This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Scott Adsit Talks ’30 Rock’ and ‘Studio 60’ on ‘Pop My Culture’
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.
Pop My Culture – Scott Adsit
Elizabeth: America, Scott Adsit wants you to raise your standards when it comes to erotic fiction. The 30 Rock and Big Hero 6 star joins Cole and Vanessa to talk about what’s happening lately in pop culture including SNL40 and Fifty Shades of Grey. Vanessa saw the latter and didn’t think it was dirty enough, while Scott seems genuinely puzzled by the whole phenomenon: “Why this? Why not better erotic fiction?” The best parts of the show are Scott talking about his casting experiences, including being spotted by Disney execs at a Celebrity Autobiography show in LA and being called in the next day to read for Big Hero 6. He gets a little choked up talking about the experience of making the movie and what it means to be part of the Disney family. He also tells a story about auditioning for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (for Matthew Perry’s role) at the same time as he was auditioning for 30 Rock, and eventually having to choose which one to pursue. He also describes his favorite 30 Rock moments which include anyone singing and the episode “Reunion.” The show wraps up with Cole, Vanessa, and Scott building the best/worst January movie (a movie set on mars based on Twilight fan fiction) and talking about the first animated move they fell in love with.
Fat Man on Batman – Fat Man & Bernardin & Batman & Robin, Pt. 2
Rob:Mystery Science Theater 3000, the show where comedians watch and make fun of bad movies, never died: they just went digital as RiffTrax, selling audio files you can sync with movies. That same commentary-track format has found a home in the ever-expanding world of podcasts, even though most listeners may have never thought of popping in ear buds while watching a movie. A good place to dip your toes into this lesser-known comedy podcast format is the series of recordings Kevin Smith and entertainment writer Marc Bernardin made for the Fat Man on Batman podcast, which just wrapped up its tour through the first four pre-Nolan Batman films in February with this episode, making fun of the horrendously easy target, Schwarzenegger and Clooney’s Batman & Robin. All are highly recommended, as Smith and Bernardin don’t just rip into the films, but provide an interesting viewpoint on early, relatively goofy, comic book movies from the modern perspective, where they’re taken (too) seriously. Smith’s nerd cred is obviously on display in these tracks, as is his filmmaking knowledge (whether it shows in his films is a matter of opinion), which all leads to a unique, hilarious, but also shrewd take on Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher’s turns at directing The Bat. And if nothing else, it’s a new way to watch some old movies, and for most, a new way to look at the potential of this flexible medium.
Proudly Resents – Todd Yasui
Marc: Adam Spiegelman, host of Proudly Resents, recently threw the format for his show — reviewing and rehashing bad “guilty pleasure” movies with guest comedians and commentators — into a blender and hit “frappé”. He’s stepped up the level of his guests for most shows and the movie angle often serves as a way to either get into or slide out of the interview. This episode he invites former boss Todd Yasui in for a chat. Spiegelman works as a TV producer, often putting segments together including pre-interviews with celebrities and other guests. He’s worked on a variety of shows and Yasuoi has been in the talk show game since 1982, when he got drafted onto the fledgling version of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He shares some great stories about the infamous Helen Kushnick, and how she plucked him from his job as a journalist at the Washington Post to becoming a talent coordinator for America’s #1 late night talk show. Yasui went on to become executive producer for Craig Kilborn and Craig Ferguson, as well as Queen Latifah. Closing out the informative and illuminating less-than-an-hour chat, Yasui and Spiegelman join forces to doubleteam a story about having to pre-interview Bill Cosby for an appearance, just as the controversy surrounding him and the women he allegedly drugged and assaulted was just beginning to make the news. It’s a fascinating listen about how the talk show sausage is made.
Writers’ Bloc – Arthur Meyer
Leigh: Remember books? Kind of like tweets, but longer. And in some instances, funnier. On this week’s episode of Writers’ Bloc, J.R. Havlan sits down with Arthur Meyer to talk about one of those instances – FUDS: A Complete Encyclofoodia (From Tickling Shrimp to Not Dying in a Restaurant). It’s a real book about not real food. Meyers, who co-authored the book along with Kelly Hudson and Dan Klein, talks about how the idea started out as a fake menu they handed out at a food festival, pitching it, and how the three of them figured out the process of writing the book as they went along. Meyer reads a quick passage from the book. But, as Havlan explains, Meyer is a busy guy so doesn’t have time to read you the whole thing. While this was kind of a tease, I laughed so much at that one passage, I actually went out and bought the book. I suggest you do the same.
I’ll Name This Podcast Later – Episode 1
Pablo: For a certain generation (me), rapper Joe Budden reminds them of doing mini-camp drills in Madden 2004 while EA Trax blasted “Pump It Up.” But for younger folks, they might know Budden better as the Love and Hip Hop star and sardonic Tweeter whose musings on classic topics like romance, infidelity, and girls who were born after Tupac’s death sliding into your DMs are a daily treasure trove of laughs. His new podcast with Hot 97’s Marisa Mendez stays on the same subject and the result is like listening in on an older brother and his little sister giving each shit about their sex lives. The podcast’s creation couldn’t have come at a better time, as it was recorded right after New York City hosted the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities. For those not in the know, All-Star Weekend is Mecca for groupies given the coalescence of athletes, rappers, and other entertainers. And right on cue, both hosts have their own stories: While Marisa failed to hook up with a rapper-who-shall-not-be-named, Budden the curmudgeon rebuffed baes in all directions in order to spend Valentine’s Day with PornHub. I’ll Name This Podcast Later isn’t for listeners with “problematic” in their vocabulary, but check it out if you’re a fan of Patrice O’Neal and other raunchy comedians of his ilk.
You Made it Weird – Kyle Dunnigan
Kaitlynn: This week Pete Holmes hosts fellow podcaster and comedian Kyle Dunnigan. He is perhaps best known for his own podcast Professor Blastoff he hosts along with Tig Notaro and David Huntsberger, his character Craig from Reno 911! or writing for The Amy Schumer Show. Dunnigan is the type of comedian who you can picture growing up as the funniest guy in class, but instead of shining in school he has kept getting funnier as the years pass. He is honest and truthful and seems to have hundreds of outrageous real-life stories caused by chance, terrible memory or a doting mother. The interview is not Pete’s question and Kyle’s answer; it is questioning everything to each other, to the world and sometimes to the internet but really, neither of them really knows the answer. Who wore the mustache first: Hitler or Chaplin? Why didn’t school teach kids about emotions instead of Charlemagne? They both wonder why Kyle’s Wikipedia page only lists his relationship with Sarah Silverman, why is cursive still taught in school, and what is the deal with Bill Maher? They cruise through the comedy, sex, and God topics and talk about enlightenment, meditation, and Eckhart Tolle. The conversation is part comedy bits, part silly, and part serious, which equals one great episode.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Fitzdog Radio – TJ Miller
Nerdist Podcast – Short Pants
We Know Nothing – MA’AM-O-GRAM
The Hooray Show – Je Suis UCB – OR – (a funny thing happened on the way to the diorama convention)
Improv for Humans – Marriage Money
Ronna and Beverly – Tavi Gevinson
The Dark Mark Show – Send in the Clowns with Yeastie Boys
The Trev & Ben Show – Sh!te Sized Chunks #77
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.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Rob Schoon lives in Brooklyn and writes about tech, media, comedy and culture.