The Funniest Listens of the Week
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because we could all use a laugh.
By Sean Braswell
Good comedy is needed more than ever these days and luckily there are more funny podcasts on offer than ever before … if you know where to look. This week on Wherever You Get Your Podcasts, we dive into the growing variety of comedy shows in the podcast space, take a look at some of the most entertaining conversations with the comedians behind them, and hear about the latest and greatest news from the audio world.
pod of the week
Not the Smartest Guys in the Room
But perhaps the funniest. A number of new celebrity-helmed podcasts have launched over the past year. Perhaps the crown jewel has been SmartLess, with hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett, who bring listeners along for an entertaining ride of witty banter, inside jokes and A-list guests. Among many things, you’ll learn about the story behind the “Goop” name from Gwyneth Paltrow, hear about George Clooney’s favorite pranks, and be regaled with behind-the-scenes industry stories from Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Jennifer Aniston and more.
worldly wisdom to make you laugh
JB Smoove Wants to Be Your Personal Guru
Daily affirmations can come in a variety of formats, and comedian and Curb Your Enthusiasm star JB Smoove inspires as only he can in his new podcast May I Elaborate? On each episode Smoove reads an inspirational quote, taking such wisdom as, “Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves” as proof for why you should never share a piece of cake. Then catch him on a recent episode of The Carlos Watson Show podcast talking about why his favorite comedian is Mike Tyson.
Tig Notaro’s Toddlers Love ‘The Office’
The show, that is. On a recent episode of her funny pseudo-advice podcast, Don’t Ask Tig, comedian Tig Notaro confessed to actor Ed Helms, star of The Office, how much her 4-year-olds inexplicably enjoy the hit television comedy, and how much Helms’ “stupid face” alone makes her laugh. Catch the two together in the new comedy movie Together Together about a single man’s quest for a surrogate mother, and catch Notaro at the virtual OZY Fest 2021 this weekend.
Chelsea Handler Is Here for You … and Herself
Comedian Chelsea Handler is no stranger to the podcast medium, and she recently returned with a Dear Chelsea, a weekly advice show she describes as “Dear Abby without Abby,” and in which she and her long-suffering assistant Brandon Marlo delve into “messy” issues such as relationships, family and weed because, as Handler puts it, sometimes it’s “good to hear about how fucked up other people are [too].” Chelsea also sat down on The Carlos Watson Show recently to talk about life, love and having empathy for Republicans.
conversations about comedy
Two Tall, Awkward Giants of Comedy Swap Notes
Comedy (and literal) giant, 6-foot-4-inch Conan O’Brien recently announced the end to his late night talk show, but his weekly podcast Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend remains a reliable source of comedy and insight from other comedians. Case in point: British comedian (and fellow giant) John Cleese (6’5”) recently swapped notes with Conan on silly walks, working through writer’s block with murder and animal cruelty, and his new book Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide.
Mr. Iglesias Is Not All Fluff
Gabriel Iglesias has loved comedy since he saw Eddie Murphy’s Raw at age 10, but the comedian and actor is now perhaps best known for his clean comedy and self-deprecating sets. On a recent episode of The Carlos Watson Show, Iglesias talks about how he began his comedy career, how he got the nickname “Fluffy,” the way he reacts to seeing those who used to bully him, and his new TV show on Netflix, Mr. Iglesias.
How to Rock the Third Reich
If you can’t laugh at Nazis, then who can you laugh at? Immersive comedian Heinrich von Arent, real name Damien Noorbakhsh, is either very committed or very stupid or … a total genius? On a darkly comedic episode of OZY Confidential, Eugene S. Robinson talks with Noorbakhsh — inspired by Sacha Baron Cohen and Andy Kaufman — about playing a German SS Officer, in full costume, on the streets of San Francisco — and how to deliver punchlines without getting punched.
‘Your Money or Your Life’
Radio comedians like Fred Allen, Bob Hope and Jack Benny ruled the airwaves during the 1940s. Adopting a curmudgeonly persona, Jack Benny entertained millions of Americans each week on The Jack Benny Program, which ran for more than two decades. In one classic episode from 1948, Benny gets mugged and delivers one of his most beloved punchlines in response to the robber’s ultimatum (exchange starts at 29:05).
in audio news
The Rise of the Companion Podcast
Podcasts have become a hot commodity in Hollywood with an ever-growing number being adapted for TV and film. Now, as Tatiana Siegel explains in the Hollywood Reporter, studios are also increasingly creating podcasts as companion vehicles for their shows, generating an interesting new sub-genre in podcasting that allows their creators to share new material with the audience. HBO, for example, offers companion podcasts for Chernobyl and Allen v. Farrow, and Netflix also produces The Crown: The Official Podcast.
Your Favorite NPR Podcast Might Be Coming to Radio
The audience for NPR’s 47 podcasts is actually quite different and more diverse than the estimated 26.1 million listeners who make up its radio audience, as Elahe Izadi details in the Washington Post. For example, people of color make up 42 percent of its podcast listeners (vs. 21 percent of radio listeners). So in an effort to expand its radio offerings — and radio audience — NPR has started broadcasting a number of its hit podcasts including Throughline (and soon Code Switch) on the air.
friend of the pod
Have a favorite tech podcast that you love? Tell us about it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.