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A Comedy Bang! Bang! sequel, Pete Holmes yaps with Jeff Garlin, & Rob Zombie returns to Nerdist

To listen to these and other podcasts, visit Podmass Central, our podcast hub. 

Podmass comments and suggestions for future coverage can be directed to podmass@avclub.com


“If I lived in Wisconsin, A) kill me. B) If the bullet didn’t take, I would hang out with Mike.” —Jimmy Pardo talking about his friend in Wisconsin, Never Not Funny

“English is a really wonderful language, and I urge you all to investigate it.” —Werner Herzog (Paul F. Tompkins), Doug Loves Movies

“Anything is possible. Do not give up on your dreams, everyone. Because [Vin Diesel] should be having a hard time getting a job at a gym.” —Tom Scharpling, The Best Show on WFMU 

“Essentially, America has once again successfully protected itself from any government attempt to protect itself.” —Andy Zaltzman on failed gun-control legislation, The Bugle

“We’re all in a race to death, and we hope we come in last.” —Scott Aukerman, Comedy Bang! Bang!

“We have first amendment rights to burn your son for his talents if we want to!” —Charlie Sanders as an easily offended Shaker, Improv4Humans


100 Words Or Less
Ray Harkins, the host of 100 Words Or Less, explicitly styles himself after Marc Maron, aiming to conduct in-depth interviews with prominent creators of “independent culture.” With his connections in music (especially hardcore, emo, and punk), he’s talked to members of Senses Fail, Hellogoodbye, and Silverstein, but recently Harkins has branched out to other media. Grantland music writer Andy Greenwald talked about his book on emo, and comedians Jonah Ray and Kyle Kinane have been recent guests, talking about their musical influences. Over the course of more than 50 episodes, Harkins is still getting his bearings as an interviewer when speaking to a guest outside of his particular scene, but he’s not as self-indulgent as Maron, nor as focused on going for the joke. [KM]


The Best Show On WFMU
Tom Scharpling eliminated his long-running Unfair Record Reviews feature a couple years ago after deciding that dismantling albums track by track was nastiness for its own sake. Thankfully, Scharpling didn’t extend the same graciousness to films, as the host’s excoriating take on Olympus Has Fallen is a bright spot in a solid episode this week. Film criticism also makes its way into a fun call from Aqua Teen Hunger Force creator Dave Willis, who gleefully talks about a failed date night spent watching The Chronicles Of Riddick and bonds with Scharpling about their mutual befuddlement over Vin Diesel’s career. The episode doesn’t reach the heights of some of the show’s greatest episodes, but several excellent small moments make this installment a winner. [TC]

The Bugle #231: The Queen Should Play Poker
Since The Iron Lady’s passing, The Bugle has had a field day with all the Margaret Thatcher-centric news. This week, her massively expensive public funeral provides great fodder for not only jabs at the late prime minister, but also at the media circus surrounding it. While the two usually balance each other out nicely, Andy Zaltzman overshadows John Oliver with an episode-long run of biting criticisms, especially during a sardonic (and imagined) eulogy delivered just moments before setting a Thatcher effigy aflame. Also hilarious this week: the minor Australian controversy stirred by Oliver’s opening remarks last week on the country’s comfortable racism. He unapologetically laughs it off, and later the two furiously shame American politicians for failing to pass simple gun-control legislation. While funny, this week’s Thatcher jokes ran a bit long, and are wearing thin. [MK]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #214: You Have To Take Action: Jen Kirkman, Pamela Murphy
First-time guest Jen Kirkman of The Pod F. Tompkast and Chelsea Lately fame makes her long overdue debut in this week’s chat-heavy b-b-b-bonus episode. After years of running on opposite schedules, Kirkman and Scott Aukerman finally sit down for a loose conversation that spans much of the episode. The two have an easy candor that makes for enjoyable talk radio, if not the laugh-out-loud conversations Bang! Bang! is known for. Later, Pamela Murphy drops by as Karen Porter, a hypocritical armchair activist. Though very funny, her character fails to go anywhere unexpected. Thankfully, her segment is relatively brief, and leads into an amusing game of Would You Rather. It’s one of the more relaxed episodes in recent months, but is a nicely entertaining change of pace. [MK]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #215: Time Bobby 2: Bobby Moynihan, Paul F. Tompkins
The last time Bobby Moynihan stopped by the studio with Paul F. Tompkins (as Andrew Lloyd Webber), they generated 2012’s fan-favorite episode. Sequels are tough to do in any medium, much less an improvisational one—see “Farts And Procreation 2,” now getting a third installment—but “Time Bobby 2” is highly enjoyable. You can never quite re-create that initial spark, but Moynihan is very funny as the soft-spoken, stabby, and possibly immortal Fourvel (and his more psychotic, Stephen Sondheim-loving brother). Fourvel’s mythology gets appropriately complex (he’s Scott Aukerman?), but it’s all in the name of the inspired lunacy that is CBB’s signature. [KR]

Doug Loves Movies: Pete Holmes, Beck Bennett, And Paul F. Tompkins
At this point, Doug Loves Movies listeners know what to expect from an episode featuring Pete Holmes: lots of interruptions, incessant riffing, and mock irritation on the part of Doug Benson. But the exact nature of Holmes’ hyperactivity varies with the guests who sit on the panel with him, and this week’s combination proves to be pretty stellar, with newcomer Beck Bennett (from those AT&T commercials with the cute kids) holding his own. But it’s Paul F. Tompkins’ Werner Herzog—back for yet another victory lap after continuing to dominate the Leonard Maltin Game—who proves the best foil to Holmes, with his resolute dourness stopping the relentlessly gleeful Holmes at every turn. There’s a spirit of friendly antagonism among Benson, Tompkins, and Holmes that results in an especially lively (albeit short) round of Bane vs. Lincoln, and the combination of Tompkins’ skill, Holmes’ proud lack of movie knowledge, and Bennett’s ill-considered willingness to take advice from Holmes makes for a delightful—if somewhat predictable—Leonard Maltin Game. [GK] 

The Flop House #124: Stolen
It’s hard for the Flopsters to go wrong when it comes to breaking down Nicolas Cage movies, and indeed with Stolen, they go very, very right. A huge percentage of the jokes throughout the episode amounts to little more than silly language deconstruction, and yet it never grows tiresome, or even slightly less funny. There are also too many plays on the baffling pronunciation of “Cage” in the film’s trailer to count, but the hosts’ comedic instincts are sharp, and the callbacks are spaced out well enough that none of them feel forced. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the film is actually enjoyable, allowing the Original Peaches to dedicate time to discussing Cage’s performance and the “gross rat wizard” played by Josh Lucas rather than, say, the horrendous misogyny of last week’s movie, That’s My Boy. [CG]

The Fogelnest Files #32: Pedro And Man Meet Jake: Cheech & Chong
Jake Fogelnest dips deep into the interrogative mode for this week’s episode—a look back at the comedy career of the legendary duo of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong. The pair’s complete history in show business is far too long and much too rich to detail fully in an hour-long interview (they’ve known each other since the late ’60s), so it’s no surprise that, aside from touching on a few of their later projects, Fogelnest is only able to cover everything to their rise as film stars with Up In Smoke and Cheech And Chong’s Next Movie. Nonetheless, it’s a worthwhile listen, particularly for critics who dismiss Cheech & Chong as a pair of stoners who just got lucky. (Incidentally, Mary Jane barely makes an appearance in the podcast, with the exception of an oblique reference or two.) Instead, Fogelnest is able to sketch them as a pair of elder statesmen who have worked with some of the brightest minds in music and comedy. You know, in addition to being the “Dave’s not here!” guys. [AB]

Freakonomics: Running To Do Evil
This week’s episode loses Freakonomics’ typical quirkiness to tackle the relationship between terrorists and their siblings. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Stephen Dubner replays an old interview with Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, about his relationship with his brother. His younger brother, David, was actually the person to turn Kaczynski in. There are parallels between the Boston bombers and the Kaczynskis—including the age difference, and the younger brother being under the influence of the older one—but David did not follow his brother into violence, partially because he had a girlfriend (and then wife) to pull him into the real world. Kaczynski sounds eerily rational and calm, but he frames the relationship with his brother as if he were the wronged party, and David the aggressor. There’s not a lot to tie the Boston bombers to the Kazcynskis, so at times the podcast is a bit thin. But getting a glimpse into the mind of a killer is interesting in and of itself. [NC]

Hang Up And Listen: The Cross Between Akili Smith And Aaron Brooks Edition
In the aftermath of the bombing at the Boston Marathon, Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca talk through all the logical, cogent points about what will happen to marathons from here and highly reverent attitude toward Boston sports. But many other outlets have already made the best points the panel espouses. Still, Afterball provides an enlightening look at the history of biting in pro sports—thanks to Luis Suarez, a deplorable human being masquerading as a Liverpool forward—and why college football spring games use a strange scoring system. [KM]

How Was Your Week #111: “Ann-Margret’s P-Belt”: Christina Gausas, Craig Rowin
It’s a pretty safe bet that when Julie Klausner has people she knows well on her podcast, the episode will be lively and entertaining. Craig Rowin and Klausner have much in common, as they grew up in the same town and met when Rowin was a student in one of Klausner’s writing classes. Their shared history leads to a riff-filled conversation that will earn Rowin—star of the Adult Swim show Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell—plenty of new fans. Klausner has a similarly strong rapport with Christina Gausas, and their energetic chat moves easily through many topics, with Gausus’ extended rant on her dislike of CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King being particularly memorable. [DF] 

Improv4Humans #77: There, There My Bear Bear: Zach Woods, Charlie Sanders, Colton Dunn
Although many of the improvisers featured on Improv4Humans are friends outside of the show, it always makes for a great episode when they seem to really know each other. This week, Charlie Sanders and Colton Dunn (who’s been doing the Lord’s work as a heinously incompetent paramedic on Burning Love) mention that they grew up in the same apartment building, and it shows. The two play together exceptionally well, but Zach Woods steals the show in each scene where he’s forced to play himself. Through some unspoken agreement, much of the episode consists of wonderfully meta scenes where they trade off playing each other, with each one getting more ridiculous than the last. The back half sports a fantastic scene that casually broaches the issue of bear molestation, as well as a thoughtfully unironic defense of Brad Paisley’s “Accidental Racist” from Matt Besser. [MK]

The J.V. Club #58: Susan Orlean
Janet Varney is thrilled to have acclaimed journalist Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief, My Kind Of Place) on the show, and this episode proves she has good reason. Offering insight into a profession that doesn’t get spotlighted too heavily on this podcast, Orlean offers helpful advice for young writers while delving into the developmental years that led her to her career path. Varney becomes fixated on one specific story from Orlean’s childhood, in which she told her mother that she wanted to see the inside of a beautiful house they were driving by, so her mother told her to knock on the front door and ask if she could get a look. Orlean’s parents wanted her to learn about everything, building a willingness to explore that has become one of her greatest strengths as a journalist. She’s enthusiastic during the sillier parts of the episode, like Fortune Teller and MASH, and Varney asks game questions that not only enlighten Orlean’s past, but also reveal what she’s interested in for the future. [OS]

The Moth: George Lombardi: Mission To India
Firmly in the category of Moth storytellers who could get away on material alone, George Lombardi recounts saving Mother Teresa’s life. Although he’s a doctor, an infectious-disease expert, and clearly feels the profound gravity of the experience, Lombardi maintains an air of flustered humility throughout. On the surface, he frames the tale less as a life-altering episode and as more of a bewildering task he had thrust upon him. And the story’s a lot more powerful with the confusion and strangeness intact. [SG]

Nerdist #347: Rob Zombie #2
Rob Zombie first appeared on Nerdist early in its run, and with enough distance, his return visit to the show feels completely fresh. Of course, it helps that Zombie just released a new film, The Lords Of Salem, and has an upcoming tour, so he has plenty to discuss. Chris Hardwick’s friendship with Zombie only makes it easier for the group to go off on tangents that never feel strained, a hallmark of Nerdist’s best shows. The episode is lengthy and does dip in spots, but Zombie does a great job of shedding his mystique to show his many interests, from horror movies and metal to the history of the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s a friendly, enticing listen that only continues to prove that, despite his work and chosen name, Zombie is an average guy who just happens to have some darker sensibilities. [DA]


Never Not Funny #1215: Wising Up With Keith Stubbs
Some of Never Not Funny’s best guests aren’t big names, but guys who fit into the show’s dynamic and help tee up Jimmy Pardo to do his thing. Keith Stubbs is morning-radio DJ and comedy-club owner, but also a comedian whom Pardo has known for years. He doesn’t try to insert himself too forcefully into what’s happening; he’s just happy to be there with his friend and to shoot the shit for a while. That’s where Never Not Funny excels, and it makes this week’s episode an enjoyable listen. Even the news of the Boston bombing, which the guys learn about in real time as they record the episode, doesn’t derail it. (Of course, they couldn’t have known the extent of the tragedy at the time, either.) Good stuff. [KR]

Professor Blastoff #101: Cars (with George Reddick)
Only partially aware of a fellow Earwolf podcast, the hosts begin this episode by considering the idea that Kyle Dunnigan’s characters are racist. It’s safe to say that they’re not, as Dunnigan does impressions of all kinds, a stated fact that sets off a bevy of new characters this week. (Del La Rue is still the mellifluous best, though Skip Candron could stick around.) It’s still not clear what race has to do with cars—other than an opportunity for the perfect Tig Notaro segue—but it does inspire some extra silliness with their old friend George Reddick, a “fan-boy of cars” hailed as the guy who identifies passing cars by their engine as a party trick. Warm and articulate, Reddick fights hard to keep his exhaustive knowledge from turning into pop-up trivia to the increasingly fun hosts, whose arch tangents work best during Reddick’s ideas on the future of car technology. [SM]

Sklarbro Country #143: Hover Hand: Tim Simons, Chris Cox
Veep’s Tim Simons has one dynamite story for his appearance on Sklarbro Country: meeting Michael Phelps and initiating the most awkward conversation possible. It’s a nice companion piece to the Sklars’ conversation with Simons about the first fan to recognize him. Chris Cox’s return as Racist Vin Scully synchs up nicely with the beginning of baseball season, and this week’s round of quick hits includes another ridiculous Dennis Rodman update. [KM] 

Sklarbro Country Sklarbro County #48: Tami Sagher, Jason Nash, Dan Van Kirk
30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother writer Tami Sagher has some great stories of her times as staff writer, particularly embarrassing herself in front of Steve Buscemi when he directed one of her 30 Rock episodes. And Dan Van Kirk’s stories are particularly crazy this week, including a woman in a sumo suit who attacks her ex for flirting with someone dressed as a candy bar. [KM]

Sound Opinions #386: Kurt Vile
As a former member of The War On Drugs and as a solo artist with one of the best records of 2013 so far (Wakin On A Pretty Daze), Kurt Vile is at a new peak of his abilities. Get rid of the “songwriter of his generation” accolades and the hoopla over his ever-improving guitar technique, and what’s left is yet another record that builds on the last, and even in a stripped-down studio session, Vile shines. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot review Phoenix’s new album Bankrupt! toward the end of the episode, digging into the band’s penchant for shifting between dance-rock and more synth-laden, quieter songs. [KM]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: The Princess Who Swallowed A Glass Piano
In 2010, SYMIHC covered a bizarre family of Bavarian royalty and teased that Princess Alexandria Amelie had supposedly devoured a glass piano. Three years later, new hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey explore some of Alexandria’s eccentricities. Preoccupied with cleanliness and a need to wear only white, Alexandria withdrew even further into mental illness when her family was rocked by a public scandal. The grand-piano rumor eventually landed her in a mental institution, a tall tale that still pops up to this day. The episode later expands its focus to include the fascinating medical histories of supposed glass-eaters. [DT]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Johann Beringer’s Fossils
Segueing from the recent coverage of paleontology’s infamous Bone Wars, hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey unveil the delightful and scientifically ridiculous theories prevalent in the age of Johann Beringer, professor and chair of the University of Würzburg in 1725. Some of his contemporaries thought that fossils appeared through a bizarre process of “fossil rain,” while Beringer thought they were “stones of a peculiar sort, hidden by the author of nature for his own pleasure.” Wilson and Frey have fun exposing Beringer’s arrogant, groan-worthy theories, which had a whimsical (at best) grasp of fossil history. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: How Magnets Work
From the description of an iron atom to fond recollections of magnetic toys, hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant have stumbled onto the perfect mixture of fun science and ridiculous discussion in this episode. The idea of a magnetic field is a powerful one, and Clark and Bryant give listeners many flights of fantasy. They start by joking about familiar objects such as the magnetic-mustache toy, work their way down to the workings of electrons, and then move back into more complex ideas such as Tesla and Gauss magnetometers. For listeners who didn’t pay attention during high-school physics or are just in the mood to reminisce about cassette tapes and cathode-tube televisions—or finally want to answer Insane Clown Posse—this episode serves as an excellent refresher course.  [DT]

Uhh Yeah Dude #368
Cash rules everything around episode 368, whether in the form of imagined Powerball winnings, or the cost of Seth Romatelli taking his “daughter” to a Dodgers game to buy her a jersey that costs the same as a semester of private school. He and Jonathan Larroquette go on to bemoan the state of the wedding ring—the rock on which, according to 19 percent of unhappy ring-wearers, is just too damn small. The hosts might be cash poor, but that just gives them time to reflect on the simpler things, like how Romatelli scored Gedde Watanabe’s autograph, which prompts Larroquette onto a tangent where he rhapsodizes over Weird Science’s perfection. It’s an oddly upbeat—even uplifting—episode of UYD, conversation topics to the contrary. [CW]

Walking The Room #147: Moshe Kasher at Bridgetown
Guests on Walking The Room can’t help but keep the hosts on track to better flesh out their stories, and few excel at this like Moshe Kasher, a whip-smart comedian who’s become a reliably excellent podcast guest, but who fits especially well in the closet. In Portland for the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the hosts and guest discuss exploring the city’s seedy underbelly, including raves and afternoon dates at a strip club, which is the sort of starting point that’s already in their wheelhouse and allows Kasher to add some vivid commentary. Kasher also has a good sense of guiding the riffs to new directions, leading to some quality tangents on what Roberto Benigni’s like in bed and Kevin Costner’s Nic Cage-like buying habits. The three close out another stellar road/guest episode with some comedy shoptalk on comedians signed to music-oriented record labels and why Gallagher is the most alternative comedian working today. [SM]

WTF #379: Jim Florentine
For two-thirds of Marc Maron’s interview with Jim Florentine, their conversation covers funny but familiar ground of a relentlessly touring comedian who never quite hit it big. But the episode takes a turn as Florentine digs into the story of a past girlfriend who suffered from severe depression and committed suicide. It’s dark and tonally inconsistent with what preceded it, but Florentine has turned the material into a one-man show and has the structure down, going over every step of recovering from that kind of loss. That story alone saves the episode from obscurity. [KM]

You Made It Weird #144: Live At The Troubadour 
Pete Holmes’ live podcasts often feature a great deal of comedic star power. The real treat on this one, though, is Holmes’ frequent touring partner Chris Thayer, who’s a bit lesser known but has his own distinctly warped and funny act. In one of the funnier YMIW moments in recent memory, Thayer and Holmes get out the guitar for a sublimely obnoxious performance of Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life),” with some detours into Hootie And The Blowfish and Adam Sandler. It’s a well-rounded live episode overall, thanks to guests like Andy Richter and Holmes’ attempt to give away a Himalayan rock-salt lamp. [SG]

You Made It Weird #145: Jeff Garlin
Pete Holmes and Jeff Garlin share a confluence of gregariousness and oddness, so it’s little surprise how easily this YMIW episode flows. Don’t expect a great deal of revelation or insight into either guy, just a continuous flow of surreal digression. (Indeed, Garlin observes that digression is an important element of his stand-up.) The episode only reinforces the feeling that Garlin’s a pretty regular fellow yet just a little bit beyond clear understanding, and he inspires Holmes to utter such odd riffs as “Algonquin’s a sex move.” [SG]


The Mental Illness Happy Hour #110: Greg Behrendt
Greg Behrendt’s second appearance on the show features a considerable amount of talk about his career, which feels out of place on a show that typically focuses on guests’ emotional dilemmas. [TC]

Mohr Stories #151: Jerry O’Connell
Mohr’s storytelling game is off when he reunites with old pal Jerry O’Connell for tales from high school, the Jerry Maguire set, and beyond, the highlight being a jumbled recollection of Mohr’s fistfight with Anthony Michael Hall. [DXF]

Mohr Stories #152: Ty Pennington
Mohr’s chat with remodeling philanthropist Ty Pennington is a conversation in search of a subject. Topics that don’t stick include Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Honey Boo Boo, The Learning Channel, and art school. [DXF]

Monday Morning Podcast
Bill Burr doesn’t struggle to find things to say this week, but many of the jokes feel unusually forced. [CG]

My Brother, My Brother And Me #149: Terminatored
There are more good jokes than in last week’s episode but still not enough to compensate for a long, groan-worthy chunk on The Terminator. [CG]

Nerdist #348: Scott Adsit
This episode has some bright spots, but it’s too much of a slog during the first half. [DA]

Stuff You Should Know: Uses Of The Insanity Defense
As hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant lay out the interesting cases of famous acquittals in history, it’s hard not to imagine a better episode focusing on just one. [DT]

This American Life #493: Picture Show
The introduction to the show, about the Reddit vigilante detectives trying to find the culprit of the Boston bombings, is so tantalizing and fascinating that it deserves its own episode. Unfortunately, the other two segments that follow it fade into the background.  [CZ]

The Todd Glass Show #99: Tom Wilson
Todd Glass is back in the driver’s seat after an absence, and the show is slowly but surely finding its footing again in this highly musical installment. [MS]

The Thrilling Adventure Hour #114: Beyond Belief: Making Spirits Fight
“Beyond Belief,” still TAH’s funniest segment, attempts an elaborate parody of A Christmas Carol on this witty but slightly confusing episode. [SG]

Uhh Yeah Dude #369
More tales of weddings gone wrong in this episode, but most of the energy in #369 is devoted to the weird world of watching your doctor party, courtesy your unfortunate social-media connections. It’s time to break up with your doctor. [CW]

Who Charted? #125: Live From Vancouver 2013 II: Ron Funches
Either the live experience doesn’t translate to a purely audio medium, or Who Charted? isn’t the kind of show that is successful outside of the studio. Neither of these hurdles seem to stop Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack from repeatedly releasing lackluster live episodes. [MS]

WTF #380: Uhh Yeah Dude
Fans of Uhh Yeah Dude will enjoy this relaxed chat with Seth Romatelli and Jonathan Larroquette, but the discussion’s freewheeling nature lacks the structure that helps listeners unfamiliar with their podcast get a feel for why they started their show or what it’s about. [CZ]