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.
Why Won’t You Date Me? - Sleeping With Your Uber Driver (w/ London Hughes)
Finally, finally, London Hughes (To Catch a Dick on Netflix) and Nicole Byer together in one conversation. This is like the Avengers of trying to get laid. Both comedians have built reputation and fame on the same quest, while the rideshare drivers they’ve hooked up with usually haven’t even built a bed frame. There’s plenty of dick-catching advice and commiseration to go around on this episode, including the mature woman’s approach to doggy style, how to turn a meeting with an exec into an invite to Raya, and the ways a woman of color’s experience changes (for the worse) when she moves from the U.K. to the U.S. This guest-host combination has been a long time coming, and it’s worth the wait. —Kathryn Doyle
Two Old Queens - Mulholland Dr. with Drew Mackie
Pride celebrations like Lady Gaga’s Chromatic Ball tour remain postponed due to COVID (Yes, ALL Lady Gaga concerts are considered Pride events). But the digital age has given people the opportunity to celebrate Pride from the comfort of their home and beyond the month of June. Mark Rennie and John Flynn celebrate queerness year-round in their podcast Two Old Queens with a never-ending quest to find the gayest movie ever. This week’s guest is Drew Mackie (Gayest Episode Ever), who brings in his favorite movie, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. Using the podcast’s unique scoring system, each person scores from 1-100 in categories such as “dramatic lighting” and “character actors making a big swing.” Respectfully, Lee Grant’s performance takes up the bulk of the points. The trio discusses how a movie with queer themes created by a straight person can still be appreciated by the queer community. Mackie states because queerness drives the entire film, it deserves to be a part of the queer canon. Thankfully, no matter what score it received, it earned a place in Two Old Queens universe. —Alejandra Gularte
Hoes With Feelings - Ep. 5 ft. Shaelyn Gambino
As you might guess from the name Hoes With Feelings, comedians Karolena Theresa and Melissa Rich do not shy away from discussing the hard stuff. That’s the charm of the still-burgeoning podcast — the no-holds-barred discussions of everything from grief to hearing your partner have a sex dream, all with humor and the warmth of true friendship. The top of the episode features a very New York tale: a sighting of Cousin Greg from Succession (Nicholas Braun), swarmed by white women in peasant tops, at Ray’s. The meat of the episode, though, is the hosts’ chat with Shaelyn Gambino, a lawyer who works pro bono with protestors arrested in the waves of Black Lives Matter demonstrations last summer as well as individuals battling the immigration system. Gambino’s work is deeply impressive, and the hosts’ admiration for her is clear here. The episode taps into something maybe even more electrifying than a good laugh: an inspiring discussion about advocating for and taking care of your community. —Kriska Desir
No Joke With Billy & Adam - No Joke Music and Arts Festival
No Joke takes improvised deep dives on topics that “usually don’t get (or deserve) the attention,” which is to say, it’s the “least topical podcast on the internet.” It’s also one of the funniest and most support-filled shows out there. Each week hosts Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick do an excellent job proving that even the most mundane topics can be hilarious and entertaining. It helps that Scafuri and Lustick are clearly each other’s biggest fans, offering one another an upbeat platform to let their imaginations run wild. Like in the latest episode, where they plan an “epic summer festival,” or the first annual No Joke Music and Arts Festival. Maybe the most telling thing about this plan is that the first item they fully address is not something like the location or the music but eyeglass holders: “Many dweebs like us wear glasses,” jokes Lustick. While the festivities sound like they’ll lean toward the duo’s responsible demeanor, the lineup points toward it being a rager. Tune in for ticket info. —Becca James
The Reluctant Phoenix - Lizz Winstead
This week comedian and storyteller Jeff Simmermon kicks off season two of his podcast, The Reluctant Phoenix. The show’s title links to the theme of all his guests, all of whom have found themselves having to kickstart their lives after something threw them off the course of where they were originally heading. This week he talks to Lizz Winstead, a comedian who also co-created Comedy Central’s The Daily Show but now hoists the banner as founder of the Abortion Action Front. They talk about the early days of The Daily Show, which Winstead describes as a battle every day to keep the show from wallowing in shallow pop-culture waters like the suits wanted. They talk about her passion for not just abortion rights but pretty much any cause where people are being unfairly treated. The conversation turns serious and heartfelt as first the guest and then the host share experiences of supporting family members battling ALS. Waxing comedy technique, there’s discussion about the importance of applying storytelling structure to comedy bits. And Winstead also lays out how her pandemic Vimeo special, Corona Borealis — shot socially distanced with her performing on the shore of a lake while her audience watched from kayaks out in the water— came about. —Marc Hershon
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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