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.
The Schaefer Shakedown — 2. The Club
Sara Schaefer is back with a new podcast! If you follow her on social media, you know Schaefer has a knack for all things crafty and a love of miniatures. So it’s extremely fitting that in the second of episode of The Schaefer Shakedown, she gives us what is essentially a Behind the Music tour of her latest project, an incredibly detailed 1:12 scale comedy club called the Haha Hole, complete with headshots on the wall, a green room with a mini-fridge and phone charger, and so much more (the festival posters on the wall are a personal favorite). If you haven’t already seen it, I implore you to check it out! If you think it’s impressive from the pictures, just wait until you hear Schaefer recount how she made all the pieces and what went into pulling it all together. While the attention to detail in the Haha Hole is admirable, it’s all the thought that went into this project that makes it that much more special — for example, the process of choosing which comedian’s headshots went on the wall and who gets to make these decisions. This leads to a bigger conversation about the current state of comedy — which, if you’re reading this weekly comedy podcast roundup, it’s a safe bet that you care — you won’t want to miss. And to bring it all home, a hilarious pitch to join the cult of comedy. —Leigh Cesiro
Why Won’t You Date Me? — Kinky in Public (w/ Jessica Rothe)
Why Won’t You Date Me? host Nicole Byer is an expert at attempting to answer the titular question. As a longtime single person, she uses her podcast to shoot the shit about relationships with comedians, friends, and sometimes even ex-flings. This week, actor Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day) joins Byer to discuss “if it’s okay to do kinky acts in public, the bizarre ways people are monetizing kinks, and the surprising reality of male escorting” in the supportive and silly way listeners have come to love. That theme of encouragement and enthusiasm hits a high note around the halfway mark when Byer singsongs, “Let’s normalize not being good at everything!” It’s a friendly reminder to embrace the many possibilities we encounter, whether they be a new kink, hobby, or friend. The latter is something Byer is incredibly excited about post-vaccine, saying, “I can’t wait to be drunk in public again … I like being, like, wine drunk and finding a new friend at a restaurant.” All in all, it’s a very hopeful and humorous episode. —Becca James
Anything Better? — Based on Today
Bill Burr likes hosting podcasts simultaneously. There’s his Monday Morning Podcast. There’s The Bill Bert Podcast, which he co-hosts with Bert Kreischer. And now we have, 16 episodes in, Anything Better? with Burr and co-host Paul Virzi. It’s a couple of rollicking, veteran comedians riffing inside the rough structure of the question “Is there anything better than this?” The “this” being the various topics the guys kick around. They start off on a deep exploration of Mother’s Day versus Father’s Day and why aren’t the two even close in terms of how the two parental models are treated and fêted. Virzi has a great story about his 8-year-old daughter’s tryouts for a sports team, which is where the title for this episode comes from. There’s some college and pro sports talk, speculation about UFOs, and smoking cigars. But then Virzi steps in it when he tries to relate some information to Burr gleaned from the Netflix Sons of Sam docuseries. Hoo boy. It’s like seeing someone get browbeaten across the room, and all you can do is watch. And Virzi keeps trying to bring up more points from the show, but his co-host makes it clear that you don’t take unvetted, specious information from a TV show as gospel. —Marc Hershon
Obsessed — Unfollowing Mary Beth/Venmo Etiquette
No, not Obsessed as in the much-maligned fever dream of a movie starring Beyoncé, Obsessed like the Spotify original podcast co-hosted by comedians Mary Beth Barone and Benito Skinner. From the Mandela effect to the fact that Benito’s boyfriend’s family kisses each other on the lips, every week the co-hosts dissect the things that live in their heads rent-free. This week, they dive into two of the most pressing social-media issues of our time: people unfollowing Mary Beth on Instagram and Venmo etiquette. An Instagrammer’s greatest weapon is their follow, which can make the act of unfollowing a minefield. Even more of a minefield than Instagram is Venmo, which forces conversation on a subject that feels impolite even among close friends: money. As Mary Beth points out, no one ever tells you how to ask for the money you’re owed, but luckily, there is an etiquette here: Just don’t be weird. At around 20 minutes per episode, Obsessed is a short, refreshing conversation between two funny friends who feel like your friends too. I’m, dare I say it, obsessed. —Kriska Desir
Bible Brothers — Leviticus 18: Don’t Have Sex With Your Mom & Don’t Do Hilarious Pranks (w/ Jon Daly)
Listening to Robert Padnick and Dan Klein “read the Bible from front to back and that’s it” is funny on its own, but the two have also amassed an excellent roster of special guests that includes folks like podcast favorite Ayo Edebiri, Survivor all-star John Cochran, and even actual rabbi Emily Cohen. Jon Daly is a seamless fit for the Book of Leviticus’s latest hyperspecific litany of rules, this time focusing on what family members you can or cannot have sex with and the varying degrees of logic ranging from “that would dishonor your brother” to “I am the Lord.” Though it’s also the unfortunate homophobia verse, the hosts quickly cancel God and move on to more interesting subjects like the sudden invocation of Molek, a lesser god with no origin who people apparently sometimes sacrifice their children to in between all the incestuous thoughts. Padnick’s intentionally unsure read-aloud from the King James Version sets the levity, but he, Klein, and their guests bring out the best in the strangest of scriptures. —Noah Jacobs
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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More From This Series
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