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.
Scott: The live shows are always a good, weird, often uncomfortable time, and this one is no exception. The six guests on the show this time are Chris Thayer, Mike O’Connell, Kate Berlant, Billy Wayne Davis, Matt Knudsen, and Nick Thune. Right up top, Holmes and Thayer make it weird with the revelation that Thayer has never enjoyed his sidekick nickname “Weird Boy” and goes on to explain the time in his life when he was called “Creepy Chris” and was totally fine with it. Berlant casually mentions that she grew up having out-of-body experiences and then just tries to move on as if Holmes wouldn’t lock on to that tidbit, but it gets even better when she talks about asking for medical tests for birthdays and the time she convinced herself she had breast cancer before she actually had breasts. As the last guest, Thune brings it all home with a bunch of talk about farts – creating, consuming, new techniques for creating and consuming – and by the end, you’re left wondering what exactly you just listened to, which is kind of the point of the YMIW live episode. READ MORE
Longtime SNL cast member Kenan Thompson made a brief appearance on this morning's Today show, where he was asked about the recent rumors that he'll be leaving the NBC sketch show at the end of this season and offered a vague response: "You don't have to worry about that stuff like that," Thompson said. "We have to worry about the premiere Saturday — its the 40th anniversary. That's what we need to focus on." Watch out for a quick appearance near the end from a highly offended Andy Samberg.
Jay Weingarten is a weirdo and weirdos can’t work normal jobs. Instead, they’ve got two choices: get hugely famous or end up on the very fringes of society, forever banished to parents’ basements and midday video store liquidation sales. Jay has chosen the former and, lucky for him, he’s got star chops.
How’d you get your start in comedy?
I started about three years ago. I was a huge fan of comedy and was feeling kind of like I wasn’t really doing anything at the moment. I was a fan and then eventually went into doing my first open mic. At the time, I had a pretty awful job as a consultant.
Consultant? Was that the job you got after graduating?
Yeah it felt like I was living in a David Lynch movie because I was living in this beautiful area, the Oakland hills, living in this cabin, and it was beautiful but I just really hated this job. Everyone working there just seemed like all they cared about was money. Finally, I decided to move to LA because everyone I really liked and looked up to in comedy was in LA. I was listening to a lot of Comedy Death Ray, before it became Comedy Bang! Bang!, and they were all out in LA. So I decided to finally move out and do some open mics. Then I got into hosting some open mics at this place called Echo’s Under Sunset and then doing this show called Holy Fuck that was really popular, but the people running it quit and then passed the show onto me and my friend. That was a really big step for me to have a show pretty regularly and have triple digit crowds in these electric rooms, it was so much fun. I’m doing my first tour in a couple of months; I’m really excited about that. Driving from LA to Chicago with some of my good friends, stopping in 10-12 cities in the middle of the country, it’s going to be really cool. READ MORE
Whether you're a fan of True Detective or simply a supporter of short people everywhere, Funny or Die's new video "Tiny Detectives" has made a joke between Ellen Page and Kate Mara from earlier this year into a watchable thing that is much more entertaining than the recent True Detective casting news. As if Page and Mara weren't already short enough on their own, watching them try to reach a shelf next to Steve Agee really drives the point home.
I was thirteen when I first saw a comic glance at his notes on stage, and I remember wondering why I was surprised to see this. Did you think he was making all this up on the spot? I asked myself. Well, I guess I did. Years later, when I began regularly attending comedy shows and would end up seeing the same set a dozen times a year, I began to have a similar feeling. What, I again asked myself, did you think comedians come up with a new routine for every show? Well, I guess I did. After all, isn’t that the rouse that so many standups employ in their act, that this is all a spontaneous, one-sided conversation?
Young fans of standup inevitably go through these revelations. At some point, we develop the moxie to learn that the character a comedian is on stage isn’t necessarily who they are off-stage (though sometimes they can be, for good or ill). Even though I’m a child of the indie-comedy generation, I still have no problem accepting a certain amount of theater and artifice in someone’s set.
Though if that’s the case, why do we get so punk-rock preachy at the idea of a standup comedian not writing their own jokes? READ MORE
A little over a month ago, Chris Gethard took a break from hosting his weekly public access show The Chris Gethard Show and announced that its fate would be decided on September 24th. Thankfully for TCGS fans, the show returned to the Manhattan Neighborhood Network last night, and Gethard wrote an update on his blog explaining why he decided to continue with it and what his plans are going forward:
The show is going to be different. It’s going to be rocky. We’re going to rebuild it from this perspective – when we started at UCB, I was a twenty-nine year old kid who slept in a human sized dog bed. When we switched to public access, I was a thirty-one year old guy who was starting to take the reins of his own fate into his hands, who was tired of feeling like a loser and wanted to take pride in who he was. Now, I’m a thirty-four year old man who isn’t as angry as I used to be, who is building a good foundation for his life, and who still likes finding and supporting the weirdos out there, and who likes orchestrating stuff that lives outside the mainstream. I want to see what that guy’s tv show looks like.
SNL alum and Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg stopped by The Tonight Show last night, where he and Fallon played a few rounds of the movie guessing game "5-Second Summaries" for the distinguished prize of 10 Sambergers. Check out some more clips from Samberg's interview below: READ MORE
To help promote her new book Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham has launched a brand new web series called Ask Lena, which includes plenty of advice on writing, sex, feminism, OCD, loud people, and more. Watch Dunham give a fan some advice about writing from life experience above, then click through to watch her field some more sensitive questions: READ MORE
Comedian Bo Burnham dropped a new music video today for "Repeat Stuff," an irresistibly catchy (and slightly bloody) tune featuring a small appearance by Paul Scheer as Burnham's high powered agent. Even better is the comment Burnham left on the video for his fans:
MUCH LOVE TO ALL MY FANS. SHOUT OUT TO SATAN, THE ILLUMINATI AND BUILDING 7. DEATH IS COMING AND CANNOT BE STOPPED. I AM SO HUMBLED BY YOUR SUPPORT. I AM IMMORTAL AND THIS SKIN IS TEMPORARY. I NEED THE BLOOD. LOVE TO ANY ONE OUT THERE WHO IS STRUGGLING. THE NONBELIEVERS WILL TASTE FIRE. THE DARKNESS APPROACHES. ACCEPT IT BUT STILL FEAR IT. I AM SO BLESSED. XOXO
Real Genius might be coming to the small screen. Deadline reports that the 1985 film starring Val Kilmer is currently being developed by Sony TV and Adam Sandler's production company Happy Madison as a single-cam workplace comedy for NBC with a script commitment. The series was written by Workaholics co-executive producer Craig DiGregorio and Workaholics/Parks and Rec writer David King and will be a present-day reboot centered on "the relationship between a rock star-like genius — the character played by Kilmer in the movie — and a sheltered, naive co-worker." Click through to watch the original Real Genius trailer: READ MORE
Welcome to The Second City Archives, in which we post an exclusive clip each week of some of comedy's biggest superstars performing early in their careers on the legendary Chicago stage. Second City has generously given us a glimpse into their extensive archive of live performances, and over the coming weeks we'll be sharing some rare and retro comedy never before seen on the web.
"Several times since Phil's death, I've had the same dream about him: I am back in the studio, working on Saturday Night Live, and Phil is there! 'Phil,' I say, 'I thought you were dead!' It turns out that it was a mistake that Phil was dead, or that now he's some type of reanimated zombie. All I know is I am very happy to see him again."
- Jack Handey looks back on writing SNL sketches for Phil Hartman in a new piece for Slate. Today would have been Hartman's 66th birthday.
CollegeHumor just launched a brand new YouTube channel devoted to the weird and experimental. Called CH2, the channel will feature live-action sketches, animations, and music videos with a more experimental bent and exist as CollegeHumor's outlet for weirder comedy from both CollegeHumor regulars as well as new and up-and-coming talent. "Some of the most popular series and characters throughout CollegeHumor's history have originated from taking risks and trying new things," said Sam Reich in a statement. "We hope CH2 will be a place for alternative content, community building and working with diverse or up-and-coming talent. The CollegeHumor Originals team and I are very excited to have this sandbox to play in and, based on the initial response from the comedy community, they are too."
CH2 currently features videos from Very Mary-Kate's Elaine Carroll, George Basil, UCB's Will Hines, and CollegeHumor's own Jake Hurwitz and Mike Karnell, with forthcoming videos from musical sketch group Pop Roulette, newly added SNL writer Alison Rich, and writers/performers from UCB, iO West, and Second City.
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