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.
By the Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin #7 – Zach Galifianakis
ROGER: It doesn't really seem fair that bigshots like Alec Baldwin and Jeff Garlin can just swoop into the podcast world and scoop up famous guests to appear on their shows every other week. On the other hand, we get almost ninety minutes of the media-weary Zach Galifianakis out of character in a one-on-one interview. Garlin exhibited a purposely relaxed demeanor towards talking to his friend and "favorite comedian," which put Galifianakis at ease to be his own funny self, and to share some things that he legitimately finds mind-bending/interesting. Garlin probably doesn't get enough credit for knowing how to edit himself because of the loose feel to the live show – just a few minutes after he threw out an obscure piece of Honeymooners trivia, Galifanakis's anecdote about Brody Stevens involving UFOs must have triggered the Gleason/Nixon/UFO urban legend/completely true story in Old Hollywood expert Garlin's mind, but he let The Hangover star continue talking. The host lying about how his guest was the only person he follows on Twitter (Garlin currently follows The Dalai Lama, Sarah Silverman, the Chicago Cubs broadcast team, and Galifianakis) and not explaining to the listening audience the facial tick he was gently mocking Galifanakis over is forgiven for getting his guest to tell his stories about a recent oral surgery experience, his wedding, his uniquely funny brother, and other tales that are just as amusing on the second listen as the first.
Who Charted? #123 – Matt Walsh
JOSH: This week's high-energy episode of Who Charted? presents the listener with an assortment of audio entertainment. Howard Kremer's unique "Chris Farley Show"-meets-stream of consciousness interviewing technique is a delightful complement to Kulap Vilaysack's more traditional approach to conversing with a guest. This week, Howard and Kulap unleash their charming brand of journalism on Veep star and founding UCB member Matt Walsh. It's always enjoyable when a podcast allows itself to seamlessly vacillate between humor and genuine intrigue. After some lighthearted discussion regarding in-laws and recreational stripper pole instillation, Walsh acutely deconstructs the fundamental difference between music and comedy. "Music takes you to a romantic, idealized place," Walsh surmises, "and comedy reminds you of your flaws and humanity." It's quite the perceptive insight from Walsh, which, of course, is directly followed by Kremer inquiring, "What do you think a dog would be more apt to, music or comedy?" A perfect example of the offbeat charm of Who Charted?.
The Adam Carolla Show – Teresa Strasser
JAY: For all intents and purposes, The Adam Carolla Show began as terrestrial radio's attempt to replace Howard Stern's show. While Adam may be a worthy successor to The King of All Media, the show never really felt truly comparable until Adam found his "Robin Quivers." That person was Teresa Strasser, who aptly served as Carolla's "news girl" through the transition from the end of talk radio to the rise of podcasting. Unfortunately for us (no offense, Alison), Strasser ultimately left the show due to the time constraints of raising a child, but this week she's back as a guest on a live podcast from her new home in Phoenix, Arizona. On this episode, the gang begins with an animated discussion about the peculiarities of Phoenix, "active vacation" commercial acting roles, and marriage advice. This leads into the inspiring tale of Adam's parents' "divorce" and naturally, the situation in North Korea. There are a few more audience questions and then on to the news, where, if you close your eyes, you can almost imagine it's 2008. After her long absence, it's great to hear Teresa get right back into the mix and prove she hasn't lost a step.
Sklarbro Country #144 – Jason Ritter, James Adomian
JENNY: Ever since I got into podcasts, I've heard about Sklarbro Country but never actually listened – until now. All it took for me to officially step into Sklarbro territory was this episode's unique pairing of guests: Jason Ritter broke my heart this season on Parenthood and James Adomian is one of my all-time favorite Comedy Bang Bang regulars. All in all, it's a podcast I'd try again, with the focus on even the sports and teams I don't know coming as welcome conversation fodder from the two amiable Sklars. Randy and Jason open with discussing yoga (sport of duchesses), and once Ritter comes in, the bros talk to him about his work on Parenthood and Disney Channel's Gravity Falls (which Ritter calls good practice for kids before they start The Simpsons and Twin Peaks), growing up during a time when just about every LA sports team was good, and how Suzanne Somers is not his mom. Adomian only comes in the studio for the show's final couple minutes, but that's okay because it's his impression of misogynistic shock jock Tom Leykis and four minutes of Adomian as Leykis talking about women's basketball is enough to last for awhile.
The Sibling Rivalry #344 – Meat Glue
MARC: Featuring brothers Jeremy Grater from Seattle and Aaron Ristow from New York – I didn’t ask why they have different last names – The Sibling Rivalry also has a third voice, Stacy Black, who isn’t a sib to either of them. It’s a very “radio-y” sounding podcast, which makes sense, as Grater works for broadcast news in Washington. Even one of their drop-in guests this episode, Thunder, from the Stack of Dimes podcast, is another broadcaster in the same building. The three hosts never seem to be at a lack of words (and often reference the topics they’re constantly hoping to get to before the show runs out). In this episode, they dwell on the recent passings of Roger Ebert and Margaret Thatcher, and neither occasion is treated with much in the way of reverence or respect. It's curiously refreshing given the amount of somber coverage the events have received in the mainstream media. In the same vein as a lot of podcasts these days, those listening to the Rivalry are often treated to intimate personal details, such as Grater having an initial appointment with a new therapist. Not so personal? The fact that hipsters are apparently into beets. Or delving into KFC’s move to serve boneless chicken chunks. In short, if you’ve been wondering where some of the better parts of what used to fuel personality-driven terrestrial radio have gone, you’ll find ample helpings in The Sibling Rivalry.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network:
It's That BONUSode! Anthony Atamanuik & Angela Lansbury's Sexy Workout
A special It's That Episode bonus episode. Anthony Atamanuik watches Angela Lansbury's workout tape/sex video, "Positive Moods." Watch the video above and then listen to the episode to find out why Anthony calls Lansbury "The Harriet Tubman of old people."
The Complete Guide to Everything: Wrestling
This week's episode begins with the disappointment that Tim and Tom were unable to attend this year's Wrestlemania and the full intention of doing the episode about a different subject entirely before the power of Wrestlemania flat-out demands that they instead indeed talk almost exclusively about wrestling. Of course this means talking about the recent Hulk Hogan Uncensored at the Beacon Theatre that neither attended, a nearly screenplay accurate recounting of the Wrestling Buddies commercial and Tim's close encounter with a Murphy bed.
It's That Episode: Doug Mand Gets Tolerant with Hang Time
Doug Mand (How I Met Your Mother, Doodie Calls) joins Craig and unknowingly watches the post-Columbine episode of Hang Time. Learn what a "groat" is and find out why it's not OK to make fun of them. And listen as Doug discusses trying to be cool as a teenager by smoking incense by himself in the privacy of his bedroom.
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show: R. L. Stine
This week on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff talks to R. L. Stine author of the Goosebumps series. Jeff talks to him about how he got started with writing scary stories and how he writes the Goosebumps series. They talk about all the letters that he got sent from kids, and what he thought about the Gersberms meme.
A Funny Thing: Pat Baer Fights Wolves, Finds Love
Our story this week: Pat Baer, creeped out by an awkward drug party around an unfamiliar campfire, escapes into the forest along with the beautiful, straight-edge subject of his unspoken desire. But if there's one thing that history teaches us, it's this: journeys into dark forests produce narrative crisis points via confrontation with representations of the bestial self. Should have seen this one coming, Pat.
Roger Cormier lives on Fascination Street.
Marc Hershon is host of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast and author of I Hate People!
Jay Kuperstein is a writer, founder of ComedyK.com, and attorney working in Washington, DC.
Jenny Nelson goes to school in New York and created the podcast On Stage at Housing Works Bookstore.
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.