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.
WOMP It Up! - Paul Scheer - Spotlight On: Mr. Casey Steers
Elizabeth: Defrost those DiGiornos, Wompsters, because Marissa Wompler and Charlotte Lister are back. After a lengthy hiatus spent traveling the world in secret tunnels (for the full backstory, listen to Comedy Bang Bang episode 492), Wompler and Listler have returned to the Marina del Ray library to restart Marissa’s senior project. To kick things off, they’re joined by Mr. Casey Steers (Paul Sheer), AKA C.S., the hypersexual head of the school newspaper and yearbook. Wompler and Listler work to get to the bottom of the rumors of C.S.’s involvement with a student and learn about his side project, a coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl, and try to find out what’s happening at Hill 16. C.S. also shares some of his unconventional teaching techniques, which include massage, working with students in his condo, and photographic explorations of the human body. Everything’s going fine until, in true 2017 fashion, a dick gets whipped out. [Apple Podcasts]
Horny 4 Horror - Talkin’ With…Mr. Tim Curry
Mark: When a sitting president spent an hour inside Marc Maron’s garage in 2015, podcast guests reached their pinnacle. Unless Terry Gross discovered a way to temporarily resurrect David Bowie, there was no way a bigger, more improbable name was ever going to pop up. Until last week, when acting legend and noted recluse, THE Tim Curry, joined two-thirds of Horny 4 Horror-heads Mano Agapion and Adam McCabe. Third host Betsy Sodaro must have hit herself with the candlestick in the Conservatory for missing the opportunity to speak with one of the most talented artists in the entire universe. Curry is as sharp and witty as ever as he recounts his laughable amount of film-stealing roles. Don’t worry – he’s seen the rebooted It, and gives his honest opinion. Time away from the business seems to have given him the liberty to discuss some of his fellow performers, including his petulant, bratty Home Alone 2 co-star, Donald Trump. Given the recent H4H appearance by Derek Mears (aka Jason Voorhees), whoever’s been booking this show has earned a raise. Horny 4 Horror has been a great addition to the podcast universe and more interviews like this one will give it legs way beyond the spooky fall season. [Apple Podcasts]
Nerdist - Seth Rogen #3
Marc: Now that podcasts are being leveraged by publicists to hit niche audiences, it’s not really a surprise that Seth Rogen would pop up on Nerdist. On the other hand, this is his third visit with host Chris Hardwick (and co-host-sister-wife Jonah Ray along for the ride.) As a result, there’s no awkward “getting to know you” moments up front. These guys are instantly in the action. The PR part is Rogen’s role as producer of the upcoming film The Disaster Artist, directed by and starring James Franco, and a large portion of the talk is devoted to some pretty inside chatter about how the mostly true story (taken from the real-life accounts of filmmaker Tommy Wiseau’s celebrated bomb of a movie, 2003’s The Room) and culminating with a great story of Wiseau showing up at a film festival and being in the audience the first time The Disaster Artist was screened for the public. “We were leery of inviting him up on stage afterwards,” recounts Rogen, since the movie was all about him. “In the end, though, he said he liked it, and that it was ‘99.9% true.’” Rogen also talks about how, even with his silver screen track record, getting a movie made in Hollywood is still a crapshoot. And he reveals that Preacher, the AMC TV series that he executive produces, has just been picked up for a third season. All in all, this guy doesn’t have it too bad. [Apple Podcasts]
High and Mighty - Thanksgiving Power Hour
Kathryn: Here’s what you need for a good live taping of a power hour: solid guests, more than enough alcohol, and no extra rules on top of the basic drink-when-the-bell-rings conceit. The third annual High and Mighty pre-Thanksgiving power hour has all three, and it’s the best of the annual series so far, with Jon’s friends Nicole Byer (the upcoming Why Won’t You Date Me?), Nick Wiger (Doughboys), Billy Scafuri (No Joke) and Mano Agapion (Horny 4 Horror) joining this time. Get a bunch of comedians soused in front of an audience and they’re gonna move quickly from silly jokes to real confessions, and into areas of sadness and pain that you don’t usually get on comedy podcasts. That can teeter on the edge of “not fun anymore,” but this group manages to contain each other and keep the audience on board. Wiger, at his first-ever power hour, maintains his signature vocabulary throughout, Agapion jumps in with carefully aimed zingers, Scafuri takes over drunk Gabrus’s technical position of moderating the room, and all are game to take a backseat to the Gabrus/Byer shout machine when necessary. When next-morning Gabrus breaks in to re-record the Fresh Direct ads he messed up during the power hour you can hear every solo cup shot of PBR in his voice. And that might have been the best part. But after the 60th bell rings, when the crowd has gotten their money’s worth and Nicole is halfway out the emergency exit door, Mano suggests they all say something they’ve never said out loud before. One might worry a bunch of drunk comedians who’ve already had to be “on” for an hour won’t be able to come up with anything good on the spot. No. One panelist (name redacted) reveals perhaps the most dramatic Shyamalan-level twist in the history of podcasting. I won’t ruin it for you, but once you hear it, it can’t be unheard. [Apple Podcasts]
Star Wars Minute - Revenge of the Sith Minutes 9 - 13
Pablo: Revenge of the Sith is an odd chapter in the Star Wars saga. Among a solid slice of Star Wars fans, it’s considered the best of the prequels due to its dark tone and climatic final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin. But for me, it’s just another melodramatic CGI fiasco bereft of joy that has me screaming “NO! NO! NO!” every time it’s on TNT. Minutes 9 through 13 are smack dab in the middle of Episode III’s opening set piece, which even I have to admit isn’t all that bad. But there is still so much for Alex Robinson and Pete the Retailer to cover. I don’t know what’s worse: Revealing that R2-D2 has a flamethrower in movie #6 or introducing a main antagonist, General Grievous, whose entire backstory is explained in a Cartoon Network kids show. Never seen that cartoon? Prepare to invest 90 minutes into a character solely on him being able to wield four lightsabers at once. George Lucas’ screenwriting makes for bad prequels, but some great podcasts. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Fresh Air - Patton Oswalt
WTF - Rob Huebel
Black Men Can’t Jump (in Hollywood) - Coco ft. Martiza Montañez
Mouth Feelings - Julie Brister’s Hot Dog with Smashed Up Andy Capp’s Hot Fries
Podcast: The Ride - It’s A Small World with Marissa Strickland
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.
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.