In response to a couple comments we got last week, we scoured the nation to find contributors to make our podcast crew more motley. And you know what, we nailed it. The hope is this column will grow to reflect the entire wacky wide world that is the American comedy podcast landscape. If you feel like we missed something, let us hear it — nearly as many people will read the comments as will the text. Was Bobbing for Johns with Jonathan Roberts your absolute fave this week? Let us/the world know. (Please don’t mention Bobbing for Johns this week, we feature it too often, also I made it up.) I hope you like our new additions. If you like like them send me a message at ImCrushin.Podcast.Comedy@splitsider.gov Anyway, podcasts:
BRADFORD: Sklarboro Country #83 — Ben Schwartz, Chris Cox, Dan Van Kirk
The latest episode of the Sklar Brothers' sports/comedy podcast Sklarboro Country opens, like last week's, with an off-kilter voice message from Mark Wahlberg (impersonated by Dan Van Kirk) describing an altercation he had at a public playground. Van Kirk's absurd Wahlberg impression is accurate and very funny, and I'm looking forward to hearing more of it. In the studio, the Sklars' guest is Ben Schwartz, who fits in with the Sklars' rapid-fire riffing nicely and proves to be a thoroughly entertaining guest. At the end of their interview with Schwartz, the Sklar Brothers invite him, a first-time Sklarboro guest, back to the show to become a "Sklarboro Country Regular." If his future appearances are as enjoyable as this one, here's hoping they make that happen.
JAY: The Adam Carolla Show 2/27 — Nick DiPaolo, Artie Lange
Listening to The Adam Carolla Show is a bit like taking Morpheus’ red pill. Adam’s hyper-vigilance slowly infects your brain until you can never see the world as you previously did. If you have ever wondered what the opposite of The View might sound like, check out this episode. Normally the podcast takes more of an interview format, but in this episode, Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange join Adam for a triple-hosted take on today’s issues.The no holds barred, ball-busting locker room discussion begins with Adam ranting about being forced to work with Danny Bonaduce on his morning radio show. The conversation moves on to the hilarious antics of agent James “Baby Doll” Dixon, Don Rickles, and the late, great Patrice O’Neal. Adam then talks about taking a stand against political correctness by refusing to submit to (and pay for) fingerprinting so he can coach his twins’ Little League team. The trio finishes by commenting on the news (with Alison Rosen.) School shootings, celebrity sex tapes, and former NBA Hall of Famers’ love lives are all fair game with this group. This podcast is truly a journey down the rabbit hole of the masculine mind.
JESSE: How Was Your Week? #51: “HWYW Live” — Sandra Bernhard, Tom Scharpling, Ira Glass, Joe Mande
Some podcasts make you feel like you’re hanging out with your pals except they are funnier than you are and they don’t let you speak. How Was Your Week is one of those podcasts, as Julie Klausner’s opening monologues often resemble a particularly rambling, particularly loving voicemail. That’s why when she takes the show on the road—by which I mean takes a cab over the Manhattan Bridge to the Bell House in Brooklyn—the vibe, or at least the audio of the vibe, feels like an end of camp talent show starring and MC’d by Julie. And like a talent show, the best part is to learn that your friend apparently is a really great singer. Julie sang at the first live HWYW but her voice, during her rendition of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” with Ted “Teddy” Leo, was more comfortable and confident this time—I think I actually said “woah” at points. Speaking of singing, there was a point where Tom Scharpling improvized a song called “Dogs” to the tune of “Kids” from Bye Bye Birdie that resulted in enough guffaws to get me some serious sideways glances from the crowded subway car I found myself in at the time. We had covered the live show a few weeks ago but I was happy to see it translated to the purely audio format. Live podcasts, at least the good ones, are so fantastic because they remind the listener how all of these podcasters we seemingly just hang around with are primarily professional performers.
JOEL: The Little Dum Dum Club #74 — Fiona O’Laughlin
The Little Dum Dum Club is a stupidly easy listen. Still not sure how the self-effacing hosts, Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler, do it. Sure, the good-natured Australians always fret over the specific Australian-ness of their show. But their ability to mock each other, their guests and seamlessly transitions between some hearty comedy talk and good natured regular life discussions is quite a podcasting feat. Veteran Australian comedian, Fiona O’Laughlin joins the dum dum duo this time out, bringing a dose of family talk to the playful meandering. Dassalo and Chandler embrace having “an adult” in their midst and even venture into a few heady but still fun moments discussing O’Laughlin’s past (and very public) drinking problems. There’s quality talk of O’Laughlin’s Last Comic Standing experience, airport crying, forgetting names and the futility of dream talk. Dassalo and Chandler continue to sow much from their fake hosting rivalry and self-hate, never missing a chance to mock themselves. They always seem to put the guest and listeners at ease. It’s startling when compared to the know-it-all bravado of many comedy podcasters or even the soul-searching broken ones. Hooray for dum dum fun.
LINDSEY: Comedy Bang Bang #146 — Reggie Watts, Ben Schwartz, Matt Besser
Podcasts! The internet loves them, people I meet in the real world don't. If they did maybe I wouldn't receive so many pointed glares as I laugh out loud during my morning walk. This week's installment of Comedy Bang Bang has theme song composer Reggie Watts in the studio along with Ben Schwartz, a.k.a. Jean-Ralphio, a.k.a. my life. The pre-character section is standard fare, the highlight being Scottabot's two failed attempts to properly name Schwartz's credits. Things really start to come together when the guests are joined by the self-proclaimed "greatest punster in the world" Matt Besser doing his always welcome Bjork impression. She is just as crass as last time, piling insult after insult upon Schwartz and delighting us with songs about finger pleasure (a google-worthy phrase if there ever was one) and ladder safety (still google-worthy, but not as much fun). Talking points include: Knightboat (oh, every week there's a canal), outfits made entirely of live bees, and the Icelandic equivalent of Vanilla Ice. More importantly, this episode will be especially entertaining to the intersection of the podcast-loving community that has a soft spot for pulled Bjork sandwiches and Emmy Rossum.
MARC: Illusionoid #16
Across the topography of podcasting, with all of its many group conversations and snarky commentary styles of show, there are some real gems that feature talented improvisers (Superego and Improv4Humans, for instance) and sketch players (The Thrilling Adventure Hour and the Pod F. Tompkast, to name a couple of classics.) A trio of improvisers (Paul Bates, Lee Smart and Nug Nahrgang) in the Toronto area who put on a show called Illusionoid are gaining some attention, both in their stage shows – they recently won the 2012 Globehead Improv Competition in Toronto – and their bi-weekly podcast is fast gaining listenership. There’s a loose framework for the show: Transmissions from the future are being sent back to the past (our present) in an attempt to warn mankind of a terrible fate. In the current episode, “Tank Reynolds – Mole Master”, Dick Summerballs, Rahjit and Clive Reynolds work to unravel a nefarious plot that has something to do with digging out the ground beneath Buenas Aires, a dastardly scheme being carried out the Mole Master and his legion of tiny digging horrors. The cast all play multiple parts and the production value in terms of sound quality, music and sound effects all come together rather well. I particularly enjoy some of the obscure references that get made as well as some very absurd and silly wordplay that transpires that transports the show, at times, into the realm of the old Firesign Theater performances.
ROGER: You Made It Weird # 27 – Hannibal Buress
Some podcasts actually bother with some sort of format while others rely solely on the fact that two seasoned comedians talking about anyone and anything will probably be entertaining to podcast listeners. Pete Holmes' show is the latter, which he repeatedly has admitted was influenced by Marc Maron's WTF. A big difference between the two lies in Holmes' outward exuberance; while Maron leaves himself vulnerable he can come off as intrusive and a bit like Howard Stern. Conversely, Holmes plays like Jimmy Fallon, if Fallon occasionally stopped giggling and playing parlor games with his guests to ask them if they watch the opening acts of their stand-up gigs. The fun attitude of Holmes' (which isn't a put on, for what it's worth) tends to leave guests feeling more comfortable than they usually would when being interviewed vis a vis, which sometimes leads to more revealing information. This week Hannibal Buress, a funny stand-up who wrote for SNL and 30 Rock, gets into more personal stories and comedy world minutiae than he ever did on WTF, openly talking about a few adventures/misadventures with the opposite sex while he's been a comedian. He also recalled professionally embarrassing moments, like once literally being carried off the stage when he bombed, SNL performers going into his office to see if he knew where a different writer was, and a time when his pride led to being homeless. Before anything gets too tense, the conversation came back to the two professionally humorous bros talking about their craft and shooting the shit. Holmes has stumbled upon making his podcastYou Made It Weird consistently funny and deeply engaging at the same time by just being himself (cue NBC "The More You Know" shooting star.) In fact, he weirdly in that way is like this week's Here's The Thing guest Dick Cavett, who would lull celebrities into telling anecdotes that they would simply never think to bother the public with through the sheer force of his folksy but intelligent charm. If only Holmes could interview Orson Welles or Marlon Brando.
Here's The Thing # 10 – Dick Cavett
Jim and Eddie Talks Hit #107 – Kato Kaelin, part 1 of 2
The Todd Glass Show #33 – Jen Kirkman, Daniel Kinno (Part 2)
The Mustache Rangers #231: Fear
This Better Be Funny #12 – Brandie Posey
Who Charted? #65 – James Adomian
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.
Jay Kuperstein is a writer, founder of ComedyK.com, and attorney working in Washington, DC.
Joel Mandelkorn is the co-Founder of The Plop List, Producer at CleftClips, Producer of The Super Serious Show.
Lindsey Allen lives in Austin, TX. She has perfect teeth and a nice smell. A class act, all the way.
Marc Hershon is host of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast and author of I Hate People!
Roger Cormier would never walk into your office just to ask if you knew where John Mulaney was.