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.
Steph Infection - #26 Chris Estrada
The human body is a hilarious, strange mystery that’s held to unrealistic expectations of vanity. However, one podcast dares to discuss the realities of being human, even the unpleasant parts people try to hide. Steph Infection is “your totally unsolicited look into all the $#%* you wish people actually talked about.” Comedian Steph Tolev is joined by Chris Estrada to discuss all things related to the human body and comedy. They reminisce on awkward comedy shows, agreeing that comedy and music performances don’t mix. Estrada recalls when he was booked for a music festival, and instead of being put on the comedy stage with other comedians, he was put on a reggaeton music stage to perform in between bands. Tolev recalls a recent car accident she was in with another comedian (who didn’t even follow her back on Instagram, which is arguably worse than a fender bender). She also calls out cyclists for not wearing helmets, especially in Los Angeles. Tolev and Estrada dive deep into the world of flatulence and whether or not they fart in front of their loved ones. Estrada refuses to fart in front of his girlfriend of six years but faced one of his biggest fears with her: His IBS betraying him on a hike. Despite everything Estrada has gone through in his life, that experience is the one that haunts him, and he lives to tell the tale on Steph Infection. —Alejandra Gularte
Review Revue - Haunted Houses 2 (W/ Ryan Gaul!)
Sequels are often expected when it comes to horror movies. So why should podcast episodes about haunted houses be any different? Fortunately, Review Revue seems to agree and has blessed listeners with its second annual haunted-house episode. A weekly show hosted by Reilly Anspaugh and Geoffrey James, Review Revue sees the hosts read and riff on the “most absurd reviews on the internet” before expanding them into even more absurd improv comedy with a game guest. In this episode, they’ve invited Ryan Gaul back to revisit haunted-house reviews. They quickly spiral the scary into silly as they enact the excruciating experience of waiting in line to get into a haunted house. As Anspaugh and James keep revealing hidden fees to Gaul, things become increasingly hilarious. “You have to understand this is very frustrating,” Gaul says before he’s told that using a credit card will cost extra. Here’s hoping this punchline-packed topic becomes just as much of a Halloween tradition as the haunted houses themselves. —Becca James
The Bald and the Beautiful With Trixie Mattel & Katya Zamo - Beauty Tips, Bathroom Raccoons and Talking Tumors
Packed with musings about French horror movies and flagrant, hilarious banter, this special season-finale episode of The Bald and the Beautiful with Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamo feels much like its YouTube counterpart, UNHhhh. The episode starts strong, with Trixie pondering the rebrand of this podcast as a Yelp-style review show about the heating and cooling conditions at drag shows. The duo share some hilarious life updates, including one about a late-night raccoon break-in. Their advice for dealing with that situation is simple: “Just go back to bed, it is what it is,” because, well, “What are you going to do? Chase it? The broom is in the kitchen.” Finally, this episode is a can’t-miss for anyone who wants to hear two drag queens reviewing (and reimagining) Squid Game. Trixie and Katya provide an in-depth review of the Netflix show: The marble episode made them cry, and they liken “having the umbrella in the sugar-carving thing” to “doing drag with a bum knee.” Over the course of this conversation, the co-hosts also take the opportunity to craft a compelling pitch for their own version of the show — Squibb Game, hosted by June Squibb — featuring delightfully cheeky drag-themed games. Though this will be the last episode of the podcast for a while, it was a memorable one. Never a dull moment with Trixie and Katya! —Akanksha Aurora
Mike and Tom Eat Snacks - Tostito’s Hint of Lime
A podcast from a simpler age is back. Mike and Tom Eats Snacks, with hosts Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh, hit episode 100 about four years ago then disappeared. The simple premise? Pick a snack, eat that snack, then rate that snack. Every episode was really an excuse for these two funny friends to hang out and shoot the shit. Who knows why they’ve decided to return, but Mike and Tom are back, baby! It’s the same premise, with this week’s snack being Tostito’s Hint of Lime tortilla chips. As always, it takes a while for the boys to get down to the actual snackage (which is always unveiled like it’s a surprise, even though the snack is in the title of the show). Beset with a glitchy microphone early on, Black claims to be broadcasting from Aleppo, Syria, where the technology is a little iffy … and even the Tostito’s package doesn’t look the same: “The package reads ‘flavored triangles.’ Why can’t they just say chips?” queries Black. But when these two self-proclaimed “snackologists” finally get down to it, it’s almost like listening to a pair of wine connoisseurs dissecting a rare vintage. Only way funnier. —Marc Hershon
That’s Messed Up: An SVU Podcast - Chameleon
What pairs best with a show about sex crimes? A comedy podcast, of course! Every week on That’s Messed Up, hosts Kara Klenk and Liza Treyger recap an episode of Law and Order: SVU, discuss the real-life crime it was based on, then interview an actor from the episode. Much like any good weekend USA Network SVU marathon you find yourself watching in a hotel, they jump around from season to season. The only real way to know where you are in the series is Olivia Benson’s hairstyle. So one week it could be your favorite episode you’ve seen a million times, the next it could be one you’ve forgotten all about (though have probably also seen a million times). This week’s episode, “Chameleon,” inspired by the crimes of Aileen Wournos, is an especially good listen. It feels so wrong to say this, but Klenk and Treyger are so funny and passionate when recounting the crimes — both the TV and real-life versions — it’s hard not to find yourself extremely fired up and siding with the killer by the end. As Ice-T’s Detective Tutuola would say, that’s messed up. —Leigh Cesiro
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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