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Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

This Week in Comedy Podcasts

Are you totally psyched for the Super Bowl this Sunday? Who are you rooting for? The Giants? The Patriots? Or maybe the Giant Patriots with their star QB, Paul Bunyan Revere (sorry/you’re welcome)? I heard Tom Brady doesn’t listen to music to get pumped (athletes still say, “pumped,” right?) for a game — he listens to podcasts, comedy podcasts at that. Seriously, look it up. Ok, don’t look it up because I’m lying but what if I wasn’t? Wouldn’t we all feel cooler to know we share a hobby with that human action figure of a man? What do you think he’d listen to? Who talks about their hair the most? Marc Maron? So, hey Mr. Brady here are some suggestions to get you in the right mood to throw that pig-flesh ball that’s shaped like Arnold from Hey Arnold’s head to other guys who are running around with a sense of urgency.

BRADFORD: Todd Glass Show #29 – Rory Scovel, Mike Koman

Clocking in at over two and a half hours, this week's Todd Glass Show somehow manages to stay entertaining and fun throughout. Guests Michael Koman and Rory Scovel adapt to Todd Glass's riffing naturally and join in on a series of increasingly-absurd bits, made all the better by everyone's frequent commenting on said bits. Although Todd Glass's podcast is only a few months old, Glass has quickly mastered the form and has grown adept at using all of the bells and whistles in the studio to add to his comedy. It's a particularly strong episode of what's become one of the funniest and most fun podcasts out there.

JESSE: Earwolf Presents: Analyze Phish #4

This was a very much anticipated episode in the circles of people who anticipate podcast episodes. The plan was Harris Wittels would take Scott Aukerman to a Phish concert, at which the normally drug-free Aukerman would drop some sort of “bean” and as result the both would act silly and laughably dumb. Instead, through the clips taped at the concert, the listener got a brief yet revealing look at these two usually irreverent, bone-dry comedians. Aukerman was the opposite of carefree and silly, he was audibly nervous. He wanted to just go with the flow (like Yesman from that movie Yes Man) but he obviously had tons of reservations. At first, he voiced a desire to just back out of the whole thing, which, when the show started and the bean/s dropped, morphed into an anxious wondering why he wasn’t high. The same could not be said about Wittels, who admits to completely blacking out the entire night. For him, these clips serve as a sort of intervention, where he has to come to terms with how much of an idiot he can sound like. The comedians end up being much more vulnerable than they usually find themselves and it was refreshing and hilarious and refreshingly hilarious. There is a beautiful moment at the end where Scott says that listening back to the clips from night made him undeniably happy. Wittels hoped this would influence his Phish feelings. And. It. Did. NOT! The show ends with Aukerman very flatly saying he still doesn’t like Phish, and thank goodness, because that means this delightful podcast will go on.

JOEL: Superego: Episode 3:11 – Paul F. Tompkins, Patton Oswalt, Colin Hanks, Chris Tallman, Mike Rock, James Bladon

Superego, the improvised sketch show with the most fun audio production around, returned with another collection of awesomely fun mind-fucking case episodes. Show creators, Jeremy Carter and Matt Gourley, along with Mark McConville and Jeff Crocker, are hitting their comedic stride with Superego’s brand of nonsensical riffing and clever premises. This episode features the simple oddity of Mudge Coughlin relaxation screaming bits, a movie star press conference sketch firing away silly questioners and with even sillier questions and the Buffrum’s Fragrance Counter sketch that could quite possibly gleefully go on forever. Highlights this time out are the “wonderful trip down mental health lane” from the silly and supremely weird “Hashimoto Wellness Labs Test” and the nerd-tastic “Brown X-Wing Squardron” Star Wars riffing. Special guests include: Paul F. Tompkins, Patton Oswalt, Colin Hanks, Chris Tallman, Mike Rock and James Bladon. Watch out for Bladon’s spot-on and fun Obi-wan Kenobi: it’s a gem. Superego continue to refine their audio and comedy skills and push the envelope of the medium with awesomely fun odd-ball creations that could only truly exist in the podcast realm. Yet again, it’s a weird and fun trip.

MARC: Here’s The Thing - Lorne Michaels

In the world of podcasts there are “easy gets” – those interviews with people that are very available – and there are hard ones. While Lorne Michael, creator and executtive producer of Saturday Night Live, is certainly one of the latter, one assumes that the host of HTT didn’t really have too much arm-bending to do, considering that Alec Baldwin has hosted SNL more times than anyone, not to mention Michaels is also his boss as the EP over on 30 Rock, where Baldwin plays Jack Donaghy. Comedy podcasters will appreciate hearing the background of the man who changed the face of late night TV in a way that has helped to steer the course of comedy itself in our culture for the past two generations. (In fact, breaking the mold of how TV was done as SNL did was a likely progenitor of today’s podcasts, at least to some degree.) Starting out as a sketch performer and writer in Canada, Michaels migrated down to New York and then Los Angeles, pretty much always staying on TV’s payroll. Writing for the likes of Phyllis Diller and Rowan & Martin, he was steeped in the culture of comedy variety shows so it seemed a perfectly natural fit to mutate that into the rambunctious, hit-or-miss yet incredibly trend-reflecting 37-year-old animal that is SNL. It’s a quick but fascinating look into the mind of a micro/macro perfectionist who’s executive produced scores of movies, about 100 TV shows and yet toils over details like the paint on a set of a five-minute sketch.

ROGER: Doug Loves Movies – Paul F. Tompkins, Garry Marshall, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber

In one of the strangest (and maybe laziest) bookings in the history of broadcasting, Paul F. Tompkins portrayed all three of Doug Benson's guests on the January 27th installment of Doug Loves Movies. Contestant # 1 of the Leonard Maltin game was "Paul F. Tompkins", an erudite comedian. Contestant # 2 was composer "Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber," an Englishman who takes offense if you merely refer to him as "Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber." Contestant # 3 was "Garry Marshall," the famous producer and director who most recently directed that damn New Year's Eve movie. Tompkins has been portraying Webber (as the most pompous person imaginable) and Marshall (as a crotchety man who is almost proud of the fact that he is out of touch) for awhile now on Comedy Bang Bang and The Pod F. Tompkast, but never live simultaneously, never for an entire hour, and most definitely not while trying to answer movie trivia questions. Because nobody had attempted something like this before, the podcast featured an element of suspense of whether Tompkins would be able to juggle portraying two alter egos and himself or screw up and shatter the illusion. Benson never let on to the listening audience that it was just one former Best Week Ever host that was participating, and seemed to take pleasure in that fact, along with witnessing the usually competitive Tompkins not automatically throwing the game for himself to win. By the time an understandably hoarse Tompkins plugged his upcoming gigs during the final moments of the show, he had pulled off one of the greatest podcast performances of all-time, which sounds grandiose and something Tompkins's Lloyd Webber character would say about any of his musicals, but is true all the same.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Sklarbro Country # 79 – Tom Scharpling, Chris Cox

StarTalk Radio: Season 3, Episode 1: Live At The Bell House – Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, John Dogman, Mike Massimino

The Dork Forest #98 – Michael McDonald & Mike Phirman

The Morning After…Podcast #63 – Courtney Page, Eric Andre

Who Charted? #61 – Jason Mantzouks

You Made It Weird #19 – Chris D’Elia


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.

Roger Cormier has been retweeted by Dan Harmon on two separate occasions. In his spare time he asks Rupert Murdoch questions

Joel Mandelkorn is the co-Founder of The Plop List, Producer at CleftClips, Producer of The Super Serious Show.

Marc Hershon is host of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast and author of I Hate People!

  • Donni Just Donni@facebook

    Question for Marc and Bradford: Did you really listen to these podcasts? Because there's no evidence you did in what you wrote. "Guests Michael Koman and Rory Scovel adapt to Todd Glass's riffing naturally and join in on a series of increasingly-absurd bits, made all the better by everyone's frequent commenting on said bits." Yes, that's every episode of Todd's podcast. I could have written that and I haven't heard this episode.
    Marc, thanks for the Lorne Michaels wikipedia entry, but what did he talk about with Alec? "A quick and fascinating look" at what? Did they talk about any taboo subjects? Any candid admissions? Good stories, even?
    Either you guys didn't listen to 'em, or you remembered none of the details. In which case,I don't know why they were recommended.

    • Marc Hershon

      Donni, I listened to all 41 minutes and change of "Here's The Thing" and apologies for not revealing more of the details of the chat between Baldwin and Michaels. It truly is "quick and fascinating" and I was hard-passed to encapsulate it any better given the space provided. I'll take your critique to heart, however, and will endeavor to make my future reviews a bit more illuminating. Thanks for taking the time to comment!