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.
Good Christian Fun - Amy Grant
O ye of little — or considerable — faith, this week’s Good Christian Fun is perhaps the episode to end all episodes: Hosts Kevin T. Porter and Caroline Ely interview the Queen of Christian Pop, Amy Grant. Every week, Porter and Ely invite guests to discuss different aspects of Christian culture with a healthy balance of laughs and thoughtfulness and absolutely no proselytizing. There’s nostalgia for former and current Christians alike (remember Veggie Tales?!?) and a peek into the underbelly of Christian pop culture for those unfamiliar with it. Though a traumatized former believer (like me) might approach the podcast with cynicism, Porter and Ely make that hard, and this Grant interview makes it especially hard. Grant’s status as a crossover artist, from contemporary Christian to secular and back, not only makes her career an interesting case study for pop-culture nerds, but she is a charming and warm interviewee with a great sense of humor. Whether you grew up listening to contemporary Christian radio or you’re just curious about those of us who did, consider this an altar call. —Kriska Desir
The Nikki Glaser Podcast - Green Jello with Zach Sherwin
The Nikki Glaser Podcast is less a podcast and more a hang sesh with friends Glaser and her co-host and roommate Andrew Collin. And, with new episodes daily, it’s more reliable than plans with your IRL friends. In fact, listeners of the show are actually referred to as Besties. This Wednesday’s episode was one of a handful to feature a guest, Zach Sherwin. (Former guests include Bob Saget, Pete Lee, and Mary Lynn Rajskub). Sherwin, an ex of Glaser, is there to talk about their falling out, the result of an incident involving a song he wrote about her. Longtime fans of either have probably heard this story on any number of other podcasts in the past, but for those just tuning in, you can get caught up to speed if you go back a few episodes to when they first reconnected. With Collin playing the role of benevolent adjudicator, they retrace the steps of their relationship, from how they first met up until the incident in question, and both parties discuss all the ways they’ve changed and grown and can take accountability for the people they used to be. The conversation, much like many of the conversations that take place on the podcast, is extremely open, honest, and vulnerable, which always makes for some very cathartic listening. —Leigh Cesiro
I’m Not Busy - Magic
I’m Not Busy is a comedy podcast with a charming and uncomplicated premise: Comedians and best friends Vanessa Gonzalez (Comedy Central Presents) and Micheal Foulk (Greetings, From Queer Mountain) “keep in touch while living apart.” It feels like a throwback, calling to mind a time before texting when talking on the phone was the easiest way to maintain a long-distance friendship. This week, Foulk calls Gonzalez to talk about magic, but, as they warn, “mostly they talk about bangs.” Foulk opens by asserting that “magic’s a serious thing,” before the duo riffs on the history of magic’s aesthetics over the years. Moving from The Prestige–style top hat-wearing magician to the Limp Bizkit–like magicians of the early 2000s, no one is safe from their silly takes on the sacred art form or their hard-hitting questions, such as, “Who was the first magician to cut a woman in half?” Listen and laugh along. —Becca James
Smartless - Ryan Reynolds
What is it that makes Ryan Reynolds so damned likable? We can’t even see him during his appearance this week on Smartless, yet hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett fall all over themselves trying to curry the star of Deadpool’s favor even as they ask him about his life and career. Maybe it’s his way of complimenting the hosts about how much they inspired him as he was getting started. Or the stories of Reynolds’s humble history coming of age in Canada, stocking shelves at a Safeway supermarket before hitting the road in his beat-to-shit car with a dream of joining the Groundlings in Los Angeles. Early on, he crossed paths with Bateman in an office where he was trying to find representation, and the agency took him on based on Bateman’s suggestion to do so. And although he’s riding high these days, there were times where things weren’t so hot, and there’s a side of himself he prefers to not let out: “I have a patchwork quilt of pitch-black night within me.” In the end, he likes to embrace one of his leading character’s lines from National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: “Don’t take life too seriously — you’ll never get out alive.” —Marc Hershon
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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More From This Series
- This Month in Comedy Podcasts: Hopped Up on Black Betties with Patton Oswalt
- This Month in Comedy Podcasts: The Kardashians Are Giving Cult, With Meg Indurti
- This Month in Comedy Podcasts: Nikki Glaser on WTF