This Week in Comedy Podcasts: A ‘Hollywood Handbook’ Achievement
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.
Hollywood Handbook – Episode 200, Our Unbelievable Achievement
Noah: Who even knows anymore. The big reveal sees the boys ensnared by an airtight contract and their oaken word to Earwolf that keeps them on the hook for another year of episodes, but Hayes and Sean lean so hard on the final show conceit that one can’t discount the possibility of a double prank. But the boys are sweeties and that would be mean and not nice, cool, fun, funny, or friendly. But they’ve produced a limited edition Hollywood Handbook gravestone poster to memorialize our great loss. At press time, it’s too close to call. In spite of all the backstage rumors and gossip that’s plagued them this year and Scott Anchorman calling all of their big guests to tell them that their loved ones are at the hospital and sabotaging the celebration to benefit his vanity project, Sean and Hayes still host a joyous party featuring Chef Kevin mistakenly bringing a bunch of peach-a pies and no popcorn while Engineer Brett – whose word is a fucking neutron star, the densest in the universe – plays a bunch of copyrighted music. Tom Scharpling, in town to story edit on Confederate (or so he says), calls to find out where the festivities are happening but realizes that he isn’t invited. A trio of ad reads round out what, again, could rank up there with the all-time finales in Hollywood, including the sad but timely death of Santa Man. [Apple Podcasts]
Bodega Boys – Gawd Episode
Pablo: When Donald Trump made the years-old Desus & Mero catchphrase “Facts don’t matter” his unofficial campaign slogan, I thought it was a funny coincidence. But when he basically said another one of their slogans, “Gotta hear both sides,” in response to Nazis marching through our streets, I had to double-check who Donny was following on Twitter. Such is the reach of Desus and Mero, who pop up in GQ, Wired, and major comedy festivals only a few years after being stuck in dead-end jobs, kind of like a reality star making a big career change in his 70s. But outside of a nationalistic desire to close the online Super Mario Kart borders because of expert Japanese players, that’s where the commonalities end. Both this podcast and their nightly Vice show have become increasingly focused on politics, which normally would be exhausting. In their case it’s a breath of fresh air, since even objectively great political talk shows like Last Week Tonight and Full Frontal are rehashing a format perfected over a decade ago by The Daily Show. Producing an expertly researched 7-minute segment GOTCHA’ing a Trump cabinet member doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’d rather listen to Mero’s improvised Ben Carson impression extolling his Department of House Music and Urban Development. [Apple Podcasts]
My Dad Wrote A Porno – Belinda’s Spiral Staircase
Marc: It’s hard to believe that Jamie Morton and his two pals, James Cooper and Alice Levine, have been able to get as much hilarious distance as they have from the filthy (and often anatomically questionable) porn written by his father. The pseudonymous Rocky Flintstone must be pleased, as his offspring is just about to wrap up the third of his Belinda Blinks series. And as much as you think this premise must get old – with Morton reading the “works” sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter, and Cooper and Levine lobbing insults the entire way — it remains relentlessly funny. It could be the staggeringly and accidentally horribleness of Flintstone’s writing. Or it could be the mock shock and awe displayed by those listening in real time. In the latest installment, the oversexed Belinda (“her breasts pulsating…”) seduces her hapless executive assistant Des on the cold, unyielding concrete spiral staircase between the garage and her apartment. And it ain’t over yet – this episode is the penultimate lead-up to the final chapter of Book 3, and the cast is urging everyone to make an international “listening party” of it when the closing moments drop this coming Sunday night at 8:00pm London time. [Apple Podcasts]
Lost in America – Speaking British with The Daily Show’s Gina Yashere
Marc: The all too-familiar story of two non-expat Americans, living in the USA but having very little clue how their home country operates. Co-host Turner Sparks is a comedian recently returned to the States following twelve years in China. His buddy, Mike Kaplan, never left the States but has two kids, a wife, and a job. This week they get Gina Yashere dropping in to explain how being a black lesbian standup comedian made it a little easier to break into the entertainment world than one might expect “because it allows the executives to check a lot of little boxes that shows they’re being diverse.” She also talks about the differences in the standup worlds between England and the United States — there are a lot less paying gigs here, for one — and how much of a party animal she isn’t when working the road. She regales the hosts about the various lands she’s seen as a road comic, some of the attitudes she forced to deal with, and how speaking with a British accent makes everything pretty much all right. [Apple Podcasts]
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
The Best Show – David Crosby! Bart Henshaw! Simon Doom! Tom Can’t Complain Part II! More!
Marty & Sarah Love Wrestling – O Strowman, Where Art Thou?
Cracked Gets Personal – How Illegal Drugs Saved Our Lives
On Comedy Writing – Nick Wiger
Eleanor Amplified – Gary the IT Guy
Got a podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.