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Thursday, March 13th, 2014

This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Weird Al Chats with Steve Agee

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.

MARC: Comedian and actor Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) hopped aboard the podcast bandwagon because, as is claimed on his slice of Feral Audio’s website "that’s what bandwagons are for." His guest for the 36th edition of Steve Agee Uhhh… is Weird Al Yankovic, who is not just a good guest but a great sidekick as well. As their conversation unfolds, Weird Al is just a fascinated with Agee’s stories of bad gigs and Hollywood moments as the host is with those of his guest. As their conversation ambles from topic to topic, Weird Al reveals his most horrible gig ever (being pelted with crap for 45 minutes when opening for a band) as well as discounting any belief that he was ever related to legendary polka accordionist Frankie Yankovic. The revelations are not all about the guest, as we discover that Agee suffers from occasional bouts of vertigo and that an offer he once made on Twitter was what brought he and Weird Al together in the first place several years ago.

Team Coco Podcast  Scott Aukerman

PABLO: The internet exploded on Tuesday when Funny or Die released the latest episode of Between Two Ferns featuring none other than President Barack Obama. With such an exciting moment for comedy fans and professors teaching "History 210: The President and The Media" courses alike, it's essential that the people behind this memorable event make the rounds to explain how it all came about. But instead of the notoriously media-shy Zach Galifianakis taking on the interview requests, it's instead been podcast favorite and Between Two Ferns co-creator Scott Aukerman. One of the highlights of the last 48 hours is the most recent episode of the Team Coco Podcast hosted by Aaron Bleyaert of Clueless Gamer fame. In just 20 minutes, we learn the genesis of Between Two Ferns from its place in a failed sketch pilot to one of Funny or Die's first hits to its filming in the Diplomatic Room of the White House last month. Most notably, Aukerman reveals that the filming of the newest season of Comedy Bang! Bang! forced him to initially decline the interview, with the rushed production of the clip being due to the Affordable Care Act's March 31st deadline for this year's coverage. Fortunately for everyone involved, the White House was willing to work around his schedule so he could direct the President of the United States. After this episode, I only have one question left: The next time politics are brought up on Comedy Bang! Bang!, will Scott still do the bit where he sarcastically refers to the president as Barack Hussein Obamacare?

The Read – Live One Year Anniversary Show

ZOE: The hosts of The Read are over the cold, but make no doubt about it: the shade is here to stay. This week, hosts Kid Fury and Crissle come to you live from New York to celebrate the show's one-year anniversary. There’s much reason for the duo to celebrate, but if you think that means they’re about to go soft on us, you are sorely mistaken. This episode delivers the same incisive, take-no-prisoners bite that keeps 80,000+ listeners coming back each week for more. Kid Fury warms up the audience with an Ellen DeGeneres Oscar move, except instead of pizza, he doles out chips from a single Doritos bag. This episode's pop culture victims include Da Brat's trial, Travolta's Oscar botch, and even Sailor Moon's hair; with each, the hosts draw out the ridiculous details that the rest of us may take for granted or let slip through the cracks. (WARNING: you will hear an impression of Britney Spears singing "Drunk in Love." It's equal parts terrifying and amazing). The last third of the episode features a Q&A with the audience, where fans take the chance to share how far they traveled to be there, or how the show gets them through their day. If you're new to The Read, this episode will show you exactly how and why it's grown such a devoted following so quickly. When asked if they have any plans to grow into TV, the hosts were tactfully elusive, but it's pretty easy to picture a future where that just might happen.

Uhh Yeah Dude – Live From The Gramercy Theater

ROB: Uhh Yeah Dude did not start as a live show back in 2006 when Seth Romatelli and Jonathan Larroquette first began discussing the week’s events in Romatelli’s living room. And that fact used to be quite apparent when they started releasing live performances. Romatelli would be a nervous wreck, the audience would distract Larroquette, and they would occasionally burn through their material in the first half. In this week’s episode, it’s clear: that’s no longer the case. In front of a sizable audience in New York City, the two hosts not only sound comfortable but now draw energy from the crowd and spit it back like live comedy veterans, which they’re quickly becoming. The format of the show, originally a personal chat between two friends and one listener, is nearly the same as it’s always been. But the performance of that material is significantly different than live shows of the past: The duo is comfortable drifting on a topic until they sense it’s time for the conversation to move on, their unscripted back-and-forth has adapted to a live audience, and they naturally interact with the crowd, without letting it stall the show. Even when Larroquette goes overboard with a crazy theory and loses the audience for a second, he’s now got the chops to turn it around instantly. It used to be that when you’d see a live UYD episode, you might skip it if there were something else to listen to. Now, the live shows are what you should seek out.

Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project – Eye on Theatre with Don DiMello

ROB: Of course, one of the characters Andy Daly had to do for this limited-run podcast was Don DiMello, and, of course, this episode turned out to be gold. A regular favorite of Comedy Bang! Bang!, Daly’s DiMello character originated as the director of the Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular: the creepiest, pervy misogynist you could imagine. This episode begins with DiMello and kindred-spirit theater critic “Mal Bachman” (Matt Gourley) panning three conventional stage productions because they never “bring out the girls,” as DiMello always does in his own illegal productions/skin shows. It’s good to hear DiMello’s impossibly growly voice take center stage, but through the first segment, there’s the sense he needs a straight-man like Scott Aukerman to play off of, or at least something to vary the dark, unmitigated sexual deviance. But soon the next segment starts with “Falcon” (Jason Mantzoukas), one of DiMello’s henchmen who “renditions” worn-out Rockettes to a farm in upstate New York. Mantzoukas is totally game for this character, and it’s nice for DiMello fans to take a break from the Pasadena Fairytale Theater and revisit DiMello’s original hilarious setup with the Rockettes. Later, as if the podcast couldn’t get better, Jessica St. Clair's Marissa Wompler shows up and provides a bit of a straight-man for the three sickos. You’ll hear lots of new details about DiMello’s life, including his stint with the equally sexist Taliban, and the interaction between the four is top quality. For example, listen for a round of “I got a guy” bits that will have you doubling over. But don’t listen to this podcast in front of the DiMello/CBB uninitiated. You’ll look like a real dirtbag while you laugh your ass off.

Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.

Marc Hershon is host of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast and author of I Hate People!

Rob Schoon lives in Brooklyn and writes about tech, media, comedy and culture.

Zoe Schwab is a writer/fraud living in NYC who is somehow up-to-date with ABC Family's Melissa & Joey.

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