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 and 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.
Mega - He Is Risen Indeed With Jason Mantzoukas
Hosted by comedians Greg Hess and Holly Laurent (or Gray and Halle, as they’re known here), Mega is an entirely improvised podcast satirizing the world of a fictitious megachurch. In each episode, listeners have the pleasure of meeting a kooky character from Twin Hills Community Church, and this week it’s none other than Jesus Christ. Well, sort of. Enter Mason Jantzoukas (Jason Mantzoukas), the man portraying Jesus for the church’s Easter celebration. Mantzoukas doesn’t miss a beat, introducing himself as a 23-year-old actor and discussing how he approached a story he was wholly unfamiliar with before being cast. It turns out Jantzoukas’s method includes a lot of CrossFit because “Jesus would be jacked.” He also makes an argument for a Jesus “who not only fucks but lives.” He is risen indeed thanks to the miracle of Mantzoukas, who gives the new testament a new life. — Becca James
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend - Adam McKay
It’s like old-home week on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend — if “old home” could be construed as 30 Rockefeller Plaza — as O’Brien welcomes Adam McKay to the show. Both guys worked on Saturday Night Live, although McKay’s time served there was not until O’Brien had landed his own late-night show down the hall. Their early lives’ parallels are similar as well, both having done time growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts. The feeling that these two are comedy brothers locks in quickly, as the host goes into a story about once auditioning for a movie for McKay, up for the same role as Brad Pitt, and had 11 tortuous callbacks, of which the last four, the director said, were “just to torment you.” None of the story is true, but they both step into it and carry it off as if they had lived it. McKay talks about needing to have newer projects relate to a younger audience and his barometer is his daughter, Pearl, who some might remember as Will Ferrell’s testy landlord in a classic early Funny or Die video. Although they touch on McKay’s Emmy-winning HBO series Succession, they don’t land on it long enough to settle a burning bet I have: Is the show truly a drama (the category it won awards in), or is it a wickedly dark comedy? I may never know. — Marc Hershon
The Muppets History Podcast - The Muppet Show on Home Video
Some days, you feel soft-spoken and sensible like Kermit. But other days, you feel like karate-chopping someone in high heels, like Miss Piggy. Thankfully, there’s a new podcast made by Muppets fans for Muppets fans that’ll send you flying out of a cannon Gonzo-style. The Muppets History Podcast, hosted by Joshua Gillespie and Madison Mantas, celebrates all things Jim Henson–related. Gillespie and Mantas bond over their lifelong love of the Muppets, with Mantas’s first word as a baby being “Muppet Babies.” They discuss the recent revival of the Muppets, from Kermit on The Masked Singer to the release of the original The Muppet Show on Disney+. The hosts do a deep dive on the home release of The Muppet Show in 1985 that highlights Henson’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. Henson didn’t just want to rerelease episodes; he wanted to take advantage of the new home-video technology by creating new story lines within the existing segments of The Muppet Show. The Muppets History Podcast is a celebration of not only Jim Henson but the ability to be yourself. — Alejandra Gularte
Ear Biscuits - Things We Just Can’t Live Without
On the most recent episode of Ear Biscuits, hosts Rhett and Link ask fans to answer a deceivingly difficult question: “What’s something you just can’t live without?” This comedy duo, known for their popular YouTube channel Good Mythical Morning, have been best friends since first grade when they both got held back from recess for writing profanity on their desks. Unlike their scripted, heavily edited YouTube videos, Rhett and Link let loose on their podcast; as the show’s tag says, “Just two lifelong friends talking about life for a long time.” Their latest episode begins with a peculiarly long conversation about the mechanics of using the restroom while trying to keep your shirt tucked in, and the appropriate type of pants to wear to each occasion if you plan on using the restroom there. Hint: Don’t wear gray sweatpants to a friend’s house to avoid glaringly obvious pee spots from your trip to the restroom. Along the way, they talk through the answers they got for their original question, which range from things like audiobooks to a pop socket. I know, a pop socket? Tune in to hear the other things people can’t live without. — Abdi Ali
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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