Last Sunday night, I bet the happiest person in California was Bijou Phillips, who was spoon-fed the perfect theme song for her new podcast about going to the zoo. In a week or two, expect “Zoo Bijou Bijou” to start reverberating in your Dr. Andre “Dre” Young prescribed headphones, before Ms. Philips starts her thirty minutes of riffing on elephants (“What’s the deal with elephants? They’re never supposed to forget but they always smell like they forgot to shower!”). Guys, I’m just kidding like Jason (miss u, Nelly) but remember three days ago when jokes about that song from Mad Men were the only jokes anyone was able to tell. Luckily podcasts tend be recorded the week beforehand so its nearly impossible for them to jump on the meme gravy train. Speaking of trains, trains are a great place to listen to podcasts. SPEAKING OF PODCASTS, here are our selections for the week:
BRADFORD: The Long Shot #502 – The Mailbag Episode #4
A couple of The Long Shot’s four hosts have such strong personalities that the show’s guests occasionally get lost in the shuffle, so it’s nice to get the occasional episode without a guest that instead focuses on the central quartet of comedians, themselves. The show’s hosts, Sean Conroy, Eddie Pepitone, Amber Kenny, and Jamie Flam, have developed a fun dynamic since they started the podcast a few years ago, and it’s front and center here. Best of all, the absence of a guest means that Conroy and Co. don’t have to explain their ongoing jokes to a newcomer, making this the first Long Shot in a while not to be slowed down by a repetitive explanation of why Sean Conroy gives Jamie Flam lunch money every week. This episode sees the Long Shot gang diving into their library of fanmail once again, which always proves interesting as some of the show’s fans who write in are nearly as funny and clever as the hosts.
JAY: The Champs – Keegan-Michael Key
As the events of the past couple of weeks have proven, race is still a major issue in America. Much of the fear of "the other" would be alleviated if we just sat down and had a conversation. Neal Brennan (co-creator of Chappelle's Show and stand-up comedian) and Moshe Kasher (author of "Kasher in the Rye" and stand-up comedian) are having that conversation via their podcast: The Champs. In the lily-white world of comedy podcasts, Neal, Moshe, and DJ Douggpound deliberately buck the trend by interviewing a different African-American each week. This week's guest is former MadTV cast member and current host of Key and Peele, Keegan-Michael Key. Key is biracial (as is his co-host Jordan Peele) and the crew jumps right into their discussion of comedy and race. Key starts it off with his encounter with a white crackhead, his account of meeting his birth mother (he's also adopted), and tales of his youth in Detroit. Moshe interjects with a crazy Craigslist ride share tale, which leads into everyone telling the story of when they were closest to death. Things get back on track with Key's description of getting Key & Peele on the air and their inadvertent invention of "Biracial Comedy." He tells the gang whom amongst his comedy heroes he hopes has seen the show and whom he knows has seen it (including a certain biracial resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue). The episode concludes with Key and Brennan discussing the mechanics of sketch comedy and working on a Comedy Central show. The future is looking bright for Keegan-Michael Key. He and Jordan Peele have proven they are capable carriers of the torch passed down by Dave Chappelle.
JESSE: Who Charted? #69 – Ronna & Beverly
If this was your first time listening to Who Charted?, you are possibly wondering why the one host never speaks that much. It’s not his fault, Ronna & Beverly’s ability to take over a conversation is unmatched (well, at least unmatched by those who aren’t Jewish mothers). Very early on in the episode, Howard’s Jewish son instincts kicked in and from them on, he defers to the two 50-something Jewish mothers from Boston (played by Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo). This was the first time the show had guests in character (if you don’t include the amazing episode where Howard voiced his brother Lee) and it really worked. More than most podcasts, WC?’s hosts are comfortable loudly laughing and being goofy, so it allowed the actors to relax and just be the characters. It’s not like Comedy Bang! Bang! where, with Scott, the actor has to take the story to a weird or dark place. On WC? the character just hangs out. I hope this is the start of a trend for the show. I bet El Chupacabra would be great at counting down charts or maybe Ice-T can bring his unique perspective to a contemporary hip-hop chart or how about Earwolf intern Marissa Wompler to help with the top songs on Disney radio.
JOEL: The Dana Gould Hour #4 "Apocalicious" – Eddie Pepitone, Matt Weinhold
Only a few episodes in, The Dana Gould Hour, is already starting to set the pace for production value and sophistication in the comedy podcast race. At the forefront of the show, Gould shares his ample entertainer gifts with listeners – easy conversation, playful comedic tangents, a nerd-riffic detailed passion for pop culture and history along with his masterful approach to comedic sketches. The show calmly skips among segments, using a masterful fade-in/fade-out technique. We only get the awesome bits of the conversations and sketches. Eddie Pepitone and Matt Weinhold visit with Gould for an unhealthy amount of apocalyptic talk, including comparing disaster memories and preparedness notes. Gould’s charm and wide net of knowledge gives the show sense of pace and general likeability. It’s quite easy to melt right into the quickly paced hour. Following the Apocalyptic theme, Gould shares his extended thoughts on The Omega Man and Charleton Heston. The audio commentary comes complete with killer audio clips. There’s also a bunch of fun audio sketches – complete with chicken breeding theories. Long live A.D.D.! It’s also a treat to have still-on-edge Pepitone be in a genial easy going mood. Despite all the “adult” window dressings, The Dana Gould Hour, still veers off into the silly territory quite a bit.
LINDSEY: Comedy Bang! Bang! #150 – Bobby Moynihan, Paul F. Tompkins
I am a sucker for a good Paul F. episode, so as soon as I saw this waiting for me I was already excited. I love Tompkins' impression of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber as much as the next girl, but you guys, Bobby Moynihan stole this week's show. He's a regular on SNL, and I have never found him as funny as I do in this instance. He's proved there is nothing that makes me happier on a Monday morning than a shaky-voiced homeless boy that has a proclivity for getting stabby. Fourvel (like Fievel, but one less) has come to the studio to find a father, and in the process fills us in on his life on the street, shows us his abilities as an actor, and pronounces the word program in the best way possible. (Pro-grum.) I was pulling for this kid the whole way through. CBB delivers: a future Smash script written by Sir ALW is performed (please let this happen), some Michael Jackson is sung, and a new game is born. Let's all go adopt tiny musical prodigies. Maybe not Fourvel, though. Little Fourvel's got all of the knives. Don't cross him.
ROGER: improv4humans #19.5 – Bonus Tebow Episode: Chad Carter, Sean Conroy, Anthony King
Since its conception last November, improv4humans has dropped exactly one episode a week on our heads, so it was a pleasant surprise when on Friday, a mere twenty four hours after a new hour was released into the world, another new, full length episode appeared on iTunes. Who was responsible for such a miracle? Tim Tebow, naturally. In response to America's most popular Christian athlete being traded to his favorite football team, improv hall of famer/Jets fan/unapologetic Tebow-hater Matt Besser rounded up some comedy buddies and did what the great comedians do: convert his seemingly unbearable soul-crushing pain into beautiful, awe-inspiring art involving impersonating Pac-Man. Although starting off in a decidedly unfunny way by saying, "this is one of the worst days of my life", a fired up Besser led the group in one of the funnier editions of the show to date. The multiple callbacks suggest that all of the performers were at the top of their game, and the two football related sketches were universally humorous enough that even someone not interested in sports can feel blessed by listening. Hopefully one is forgiven in secretly hoping that Besser continues to not feel happiness if it results in an increase in quantity and quality of the podcast.
SAM: Making It with Riki Lindholm #36 – Adam Pally
Actor Adam Pally is now known for his role on Happy Endings, but I first saw him with improv team Death by Roo Roo, later finding clips from his sketch team, Chubby Skinny Kids. I wondered how the guy — let me call him 'ruggedly good-looking' without any smirks, please — so known for his frequent deadpan sarcasm, would take to the role of the ABC show's token gay BFF. But Pally's Max (who you might describe as 'what if Darlene Connor time traveled to the future and also was a gay guy?') is a highlight on a sitcom whose best moments are often due to the ensemble cast's comedic expertise. On this week's episode of Making It with Riki Lindholm, we learn that Pally's own artistic parents took him to his first UCB show while he was still in high school, and that his career has shaped up in an equally fortuitous series of events since (acceptance into the Actor's Studio with a video audition! Unexpectedly getting an agent! Three offers on one day of pilot season!). It's almost enough to make you hate the guy, till he gets into his real UCB history; holding an internship for two years, he recalls (topically!) how he was rejected from countless team auditions before ending up as a teacher and on the tourco, in addition to producing with sketch group Hot Sauce. Lindholm's energetic questions and contributions make the just-under-an-hour talk fly by, and the ep's ultimately an uplifting reminder to actors (and improvisers) that things tend to work out when you fully invest in your own efforts. (Also, check out Pally collaborator Gil Ozeri on this week's Doodie Time with Doug Mand, a 28-minute show about shitting your pants, and round out your education on the men of Hot Sauce with today's Adam Carolla Show featuring Ben Schwartz.)
Big O and Dukes – Snacks of the Round Table
Cashing In with T.J. Miller #3
Pop My Culture #73 – John Hodgman, Aimee Mann, John Roderick
The Morning After…Podcast #67 – Jacky Joy, Anthony Jeselnik
Thrilling Adventure Hour #64 – War of Two Worlds, part 2
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.
Roger Cormier drafted Carlos Santana as the punter of his fantasy football team.
Samantha Pitchel wishes she had more occasion to reference Darlene Connor.