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.
May I Elaborate? - Game of Airplane, Superman, & Resort Hat
Comedian JB Smoove makes the podcast scene with May I Elaborate?, the audio version of a pithy philosophy-of-the-day desk calendar. This is a daily drop and, at just 15 minutes a throw, makes for the perfect palate cleanser between longer, more involved shows. Smoove is aided by sidekick Miles Grose, who reads a short piece of wisdom at the top of each episode — like Oscar Wilde’s “The truth is rarely pure and never simple” — after which Smoove digs in and gives listeners his interpretation. The past three days of shows are pure Smoove, like when he explains, in the episode “Superman,” how you can control your own destiny: “When you’re standing in the middle of a plane, you jump up and you are, technically, flying on your own because you’re not touching the plane.” Or in “Resort Hat,” when he suggests that men who are nervous about breaking the ice at parties should intentionally walk into the room with their fly down. “Nothin’ starts a conversation faster than, ‘Hey, brother, your zipper’s down!’” Namaste. —Marc Hershon
Dear Chelsea - Mothers Part 1 & 2
On the brand-new podcast Dear Chelsea, listeners call or write in asking host Chelsea Handler and co-host Brandon Marlo for advice on love, life, sex, grief, or whatever, and Handler answers with as few filters as you would expect from the former host of one of the raunchiest and most popular late-night shows on TV. Aside from being a comedian, host, and producer, Handler is also an evangelist for the power of therapy, and is just as good at administering advice as she is at receiving it from her therapist Dan. Parts one and two of Dear Chelsea’s first episode dropped the week of Mother’s Day and relate to motherhood, from questions about dealing with moms who suck (part one) and dealing with toddlers who want to suck … their own penis (part two). Neither Handler nor Marlo have children, and Handler never will because they ask too many questions about the sun and moon and how they work, but that doesn’t make them any less qualified to address these issues. For a second opinion on specific child-rearing dilemmas, Handler and Marlo call up Charlize Theron, who imparts some experience-based wisdom on raising kids and about maintaining adult friendships. —Kathryn Doyle
I Love a Lifetime Movie - How I Met Your Murderer
While known for their reliably bonkers plotlines and wonderfully over-the-top acting, the best thing about Lifetime movies is turning to your friend and asking, “Did that really just happen?” It’s a genre perfect for podcast discussions, and I Love a Lifetime Movie hosts Naomi Ekperigin and Megan Gailey are the perfect guides for those discussions. Each week, Megan and Naomi walk listeners through the plot of a Lifetime movie, providing hilarious commentary and calling out the ridiculous Lifetime movie tropes (“If someone puts a Band-Aid on you, you are having sex,” as Megan points out this week) along the way. It’s also worth mentioning how much the two making each other laugh makes listening all the more delightful! This week’s movie is How I Met Your Murderer, the incredibly bananas story of a wildly successful true-crime podcast host who suspects her husband might be a murderer. Because if there’s one lesson we can’t learn enough, it’s that if you shame Ted Bundy’s girlfriend for not knowing what was up, it’s only going to come back around and bite you. Do you need to have seen the movie to appreciate the podcast? A resounding “absolutely not.” As someone who hasn’t watched a Lifetime movie since probably 2002’s Too Young to Be a Dad (shout-out young Paul Dano), I can confidently say it’s almost better going into these episodes blind, letting Megan and Naomi lead the way. —Leigh Cesiro
Mall Talk - ArcLight Cinemas With Kevin T. Porter
Nothing beats going to a theater after a day of cruising the mall, a trip that combines the thrill of shopping and movie-watching into a single afternoon. Comedians Paige Weldon and Emily Faye celebrate not only the American shopping experience but the movie theaters as well in their podcast Mall Talk. This week’s guest, Kevin T. Porter, reminisces on his teenage years working at the mall, specifically in a Barnes & Noble bookstore, stating that the energy in a mall B&N was different than a stand-alone store. It transformed its customers from enthusiastic bookworms to mall rats at a casual pit stop. The trio transition into discussing their favorite ArcLight Cinema memories. Porter compares the Hollywood location to a traditional town center, where movie night became celebrity spotting, bumping into friends, and avoiding acquaintances. While the fate of the ArcLight Hollywood remains uncertain, the spirit of the theater continues to live on, one nostalgic memory at a time. —Alejandra Gularte
A Total Switch Show - Episode 1
A Total Switch Show takes the classic body-swap story and packs it with even more twists. Starring real-life mother-daughter duo Lea Thompson and Zoey Deutch, the new podcast from Team Coco picks up after “a global body-swap phenomenon,” which turns them into “switchies.” With Lisa (Thompson), a micromanaging mom, and Emma (Deutch), her unproductive progeny, swapped, shit hits the fan in this layered and lively comedy. The debut episode follows Lisa as she tries using this new opportunity to fix Emma’s romantic relationship. Emma is dating a sword guy with a “burgeoning sword-unsheathing YouTube channel” played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and she wants to move in with him, much to her mother’s chagrin. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Bradley Whitford and Bobby Moynihan as the dad and brother, respectively. Join this raucous and sometimes raunchy family affair as they try to deal with their switch. —Becca James
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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