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.
U Talkin' U2 To Me? – From Boy to Under a Blood Red Sky
ZOE: U2’s upcoming album release is perhaps more of a triumph for comedy fans than it is for U2 fans, thanks to Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman (A.K.A. Adam Scott Aukerman). The duo kick off their tribute podcast to the band by starting at the beginning: we’re talking Boy, October and War. In the best way possible, they talk music like two clerks in a record store… that only sells U2, with the exception of a small Huey Lewis collection in the back. Unlike Analyze Phish, where Harris Wittels attempts to convince anti-Phish Aukerman of the band’s validity, U Talkin’ U2 is all about matched enthusiasm. Much of the episode is actually an earnest discussion of the band’s music and history, which sparks some great recollections of US Festival days past and plagiarizing Dire Straits lyrics to impress girls. But when it comes to the band’s shortcomings, the hosts have zero hesitation in calling them out (we’re looking at you Paul “Bono” Hewson and David “The Edge” Evans), and assure us that we can look forward to the ripe territory of All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Also, if you’ve ever doubted that the baseline of “With or Without You” can seamlessly morph into “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” Aukerman will prove you wrong with his own vocal cords. Whether the hosts are praising U2, criticizing U2, or not talking U2 at all, this is a very entertaining conversation between two very funny friends.
No Pressure to Be Funny – Series 7, Episode 2
MARC: This highly entertaining panel show from England drops monthly, with a revolving cast of panelists. The latest edition features three British comedians: Phill Jupitus, Ben Norris, and Viv Groskop, along with an American ex-pat comic, Dave Fulton. The panel trades quips and observations about the flooding problem across parts of England this winter, as well as the political strife and struggle in Ukraine. Viv reads a funny written exchange with a Ukrainian ex-boyfriend who is still hot enough for her that he tries to woo her back to see the fighting. One of the show’s creators, Nick Revell, tosses in a biting diatribe along the way and there’s some original music about Scotland’s proposal to secede from England from Jonny and The Baptists. Host James O’Brien keeps the whole thing together and flowing. Not only is this show funny but it’s smart-funny, which means, by the time it wraps up, you feel like youve learned something along the way.
ROB: HDTGM doesn’t usually pick movies still in theaters to dissect, but they made an exception for Winter’s Tale, a purported fantasy-romance in the vein of the Time Traveler’s Wife, which came out in time for Valentine’s Day weekend. For those few poor souls who decided with their date to watch this train wreck instead of Robocop, this week’s episode provides an hour and a half of mockery to redeem the time you spent in the theater. Because the movie was such a jumbled mess, HDTGM’s Jason Mantzoukas and Paul Scheer, joined this week by everybody’s favorite Earwolf guest Andy Daly, need to spend an inordinate amount of time simply parsing through the plot – just to figure out what it was. For example, Mantzukas points out that Winter’s Tale isn’t really a romance story, unless it’s between a man and a horse. But soon the crew remembers that the horse character (which sometimes has Pegasus wings) is actually supposed to be a guardian angel that is a dog pretending to be a horse, even though you never see it as a dog. See what I mean? This, of course, is all great fodder for an uproarious (and unusually rowdy) conversation. If you haven’t seen the movie, the discussion may not make much sense. Hell, it won’t even if you did. But it’ll actually make you glad you spent money to see that bomb.
SCOTT: Actor Jennette McCurdy (iCarly, Sam & Cat) sits in with Pete Holmes this week, and You Made it Weird has it’s most stalker-y moment ever when she immediately admits to not only being a big fan, but also to often pretending to be Holmes in a game of make-believe that she plays with her friend, who pretends to be Chelsea Peretti. McCurdy’s age (she’s 21) comes up enough early on that one might think that will be the whole show, but to Holmes’s credit, it doesn’t become a big deal. This episode stands out because they dive right into relationships almost from the start, talking about McCurdy’s whirlwind romance with Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond. The relationship story takes almost as long to tell as it took to resolve in real life, with the two spending the first 90 minutes of the episode discussing the finer points of dating a very tall man, of analyzing every noise and face being made during sex, and of Disney World’s value as a non-threatening date. Though she was once Mormon, McCurdy has very little to say about religion or faith, claiming that she’s not spiritual or religious and is just living her life. They briefly discuss McCurdy’s mother’s battle with cancer, but Holmes seems like he’s largely avoiding the topic, and the last half hour of the episode is essentially throwaway material, making the whole thing an inversion of the usual flow. Oh, and if anyone’s wondering if this is the guest that would finally tell Holmes the meaning of “put a pin in it”… the answer is no.
About Last Night – Anders Holm
PABLO: In less than three years, Anders Holm and the rest of the guys from Mail Order Comedy have gone from total unknowns to stars of one of the funniest and most popular comedy shows on TV. In fact, their brand of juvenile-but-sneaky-smart sense of humor is so in vogue among comedy executives that co-hosts Brad Williams and Adam Ray attest to regularly hearing "We want something like Workaholics" during pitch meetings. Holm is the last of the Workaholics main cast to be interviewed on About Last Night, so the hosts don't spend too much time on the genesis of the sitcom, and instead focus on Holm's past and present. The new dad talks about moving to LA to be a writer and his initial disdain towards acting, the importance of Workaholics being set in suburban Rancho Cucamonga, and how tight butt-holes are paying for the roof over his son's head. Holm also discusses his first non-Workaholics role as Mindy Kaling's pastor/DJ boyfriend on The Mindy Project, a performance that got the attention of a dude named President Barack Obama. One can only hope the Commander-in-Chief has turned to John Boehner during a heated meeting about immigration reform and said, "That's a chop."