series? That’s actually a serious question; Tuned, from Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont – who also wrote the movie Can’t Hardly Wait – feels like a fully formed comedy already, a darker Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Granted, the pilot is so technically complicated, incorporating dialogue, diegetic and non-diegetic jukebox musical cues and flash mob-style dance numbers, even the table read required a rehearsal. But on Ben Blacker and Andrew Reich’s podcast it goes off without a hitch (with fewer glitches than even non-musical episodes). Though Tuned didn’t get picked up, the podcast version has a stellar cast with some of the best actors from long-running shows, including Allison Tolman from Fargo, Retta and Jim O’Heir from Parks and Rec, and Kate Flannery from The Office. And you know this show would have been good since there’s a character named “Jennica.” [Apple Podcasts]
Doughboys Double - State of the Podcast with Evan Susser
Mark: How many podcasts are we up to now? Two thousand? Ten million? All completely free, just sitting there on iTunes, begging to be heard. So why would anyone pay to listen to a podcast, let alone a podcast whose hosts repeatedly assert “this is a bad show?” As a Doughboys Double subscriber myself, the answer to that question is simple: I have no idea. That being said, $5 a month for a second weekly helping of The Spoonman and Burger Boy has become a genuine bargain. Commissioner Evan Susser graces the Double this week to give a rousing, insult-ridden State of the Podcast address as only he can. Even more rousing are the juicy details of the Doughboys Netflix show that almost was. It’s really unfortunate the show didn’t work out – Netflix must have decided it already had enough Emmys. Hopefully one day the Doughboys will slide over to the small screen, but for now diehard fans will settle for two podcasts a week. Sixty dollars a year may seem like a lot, but it helps to think of it as charity. In a way, it is. [Patreon]
Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast - Patton Oswalt
Leigh: As much as we all love a crazy vacation anecdote told by a celebrity guest on a talk show, sometimes they’re just not enough. With some guests, no matter how quippy the anecdote, they leave you wanting more than the five-ish minute time slot allows. It goes without saying that Patton Oswalt is one of those guests who you know has more than five minutes of pre-planned conversation to share. Thankfully, for guests like him, there’s the Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast. He’s got a lot to say, and it’s mostly because, as Seth Meyers puts it, Patton Oswalt is a guy who loves things. Comics, Star Wars, obscure horror movies. He even points to how it was talking about stuff he loves that got things to change for him, career wise. The conversation gets really good in a very comedy nerd kind of way when the topic of Mel Brooks’ recent comments about political correctness comes up. Both are quick to push back on Brooks’ notion that Blazing Saddles never would have gotten made today. The longform conversation is followed by Oswalt’s segment from the show, so if those five-minute pre-planned anecdotes are in fact your thing, they’ve got you covered. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
The Lowe Post - Joe Mande
Fitzdog Radio - Tony Hinchcliffe
How to be a Person - Emily Altman - How to Cry
Action Boyz - Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
And Introducing - TABOO! (feat. Matthew Perpetua)
Tuesdays with Stories - Sneaky 50
Podcast Junkies - Playing to Your Strengths w/Jim Collison
Hold on with Eugene Mirman - Chris Gethard and The Moment of Cool
I Think You’re Interesting - BoJack Horseman’s sly, funny brilliance, explained by the people who make it
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.
Kathryn Doyle is a science writer from New York.