This Week in Comedy Podcasts
Three days ago around every suburb in every nation cheers of “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me a comedy podcast that would be neat” could be heard. And what podcasts they got. Here is what our team found in their pumpkin shaped buckets this week:
BRADFORD: Beginnnings #34 – John Lee
Beginnings is a podcast from New York comedy team Andy Beckerman and Mark Bisi, in which the two interview a different figure in the comedy industry each week, focusing on their creative process and the evolution of their career. In the latest episode, they talked to John Lee, the co-creator (with Vernon Chatman) of the TV series Wonder Showzen and Xavier: Renegade Angel, as well as co-head of the production company/art collective PFFR, which has been responsible for absurdist Adult Swim television series like Delocated and the upcoming The Heart, She Holler. Andy and Mark’s chat with John Lee gives the listener a detailed look at Lee’s career that’s never dry, staying fun and freewheeling throughout. Andy calls himself and Mark out for their obsessive fandom, fearing that the interview feels like The Chris Farley Show, but their rampant enthusiasm about Lee’s work strays away from Farley’s “Remember the time?” turf and the two geeking out over the PFFR canon adds depth and energy to the interview.
ELI: EARWOLF PRESENTS: GELMANIA – Tim Heidecker
The description for the latest episode of Earwolf Presents includes the disclaimer that it’s not a podcast, it’s Gelmania. Which is fair enough warning for the bizarre greatness of Brett Gelman’s one-time only episode. Things start with a two and half minute Big Brother-esque rant defining Gelmania (“it is eating, it is fucking, it is life and death”) which abruptly ends to segue into reading a little mail. Specifically, hate mail excoriating Gelman for only praying to vaginas and movies which aren’t in heaven. What follows is just more of that same-o, same-o: a rap slamming religious fundamentalist gay haters that seems to feature a remix of Hitler yelling, a short story about the parallel lives of two men that need Pepto Bismol (one the President of the US, the other Johnny Doe), and a recording of a live bit in which Tim Heidecker introduces his new energetic conservative comedian persona. Oh, and Complainin’ James Gandolfini bitches about how long lines are at CVS (“I ain’t waiting in a line that’s longer than the length I wish the size of my dick really was, even though my dick is really big because I’m Italian.”) And thus did we all become Gelmaniacs.
JESSE: Comedy Bang Bang #129 – Brett Gelman, Jon Daly, Allan Mcleod, Neil Campbell
My first introduction to “alternative comedy” was at a Comedy Death Ray Halloween Special (the live show not the podcast). Brett Gelman and Jon Daly hosted as Beuford and Messmore le Barron, a pretty classic version of a comedy duo, except they were both ghouls, and at the time I’d never seen anything funnier. Maybe it’s a product of how great they are at these characters but Scott Aukerman seemed like he was in an extra-good mood and that translated into an episode that garnered two listens from me on Monday alone. Do you like puns? What if they are extra awful? Oh you do then you are in luck, because ever so often Scott and his guests would get into a zone where each wanted to one up the others with the absolutely worst one. Here is a brief list: Huffington Ghost, Washghostintin Post, New York Slimes, Die-tunes, Booo-ify, Pan-dead-a, hemoghosts, dia-spook-a. Also there was Allan Mcleod playing a racist little boy ghost and Neil Campbell doing an excerpt from his one-man show about psychopaths. The peak, as has been the case recently, was the freestyle rap battle about a very spooOOOOooOOoky topic, the NBA lockout, which included a classically awful verse from “Scott Auk,” a very Brett Gelman verse that involves a lot of gross things, Neil Campbell’s brilliant takedown of Grantland’s content, and one of Jon Daly’s many failed attempts at reciting “Monster Mash.” The episode was absolutely perfect for Halloween but it will be equally perfect any day of the year, bearing you like hilarity.
JOEL: The Long Shot #405 – Marc Maron
This time out, The Long Shot showed off what it does best – keeping it real and raw. It’s a “very special episode” complete with meltdowns and personal attacks…and an apology to a guy named Stu. Marc Maron highlights with a deadpan nonstop deconstruction of Pepitone. He uses a line-by-line reading of the definition of “narcissism” to get at Pepitone. He “misses the real Eddie.” Conroy and Maron again rehash their past failed TV show working relationship. The grudge that only one of them remembers. There’s a discussion of stealing, including Maron explaining his grocery store/stevia stealing past. Good girl Kenny still feels bad about her stolen car joy riding past. There’s a great “checking-in” segment featuring Flam’s start-and-stop Rick Fox anecdote – which, of course, leads to a very fun Pepitone rant about “what’s wrong with the world.” Kenny’s down in the dumps and Pepitone swivels between interrupting and offering up encouragement. The advice is more funny than functional. Pepitone hilariously segues from Kenny’s dismay to his own rambling story of his fun experience at a Basset Hound Picnic. Which basically means Pepitone describes what a Basset Hound looks like. A classic Conroy and the gang get-on-Pepitone’s-case segment ensues. The hosts’ eager tangents and constantly undercutting one other continue to make The Long Shot a comedic step above most chat shows.
MARC: Professor Blastoff #27– Robert Ike III
It’s thought that most comedians yearn to be musicians. Professor Blastoff shows another angle: Some comedians want to be scientists. Or at least mess around with a chemistry set and stuff that goes “bang”. In this ‘sode, hosts Tig Notaro, Kyle Dunnigan and David Huntsberger probe the mysteries of the Big Bang from inside Professor Blastoff’s abandoned laboratory. Helping them on their quest this time is returning science brain, medical physicist Robert Ike. Phun with physics? You bet. What the three co-hosts lack in actual smarts they make up for with wit, humility and a seeming real desire to find out answers. The solutions prove to be a little elusive this time out, as it seems no one in our world quite has a definite handle on what the Big Bang was or if it even actually happened. Still, all of the comedic speculation — if microphones (and everything else) are made up of atoms that used to be stars, it stands to reason that stars are made up of microphones — makes not getting all of the answers kind of more fun than if they had.
SHAUN: Totally Laime # 91 – Rachel Bloom
What’s this? A Halloween comedy podcast that is actually scary? Well, in this edition of Totally Laime, with guest Rachel Bloom (Allen Gregory, “Fuck Me Ray Bradbury”), there were moments that had me sitting at the edge of my subway seat. Everything seems normal until the topic of ghosts comes up. Out of nowhere, they start to notice strange clicks and spikes in the levels. You can hear genuine fear in everyone’s voices as they deduce that the irregularity could only be supernatural. Did they contact the old lady ghost that lives in the House of Laime! Bloom, somewhat of a ghost expert, tells some amazing ghost stories that sent chills down my spine. But this one is not all about evil spirits, Bloom reminisces about going viral and tells the insanely sweet story about how she started dating Dan Gregor (How I Met Your Mother). (The scariest thing about this episode is that they DON’T talk about bald vaginas. Ahhh!)
See if Bloom can rustle up some spirits at the Ole Haunted UCB Theater in New York. See her show “Rachel Bloom is a Triple Threat” next Thursday 11/10 at 8:00pm.
The Gentlemen’s Club #121 – Jeff Ullrich
The Todd Glass Show #14 – Rory Scovel
You Made it Weird With Pete Holmes #2 – T.J. Miller
Bradford Evans is a writer living in Los Angeles.
Eli Terry writes for the house UCB sketch team Gramps. He is on Twitter with few followers.
Shaun Diston is a Writer/Improviser/Sailor of the Ocean.