This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Jason Mantzoukas Plays Plato and Paul Scheer Makes the Rounds
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.
Who Charted – Kurt Braunohler
PABLO: Your hashtag-filled Twitter feed isn’t the only aftereffect of the new Comedy Central show @midnight. On this week’s Who Charted, co-host Howard Kremer is more than 30 minutes late to the recording due to his appearance on the nightly talk show. And if you’re wondering how a television taping could affect the recording of an unrelated podcast 24 hours later, then you should familiarize yourself with the lovable scatterbrain personality of Mr. Howie Michael Motorcycle. However, all is not lost, as guest Kurt Braunohler more than capably co-hosts the show with Kulap Vilaysack as they delve deep into the Japan Hot 100 Music chart and their thoughts on Gravity‘s misogyny problem. And when Howard does finally makes his belated entry, he jumps right in with a story about the time Braunohler used his Jedi tricks to get them molly at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival. That’s so Howie.
FitzDog Radio – Paul Scheer
MARC: Regardless of how busy he gets in television production of late, Greg Fitzsimmons delivers a consistently entertaining podcast. His recent visit by fellow comedian and podcaster (as well as TV producer/actor) Paul Scheer is a model for how to have a great chat. The fact that these guys know each other (“We’re friends but not GOOD friends,” jokes Fitzsimmons early on) and they both have learned what makes good podcasting certainly helps. The smooth way that they move from topic to topic in the course of the hour and twenty minutes show should serve as an example of how to have a conversation rather than an interview. There’s no stilted rhythm of question-answer-question-answer that’s become the hallmark of the creaky late night talk show. While both are sounding off about current topics, Fitzsimmons casually pulls answers out of Scheer that reveal things about his upbringing and history, while Scheer is able to do the same with his host. And with two comedians, both in command of the medium, their visit is consistently funny as well.
How Did This Get Made? – Daredevil with Ed Brubaker
JOSH: This week, writer and Daredevil aficionado Ed Brubaker joins the How Did This Get Made? team to discuss the much-maligned 2003 superhero movie Daredevil. To everyone’s shock, resident tornado and gorilla expert June Diane Raphael LOVED the movie. Her subtle “I loved it” interjections were in hilarious contrast to the substantial amount of ridicule Daredevil faced throughout the episode. After discussing the possibility of an amazing Jason Statham, Nicolas Cage, Vin Diesel-led reboot, Scheer reads a few of the most ridiculously entertaining “Second Opinions” in the show’s illustrious history. Dental inconsistencies, subplots involving Coolio, and the genesis of a potential How I Met Your Mother/How Did This Get Made? rivalry; if you’re a Daredevil detractor, you’ll enjoy this week’s episode of How Did This Get Made?
Too Soon – H. Alan Scott
JOANNA: Cancer and healthcare top the charts of some of least funny things in the world. In fact, if you ever want to actively sabotage a party, go ahead and bring any of these two topics up, it’s bound to ignite some trouble. So what happens when a comedian gets cancer? On this episode of Too Soon, LA-based comedian H. Alan Scott tells why his battle with testicular cancer inspired him to “talk about crazy shit.” While proving the cliched proverb, “tragedy and comedy are two sides of the same coin,” host Stephanie Mickus and her guest bond about shared medical treatments, online dating, and stress eating. Scott teaches us how life feeds comedy, especially if life totally sucks sometimes. So when is it too soon to talk about your devastating biopsy? According to this comedian, never.
The Dead Authors Podcast – Jason Mantzoukas
ROB: Unlike some of the best guests on The Dead Authors Podcast’s two-year run — like John Hodgman as Ayn Rand or Andy Daly as Robert Louis Stevenson — Jason Mantzoukas didn’t exactly stay in character (as Plato) the whole time. Also, he didn’t appear to have done a heavy amount of research on the ancient Greek philosopher. Add to that the fact that he insulted the audience’s intelligence on several occasions and went uncomfortably blue — playing off the ancient Greeks’ less evolved, “looser,” sexual mores — for an extended period of time, and you’ll understand just a few aspects that contributed to Mantzoukas’s masterful appearance on this week’s episode. For the most part, he plays Plato the way Scott Aukerman portrayed Benjamin Franklin: The revered historical figure who turns out, in real life, to be a real party animal. It’s not the most original direction, but for Mantzoukas, his “I love to rage, bro” Plato works — especially because it’s not all he does. Responding to great leading questions from Tompkins’s H.G. Wells (who’s honed his Dead Authors interviewing down to a science), Mantzoukas also portrays Plato: the angsty teen, Plato: the scheming up-and-coming philosopher, Plato: the modern pop-culture and movie expert (also known as Jason Mantzoukas), and, of course, Plato: the indefensibly perverted. Despite losing the audience many times, especially with the last version of Plato, Mantzoukas is so unrelenting and sharp that he reliably wins them back every time. In fact, at one point in the podcast, Wells and Plato take note of the fact that “admist all the groans,” there had been two applause breaks – a Dead Authors first. It’s also the most I’ve ever heard Tompkins laughing, despite himself and off-mic, during a podcast.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network
This week the guys talking about writing a novel because guess what? Tom wrote a novel. Other topics inlcude some other guy who uses the pseudonym of Tom Reynolds, SAG name rules, the other Mark Wahlberg and maybe the most horrific episode of a game show ever thanks to Fox’s now canceled ‘Moment of Truth’.
Ben Rodgers (UCB Theatre) watches an episode of Shark Tank with a super smooth cameo by Brian McKnight. Ben and Craig discuss everything from things on Shark Tank to other things on Shark Tank…and more!
On this special comic book episode: Infinite Crossover, Doctor Doom has the hiccups, the Joker consults with his decorator, the X-Men smell someone smoking weed at 9 AM, Spider-Man goes suburban, Captain Britain, a slumber party gets into some Thor Loko, The Invisible Woman has advice on browsing the internet safely, and the Reverse Punisher.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Joanna Hausmann is a Venezuelan writer/comedian who felt weird writing this in the third person.
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.