this month in comedy podcasts

This Month in Comedy Podcasts: Frasier, March Madness Style

Photo: NBC

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 month, 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. You can also keep up with all our comedy-podcast recommendations in Vulture’s newsletter 1.5x Speed.

I’m Listening: A Frasier Podcast – March Madness: Frasier Edition w/ Emily Heller

Despite the title, this episode of I’m Listening dropped in April. It’s a reference to the bracket-style battle royale among minor characters from Frasier that guest Emily Heller fills out along with host comedian and No. 1 Frasier fan Anita Flores. I’m not a fanatic about the Kelsey Grammer–starring NBC sitcom, but the deep dive that Flores and her guest take into the show’s characters made me want to start binging immediately. Heller comes to the table (or the Zoom) with an already crazy fleshed-out bunch of recurring characters to kick things off, from Frasier Crane’s exes and loony neighbors down to Baby the cockatoo. (Moose, Martin Crane’s Jack Russell terrier, doesn’t count since he was a regular on the show.) Heller leaves some open spots on the bracket for Flores to fill out, and the two spend the better part of an hour letting the characters duke it out. From the stuffy members of the wine club and fellow residents of the Elliott Bay Towers to Lilith Sternin to Bebe Glazer, the episode does a nifty job of letting us know a lot about these many characters. By the time they get to the ultimate showdown (spoiler alert: I kind of let the cat out of the bag already), I felt I already had a dog in the fight. —Marc Hershon

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Normal Gossip – Spot the Scammer With Claire Fallon and Emma Gray

What’s better than some juicy gossip? Juicy gossip out of context. Hosted by author and journalist-turned-gossip queen Kelsey McKinney, the Normal Gossip podcast is a partly personal, partly listener-sourced collection of funny, frequently dramatic, and wildly enjoyable gossip about strangers (with identifying details anonymized, of course). Each episode delves into gossip from a different walk of life: There’s camper gossip, knitting-community gossip, and in this season-finale episode, international-travel-and-potential-abduction gossip. And what a compelling finale this is: McKinney, Claire Fallon, and Emma Gray are detail-rich storytellers, painting vivid pictures of a quirky all-female cast on a Southeast Asian adventure. The listener can’t help but relate and become completely absorbed in the hijinks that begin with twins “Maya and Naya” traveling to the other side of the world with “Jenny from L.A.” and end with answering the question “Is my friend dead?” McKinney urges listeners to ponder the very nature of gossip, peppering clarifying questions and encouraging post-mortem analyses that underscore the ways in which the truth can evolve or even be lost through time and retelling. Despite what the title suggests, this podcast is a deliciously voyeuristic listening experience that goes far above and beyond a “normal” good time. —Akanksha Aurora

Listen: Spotify | Apple

Formerly Deliberately Wasting Your Time — 2 Jons Don’t Make a Right Pt. 2 With Kulap Vilaysack

TV’s Jon Daly has a new sandbox to play in: Formerly Deliberately Wasting Your Time — recently hastily renamed to avoid problems with a preexisting podcast — alternates between critiquing other podcasts, reviewing The Sopranos, and putting Daly in the car with Jon Schroeder (Bob’s Burgers) and a guest to cruise around Los Angeles chatting while making only left turns. If they make a right, the podcast immediately ends and the passenger needs to find a new way home. The second episode features podcast favorite and Schroder’s longtime friend Kulap Vilaysack, and they immediately get into a car accident. The adrenaline from Schroder confronting the offending driver sets the tone for the rest of the ride, which mostly consists of Daly picking topics out of people on the street they make fun of. As Schroder secretly farts up his garlic Brussels sprouts, Daly tells the story of being scammed by sidewalk three-card monte in New York City and how he read a story about people eating burritos out of each other’s butts. The maskless gang chants “We love masks!” at an anti-mask protest they encircle, Vilaysack reveals her past experiences with the spirit realm, and — spoiler alert — Schroeder gets her home safe thanks to some creative U-turns. “2 Jons” takes the parasocial connection of listening to podcasts on your commute to an overdue new level. —Noah Jacobs

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Y’all Gay? — Salt & Vinegar Sugar Babies

Y’all Gay? bills itself as a “comedic podcast for everyone, brought to you by two southern queers” before mentioning the wide range of topics that hosts and comedians Ali Clayton and Ever Mainard are down to discuss, “from pop culture to life experiences and everything in between.” It’s a humble introduction that belies a hilarious podcast. In this episode, the “everything in between” includes scammer sugar daddies, vintage breast implants, and shoeless gas stations. Listeners will laugh as each story unfolds, with the hosts expressing equal amounts of self-confidence and self-deprecation. A perfect example of this charming combination is when Clayton confirms she would accept money for pictures of her feet. “Fuck yeah. Go ahead. Jack off to my feet,” she says confidently, right before Mainard asks, “Do you ever forget to, like, clip your toenails … and then all the sudden they’re stabbing through your socks?” That level of realness is inviting, as is the entire podcast. From the hosts’ warm welcome and the enthusiastic theme song up to the authentic and scattered sign-offs at the end, it’s a show that can’t help but embody a certain southern charm and hospitality, making it easy to tuck into and enjoy. —Becca James

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

The Juice With Solomon Georgio

New to the Team Coco podcast family, The Juice With Solomon Georgio is dedicated to the comedian’s love of gossip. Georgio’s focus is not celebrity gossip, but the more quotidien variety: work dramas, tales from high school, and the types of secrets we share in group chats or over too many glasses of wine. Guests this month have included Atsuko Okatsuka and Ira Madison III, the latter of whom recounts his time at an all-boys’ Catholic high school in Milwaukee where a fraud ring caught the attention of the FBI. Listeners submit their gossip via e-mail in a segment called “Mail Bag” and even call in live in a segment called “The Juice Line.” The live-call portion offers a unique, collaborative edge to the podcast that sees Georgio and his guests riff with listeners. No matter how wild the gossip gets, Georgio’s talent as a host is the ability to manage them with levity and empathy when called for. The podcast shows that stories, drama, and entertainment can come from anywhere — even arenas that one might deem mundane. Georgio’s podcast culls the ordinary for the extraordinary. Being in other people’s business has never been more fun. —Kriska Desir

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

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This Month in Comedy Podcasts: Frasier, March Madness Style