Joan Rivers gabs on Nerdist, Julie Klausner kibitzes on WTF, and Doodie Calls talks shit

Joan Rivers gabs on Nerdist, Julie Klausner kibitzes on WTF, and Doodie Calls talks shit

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QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“What I’m saying is that Mitt Romney is that empty wooden horse and Paul Ryan is a bunch of crazy Greeks.”
“I don’t remember that horse being quite as much of a dick, though.” —John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman, The Bugle

“It sounds like a disposition that was hammered on the anvil of disappointment.”—Marc Maron, on David Koechner’s spiritual philosophy after moving away from Catholicism in college, WTF With Marc Maron

“I’m never too busy for a podcast, Doug. I think I’ve proven that over and over again.” —Jon Hamm, Doug Loves Movies

“Hey pillow, still in Midtown, start without me… if not tonight, brunch tom?” —John Mulaney texting his pillow that he’ll be late getting to bed, Doug Loves Movies

NEW (TO US)

Plus One
After a long break, Plus One, Kevin Smith’s podcast with his wife Jennifer Schwalbach, has returned as a weekly. Since the hiatus, Smith’s SModcast network has made good on a rebrand as SModCo Internet Radio, and now hosts more than 30 podcasts of various regularity and quality, covering topics that range from sex advice (Having Sex, With Katie Morgan) to geek culture (Team Jack). Plus One is a window into the couple’s married life, which is ordinary in many respects, but often far from domestic, with revealing tales from Smith’s tour bus and reports about My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way being nice to their teenage daughter at Comic-Con.

Smith and Schwalbach’s banter consists of contrasting opinions and good-natured hair-splitting, but episode 33, “My Chesty Besty,” comes as close as the ’cast ever does to capturing true discord. Smith still talks more than Schwalbach—as the host of 10 SModcasts, he talks more than most people—needling his wife with a high-pitched caricature of her voice. But Schwalbach keeps Smith in check during a debate of whether there’s more than one way to interpret a neighbor woman inviting Smith and his dog in for a drink of water. “It’s harmless,” claims Smith. “Nobody in this world is stupid enough to want to fuck me, except you.” Like Smith and the Internet, he and Schwalbach are a perfect match. [DXF]


OUTLIERS

Doodie Calls With Doug Mand
Doug Mand (a writer on How I Met Your Mother) and co-host Jack Dolgen don’t hold anything in. They know that stories about people pooping themselves are the shit. They’re number two. They’re doodie-fully told. They’re [insert another pun with a word for poop in it… maybe something with “caca”]. Point is, Doodie Calls focuses on the stories that humble everyone and unify us around our shared humanity—and feces. The podcast (unofficially sponsored by Charmin) asks comedians to discuss moments of complete humiliation, be it decimating a bathroom as an adult or a horrifying toilet scenario from their childhood. Earlier this year, Dan Gregor, Mand’s writing partner on HIMYM, inaugurated the podcast perfectly with a story about how a bathroom emergency almost ended his relationship when he first moved to Los Angeles; it’s not only masterfully told, but heartwarming (seriously). Since then, Mand and Dolgen have welcomed Adam Pally to talk about long car rides as a kid, Jamie Lee to discuss her bat-mitzvah farting days, and, most recently, Sam Pitman to share the joy his 15-month-old’s diarrhea brings him. Episodes are only half an hour long, just the right length to laugh without feeling too disgusted with yourself, and the nuance Mand and Dolgen bring to discussions of people shitting themselves is astounding. [SH]


THE BEST

The Bugle #205: The Trojan Horse
With hosts John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman working their way through their post-Olympics letdown, they finally turn their attention back to matters political. It’s not a moment too soon, as they take on the U.S. presidential election in a glorious manner, especially Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate. Obama and Biden don’t escape the pair’s jokes, but Oliver and Zaltzman aren’t as harsh on the incumbents. A segment involving a German phone service that allows callers to vent is a funny bit that allows the hosts to use some of their goofier comedic chops. The episode squeezes in another discussion about the Olympics, but at least it’s a good one, as Oliver and Zaltzman lambast the ridiculousness of the closing ceremonies. While it’s an overall solid episode, it’s hard not to look forward to next week, when the show will finally move on from the Olympics and return its full focus to, well, everything else. [MG]

Doug Loves Movies: Paul Rudd, Jon Hamm, Morgan Spurlock, Mike Birbiglia, And John Mulaney
Just reading the guest lineup posits this episode as a contender for all-time-great DLM status, and listening confirms it: It’s among the best 90 minutes in the show’s history. While DLM panels larger than three people tend to get unwieldy, this one is perfectly aligned, and the presence of three newcomers—Paul Rudd, Mike Birbiglia, and John Mulaney—turns out to be a boon rather than an obstacle, especially when one of them goes toe-to-toe with Leonard Maltin Game savant Jon Hamm in a spectacularly satisfying conclusion. But on a panel of sharpshooters, Mulaney is the sharpest, goosing almost every interaction with a perfectly timed quip or improvisation; him riffing on “I’m going to be late” texts is a highlight in an episode full of them. Even when things threaten to go off the rails, as when Doug Benson loses the thread somewhat while quizzing the panelists on movies they’ve recently seen, the endlessly charming guests play it off well and turn it into something fun. [GK]

Doug Loves Movies: WMMR’s Preston And Steve, Samm Levine, And Graham Elwood
For this edition of Doug Loves Movies, Doug Benson takes a field trip to Philadelphia’s Helium Comedy Club with his frequent traveling companion Graham Elwood. They’re joined by fan-favorite Samm Levine, who’s in town filming a new medical procedural for NBC, as well as two mildly obnoxious morning-zoo-type radio DJs. As expected, there’s plenty of Tony Scott discussion, which is interesting and insightful—but that’s generally the case when Levine and Elwood are on the panel, given the fact their combined knowledge of film rivals IMDB. The episode is pretty action-packed before the games even begin, partially due to the fact that the panel can’t stop making fun of a poor Dolly Parton fan sitting in the front row. [MS]

The Flop House #108: Passion Play
Pulling sequences of events out of the context of a narrative can make even perfectly logical and believable movie scenes sound absurd, but The Flop House’s wringing of 2010’s bizarro Passion Play—the mere existence of which is more dreamlike than the dreamlike world that it’s ostensibly trying to evoke—makes it sound utterly irredeemable, no matter the context. Because of that, the plot synopsis alone constitutes a certain amount of comedy, and the hosts’ riffing, rife with Mickey Rourke slams and frustrated sighs, very easily puts it over the top. The hilarity and weirdness carries over into the mailbag segment thanks to some baffling listener letters and the guys’ appropriately perplexed reactions—all in all producing the most consistently funny episode in several weeks. [CG]

Hang Up And Listen: The No Fat League Edition
There’s rarely an overarching theme connecting the three segments on a typical Hang Up And Listen episode—and it seems unlikely the hosts were looking for one—but this exceptionally good hour deals with athletes’ bodies and how they’re maintained and sculpted for maximum productivity. First up is a discussion of the Washington Nationals’ controversial decision to “shut down” ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg for the season in a bid to protect his arm a year after Tommy John surgery—this in spite of the team competing for a possible World Series bid. Then it’s on to the doping suspension of no-longer-mysteriously super-productive San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera. But the best segment brings in former NFL defensive lineman Trevor Pryce to talk about a slimming trend among players in the league, which Pryce unpacks with great nuance and insider detail. [ST]

Judge John Hodgman: The Nominative Case
At the beginning of every Judge John Hodgman episode, Judge Hodgman makes an oft-obscure cultural reference and offers “summary judgment” in favor of anyone who can name its source. “The Nominative Case” is the rare episode where one of the parties gets the quote (mostly) right, and it’s just the first indicator that Hodgman and his guests are on the same wavelength. Inspired by the DC Comics villain Mr. Mxyzptlk, Charles bet Jordan $5 that he could get him to say his name backwards, and he went through adorably elaborate lengths to make it happen, including planting the backwards-name in a radio comedy sketch and throwing it around with friends like some inexplicable Internet meme. The case turns on a technicality, but Hodgman is clearly delighted by his guests’ inventiveness and love of comics and old-timey radio, and their chemistry proves infectious. [ST]

Monday Morning Podcast
After a couple of recent and rather lackluster forays into “interviews” with guests, Bill Burr comes back with another nearly 90-minute episode—one of his best in some time—that could be considered definitive proof that he does his best work alone, or at the very least with a non-comedian. His riffing on the environment and his complicated hatred of rich people, as well as the nuanced differences between a newly rich person and someone born into money, is all pretty strong. When Burr’s girlfriend Nia shows up near the end and helps him answer listener emails, it’s really just the cherry on top. Their rapport is great as always, and their responses to the emails are quite funny. All around, it’s an excellent episode and a very welcome return for Nia. [CG]

The Moth: A.E. Hotchner: The Day I Became A Matador
A.E. Hotchner is locked into a great story simply because of the premise: He was friends with Ernest Hemingway, they got drunk in Spain, and next day Hotchner found himself shanghaied into trying his hand as a matador, with Hemingway as his self-appointed manager. He almost doesn’t need anything else, but Hotchner fills the story out with self-effacing swiftness. It’s an ostensibly real story about Hemingway that listens like a satire on Hemingway. [SG]

My Brother, My Brother And Me #116: Ritter Rider
My Brother, My Brother And Me is profoundly silly week in and week out, and that’s amped up even more this week with Justin McElroy’s frequent mispronunciations (both intentional and not) and an extremely jet-lagged Griffin McElroy. The brothers also earn the “not for kids” warning that plays at the beginning of each episode: Stemming from a Yahoo! Answers question about using maple syrup as a sexual lubricant, there’s an unusual amount of talk about sex and masturbation, replete with silly nicknames for sex acts and body parts. Needless to say, it’s easily one of their dirtiest episodes to date, and, as usual, it’s incredibly funny. [CG]

Nerdist #244: Dr. Demento
The longstanding titular host of the Dr. Demento Show joins Nerdist for an interview that covers his career from end to end. This episode could have easily amounted to nothing more than a biography, but with a wealth of hilarious anecdotes to air out, the episode never drags or feels formulaic. Instead, Demento talks at length about his youth, his penchant for record collecting at an early age, how that led to him becoming a DJ in college, and how his show helped launch the career of “Weird Al” Yankovic. The addition of guests Dan Pasternack and Matt Bennett helps give the episode a lively, energetic air that never lulls. [DA]

Nerdist #246: Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers appears on Nerdist not just to ruminate on her accomplishments, but also to talk about where she sees comedy going and how she embraces the Internet. Rivers is not one to pull punches, and when she goes off about Dane Cook, her brash personality pushes Chris Hardwick to take a stance that would probably not have been seen otherwise. Not one to look on the past with rose-colored glasses, Rivers gives a rather objective look at the difficulties of being a woman in comedy, doing so with a sardonic tone that is all her own. [DA]

Never Not Funny #1109: Keep On Truckin’ With Keith And The Girl
Though Jimmy Pardo occasionally interjects that he doesn’t want his show to veer into Marc Maron territory, the backstory of guests Keith Malley and Chemda—hosts of Keith And The Girl—is too fascinating to pass up: Keith and Chemda dated, then started a podcast, broke up, continued podcasting, and now Keith is married while Chemda has a girlfriend. Once that’s out of the way, the oft-hilarious conversation covers how Facebook has ruined high-school reunions, the difficult combination of bassist/vocalist, Pardo’s favorite musicals, and the highlights of George Michael’s career. Just try to forget that Pardo begins the show with a description of a doctor’s appointment to examine his epididymal cyst. [KM]

[pagebreak]

Sklarbro Country #108: Pew Felt: Rory Scovel, Chris Cox
Tales of naked athletes have been a rich source of comedy for Sklarbro Country. That curious but delightful trend continues when Randy and Jason Sklar tear into the juicy tale of a naked MMA fighter named Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who was found naked on a couch in a church surrounded by extinguished fire extinguishers. That incident leads to amusing digressions about the ’80s comedy My Bodyguard and Bully Beatdown, the wonderfully named reality show Miller hosts. The episode closes with an appearance from another gentleman infamous for nudity: Chris Cox as Matthew McConaughey, who waxes hilariously mellow about how the perceived douchebaggery of his new Olympian buddy Ryan Lochte is actually just a matter of folks misunderstanding his ferocious “attitudinal energy.” [NR]

Sklarbro Country Sklarbro County 13: Fred Stoller, Dan Van Kirk
Even without a fount of crazy sports stories like the Olympics, this week’s interstitial episode is somehow even longer than last week. But at least some of that is because the Sklars are joined by journeyman comedian Fred Stoller, who prompts some fitfully funny tangents that extend the running time. The biggest story is the incredibly frivolous lawsuit filed by a Dallas Cowboys fan who suffered third-degree burns outside Cowboys Stadium after sitting on a black marble bench in 100-degree heat. They aptly compare the case to the McDonalds hot-coffee suit, and Dan Van Kirk becomes irate, bemoaning that eventually dumbasses won’t have to do any deductive reasoning of their own to prevent obvious injuries. [KM]

The Smartest Man In The World #172: Chips
The well-tested formula of “Greg Proops visits your city and tells you how dysfunctional it is” plays well enough in Edinburgh. This is one of those Smartest Man episodes that’s instantly a bit easier to get into thanks to a somewhat rowdy audience. Proops’ riffs on chips and assorted British Isles accents work just fine as long as the crowd greases things with baleful laughs and abrupt yelling. [SG]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Pretty Boy Floyd And The Kansas City Massacre
Pretty Boy Floyd is the final “Public Enemy No. 1” to be featured in an episode of SYMIHC, and his reputation is the strangest. A bit of a folk hero, the notorious bank-robber started off in bootlegging as a child moonshine brewer. Hosts Deblina Chakraborty and Sarah Dowdey integrate his broken family life into his life of crime, and point out that he may have turned to crime on a permanent basis after police followed and persecuted him to the point of breaking. He then began a series of flashy crimes, becoming a surprisingly dramatic character in gangster history, one that ended up defining many stereotypes. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: Why You Probably Have A Criminal Record
Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant deliver one of their uneasy episodes on the Big Brother era, wherein listeners learn the frightening amount of information being tracked about everyone. Twenty-five percent of Americans have a criminal record, making the title a bit of a misnomer: One in four doesn’t really qualify for “probably.” But that’s still a lot of people who can’t get jobs in government, childcare, and a variety of corporations. While the searches of such records used to be specific, now nearly any behavior allows employers to discriminate against applicants. The history element here is also interesting, in that every geographical area tracks its undesirables differently. There’s a long list of reasons to listen, and Clark and Bryant launch into them quickly. The facts are more relevant than you’d think. [DT]

Sound Opinions #351: The Year Punk Broke (Part 2)
In the second half of their survey of punk’s genesis, Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis are careful to distance themselves from those who view punk rock through “rose-colored glasses,” as they say. After all, even in a levelheaded critical survey, it’s all too easy to fall prey to that. Guest Ira Robbins not only watched the U.S. punk scene unfold as a journalist in New York City, but also helps the Sound Opinions hosts keep a balance of curiosity and healthy skepticism about punk’s ideals. [SG]

This American Life #472: Our Friend David
“Our Friend David” is an example of a radio program as eulogy, as Ira Glass curates a best-of collection from recently deceased contributor David Rakoff. Beginning with the story of Glass and Rakoff performing a Sigmund Freud tableau in a Barney’s department-store window, it’s an intimate, poignant, and painfully funny hour. The best segment is a previously unaired and uncensored Rakoff rant about the Jonathan Larson musical Rent, though the penultimate piece from an audiobook recording a few weeks before his death is gripping for both the subject matter and Rakoff’s withered, resolute voice desperately forcing out what feel like his last words. It’s a fitting tribute to one of the show’s greatest contributors. [KM]

The Thrilling Adventure Hour #84: Down In Moonshine Holler: “Nativity Ploy
This week’s Thrilling Adventure episode charms in spite of its lurching plot. Things start crazily enough, with a storyline about a rich fellow who goes underground as a fake hobo. The broadly imagined hobo cadence tests the outer limits of the ’cast’s pronunciation talents (“knowin’ you has been apple pie with vaniller ice cream piled high upon’t!”), and gives the writers the ultimate liberty in making up crazy hobo customs and idioms. Disorienting though it is, it’s a welcome switch-up from the other series the show’s podcast has leaned on heavily of late. [SG]

The Todd Glass Show #59: Chelsea Peretti And Daniel Kinno
Although Todd Glass is entertaining when he’s getting passionate about a serious issue, like homophobia or sexism, there’s something particularly compelling about hearing him go off the rails on something as inconsequential as how often a hotel chain washes its blankets. In this episode, Todd works both sides of the spectrum, first by giving some thoughtful commentary on Chick-fil-A’s stance on homosexuality before launching into a heated 40-minute screed about the cleanliness of a recent hotel at which he stayed. He accomplishes all this and still leaves time for repeat guest Chelsea Peretti to do a few brilliant bits of improv where she ad-libs the commentary of a radio DJ and a Home Shopping Network host. [MS]

Walking The Room #117: Awkward Car Moment And Goat Sulk
Greg Behrendt and Dave Anthony deserve a lot more than failures and past glories at this point. That said, when live shows get abruptly canceled and TV projects get rejected, it brings out something uneasy on which Walking The Room thrives. The hosts bring some straight-up, if gross, levity with stories about bearing witness to road head, giving the episode an ideal balance of silliness and comedy-career fatigue. [SG]

Who Charted? #90: Doom-Wop: Nick Thorburn
Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack take a welcome trip outside of the usual L.A.-comedy circles and welcome Canadian musician Nick Thorburn. The gamble pays off, as Thorburn is amazingly dry but still charming, and the hosts seem genuinely enthralled with him. It’s also fun to hear Thorburn take swipes at other musicians and actually name names. He certainly doesn’t mask his disdain for The Black Keys, and he dismisses a dance track as the result of a computer farting out binary code. The best slam is when he explains a Linkin Park track as an intervention to get him to retire from music. He counters all the slams with a charming anecdote about meeting KRS-One, which is a nice reprieve from the mostly warranted musical mud-slinging. [MS]

WTF With Marc Maron #305: David Koechner
David Koechner may have come from humble beginnings in Tipton, Missouri, but from his interview with Marc Maron, it doesn’t seem like his career hit many snags, from his early improv and sketch-comedy days up to roles in Thank You For Smoking, Anchorman, The Office, and countless others. Koechner tells the story of how he dropped out of Mizzou without completing a political-science degree, instead rising through the ranks at Second City in Chicago and studying under legendary improv coach Del Close. It’s an enlightening story from a reliably funny and hardworking character actor, even if Maron does go on his standard passive-aggressive SNL tear, since Koechner was a cast member for all of one season. [KM]

WTF With Marc Maron #306: Julie Klausner
There’s a fine line between navel-gazing and simply being introspective, and that line is breezily crossed back and forth several times throughout Marc Maron’s chat with author and How Was Your Week host Julie Klausner. Luckily the two are among the most consistently engaging self-analyzers in the podcasting world, and their conversation reflects that. Their discussion of gender and various aspects of relationships and how they change as one ages is intense and borderline profound, and while the on-air connection they forge over their similar but nuanced experiences as Jews in the contemporary comedy scene may not prove to be relatable for Gentile listeners, it’s still pretty fascinating. There are no great, rousing stories, but there’s an abundance of insight, and the two prove to be a perfect pair for fans of neuroticism and contemplation. [CG]

You Made It Weird #77: Riki Lindhome
This You Made It Weird reflects the similar and complementary personalities of the charming folks involved. The conversation between fellow Nerdist network podcasters Pete Holmes and the eternally delightful, effortlessly charming Riki Lindhome (of Garfunkel & Oates and Making It) is winningly sincere, goofy, and overwhelmingly sweet, even when the conversation veers into sexual matters, as it does regularly. Lindhome and Holmes discuss college bi-curiosity, onscreen simulated sex’s fatal lack of verisimilitude, and handjobs in a podcast that alternates between inter-gender girl-talk and innocent flirtation. Holmes and Lindhome have such an easy rapport that even though the podcast lasts over two hours, it easily and enjoyably could have lasted two hours more. [NR]


THE REST

Comedy Bang! Bang! #172: This Is A Safe Zone: Todd Glass, Brian Huskey
A promising installment of Comedy Bang! Bang! gets derailed by a poorly conceived character called “Glenn Maxx,” a height-obsessed, woefully misguided children’s-book author who’s insanely convoluted without being funny. Not even Scott Aukerman calling Todd Glass the Save Ferris of comedy can save this muddled episode. [NR]

The J.V. Club #24: Suzanne Santo
After a couple of intensely emotional episodes, Janet Varney’s conversation with model/actress/musician Suzanne Santo results in a pleasant, if uninspiring, talk. [OS]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #74: Brenda Colonna
Brenda Colonna, a comic with a history of PTSD and abuse, seems to be an ideal Mental Illness Happy Hour guest, but this episode’s halting progress gets frustrating. [SG]

Mike And Tom Eat Snacks #67: Brooklyn Salsa
The episode starts strong, but once Mike and Tom start mixing salsas, it feels like they’re straining to extend the episode’s runtime. [DA]

Nerdist #245: Carla Gugino
Actress Carla Gugino builds a quick rapport with the Nerdist boys, but overall this episode lacks in the humor and insight that makes the podcast function so well. [DA]

Stop Podcasting Yourself #231: Taz VanRassel
Proceed directly to “Overheards” this week (52:45); conversational traction is slow to develop over a chat with The Sunday Service improviser Taz VanRassel and a series of prospective new segments. [DXF]

Stuff You Should Know: Did Reagan’s Star Wars Program Win The Cold War?
While this is a decent introductory episode, Reagan’s program is mired in ambiguity, so things don’t get too informative. [DT]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Easter Island (Update)
There’s new evidence on those infamous statues, yet this is still just another episode in the new tradition of updates that are 90 percent rerun. [DT]

Uhh Yeah Dude #335
This episode includes a takedown of Jerry Seinfeld—always a good sign for an Uhh Yeah Dude episode—but after a promising start, the conversation stalls out during a study on the physiological effects of lying, and Jonathan Larroquette and Seth Romatelli get mired in slow-to-develop topics. [CW]

You Made It Weird #76: Zach Cregger
Whitest Kids U’ Know member and Friends With Benefits (the TV show) star Zach Cregger doles out some real insight about relationships, but it would be significantly more meaningful if he let his emotional guard down even a little bit. [CG]

Filed Under: Comedy

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