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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Chris Elliott, Richard Lewis, and 'Super Mario Bros.'

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.

ELISE: Never Not Funny #1117 - Richard Lewis
It's an unusual episode of Never Not Funny from top to bottom this week. Jimmy and Matt start things off with a cold open to explain that this week's guest, Richard Lewis, has long been an idol of Jimmy's, and as such, he was pretty much given free reign over the show. It must be a record for how little Jimmy says in the course of one episode, and I'm not sure the others combined get more than five words in the entire show. Instead, Richard regales Jimmy with stories of old comedy and his boozing days while worrying about his safety at the NNF studios and calling Jimmy a moron about a dozen of times. It's a free-wheeling episode with a comedy legend that is fun and fascinating in equal measures. READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: 'Check it Out' and 'DethAlbum III'

We all love John C. Reilly in something, be it his Academy Award-nominated role in Chicago, his corrupt cop in Scorsese's Gangs of New York, or perhaps his live Tony-award nominated Broadway performances with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Or maybe you like him in Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, his collaboration with the taste-makers Tim and Eric, where Reilly plays "Dr. Steve Brule," a host of a low-fi interview show who is so inept, ignorant, and incredibly naive as to likely register in the spectrum of several mental disorders. Both seasons are out as of yesterday, so Check it Out! — for your health.

Also, comedy-metalheads, be ready for DethKlok to murder your eardrums again – Dethalbum III is out today! READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: A Whole Bunch of 'SNL'

Did you know that thirty seven years ago last night, October 11th 1975, would have been on a Saturday? Did you also know that premiering that particular Saturday night was a Live show on NBC? From the obvious hints (and the accompanying picture)… you guessed it. Today is SNL's 37th Anniversary! Celebrate  Lorne Michaels's immortal, unstoppable comedic leviathan with The Complete First Season, or the 25th Anniversary Special, if a self-tribute show feels more appropriate to the occasion. Both are hilarious. Either will distract you from getting anything important done this weekend, so go for it! READ MORE

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Tig Notaro is All Over the Place in This Week's Podcasts

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.

BRADFORD: A Bit of Chat with Ken Plume #200 – Andy Richter

Ken Plume rang in a major podcasting milestone this past week, celebrating his wonderful talk show A Bit of Chat’s 200th episode. For the big show, Plume rang up TV sidekick Andy Richter and delved deep into Richter’s past and present with a two-hour-long chat that covered the comedian’s early days working for Conan, his college years, and the ins and outs of his daily routine now. Some of the most fascinating moments of their conversation are the host and guest discussing the production and inane network politics of Richter's trio of short-lived sitcoms, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Quintuplets, and Andy Barker, P.I. Richter avoids discussing the Conan/Leno Tonight Show kerfuffle, which is a wise move since we're all just as tired of hearing about it as he seems to be. READ MORE

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The Return of the 'Tompkast', Gilbert Gottfried Drops by 'WTF' and More

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. 

BRADFORD: Before You Were Funny #6 - Dominic Dierkes, Shelby Fero

A new podcast in which sketch duo Tremendosaur gathers a panel of comedy writers to read through their worst old sketches, Before Your Were Funny has an in-studio episode this week, with guests Dominic Dierkes (Derrick Comedy, Workaholics) and Shelby Fero (Twitter, The Midnight Show with Pete Holmes). It’s an affable hour of bad sketches, from Dominic Dierkes’s mad scientist sketch to a premise Shelby Fero loosely plagiarized from Bo Burnham to Tremendosaur’s Justin Michael’s sketch that predicted The Social Network five years ahead of time. It’s pretty impressive that a show of bad comedy never gets bogged down in its own (intentional) shittiness, and that’s thanks to the casual tone and the hosts and guests joking around and ribbing each other throughout. The sketches serve as fodder for a lot of amusing conversations that tackle topics like teenage comedy groups stealing well-known sketches, weird Facebook groups, and Shelby Fero’s take on the two best types of sketch endings (“kill everyone or burst into song”). READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: 'Dark Star: Thermostellar Edition'

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/98/DarkStarposter.jpgBefore They Live, there was another campy, eccentric John Carpenter sci-fi/comedy cult classic — Dark Star — a film about an isolated crew of a space ship tasked with a decades-long mission to blow up unstable planets in the middle of nowhere. This was Carpenter's first major film in 1974. Put together on a tiny budget, with a small cast, and with Carpenter partner Dan O'Bannon (who later used parts of Dark Star as a basis for Alien) doing nearly all of the production work themselves, Dark Star kind of bombed at the box office. This was because it was marketed as a serious science fiction movie (see the trailer below), when it's really more of a scatterbrained take-off of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Members of the crew — absolutely bored by their long, tedious mission — play practical jokes on each other, talk philosophy, and chase a rouge alien beachball with legs around the ship. It's weird, it's existential, and it's out on Blu-ray today, so you can catch all of those 1970s shoe-string-budget special effects in all their high-def glory. READ MORE

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Zach Galifianakis Drops by 'Who Charted?', 'The Long Shot' Rings in 100 Episodes, and More!

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. 

Bradford: The Fogelnest Files #3 – Jon Hendren

What sets Jake Fogelnest’s new Earwolf show The Fogelnest Files apart from the ever-growing heap of L.A.-based comedy podcasts is that the show itself (and each specific episode) has a clearly-defined focus and it’s not a podcast that anyone but its host could create, unlike a lot of these garden variety chatfests out there. The topic this week (Fogelnest Files' first in-studio installment) is “Awesome Dudes and Total Jerks,” and guest Jon Hendren, Vice President of SomethingAwful.com (whom you might know better by his Twitter handle @fart), is the perfect person to accompany Fogelnest on this journey through his personal vaults as they watch and comment on clips of awesome dudes like Glenn Danzig and Crispin Glover and total jerks like Jim Morrison and Garfield the cartoon cat. Episode highlights include Fogelnest and Hendren ripping into their mutual enemy Garfield and Hendren recounting how he and his cronies ruined a promotional campaign for Sheets-brand Energy Strips by dogpiling on a contest to force rapper Pitbull to the most remote Walmart in America on a frozen Alaskan island. READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: 'Portlandia Season 2'

For all you hipsters working on your collection of that quaint old video format – the DVD – be sure to go check out Portlandia: Season 2, which comes out today. In its second season, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen continue their dream of the 90s, with quirky artisan traditions – "we can pickle that!" – as well as escalating otherwise banal situations past any sensible point, like when Fred picks up the series Battlestar Galactica. Do like they do. Get the DVDs. Watch a marathon. Lose your job? READ MORE

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Amy Poehler Bang Bangs, Seth Meyers BSs, and More!

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 funny. 

Brad: The Todd Glass Show #64 - Pete Holmes

The success of an episode of The Todd Glass Show largely depends on how adaptable the week’s guest is to the show’s fun, anarchic energy, and there’s perhaps no comedian better suited to the show’s spontaneous, silly nature than Pete Holmes. Holmes dives right in, playing along with Todd Glass’s various running bits with aplomb. Pretty soon after he enters the studio, Holmes comments between laughs, “I didn’t know I went to the fun house or Chuck E. Cheese. Where am I right now?” Pete Holmes doesn’t seem to be familiar with the show or any of its running bits at the start of the podcast, but listening to him discover Glass’s bells and whistles with the infectious joy of a first-time listener  is a delight. Holmes really sinks his teeth into a bit where Todd Glass plays a rotisserie chicken salesman that is an episode highlight thanks to the two committing hard to a very absurd joke. READ MORE

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Diving Deep Into Brooklyn's Own Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival

Last Friday night, outside of the Bell House, the warehouse-turned-ballroom venue in Gowanus, Brooklyn, a single protester paced back and forth. He held a poorly made poster board sign that puzzlingly stated, "No Dark Matter," on one side. Each time he turned to walk the other way, he had to flip the sign around. Inside the Bell House were comedians Eugene Mirman, Sarah Silverman, Jim Gaffigan, astrobiologist Dr. David Grinspoon, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the heir to Carl Sagan's project of popularizing science. They, plus a few hundred fans, were recording StarTalk Live!, Tyson and Mirman's co-hosted science/comedy radio show, as part of the 5th annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival.

Meanwhile, George Kaiafas, the door man working outside of the Bell House was perplexed by the single demonstrator, especially given the nature of Mirman's festival. "I thought it was part of the show," he said. But when Kaiafas went out and talked to the protester, he got a convoluted stream of conspiracy theory and fringe science in response. "Turns out he had different views on dark matter. He was protesting science," said Kaiafas.

That a single crazy person showed up to an event featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson is not new: Tyson is arguably one of the most public faces of established science and undoubtedly finds himself confronted by "avant-garde" theorists from time to time. But the fact that people in line for the event, and some working at the venue, weren't sure if the protester was one of Mirman's put-ons – picketing as a joke – is emblematic of what the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival is. READ MORE

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Judd Apatow Fitzdogs, The Most Awkward 'You Made It Weird' ever, and More!

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 funny. 

Brad: Beginnings #63 - Chris Gethard

Chris Gethard apologizes throughout his appearance on Beginnings, a New York-based podcast hosted by self-described “fledgling comedians” Mark Bisi and Andy Beckerman, because so many of his stories from his past are bleak, but for those who don’t mind these pitch-black tales, it’s a revealing and intriguing listen. Gethard’s recounting of his violent New Jersey public high school days, which involved a race riot and him honing his sense of humor to get other kids to defend him from bullies, are just as grim and compelling as him reliving his comedy world struggles. Hosts Mark and Andy bring plenty of great stuff to the table as well, including Mark discussing writing and performing a song with his girlfriend for her mother’s birthday (the very thought of which makes Chris Gethard freak out), and Andy telling a story about fake coming out to his dad just to test his response. It’s a nice long chat that moves ably between heartbreakingly sad moments and light-hearted funny ones too. READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: 'Taxi: The Complete Series'

Thirty-four years ago today, a little sitcom about a New York cab company hit the air. Five seasons and a couple dozen awards later, Taxi was one of the classic American sitcoms. Get all the seasons together here and have a celebratory marathon with Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, and, of course, Andy Kaufman's Latka. READ MORE

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Fun Thing To Buy of the Day: Lewis Black's 'In God We Rust'

If you have Netflix and haven't seen Lewis Black's newest special, In God We Rust, you've missed your chance. Don't worry, today it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. Fans of Black's grimacing, arm waving, furious finger-wagging, and frequent outbursts into the mic will not be disappointed. In Rust, Black characteristically raves about the absurdity of Valentine's Day in February, the uselessness of Farmville, getting old, politics, and how a little newspaper in Wendover, Nevada wrote this about him: "He's known for his comedy style, which often includes mental breakdowns." Check out Lewis Black's latest hour-long mental breakdown, er – I mean comedy special. READ MORE

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Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: 'Nothing'

If you recently read Melissa Surach's piece exploring the influence of Beckett's Waiting for Godot on Adult Swim shows and want more absurd philosophical comedy, check out this little known Canadian film: Nothing. Part Kafka, part Beckett, and part Sartre, Nothing is a black comedy about two losers who, after an absurdly unlucky day, find themselves with the ability to wish anything they don't like out of existence: the police, the annoying highway overpass, or, everything besides their few dingy valuables. It's directed by the same guy who did Cube and shares the same minimal set design. Most of the film takes place in a white void surrounding their little house, with the two bickering and wishing various possessions (or body parts) away in an ever-increasing (missing) arms race. Turns out hell is other people, even if the only other person is your best friend. READ MORE