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.
Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air - Old Showbiz Stories With Carl Reiner
Pablo: I don’t have to do much to convince you to listen, do I? At 95, Carl Reiner has a new book out (Too Busy to Die) and he lives up to the title with this spry interview that’s a must-listen for any comedy fan. Want to know the first joke Mel Brooks told Carl? How about the genesis of the 2000 Year Old Man? You’ll learn both in this interview, plus the story of Mary Tyler Moore’s Dick Van Dyke Show audition and how Sid Caesar inspired Blazing Saddles by actually punching a horse in its face. And if Carl’s weekend tweet about Taylor Swift didn’t clue you in on his love of modern music, he also tells Larry how impressed he is by scat singers… by that he means rappers. Carl is definitely not stopping anytime soon and you can even catch him performing tonight on Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America. [Apple Podcasts]
Modern Day Philosophers - Baron Vaughn and Simone de Beauvoir
Marc: It’s not unusual for Danny Lobell, comedian and host of Modern Day Philosophers, to go deep with a guest. With fellow comic and old friend Baron Vaughn it happens super fast. Inside of just a few minutes we learn Vaughn only recently managed to track down his biological father after a lifetime of being raised by his single mother and grandmother in Las Vegas. That’s just a kickoff that leads the guest and Lobell on an extensive journey through religion (or lack thereof), slavery, multi-generational households, and a lot more that shows Vaughn has a fascinating philosophical bent himself. Then they finally get around to popping the top on Simone de Beauvoir, the philosopher that the show’s producer, Alex Fossella, chose for the episode. Off the bat, it turns out that Vaughn is familiar with Ms. De Beauvior, an existentialist who had a lifelong relationship with famed French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. That almost never happens – usually Lobell and his guest are equally in the dark about the chosen philosopher – but Vaughn is all over this one and is able to guide Lobell through the rudiments of both existentialism and Ms. De Beauvior’s writing. What’s more, as deep and dark as this episode gets, it’s plenty funny, too. [Apple Podcasts]
Elizabeth: Sure, we’ve spent the last 365 days rehashing the 2016 election, but on the one-year anniversary of the day that will live in infamy, it actually feels appropriate. This week’s Fake the Nation is all about reflection on the past year—and what a year it’s been. Host Negin Farsad is joined by Crooked Media’s Jon Lovett and comedian Joel Kim Booster to talk about the changes to the country, the media, and the Democratic party. Fresh off the election day victories in Virginia, the tone is hopeful for a change, and while there’s certainly talk of 2016 and some Hillary vs. Bernie relitigation, they focus on the gains made, such as defeating health care, and what they need to do for 2018 and 2020. They also talk about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s safety (does she have a step-in tub?), question why they know who the Treasury Secretary’s wife is, and announce the new face of the young, energized Democratic Party (Joel Kim Booster). [Apple Podcasts]
Victoriocity - Episodes 1-4
Marc: If Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, were still alive and had wanted to get into podcasting, Victoriocity might likely be something he’d have written. “An unsolvable murder in an unending city.” That’s the tagline for this new comedy narrative series from England that’s cleverly written, delightfully acted, and with rich production values. Created and written by Chris and Jen Sudgen, the cast is headed up by Tom (Wooden Overcoats) Crowley as Inspector Fleet and Layla Katib as journalist Clara Entwhistle. They team up to try to…well, it’s all pretty crazy. There’s a dead scientist, a missing notebook, there’s a glacier filling the Thames, the city is powered by a central tower that projects electricity through the air, and more. This story takes place in an alternate version of Victorian-era Britain, in a megatropolis called Even Greater London ruled by a clockwork cyborg version of Queen Victoria. The variations on our known history and technology are handled in great little asides and sidebars. And in the most recent chapter, Fleet and Entwhistle pursue their prey in a coal-driven college on tracks. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Hollywood Handbook - Lauren Lapkus, Our Close Friend
That’s All I Have To Say About That - How to Launder Money
Two Dope Queens - Tig Notaro Gives the Best Advice
Star Wars Minute - ROTS Minute 1: Heroes On Both Sides
Fact Up - More Soup
Unqualified - Adam Scott
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.