This Week in Comedy Podcasts: ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!’ Womps It Up
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.
Comedy Bang Bang – Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham
Elizabeth: Pump up the jams because everyone’s favorite Comedy Bang Bang intern Marissa Wompler (Jessica St. Clair) and her teacher, former sniper Charlotte Listler (Lennon Parham), are back. After two years hiding around the world, they’ve returned to tell Scott about their harrowing journey and for Marissa to finish her senior year. There’s underground tunnels, virgin sacrifice, messages in bird bones, and a bad case of dashiki fever. Scott updates them on what’s been going on while they’ve been gone, including the new president and the host of Celebrity Apprentice (not Arsenio Hall). Now that Marissa is re-enrolling at Marina Del Rey, hopefully more episodes of Womp It Up, their podcast from the school library, are on the way. [Apple Podcasts]
WTF with Marc Maron – Alison Brie & Betty Gilpin
Mark: Who’s more excited about Netflix’s GLOW than me? Nobody. What’s not to like? Aside from The Rock’s recent cover piece on GQ’s “Comedy” issue and John Cena’s SNL hosting gig (you CAN see him on NBC.com), comedy has a well-documented tag-team history with wrestling. The GLOW cast has something for all genres of comedy fans, from Brie, Gilpin, and Maron to the OITNB writers and producers to comedy vets Rebekka Johnson and Kimmy Gatewood to UCB’s Sunita Mani. If you’re in it for the wrestling angle, there’s even real-life superstar representation in Kia Stevens, formerly known in the ring as Kharma/Awesome Kong. Not sold yet? On this triple threat episode of WTF the three competitors show impressive chemistry. Fans are left with the feeling the cast truly put their blood, sweat, and tears into this series. The show has a long road ahead with many obstacles in the way — more podcast appearances, press junkets, late night interviews and red carpets. Based on early reviews, at the end of that road may lie gold — the World Television Championship Belt. [Apple Podcasts]
The GOATcast – Chris Witaske
Marc: The GOAT in GOATcast stands for the “Greatest Of All Time” and it’s the desire of host Ryan Patrick Dolan to interview guests about what may make them “great” in whatever their endeavors might be. Guest Chris Witaske, who has been a recurring character on Netflix’s series Love produced by Judd Apatow and starring Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs, reveals that he’s becoming a series regular in upcoming season 3 and Dolan — coming from a very similar, improv-infused Chicago background as his guest — wants to find out how that all came about. It seems to be a bit of a mystery to Witaske himself, who was apparently pretty content being an improv roustabout with his loftiest sights set on making the main company at Second City. He took classes there, and at iO and at The Annoyance Theatre. Talents scouts from Saturday Night Live scooped up him and members of his various improv teams and whisked them off to audition in New York — he got to the plate three times and met with producer Lorne Michaels but never got the call. It was suggested he make his way to Los Angeles, where he ended up crossing paths with Paul Rust whom he hadn’t seen in 15 years since doing improv together at Iowa State University. And his old buddy was just about to write and star in a TV show for HBO called Love. Funny how life works out sometimes. [Apple Podcasts]
Chapo Trap House – From Russia With CHUD
Pablo: Who is going to take down President Trump? Will it be the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller? Probably not. The Democratic Party? Definitely not. How about Twitter verified dorks named after a Force Awakens faction who obsess over Russia with blinders on to the myriad problems with the ineffectual Democratic Party? Um… sure? On this week’s Chapo Trap House, the gang are joined by The New Republic’s Sarah Jones to discuss The Resistance and its self-styled-by-tweetstorm leaders like Louise Mensch and Eric Garland. Mensch is a former romance novelist pushing conspiracy theories through bad memes and articles that were such fake news that Trump used them as sources. Garland is a self-described “futurist” consultant (read: con artist) who has his own catchphrase. Together, they’ll gain publicity while ignoring any problems with a political party who lost to the worst candidate in American history. Later in the episode, the gang reads an article by Megan McArdle where she tells people not to blame the government for the government-built and managed Grenfell Tower that went up in flames last week and killed 79 people. The piece enrages co-host Matt Christman, but not as much as his neighbors who you hear knocking on his door to get him to calm down. That’s some good podcast. [Apple Podcasts]
Marc: Comedian Dan Cummins has taken it upon himself to inform the masses about topics that they tell him they’d like to know more about. His first episode dealt with “The Lizard Illuminati Conspiracy” and, along the way, he’s tackled “Sociopaths & Psychopaths,” Corey Haim, Krampus the Christmas Devil and, in his latest installment, those who have predicted doomsday scenarios for the end of the world. While I wouldn’t suggest Cummins’ show is a substitute for real learning, he does seem to do his homework and then layer in a rich dose of observational humor, wry commentary, and some hilarious characterizations of personalities gleaned from history. He goes at Nostradamus pretty thoroughly, wickedly dismantling the alleged prophet’s famous quatrains along the way. Then he explores the rich tapestry of various “apocalypse prophets” throughout history. There’s a similar feel to that of The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, but here Cummins is a one-man history wrecking crew who will, even after the dust settles, leave you with some facts and tales that will help you look halfway smart at a lot of cocktail parties and bar hangouts. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
The Bill Simmons Podcast – Will Ferrell on his Favorite Movie, ‘SNL,’ and LeBron on the Lakers
The Nerdist – Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show – Susanna Hoff (The Bangles)
You Better DON’T! – Ye Ho Alabama
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
Elizabeth Stamp is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Mark Kramer is a writer, comedian & human boy from Staten Island, New York, but please don’t hold that against him.