We have the full group of podcast pickers back this week. Apparently, people go on vacation during the summer. Did you know that? If I need a vacation, I just head down to my local iPhone and plug in my local earbuds and scroll through my podcasts and take a trip around the world from LA to LA to LA to NY and back to LA. Who needs to visit Los Angeles when you can hear comedians talk about living in Santa Monica and Los Feliz for free? I've lived in LA, all it is is people talking about their home neighborhoods and about driving from their home neighborhoods to Beverly Hills or whatever Beverly Hills adjacent neighborhood one's agent works in. You know what is a great thing to listen to whilst driving from Los Feliz to say Century City (look at you, CAA, fancy)? Podcasts! Here are so choices.
BRADFORD: Comedy Bang! Bang! #167 – Jessica St. Clair, Paul Rust, Jerrod Carmichael
This week’s CBB brings the return of two old favorites (Jessica St. Clair’s precocious teenage intern Marissa Wompler and comedian Paul Rust) plus first-time guest Jerrod Carmichael in what’s a memorable and hilarious episode of the show, from start to finish. Marissa Wompler is one of the most beloved Comedy Bang! Bang! guests of all-time, and she’s full of her usual great stories and overly aggressive teenage angst. Paul Rust debuts a new character (albeit one with his same name), a Bill Maher-inspired “truth teller” comedian whose segment “New No-Nos” that is the highlight of the episode. Newcomer Jerrod Carmichael, recently named one of Backstage’s “10 Comics to Watch,” adapts to CBB ably and finds a fun way to play off of Wompler, Rust, and host Scott Aukerman while still scoring laughs on his own. Best of all is Marissa Wompler’s announcement that she’s recording a one-off podcast with her teacher Miss Listler (Lennon Parham) called Womp It Up, which should give you Wompaholics plenty to look forward to.
JAY: The Comedy Cellar: Live from The Table #20 - Lucas Dick
For fans of stand-up comedy, maybe the only thing cooler than getting to see your favorite comedians perform live would be to somehow have the ability to hang out with them. The Comedy Cellar: Live from The Table gives us regular Joes a fly-on-the-wall's perspective of "the hang" at the legendary New York City club. In some respects, comedy is the only forum in which we can have a real discussion about the issues of the day without worrying about the handcuffs of political correctness. This week's episode features Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman, comedians Kristin Montella, Gregg Rogell, Dan Naturman, Rick Crom, and Lucas Dick (son of Andy Dick.) But first, English as a second language teacher Rob Ettman joins the crew to talk about the language of comedy. Lucas Dick then explains what its like to have a gay (or whatever Andy Dick is) parent, which is a nice counterpoint to this week's anti-gay news (Boy Scouts and Chick-Fil-A's stances.) The Table tries to figure out the boundaries of male sexuality, which leads into a discussion of the recent Daniel Tosh rape joke controversy, which is more of a free speech issue to them. Check out this episode of The Comedy Cellar: Live from The Table if you enjoy funny, uncensored, and unbiased opinions about today's issues. This podcast is like The View, except the exact opposite.
JESSE: How Was Your Week #71: "HWYW Live" – Martha Plimpton, Katie Notopoulos, Mike Daisey, Jim Gaffigan
There's nothing that makes me giddier than seeing a live How Was Your Week show up in my iTunes. I wrote about the previous two live episode and we had a full post on this one, so I'm going to focus only on one specific part: the Pharmacists. During the breakdown of the theme song, which sounded eerily like the Ted Leo and the Pharmacists classic "Ballad of a Sin Eater", I noticed that the band was really on that night. Throughout the show the music popped more than before. Chris Wilson on the fucking high hat, made their rendition of Smash's "Let Me Be Your Star" have a certain drive and momentum the original doesn't. Oh that medley! And then the final number from Rent! Come! On! The best. It begs a very, VERY serious question: Why aren't Julie and Ted currently working on a musical? I mean this with 100% sincerity. Ted has before talked and fake talked about writing a musical and Julie is a writer who obviously has a passion for musicals. Also, they kind of look like the writing duo from Smash. We can do a Kickstarter or something. (Yeah, I said we. I'd like a producer credit for suggesting it. Cool?) Maybe something about basset hounds or a young Jewess improviser from Westchester dating in New York City, set against the backdrop of the post-9/11 Lower East Side indie rock boom. "Biomusicology" might be a good number to close out the first act. Just some ideas, guys.
JOEL: The Long Shot Podcast #517: “The Nephew of Mailbag Episode”
The Long Shot continues to dig in these days. The four co-hosts are as close to a perfect pairing in comedy these days. Especially if you like your pairings with a healthy amount of neurosis and in-fighting. Eddie Pepitone, Jamie Flam, Sean Conroy and Amber Kenny are again at their honest-to-a-fault best in this guestless mailbag episode. The show jumps off to a deliriously fun meta start with the gang analyzing their recent lengthy mention in an all-encompassing AV Club article. It’s fun to listen to Conroy and Pepitone attempt to square away the article’s various shout-outs, particularly to Flam, aka the show’s “deep humanity,” aka “punching bag,” aka “tragic-comic metaphor,” aka “doomed impulse towards self-improvement.” Pepitone’s dismay at not being mentioned more leads to great dueling Pepitone impersonations. Pepitone impersonating Conroy impersonating Pepitone is a treat and classic Long Shot moment. The show does that fairly often – just suddenly breaks into a delirious moment of improvised weirdness and honesty. It’s always a special moment of honest humor, and it’s really what makes The Long Shot not your average chat show. The mailbag segment offers up a bunch more of group self-reflection, including a never-ending stream of Pepitone frustration about his lack of inclusion in many of the letters. Kenny keeps growing in her co-host role, sneaking in a ton of quick hitting observations and taking the guys down a notch. Flam keeps to his “tragic-comic” roots, too. Listeners get a special treat when Conroy acts out a loyal listener’s Long Shot zombie fan fiction letter.
LINDSEY: improv4humans #35.5: "Live from DCM Pt. 1"
Improv! Sometimes it is great and sometimes it is not. You know, like most things. A regular episode of improv4humans is usually a fun listen and worth the hour, but this episode is special because it is live and electric and I wish that I lived in New York so I could be there. Instead of the regular two or three guests, this live set features a ton of improvisers that I won't be able to list because I am lazy. (I guess I can list some: Chris Gethard, Shannon O'Neill, Craig Rowin, some guy named Adam Frucci that no one has ever heard of or seen his name to the right of this column, and lots of other people that are lovely, I'm sure.) Matt Besser is on, the rest of the gang is on, and the crowd seems to be having a blast. It basically made me realize that I should quit listening to all of this stuff on my iPhone/computer and actually leave the house to see some proper improv in this city. It also made me realize that this Halloween isn't going to mean anything to me if I don't get to see a devil carrying around his taxes. (Get on it, you guys. You have months.) Part two is coming out soon so we should all just get ready to be delighted again within the week. Can't wait.
MARC: My Crappy Week with Orny Adams – Eddie Ifft
Comedian Orny Adams is only a couple of weeks into MCW (part of the lineup at Jamie Kennedy’s HAHAJK.com site), but it already has plenty of personality and edge to it. He first caught my attention when guest Ralphie May tore Eddie Brill to shreds (verbally speaking) which, if you missed it, Adams replays a snippet for Ifft. The episodes are short – less than 20 minutes – but they drop daily and one guest can sometimes be on several installments in a row. The conversations are unbridled, uncensored and tend to start in the world of comedy since most of Adams' guest have been comedians to this point. The tone of the show falls in line with the title, so that most of the chats are amusingly complaining about the state of the comedy business today. As such, Adams and Ifft tag-team their way from the are-women-funny subject (both agree that they are, just not enough of them), the growing and annoying presence of nerds in comedy, and the lack of performance slots in LA due to the glut of comedians vying for them. Adams veers into a nonsensical query at one point as to why his guest spells his last name "Ifft" instead of "Iffed" which doesn't go anywhere other than to serve as the episode's closer, with the tease that Ifft will return the next day. There's something appealing in the bite-sized nature of the episodes, which makes for a fun self-contained listen on a short drive
ROGER: Doodie Calls with Doug Mand – Phil Lord
The way I see it, if the one season 2 Louie episode that gets nominated for outstanding writing is the episode that is best known for the world's longest fart joke, I can review a podcast about poop. Doug Mand, a writer for How I Met Your Mother hosts this weekly podcast that invites a guest over to talk about a personal, very embarrassing story involving doodie. It's The Moth but 100 percent of the time about feces, basically. The last edition's guest was Phil Lord, a former HIMYM writer who has moved on to co-write Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and direct 21 Jump Street. Lord risks his illustrious, upward moving career by telling a story he claimed on the show was only the third time in his entire life that he had dared spoken out loud, which is a shame because it's such a funny, at times cringey anecdote. I'm not usually one to find uncomfortable humor to be funny, but Lord's story, in which he manages to embarrass himself in front of Weird Al Yankovic through sycophancy and then by taking a crap in a bathroom with walls made entirely of glass, which Weird Al was able to see, was great. Lord is a skilled and capable writer, so his descriptions of the "D list" Super Bowl party he was attending (guests included Fabio and Corey Feldman) and of Weird Al's facial reaction to the moment of truth puts the listener, whether they want to or not, right into the story. Mand for his part encourages his guests by providing a human laugh track while being empathetic, and gets back to the story quickly enough from his digressions before the show goes off the rails.
SAMANTHA: You Made It Weird - Jerrod Carmichael
Jerrod Carmichael – a comic with North Carolina roots, four years experience as a stand-up and a spot on Backstage's Top Comics to Watch list – is a nice guy. In comedy, that compliment usually comes with a caveat, but Carmichael's genuine sweetness and sharp wit are the real deal, and it makes him a perfect podcast guest (especially when paired with perennially delighted Pete Holmes). He's also one of the most engaging people you'll ever have the pleasure of seeing onstage, in large part because, as comes up in this episode, he's the kind of comic who follows his natural thought process and intuition rather than a scripted set-list. From the moment he tells Holmes that his #1 rule is simply "keep going," our host is as hooked as we are on Carmichael's "purist" approach to his art. The two spend most of the show on topics that often come up on YMIW – drive, impulse, connecting with a crowd – but it feels less like a Q+A and more like eavesdropping on the beginning of a great friendship. Also, there's a rumor Carmichael confirms towards the end that seriously blew my mind – but no spoilers, you'll have to hear for yourself.
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Jesse David Fox is a 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 also uses the word seminal when discussing "Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D"
Samantha Pitchel does things for HuffPost Comedy and SXSW Comedy.