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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Amy Poehler's 'Improv4Humans' Debut and Sam Simon on 'WTF'

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. Also, we'll keep you posted on the offerings from our very own podcast network. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy. 

Improv4Humans #84 - Amy Poehler, Seth Morris, Joe Hartzler

JENNY: Amy Poehler and Matt Besser go way back, having founded the UCB Theatre together in the mid-'90s, but this is Poehler's first time ever on improv4humans, Besser's improv-centric show that takes the kind of thing that goes down onstage at UCB and puts it in podcast form. Needless to say, Poehler fits in very well performing alongside Besser and seasoned humans4improv Seth Morris (Funny Or Die, Max's weird friend Scotty on Happy Endings) and Joe Hartzler (UCB LA improviser). The group takes on the darkest of Twitter suggestions, trying out material on grotesque physical injury and what to do in case of the apocalypse but brings it all back to relationships in a number of the scenes as well as at the end as Amy tries to get Joe to share his feelings about a mysterious special someone. The episode moves along at a very steady pace, and it's a pleasure to hear a group of talented improvisers, especially ones so highly respected, churn out some good, funny stuff. READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy: Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Maybe Jason Sudeikis Leaving 'SNL'

-Bill Hader is leaving SNL after eight years, and we made a videolist of his best sketchesFred Armisen is leaving, too (and Jason Sudeikis "probably") so we made a list for Armisen as well.

-Seth Meyers is officially taking over Late Night in 2014.

-USA ordered Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham's pilot to series.

-In honor of The Office ending, we remembered our favorite moments from the show.

-Netflix unveiled the first trailer for the new Arrested Development and a Tobias-themed website.

-Adam Scott's next Greatest Event in Television History will be Hart to Hart with Amy Poehler.

-ABC canceled Happy Endings, and USA is in negotiations to pick it up. READ MORE

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This Week in Podcasts: Nerdist Writers Panel with the 'New Girl' Staff and 'Comedy Bang Bang's Third 'Parks and Rec' Spectacular

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. Also, we'll keep you posted on the offerings from our very own podcast network. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy. 

Nerdist Writers Panel #86New Girl's Liz Meriwether, Brett Baer and Dave Finkel

JOSH: The Nerdist Writers Panel has become appointment listening for aspiring television writers, and this week's episode is no exception as host Ben Blacker welcomes the creative team behind the popular program New Girl. Meriwether, Baer and Finkel examine the challenges of producing such an ambitious network sitcom with a delightful brand of insightful self-deprecation that perfectly encapsulates the charming, offbeat voice the series has developed. Meriwether and company discuss their attempts to find the perfect balance between humor and emotional storytelling, their late season success in implementing a group writing strategy and of course, the evolution of everybody's favorite douchebag, Schmidt. Part of the insecure, "what the hell am I doing with my life" tone that makes New Girl such a genuinely relatable program are on full display as Meriwether candidly discusses dealing with the difficult production schedule. "For people like us who are perfectionists, there are moments where it's just not gonna be exactly what you wanted," Meriwether said. "Okay, it's not exactly what I had in my mind, but then there is this other thing that might work." Added Meriwether, "It ain't HBO. It's fucking TV." READ MORE

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The Annotated Wisdom of Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler has a pretty solid resume as both a comedian and a person. After spending time studying at Second City and iO in Chicago, Poehler moved to New York with friends Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts to found the Upright Citizens Brigade, which has since grown into the massive community of learners and performers of long-form improv and sketch that it is today. In more recent years, on her off time from her TV work on SNL and Parks and Recreation, Poehler and friends Meredith Walker and Amy Miles started Smart Girls at the Party, an online network to encourage and educate young women about being smart by being themselves. Along the way, Amy Poehler has proven in countless interviews, podcasts, and articles, that she is smart, kind, and funny, about every topic from feminism to Hell to old TV. Check it: READ MORE

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Talking to Broken Lizard's Jay Chandrasekhar about 'Freeloaders' and the Chevy Chase N-Word Thing

Jay Chandrasekhar made a name for himself acting in and directing movies like Super Troopers and Beerfest with his comedy team Broken Lizard, whose most recent produced project Freeloaders came out last week. In addition to his movie work and standup, though, Chandrasekhar has guest directed episodes for a handful of critically acclaimed fan-favorite TV series including Arrested Development, Undeclared, Happy Endings, and Community, where he's directed some of the series' best episodes ("Mixology Certification") and one of the most talked-about moments (Chevy Case emitting the N-word on set).

In light of Freeloaders' DVD and online release, I talked to Jay Chandrasekhar about ensemble comedies, the difference between directing film and directing TV, and what really happened with the whole Chevy Chase thing.

Your movie Freeloaders was finished in 2011. What's been going on with it since then?

You know, movies tend to come out whenever the best release window is, so, for example, Super Troopers was finished over a year before it came out. It's just that the distributor decides the best date. There's movies that are anywhere from three to four months finished to years … To be clear, it's not a Broken Lizard movie. It's a film we produced, so we're in one scene; we're not the stars of this film. Adam Duritz came to me with the script, the director who also wrote it named Dan Rosen, and the money to make it, so he asked if we'd help make it and we said yes. Then they asked us to be in one scene and we said yes, so we're in one scene, too. READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: Pete Holmes's 'Nice Try, The Devil'

Nice Try, The Devil, the new Comedy Central standup special from the You Made it Weird and future TBS late night host (and also voice of that E-Trade baby from commercials) Pete Holmes premiered on Sunday, and now it's available on CD+DVD. The album is Holmes's second, a follow-up to his 2011 debut Impregnated With Wonder, and a lot has happened in Holmes's career since then, mostly the aforementioned You Made it Weird and late night things. Bonus material on the DVD includes two sets from Holmes on John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show and his appearance on Comedy Central Presents. If you are a fan of Holmes's podcast work or his future late night show, this is something you should check out. READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy: Networks Announce Their New Sitcoms, and New Albums from Rick Moranis and Andy Kaufman

-NBC, CBS, and Fox announced their new fall sitcoms. Andy Samberg and Mike Schur's Fox cop show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, is the most promising of the bunch. NBC unfortunately passed on SNL writer/stand-up John Mulaney's pilot.

- Parks and Recreation got renewed for a sixth season, and NBC officially canceled most of its comedies (Go On, Whitney, 1600 Penn, Up All Night, and Guys with Kids). Community's chances look good, much to the chagrin of Community fans.

-We previewed this summer's comedy movies and TV shows.

-Rick Moranis is coming out with a new album, his first comedic venture in eight years.

-We talked to stand-ups Chelsea PerettiErik GriffinJoe DeRosa, and the guys from Denver-based comedy group Grawlix.

-Phil Hartman's comedy album is being made into an animated movie. A new album of old Andy Kaufman recordings is being released too. READ MORE

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This Week in Podcasts: A 'Comedy Bang Bang' Anniversary, 'You Made it Weird,' and 'Wits'

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. Also, we'll keep you posted on the offerings from our very own podcast network. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy. 

Comedy Bang Bang #218 – The 4th Anniversary Extravaganza

JOSH: Womp it up! It's a comedy bonanza this week as Comedy Bang Bang celebrates its four year podcast-a-versary! Old favorites like Traci Rearden, Mike the Janitor and the pride of Marina del Rey, Marissa Wompler, join CBB stalwarts David Wain and Jason Mantzoukas for an all-star episode packed with forbidden sexual tension and terminally ill imaginary friends. Amid Mike the Janitor's personal rendition of the musical Cats, teenage frenemies Marissa Wompler and Traci Rearden compete in an old school dating game to procure a prom date. Who to choose? David Wain promises to buy his date a latex dress with an exposed midriff area to prominently display the belly button, while Mike the Janitor's guarantee of elephant transportation and an organic Whole Foods dress is also alluring. Who do the ladies choose? The answer is an unprecedented first in Comedy Bang Bang prom voting history! Later, the peculiarly intimate Bachelor Brothers drop by to promote their record label and make Scott an offer that could potentially change the future of Earwolf forever. All this and more on an extended episode of Comedy Bang Bang! READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: '30 Rock' Season 7 on DVD

30 Rock ended earlier this year, and although it won’t return for an eighth season, its existing seven seasons are available from now until forever to watch on DVD, with season seven just coming out this week. 30 Rock is, of course, a show that packs enough jokes per second in an episode that it truly rewards rewatching. Season 7 saw Liz Lemon get married, Kenneth advance in the workplace, and Alec Baldwin live a life of single-fatherhood, with as-always stellar comic performances from Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander, and more. This DVD box set is definitely worth a buy, especially if you already have seasons one through six and have just the right amount of room to add a seventh. READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: ‘Dad is Fat’ by Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan wrote a book. It's out this week, it's called Dad is Fat, and it's a memoir about his experience with marriage and raising five children in New York City. Considering the fact that CBS ordered a pilot from Gaffigan also based on the standup and actor's real-life experience of marriage and raising five children in New York City, you can rest assured that he knows enough about the subjects of marriage, fatherhood, and the difficulties of Manhattan residential life to write a whole book about them while also being funny. READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: 'Art Girls Are Easy' by Julie Klausner

This week Julie Klausner’s new book Art Girls Are Easy is out and available to be ready by you. Art Girls is Klausner’s second book, following the How Was Your Week host/Billy on the Street writer/Vulture contributor’s 2010 heartache-chronicling memoir I Don’t Care About Your Band. After Klausner announced the novel’s release date in March, Rookie ran an excerpt from of the novel, which takes place at an all-girls arts camp. If you enjoy Klausner's aforementioned podcast or writing, or just like reading about smart young girls, this is a book that you should read. READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy: Marc Maron Is Everywhere and Chris Hardwick's New Late Night Show

-Chris Hardwick signed on to host a new Comedy Central late night show with Tom Lennon and Ben Garant as showrunners.

-HBO renewed Veep for a third season, and Adult Swim renewed The Eric Andre Show for a second one.

-We checked out Marc Maron's new book Attempting Normallooked back on some of the best episodes of his podcast, and talked with the man himself about his new IFC show Maron.

-Inspired by Maron, we picked ten comedy podcasts that would make great TV shows.

-We talked to Matt Walsh about HBO's Veep, to Bo Burnham about his new MTV show, and to stand-ups Nikki Glaser and Dan Soder about their Comedy Central Half Hour specials.

-The Blue Collar guys are opening a $200 million theme park.

-We gave you a guide to Toronto's comedy scene. READ MORE

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This Week in Podcasts: Todd Barry Gets a Podcast and Todd Glass Turns 100

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. Also, we'll keep you posted on the offerings from our very own podcast network. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy. 

The Todd Barry Podcast #2 - Jim & Jeannie Gaffigan

MARC: Another popular comedian has entered the realm of podcasting, slipping around from the guest side of the microphone to the host seat: Todd Barry. Funny, acerbic, sarcastic, and wry on stage, Barry brings some of that but also shows a newer side, feeling his way into the role of guiding conversationalist. Even in the first couple of episodes, he quickly has realized to step aside when the guest is rolling while still teasing out the answers and stories without giving in – too much – to that tendency of new interviewers to interject themselves into the action. As a fledgling podcaster, it helps to have friends in high places to come in as guests, which is where Jim Gaffigan has been riding the past few years. The conversation that Barry and Gaffigan have is enhanced by the presence of Jeannie Gaffigan, Jim’s wife/producer/co-writer and mother of their five children. More conversation than interview, the chat touches on a number of subjects as the trio sit around in Barry’s kitchen in New York, including starting out as a comic in the early '90s as the fabled “comedy boom” was beginning to fade; how the couple’s collaboration began; working the road and bringing five children along for the ride; Gaffigan’s new book Dad Is Fat, which is coming out next week; and what it’s like to be the “Hot Pockets” guy. “There’s no stopping the Hot Pocket thing,” says Gaffigan. “I tried to take them down, but people won’t have it. So I may do a third new hour of material, fine, and the encore will be the Hot Pocket thing.” It should be fun to see whom else Barry lures into his kitchen in the coming episodes. READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: ‘Why is the Rabbit Crying’ by Al Madrigal

Last Friday Comedy Central premiered Why is the Rabbit Crying, Al Madrigal’s first stand-up special with the network and his first since becoming The Daily Show’s senior Latino correspondent. And though the show just came out last week, it's already available on CD + DVD combo pack. In addition to his Daily Show experience, Madrigal has also performed on The Late Late Show, Conan, and John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show and acted and appeared in shows like Jay Mohr’s sitcom Gary Unmarried and Nick Swarsdon’s Pretend Time. Madrigal's stand-up talks a lot about getting older, his relationship with his family, and raising his kids in his multi-ethnic neighborhood. In addition to the all-new hour of material, the DVD's special features include Madrigal's appearance on Comedy Central's Shorties Watchin' Shorties and his favorite field piece from The Daily Show. But mostly the stand-up part is why you should check this out. READ MORE