The Comedy Podcasts You Should Be Listening To
It turns out, podcasts were created with comedians in mind. I mean, they weren’t, but they might as well as have been. The podcast format lends itself perfectly to a comedian’s greatest strengths: 1) timely, hilarious rambling and 2) earth-shattering laziness. Sure, comedians have to hustle to get gigs, and writing material is a 24/7 responsibility, but let’s be honest – there’s a whole lot of sitting on your ass too. That’s how we got so many jokes about infomercials like the Shamwow guy, or Billy Mays, or the stupid Snuggie. Because comedians are the only ones with enough free time to watch that crap. Hey, if your daily shift consisted entirely of like 10 minutes of stage time, so would you. But then along came the podcast, and comedians discovered a way of performing without every having to leave their house! No annoying club managers to shmooze, no waiting around while other comics ran long, and best of all, no need to wear pants. Ever! For comedy fans, this is great news as well, because now you can get a regular dose of some very funny people entirely for free. But there’s plenty of crap out there too, so here’s what I recommend…
1. The Greg Fitzsimmons Experience (weekly): This is, hands-down (or up really?), the best comedy podcast out there. I have no idea why Greg Fitzsimmons isn’t more famous, but for some reason he’s never hit it large. A long-time favorite of Howard Stern, Greg has a weekly radio show on Stern’s Sirius channel, and the Fitzsimmons Experience podcast is extension of that show. His guests are usually comedians, but always hilarious. Recent favorites include Margaret Cho, Jake Johannsen, and Tom Arnold, but if there’s one episode to hear it’s his chat with female insult comic Lisa Lampanelli. It’s dark, inappropriate, and fantastic. I guess Greg’s main gig is as a writer (Ellen, the new Wanda Sykes show), but he’s great at talking people into uncomfortable situations (something he obviously learned from the master, Howard Stern). When GFE is at its best however, it’s a perfect snapshot of comics hanging out – busting each other’s balls, being ruthlessly dirty and insulting, and laughing their ass off. Good stuff.
2. WTF with Marc Maron (bi-weekly): Marc Maron is another comic who should be bigger than he is. Smart, intellectual, and a good bit angry, Marc is George Carlin meets Sam Kinison but with a baking fetish and a lot of cats. His podcast feels a bit more “show-y” than Fitzsimmons’, as he has actual segments, and a regular opening monologue/rant. Maron is an Air America graduate, and that’s not hard to guess from his show’s bent, but he rarely gets preachy. Recent must listen interviews are Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, and Todd Barry. Seriously, you see what I’m talking about here? Marc and Greg are offering you some of the best comics in the COUNTRY totally for free. Get on that, would ya! Oh and the Caroline Rhea episode is a clinic in passive aggression, so check that one out too.
3. The Adam Carolla Podcast (daily): I know what you’re thinking…”Wait, Adam Carolla isn’t actually funny.” That’s what I thought too. And he’s not spectacular, but when he’s got a good guest the show is worth a listen. Carolla hosted drive-time radio in Los Angeles for years, so he knows how to put together a funny rant and conduct an interesting interview. But he’s only about 50% as talented as he thinks he is. Of course, isn’t that the case for all of us? This show is one of the most downloaded on iTunes, which makes me kinda hurt inside. Guess the Man Show cast a wider net that I realized.
4. Today in the Past with John Hodgman (daily): Yes, the PC guy. Yes, The Daily Show guy. Yes, it’s what you expect. Yes, it’s funny. And only a minute a day!
5. The BS Report with Bill Simmons (bi-weekly): Bill Simmons is known more popularly as “The Sports Guy”, and most of podcasts are about sports, so if that’s not your thing then you’ll only want to check him out sporadically. But Simmons is also very into the comedy world, and occasionally has great interviews with hilarious folks. SNL’s Seth Meyers and Bill Hader swing by regularly, and Patton Oswalt brought down the house a few months back. The only problem: Bill seems to consider “humorous sports writer” to be equivalent to “professional comedian”, and can be a little irksome when acting like a member of the in-crowd. But the shows are good, and worth checking out.