This Week in Comedy Podcasts: ‘WTF’ Finally Lands Lorne Michaels
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 – Lorne Michaels
Marc: WTF host Marc Maron has finally landed his white whale. This week he released his interview with SNL creator/producer Lorne Michaels, who has been a singular focus of Maron’s since he first began his podcast. His obsession with the comedy powerhouse began 20 years ago, when he was being considered to fill a spot on the SNL news desk in 1995 when Norm Macdonald left the show. Maron was summoned into Michaels’ presence and, in the wake of not getting the nod to join the show, it’s that meeting that has haunted him ever since. Any guest on WTF who served on the SNL cast has had to help deconstruct who Michaels is and why he may have passed on Maron way back when. And, in the weeks leading up to this interview, the host has been replaying past guests talking about Michaels, impersonating Michaels, and speculating on why the Weekend Update desk has remained ever Maron-less. Finally, the answers to all Maron’s questions are here — from two meetings held in Michaels’ office in New York — in a chat that spans two hours. I’m not one to spoil the suspense after waiting so long, but Maron does learn that it was nothing that he did (or didn’t do) in the course of auditioning for Michaels. (Along the way, Maron’s guest does school him and us on the realities of what it takes to cast a culturally significant TV show airing on a major network…) Fortunately, most of the interview delves into Michaels’ fascinating history: Coming up in Canadian TV and then making his way through TV land as a writer on the staff of such milestone American shows such as Laugh-In and The Dick Cavett Show. He talks frankly about many cast members through the years of SNL’s history. And he doesn’t seem to mind whenever Maron veers back to his tenuous connection to the show. Normally not one to pander, the host jokingly announces at the end of the interview that he still stands ready to take up the SNL mantle, should Michaels care to call him up.
Here’s The Thing – Amy Schumer Grew Up in a Nude House
Leigh: “You seriously wouldn’t even let Abraham Lincoln blow you?” Amy Schumer asks Alec Baldwin on this week’s Here’s The Thing, and I don’t think you need any more than that to get on board with this episode (he said no, by the way). If for some reason you’re still not sold, Betsy Ross, Gerald Ford and Golda Meir in the right negligee also get thrown into the equation, and if that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. Beyond just sexy historical figures, Schumer and Baldwin discuss her life before stand up which included working as a pedicab driver and a kickball instructor, bond over both having grown up on Long Island, and talk about her charity, StyleFund, and her involvement with gun control. She also drops a few hints about her next movie and tells Baldwin who she wants to play her mother in her next movie. Well, she writes it down for him, so he knows. The rest of us will just have to wait for the movie.
Until I Lose Interest – Tina Belcher is a Father, feat: Dan Mintz
Elizabeth: If you’ve imagined what it would sound like to hear Tina Belcher talk about childrearing or the citizens of Alaska, then you’re in luck. Dan Mintz, the voice of the socially awkward teen, joins host David Taylor on Until I Lose Interest this week to talk about his path from being one of 10 valedictorians in his high school class to working on the Harvard Lampoon to landing his role on Bob’s Burgers. Mintz chats about getting involved with the show, having his role changed from a boy to a girl (but not getting recast), and how he occasionally gets recognized by voice. He also talks about one of his first jobs in entertainment as a writer on Crank Yankers and not being asked back to work on Bored to Death. Mintz has apocalyptic career view despite his successes (he’s also the head writer on The Awesomes) and emphasizes the importance of following every path including standup, developing his own shows, and maybe someday, even Twitter.
The Basement Yard – The Aliens Are Gonna Butt F*ck Us
Kaitlynn: YouTuber Joe Santagato hosts this weekly podcast as a way for his nearly 400,000 subscribers to stay up to date on his thoughts. It’s half topic-talk, half rambling, but all Joe. When it made its way to the top of the comedy podcast chart I had to have a listen. This week’s topic is the UFO that the southwest USA saw this past week. I actually blurt laughed when he said the government called the rumored UFO “missile practice.” Joe’s rebuttal? “I’ve played every Call of Duty that’s ever come out and zero missiles look like that. I know what missiles look like—I’ve played the game.” The momentum of the episode slows down when the talk turns to politics and current/future presidential duties. From aliens to gun rights, emo kids and basketball sneakers, the topics bounce around off the top of his head. If you like a regular (and pretty famous) guy just chattin’ about what’s been on his mind, get into this. It delivers unexpected laughs and at a half hour, it’s the ideal length for a listening quickie.
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Truth and Iliza – Tess Morris
The Space Cave – Wes Campbell
How Was Your Week – Pleased as Punch
Hound Tall with Moshe Kasher – Dinosaurs
improv4humans – Dan Deacon and the Mighty Mighty Bosses
Ronna & Beverly – Live at UCB with Ravi Patel, Jack McGee
Try This Podcast – Seriously Guys
The New Hollywood – Rich Sommer
Nerdist Writers Panel – Maron’s Sivert Glarum and Michael Jamin
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.