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.
WTF with Marc Maron - Rachel Bloom
Elizabeth: Rachel Bloom fulfills a long-time dream this week as she steps into the (new) garage and sits down with Marc Maron. They dive right into the male gaze, being the only woman in a competitive writer’s room, and castration fears. Marc has recently immersed himself in Rachel’s catalogue, and they talk about why content made by women, including GLOW, is considered a guilty pleasure or fluffy. They also touch on mental illness, the pros and cons of having kids, and Judaism and spirituality. Marc and Rachel compare their new media successes with podcasts and music videos, respectfully, and Rachel takes him through her background in musical theater and sketch comedy, including the sketch team love triangle that pushed her into doing her own thing. They wrap things up by talking about her new movie, Most Likely to Murder, which Marc can’t spoil because he only watched half of it (due to time, not quality.) [Apple Podcasts]
Black Men Can’t Jump in Hollywood - Avengers: Infinity War
Mark: Jonathan Braylock, Jerah Milligan, and James III have an Infinity War of their own in this heated discussion of Avengers: Infinity War. Jerah and James have differing opinions on whether this blockbuster even fits the show’s format of reviewing movies with at least one lead black actor. In an ensemble full of so many stars – human, CGI, and full-body painted – are there really any leads at all? Much like the film, this episode has a shocking twist ending, in this case when both parties end up pretty much switching sides. In a culture where stubbornness is treated like a superpower, it’s deeply refreshing to hear a debate where both sides thoughtfully take in each others’ arguments and revise their stances. Of course, there’s a full consensus on the travesty that is the absence of the iconic Hancock from the movie Hancock. Come on Disney! Even if Will Smith has conflicts because of Max Landis’s 15th chance, Bright 2, you had no problem recasting Hugo Weaving as Red Skull! I can think of at least three ready and willing young actors that would do it for half of Will Smith’s salary. [Apple Podcasts]
Why Won’t You Date Me - Madeline Walter and Ben Greene
Kathryn: Our titular dater Nicole Byer welcomes her first married couple to WWYDM this week, and with twice the guests comes twice the wisdom. Madeline Walter (of Definitely Dying) and Ben Greene (of On The Cusp) started dating in college – so they totally missed online dating – when she was a prematurely mature businesswoman and he was wearing plastic bags for shoes. Not only did it work out, it turned into a truly aspirational relationship. For two people who’ve never been to couple’s therapy they give great advice and even offer to photoshop one of Byer’s Tinder pics (putting sunglasses on that infamous huge dildo). WWYDM is always a fun listen, but the takeaway is usually a bummer: dating sucks! It’ll never work! But at least at the end of this episode it feels like it’s still worth it to try. [Apple Podcasts]
I Was There Too - I Was There Zoo with Animal Trainer Molly O’Neill
Pablo: If you reach the height of success in Hollywood, you can follow the ol’ commercially critical one-two punch of “One for them, one for me.” Unfortunately for animals, they’re stuck with whatever script is given to them. While amateur and veteran animal actors alike don’t have a say in the material, at least they’re promised copious amounts of food, some primo federally enforced legal protections, and a lot of hangout time with affectionate animal trainers. This week’s guest on I Was There Too is animal trainer Molly O’Neill, who has a St. Bernard’s barrel worth of stories to tell about her time on projects like Game of Thrones and Neighbors 2. It turns out that wolves, whether they’re dire or not, aren’t normally as ferocious as seen in Westeros. But it’s nothing that a few pieces of meat and some training time can’t fix. The way she tells it, Molly is just your typical set crew member except that her specialty is camels, bunnies, and monkeys instead of camera dollies. The only difference is that Teamsters don’t stop Ryan Gosling from accidentally making a goat shit all over his expensive 1940s Gangster Squad costume. [Apple Podcasts]
ID10T - David Tennant
Marc: Chris Hardwick keeps his fanboy engine tamped down to a gentle purr this week when David Tennant, who once filled Doctor Who’s TARDIS for several seasons earlier this century, revisits the show. Oh, it revs up every so often (I mean, come on – Hardwick OWNS a full-sized version of the police box-shaped time vehicle in his house) but he stays remarkably on track to help introduce others not quite so enamored with England’s long-running TV show that pushed Tennant into the limelight as the 10th Doctor. More recently, viewers of the first season of Netflix’s Jessica Jones series reveled in his oozily evil mind-manipulator role as the hero’s nemesis Kilgrave. And British TV watchers know him also as Alec Hardy from the Broadchurch series. Tennant’s Scottish, with a thick meaty brogue that’s charming to listen to, especially as he recounts years spent on stage for part of Britain’s National Theatre. And he comes across as a pretty humble guy, even revealing that his stage name, inspired by Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys fame, was yanked from a music magazine in a panicked moment of having to concoct one to register with the actor’s guild in England. (There was another David McDonald, his real name, already registered.) [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Sooo Many White Guys - Phoebe and Hannibal Buress are Huge in NorwayDoughboys - Olive Garden 2 with Joel Kim BoosterDr. Gameshow - He’s Gonna Chute! (w/ Julie Klausner, Brian Faas)Nerd Poker - Kord’s JudgementHigh & Mighty - Video Games w/ Heather Anne CampbellPlease Make This - Black Hats w/Jacob Eugene Horn
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.