This Week in Comedy Podcasts
So you decided to pick “go to the gym” as your resolution for the fifth time in a row despite the fact that you failed to follow through every other year? Apparently, it takes about 365 days to forget how bad the music is at gyms. Now you spend your mornings all like, “Does Staind have a new album out? Is this Avenge Sevenfold covering Candlebox?” Is this Seether? Is that even a real band or did I make it up? Seether? Sither? Hinder? Heether? Seether?” or “Is this Ke$ha remixing a Ke$ha song? Who didn’t teach Avril Lavinge how to play trumpet and then made her play the instrument on this track? Am I having a stroke?” Thus, it’s for your own protection that we offer you these podcasts. Each is listenable via small speakers that you can jam into your earholes. Here are this week’s suggested hole fillers:
BRADFORD: Who Charted? #57 – David Wain
Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack’s chart-themed chat show Who Charted? is at its best when it has a strong guest, and this week, David Wain proves to be just that. Wain’s appearance leads to a delightfully fun and frivolous hour of podcasting. Wain scores some big laughs up top when he mockingly pretends to host the show and then improvises his own hit Swedish dance song. Hosts Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack are in fine form this year right out of the gate, directing Who Charted? newcomer David Wain through their loopy, unique, and energetic show. Kremer and Vilaysack’s “Chart Roulette” quiz and Wain’s warnings about his controversial political beliefs draw big laughs, but there’s no funnier moment in the episode than when Wain pretends to hear Rob Lowe’s name as Raw Blow and assumes the host are referring to a professional wrestler.
ELI: How Did This Get Made? #27 – Doug Benson
With this episode of How Did Get This Made? the gang tackles everyone’s favorite vampire/werewolf abstinence allegory and excessive user of punctuation in the movie titler Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part One. Making fun of Twilight is a well mined territory but Paul Scheer and company, along with guest Doug Benson, are still able to dig up fresh WTF nuggets out from a bat shit crazy movie. A number of good points are raised including on whether Jacob the werewolf stashes changes of clothes around the forest so he can change back into non-ripped shirts post-transformation and why no one raises objections to an 18 year old girl marrying a super pale, immortal guy that has super pale running in his family. As is often with episodes of HDTGM the proceedings eventually reach a level of head-spinning incredulity, this time triggered by the recap of a baby being eaten out of pregnant Bella. Cool scene in a cool movie. Bonus hilarity can be found in your head by picturing a stoned Doug Benson in a mostly empty theater watching Twilight.
JESSE: The Nerdist #154 – Stand-Up Cluster 2
There was once a time I lived in Los Angeles, California. Have you heard of Los Angeles, California? It’s where all our pop culture factories are. As a result, there are a lot of comedians—good comedians—great comedians—who get together to say funny things back to back to back. When I was there Comedy Death Ray, which has since become Comedy Bang Bang, was the best show in town with line-ups you’d sell stacks of gold to see (but leave your gold at home, it only costs five American dollar bills). Since, I heard rumors and grumblings and fusion grumbors about Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjani’s Meltdown show but it has exceeded my grasp. Until now! (Kind of.) This episode of The Nerdist, Chris “The Great Curator” Hardwick curated The Meltdown show for you and I, and it’s marvelous. I’m not here to quote peoples’ routines because nothing sucks the fun out of funny more than summarized stand-up bits, so here is simply the list of who performed: Pete Holmes, Jim Hamilton, Matt Mira, Hampton Yount, Diani & Devine, Rory Scovel, Jared Logan, Brent Weinbach, Adam Cayton-Holland.
Just like The Long Shot did over the holidays, I’d figure I’d try something different with my pick this time out. I made it a two-for-one. As Jamie Flam would say: “Boom.” The best comedy group in podcasting treated listeners to two holiday greeting quickies and a slight format shift. The “Secret Santa” and “New Year’s Resolution” mini-sodes serve as a sweet reward for longtime fans and double as a great primer for the group’s chemistry, honesty and silliness. Four seasons in, there’s a well-worn dynamic among Amber Kenny, Eddie Pepitone, Jamie Flam and Sean Conroy. The Secret Santa show features the group worshiping its non-denominational holiday obelisk and visits from Intern Alex and Sound Guy Jorge. There are some heartfelt exchanges with Pepitone and Conroy still sneaking in the character riffs. The “Resolutions” episode is pretty much the “let’s get specific” game with Conroy challenging everyone to go detailed with their 2012 goals. A highlight is Flam disappointing Pepitone with his grand but generic goal of “taking over the world” in 2012. Conroy continues to be one of the most underrated performers in comedy podcasting, hosting the motley crew and tracking and adding to the comedy no matter the subject matter or tone. He and his co-hosts are hitting their stride as we hit the New Year. The combo of heart and obnoxiousness that reaps delirious rewards.
MARC: Pop My Culture #63 – Jim Rash
If you haven’t caught any episodes of Pop My Culture (PMC) yet, it’s really a great recipe for a comedy podcast: 1) Host celebrity figures as guests; 2) Cap on elements of pop culture. Simple. Hosts Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland have a fun and easy chemistry, keeping the show bopping along and their guests along with it. In episode 63, their first show of the new year, Jim Rash is their guest. Most recently recognized as Dean Pelton from NBC’s Community, he’s recently been hailed as one of the screenwriters of the lauded film The Descendants. In the course of learning how Rash traveled from North Carolina to Hollywood to get into the acting game and charting the course to the present, he, Stratton and Ragland have a rollicking good time. One running gag is all about the privilege it must be to be “pranked” by George Clooney. (Star of The Descendants, he and Rash barely crossed paths and the writer/performer laments that he never fell victim to one of the star’s famed pranks.) And as a sign of PMC’s consistency of comedy, they’re among those podcasts that have recently come under the umbrella of Nerdist.com.
Comedy Bang Bang #138 – Andy Richter, Paul F. Tompkins
Improv4humans #7 – Brian Husky, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh
My Brother, My Brother And Me #86 – Get It
Jesse David Fox is a freelance writer, cat person, and Jew (in that order). He lives in Brooklyn. His iPod is broken.
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.