This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Mike Myers Does ‘WTF with Marc Maron’
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. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
WTF with Marc Maron – Mike Myers
ROB: This week’s WTF with Marc Maron features a rare long-form interview with the relatively unheard-from comic legend Mike Myers, who is promoting his first documentary and directorial debut Supermensch. Despite being a very friendly, generous interview on Maron’s part, Myers does delve into some personal stuff. True to WTF’s style, Myers tells Maron about his big breaks, his self doubts, occasional bouts of depression that Myers referred to as his “existential funks,” and most prominent source of pain in his life — the slow illness and decline of his father, due to Alzheimer’s disease. While Maron completely avoids bringing up the more embarrassing topics (like The Love Guru), Myers does address rumors that he can be “difficult” to work with. And his explanation makes total sense. Since nearly everything Myers acts in is his own material, whenever he’s being a pain to producers or studio execs, it’s because he’s fighting to keep something he originally intended. For example, the now-iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene in Wayne’s World: At the time, the studio wanted to replace the song with something newer and more popular. Myers fought that alteration tooth and nail, and we’re all glad he did. The episode is worth a listen, even for those who dropped off Myers’s movies years ago, because, for just one example, after a decade of everyone excessively over-quoting Dr. Evil, Myers’s Lorne Michaels impression (Dr. Evil’s inspiration) will almost certainly still make you laugh.
How Was Your Week? – Nathan Fielder
ZOE: This week, Julie Klausner brings on guest Nathan Fielder, the very un-dumb mastermind behind Dumb Starbucks, to give us the rundown on his show Nathan For You. If you’ve watched it, you may have wondered the same thing I have: Are these people for real? It’s one of the most frequent questions Fielder gets asked, and it makes sense. It’s hard to believe that someone would make a poo-flavored yogurt or promote shoplifting in their store because a stranger tells them it’s good for business. But they aren’t acting, he assures us. With a more cynical host, the show could easily be mean, but Fielder articulates very well how it actually humanizes people and highlights how nice they are, which is the reason it’s incredibly heartening. A huge part of this success is owed to his on-camera persona and downright skillful awkwardness. It’s really interesting to hear Fielder explain how he uses it as a tool, and how his earlier social clumsiness (often in the form of abrupt shoulder grabs) helped form it. While this isn’t gonna make you laugh as much as this week’s Nathan For You episode, it’s a super interesting look into the mind behind one of the funniest shows on TV right now.
Desus vs. Mero – Tu Tienes Que Comer Culo
PABLO: When we look back on hip hop in the 2010s, it will be fondly remembered for the groundbreaking public acceptance of a sexual proclivity that, in the past, would have been shunned by artists of this most macho of music genres. No, I’m not talking about Frank Ocean coming out of the closet, but rather the activity described in the title of this week’s Desus vs. Mero. Our hosts start episode #25 with a lively discussion of gangster rappers Kevin Gates and Trick Daddy who recently admitted to being proponents of the act, with the latter going as far to proclaim himself CEO of the Eat A Booty Club. But this episode isn’t all about butts getting licked; in fact, the very next topic is butts getting kicked, specifically that of Florida man Raymond Frolander. If you haven’t seen his infamous mugshot yet, take a look and try not to laugh as hard as Desus does while trying to find a comparison to what was left of his face (he eventually settles on a defeated UFC fighter in a PS4 game). And if you think we’re assholes for laughing, it should be noted that Frolander was pummeled by the father of the child whom Frolander was molesting. Rounding out the episode, while staying somewhat on topic, is a review of Lil’ Cousin Terrio’s attempts to get his butt in shape in a new video titled Working Out With Terrio 2. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s heartwarming that Terrio’s new representation at CAA are at least making an effort to pretend they’re interested in the health of their client, a morbidly obese seven year old. Absolutely heartwarming.
Moonlighting – Joe Machi and Joe DeRosa
LEIGH: If you’re a fan of comedy, if you do comedy, if you want to do comedy, or even if you’re only vaguely familiar with the concept of comedy (though I’d love to know how you’ve found yourself reading this in the first place) you should listen to this episode of Moonlighting. In fact, it should be a requirement for anyone who falls into any of those categories. This week, host Sam Morril is joined by Joe Machi and Joe DeRosa and they have a great conversation on the current state of the comedy scene. The title of the episode is “We’re In the Boy Band Era of Comedy,” which is a reference to a tweet of DeRosa’s, that sparks a discussion comparing comedy to music to describe what’s going on in comedy right now. They point out how there is a very sterilized, pop comedy sensibility right now with nothing dangerous going on. The nerds have become cool and taken over. Where you once had a club scene and an alt scene made up of comedians with different goals, the lines have blurred, leaving two groups now aiming for the same things. Which doesn’t seem to make much sense. Or as DeRosa more eloquently puts it: “Why is the Katy Perry comic going for the same prize as the Dead Kennedys comic?” They have a smart point of view on how the fans have changed too, explaining that fans who were once going to see comedy performed in the alt scene were serious fans who were there because they wanted “the rock and roll experience.” I could keep quoting all their music-to-comedy references but you really should hear them for yourself. There’s a ton of great stuff in there about working hard and learning to say no to work you don’t believe in — which makes for good advice, regardless of how into the comedy scene you are. It’s a great episode (which, most things that reference both Flock of Seagulls and The Pixies tend to be) with a unique take on the current state of the scene and one that shouldn’t be missed.
Kumail Nanjiani’s The X-Files Files – Dean Haglund
MARC: Deconstructing episodes of TV’s The X-Files just got very meta with Episode 9 of Kumail Nanjiani’s new series, because he brought in the first series alumnus. Fellow comedian and actor Dean Haglund, most famous for playing long-haired, bespectacled Langley, a member of The X-Files conspiracy theorist trio The Long Gunmen, sat in with Nanjiani for this episode. The reason being that they were discussing/dissecting “E.B.E.,” the first season episode featuring the debut of the Gunmen. Nanjiani’s fanboy excitement is palpable at times as Haglund spins out tales from behind the scenes of the episode. And there are a few Easter eggs revealed that fans of the show never knew to look for before, like how the style of Langley’s black horn-rimmed glasses varied in the first few episodes because the prop master pulled them at random out of a bag of eyeglasses each time. And that The Ramones were such big fans of the show that they would time their appearances on stage during nights the show was on so they would be done in time to catch every episode. This podcast is so focused on the subject matter of The X-Files that the two guys don’t even mention the fact that Haglund has been co-hosting his own podcast, The Chillpak Hollywood Hour, for over seven years. Maybe Dean should have Kumail on his show sometime to deconstruct HBO’s Silicon Valley.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Scott Reynolds is a comedian and writer in Brooklyn, NY.
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.