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 one 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.
Seek Treatment - Psychosexual Games (w/Naomi Ekperigin)
It’s a god-awful shame new episodes of Seek Treatment With Cat and Pat are released on Tuesdays, because that means only two days into my week, I know it’s already peaked. That is especially true this week, as hosts Catherine Cohen and Pat Regan are joined by the always hilarious Naomi Ekperigin. And by “always hilarious,” I mean everything that comes out of her mouth is so funny you wonder how she could possibly ever top it. Plus, everything comes out like a fully formed statement ready to be printed and sold on merch. As a podcast famously about boys, sex, fucking, dating, and love, this episode guides listeners on a journey into the world of psychosexual games. Other topics covered this week include a quick review of id, ego, and superego; reliving the pain of buying new high-school uniforms; the high-school damage that led them all to comedy; which stores are and are not sexless; and Pat’s perfect takedown of three-ring binders that needs to recorded in the annals of history. If by the end of the episode, you don’t consider yourself among of the scores of people who are already obsessed with Naomi as Cat and Pat mention, well then, seek treatment. – Leigh Cesiro
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend - Marc Maron
Marc Maron is this week’s guest on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, but a better title representing their quarter-century-long relationship would be Conan O’Brien Needs a Guest. That’s because in the early days of Conan’s talk-show career — years before Maron’s podcast and SAG nominations and realization that facial hair really works for him – Maron was always ready to do panel when a guest dropped out at the last moment. So after about 50 appearances, would these two comedians call themselves friends? The answer is … well, not really. But from this episode, you do get a sense that these are two guys who clearly enjoy each other’s company, but don’t know how to behave around each other once the mics and cameras turn off. As O’Brien describes it, they’re like peanut butter and slightly sour peanut butter. Later in the episode, the two hosts talk about awkward experiences with guests, with both agreeing that musicians and their PR are the least pleasant. Maron even reveals that he had to say no to Steve Martin due to his condition that only his banjo music was up for discussion. You’ve got to respect the decision, even if it deprived us of a great contender to this classic Billy Bob Thornton interview. – Pablo Goldstein
Asian, Not Asian - The Handwritten Letter (feat. Subhah Agarwal, The Jim Jefferies Show)
Mic Nguyen and Fumi Abe, two New York City stand-ups and well-dressed Asian guys not from Asia, have been talking about American issues no American seems to care about for almost a year now. Asian, Not Asian has only gotten funnier and more relevant with each episode leading up to its first anniversary. In this week’s episode, the hosts have former actuary Subhah Agarwal (The Jim Jefferies Show) calculate how many hours she’s spent writing, doing sets, or driving to sets since she first committed to comedy 11 years ago. Over the course of her 882(!)-day grind, she’s overcome some obscene obstacles, including conflicting cultural pressure from both her peers at school and family at home. Agarwal’s story is an excellent portrait of the invisible hills many second-generation Asian-Americans have to climb over to make it in the business. The three also draw blood on the popular meme factory Subtle Asian Traits, Louis C.K., and feeling pressure to comment on “woke” stuff in lieu of jokes about airline food. Other recent standout episodes featuring guests Ronny Chieng and Vulture’s own Karen Chee have propelled Asian, Not Asian to not only help fill the hole left by Whiting Wongs last year, but to carve out its own corner of the podcast galaxy. – Mark Kramer
WTF – Steve Coogan
Marc Maron is the most fun to listen to when he’s either got a bone to pick with a guest on WTF or when he’s really tickled to have someone in particular on the show. This week’s visit with British comedian-actor-writer Steve Coogan (Stan & Ollie, Philomena, 24 Hour Party People) is delightfully in the latter camp. Having a shared background doing comedy in clubs certainly serves to bring these two guys together over the course of the interview. You can hear it in Maron’s chuckling as Coogan runs through a quick riff of several dead-on impressions in a row — Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Martin Sheen, and Sylvester Stallone doing Shakespeare. Sometimes the host will let his guest go on for a while, but in this quick hour it feels like both guys are going neck-and-neck to get to the next bit of information or funny throwaway. Some of the most engaging stuff is when they cover the Stan & Ollie movie, which Coogan stars in as Stan Lauren opposite John C. Reilly’s Oliver Hardy. Coogan’s description of his process, along with Reilly’s, to capture the tone and spirit of these two figureheads of comedic cinema is incredibly soulful. And Maron is right there with us, enjoying every anecdote. – Marc Hershon
The Need to Fail - Tami Sagher
If you’re like me — someone who has failed to maintain their long list of New Year’s resolutions just ten days into 2019 — then do I have the podcast for you! The Need to Fail is back and ready to help motivate you through the trials and tribulations that lay ahead. This week, host Don Fanelli welcomes writing extraordinaire and legendary improviser Tami Sagher (Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer, Don’t Think Twice). Sagher, whose comedic strength comes from her ability to be vulnerable, doesn’t shy away from flexing that muscle here. Whether it’s discussing her departure from Broad City or deep-diving into her gambling addiction, Sagher leaves no stone unturned. There are so many pull quotes about success and failure in this one, I feel as though I’ve been plugged into the Matrix and been given all the information there is on self-help and self-care. Deviating from the titular theme of failing, Sagher also expresses the importance of recognizing positive working environments and following your instincts when making career choices. In regards to how to best navigate your own journey, Sagher puts it best when saying, “Success or failure isn’t the one decision, but the millions of little decisions you make daily.” – Tom Rainey
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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