Around this time of year (roughly 4PM-ish on June 30th) people tend to get super-psyched about their upcoming Independence Day weekend plans. “Why isn’t it goddamn Independence Day weekend yet?” and “I hate how time works!” are but two of the many things people are saying in offices across America right now. If that doesn’t make you simultaneously feel patriotic and nervous, then, well, clearly you’ve lost touch with the ideals of our forefathers. There’s a chance that I may have lost track of where I’m going with this. Oh yes — so when you are *finally* allowed into your car/bus/train to take the long trip to wherever you will be celebrating this weekend, perhaps you should consider bringing along a podcast or two to amuse you during the trip. Here are the best comedy podcasts of the week:
Top 5 Comedy Podcasts This Week (In Alphabetical Order)
Affirmation Nation with Bob Ducca
Podcasters and avid listeners often talk about how the medium is unlike anything that came before it. The truth is, at this point in its history most shows don’t diverge greatly from traditional talk shows or, worse yet, morning radio. Still, Affirmation Nation is one of those special shows that seem unique to this medium. Yes, there are a lot of jokes and absurdity, but at its core the show is an exploration of a character. Instead of learning as part of a narrative, the listener picks up bit and pieces each episode. Wednesday’s “Alonzo Sourpudding” showed how important one friendship is to a particularly lonely person’s life. It was genuinely touching, regardless of how funny the name Alonzo Sourpudding is — and let’s face it, the name is super funny.
Anytime Show #15 — Rob Delaney
One-third of the DERRICK Comedy guys, Dominic Dierkes is exactly the kind of person who should be hosting a podcast. Recognized for his sketch skills, Dominic also gets a chance to show off his underrated standup chops every week on his Anytime podcast. Each show starts off with him riffing solo on stage, moves to an interview with a member of the audience (which, if you can make that funny for ten minutes, then God bless you!), and ends with a long-form interview and joke session with a guest. This week, comedian Rob Delaney joins Dominic — armed to the teeth with all manner of tales about his recent parenthood, and opinions about the other parents he now comes across. Dude can tell a mean story, and hearing him crack jokes with Dominic makes for a much-too-quick half-hour.
Who Charted? #30 — Andy Kindler
Who Charted? is usually at its best when the guest is completely unaware of what happens on the show; there is something endearing about hearing them ask Howard if it is him singing. There is a certain “wait what” quality that is unique to this show. In this respect the ever-incredulous Andy Kindler was a great guest, as he both capably acted befuddled and played along with the shenanigans. The best example of this came early when Howard asks Andy to act out a scene where Howard would play Adele and Andy his manager, which then became a scene where Kulap played Adele and Howard played himself for no real reason. Sure, Andy did some necessary (Mr. Popper’s Penguins) and unnecessary (Jimmy Fallon) hating but mostly he was there just having a blast.
WTF with Marc Maron #187 — Larry Miller
Many will tell you they fast forward to the opening rant of a given WTF episode and cut straight to the interview. The rants often go nowhere and seem like first draft for something that might be funny at some point. This episode, we can’t stress highly enough that you must listen to his introduction. Marc tells a truly beautiful story about running into a friend from his childhood that is touching without feeling forced. It was like if for eight minutes WTF was taken over by an episode of The Moth but one in which the storytellers are actually funny. The interview with the dad from 10 Things I Hate About You was really solid. Larry has a surprisingly positive outlook on life that presented a fantastic dichotomy with Marc’s vague fatalism. There is some discussion of the typical WTF bummer topics but mostly it was mostly a compelling look in the process of comedy.
You Had to Be There #23 — Shock G
This week’s episode starts off with an extended discussion about sending naughty pics over the phone, obviously recorded a couple of week’s ago when Weiner-mania had swept the land. The story of Sara Schneider’s failed attempt to be a convincing cameraphone sexpot for her boyfriend is classic, but the whole conversation is pretty funny. So yeah, Sara and Nikki are both very funny — that should be news to nobody in the podcast-verse. The true shock here (I am so sorry) is that Shock G is fucking hilarious. Who knew that beneath Humpty Hump’s brown Groucho Marx nose beat the heart of a natural comedian and an engaging storyteller. Whether he’s talking about his own experience with dick-pics, the origins of the Humpty persona, or what it’s like to smoke a blunt with Dan Ackroyd, Shock G effortlessly commands the spotlight here.
Left Handed Radio #7 — You Don’t Want a Relationship, You Want a Trainwreck
Left Handed Radio is the brainchild of UCB NY writers and performers Adam Bozarth, Dan Chamberlain, Matt Little, Taylor Moore, and Anna Rubanova. In its 7th episode the show is clearly hitting its stride, with jokes and sketches coming at a rapid clip and often heading toward a dark place. Like a punchier Superego, Left Handed Radio is one of those rare podcasts with replay value.
Comedy Bang Bang #110 — Colin Hanks, Myq Kaplan, Paul Scheer
Sometimes the pre-character portion of CBB can be a drag in comparison. This was one of the rare weeks, though, when that trend was reversed. Scottobot finally seemed to have met his pun-making match in Myq Kaplan, and undoubtedly the highlight of the episode comes in an early attempt to practice the legendary “No, but” form of improv.
How Did This Get Made #13 — Jensen Karp
The sheer audacity of this movie brings out a response that sounds somewhere between admiration and disbelief from the How Did This Get Made crew. That’s what’s to be expected from a movie whose tagline is “He Was Dead. He Got Better.” Guest Jensen Karp from the Hype Men podcast gets some good jokes in, and also reveals a surprising connection to Crank 2 star Jason Statham—whom everybody here seems to be a little in love with.
Jesse Fox is currently driving across the United States, eating BBQ and growing fat. Podcasts have helped him stave off death by preventing him from falling asleep while driving . You can follow his travels here.
Joe Berkowitz edits books and writes stuff. He also has a Tumblr.