this week in comedy podcasts

This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Jason Mantzoukas on Reply All

Jason Mantzoukas. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

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.

Reply All — The Year of the Wallop With Jason Mantzoukas

Our favorite non-comedy podcast goes full comedy this week with returning special guest Jason Mantzoukas. Zouks helps Alex Goldman and P.J. Vogt tackle a Harry Potter–themed “Yes Yes No” working from this tweet about shitting on the floor. Mantzoukas is a huge Harry Potter–head and doesn’t usually get to flex on How Did This Get Made? because we know how the Harry Potter movies got made. They were based on J.K. Rowling’s best-selling book series in history, and thankfully they came out before Rowling went low-key wild in the Pottermore forums and retroactively announced that through most of history wizards didn’t have bathrooms; they just shit wherever and then vanished it away. Which, it turns out, is something they may or may not have in common with right-wing troll Chuck C. Johnson. This is a fun Harry Potter–themed chat on its own, plus it’s always fun to find out your favorite podcast hosts in different genres are friends in real life. —Kathryn Doyle

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

My Favorite Murder — Mr. Cool & Nice — The Conan O’Brien Episode

Most people, upon hearing someone say “I love murder so much that my goal is to either murder or be murdered,” would be alarmed. Not Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, hosts of My Favorite Murder, the wildly popular podcast that delivers true-crime stories through a comedic bent. Instead, they meet Conan O’Brien’s confession with a quick riff before gamely discussing his lifelong obsession with murder, which he says started when he was just 4 years old. Once embarrassed by his well of macabre knowledge, O’Brien has found his people on this podcast. Here it is incredibly safe to dissect the motivations behind murder, from socioeconomics to mental health, and the media’s approach to individual cases in explicit detail. Nothing is off-limits, which finds O’Brien reminiscing about the summer he spent driving from New York, where he was working for Saturday Night Live, to New Jersey, where John List was on trial for murdering his wife, mother, and three children in their home. Again, Kilgariff and Hardstark respond to O’Brien’s morbid disclosure without missing a beat, christening him a Murderino and solidifying his spot as the perfect guest for My Favorite Murder.Becca James

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Why Won’t You Date Me? — Role-playing With Rachel Bloom

If you’re an online dater in need of some reprieve from the constant swiping of strangers, let Nicole Byer’s Why Won’t You Date Me? serve as a reminder that we all go through the hilarious, upsetting, and wild world of dating. This week, Byer welcomes Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) to discuss marriage, mental health, and what it was like to grow up with an imaginary friend that you also had sex with. Before diving into the titular theme of dating, Byer and Bloom have an insightful conversation about therapy and the importance of medication. While both support the use of medication, the same support is not offered to improvisers looking to role-play in the bedroom: “Good role-playing is just bad improv, and my job is to be a good improviser.” Although Byer mentions having given up on dating for now, she does consider the possibility of dating a ghost after talking about the plot of Casper with Bloom. When asked which ghost she would like to date, Byer offers up a response that is reason enough to download the episode. The only hint I’ll give is that the “ghost” is a fictional survivor from the Academy Award–winning blockbuster Titanic. —Tom Rainey

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Hollywood Handbook — The Masked Engineer, Our Masked Friend

Hollywood Handbook has increasingly gravitated toward set-piece episodes of late, always to undisputed success. In January alone, they’ve frenetically taken on Bandersnatch, awards show prediction shows, and Saturday Night Live, an evergreen target. Enter “The Masked Engineer,” a straightforward ripoff of The Masked Singer (which, by the way, would have fit directly in the crosshairs of Hayes and Sean’s original reality-show-recap venture) where Earwolf audio engineers equip voice modulators and anonymously sing popular songs over instrumentals ripped from YouTube. Sean, Hayes, and guest Shaun Diston sit back in the judges’ chairs expecting to orchestrate another pitch-perfect parody but are immediately rocked into chaos when Transformer-sounding Engineer Centipede calmly states the lyrics to Bush’s “Glycerine.” From there, not even the notoriously vicious sweeties Hayes and Sean can wrestle control back from the engineers they’ve built into their lore. Giving further hints about the titular competitors would spoil the sheer joy that erupts when the winner is chosen, but words wouldn’t do it justice anyway — luckily, Chef Kevin captured the bedlam on video, and it, as the boys would say, is giving us life right now. —Noah Jacobs

Doughboys — Delta Sky Club With John Hodgman

Despite only appearing once as a guest, John Hodgman is no stranger to the Doughboys. In the 14 months since his first appearance, the world’s foremost Doughboys fan has blessed the show with sporadic voice-mails harassing “double reed” (a reference to Nick Wiger’s musical talents) and promoting his book, Vacationland. Hodgman’s travel expertise is put to use in this week’s triumphant return, recorded remotely from the LAX Delta Sky Club. The unfriendly environment forces the hosts to trade the loud insults and giggles that Doughboys fans have come to know and love for hushed insults and library laughter. It makes for a totally refreshing change in tone — more podcasts should be recorded inside airports! Background distractions like side-eye from strangers, smooth jazz, and a cameo by Common only add to the fun. All three might need to look themselves up on the No Fly List, though, after riffing on one particular bit: Ever hear of the Mile High Club? You’re going to love the Ground Zero Club. For fans looking to catch up on previous on-location episodes, check out “The Great Shrimp Off” fiasco recorded at the Canoga Park Red Lobster, or the “U Talkin’ To Me? RE: DMB (U Talkin’ DMB To Me Part 2)Doughboys Double partially recorded at a Dave Matthews Band concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Mark Kramer

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Good One — Sebastian Maniscalco’s Doorbell

As funny as a lot of stand-up comedy acts are, there are many that don’t hold up well to close inspection. But we don’t often notice because the comedian’s personality is engaging enough to misdirect us from the teetering structure of the act itself. Vulture senior editor and host of Good One Jesse David Fox has done a good job of finding the opposite — solid acts that have crafted their material in such a way that an entire episode is devoted to deconstructing one joke. The latest is Sebastian Maniscalco’s signature “Doorbell” bit, originally committed to video back in 2012 but being resurrected last weekend for his Madison Square Garden debut. (As Fox Suggests, do yourself a solid and watch Maniscalco’s routine on YouTube — just search for “Doorbell” and his name — before you listen to the joke’s dissection on the podcast.) Fox makes his guest take pains to break down every aspect of the bit, from the wording and the timing to the way he does his “act-outs” of the joke. Maniscalco takes the audience back to a simpler time, when the surprise ringing of the doorbell was a happy occasion for the whole family — celebrated with cake — before he leaps forward to today, when everyone is belly-crawling on the floor so the mysterious doorbell ringer doesn’t see them. It’s a simple premise that’s masterfully pulled off. —Marc Hershon

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

All Fantasy Everything — Last Meal With Richard Bain

On this week’s All Fantasy Everything, Ian Karmel and the Good Vibes Gang drafted one of the quintessential questions of all time: What’s your last meal? It’s a simple question, but one that says a lot about your personality. There are also not a lot of wrong answers, whether you’re going for five-star dishes, fast food, or mom’s home-cooked meals. But somehow Sean Jordan, the Vlade Divac of AFE, ruins his team early on by drafting a weed brownie with his second pick. Nothing like eating an awful brownie that makes you paranoid just as you’re wheeled into the execution room, right? Karmel’s team is loaded up front with arguably the best food taken during the entire draft — Panda Express orange chicken — but muddles up the team chemistry with magic mushrooms. Picking psychedelics when you’re getting a free hit of natural DMT soon after seems redundant, but maybe it’s a Damian Lillard/C.J. McCollum–type situation. In the end, it’s guest Richard Bain who drafts the best final meal: grilled cheese and tomato bisque, fried chicken, peanut pad thai, cherry cheesecake, and eggs Benedict. It’s well-rounded, it hits a wide range of flavors, and it will have you feeling like Christopher Wallace in 1994. Pablo Goldstein

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:

Punch Up Jam — Dirty Work With Tawny Newsome
Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Entry Level Todd Glass
Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

High & Mighty Women With Erin Whitehead
Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend Ron Funches
Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Nerd Poker Season 3, Episode 1: Cloddenheim
Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Pen Pals Grandma & a Big Chunk of Change
Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Got a comedy podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at

More From This Series

See All
This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Mantzoukas on Reply All