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Andy Daly takes over, and Comedy Bang! Bang! goes nuts


“There is no way an autistic child thought of Ed Begley Jr.” —Doug Benson on the St. Elsewhere finale, Doug Loves Movies

“Why be formal when you can be fabulously feral? Why be conventional when you can be happy?" —Simon Doonan, on his uncharacteristically downplayed wedding, The Moth

“If you want to represent yourself as a smutty person, out a smutty selfie.” —Chuck Bryant on what a shirtless online dating pic will net you, Stuff You Should Know

“He was putting fake markers all over the desert!” —Tracy V. Wilson on the insane fraudulence of James Reavis, fake Baron of Arizona, Stuff You Missed In History Class   

“Phone sex is entirely wasted on the deaf.” —Moshe Kasher, You Made It Weird

“In ’79, I’m working making sandwiches for office buildings.”
“You were at a catering company?”
“Well, it was two gay guys in a building. I don’t know what they were catering.” —Allan Stephan and Marc Maron, WTF

“Turn things into a game and a race. It’s hilarious how easy it is. Like, when you tell a kid, ‘Let’s have a hand-washing contest to see who can wash their hands first!’” 
“That’s how we get Matt Mira to do things.” –Andy Daly and Chris Hardwick on parenthood, Nerdist 

“Why if they didn’t like it, [Life cereal]? Would they give it to Mikey if he doesn’t like anything? You should give it to some fat kid who will eat anything.” —Matt Besser, Improv4Humans

“Hulu. The pulsing life of your body is an undeniable fact! But deny it anyway. Looking for the answers to all of life’s problems? We recommend obstinate denial. Accept no substitute. Accept nothing. Hulu. Water circles the drain of our planet, always coming back for one more go to see if, this cycle, it will be different. It will not be different. The sky will break open, and water will fall, one more time. One more time. Hulu.” —Cecil, reading another incredible minute of ad copy, Welcome To Night Vale

“There’s not really much constructive violence that happens in the public arena and I loved it. Also, because when I was really young, I could touch hot guys’ butts and they wouldn’t do anything about it.” — Nandi La Sophia on the highbrow and lowbrow appeal of mosh pits, The Mental Illness Happy Hour 

“Did I just talk about Isaac Newton and calculus, and you said ‘It’s like TMZ’?” —Neil deGrasse Tyson, Nerdist

“Corporate shows are a giant, windowless brown van with ‘free candy’ written on the sides. And you are again a 7-year-old kid and you go ‘Oh yeah yeah yeah!’ And you climb in there, and you go ‘This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.’” —Dan Bakkedahl, on the allure of performing improv at corporate events, Sklarbro Country  

“I can’t wait to see what those vaginas talk about.” —Don DiMello (Andy Daly) looking forward to The Vagina Monologues, The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project

“If he won, Putin I think would’ve been the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to strap the award to the front of a tank and drive it straight into central Kiev before doing donuts in Independence Square saying, ‘It’s not an invasion. How can it be? I’m the king of peace.’” —John Oliver on Vladimir Putin’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination, The Bugle

“I saw them a number of years ago at the Glendale Auto Show. I’m the type of guy who goes to the Glendale Auto Show.”—Andy Daly on Sha Na Na, The Fogelnest Files

“I just feel like I understand Cameron Diaz better than I ever have before, and I don’t like it. I don’t like to see everything I see. It’s like a magnifying mirror only soulful, and I’m not looking at her, I’m looking at us, you know? And our pores are huge.” —Julie Klausner, How Was Your Week?


Time Bandits
Torontonians Casey Lyons, Greg LeGros, and Dan Gorman (also of See You Next Wednesday), use a sort of pop-culture time machine in their bi-weekly podcast, which sends the trio back 25 years—complete with the bleeps and bloops of a time machine flying through the space-time continuum—to discuss one pivotal film and album from 1988 or 1989. In the process, they dissect what constitutes cult-classic films, what makes certain forms of culture more memorable than others, and tell entertaining anecdotes (along with some toilet humor). The program’s self-aware retromania is deeply focused–listeners should be well versed in the minutiae of these films and records to engage with the conversations. 

Time Bandits hinges on our contemporary desire for nostalgia, but the show attempts to tackle the stuff overlooked by anniversary think-pieces. The first episode deconstructs 1988’s License To Drive, where the guys reminisce on their own experience seeing the cheeseball Corey Haim and Corey Feldman vehicle at the drive-in. At times it sounds like a venting session over beers, as in the Deadly Prey episode, but the balance can be awkward. The hosts spend most of their time discussing Deadly Prey and little time discussing My Bloody Valentine’s Isnt Anything. The balance works better in the recent exploration into the strange appeal of Bill And Teds Excellent Adventure. Here, the guys successfully contextualize the state of film in 1989 and a have bunch of laughs before diving into The Stone Roses’ self-titled debut. [PM]


While there’s certainly no dearth outlets for discussion of aliens, ghosts, and cryptozoological creatures in the media today, MonsterTalk is one of the few that does so from a genuinely scientific perspective. As an official podcast of Skeptic magazine, it eschews reckless theorizing and gleeful speculation for thoughtful observation of the available evidence behind the creatures that capture our collective imagination. That host Blake Smith has yet to find a monster he can believe in really says more about the world around him than his methodology. What is found, while not supernatural, is often more unexpected and equally fascinating. Who would have guessed that the legendary Jersey Devil had its origins, not in a deep-forest shack, but in the political feuds of a prominent New Jersey family? Or that Satan was originally viewed as a sort of attorney working on God’s behalf? MonsterTalk offers lots of fascinating stuff for adults who can’t quit monsters. [DD]


The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project #5: Eye On Theatre with Don DiMello
Skeevy theatrical director Don DiMello could be Andy Daly’s darkest Comedy Bang! Bang! character, and listeners may need a shower after hearing his depraved podcast. Seething with grossness and prefaced by Daly and Superego’s Matt Gourley as a cautionary tale, Eye On Theatre takes listeners deep into DiMello’s perverted world—a place where he and equally deviant theatre critic Mal Bachman (Gourley) would prefer to see real-life incest in productions of Oedipus Rex and where DiMello’s associate Falcon (Jason Mantzoukas) runs a farm where aging Rockettes are sent to die. By the time CBB intern Marissa Wompler (Jessica St. Clair) arrives, it’s clear that, though this may not be the most consistently funny podcast to premiere on the Pilot Project or even all that easy to listen to, DiMello provides Daly with the groundwork for one of his most committed performances yet. [TK]

Bonnie And Maude #19: The Woman Chaser
Guest Caroline Golum begins the episode provocatively by claiming The Woman Chaser, a 1999 film starring Patrick Warburton, turned her into a woman. The film-noir send-up set in ’50s Los Angeles stars Warburton as a car salesman who decides to become an independent filmmaker. The film gave Golum her first crush on a full-grown man, though the film treats sex as transactional, as Kseniya Yarosh and Eleanor Kagan note, a power play devoid of romance and eroticism. Warburton’s portrayal and the film-within-a-film touch on themes that have become more familiar in the wake of Mad Men’s success, but were much less prevalent in 1999. What does it mean for a man to have lost touch with his masculinity? Can that existential frustration lead him to run over a small child and a dog? The line of the episode was undoubtedly that the film’s theme is: “How an aging white guy got his groove back.” [ABa]

Book Fight! #55: Georges Bataille, Blue Of Noon
This episode goes a bit long, so it’s probably best to skip the first 10 minutes or so where hosts Tom McAllister and Mike Ingram have a conversation that amounts to: “Isn’t Baltimore just terrifying? It’s just like The Wire!” But once the guys get into book, Georges Bataille’s 1957 novel Blue Of Noon (written in 1935, but unpublished until the ’50s), they examine the writer’s use of the transgressively grotesque. Apparently, there’s quite a bit of implied necrophilia, and the protagonist can be described as sort of a “much worse Humbert Humbert.” After admitting they both found the book difficult to read and probably needed someone to teach it to them, the hosts still scored it relatively high on their rankings, even recommending another Bataille effort, The Solar Anus. [ABa]

The Bugle #262: Insane In The Ukraine
Russia’s casual invasion of Ukraine and the looming threat of another Cold War may have put the world on edge, but it’s providing The Bugle with plenty of great material. While John Oliver believes the “tantric warmongering” between the U.S. and Russia could be a good thing for humanity in the long run, Andy Zaltzman happily seizes the opportunity to recount some of history’s weirder wars. Vladimir Putin remains an easy target this week thanks partly to his unfortunately timed Nobel Peace Prize nomination, but media darling Pope Francis steals some of the spotlight by potentially resurrecting the magazine industry. Later, as Oliver gleefully points out that the recently reanimated Siberian super-virus sounds suspiciously like a plot device for a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, Zaltzman wonders which imminent catastrophe is most likely to occur during the next 18 months, all making for an episode fans should hear before it’s too late. [TK]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #274: Oh, Golly! Andy Daly, Jason Mantzoukas
Comedy Bang! Bang! super-fans know that any episode with Andy Daly and Jason Mantzoukas is highly anticipated, as something kind of magical happens when they get together with Scott Aukerman. The three of them are responsible for some of the show’s best episodes, and with Daly making the rounds to promote his excellent new show, Review, the trio reunites for one of the craziest, self-referential episodes ever, one that delightfully ties the CBB/Andy Daly universe together and ends with a cliffhanger—and no plugs section to promote Review even. It’s unnecessary—as if there’s any question CBB and Daly fans would miss it. Comedy Bang! Bang! doesn’t get more essential than this. [KR]

Doug Loves Movies: T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Rich Sommer, and Kurt Braunohler
This is one of the most successful guest combinations in the history of Doug Loves Movies—granted, it’s hard to have a bad show when the jovial Kumail Nanjiani and Kurt Braunohler are on a panel. Plus, T.J. Miller continues his current streak of being a remarkably well-behaved guest. (Maybe he listened to past episodes where he just talks over other guests and had a moment of clarity?) This is one of those episodes where the chat portion is so much fun that it’s almost a bummer when Doug Benson cuts it short to play the games. Fortunately, the episode’s momentum carries through the games as well. [MS]

Filmspotting #480: Groundhog Day / Top 5 Harold Ramis Moments
Although the reason for this episode is deeply sad, it’s tremendous fun to hear Josh Larsen and guest co-host Michael Phillips comb through the details of Groundhog Day and marvel at the precision mechanization of Harold Ramis’ 1993 comedy masterpiece. Later in the show, they count down their favorite Ramis moments, piling written lines of dialogue atop directed scenes atop comedic performances to create a beautiful jumble of disparate efforts from a three-decade influential career in comedy. Among the moments: Clark Griswold’s rainy-night meltdown from National Lampoon’s Vacation and Egon Spengler’s deadpan delivery of the “terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought” line in Ghostbusters. However, they’re offset by less-obvious but equally memorable moments, like Phil Connors refusing the accept the death of a homeless man in Groundhog Day, and Seth Rogen’s sagely stoner dad distinguishing between disasters and blessings in Knocked Up. [DD]

The Fogelnest Files #80: Extreme Vaping: Andy Daly
This episode is worth the download alone for Andy Daly’s story about his early-career experience traveling the country in a multi-colored, Fruitopia-sponsored bus with “a rollerblading hip-hop mime,” a blackballed “New Age spiritual magician,” and an odd assortment of other street performers. As any fan of Earwolf podcasts is well aware, Daly is always entertaining, and even without his battery of characters, it’s a pleasure to hear him talking off the cuff with a guy who speaks his language. In addition to discussing the origins of his new Comedy Central show Review, he and Jake Fogelnest reminisce on the early days of the alt-comedy scene in New York, puzzle over the bizarre and somewhat frightening world of competitive vaping, and fume over the lack of respect granted to The Monkees in their heyday. [DD]

Freakonomics: Is Learning A Foreign Language Really Worth It?
Is there a return on investment to learning a foreign language? Skeptical of the practical applications of multilinguality, Stephen Dubner and company try to answer it. According to an expert at the University of Chicago, people actually make different decisions and are less emotional when speaking a foreign language. This suggests that learning another language is worth it, because it pushes the brain to function outside normal paths. But, according to an economist at MIT, there’s only a 2 percent premium in the labor market for a second language, which isn’t worth the investment in education in grade school, high school, and beyond. Languages that are rare in the U.S. have a higher premium, but are harder to find teachers for, etc. Ironically, outside of the U.S., speaking English yields at 10 percent premium. [NC]

Hang Up And Listen: The Off With Their Headers Edition
The Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT has grown from a small gathering of statistics-minded sports obsessives to a near-mandatory event for GMs of major sports franchises. The HUAL panel’s discussion of Sloan’s evolution from niche gathering to something that GMs can be mocked for not attending—because they should be taking advantage of data-driven analysis—is the best part of this week’s episode. In the other two segments, they discuss the first inklings that soccer may also have to confront head-injury issues like the NFL, and Deadspin contributor Greg Howard guests to discuss the NFL’s foolhardy idea to institute a penalty for anyone heard using the n-word on the field. [KM]

Improv4Humans #123: Mikey Liked It: Michael Delaney, Will Hines, Anthony King
Michael Delaney, Will Hines, and Anthony King are all veteran improvisers and educators from the UCB Theater, so naturally they make for great guests on Improv4Humans. After a couple uneven episodes, this configuration of talent is just what the show needed to get back in the swing of it. In addition to the personal stories swapped throughout, the group has a few discussions on the behind-the-scenes world of improv. (This conversation is briefly expanded on in a quickie bonus episode.) The episode starts a bit slowly, but once the four come across a hilariously immature video, everything picks up. They create inspired scenes based off the current whereabouts of Mikey from the Life cereal commercials and a traumatic story of a cat in labor. With an episode as good as this, Improv4Humans shows no sign of slowing down. [MK]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #157: Nandi La Sophia 
The variety of experiences shared in the 157 episodes of Paul Gilmartin’s one-of-a-kind podcast is astounding. To wit: This week, listener and artist Nandi La Sophia discusses being thrown out a window by his alcoholic father, surviving rape, living with PTSD, and being terrorized by classmates as an openly gay high school student. It’s the kind of conversation that could easily support two episodes, and though each of the experiences receives only surface analysis, La Sophia’s ebullient personality and contagious laugh help create a highly listenable installment. [TC]

The Moth: Simon Doonan, Every Expense Was Spared
It’s telling of Simon Doonan’s wry, acerbic comedic style that even a description of his grandmother’s lobotomy gets a few unsolicited laughs. In this week’s spotlight story, Doonan delves into his parents’ lacking sense of occasion as he was growing up and reconciles that with his own expectations for an extravagant wedding. The Slate columnist has a flare for seamlessly interweaving heavy, substantial context with bitingly funny trifles, so it’s no wonder that The Moth is one of his better showcases. In his extended web-extra interview with Catherine Burns, Doonan provides some insight into the process writers go through to shape their short stories, and why it can be an illuminating challenge even for professionals. [DJ] 

Nerdist #487: Andy Daly
Given that Nerdist is ostensibly a comedy-focused podcast, it makes sense that the hosts delve most deeply into career specifics when their guest is a comedian. Andy Daly is no exception, and almost the entirety of this episode is devoted to the ins and outs of the comedy industry. Thankfully the conversation avoids feeling too narrow by touching on just about every comedic form—from stand-up to improv to sketch to scripted TV shows. Daly has been in the business a long time, and he has plenty of stories to share about working on MADtv, teaching at Upright Citizens Brigade, bombing at stand-up, and filming his new TV show Review. Chris Hardwick and Jonah Ray are clearly big fans of Daly’s work, and it’s charming to hear them fanboy over their favorite bits of his comedy. Equal parts enthusiastic, nerdy (there’s an extended discussion of Dungeons And Dragons), and informative, this is a comedy-focused Nerdist episode that will interest even casual comedy fans. [CS]

Nerdist #488: Crispin Glover
Crispin Glover has a reputation of being eccentric, prickly actor, and while this is certainly one of Nerdist’s more eclectic episodes, Glover is friendly, thoughtful, and talkative. Chris Hardwick and Jonah Ray occasionally prompt him with a question or two, but Glover essentially monologues for this entire episode. The first half of the conversation focuses on Glover’s films—What Is It? and It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine.—which are notable for their use of actors with Down syndrome to play characters who do not necessarily have Down syndrome. Glover also spends some time railing against corporate propaganda, discussing his public image, and talking about his troubled relationship with the Back To The Future franchise. This podcast could probably be used to make a case for Glover’s sanity or his instability—and that ambiguity makes it all the more worth hearing. [CS]

Nerdist #489: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s third visit to Nerdist proves just as delightful as the first two. The astrophysicist and “science communicator” sits down with all three hosts to chat about his new Fox show, Cosmos, and throw some science shade; not only does he declare science superior to philosophy, he also refutes Jeff Goldblum’s famous “Life finds a way” speech from Jurassic Park (because 97 percent of species that have lived on the earth are now extinct). Tyson has made a career out of combining science and humor, and he delivers both in spades here. The conversation touches on everything from Isaac Newton’s creation of calculus (basically on a dare) to Tyson’s infamous “pornstache” look. [CS]

Sklarbro Country #189: Japanese Spike Lee: Dan Bakkedahl, James Adomian
Florida-raised Veep actor (and former Daily Show correspondent) Dan Bakkedahl calls on his home state for two major topics: first, to give his from-the-stands account of this year’s white-knuckled Seminoles vs. Tigers BCS Championship finale, and second to confirm that, yes, local news stories in Florida are as reliably crazy as his Daily Show segments made them out to be. When the conversation turns to comedy, Bakkedahl and the Sklar brothers share their mutual disdain for hellish performing at corporate events. He’s just as witty and caustic talking about football as he is politics, and his temper and deep-rooted fandom—both of which nearly landed him in a mid-game fistfight—make for especially good sports talk this week. [DJ]   

Stuff You Missed In History Class: The Peralta Grant And The Baron Of Arizona
In this episode, Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey tackle a topic they reluctantly admit they did not know existed until a fan suggested it to them on Twitter. But their subject, known to historians as the “Baron of Arizona,” is a ludicrous fraud whose story is well worth an entire episode. The story is almost too twisted to detail in Podmass, but here goes: In 1874, James Addison Reavis claimed to own a massive chunk of Arizona territory, planting forged documents around the globe to claim it as an inheritance, and later establishing a marriage to another false heir. Wilson and Frey tell the story of lawsuits and theatrics at a break-neck speed, so listeners will want to make sure to avoid distraction while listening to the tale. But Reavis is a liar of epic proportions, and listeners will be grateful they spent 30 brief minutes with him. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: How Online Dating Works
Online dating has entered its golden age, and hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant treat this world with the respect it now deserves. They dig into the once dubious prospect as best as men in long-term committed relationships can. But they prove earnest in their efforts, sharing whatever perspective they can. OkCupid, in particular, has some surprising data about how people misrepresent themselves (many users lie about their sexuality, for some reason). The hosts also keep things light throughout the episode, with Clark teasing during one segue that all sites can be defined as being for sea captains or tall people. The highlight comes near the end when Bryant and Clark go over data indicating which keywords help users find someone online. Apparently the key to success involves dropping the words “whom” and “Radiohead.” [DT]

Who Charted? #170: Judas, You Shady Bitch! 
Comedian and Bob’s Burgers voice John Roberts—he does Linda Belcher—engages Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack on all the nuances of portraying a character of another gender, with lots of talk about skin care, moisturizers, and loofahs. Fortunately, Roberts is the kind of guest that can make that line of conversation genuinely funny and fascinating, and he clearly captivates Kremer. The pair find a lot of comedic common ground once they find out that they both grew up in New Jersey. [MS]

You Made It Weird #197: Moshe Kasher Returns
When Pete Holmes has a friend of his on the podcast, the result is always a toss-up. The latest visit from Mike Birbiglia worked, because their evident closeness meant that they could make each other uncomfortable without things getting awkward. But with a case like Moshe Kasher, it seems to have some downsides, the main one being that they go down more than one inside-joke rabbit hole that will probably annoy some listeners. But when Kasher essentially takes the reins to talk about his fascinating childhood stuck between a secular mother and a deeply religious father, it picks up. He really gets on a roll during the latter half of the episode, but before that, Holmes’ instincts seem to point him in the wrong direction. [ABe]


Book Fight! AWP Special Report #4, AWP Special Report #5
Despite the game efforts of guests Erin Fitzgerald and Book Fight! regular Katherine Hill, Tom McAllister’s final two dispatches from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference come off as exhausted people shooting the shit. Actual numbers on the ratio of how much fan fiction works as canonical and how much is slash fic would be welcome, though. [ABa]

The Cracked Podcast #24: Mind-Blowing Ideas About Alien Life 
In this episode, the Cracked writers discuss the movie tropes surrounding the portrayal of aliens. It’s a great topic, but the execution doesn’t feel as effective as their previous episodes. [MS] 

Harmontown #93: McConaissance
Recording during the Oscars means that this week’s episode feels a bit more dated than usual, and the audience faux-acceptance speeches are a bit of a drag. [KM]

How Was Your Week? #157: Aisha Muharrar “Doing a Voice Things”
A monologue ripe with some of Julie Klausner’s all-time great wisdom can’t salvage a meatless interview with Parks And Recreation writer Aisha Muharrar, despite the host’s best intent. [NJ]

Judge John Hodgman #150: Jaccuzi
With this brief episode, listeners don’t have to be Nostradamus to foresee how Judge Hodgman will rule on a proposed swimming pool’s potential danger and a social-media hack for Lent. [DXF]

Nerdist #486: Jaimie Alexander 
At this point, listeners pretty much accepted that Chris Hardwick will interview anyone involved with a Marvel film, regardless if they are interesting enough to carry an episode. In this case, Jaimie Alexander isn’t. [MS]

Professor Blastoff #145 Data: Dan Phipps
All too often, Professor Blastoff will take a potentially engaging topic and hand the expertise off to someone whose primary billing is that they are a fan of the show. Rarely does that succeed. [NJ] 

Sound Opinions #423: Allen Toussaint
When a voicemail recounting a Sly And The Family Stone concert from the late ’60s is the highlight of a Sound Opinions episode, it’s not a good sign, no matter the reverence Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot have for the legendary Allen Toussaint. [KM]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: It’s the Jane Austen Episode!
The hosts create a charming tribute to author Jane Austen, though the topic is so well visited in popular culture that listeners may find it skippable. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: How The Spanish Inquisition Worked
Despite a dark deconstruction of the pious Spanish Inquisition’s torture techniques, few of the details the hosts share are particularly surprising. [DT]

Welcome To Night Vale #42: Numbers
In the midst of an investigation into the numbers radio station WZZZ, the most enlightening bit of the newest dispatch from Night Vale is the latest update from Cecil’s perspective on Intern Dana’s inter-dimensional predicament. [KM]

WTF #475: Allan Stephan
Writer and comedian Allan Stephan’s tales of the wild days at The Comedy Store will appeal to only the biggest comedy nerds, and the fact that he doesn’t come off as particularly likable makes for a less-than-enjoyable listen. [CG]

WTF #476: Billy Connolly
Marc Maron is fighting the good fight against patent trolls, but he’s been banging the drum on his show before. So another conversation about the continuation of the process—this time with Adam Carolla—that eats into Maron’s interview with Billy Connolly comes off as redundant. [KM]