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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Amy Schumer Visits 'The Joe Rogan Experience'

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 Joe Rogan Experience – Amy Schumer

LEIGH: Joe Rogan couldn't have been more accurate in this episode when he said that now is a nice time to be a comedy fan. And listening to Amy Schumer on this episode of The Joe Rogan Experience is proof of why. Rogan and Schumer cover the important things on everyone's mind like ballerinas, piranhas, rap battles and Eddie Izzard's marathon running. But it was only a matter of time before "Is it hard to be a woman in comedy?" came up. This time, however, we hear about it from a different angle – in response to Jerry Seinfeld's response to criticism over the lack of diversity in his web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It's hard to ignore the fact that the conversation gets tense at points, but that tension only works to make this episode that much more entertaining. READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Merrill Markoe Talks with Julie Klausner

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.

How Was Your Week? – Merrill Markoe

ZOE: “I hate to mention you constantly in the same breath as your ex, because no woman deserves that,” says host Julie Klausner to this week’s guest Merrill Markoe. And that’s why I’m going to put it like this: Markoe, the extremely talented writer who went from teaching art to winning three Emmies for her work on — breath — Late Night with David Letterman — breath — is one of those rare geniuses who’s so ridiculously personable it’s easy to forget she’s a genius. Her breadth of experience, also including Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Newhart, and Sex and the City, translates into some amazing stories for listeners. For instance, did you know that her then-partner David Letterman and Michael Keaton once danced to the tune of “Macho Man” while dressed like characters from Deliverance? They sure did. Klausner is a huge fan of Markoe's, and her well-versed enthusiasm pervades the conversation in the best, funnest way possible. They’re both women in comedy who just get it, which makes for many cathartic moments of "YES! OH MY GOD, YES! YOU GET IT!," punctuated by Klausner’s hysterically on-point asides. To quote the podcast itself, “Behind every genius there’s another genius with a vagina.” Amen.

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Patton Oswalt, Lauren Lapkus, and Will Hines Do 'Comedy Bang! Bang!'

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! – Patton Oswalt, Lauren Lapkus, Will Hines

ZOE: For everyone who missed out on April Fools’ shenanigans, guest co-host Traci Rearden (played by Lauren Lapkus) has good news: at the end of the month, you can look forward to Reverse April Fools', where you do really nice things for people and go to a super cool costume party. Like intern Marissa Wompler, another regular Comedy Bang! Bang! regular, Traci is an eccentric high schooler trying to fit in somehow, except Lapkus’ is the type that has a butt piercing and works at Claire’s and Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors. Patton Oswalt, who’s gearing up for the release of his upcoming Comedy Central special Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time, speaks to characters with the same earnestness as Aukerman, leading to some fascinating backstories about high-end wigs and brain surgery. But when Will Hines enters the episode as alien Qthor, we get a 2-for-1 deal on backstories, as he's inhabited a white man's body to his chagrin (he “jumped too early”). Hines plays Qthor, a.k.a. “Cutie Whore,” with calm, collected matter-of-fact-ness, but the bizarre details of extraterrestrial life provide a hysterical contrast with his sober delivery. After he reveals his frequent public masturbation, the other three suspect he might need help navigating earth, taking him under their wing like an exchange student on the first day of college (“I like a project,” says Oswalt). The episode concludes with a suicide — you’ll have to watch to know who — which ends up being a pretty great way to end an episode, if not a literal cliffhanger.

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Arnold Schwarzenegger Does 'Nerdist'

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 –Arnold Schwarzenegger

MARC:  The former governor of California and action movie icon Arnold Schwarzenegger is no stranger to media but has he ever appeared on a podcast before now? That subject's not touched upon in the hour-plus interview Schwarzenegger grants Chris Hardwick and Jonah Ray, but many other topics are. From growing up as a boy in Austria, schlepping buckets of well water in the dead of winter to bathe with, to pumping his upcoming movie Sabotage, listeners are treated to a download that amply fills the time allowed. Schwarzenegger could be a poster boy for motivational speaking as he talks about how his drive for what he wanted to achieve made him push the limits of what education he's gleaned. With money saved up from body building competitions, he invested in a small apartment building in Los Angeles, only to keep flipping and growing increasingly larger buildings – "I wanted to be comfortable enough so I wouldn't have to take roles I didn't want." And in a discussion about movie catchphrases, he reveals the argument he and director James Cameron had over the famous phrase "I'll be back." "I insisted that it was too soft and that I should say 'I will be back.' We went back and forth over it. I have to admit, I was wrong." Schwarzenegger has a lot to say, and Hardwick seems happy to sit back and let him command the conversation. Whether you're a fan or not, you'll likely come away picking up at least one or two tidbits you'd never heard before.

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Lena Dunham Visits '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.

WTF with Marc Maron  Lena Dunham

ROB: Lena Dunham has no problem with expressing herself publically, and as with many WTF episodes, if you’re already a big fan, there’s probably little in this interview that you don’t already know. But for those who are just peripherally aware of Dunham – maybe you saw Tiny Furniture, some of HBO’s Girls, and some of the debate around her show – this episode of WTF is definitely engaging. There’s a lot of ground covered in this “fun, brainy romp,” as Marc Maron so accurately describes it at the end. The discussion winds through her upbringing in a two-artist household in New York City, her comedic influences, and lots of social and cultural issues (from a super liberal perspective, naturally). For example, Dunham’s view on the Woody Allen art/artist issue is incredibly nuanced and sophisticated, and she talks honestly about navigating through various controversies regarding feminism, privilege, and diversity – with alternating confidence and befuddlement, and an open heart comparable to Todd Glass’s. Of course, because this is Dunham talking to Maron, the conversation starts out on common ground: Anxiety. This is probably the funniest part of the show and the part where Maron has the most experienced, sage advice for Dunham. But throughout, laugh-out-loud or not, there’s not an instant in this conversation that’s dull. READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Weird Al Chats with Steve Agee

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.

MARC: Comedian and actor Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) hopped aboard the podcast bandwagon because, as is claimed on his slice of Feral Audio’s website "that’s what bandwagons are for." His guest for the 36th edition of Steve Agee Uhhh… is Weird Al Yankovic, who is not just a good guest but a great sidekick as well. As their conversation unfolds, Weird Al is just a fascinated with Agee’s stories of bad gigs and Hollywood moments as the host is with those of his guest. As their conversation ambles from topic to topic, Weird Al reveals his most horrible gig ever (being pelted with crap for 45 minutes when opening for a band) as well as discounting any belief that he was ever related to legendary polka accordionist Frankie Yankovic. The revelations are not all about the guest, as we discover that Agee suffers from occasional bouts of vertigo and that an offer he once made on Twitter was what brought he and Weird Al together in the first place several years ago.
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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Andy Daly and Jason Mantzoukas Reunite on 'Comedy Bang Bang'

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 – Oh, Golly!

JOSH: Fans of Comedy Bang! Bang! are conditioned to expect the unexpected when Scott Aukerman, Jason Mantzoukas and Andy Daly team up, and this week's episode is certainly no exception. The episode begins on a relatively normal note. Aukerman and Mantzoukas engage in some playful banter, Mantzoukas recalls a romantic encounter where a date took a break from a make-out session to breastfeed her son; you know, standard Comedy Bang Bang fare. Eventually, Andy Daly joins the fray — ostensibly as an entertainer named Gil accompanied by his trusty puppet, Golly. From there, the episode evolves into a magnificent array of Andy Daly character callbacks. We find out about Cactus Tony's latest exploits, learn that Chip Gardner is now running a "Murder Contest" on the open seas and that Don Dimelo is essentially the linchpin of evil. This eventually culminates in Scott Aukerman and Jason Mantzoukas, who are possibly already dead, teaming up with Dalton Wilcox and Bill Carter to compete against the aforementioned characters in an epic battle of good vs.evil. The episode ends with a "to be continued"; a rare occurrence for Comedy Bang! Bang!. The good news is we may find out what happens to the fate of all mankind next Monday. The bad news is we may already be dead. If we're not, tune in next week! READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott Debut 'U Talkin' U2 To Me?'

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.

U Talkin' U2 To Me? – From Boy to Under a Blood Red Sky

ZOE: U2’s upcoming album release is perhaps more of a triumph for comedy fans than it is for U2 fans, thanks to Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman (A.K.A. Adam Scott Aukerman). The duo kick off their tribute podcast to the band by starting at the beginning: we’re talking Boy, October and War. In the best way possible, they talk music like two clerks in a record store… that only sells U2, with the exception of a small Huey Lewis collection in the back. Unlike Analyze Phish, where Harris Wittels attempts to convince anti-Phish Aukerman of the band’s validity, U Talkin’ U2 is all about matched enthusiasm. Much of the episode is actually an earnest discussion of the band’s music and history, which sparks some great recollections of US Festival days past and plagiarizing Dire Straits lyrics to impress girls. But when it comes to the band’s shortcomings, the hosts have zero hesitation in calling them out (we’re looking at you Paul “Bono” Hewson and David “The Edge” Evans), and assure us that we can look forward to the ripe territory of All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Also, if you’ve ever doubted that the baseline of “With or Without You” can seamlessly morph into “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” Aukerman will prove you wrong with his own vocal cords. Whether the hosts are praising U2, criticizing U2, or not talking U2 at all, this is a very entertaining conversation between two very funny friends.

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: 'The Dead Authors Podcast' Returns with Jamie Denbo as Anne Frank

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 Dead Authors Podcast  Jamie Denbo as Anne Frank

ZOE: This week, Anne Frank swings by Dead Authors to discuss her diary, Judy Blume, and the complications of living with your crush while in hiding. The iTunes summary assures us that “It’s not as offensive as you’re thinking,” which is very true, thanks to Jamie Denbo's sharp and subversive portrayal of Frank. She avoids the expected victim angle by playing Frank like a memoirist on the New York Times bestseller list: she's way smarter than her audience but begrudgingly panders to the common denominator. One of the funniest moments is when she recites the famous quote, “I still believe that people are really good at heart,” then quickly adds an angry, “Who the fuck would believe that after what I’ve been through?” She regards Tompkins's H.G. Wells as just another dumb interviewer to entertain, punctuating her answers with a condescending "You understand?" It feels well-deserved because at the end of the day, she's Anne Frank. But Denbo also provides a relatable contrast to the author persona by tapping into the realities of being a teenager. The episode ends up being an extremely funny and poignant way to comment on how rarely we think of Anne Frank as a real person instead of a symbol of tragedy. READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Michael Ian Black's and Michael Showalter's 'Topics' Joins Earwolf

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.

Topics with Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter – The Little Things

ZOE: The Michaels are back in the saddle in their first episode of Season 3 of Topics now part of the Earwolf network — with an extremely valuable exploration of the little things in life: the smell of autumn, birds chirping, Tchaikovsky, things like that. But who’s to say the little things aren’t hot wives with big hair and thigh-high boots? The hosts’ subtly competitive relationship, which has been brewing since day one, is bordering on hostile now, making their weak attempts to veil it even funnier. They’re walking on organic, cage-free eggshells the whole time. Black’s little things are exact definitions of what Showalter describes as the big things. Just when it seems like Black’s about to concede by describing a quaint apple-picking trip, he turns it into a parade of his expensive car, hot wife, and envy of the onlooking “dumpy” families (“There are so many dumpy families out there,” he laments). Showalter encourages him to focus more on things like the crunch of toast with butter and jam, which sparks the kind of passive aggressive quibble these two have turned into an art form. Canned outro music adds the perfect touch of irony. Expect big things for the rest of Season 3. READ MORE

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Talking to 'Girls' Co-Showrunner Jenni Konner About Season 3

Serving as an executive producer, writer, and Lena Dunham's co-showrunner, Jenni Konner has been with HBO's Girls since the beginning, playing an integral role in the series. Konner started her career as a writer on Girls EP Judd Apatow's Fox sitcom Undeclared and created a couple short-lived network shows of her own before she started working as a script doctor in the movie world and eventually transitioned back to Girls when it was brand new. Now in its third season, Girls is still full of the same honesty we’ve seen in the past. Before this season's premiere even aired, HBO ordered a fourth season and their faith in the show is completely justified: Girls gets a ton of nominations, awards, and critical acclaim, and to put it simply, is just really great.

I recently had the chance to talk to Konner about revealing different sides of characters, the writing process of Girls, and the rewards of working on the show. READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: B.J. Novak Visits 'Nerdist' and Dana Gould Stops By 'How Was Your Week'

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.

How Was Your Week with Julie Klausner – Dana Gould

JOSH: Julie Klausner is an American podcasting treasure. In this week's episode, Klausner, whose efficiency with entertaining rhetoric rivals only the legendary Paul F. Tompkins, discusses the least necessary internet article in the history of humans and briefly reminisces about the time she was kicked out of an award show for dogs in film. Eventually, she transitions into a few observations involving the television series Bones. I won't go as far as to say you haven't lived until you've listened to Julie Klausner deconstruct the intricacies of Bones, but I will say that you may not be living up to your full potential as a contributing member of society. Honestly, a podcast where Klausner just describes various television programs would be 22 minutes well spent. Later, comedian Dana Gould drops by to discuss his favorite serial killer, the sexiest President of the United States, and why people go crazy living on the west coast. READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna & More on 'Nerdist Writer's Panel'

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 Writer's Panel – Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna, Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Joe Henderson

SCOTT: Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna (Community), Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker ($#^! My Dad Says, Surviving Jack), and Joe Henderson (White Collar, Graceland) are on the panel, but let’s dispense with pretending, we’re here to listen to Harmon fly off the handle about Community. Host Ben Blacker (Thrilling Adventure Hour) does an admirable job including everyone, but by the end it was clear that Henderson, the lone non-sitcom, non-partnered writer on the panel, was the fifth wheel. Halpern and Schumacker talk about what it was like creating $#^! My Dad Says but not running the show. The way they put it, they were “allowed” to have staff jobs on their own project. Schumacker had the added inferiority complex of being “the guy who’s friends with the guy whose dad the show is sorta about” and never really found his feet in the room. Harmon and McKenna provide some interesting insight about what it was like coming back to Community, from trying to re-staff the show and create great TV on a limited budget to dealing with the very weird reality of the whole situation. One of the most poignant things Harmon says throughout (and there’s plenty of things Harmon says throughout) is that he looks back on the Dan Harmon that freaked out when they took the show off the schedule in the third season and laughs, because he later became the Dan Harmon that had to watch as they made his show without him. In the mix we get a glimpse at what good writing partnerships are like (odd-man out again, Henderson), what it’s like running a show versus writing on staff, and a fun running joke about the tropical paradise vacation that is apparently the Cougar Town writer’s room — but again, that’s all prelude to the main event. By the end, if you were listening just to hear Harmon take shots at the studios and network execs, you weren’t disappointed. He draws lines between the ideas of “making the show better” and “making people watch the show.” He jokingly answers a question about “how to pick your creative battles” when given notes. He insists that writers have lost the war. And, when asked about learning to work and coexist with the network this time around, simply states that nobody learned to work with anyone, he’s just the only guy they could find to make these last 13 episodes of Community. Classic Dan Harmon. READ MORE

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Paul F. Tompkins Returns for 'Beyond Belief' on 'The Thrilling Adventure Hour'

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 Thrilling Adventure Hour – Beyond Belief, “Basil's Day”

ROB: For those who aren’t familiar, "Beyond Belief" is the story of Frank and Sadie Doyle (Paul F. Tompkins and Paget Brewster), two boozy, unflappable upper-crust exorcists. As sometimes happens, The Thrilling Adventure Hour had to tape a few "Beyond Belief" segments without Paul F. Tompkins last year. For one of them (#125 "Art Imitates Life"), co-writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker created an alternate reality where Frank never existed. Instead, they cast Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) as “Basil Valentine,” the love interest of Sadie “Parker,” in a one-off episode that had its funny moments but was kind of confusing and a little sub-par. This week’s "Beyond Belief" (with Tompkins) redeems Valentine, who’s now an adventurous archeologist dealing with a demon possession problem, as well as an even upper-crustier twit that instantly gets under Frank’s skin. Frank’s jealousy (he knows about the alternate reality relationship) provides Tompkins with several opportunities for some great sarcastic one-liners, but Whitford gets to really ham it up this time and delivers one of the biggest laugh lines of the episode. In TAH’s old-timey radio production style, they used live doubled voices for the demon-possession effect, which gets a little muddled at times, but pays off when Sadie gets fed up with an obnoxious sibling spat between two ancient demons. Though Acker and Blacker have scaled back on jokes about Frank and Sadie’s unabashed alcoholism, the writing is clever and hilarious as usual. If you’re not a fan of TAH’s "Beyond Belief" segments, it’s time to give it a listen – it’s one of the best and most consistently funny podcasts around. READ MORE