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Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

This Week in Comedy Podcasts

“So many podcasts, so much time!” That’s the major complaint on every unemployed comedy fan in America’s lips right now, I’m sure. #firstworldproblems, etc. But which comedy podcasts will you listen to this weekend—all of them? Preposterous! That would mean no time left over for TV and other antisocial pursuits. 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)

Comedy Bang Bang #123 — Amy Poehler, Adam Pally, The Bangles

When you listen to a lot of podcasts it’s like a ticking time bomb; at some point you will find yourself uncontrollably laughing while onlookers onlook you with confusion. This episode of CBB was going well and then Scott suggested they have a freestyle rap battle, about back to school season (because that is a totally normal rap subject). The mix of how bad Scott was, with how great Amy was, topped off with how ridiculous Adam was left me in tears. I had to leave the subway platform and go outside for some fresh air. The episode that surrounded this one was pretty spectacular. Amy is obviously a powerhouse but a lot of credit needs to be given to Adam whose David Fiene character was fantastic. A person who slightly mixes up names of things and people (i.e. the Four Citizens Theater, Paul F. Toolkind, H. Jon Banji, Mr. Showbiz, etc.)  doesn’t sound like comedy gold but in the hand of Pally, this character rivals any in the shows history. Also this is the second week in a row that Scott has a real band in the studio (apparently, it’s Zepptember) and so far its been a marked improvement from the comedy songs, which even Scott admits no one likes.

Jordan Jesse Go #192 — Rob Huebel

Somewhere in the pantheon of podcast guests, right up there with your Paul F. Tompkins’ and your Harris Wittels’ is Mr. Rob Huebel. Perhaps the most underrated member of the Human Giant crew (with Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer), Rob Huebel is in character all the time, and it’s a character that’s hilarious. On the one hand, it makes it difficult to conduct a regular interview with the guy when anything you say can and will automatically devolve into a deadpan dissertation on, say, gross doggie sex stuff. On the other, why would you want a regular interview when you can have this instead? Jordan Morris and Jesse Thorn are nimble enough improvisers to play along with Huebel every step of the way, prod him along down darker roads at times, and make callbacks wherever appropriate, only stopping when they start laughing too hard at whatever has just been said. This isn’t the first visit to Jordan Jesse Go for Rob Huebel, but it’s surely his best.

Risk — Backlash: Adam Savage, Jenny Slate, The Sklar Brothers

Kevin Allison’s story series usually has a gem ever few episodes but in general the show marred by its inconsistency. It doesn’t help that many of the performers aren’t comedians per se. That’s why in contrast this episode was so exceptional, all three-story tellers were really freaking funny. The Sklars told two stories — one about a rival set of comedic twins and another about being heckled in their hometown — both were great, and possessed the sort of polish The Sklars bring to their act. Still the real star was Jenny Slate who told three stories of revenge. Jenny demands attention as a performer both for her unique voice as a comedian and her actually unique speaking voice. A story about a bad roommate or an annoying neighbor is not particularly original; however, she is able to bring to it her trademark innocent absurdism. It’s a must listen.

Sklarbro Country #60 — Rob McElhenney

Last week in the world of podcasts, two of the stars of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia sat down with Marc Maron on WTF to discuss the seventh season of the show, and other weightier issues, naturally. Speaking of weighty issues, though, the most resonant topic had to be about co-star Rob McElhenney’s massive weight gain. As interesting as it was to hear about from his co-stars, this week on SklarBro Country, Rob himself stops by to relay the story firsthand. His weight gain translates to instant comedy as a sight gag, a deep commentary on the ongoing glamification of actors in successful sitcoms, and it turns out that his stories about the whole experience are hilarious. “I was a lot more jolly all the time,” Rob explains. “Maybe it was the sugar.” As funny as things get, one of the high points of the show is when The Sklars ask about whether anyone from Sunny ever expected to have anything like the success they’re enjoying now, and Rob gives the humble answer you might expect first, and then offers the incredibly honest real answer.

WTF with Marc Maron #211 — Lisa Lampanelli

What makes Marc such a great host for a show like this, beyond being an unabashed student of comedy, its how he both fit in and didn’t fit in with so many comedy circles of the last 25 years. He prides himself in being both the alternative Luna Lounge guy and the gritty, tough Comedy Cellar guy. Lisa is very much the latter, and in spite of this or maybe because of it Marc absolutely loves her. The episode featured one of the headiest conversations about insult comedy you’ll ever hear. When she asked Marc if she’ll be remembered as a great comedian, Marc responded with a confident yes and explained that she is true irreverence. It’s not uncommon for people to draw lines in the sand about what is smart comedy or cool comedy, but to Marc its just about who makes him laugh.

Honorable Mentions:

The Anytime Show with Dominic Dierkes # 27 — Thomas Middleditch

The Champs #6 — Donnell Rawlings

Uhh Yeah Dude #289

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.

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