This Week in Podcasts: Todd Barry Gets a Podcast and Todd Glass Turns 100
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.
The Todd Barry Podcast #2 – Jim & Jeannie Gaffigan
MARC: Another popular comedian has entered the realm of podcasting, slipping around from the guest side of the microphone to the host seat: Todd Barry. Funny, acerbic, sarcastic, and wry on stage, Barry brings some of that but also shows a newer side, feeling his way into the role of guiding conversationalist. Even in the first couple of episodes, he quickly has realized to step aside when the guest is rolling while still teasing out the answers and stories without giving in – too much – to that tendency of new interviewers to interject themselves into the action. As a fledgling podcaster, it helps to have friends in high places to come in as guests, which is where Jim Gaffigan has been riding the past few years. The conversation that Barry and Gaffigan have is enhanced by the presence of Jeannie Gaffigan, Jim’s wife/producer/co-writer and mother of their five children. More conversation than interview, the chat touches on a number of subjects as the trio sit around in Barry’s kitchen in New York, including starting out as a comic in the early ’90s as the fabled “comedy boom” was beginning to fade; how the couple’s collaboration began; working the road and bringing five children along for the ride; Gaffigan’s new book Dad Is Fat, which is coming out next week; and what it’s like to be the “Hot Pockets” guy. “There’s no stopping the Hot Pocket thing,” says Gaffigan. “I tried to take them down, but people won’t have it. So I may do a third new hour of material, fine, and the encore will be the Hot Pocket thing.” It should be fun to see whom else Barry lures into his kitchen in the coming episodes.
The Todd Glass Show – The 100th Episode with Rory Scovel
ROGER: When The Todd Glass Show premiered a little less than two years ago, Rory Scovel wasn’t the up and coming Next Big Thing, the comedy equivalent of a music video deemed “Buzzworthy” by MTV back in the day like he is now, so it was only fitting for Scovel to make his 18th guest appearance on the podcast in the show’s milestone 100th episode. Two years doesn’t seem like a long time, particularly when our brains are still trained to associate the big hondo landmark with television shows on the air for at least half of a decade (and sacks of cash from syndication), but it seems like it wont be long before Scovel will be too big to be continue to sit in and be the perfect guest on Glass’s show, when it seems that it was just yesterday that he started to play the co-conspirator to the funniest bits of comedy you’ll ever hear. Submitted for the Podcast Hall of Fame from this week’s installment: an improvised bit (partially courtesy of marijuana) where Scovel – as a radio DJ – repeatedly gets morning zoo guest Glass’s upcoming tour information wrong, then constantly interrupts him, before in the perfectly silly coda offering a surprisingly very grateful Glass to report on the traffic, only to interrupt yet again.
WTF with Marc Maron #382 – Hank Azaria
JAY: If you check out Hank Azaria’s IMDB profile, its easy to see this superhero of comedy’s origin story. At one time, FOX represented complete artistic freedom (especially when it came to comedy). The fledgling television network took a chance on a prime time cartoon series based on a crudely-animated family who starred in interstitials on The Tracey Ullman Show. Nearly twenty-five years later, those comedy pioneers are still at it. This week on WTF, Marc Maron explores the personal life of the man of a thousand voices from The Simpsons; Hank Azaria. Azaria confirms he is, in fact, Jewish (for those who were wondering after seeing him shirtless in Along Came Polly). The discussion then turns to Hank’s food issues , his reticence about becoming a father, and hitting the show business lottery. Like many of Maron’s podcasts, this episode of WTF allows the audience to understand the inner workings of the guest via the shared shorthand of common experience. As with the best episodes of WTF, Azaria completely opens up, as if he is on a psychiatrist’s couch. This podcast perfectly illustrates Hank Azaria’s misconception that he was hiding his humanity behind the facade of his characters, when in reality, his characters only succeed because of his humanity. This episode of WTF is required listening for any Simpsons or comedy fan because Hank Azaria is a comedy superhero.
How Was Your Week with Julie Klausner #112 – Jena Friedman & Rachel Lichtman
JOSH: “Why don’t bikers have podcasts? Oh, I can think of a million reasons, most of which are meth.” I feel awful. I’ve neglected listening to How Was Your Week for a couple of months, but as soon as I heard Julie Klausner deliver one of her trademark idiosyncratic observations, it was as though I was reconnecting with an old friend. Klausner’s adept stream of consciousness skills are second to almost none —the almost of course, Mr. Paul F. Tompkins. Like most episodes of How Was Your Week the tone jovially oscillates from hilarity to informative at a moment’s notice. Klausner’s mental dexterity is a form of chaotic beauty. After a discussion detailing comedian Jena Friedman’s friend reenacting crime scenes for the program Cold Case Files, Klausner earnestly asks, “Do you think that creates ghosts?” Listening to Julie Klausner is a flat-out delight. Whether it’s dissecting Amanda Palmer’s tweets or pondering if Zach Braff was created in a lab, Klausner’s frenetic hilarity elevates this podcast to weekly “can’t miss” status.
Welcome to Night Vale #22 – The Whispering Forest
JENNY: Commonplace Books puts out two books – one on how to be an adult and one a book of fleshed out versions of story ideas by H.P. Lovecraft – and a podcast, and the inherent strangeness of this lineup comes to life in Welcome to Night Vale, a twice-monthly show written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. The spooky show, which I first encountered via its weird and excellent Twitter account, entirely consists of expert narration by Cecil Baldwin, who gives news updates about Night Vale, a small town populated by odd creatures of the macabre and deeply thespian government workers and officials. In this episode, all the schools shut down because it’s all just too much and Cecil sends his intern into the mysterious Whispering Forest, where he discovers the voices are actually quite friendly but then gets lost in the ether. Each episode clocks in at right around 20 minutes and follows the same basic structure that can make some of the jokes predictable – the “weather” section of each broadcast just plays a full song and the “commercials” are always dramatic readings or dark poems followed by a dry aside like “brought to you by Taco Bell,” but the writing and performance make Night Vale worth a listen, and also just plenty weird.
Comedy Bang Bang #217 – Marc Maron
ROB: This week’s Comedy Bang Bang is unusual. You might say it’s a little more WTF than CBB, as Scott has a guest on for the entire show without any eccentric characters walking through the door to interrupt the interview. Oh, and Marc Maron is that guest. Still, it’s funny and fascinating hearing these two friendly rivals chat about podcasting, comedy, careers, and their thoughts about what makes a comedy TV show successful. Maron, of course, is there promoting his IFC show Maron, which premieres tomorrow, but Aukerman also tries to “out-Maron Maron” – to get the podcast host, famous for getting down to the emotional nitty-gritty with his guests, to cry. And it seems to almost genuinely happen at one point. But no worries, there’s still a game of “Would You Rather?” for CBB fans that works out surprisingly well for being a one-on-one situation, and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with Maron’s ability to engage in the silliness of that game.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network:
On this lost episode from 1996: Seinfeld Nights, NBC’s Must She TV challenges gender norms, Delta Burke for Tamagotchi Rescue, dad tries to play Nintendo64, Jerry Springer: Too Nice for TV, a new intern sure seems like she’s a Power Ranger,He’s Al That, Lil Troffee knows how to play the world, and Def Foxworthy Jam.
This week, we bring you the second part of our annual summer movie roundup and almost make it through the films coming out in June. We cover After Earth (which apparently is some Will Smith movie that is coming out), The Purge, The Internship, Man of Steel and talk about the difference between Robert Downey Jr. and Morton Downey Jr.
Jon Daly (Kroll Show, Betas) joins Craig for a special commercial episode of It’s That Episode. Bill Cosby gulps down New Coke, Golfer John Daly grips it and rips it, and Christian Audigier sells condoms. You’ll learn about the time Jon filmed a sketch with Audigier and you’ll hear a lot about Andre Agassi’s wig filled tennis career.
This week on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff talks to Dave Willis, who has worked on Adult Swim’s Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and the new Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell. They talk about how he got started in the business, working on Space Ghost and Aqua Teen and making the transition from cartoon to live-action.
Our story this week: Melanie Hamlett, yearning for the endless, intoxicating adventure of South America found herself couch surfing into a house full of clowns. Literal clowns. Bipolar, uncicycling clowns. Always on the lookout for a safe haven from the lecherous man-pigs of the road, Melanie thought she had found her respite from constant sexual harassment amongst those bronze boys of the circus arts. But then came a clown called Blue Angel, and everything changed.
In this week’s episode, Matt Fisher (The Law Firm), Diana Kolsky (Menage à Trois), & Tim Martin (Airwolf) join Abra to create a world where Bert eats dead people, Mrs. Gianelli travels by drain, & the Spice Girls celebrate your bush.
Roger Cormier was sent down here by Jazzy Steve.
Rob Schoon lives in Brooklyn and writes about tech, media, comedy and culture.
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.