The comedy podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We're here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows and each has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. Also, we'll keep you posted on the offerings from our very own podcast network. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
"Tim Chang was born in 1991 and proudly admits to knowing nothing about anything that happened before 2003." While this probably describes your least favorite sibling, it's also the premise of The Education of Tim Chang
, a new show that chronicles "one man [Funny or Die / Conan
alum Josh Simpson]'s attempt to show Tim Chang the wonders of the world around him." Following TEOTC
's two part-debut ("The Beatles"), this latest episode has Casey Feigh (from UCB and television and comedy, in general) joining Simpson to extol the virtues of everyone's favorite show about nothing, Seinfeld
. Chang — part of a generation for whom Modern Seinfeld might be the Only Seinfeld they know — admits he used to catch reruns the aired after WWE Smackdown
, and that as far as he can tell, the show stars a stand-up and is mostly about people dealing with various quasi-midlife crises (and, delightfully, all he knows about Michael Richards is that it "sounds like a typical white name"). Starting with "The Deal" (the one where Jerry and Elaine try to be friends with benefits) and moving through classics like "The Contest" (master of your domain!) and "The Soup Nazi," Simpson and Feigh try their darndest to illustrate why, even though Jerry's "hair sucks" and "the apartment looks old," the show's got some valuable lessons behind all the absurdity. While the play-by-play explanation of the philosophy behind Seinfeld
can get a little tedious (given most of our decades-long obsessions with it), Simpson and Feigh are wry and patient tutors. Will Tim learn to love one of the (inarguably, C'MON) greatest shows of all time? Is The Soup Nazi still hilarious? Are kids totally hopeless? Find out on the new episode of The Education of Tim Chang
How Did This Get Made? #51 – Liz & Dick
MARC: I normally try to find more obscure shows to review that catch my ear, although I rank How Did This Get Made? among the best of the movie-related podcasts around. In this case, however, host Paul Scheer along with sidekicks Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael, joined by guest Drew Droege, tackle their first made-for-TV movie — the heinous and much-maligned Liz & Dick. The Lifetime movie, starring Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, has already been severely beaten in reviews and social media. Scheer and his cronies manage to wring even more juice from this dried husk of entertainment, practically overrunning eachother during the length of the show in an effort to mention everything that went wrong. They notice the subtler things, such as the fact the viewer never sees Lohan’s face during emotional moments, like hearing that Burton has died. "We kept seeing her shot from behind!" chortles Scheer. "Now I’m thinking she wasn’t even IN those shots and they used a double!" If you actually saw L&D, you can’t dispute the brutal raking-over-the-coals the telefilm gets. Ironically, if you didn’t catch it, you will be too curious to NOT track it down and marvel at the train wreck. I did.
Earwolf Presents #17 – CBB Nativity Pageant Special
BRADFORD: Scott Aukerman's L.A. standup show Comedy Bang Bang ended its historic 10-year run last week, and the latest installment of Earwolf Presents features Aukerman and his "my wife" Kulap Vilaysack reminiscing about the show and listening to audio messages for Scott from some of the world's coolest comedians. Comedy people "Tall" Jon Schroeder and Jake Fogelnest set up microphones backstage at the final Comedy Bang Bang live show, which was the show's annual Nativity Pageant, capturing clips from David Cross, Paul F. Tompkins, Andy Richter, Patton Oswalt, Jon Hamm, Todd Glass, Jake Fogelnest, Garfunkel and Oates, Chris Hardwick, Kristen Schaal, Anthony Jeselnik, Doug Benson, Chelsea Peretti, Nick Kroll, Thomas Lennon, and more. It's mostly just a bunch of really funny people doing bits, but there are some heartfelt moments from some of the comedians and Scott Aukerman and Kulap Vilaysack, who share plenty of great anecdotes about their favorite moments from the show's impressive run.
You Made It Weird #108 – Live from San Francisco! (with Doug Benson, TJ Miller, Moshe Kasher, Kyle Kinane, Alex Koll)
ELISE: Fans of Doug Loves Movies in particular will appreciate the inclusion of Doug Benson and TJ Miller in this week's live You Made It Weird in San Francisco, where Pete invites Doug to ruin this podcast as he and TJ have so often ruined DLM. He graciously elects not to, instead leaving time for Moshe Kasher, Kyle Kinane, and Alex Koll to join in this packed episode. The audience gives the show a great energy, despite the occasional intrusion from a champagne-swigging librarian in the front row. It's worth listening to alone for the section devoted to Hannibal Buress impressions and a running joke about kamikaze pilots. Despite some hurt feelings about a sushi dinner and an out-of-nowhere 9/11 story, it's not an especially weird YMIW, but it is incredibly funny.
JAY: 'Cause nobody can do it like Mix Master can…' Most people probably dismiss the Beastie Boys as the gimmick white boy rap group from "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party.)" To fans of hip hop, the Beasties didn't really show what they could do until their genius follow-up album: Paul's Boutique. Always pushing the boundaries, the Beastie Boys stayed cool for decades. Adding the uber-skilled DJ Mix Master Mike on 1998's "Hello Nasty" was the final piece of the puzzle. It seemed like the group could have a Rolling Stones-like presence, being perhaps the only hip hop group to survive the 80's, 90's, and 2000's. But tragically, founding member MCA (Adam Yauch) lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. Mix Master Mike talks about his time with the Beastie Boys on this week's Joe Rogan Experience. With him is perhaps the only comedian who could understand his experience, Russell Peters (who is somewhat of a DJ in his own right.) The guys discuss performing in front of huge crowds, different types of scratches, DJ battles, Letterman, the Pacquiao/Marquez fight, and more. "License to Ill" was literally the first tape (yes, tape) I ever owned and the Beasties have been a part of my life since 1987, so its nice to hear from one of the surviving members. So check out The Joe Rogan Experience with Mix Master Mike. All I have to say is: 'Goddamn, that DJ made my day.'
LINDSEY: Hosts Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi are still as good as ever in this week's Throwing Shade. We learn about Erin's advent calendar that has beer instead of chocolate. (Because she is Irish. And a genius.) Her tradition also includes punching because as well all know, the meaning of Christmas is violence. Bryan fills us in on his stance on religion, ending with him realizing when he dies he will be the Patron Saint of Fuck You. Totally legitimate patron saint, totally legitimate dream. Segments are ruined, things get a bit serious, but then we swing back around to every podcast's most beloved figure, Cake Boss. He's got a cake so good Erin wants to put her dick in it, apparently. Does the Cake Boss know how much the podcast community loves him? Has he made PFT a "thank you" cake yet? Is he really PFT?? I will never watch his show, so these things will just have to remain a mystery.
This Week in the Splitsider Podcast Network:
You Had To Be There #90 – H. Alan Scott
This week the ladies may seem hostile up top, but that’s only because of their air travel woes and rebelling brains. Sara’s actually been pretty happy lately, having just spent the weekend joyriding around Richmond on a Christmas-house hunt, a family tradition. Nikki’s known her guest, the comic and writer H. Alan Scott (Twitter, HuffPo), since high school, where they both had their first forays into performance thanks to theater. After addressing the universal confusion of dick pics and dental dams, H.A.S. reveals what he’s been up to for much of 2012: battling cancer. He’s had enough time over the months of treatment to rack up some fascinating thoughts on the tedium of the disease and the humanity around him. However harrowing Scott’s stories get, he always includes something weirdly relatable, like Target's calming therapy or proven strategies for puking. Talking pee includes shout-outs to an empowering Ted Talk, a tight glasses-maker, and the utterly addicting The John Friedman Internet Program. This hour's sobering and hilarious, but above all it's great.
The Complete Guide To Everything – Christmas Specials Christmas Special (Part Two: More Christmas Specials)
On a very special episode, we discuss two beloved Christmas specials: Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas and Frosty the Snowman. Of course, these conversations devolve into Tim's problems with the current state of the Muppets, his feelings about the problems with eight year olds today and an indictment of magicians in general. Also, we talk about the perils of doing hard drugs and sleeping under a bridge, and solve a problem from a listener involving taking sexy pictures of a lady to raise money for an engagement ring.
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show – TV Critic Alan Sepinwall
This week on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff is joined by TV critic Alan Sepinwall. Jeff talks to Alan about his new book The Revolution Was Televised, and the 12 TV shows that are the premise of his book: The Sopranos, Oz, The Wire, Deadwood, The Shield, Lost, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men and Breaking Bad among a bunch other shows. They discuss their impact on people and the importance of a show's ending. "Because the shows are now playing on the level of the best movies, and you are getting 13 to 22 hours of them a year, and it is coming into your house, it becomes a much more powerful relationship than the one you have with Ryan Gosling or Bradley Cooper who you spend two hours with a year." — Alan Sepinwall on the popularity of TV-stars over movie stars.
It's That Episode #44 – 'Late Night' Writer Arthur Meyer Obsesses Over SNL
On It's That Episode, Craig Rowin (UCB Theatre) invites guests over to watch any episode of any TV show they want. They discuss the episode and other crap. Arthur Meyer (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) was so obsessed with Saturday Night Live that he used to have his mom record late night re-runs on VHS and send them to him while he was in college. Arthur brings his favorite SNL episode, hosted by Michael Jordan, over to Craig's apartment and reveals his encyclopediac knowledge of the show. Arthur also talks about being a guest on Late Show with David Letterman and how his grandfather hates children.
A Funny Thing – 30 Rock's Anthony Atamanuik Celebrates a Lifetime of Ridiculous Sexual Depravity
This week on A Funny Thing, Anthony Atamanuik, one of the Writers Who Never Talk on 30 Rock, reveals a lifetime of sexual endeavors that veer wildly between absurd, tragic, and very, very illegal. WARNING: this episode of A Funny Thing is extremely graphic and is certain to offend the weak of spirit. Beware.
Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak #8 – "How Much Of" with Elaine Carroll, Nate Dern, & Tim Martin
In this week’s episode of Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak, Elaine Carroll (Very Mary Kate), Nate Dern (Friday Night Hot Chicks Mic), and Tim Martin (Airwolf) join Abra to create a world where Gilbert Gottfried and Sean Connery have a web series, Meryl Streep comes in from the cold, and a town’s love must be measured.
Bradford Evans is Splitsider's Associate Editor.
Jay Kuperstein is a writer, founder of ComedyK.com, and attorney working in Washington, DC
Elise Czajkowski is a freelance journalist in New York City.
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!
Samantha Pitchel does things for HuffPost Comedy and SXSW Comedy.