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.
Who Charted? - New Charted
Pablo: Who Charted is old. 7 years this week to be exact, which is an eternity in podcast years. It’s an amazing accomplishment given that the podcast’s chart talk premise makes up maybe 10% of any episode. Instead, the show’s focus remains on the lives of the delightful Kulap Vilaysack and the eccentric, always confounding Howard Kremer, which gives it the vibe of the local morning show you grew up listening to in your mom’s car on the way to school. With the help of longtime guest/friend Paul F. Tompkins, they’re celebrating the anniversary with the return of classic chart themes that even they don’t remember. It’s a testament to Kulap and Howard’s chemistry that despite major changes in their lives and careers, Who Charted has (minus a few minor modifications) mostly remained the same fun, lighthearted show it was back in the second year of Obama’s presidency. My prediction: This show will still be going strong in 2024… and Kulap will still not have been allowed to enter Howard’s apartment. [Apple Podcasts]
Why Won’t You Date Me? - Will Hines
Kathryn: On the new Why Won’t You Date Me, Nicole Byer asks guests she’s hooked up with (apparently predominantly white nerd comedians) why they won’t date her. Pretty straightforward, and also scary as hell: It’s not a question most people ever ask because they don’t know if they can handle the answer. But Byer really does want to know. All she wants to do is gobble dick, so why should it be this hard? Episode 1 features everyone’s favorite improv teacher and nice-guy about town Will Hines who, surprise! made out with Nicole at a comedy party once. It’s a gentle introduction to the format as he gives notes on her Tinder and Bumble profiles, talks honestly about body image and age, and dating without alcohol, and passes along the key to true love that he got from a Dutch lady one time. Byer and Hines only ever made out so they don’t go into too much salacious detail about their hookup, but Nicole promises future episodes will include “a guy I blew in a bathroom” and “a guy whose floor I peed on,” so the ride might get bumpier as we go. [Apple Podcasts]
Raised By TV - TGIF
Marc: Hosts Lauren Lapkus and Jon Gabrus continue to tear their way down TV’s memory lane, this time plunging head-on into ABC’s TGIF comedy lineup, which was an ever-shifting high-concept of situation comedies. If you’re in that GenX demographic, you likely share the same fuzzy memory of nearly every episode of classic shows like Dinosaurs, Step by Step, and Perfect Strangers. Your hosts sure do, and they help each other remember specific moments from certain shows. Like when Gabrus dredges up a semi-recalled racist installment of Family Matters. Or the fact that, growing up, shorthand for these shows were simply “Balki” in the case of Perfect Strangers, or “Urkel” for Family Matters. As they reminisce, Lapkus and Gabrus’ producer plies them with period snacks. In this case, the goodies range from Fruit Roll-Ups and Bubblegum Tape to Gushers. (Things get particularly ugly when Gabrus attempts to cram two feet of the bubble gum in his mouth.) Stick around and you’ll be treated to a “very special episode” of Family Matters with special guest, Comedy Bang Bang’s Scott Aukerman. [Apple Podcasts]
The Hilarious World of Depression - The Holiday Coping Mechanism Spectacular
Mark: As anyone who deals with depression can tell you, the holidays can suck. They can suck even harder if you’re mourning the loss of a relationship, a loved one, or a country’s entire democratic foundation. Thankfully, we have John Moe and the delicate editing of The Hilarious World of Depression. This year, Santa delivered a variety of useful holiday self-care techniques in stocking stuffer-sized snippets from comedians and past THWofD guests like Neal Brennan and Margaret Cho. Maybe you can relate to Julie Klausner or Jen Kirkman and throw yourself into your work around Christmas. Maybe you’re a John Green and exercise to get those nourishing endorphins flowing. Or maybe you can relate to Moe’s heartwarming tale about one Christmas where he rejected his family altogether in favor of wet farm animals. Whether you’re one of those people who can’t bear to be away from your family or can’t bear to be with them, there’s something here for you. If we all put as much empathy into our lives as John Moe puts into this podcast, the world would be a brighter place. [Apple Podcasts]
Good One - Wells for Boys
Leigh: If you love jokes, you probably already love Good One. It’s like Inside the Actors Studio but for jokes, or in the case of this week’s episode, a sketch. Specifically, the brilliant “Wells for Boys” sketch from last year on SNL, written by Julio Torres and Jeremy Beiler. As host Jesse David Fox puts it, “‘Wells for Boys’ is a “triumph in comedic specificity.” While who writes what on SNL is never officially made public, Torres’ brand of hyper-specific comedy is quickly becoming instantly recognizable. Look no further than “Papyrus” and “The Sink” (also written with Beiler) sketches to prove my point. In this conversation, hear the two discuss how the idea of a boy with a well evolved into a commercial parody, and then from there evolved into a sort of short film about this little boy within the confines of a commercial parody. They also get into what they two of them were like as little kids themselves, the very emotional and moving performances of Bobby Moynihan and Emma Stone who play the boy’s parents, and the casting of the little boy. If you’re a real nerd about all things SNL you’ll probably find that last bit pretty interesting. And even if after reading this entire blurb you’re not going to listen to this episode, you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice by not watching “Wells for Boys” immediately. [Apple Podcasts]
Monster Party - Future Past! With Rick Overton
Marc: One of the many things to like about Monster Party with LA-based hosts Matt Weinhold, Shawn Sheridan, Larry Strothe, and James Gonis is that is actually sounds like a party. Not the wild and out of control kind of party, but the kind of event where the celebrants get progressively more inebriated, resulting in louder and more hilarious arguments as the participants try to prove their points. The latest installment, clocking in at over two hours, features comedian/actor/writer guest Rick Overton (Willow, Groundhog Day, I’m Dying Up Here) as the ensemble tackles their topic, which is all about how movies and TV shows from the recent (and not so recent) past depict the distant (and not so distant) future. This is mostly a mostly drunken study of how movies got it wrong, as in Back to the Future II’s flying cars by 2015, for example, or radiation causing raging gigantism (The Amazing Colossal Man, Them, or Godzilla). Overton has been connected to some great examples of “flexibly predictable cinema” — he co-starred in Eight Legged Freaks and The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne — so he has some first-hand examples of how things go so off the rails when pointing the way to tomorrow. The boys spend a lot of time picking apart Star Trek, which they admittedly love (except Gonis, who really hasn’t seen more than an episode or two), and it’s a nerd’s delight to hear them tearing the various incarnations of the franchise down one moment, then build it back up the next. This one’s worth a couple of commutes. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
WTF - Greta Gerwig
Views From The Vista - Coco w/ Jesse Esparza
The Big Ones - Fall Into The Goop
Black Check - Justice League
Dexter Guff is Smarter Than You (And You Can, Too) - Missing Dexter Guff
How To Be A Person - Alison Leiby - How to Eat Alone and Order at Restaurants
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
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.