This Week in Comedy Podcasts: ‘Spontaneanation’ Premieres
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.
Spontaneanation – A Denny’s Parking Lot
Leigh: It was not an April Fools’ joke. Paul F. Tompkins is in fact back with a brand new podcast Spontaneanation, which premiered yesterday on the Earwolf network. It’s an improv based show, which Tompkins describes as “the opposite of what he’s always done, which is doing something extremely produced that takes a lot of time and anguish, to do something that’s all in the moment and fun.” As for the format of the show, it starts with a free form conversation in the first half, followed by a long form improvised narrative based off and inspired by ideas from the first half. For the premiere episode he’s got Busy Phillips for the first half. They start with the question “What is your favorite thing to eat when you’re feeling sad?” For the improvised part of the show, Tompkins is joined by Janet Varney, Craig Cackowsi, and Matt Gourley. Because it’s one continuous story and not a bunch of short scenes, there are a few things to remember if you want to keep up. There are sound cues to indicate when the scene cuts to another location, flashes back to a previous time, or flashes forward. So pay attention. Tompkins is joined once again by Eban Schletter, who you’ll remember from The Pod F. Tompkast, on the piano. Having not paid attention at first, I assumed the music was added in after. But, you know what they say assumptions — you’re usually dead wrong. And I was. He’s scoring the show live and his music is absolutely incredible. Hearing PFT and his guests making each other crack up was nothing short of delightful. I’m looking forward to what’s in store for Spontaneanation in upcoming episodes. And, it’s a long shot, but I really do hope Rumple Dumplestiltskin makes a comeback at some point.
Professor Blastoff – Dog Rescue with Rebecca Corry
Kaitlynn: It is hard to top last week’s episode of Professor Blastoff when you have a guest like Molly Ringwald. Everyone seemed to become best friends right before our ears. But enough about last week! This week Tig, David, and Kyle welcome standup comedian and actress Rebecca Corry to talk about…dogs? The episode begins with Kyle describing the “amazing” musical monologue he tried to convince Tig to perform as host at the recent GLAAD Awards. They get around to the topic in the last few minutes, while the rest of the episode is mostly Tig firing insults. Who knew listening to Tig making fun of her “third-tier” friend could be so entertaining? Thank goodness nobody is taking it personally as Kyle and David spend most of the episode commenting in shock. Although the subject matter is potentially perceived as crossing the line (David says there is no way they can release this audio—a few times) everything is in good fun and not intentionally cruel. Perhaps this week’s Justin Bieber roast is affecting the podcasting world in a subconscious way as Tig has taken it upon herself to roast the guest. She finds plenty of ammo in Rebecca’s 4’11 height, her appearance which Tig describes as “like you were recently evicted,” and her lack of a sex life but willing to date seniors. Did I forget to mention it is Rebecca’s birthday? What a wonderful present she received…
Yo, Is This Racist? – St. Patrick’s Day (with John Butler)
Marc: Andrew Ti’s two-and-a-half year old podcast — Yo, Is This Racist? — has broken a couple of expectations of the medium. It’s a pretty damn funny show hosted by a guy with no previous performing chops and the subject matter is that uncomfortable type of ballsy: Ti and his guests answer questions from listeners that are blatantly about racism. Or rather, whether certain behaviors or points of view or habits could be construed as racist. Oh, and it’s a daily show to boot. The format’s simple enough. Ti invites various guests to join him, the majority of whom do so for the span of a week. (Actually, they session with Ti once and he chops it up into smaller, daily-sized packages.) This past week, the guest was writer and director John Butler (The Stag), visiting Los Angeles from Ireland. During the course of the week, the two answer pre-recorded listener phone calls ranging from “Is St. Patrick’s Day racist?” on Monday on through the topics of pro wrestling, casting complaints, inappropriate audio, and winding up the week on a question of whether a white male can be said to be sporting an afro. Ti is prone to bursts of laughter and the occasional giggle, which comes across as endearing. And Butler hangs back a bit, not quite sure what to make of the proceedings but he wades in every so often with an insightful point and his fair share of witty retorts. Another nice thing about Yo is that the episodes tend to run between 7 and 15 minutes at most. Time enough for one question, a round robin of answers, and out. Bite-sized questions around racism – it’s what the world has been waiting for!
Here We Are – Zookeepers
Elizabeth: On his podcast Here We Are, comedian Shane Mauss sits down with scientists to learn about their areas of expertise. This week he interviews three anonymous zookeepers at an unnamed zoo about their jobs. It’s like Zoobooks but with way more lizard sex. The three zookeepers—code named Monkey, Elephant, and Lizard—get real about what it’s like to do their jobs. Turns out being a zookeeper means you’re part scientist, part janitor, part voyeur, and part interior designer. There’s tons of interesting info throughout the episode from what goes into creating the habitats for exhibits to what entertains monkeys, which is everything, particularly phone books and piñatas). Much of the time is spent discussing mating habits including male lizards that just lie onto of females and an unlucky incident in which Monkey (the man) was skull fucked by an actual monkey. Feel free to google tortoise mating sounds as they suggest, just don’t do it at work. Unless you’re a zookeeper.
My Sexy Podcast – Liza Treyger – Down to Find Out
Leigh: I want to hear Liza Treyger talk about all things all the time. She’s the guest on this week’s episode of My Sexy Podcast, and while it clocks in at about 45 minutes, I would have listened if she and host Sabrina Jalees had continued talking for 9 hours. If you listen to a lot of podcasts, you’re always a little suspicious of what’s being edited out or what they’re mouthing to each other not being picked up by the mics. Well, take those suspicions elsewhere. Treyger says it herself at the top of the episode, “I’ll tell you everything, all the time, nonstop”. Aside from talking about why Treyger is so unafraid to say anything about anyone they cover Taylor Swift, Shaggy, beating each other up and celebrities who pretend they eat and slut shaming. I loved everything they had to say about all those things and more that I feel like I’m cheating you out of so much by just listing them off at topics. So just listen for yourself, because this recap is barely doing it justice.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Nerdist – Kal Penn
How Was Your Week – Satan’s Interns
We Want The D – Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Who Charted – Paul F. Tompkins
Affirmation Nation – Lucid Dreaming (w/ Paul Scheer)
The Dork Forest – Shane Mauss
Welcome to Night Vale – We Must Give Praise
Reply All – The Time Traveler and The Hitman
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Leigh Cesiro is a writer living in Brooklyn who only needs 10 minutes to solve any Law & Order: SVU episode.