This Week in Podcasts: ‘Rafflecast,’ Rob Schneider, and ‘Harmontown’ Tragedy
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.
Rafflecast – Johnny Bananas Season 3 Writers Room – Paul Scheer, Adam Pally, Joe Mande, Gil Ozeri, Jake Fogelnest, Shelby Fero
ROGER: Jon Daly and friends ventured off the deep end and decided to record themselves for a little over an hour pretending to be the writing staff of the Johnny Bananas animated series, a show existing in the Entourage universe starring Andrew Dice Clay and Johnny Drama. Entourage is of course the HBO series enjoyed ironically by virtually everyone you know that celebrated the complexities of being rich and attractive while championing the power of aggressive broness, so Daly and Adam Pally – two comedians deft at bro culture mimicry (not an insult!) – were perfectly cast here. It would have been enough for this Rafflecast episode to simply run with the joke of writers possessing misplaced professional jealousy and unjustifiably inflated egos when their occupation consisted of coming up with banana, monkey, and cock ring puns, but it reached another level of hilarity with the fleshing out of the characters in the room throughout the episode, particularly Gil Ozeri’s character’s shameless sycophantic ladder-climbing reaching more and more shameful rungs, and the constant harassment thrown at him for getting his start in the business as the janitor on Big Bang Theory and being Jim Parsons’ personal whipping boy.
WTF with Marc Maron #377 – Rob Schneider
JAY: The early 1990s were an amazing time for Saturday Night Live. The cast featured some of its most talented stars, including: Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon, Chris Farley, David Spade, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Senator Al Franken, Norm Macdonald, Jay Mohr, Sarah Silverman, and the guest on this week’s WTF: Rob Schneider. It would have been easy for him to disappear in such an amazing cast, but Schneider was able to break out with several recurring characters. While we know the history of many of the folks I mentioned above, Schneider’s ascent to comedy stardom has not been as readily available. Here, Rob discusses his teenage days as a San Francisco stand-up/gas station attendant, Jay Leno’s advice to him as a young comedian, his death-defying trip to his first Los Angeles audition, getting SNL, Farley stories, and more. Even though this episode of WTF is over an hour long, you get the idea that we’ve barely scratched the surface of Rob Schneider. In my opinion, comedy is a lot like sports. Careers begin and end in short windows. We remember Chris Farley, like Bo Jackson, as one of the greats because his career was tragically cut short before it naturally declined. Rob Schneider, then, should be compared to a wunderkind who shone in his early days and sort of faded out in his later years. But his accomplishments at his prime will stand the test of time. I mean, show me another comedian who booked two Stallone action movies. If you are a fan of comedy, Rob Schneider’s WTF is required listening. You won’t be disappointed.
Harmontown #53 – National Tragedy Special (Kumail Nanjiani)
JENNY: Tragedy plus time equals comedy but tragedy not-plus time is usually still tragedy. Since Harmontown is a live show in addition to a podcast, Harmon and comptroller Jeff Davis were committed to doing a show Monday evening even though during the afternoon there were bombs at the Boston Marathon, and since Dan Harmon is master of taboo subjects (almost every Harmontown ends up being about racism), he devotes the show to addressing the tragedy. This makes the episode a bit uncomfortable, with the typical Harmenian transgressions (this time dissertations on electric cigarettes, cake making, and Sean Connery) seeming almost disrespectfully off-topic but some of the talk of tragedy venturing into off-color humor. That being said, the section of the show where they talk about the bombing is really interesting, with conversation between Dan, who knows only fifteen seconds worth of news about the tragedy, and guest D&Der Kumail Nanjiani, who spent the bulk of his day reading updates on the situation off of Twitter, during which they discover that they actually possess about the same amount of knowledge on the subject.
JOSH: I don’t carelessly throw around labels like “underrated podcast guest” without some serious, reflective thought. That said, stand-up comedian Jerrod Carmichael is officially an underrated podcast guest. Carmichael’s second appearance on Comedy Bang Bang begins with a captivating interview in which “triumphant white people music” is discussed, a rousing game of “Do You/Have You” is played and the financial crisis that has crippled our fine nation is practically solved—all before the first commercial break. Eventually, the proprietor of Star Graves, California’s newest “Dead Celebrities of Hollywood” bus tour, drops by to discuss the growing popularity of the dead celebrity tour guide industry, define the term “Two Stooge” and expose a Hollywood conspiracy involving John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, The Three Stooges and Nelson Mandela. Aukerman’s natural familiarity with Horatio Sanz allows for a friendly game of verbal gamesmanship which makes for yet another in a long line of entertaining episodes of Comedy Bang Bang.
Answer Me This – Isy Suttie
ELISE: Finally, a chance to highlight this always wonderful (and award-winning) question-based British podcast, as this week’s episode features one of its rare guests in Isy Suttie (best known to British comedy fans as Dobby from Peep Show). The premise of the show is deceptively simple – listeners send in questions, from practical queries to philosophical conundrums, which are genuinely answered while also sparking funny tangents and debates. This week, Isy joins hosts Helen and Olly to answer a slew of questions about things like casting calls, eating in the dark, involuntary reactions, and tea bag conspiracies. Part of AMT‘s charm is in its structure and editing, meaning it doesn’t drag and always clocks in at half an hour. It’s a refreshing change from the many bloated, talky podcasts, and is one of the few shows I never miss.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network:
It’s our 200th episode, so Tim and Tom decide to celebrate by getting very self indulgent! This week we turn the focus of the show onto the show itself and tell a couple of very long, semi-interesting stories about how the show started and how a presumed stalker almost ruined it all. We also play a rare clip from our previous podcast that you’ve never heard!
Dave Willis (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies) and Chris “Casper” Kelly (Stroker and Hoop, Squidbillies) talk to Craig about their new [adult swim] showYour Pretty Face is Going to Hell and watch a bunch of Satan related TV clips. Find out why Dave won’t tell his mom about his new TV show, learn out about Chris’ experience writing porn and hear Satanic excerpts from Married… With Children, Fox News and Quantum Leap. Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell premieres this Thursday, April 18th at Midnight on [adult swim].
This week on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff talks to Evan, Andrew, Michael and Sarah who together form The Gregory Brothers. They talk about how they got together as a group, what they were doing before they found success on YouTube, what makes a good unintentional singer and what the process of songifying a video is like. At the end they even give a little concert.
Our story this week: Brantley Brice didn’t so much struggle with his sexuality as much as he gleefully did the breaststroke in a river of denial of it. His closet was a palace of men’s underwear models and sexual aids. But the truth, much like Brendan Fraser in a golden cod-piece, will always out.
In this week’s episode, Neil Casey (Saturday Night Live), Connor Ratliff (I’m Too Fragile For This), & Jim Santangeli (The Curfew) join Abra to create a world filled with bashful nudity, misidentified men, and jellyfish on peens.
Roger Cormier will put a pin on that one.
Elise Czajkowski is a freelance journalist in New York City.
Josh Sorokach is a comedy writer living in NYC who was once referred to as a “Poor Man’s Joshua Jackson” while on a date.