MATES and Superego return, and Neil Hamburger celebrates New Year’s Eve 

MATES and Superego return, and Neil Hamburger celebrates New Year’s Eve 

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QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“Dying children love when you show them really healthy animals.” —Jay Mohr, WTF With Marc Maron

“The study was apparently called ‘A Study Of Lunar Research Flight’ or Project A119. I’m very interested to know what Project A118 was, considering A119 was ‘blowing up the moon.’” —John Oliver, The Bugle

“While I respect that there are many podcasts on offer, nothing against them, but this podcast is the only one worth listening to. I know Paul appears on a lot of podcasts; I only listen to the episodes on which he appears, and when the other people talk, it makes me uncomfortable.” —Paul F. Tompkins’ suggestion for an iTunes review of The Pod F. Tompkast

“I met this other one-liner comic who’s doing a book of drawings, but with a quill.”
“Oh shit, is it the ghost of Mitch Hedberg?”—Jonah Ray and Demetri Martin discussing Martin’s forthcoming book of drawings, Nerdist

“If I was a murderer, I would check myself on a flight, and just go for it. You’re gonna get caught anyway, so you might as well get, like, a hundred people.”
“You know what, Jen, that sounds great, but I feel like our right to murder a plane full of people has been taken away since 9/11.” —Jen Kirkman and Paul F. Tompkins, The Pod F. Tompkast

NEW (TO US)

New Year’s Eve Hosted By Neil Hamburger
The premise for Neil Hamburger’s wonderfully high-concept podcast is that it’s always New Year’s Eve in fabulous Times Square Hollywood, where “America’s Funnyman” and sidekick Mike H. preside over performances from lounge singers who take sadistic pride in transforming some of the most iconic and beloved songs of the past half-century into canned schmaltz.

Hamburger has a long history of committing with pathological conviction to tricky conceits on inspired concept albums like Great Moments At Di Presa’s Pizza House (an oral history of a fictional pizza place where Hamburger performed) and Neil Hamburger Sings Country Winners, the comedian’s foray into country-and-western music. Hell, the very character of Neil Hamburger—a hapless lounge comic who personifies the ragged desperation of low-rent show business at its most pathetic—is a matter of alter-ego Gregg Turkington (a label owner, musician, and frequent Tim Heidecker collaborator) committing deeply to a tricky conceit. New Year’s Eve is so committed to its concept that it goes surprisingly light on jokes, and Hamburger for that matter, in favor of lounge covers of classic-rock staples that are largely straight-faced and often unintentionally hilarious. New Year’s Eve features Hamburger at his most wholesome; because he’s perpetually in a festive, celebratory mood (it is New Year’s Eve in Times Square Hollywood, after all), the angry, bitter, celebrity-baiting, insult-comic side of Hamburger’s persona is replaced by a puppy-like eagerness to please. New Year’s Eve ingeniously and deliberately exists inside a strange time warp where it’s perpetually New Year’s Eve circa 1967 in the saddest casino in Reno (think a Holiday Inn Casino, but with less pedigree), and the upbeat emcee is forever trying to make the best of a sorrowful situation. [NR]


OUTLIERS

Backstory With The American History Guys
Each week, U.S. historians Ed Ayers (19th-century guy), Peter Onuf (18th-century guy), and Brian Balogh (20th-century guy) team up to produce Backstory, a public-radio show that seeks to put a hot topic in recent news into historical context. It showcases more of the people’s history than world history, though, focusing on topics like the genesis of home ownership and the creation of the July Fourth holiday. The latest episode, “Cheers And Jeers: Alcohol In America,” was rebroadcast in commemoration of the 79th anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal, and charmingly examines just how Americans went from letting their children drink cider in colonial times to teaching teens not to drink and drive today. “Three Squares: Mealtime In America,” which aired around Thanksgiving, features segments on Victorian table manners, the school-lunch program, and the history of summer-camp dining programs. While the three hosts can be a little hokey at times, they know their stuff and cull from an immense network of guest historians, making the podcast both educational and interesting. [ME]


THE BEST

The Bugle #215: Let’s Nuke The Moon!
Returning from a brief break, hosts John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman dig with hilarious zeal into the recent report that the United States once planned to nuke the moon. The segment is one of the better ones the two have had this year, and that’s not just because it has nothing to do with politics. The original idea is so absurd, they delight in taking it to new heights. They particularly love digging into the Cold War paranoia that spurred the plan back in the ’50s, giving Oliver a chance to dust off a so-bad-it’s-amazing Russian accent. Subsequent segments about Egypt and New York City’s 36 hours without a single violent crime are typically solid Bugle segments, but don’t quite live up to the brilliant, rollicking fun of the opener. [MG]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #189: The Pancake Man: Chris Fairbanks, Paul F. Tompkins
If any week made the case for Paul F. Tompkins being the Mayor Of Comedy Podcasts, this is it. There’s the stellar season finale of the Tompkast, and there’s this CBB where he co-hosts as Werner Herzog. As mentioned before, he and Scott Aukerman have an easy rapport that enlivens every episode they share, especially here, like when they riff on a flapjack movie title or stall while someone looks up a movie Herzog’s starring in. The two of them could do an episode without a guest, but Chris Fairbanks fits in well, hilariously reading a flapjack box and riffing on Jimmy Stewart impressions with Aukerman (including one of Stewart doing Austin Powers). A strong episode all around. [KR]

Doug Loves Movies: Anna Kendrick, Dana Gould, Illeana Douglas, And Brent Weinbach
Doug Benson assembles a well-balanced panel of guests this week: Comedians Dana Gould and Brent Weinbach do a good job of moving the chat portion along at a breezy but comfortable pace, with Gould telling a particularly compelling anecdote about the time he watched movie with his three adopted Chinese children that featured insensitive portrayals of Asians; actress Anna Kendrick is a particularly good sport about the constant mockery the Twilight franchise endures; and the esteemed Illeana Douglas manages to be charming despite her assertions that she primarily watches films from the ’40s and the works of Godard. All in all, the episode relies on the chemistry of the guests and the natural flow of conversation rather than big laughs, and that dynamic pays off nicely. [MS]

Doug Loves Movies: T.J. Miller, Jason Mantzoukas, And Lennon Parham
This is a historic installment of Doug Loves Movies, given how well-behaved and subdued T.J. Miller is during both the chat segment and the games. In addition to Miller’s pleasantly calm presence, Doug Benson references the fact that the crowd is smaller and more intimate than usual, all of which lends itself to a pleasantly laid-back episode. During the chat portion, Miller and Jason Mantzoukas break into an inspired bit where they riff on the ridiculously titled Joseph Gordon-Levitt film Premium Rush. Also, kudos to Lennon Parham for holding her own on a panel with two guests with spotlight-hogging tendencies. [MS]

The Flop House #115: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
The Flop House crew’s analysis of “mash ’em up” movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is incisive, highlighting the movie’s logical holes and the fact that its central premise (that the historical Abraham Lincoln would be more awesome if he’d simply brandished more axes) is bullshit, though they ultimately conclude that the film is too dumb to truly hate. As expected, there are lots of silly tangents along the way—enough to spawn pitches for movies like Midget Abraham Lincoln: Robo-Vampire Killer With Rocket Boots In The 23rd Century and Bikini Ghetto Meets The Baseball Golem. There’s also a brief aside about depressing things that’s odd at first but ends up being somewhat endearing. With a letter from Elliott Kalan’s brother David that’s actually funny for once thrown in to sweeten the deal, there’s no good reason not to listen to this episode. [CG]

The Fogelnest Files #13: Bev, Bob & Beyond
Jake Fogelnest’s curatorial skills are out in full force this week for a live show at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles. While his clip selections are not thematically cohesive like they were during last week’s hip-hop discussion, they prove to be more than enough for guests Paul Scheer, Colin Hanks, and Dave Koechner to keep the energy up consistently (even if Hanks appears noticeably less confident in his jokes than Scheer and Koechner). Between the full roster and Fogelnest’s usual excitement about sharing his discoveries, there are few lagging moments. The gang really only hits a roadblock when Fogelnest tries to spark a discussion about the nonsensical premise of Gumby, which stands out as a major dud mainly because the rest of the show moves forward with such bustling momentum. [AB]

Freakonomics Radio #102 Free-conomics
Think all economists were cold-blooded number crunchers? This week’s podcast flips that idea with a story on Pro Bono Economics, a group of British economists who devote their free time to helping charities with their data. Turns out there are a lot more willing economists than there are charities who want to participate. NPOs usually use stories about the people they’ve helped to raise money and advertise, which clashes with economics’ data-driven approach. Even worse, the economists’ findings might show that the charitable model for many of these organizations ultimately doesn’t produce a positive result, which would make donors think twice about getting out their checkbooks. [NC]

Hang Up And Listen: The How To Talk About A Murder-Suicide Edition
When Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot girlfriend Kasandra Perkins and then himself at the team’s practice facility on Saturday, orphaning their 3-month-old daughter, the Chiefs opted to suit up on Sunday and play against the Carolina Panthers. The narrative was capped by a Chiefs victory—inspired yet?—but in a great discussion, the HUAL hosts see the fact that it was played at all points as indicative of a sick sports culture that has trouble processing developments of such magnitude. The other highlight of this episode is an interview with Paul Finebaum, the sports-talk legend of University Of Alabama football, who speaks colorfully about a few of the most famous incidents to occur on his show, including a Mitt Romney interview where the former presidential candidate bragged about being pals with NFL team owners and a caller confessed to poisoning the beloved Toomer’s Corner trees on rival Auburn University’s campus. [ST]

Mike And Tom Eat Snacks #71: Snyder’s Of Hanover Peppermint Chocolate Pretzel Sandwich
After nearly two months of silence, Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh return with an episode of MATES that’s exactly what the podcast’s viewers have been left anticipating. Black and Cavanagh acknowledge their absence up front, but in a way that fits the podcast, with them insisting a lengthy stay in Asia was cause for the delay. For the duration of the episode the hosts go back and forth, burning through material as quickly as they can, proving that the two-month absence was not in vain. The snack takes a backseat here, as they often do, but hearing Black and Cavanagh settle back into their groove is a delight; hopefully they’ll continue to have the time to dedicate to MATES. [DA]

Mohr Stories #111: Joe DeRosa
Mohr Stories #111 is the product of 30 years of broadcasting evolution. It fully realizes the kind of conversation that Howard Stern flirted with for decades, but could never have until he broke free of terrestrial radio’s constraints—and in some ways, still can’t match. In a previous conversation, comic and running buddy Joe DeRosa copped to being attracted to a transvestite, and after some preliminary conversation, Mohr sidles over the notion and locks onto it like a pitbull, with no commercial breaks or input from a nervous program director. For the better part of an hour, Mohr and DeRosa explore the idea from every possible angle, dissecting its implications on DeRosa’s sexuality and larger issues such as gender identity, attraction, and assorted ontological issues—all without resorting to homophobic clichés. While the conclusions they reach may not be definitive or universal, entire academic fields are devoted to the ideas they wrestle with, and the literature is seldom as entertaining as this irreverent-yet-respectful discussion. [DXF]

Mohr Stories #112: Damien Echols
Damien Echols spent 18 years on death row, due in no small part to the kind of music he liked. Echols is the most visible member of the West Memphis Three, the Arkansas teenagers who were convicted of grisly murders in 1994, largely because they were creepy-looking heavy-metal fans. Art also sprung them: The group’s controversial release last year was the culmination of a series of documentaries and hands-on support from director Peter Jackson, actor Johnny Depp, and singer Eddie Vedder. A muted Mohr shares a chilling conversation with Echols, who recounts a hellish life in jail, where he spent more than half his life malnourished, brutalized, and suffering. Emanating a subtle charisma and speaking in the last remnants of an Arkansas drawl, Echols reflects on converting to Buddhism, inadvertently contributing to his own conviction, and enduring an existence both maddening and surreal. His incarceration’s happy ending left Echols back on the street, but far from bliss. [DXF]

The Moth: Ernesto Quiñonez: Dog Days Of Spanish Harlem 
In an exemplar of the “short and twisted” variety of Moth storytelling, Ernesto Quiñonez fondly recalls his first job: stealing dogs off the streets of New York, then returning them to their worried owners for a reward. To make it work as a live performance, Quiñonez has to strike a balance, not coming off as a sociopath, but not exactly wallowing in remorse. He achieves the goal of telling such a story, which is to draw the crowd into the warped layers of mischief, especially the master-criminal touch of bringing along his little brother to cry in front of the dogs’ owners. Quiñonez does try to close the story out with a broader lesson, but he’s there for the messed-up laughs and he knows it. [SG]

My Brother, My Brother And Me #131: Outliers
Justin McElroy says at the top of this week’s episode that he thinks it’s going to be a good one (and that it might have to do with his being shirtless), and he’s absolutely right, because what follows is the best episode in several weeks. Right from the get-go the brothers manage to make the notion of someone conflating the phrase “blow my load” with the phrase “blow my top” even sillier than it naturally is. That’s followed by a Yahoo! Answers question about plastic surgery for cats, which segues into Justin making a pretty good point about how odd it is that seemingly everyone is able to derive humor from the cartoon Garfield except Jim Davis himself. With later talk of “dilbos” and “butt pressing,” it has all the makings of a classic episode. [CG]

Nerdist #291: Ron Perlman
From the start of this Nerdist, it’s apparent that Ron Perlman’s lengthy acting career is merely the background for this episode, not the main feature. Although that could sound counterintuitive, Perlman’s stories of singing Frank Sinatra at karaoke with Seth MacFarlane make up for glossing over Hellboy. Hosts Chris Hardwick and Matt Mira provide top-notch one-liners, and Perlman jumps right in to join them. There’s hardly a lull in the course of the conversation, which breezes by while offering up plenty of memorable moments along the way. The episode closes with Hardwick and Mira assuming the roles of David Letterman and Paul Shaffer, doing a bit that’s as thoroughly entertaining as Perlman’s near-constant laughter suggests. [DA]

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Nerdist #292: Demetri Martin
Known for his witty one-liners and absurdist stick-figure drawings, Demetri Martin has a comedic style that diverges from the Nerdist hosts’, which makes their discussion about his comedic process fascinating. Martin and Chris Hardwick discuss the difficulties of developing a one-hour special and the comparisons that Martin has carried with him his entire career, which segues nicely into Martin telling a lengthy anecdote about meeting his main influence, Steven Wright. The episode spends a great deal of time analyzing comedic approaches, but that’s hardly detrimental, as it exposes a side of Martin that usually gets lost in his act. [DA]

Never Not Funny #1124: Harmonizing With Pat Francis
Like the annual benefit Pardcast-A-Thon and bonus live episodes, Pat Francis’ seasonal appearances on Never Not Funny have become a tradition of sorts. As such, a few customs have been established: trivia games, Kiss crosstalk, Andrew Dice Clay impersonations, Jimmy Pardo and Matt Belknap becoming annoyed with Francis, and lots of singing. While those talking points may be customary, they never feel mandatory, and the loose rapport of the friends allows room for the countless jokes to breathe in this week’s densely packed first half. In a meta turn, the upcoming Rock Solid theme of “speed bumps”—songs that disrupt the momentum of an album—prompts an overlong battle over album track listing. Thankfully, it invites another Francis tradition: Belknap absolutely killing it as the exasperated odd man out. (If it didn’t feel enough like a giddy sleepover, the episode closes with the three phoning an unknown number.) [SM]

The Pod F. Tompkast #24: Live At Largo
The sprint to the finish of the Tompkast’s second season concludes with an epic live recording at the Largo that reunites Tompkins with Jen Kirkman, closes the curtain on The Great Undiscovered Project, and includes an Advice To The Probably Dead. Although the Tompkast suffered a bit from the crush of seven episodes in the space of two months—particularly The Great Undiscovered Project, which was occasionally running on fumes—the season couldn’t have concluded on a better note. That goes double for the long-gestating Great Undiscovered Project, whose two-year-plus run climaxes with hilarious musical numbers. (Naturally, there’s a rap by Cake Boss, “Step to me with pie and I’ll have to boot ya / And oh by the way I can see the future / Cake Boss!”) Also in top form is Jen Kirkman, whose story about an epic vomit she recently had on an international flight could’ve filled this edition’s Quotes Of The Week. She and Tompkins are always funny together, but they’re a delight here, as the details of Kirkman’s story keep sending him into fits of laughter. In episode #23, Tompkins promised some changes to the Tompkast’s format to make it less arduous to produce, so here’s hoping 2013 delivers more frequent installments of what’s easily one of the top three comedy podcasts in existence. [KR]

Professor Blastoff #81: The Brain With Jono Zalay
After hundreds of years of scientific and medical advancements, the brain remains the most misunderstood organ, a complex object with the broad task of influencing an organism’s every action, conscious or otherwise. Fortunately, with guest expert Jono Zalay, a comedian with a Ph.D. in neuroscience, the discussion is narrowed down to a relatable point: drugs. While not a user, Zalay is an expert on the topic, and has a wealth of information on drugs’ effects on the brain—along with other tidbits on physiology, lab rats, and electric stimulation—all drawn out by a number of surprisingly earnest questions from the hosts. Speaking to Zalay’s assertion that people who watch The Daily Show or listen to Professor Blastoff are more informed due to humor’s impact on education, the informative middle portion is quickly obscured by the hosts’ engrossing new trivia game, “What’s Nuts?” [SM]

Sklarbro Country #123: Flush This, Hide This: Eddie Pepitone, Jason Nash
The best stories on Sklarbro Country don’t just involve crazy people or sports, but both at the same time, which is why the news surrounding Hope Solo’s hasty marriage to seemingly troubled former University of Washington and Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens is such a perfect fit for the show. Assault charges, court dates, a Tuesday wedding, and two athletes who have proven time and time again to have outrageous egos that outshine their athletic abilities—and the Sklars skewer the whole thing with the help of the incomparable Eddie Pepitone. Though that one story dominates with fast and furious laughter, the interview with Pepitone covering his sports allegiances, his father, and the documentary focused on his career, The Bitter Buddha, is also enlightening. [KM]

Sound Opinions #366: Divine Fits, Rihanna Review, Jim’s Desert Island Jukebox
Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis’ visit with Divine Fits drags a bit, but Dan Boeckner and Britt Daniel are easygoing enough that the interview eventually yields some interesting discussion of the pair’s songwriting process. As for the in-studio performance, a couple numbers feel shaky, but the Sound Opinions rendition of “Civilian Stripes” comes off sweet and stately. Of course, the hosts have that tendency to make a big deal of dancing around terms like “supergroup,” but the episode ends up providing an accurate look at Divine Fits’ loose, fun approach. [SG]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: A Comanche Story: Quanah Parker
A continuation of last week’s Part One, this episode picks up after Cynthia Ann Parker was reclaimed from the Comanches that raised her and returned to her biological family. However, the elder Parker was lost to the Native Americans as a small child, and was a grown adult by the time she was found during a raid. She believed her husband and young sons were killed in the raid, and she was forced to live a frustrating life with relatives that she could no longer relate to. Her son Quanah grew to become a Comanche war chief who honored his mother’s memory while defending his tribe. Some sources seem to absolve Quanah of the rape and dismemberments that often occurred during Comanche raids, but hosts Deblina Chakraborty and Sarah Dowdy don’t let him off the hook, painting a picture of a complex man. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: How Vampires Work
Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant mine a great deal of mythology to excavate the more interesting origin stories of many vampire traits. Early vampire traditions such as Lamastu and Lilith were used to explain SIDS and the idea of wasting away. The hosts also point out that these images were of women cursed by God for not being subservient. The legends consistently focus on naughty women who like to eat babies until it reaches Eastern Asia, where it begins to weave into stories about undead creatures that closely resemble zombies. Though the hosts can’t pin down a larger meaning, it’s a fascinating baseline for an episode that considers all the best parts of bloodsucking history. The episode barely dances across the more tedious depictions in current films and TV, making this a great trip through creepy folklore. [DT]

Superego: Episode 3:15
The Superego podcast returns after a lengthy hiatus with an episode that clocks in at almost 40 minutes, which is a substantial leap from the typical 25-minute or so running length. Guest star Rob Delaney really shines in the Princess Pomegranate Singles Cruise case study, and given how ripe that premise is, it’s no surprise that the cast erupts into laughter at the end. In a nice change of pace, Superego staple Paul F. Tompkins makes a rare but successful appearance as a straight man in the Hervé Villechaize case study. Improv master Greg Proops also has the tendency to steal every scene he’s in. [MS]

This American Life #480: Animal Sacrifice
The topic of this week’s show, the sacrifices humans make for and of animals, is an interesting one, but it could have benefited from some reordering. Susan Orlean tells the sad, strange story of domestic dogs who were sent to fight in World War II, and the touching and odd ways the military and owners kept in touch. The podcast ends with a description of Ira Glass’ dog, who sounds at best like an enormous pain in the ass and at worst a dangerous specimen, but anybody who has ever owned and loved a pet can understand (maybe) why he and his wife put up with him. The show sags a bit in the middle, however, with stories from a Portland meat collective. (But then again, stories from a Portland anything collective rarely titillate.) [CZ]

The Thrilling Adventure Hour #98: The Full Christmas Episode From December 3, 2011
Since Thrilling Adventure Hour’s live shows take place only in L.A. and the podcast episodes typically comprise just one segment, podcast listeners don’t get much insight into how a full performance works. Judging from last year’s complete Christmas show, a full TAH means more guest-star power and witty writing, in this case strung together by the conceit of a few characters having a drunken Christmas party. Writing to a holiday theme means there’s one more goofy trope for the show’s writers to balance in their segments, but the episode earns its hour-plus length, even in the show’s most bizarre serial, “Amelia Earhart, Fearless Flyer.” [SG]

The Todd Glass Show #76: Daniel Kinno and David Feldman
The Todd Glass Show’s titular host is absent this week, but Glass hands the show over to the very capable Daniel Kinno. The fill-in host and frequent guest wastes no time making the show his own, as evidenced by his personal revisions to the opening sequence. Kinno also artfully balances silly and serious themes with his guest, comedy veteran David Feldman. The two have a thoughtful conversation about Feldman’s career, his relationship to comedy writing, and evolving attitudes toward political correctness. This is punctuated by asides from Blake Wexler, producer Katie Levine, and the rest of Glass’ usual entourage. Also, in a brilliant pre-recorded bit, the absentee Glass makes his mark on an episode for which he wasn’t even physically present. [MS]

Walking The Room #132: Tommy Ocelot And Karl Chandler
Within minutes, Australian comedians Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler, hosts of Little Dum Dum Club, fit snugly into the closet, as Dassalo fends off questions about his name of choice with immediate self-deprecation and an embarrassing anecdote about inviting Dee Dee Penny onto their podcast. That assimilation carries the flurry of grotesque topics that ensues—rapists, racism, and suicide parks—as Dave Anthony and Greg Behrendt’s quips are less piercing than usual. No matter, as the final segment finds them crackling over the Australian’s unabashed appreciation of America’s slightly more likable institutions—namely, McDonald’s and the South. [SM]

WTF With Marc Maron #340: Jay Mohr
Should you or should you not hate Jay Mohr, as apparently so many other people do? After listening to Marc Maron’s chat with the comedian and actor, you probably won’t, but will understand why others might. Mohr has had a fascinating journey to “show-business middle class”: getting fired after an underwhelming stint on SNL, being accused of joke-stealing, and seemingly courting beef while simultaneously trying to squash it. Mohr is the first to admit his issues with ego and addiction, and can see why people dislike him, but regardless of his reputation, he’s a delightful WTF guest, full of anecdotes, unexpected impressions (Tracy Jordan, Jiminy Glick), and funny asides. Meanwhile, Maron doth protest throughout this interview that he does not court controversy on his podcast, perhaps too much. [CZ]

You Made It Weird #106: Joe DeRosa
When Pete Holmes gets together with old friends on You Made It Weird, the results can range from enjoyably indulgent to maddeningly indulgent. Fortunately, his New York reunion with Joe DeRosa falls into the former camp, as the two reminisce about old bits they did as co-hosts of a live show when Holmes still lived on the East Coast. They don’t get as deep into the “weird stuff” as most episodes of YMIW, but that’s okay in this case, as it’s more fun to hear the two friends crack each other up than expound for more than a few minutes on well-worn topics like monogamy and religion. [GK]


THE REST

The Best Show On WFMU
A pair of horrible calls takes Tom Scharpling on a journey from blind rage to total resignation in about 30 minutes, part of an episode that may mark the fateful moment the show’s callers finally break its host. [TC]

How Was Your Week #91: “Meet The Flickers”: Siggy Flicker
Dating expert and matchmaker Siggy Flicker gets the full-episode treatment this week, and though she and Klausner get along well, some might find Flicker’s personality off-putting and the interview grating. [DF]

The J.V. Club #39: Janie Haddad Tompkins
Janet Varney has an entertaining discussion with actress/podcaster Janie Haddad Tompkins (especially once the saved teenage letters come out), but the two don’t spend enough time on their formative years. [OS]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #89: Anya Marina
A conversation about body-image issues and social anxiety is amiable, but becomes something of a slog during a two-hour runtime that feels even longer. [TC]

Monday Morning Podcast
Bill Burr’s chat with fellow comic Joe Bartnick is a bit too long and drowns in sports talk, which will likely prove interesting only to those who can keep up with all the references. “Nialogue,” released last Friday, on the other hand, is engaging and delightful. [CG]

Sklarbro Country Sklarbro County #28: Gary Gulman, Jason Nash, Dan Van Kirk
Jason Sklar and Gary Gulman’s stories of auditioning for Curb Your Enthusiasm are the best parts of a midweek episode with typically crazy stories, like Katt Williams slapping a Target employee. [KM] 

The Smartest Man In The World #185: Greg Proops Film Club: The Big Sleep
It’s another edition of Greg Proops Film Club, with Proops introducing and discussing The Big Sleep. Only fans and recent viewers of the film will get much out of the discussion. [NC]

Stuff You Should Know: How Caving Works
A fascinating topic is dulled considerably by the fact that the show has already done episodes on the more specific points of the story, and does not linger on them here. [DT]

Uhh Yeah Dude: #350
Some more sad SAG stories courtesy of Seth Romatelli this week, along with a glimpse through the decades at UYD episode #2350, when Romatelli’s primary responsibility will be getting Jonathan Larroquette to regularly take his meds—meaning not just “doing double” when he misses a day. Despite the bleak subject matter it’s a chipper, if slight, episode. [CW]

Who Charted?#105: Chart Remix!: Martin Starr
Martin Starr is a fine podcast guest if he’s part of a panel, like on Doug Loves Movies, but he doesn’t quite work as the lone guest who’s supposed to drive the show. [MS]

WTF With Marc Maron #339: Budd Friedman
Budd Friedman is best known as the founder of legendary Manhattan comedy club The Improv, so his interview with Marc Maron delves deep into the past for name-dropping nostalgia stories. But unlike a lot of other fascinating history lessons, this one is surprisingly moribund. [KM]

You Made It Weird #107: Ari Shaffir
Pete Holmes and Ari Shaffir’s conversation about sex and Shaffir’s strict Jewish upbringing has its moments, but it also threatens to sprawl out—163 minutes!—into something resembling a double Mental Illness Happy Hour episode. [SG]

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