Another week, another iPod completely stocked with audio jewels and gems from some of the best comic talent around. Well done, everybody! Long live the comedy podcasting bubble, and may it never even hinge on bursting! But which comedy podcasts will you listen to this weekend—all of them? Preposterous! Who has that kind of time, inclination, or lack of other available options? (Keep in mind the hurricane was last weekend.) Thankfully we’ve done the hard, grueling work already, scouring through most of the crop for you, and selecting only the juiciest offerings to put in your ears. These are the best comedy podcasts of the week:
Top 5 Comedy Podcasts This Week (In Alphabetical Order)
Affirmation with Bob Ducca
Seth Morris is a list making savant. Simply compiling things of varying absurdity may not seem like the setting for comedic gold, yet each time he knocks it out of the park. This week featured three of Bob’s lists: 1) things he wants to exist (i.e. edible packing peanuts because it seems like a waste of a perfectly good peanut-shaped object) 2) things in his medicine cabinet 3) his favorite sauces. Though one and two were fantastic in their Ducca-ness, the third was extra special. For the most part it’s a pretty straightforward list of sauces (i.e. soy, tartar, weak, gravy) recited in his goofy voice, but something intangible makes it transcend the concept alone. A lot of credit needs to be given to the format of the show being daily short episodes instead of the more traditional weekly hour-long. As a result, fans develop such a close relationship with the character that just hearing him say “Worcestershire” can bring laughing-tears to the eye.
Comedy Bang Bang #120 http://www.youtube.com/user/videocrush Adam Scott, Harris Wittels, Chelsea Peretti
Host Scott Aukerman took to twitter about this episode: “Most polarizing CBB ep of the year! Been called the best AND worst ever. Where do you stand?” And it’s true, a normal CBB episode garners anywhere from 19 to 50 message board comments, where this one is already in triple digits. The episode is really unlike any in the show’s history (or really any show’s history). It was probably entirely laughless for detractors; however, for its fans, like me, it was a masterpiece of so-bad-its-good humor. The majority of the first half is spent on an excerpt from Harris and Adam’s two-man show they used to perform at Chicago’s famed “Third City” theatre. Harris reprises his role as Jack from the Lumberyard and Adam plays his brother in law, Bryan. Even as their story becomes more and more ridiculous, the two actors remain unruffled. Taking this tone a step further, the second half is spent by Chelsea testing out the absolute worst characters (i.e. Rosa, the curious Latina). A good barometer for if you’ll like the episode is this joke, which was one of the two from Harris’s Foam Corner: “When there’s a will, there’s a Wayans.”
Doug Loves Movies — Zach Galifianakis, Nick Swardson, Marc Maron, Matt Mira
It’s a packed house on Doug Loves Movies this week when all the names listed above converge on the stage of the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre in LA. One of the great things about this episode, and about many of the established comedy podcasts in general, is the civilian’s glimpse into the camaraderie among comedians. References abound to moments and parties that took place many years ago, on both coasts, and everybody mentioned seems to remember them affectionately. Also apparently just before this episode, Zach pantsed Nick backstage, and Nick then took his wang out and pretended to, well, you can imagine. What’s interesting is to see how Nerdist podcaster and burgeoning standup Matt Mira doesn’t seem out of place among these heavyweights. He talks knowledgably about movies, gets a few good laugh lines in, and wins the Leonard Maltin game. Matt Mira: the People’s Champion.
Get Up On This #5 — Jesse Thorn
Jensen Karp’s new podcast, which usually points listeners towards music they might not know about it yet, takes some liberties with its premise this week by dedicating an entire episode to the monolithic collaboration between Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne. For this undertaking, Jensen enlists as his co-host podcast impresario Jesse Thorn, someone who is perfectly suited to the task and exhibits sheer delight the entire time. Jesse’s enthusiasm is palpable when Southern rap titan Bun B calls to weigh in on the discussion (and it’s hilarious to hear him address the rapper as “Bun”.) Other guests include Jensen’s former ‘castmates from Hype Men (RIP), Jeff and Eric Rosenthal, and former Rawkus Records mainstay, producer 88 Keys. Jensen’s reading of the production credits on the album turns into a running joke about the sheer number and infamy of collaborators involved (“Don Ho on ukulele” Jesse adds on one song.) Like the Hype Men podcast before it, this episode of Get Up On This offers the all-too-rare spectacle of funny people talking intelligently about hip-hop—and with some insider info to boot. It takes two hours for Jensen and Jesse to dissect the album track-by-track, but you won’t want to skip through any of it.
WTF with Marc Maron #205 — Jason Sudeikis
Marc Maron’s interviews are brutally honest, uncompromising, intense, and more revealing than those that can be found really anywhere. With this reputation, it's easy to forget that it's possible for Marc to simply just like someone. From moment one it was clear that Marc really liked Jason and was excited to have him over. Early on, he even apologized for having no resentment towards him whatsoever. As the interview continued on, it revealed itself to be one of the most affable episodes in the shows history (if not the single most). One highlight was when Jason brought up 30 Rock's Scott Adsit and the lofty pedestal he keeps him on. He even pointed out the parallels between his admiration for the guy and Amy Poehler’s of Steve Carell, Steven Colbert, and Amy Sedaris (which proves he’s listened to WTF before.) There are touches of seriousness, especially the discussion of Jason’s relationship with January Jones and the paparazzi, but it’s balanced out with the very silly story of Jason’s obsession with joining the Blue Man Group. Even the discussion of Lorne Michaels was light and airy, teasing a possible, incredibly epic WTF appearance.
Girl on Guy #7 — Paul F. Tompkins
At the top of this episode of Girl on Guy, Aisha Tyler sounds intimidated by Paul F. Tompkins’ comedic prowess compared to her own, but by the end she relishes his infectious love of what it means to be a comic. It’s easy to see why: hearing Tompkins talk about his early conviction in his choice of career and his continued happiness within it is inspiring. There are valleys along with the peaks, of course, but the conversation keeps mostly to a positive level. It speaks to Aisha’s emerging skills as an interviewer that she’s able to plumb new depths in a Paul F. Tompkins interview, considering how many podcasts he’s guested on.
Who Charted? #39 — Andy Richter
What a delightful guest Andy Richter is. He wholeheartedly plays along with the format of the show, while keeping his Richter essence. During the Top 5 German iTunes Downloads chart, he offered these sage words of wisdom: “It sounds like big candy bubbles coming out of a perfectly manicured asshole.” Or this zinger from later in the episdoe, “mind of Mencia is like saying the legs of Stephem Hawking.” The world needs more podcast guests like Andy.
You Had To Be There #31 — Jon Friedman & Andy Friedman
Nikki Glaser was sadly out of town for this week’s episode, so Sarah Schaefer had to go it alone. However, this isn’t bad news for us listeners since a.) we’re all rooting for Nikki’s career to take off further and b.) we get to hear an adorably private-sounding phone conversation between the two friends. This week’s guest is seasoned New York comic Jon Friedman, who also worked on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon with Sara, as well as un-billed extra guest Cory Cavin. The three tell stories about working together, including the time when Sara *seemed* to have had a pants-accident. Rounding out the show is Jon’s musician brother Andy, who plays some tunes.
Jesse Fox is a freelance writer, podcaster, cat person, and Jew (in that order). He lives in Brooklyn. His iPod is broken.
Joe Berkowitz edits books and writes stuff. He also has a Tumblr.