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.
How Was Your Week? – Natasha Lyonne
LEIGH: If you are over bonobos as a monkey group, then you're in for a treat with this week's How Was Your Week. Spoiler alert: both host Julie Klausner and guest Natasha Lyonne are also over bonobos. Now that that's settled, we can go full Holocaust, which is how Lyonne prefaces the conversation between her and Klausner about growing up religious where everything was always about Hitler. And if you blame a lot of stuff on him, you're in good company. If you don't, think of this as an opportunity to learn about all the things you can blame him for. And yes, you can relax. They do cover Orange is the New Black. Lyonne talks about what overlap between her own past and her character's backstory, even veering into territory she categorizes as "Things I'd rather not talk about." Also, if you've got an opinion on the Ice Bucket Challenge, which, of course you do, we all do, be sure to listen to the monologue upfront to hear Klausner articulate so wonderfully exactly what's going on with that. So, as we learn in the episode, we can blame Hitler for a lot of things. But not listening to this episode? That one's on you.
The Steve Austin Show Unleashed! – Mick Foley
PABLO: While former WWE champion Dolph Ziggler has popped up at the UCB and other LA black box theaters in recent years, he's by no means the first wrestler to step out of the ring to try his hand at standup comedy. For the past five years, Mick Foley, best known as alter-ego Mankind, has been touring the continent like your average road comic, hitting up Improvs and Yuk-Yuks with his rough and tumble brand of storytelling comedy. But even with his name recognition and fanbase, Foley tells host "Stone Cold" Steve Austin that it took him years for people to start showing up at all. While Foley is now retired from professional wrestling, he reveals he was only forced to stop last year when neurologists declared that his repeated concussions threatened his life, a moment that he recounts not as sad but rather as feeling like a weight was lifted off his shoulders. For anyone who's seen Beyond The Mat or any of his classic body-sacrificing matches, it's distressing that doctors only just put the kibosh on a wrestler who probably suffered dozens of concussions over his career. But if the 49-year-old Foley is as loquacious and clear-headed during his storytelling sets as he is on this podcast, hopefully the only damage he has to worry about are his aching knees and back.
Mohr Stories – Adam Ferrara
MARC: One of the treats of a comedy podcast hosted by a comedian who often has other comedians on as guests is that it is frequently funny. That’s probably the main reason to drop by Mohr Stories, where Jay Mohr plays host to people like Adam Ferrara. Probably best known for his role as Chef Needles Nelson in Denis O’Leary’s Rescue Me TV series, it’s Ferrara’s timing and ability to go tit for every one of Mohr’s tats. The guys are sitting in a studio normally used for sports broadcasts and some of the show is spent riffing off of the inspirational quotes tagged on the walls (i.e. “There’s a creative energy that wants to express itself through you and, when that happens, you can’t stop it.”) The conversation bounces all over the place like some kind of magnificent ADD ping-pong game, but it’s funny pretty much no matter which tangent these two guys happen to wander down. Ferrara’s got a lot going on, like the new American version of Top Gear on History Channel, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, and still headlining rooms around the country. But those points are merely kindling for the blaze of good-natured ribbing and genuine laughs that burn their way through this episode.
Hollywood Handbook – Zoe Jarman
JOSH: Most comedy podcasts are merely a collection of recorded words arranged in a humorous manner, but this week's episode of Hollywood Handbook is a collection of recorded words arranged in a humorous manner and a fully improvised play. Two, allow us to introduce you to our good friend, the price of one. Can women be quirky? Mindy Project star, Workaholics writer, and gymnastics virtuoso Zoe Jarman joins Hayes and Sean this week to answer that very question while the three banter about the television series Cosmos, the intricacies involved with enrolling at Hogwarts, and their shared fear of hairy octopuses. After Sean and Zoe expose the fallacy of William Shakespeare and reveal the identity of the one true bard of the Elizabethan era, the three thespians provide listeners with a Tony-worthy performance of their new play Old Men with an Imaginary Dog. Few podcasts are as consistently funny as this hidden gem of the Earwolf network. Do yourself a favor and add the always entertaining Hollywood Handbook to your comedy podcast rotation.
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.
Marc Hershon is host of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast and author of I Hate People!
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.