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.
Bullseye with Jesse Thorn – The 2012 Comedy Special
ELISE: As a frequent (okay, incessant) podcast listener, it's rare that I can bring myself to pay for comedy specials. But there is a value in a real comedy special that a podcasts doesn't always provide–it's wall-to-wall funny. And these days, it's possible for an avid comedy fan to know some comedians mostly or entirely by their podcast presence, never having seen or heard their actual material. This Bullseye compilation is a great, eclectic sampling of the year's comedy specials: Aziz Ansari on food and 50 Cent, Lewis Black on smartphones, Demetri Martin on the word "OK," Doug Benson on unsolicited joke suggestions, Garfunkel & Oates on musical serenades, Hannibal Buress on airport security, James Adomian on sportscasters, an excerpt from David Javerbuam's book The Last Testament: A Memoir by God read by Seth Morris, Jim Gaffigan on bodybuilders, John Mulaney on driving, Maria Bamford on family psychology, Kyle Kinane on suburbia, Paul F. Tompkins on his stealing days, and of course, a bit from Tig Notaro's legendary Largo set.
Nerd Poker with Brian Posehn #6 - Swim Toward The Light
MARC: “Shit’s getting real,” posts Cabbagehead, a commenter on the Nerd Poker boards at Earwolf.com. The irony is that the “reality” is fantasy. Hardcore nerd stuff. Nerd Poker is a beautiful euphemism for Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), and nowhere else can you hear it being played with as many jokes as a network sitcom. That’s because everyone rolling dice around this table is a comedian/actor/writer type. Whether it's host Brian Posehn (The Sarah Silverman Show) or one of his longtime friends/adventuring companions (including Blaine Capatch, Ken Daly, Gerry Duggan or Sarah Guzzardo), every character brought to life tends to be a wise-cracking castaway on a makeshift raft. At least that’s where our heroes are this week. That’s because a couple of weeks before, they inadvertently caused the inter-dimensional ship they’d been abducted on to crash into an uncharted ocean on a planet circling a sun that is not their own. If this is getting a little too thick, you’ll have to pardon me – as a dodecahedron-toting DM myself, it’s a little too easy for me to get sucked into this damned show. You don’t need to know anything about D&D to enjoy the rampant hijinks, but it sure helps.
Hang Out With Me #27 - Laraine Newman and Jackie Kashian
SAMANTHA: What better way to ring in the new year than with comic / host Myq Kaplan and his guests, the hilarious Jackie Kashian (The Dork Forest) and Laraine Newman (Saturday Nght Live)? Hang Out With Me always feels less like a typical Q&A and more like a heart-to-heart between pals, and this week is no exception, with earnestly interested questions and real talk all around. From reminiscing about Myq's time at camp with Jackie's daughter to dads who love unicorns and much, much more, this episode (the last of 2012) is serous fun.
Judge John Hodgman #91 - Coming Out of the Supply Closet with Scott Adsit
ROGER: Considering that the case involved twentysomethings clandestinely pursuing a relationship in an office, and a special guest bailiff in the form of 30 Rock's Scott Adsit, "Coming Out of the Supply Closet" had a very Thursday night comedy vibe. Fortunately, John Hodgman picked up on the somewhat hackneyed premise of secret lovers - a trope that 30 Rock itself would lampoon rather quickly – and pursued a funny line of questioning in the trial that highlighted the inherit absurdity of the whole thing. ("Do you *ever* do any work at this office? Or is it just pranks upon pranks upon pranks?") With no offense to the usual bailiff Jesse Thorn, Adsit was a great sidekick, enhancing the podcast by asking relevant questions and making things humorously awkward, such as bringing up three ways and openly flirting with the female defendant while her plaintiff boyfriend was in earshot. In other words, the perfect sidekick. Hodgman's ambivalence towards Sara was the factor that drove the entire episode – up until the very end you don't know if his amusement at Sara wanting to deceive an entire workplace will win out over his paranoia that the manipulator is somehow pulling a fast one on him.
The Todd Glass Show #82 – Christmas Show, Part Two
BRADFORD: The Todd Glass Show is always a fun and jolly time even when it's not a holiday week, but the second part of this Christmas show features Todd Glass and his cronies moving from hilarious bit to hilarious bit at a fast rate. From Glass and Daniel Kinno's riffing on unfriendly and pushy customer service representatives to the movie trailer game to a fun storytelling game at the end, there's a lot of fun stuff packed in here, but the highlight is Todd Glass's new joke in which he plays a few seconds after the 30 Rock theme after someone makes a good joke and the Two and a Half Men theme after someone makes a bad one. It's really amusing and always adds some momentum to a great or terrible joke.
This Week in the Splitsider Podcast Network:
You Had To Be There #91: Emmy Blotnick & Gabe Gronli
This week, the ladies start off by introducing the first company brave enough to sponsor You Had To Be There: Audible.com! Audible hosts a virtually limitless selection of audio books and they currently have a sweet deal going on: if you start a no-fee risk-free month-long trial via audiblepodcast.com/BeThere, you get a no-questions-asked audiobook fer keeps and (as long as you follow that link) YHTBT'll get some coin tossed its way. So please do that! Then, after passing judgement on sexy cell phones, celebrity commentators, and TV doctors, Nikki and Sara take you further behind-the-scenes of their in-the-works series by welcoming writers Emmy Blotnick and Gabe Gronli to the podcast. Their conversation is peppered with embarrassing tales that are hilarious in hindsight, but what it really zeroes in on are infections, everything from your deadly staph to your pesky urinary tract. The gang eventually talk some figurative pee about good ol' Radiolab, a newfound favorite fruit, a sleek design blog, and former guest Joe DeRosa's Nikki-starring web series We Should Break Up.
The Complete Guide to Everything: The Movies of 2012
This week Tim has had enough of Christmas and would like you all to stop even though Christmas ended nearly a week ago. Also Tom becomes a member of a museum and feels pretty smug about it. In this episode the guys discuss the movies of 2012, including Sleepwalk with Me, Moonrise Kingdom, The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Underworld, Red Tails, Chronicle, Ghost Rider, Wanderlust, A Thousand Words, 21 Jump Street, The Hunger Games, Cabin in the Woods, Dark Shadows, The Dictator, Battleship, Men in Black 3 and Life of Pi. It is important to note that neither Tim nor Tom have seen the majority of the movies discussed.
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show: Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin 2012 Year-End Jefftacular
This week on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show I am very pleased to present The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show 2012 Year-End Jeff-tacular. I have gone back and asked nearly all of 2012's Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show guests to spend five minutes describing their favorite thing of the year. Answers ranged from movies to music to software to once-in-a-lifetime days.
It's That Episode 47: 'Magnum P.I.' Scholar, '30 Rock's John Murray
John Murray (30 Rock, Death By Roo Roo) really likes Magnum P.I. Like, he really likes it. Like a lot. Also Craig read the whole Magnum P.I. article on Wikipedia, which was extensive, so you'll learn some kickin' Tom Selleck nuggets including the fact that he was originally set to play Indiana Jones.
Left Handed Radio: 'Too Late'
On this episode: We get trapped in the Inescapable Death Box, Skeleton Warehouse has a Christmas sale, a man donates too much blood, "Letters to Santa," Michael quits drinking, College Basketball Round-up, a commercial for Gold Ribbon dog food, a woman looks for jetpack parts for a new project. Left Handed Radio is written and performed by Adam Bozarth, Dan Chamberlain, Matt Little, and Anna Rubanova, with Aaron Burdette, Matt Dennie, Nate Dern, Frank Hejl, and Will Hines.
A Funny Thing: Our Favorite Stories of 2012
Every week on A Funny Thing we bring you the best, strangest, and often filthiest stories told at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. We tried to choose the single best story of 2012 but we just couldn't do it, so here are three of our favorites. While they range from high school humiliations to David Cronenberg-esque body horror to what can only be described as a "dance murder" they all share the same snug little place very close to our hearts. Please join us along with storytellers Jim O'Grady (NPR, The Moth), Halle Keifer (VH1, Rolling Stone) and Jim Santangeli (CollegeHumor, The Upright Citizen's Brigade, Klondike Bars) to ring in the New Year.
Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak #9: "Are Those Bacos?" with Brian Faas, Kelly Hudson, & John Murray
Oh, hello! In this week’s episode of “Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak” Brian Faas (The Law Firm), Kelly Hudson (Rejected Pitches), and John Murray (Death By Roo Roo) join Abra to create a world filled with slimy-clawed singles, musical theatre massage circles at TGIF’s, and poo-fearing Spooks.
Roger Cormier feels old when podcasters talk about feeling old.
Elise Czajkowski is a freelance journalist in New York City.
Bradford Evans is the Associate Editor of Splitsider.
Marc Hershon is host of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast and author of I Hate People!
Samantha Pitchel writes about and watches comedy in Austin and Los Angeles.