This Week in Comedy Podcasts: The Return of ‘Call Chelsea Peretti’
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.
Call Chelsea Peretti – Tyler the GR8 Call Creator
Leigh: It may have been a grey day in LA, but it’s the first new episode of Call Chelsea Peretti of 2015! This episode, Peretti has one seemingly simple question that really throws callers for a loop: What are some of their favorite products? While none of them really seem to have any kind of answer, we do get a quick yet touching memoriam to honor the loss of Skymall out of the search for a good product. It takes a while to find a good caller. But like all good things in life, the titular Tyler was worth the wait. He calls to compliment Peretti on how good her scream is, so she asks him to scream in return. But as good of a caller as he was, what really would have pushed him from good to great would have been if he had really given that scream his all. If one of the greats asks you to scream like you’re in a horror movie, you probably should scream like you’re in a horror movie. Lots of singing, lots of callers not bringing anything to the table, lots of reasons you should listen to this episode.
Terrified with Dave Ross – Megan Amram
Elizabeth: Author of Science…For Her! and Parks and Recreation writer Megan Amram joins Dave Ross to discuss what terrifies her most—her own hands and wrists. She explains her lifelong issue with the underside of her wrist, a phobia which later expanded to include the tops of her hands, and how she treated it with exposure therapy in college. They also talk about coming from a family of doctors, how awesome her mom is, and their adventures in online dating, including Dave’s success with the Tinder bio “I have no idea what sex is,” and Megan’s run-ins with guys who just wrote “Megan” as their opening lines and did not appreciate her responding with “I bet you say that to all the girls.” By the end we learn that making puns is a major characteristic of serial killers and that the true definition of “adorkable” is a debilitating phobia, two things that are now making me look at myself very differently.
The Pauly Shore Podcast Show – David Arquette
Marc: Pauly Shore’s back and podcasting’s got him…again. This freewheeling comedian — and scion of The Comedy’s Store’s owner Mitzi Shore — recently launched The Pauly Shore Podcast Show as part of the Podcast One network. Even though he’s in his 40s now, Shore still scores with his “perma-slacker” voice and attitude, needing the several members of his support team in the studio to get him from point A to point B. Even the point of editing seems to escape him at times, with Shore once needlessly recapping something that we just heard happen (which had apparently been a while back in real time). Childhood friend and occasional acting rival David Arquette is his guest and their chat is very loose, hilariously wandering from topic to topic, including Arquette’s childhood, growing up with his acting siblings, life with Courteney Cox, life without Courteney Cox, and how things are now with a three-year relationship and an eight-month-old son. The interview ends abruptly as they’re talking about what Shore would name HIS son, were he to have one, but there’s more show to be had. Shore talks to his mother’s caretaker, Alfred, as well as a movie producer from Relativity Productions, which has an office down the hall from the studio. This series seems to be some kind of reboot, as iTunes has episodes of Pauly Shore’s Interested, featuring Shore interviewing comedians last fall, but those end at Episode #19, which posted just two weeks before the new one started. I don’t pretend to get what happened with that show but it seems right in step with Shore’s loose cannon reputation.
The Bertcast – Paul Gilmartin & Me
Kaitlynn: This podcast comes from Bert Kreischer: standup comedian, avid party animal, Travel Channel host, and family man. You may already know Bert Kreischer from Doug Benson’s podcast Doug Loves Minis where he leaves long voicemails recounting his latest, wild dream. This episode comes straight from the man cave with fellow podcaster Paul Gilmartin, whose podcast The Mental Illness Happy Hour factors heavily into the chat in an unexpected crossover. The tone may seem heavier than most comedic podcasts as they get to know each other for the first time. Seemingly dark topics include comic relief, whether intentional or not. For example, Paul’s alcohol sobriety and Bert’s concerns about his excessive drinking mix gracefully with the consequences of porn and the downward arousal spiral that lead to Bert discovering quicksand porn (I’ll wait as you Google it). Paul recants his first interaction with a pre-fame Chris Farley and the appeal of a comedian with a public or private dark side. Fans of these men will love how they discuss the podcasting world (name-drops aplenty!) and how the art of podcasting fulfills them. They come clean about how booking a podcast can lead to new friendships and conversations that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
Smodcast Edumacation – Make Yourself Happy
Rob: In podcastland, there’s no shortage of “science and culture” shows: RadioLab and its offspring cater to the highbrow, while the young and hip have The Cracked Podcast, with dozens more of middlebrow factoid-based programs in between. Smodcast: Edumacation, as the name aptly implies, is the only unapologetically lowbrow podcast with the aim of enlightening its listeners. It’s the product of co-hosts Andy McElfresh, an information sponge and former pop-science writer for The Tonight Show, and Kevin Smith, raconteur and infinite dick joke factory. McElfresh, brainy and high-strung, provides the intellectual content and structure, while Smith plays the stoner class clown, bringing the funny by running segments off the rails with ridiculous tangents and taking every otherwise-innocuous topic as deep and dirty blue as he can manage. The two longtime friends couldn’t be more different — which is why Edumacation works. Each is funny in his way, but put together, you get some absurd, hilarious interactions. Like in this week’s episode, a debate sprung up over who invented the videophone: The Jetsons or AT&T. Guess who backed which side? More so than any other “Smodco podcast,” Edumacation’s setup supplies the perfect foil for — and a check to — some of Smith’s gabbier, more obscene excesses, making it perhaps his most accessible podcast for the uninitiated. And who knows? The less-fanatical members of the Kevin Smith hate-club might find themselves enjoying it, too.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler – Jesse Thorn
Never Not Funny – Jon Hamm
Truth and Iliza – Cheri Oteri
The JV Club – Cameron Esposito
WTF with Marc Maron – Brian Koppelman
Wilosophy with Wil Anderson – Kurt Fearnley
Smodcast Edumacation – Make Yourself Happy
We Know Nothing – Spooning + The Girls
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Rob Schoon lives in Brooklyn and writes about tech, media, comedy and culture.