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Let Star Wars Minute satiate you until Episode VII

The best podcasts for the week of July 5 - 11

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

Quotes of the week

“I relate very much to feeling low self-esteem, brokenness, and dad issues. But, as dark as my life has ever been, I’ve never said ‘You know what? I’m gonna be pen pals with a murderer and make him my spiritual lover and then visit him in jail and hope to have conjugal visits…’ but his commissary is probably poppin’ when he’s in the clink.” —Chelsea Peretti on “hot convict” Jeremy Meeks, Call Chelsea Peretti 

“Of course I get paid for them. I’m not an animal. ”—Allie (Dannah Phirman) of The Hotwives Of Orlando on her sex tapes with animals, Comedy Bang! Bang!

“In the second [Naked Gun], I’m playing a crack addict holding O.J. Simpson at gunpoint, ironically enough.” —“Weird” Al Yankovic, Doug Loves Movies 

“I would describe Evan Peters as a more-buff Michael Cera.” —Adam Kempenaar on X-Men: Days Of Future Past’s breakout actor, Filmspotting

“Hard-boiled eggs is the next great frontier in eating.” —Major League Eating CEO George Shea on the chilling future of competitive eating, Hang Up And Listen

“Not since the Lycos/I Love Lucy merger has a search engine and a television show been so aptly paired.” —Dan Harmon on Yahoo! picking up Community, Harmontown

“There are no straight lines on a roller coaster. That’s called a train.” —An incredulous father (Matt Besser), Improv4Humans

“‘Listen, here’s a lesson right here. You got to know one thing: Guys are assholes, and they’ll always take advantage of the weakest, and you’re friends with all these goddamn alter boys, so I want to make sure nobody disrespects you. Because if they do, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to grab whatever you can find that’s close by, and you’re going to whack ’em, and hit ’em, until they’re down on the ground. And once they’re on the ground, you kick ’em until they stop moving. You understand me? There’s no such thing as a fair fight, you hear?’ And that ended sex ed with dad.” —Anthony Giglio, The Moth 

“It is a sort of hybrid. It has the energy and muscularity of a theatrical performance, but the stillness of a film performance.” —Andy Serkis on motion capture acting, Nerdist 

“He just digs up stuff and it’s like, ‘You didn’t even bury a nut there, jackass, stop digging up my plants!’” —Josh Clark on how he wants to murder a squirrel destroying his garden, Stuff You Should Know

New (To Us)

Firmly in the tradition of This American Life and Radiolab, Criminal applies the public radio style of storytelling to matters of murder and larceny. So far, host Phoebe Judge, an NPR veteran, has examined such topics as how to counterfeit money with an inkjet printer (surprisingly easily), whether we can really tell when someone is lying (nope), and what makes a jury believe a witness (a nice suit). But no matter the subject, Criminal is thoroughly reported, engaging, and enlightening.

The show’s greatest strength is Judge’s knack for finding interesting guests, especially when she uses their stories to illuminate a larger question. For example, an interview with the colorful J.R.R. Ziemba about his experience as a victim of assault, and then as a witness for the prosecution, serves as a jumping off point for a discussion of how criminal cases are tried, and the toll they can take on witnesses. However, the show can sometimes be too enamored of its finds, like in an episode that focused on a mother-daughter pair of coroners that fails to get much beyond the cleverness of that conceit. 

This focus on specific individuals gives the show it typical structure—Judge interviews someone about their crime-related experience and intersperses that with relevant background information and occasional interjections from experts on the subject. But the best episode yet actually diverges considerably from that pattern with producer Eric Mennel traveling to North Carolina to investigate the disappearance of tens of thousands of Venus flytraps. His reporting is first-rate, and he discovers a fascinating and complex web of crime, involving opportunistic poachers, shady merchants, and a questionable health tonic. Hopefully, Criminal will continue to take such risks with its format and uncover many more true-crime tales that are just as strange and intriguing. [AH]


Star Wars Minute
It’s hard to imagine a better podcast for diehard Star Wars fans looking to go deep into canon minutia as they wile away the many months before Episode VII hits screens. True to its name, Star Wars Minute analyzes the original trilogy in 60-second increments. Over the course of 247 episodes, the hosts of SWM devote between 15 and 45 minutes a pop to lively group discussion of, say, the minute of screen time in Cloud City in which Leia tries to warn Luke that he’s been set up while Lobot’s creepy headgear lights up, or when Luke uses his binoculars to search the Tatooine desert for the errant R2-D2. A warning that this show contains high levels of nerdism seems about as necessary as warning that there might be some genitalia in your PornHub link. But all the hosts maintain a healthy sense of humor, so things never gets particularly obnoxious. [DD]

The best

Doug Loves Movies“Weird” Al Yankovic, Eli Roth, Kris Tinkle, Dustin Ybarra
Niche as splatter-aficionado Eli Roth’s directorial body of work may be, the man himself seems like a universally lovely and engrossing conversationalist who sounds totally at home riffing on Doug Loves Movies. Poor Kris Tinkle, on the other hand, drops by only to be shut out during the conversation portion and a lot of the game. Wedged between affable spoof icon “Weird” Al Yankovic, Roth, and the boisterous (albeit fashionably late) Dustin Ybarra on a tight time frame, though, it’s easy to see why he concedes so much mic time. There aren’t many low-energy or down moments in the dais’ chat—interestingly, both Yankovic and Roth coincidentally worked on undeveloped projects about Nikola Tesla—but even those are filled with a fun drop-in by “Mark Wahlberg” (Daniel Van Kirk), who has very little appreciation for a clever Transformers: Age Of Extinction-bashing shithead. A round of Doing Lines With Mark leads to an especially cute Tommy Boy callback for Ybarra. [DJ] 

There were cheers. There were jeers. But Chelsea Peretti is back to basics this episode: just her, her callers, and her sound effects. To describe her most recent human-based ’cast as “unhinged” would be putting it lightly; this week’s episode is certainly more “hinged,” with Peretti in fine form as usual. The first few calls slowly build into an excellent middle act with the host bouncing between earnest and sarcastic, dropping a number of mind-bending musical cues along the way. Conversations begin with Kate Bush and end with the revelation that Peretti may be more conservative than expected. Special guest caller Yassir Lester and Peretti dream up some beautiful choreography for a recent Sam Smith hit, capping off the episode with a totally scare-ifying ghost story and the latest in Chris Brown. All these make for a pleasant if not subdued reintroduction to the show. [JW]

The Cinephiliacs #42: J. Hoberman
Peter Labuza’s no-frills, in-depth interview podcast—in which film critics talk shop about the art and business of loving movies—celebrates its second anniversary by sitting down with J. Hoberman, the iconoclastic critic best known for his three-decade stint at the Village Voice. As is often the case when Labuza interviews older writers, a big chunk of the episode is focused on the film culture of yesteryear, in this case the 1970s New York. The Hobes shares plenty of old war stories—about the legendary Bleecker Street Cinema and the first press screening of Star Wars, where he was shocked to discover that he was the only one who didn’t like the movie—before the discussion turns to writing and politics. The Cinephiliacs has always been better at conveying its guests’ likes than their dislikes, and though a tangent about Hoberman’s least favorite popular filmmakers briefly threatens to derail the episode, it snaps to once he gets to the critic’s pick Double Exposure segment, on Andy Warhol’s Poor Little Rich Girl. Hoberman delivers a mini-lecture on the movie that’s one of the most concise appreciations in the podcast’s history. [IV]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #298: The Hotwives Of Orlando: Paul Scheer, Dannah Phirman, Danielle Schneider, Tymberlee Hill, Andrea Savage
For many, this will probably serve as a formal introduction to The Hotwives of Orlando—Hulu’s Real Housewives spoof—and for a while, it’s sort of a jumble of feminine reality TV archetypes all talking at once. Sure, Paul Scheer is on Hotwives, too, so he and Scott Aukerman kick this episode off, but it’s only for a few minutes before the ladies commandeer the proceedings. Luckily, it doesn’t take all that long to delineate between Veronica (Andrea Savage), Shauna (Danielle Schneider), Phe Phe (Tymberlee Hill) and Allie (Dannah Phirman)—each with her own disparate personality and sex tape. “Would You Rather?,” though, is where the Hotwives truly spring to life. The girls’ familial rapport helps make this one of the more deeply deliberated rounds in recent memory and (thanks especially to Phirman’s impeccable timing) easily one of the most uproarious and satisfying—much like the episode as a whole. [TK]

The Cracked Podcast #39: Actors Who Do Weirdly Specific Stuff In Every Movie: Michael Swaim, Soren Bowie
In what is arguably the most engrossing episode of the entire run of the podcast, Cracked editors Jack O’Brien, Michael Swaim, and Soren Bowie discuss the oddly specific ways actors have branded themselves over the course of their careers. The genesis of the discussion is a popular series of articles from the site detailing how certain stars always assume one specific pose or stance on movie posters. Easily the most in-depth, entertaining and perversely compelling part of the episode is when the group discusses the fact that Tom Hanks’ characters needing to pee is a bizarre unifying thread through the actor’s body of work. It’ll certainly be a fun bit of trivia to drop at parties. [MS]

Filmspotting #498: Top 5 Actors Of The Future
As Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen spend the first segment of this episode gushing over their shared love for the dystopian sci-fi epic Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and its CGI acting achievements, you might be tempted to think that this week’s theme, Actors Of The Future, would focus on performances like Sam Rockwell in Moon and Harrison Ford in Blade Runner. Or maybe even performance technicians of the future, such as motion-capture artists and CGI renderers. In actually, the theme is much more literal. The two hosts make their annual predictions of which young actors—such as X-Men: Days of Future Past’s Evan Peters, the only name on both men’s lists—they suspect will be big, big names in the coming years. The best part of this, however, is listening to them bicker over who should and should not get credit for previous prognostications of this sort. [DD]

Freakonomics: What Do King Solomon And David Lee Roth Have In Common?
This week’s episode is all about counterintuitive ways to suss out the truth, from King Solomon’s notorious decision regarding a baby, to Van Halen’s particular quibbles concerning candies. Host Stephen Dubner begins with a somewhat gruesome discussion of medieval trial-by-ordeals, where people accused of crimes had to undergo torture to prove their innocence. One guest argues that the trials were in fact rigged, with priests using game theory to find out who is truly guilty (assuming that only innocent people would be willing to hurt themselves to prove the truth). This trickery resonates both with the ancient story of Solomon and the contested baby, and Van Halen’s notorious rider from the ’80s. According to David Lee Roth, the rider wasn’t rockstar excess, but a trick to see if promoters were reading the fine print. Turns out Roth is far more clever than his costume choices would suggest. [NC]

Hang Up And ListenThe Going Mouth To Mouth Edition
Hang Up And Listen’s recent dabbling with “the beautiful game” has produced some bungling World Cup cross talk, but a conversation about a repulsive competition yields considerably better results in this installment. Major League Eating CEO George Shea joins HUAL to discuss events like the Fourth Of July hot dog eating contest, a competition that measures entrants’ ability to quickly dunk hot dogs in water, ingest the tubular meat, and not throw up. Shea is an unabashed pitchman, but the interview never turns into an advertisement for the league. While a clip of the CEO introducing “champion” Joey Chestnut is a must-listen for its uber-carny batshit insanity, Shea is also a thoughtful, compelling interview. Stick around until the end of the episode for Josh Levin’s engaging segment on the history of filming attractive female spectators during sporting events, a practice pioneered by sports and softcore film director Andy Sidaris. [TC]

Harmontown #106: Pakisnap!: Greg Proops, Kumail Nanjiani
About 20 minutes in, Dan Harmon unceremoniously reveals he’s incredibly selective about which episodes of Harmontown he listens to after recording them. But only halfway through “Pakisnap!,” he says he’s sure it’ll make the cut. That’s mostly because the entire episode flows along an unpredictable stream of consciousness covering everything from the strained relationship between Siskel and Ebert to the finer points of necrophilia. Everyone seems eager to share some of their more personal and disturbing stories: Kumail Nanjiani remembers nearly being molested on a plane when he was 9 years old, and Erin McGathy tells the heartbreaking tale of the day she watched her mother die. Greg Proops is there to steamroll whatever he can (especially the round of D&D) and while the subject matter is sometimes a little more serious than usual, the sardonic tone remains the same, making for a hilarious episode with some unexpected emotional resonance. [TK]

Hollywood Handbook #40: Aubrey Plaza
Aubrey Plaza turns out to be a surprisingly weak guest for Hollywood Handbook. Coming off as either unable or unwilling to play Hayes Davenport and Sean Clements’ games, she drops or smacks down most of the setups lobbed her way, opting to portray herself as being above her hosts’ tomfoolery. If this is a character choice, it’s a poor one. And if not, it’s just confounding, as she’s a seasoned improviser with a solid background in Yes-And 101. Luckily, the first half of the episode makes up for the latter, as Andy Kneis is in the studio as Rob Reiner’s son, who, for some reason, is working for Davenport and Clements as an intern/human punching bag. Tasked with watching and reviewing the new Tom Cruise sci-fi vehicle, Edge Of Tomorrow, Andy Reiner can do no right in his bosses’ eyes. This is what quality game-playing sounds like. [DD]

Improv4Humans #142: LIVE from the Blue Whale Comedy Festival in Tulsa: Joe Wengert, Betsy Sodaro, Jon Gabrus
Live shows always feel like a gamble for Improv4Humans. In the studio, faltering scenes have no trouble bouncing back, but add a lukewarm audience to the mix and the whole show can crumble. Luckily for us, Tulsa brings only the best vibes for this week’s live episode taped at the Blue Whale Comedy Festival. Even better than the receptive crowd, Matt Besser’s guests are in rare form, playing off each other perfectly. There’s Betsy Sodaro, who brings a bizarrely madcap and borderline infantile energy to the show, Joe Wengert, who’s one of the cleverest comedians in the game, and the always disgusting Jon Gabrus. Besser is wise to feed off the crowd’s goodwill, and launches off a rapid-fire series of next-level scenes based only off of one-word suggestions. There are enough brilliant callbacks to make this episode an essential from start to finish. [MK]

The Moth: Anthony Giglio: Listen Here, Fancy Pants!   
Sommelier Anthony Giglio’s upbringing is a true-to-live Scorsese drama, complete with two different names and columns for his father’s obituary--one for his family, and one for his family. Not quite a made man, Giglio recounts how he was the next closest thing, which didn’t bode well for his own softer disposition. In his family’s eyes, a missing propensity toward violence spelled questionable sexuality, making a terrible sex talk—one oddly more about how to win a fist fight with a man than how to be safe and how to treat a partner—much, much worse. Unfit for radio due to public-radio-unfriendly language, Giglio’s story is the exact type best suited for the podcast, mainly because it’s actually new to listeners. It’s a laugh-out-loud, absolutely touching must-listen. [DJ]

Nerdist #545: Andy Serkis
This is the rare Nerdist episode that could actually benefit from extra time. At just under an hour, it feels like Chris Hardwick and Jonah Ray barely scratch the surface with their guest Andy Serkis—who’s best known for pioneering motion-capture acting in Lord Of The Rings, but is also a self-proclaimed “jack of all trades” who dabbles in the visual arts, music, screenwriting, and directing. This episode touches on everything from Serkis’ Iraqi heritage to his theatrical background to his career-defining role as Gollum. After a fascinating discussion of the development of motion capture, the conversation then moves to Serkis’ burgeoning directing career, which includes working as a second unit director on the Hobbit films and helming one of those upcoming adaptions of The Jungle Book. Serkis seems at first unprepared for the Nerdist format, but once he settles in he offers some wonderfully thoughtful contemplations on art and movie making. [CS]

Never Not Funny #1423: Todd Levin
In his first appearance since Never Not Funny became part of the Earwolf family, Todd Levin—comedian and writer for TBS’ Conan—carries a casual confidence with him onto this week’s show. He mixes easily with Jimmy Pardo, Matt Belknap, and the whole NNF team, as they easily jump from topic to topic with the laid-back energy of bunch of guys hanging out on a porch. Though nobody ever seems to be making a concerted effort to keep things entertaining, the laughs are plentiful and the conversation interesting. Among the important subjects discussed during their hour-long conversation are: the appropriate type of music for a fireworks display, whether or not Jews should bend over to pick up money thrown at them, and who can get away with wearing a “grown-up hat.” The best part of the show, though, is the pile-on hate-fest that is for some reason directed at the Beach Boys. [DD]

99 Percent Invisible #122: “Good Egress”
Fire escapes, staircases, and alarms are everywhere, but after grade school almost no one really spends any time thinking about them. That’s not the case for architects, who are required to build around egress, or the exit system any building needs in case of a fire. This week’s 99PI talks about the history of fire safety, from baskets and ropes stuffed in fake washing machines to a patent for parachute hats and rubber shoes to the state-of-the-art fire stairways inside the new Freedom Tower in New York. It’s an interesting chat, especially when discussion leads to the famous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, which killed over 100 workers in one day in New York’s Greenwich Village, but did almost no damage to the actual factory building. [ME]

Sklarbro Country #207: I Had A Monkey: Taylor Negron, James Adomian
Randy and Jason Sklar make a great choice when they invite highly recognizable comedic character actor Taylor Negron into Sklarbro Country. The Sklars kick the conversation off with discussion of Negron’s short but memorable role as the pizza guy in Fast Times At Ridgemont High. The conversation progresses into Negron discussing his friendship and collaborations with Fast Times screenwriter Amy Heckerling as well as his own long and storied career as an actor, comedian, and writer. Negron displays a certain comfort and ease in his own skin that comes across in the interview. The episode saves the strongest part for last with a hilarious and inspired “Jesse Ventura” call from James Adomian. [MS]

Sound Opinions #450: Buried Treasures & Brian Eno
Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot follow up their Best Of 2014 (So Far) special with an unfortunately rare Buried Treasures episode, endorsing “artists you may not have heard, but certainly should.” The Amy Winehouse-inspired Los Angeles duo Kan Wakan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s French-pop project Got A Girl, the Australian shoegazer Courtney Barnett, the drum and piano Claudettes, the bounce phenom Big Freedia, the electronic folkster Sylvan Esso, the garage pop-punk band Tweens, and the reunion record from ’90s punk pioneers The Muffs come together as this batch of Buried Treasures and show DeRogatis and Kot as the tastemakers they’ve always been. Lengthy reviews of the new albums from First Aid Kit and DeRogatis’s beloved Brian Eno conclude another Sound Opinions recommendation show, and their measured respect for both give them all kinds of new perspectives to enjoy by. [NJ]

Stuff You Should Know: How Grass Works? Yes, How Grass Works
Though SYSK hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant joke that the topic of this episode is boring, they find plenty of historic hooks to make lawns a fascinating topic. The most interesting note is the first one they hit: Turf grass is not native to the Americas. After importing seeds from the U.K. in the 19th century, lawn care has developed into a $30-billion-a-year industry. There are also thousands of breeds of grass, which include crops like corn, rice, and sugar. But beyond interesting history, both Clark and Bryant have gardening experience. And Clark in particular is engaged in a hilarious war with a squirrel who is destroying his crops and driving him insane. This silly, but personal investment in the world of plant life on one’s property gives the proceedings a charming air. And if you’re lucky enough to keep a lawn, there are tips on how to make it look lovely and vermin free. [DT]

WTF  #512: Gabriel Iglesias
Marc Maron has talked at length both in his stand-up and on his podcast about coping with his anger issues, and about his attempts to change those aspects of himself that are not so easy to change. His conversation with Gabriel Iglesias, though, seems like proof positive that he has actually made some solid progress in that regard—it’s hard to imagine at any point in the past hearing a comedian guest on WTF talk so candidly and unabashedly about the fact that they actively and consciously calculate their public image and “brand” as Iglesias does here without Maron giving them a massive amount of shit and brooding about the integrity of stand-up comedy. But with Iglesias he seems not only understanding but even sympathetic. Beyond the novelty of that, Iglesias’ story is just an outright interesting, if somewhat straightforward one, more than capable of keeping one’s attention for an hour. [CG]

You Made It Weird #215: Sinbad
Sinbad is the kind of performer who feeds off the energy of his audience—the more they’re into it, the more he has to give—and, since it’s hard to imagine a more receptive audience than Pete Holmes, he’s firing on all cylinders in this conversation. And, unlike most other episodes, in which Holmes drives the conversation, Sinbad is in full control here, leaving his host with no choice but to try and keep up, as he walks through his directionless pre-comedy days and the schemes he used to push his way into the upper tiers of stand-up. Though his stories aren’t always the most believable—he never bombed onstage, but he did teach himself to astrally project himself across the country—they’re always fast-paced and peppered with enough details to make them a pleasure to hear. The man knows how to keep people listening. [DD]

The rest

Book Fight! #64: Anita Konkka, A Fool’s Paradise
This week’s book is Anita Konkka’s 1988 novel, A Fool’s Paradise, and despite an episode that runs well over an hour, it’s not clear what the book is about or what the hosts thought of it. Perhaps the heat or the summer-school schedule is getting to them, but they have some trouble sticking to a topic. [AB]

How Was Your Week #175: James Poniewozick “Barbershop Quartet of Bullying Doom”
Julie Klausner chats with TIME’s James Poniewozik about the difference between watching television as a critic and as a “civilian”—and which shows he keeps up with for which reasons—after an all-over-the-place monologue. [NJ]

Judge John Hodgman #168: Queasy Rider
In this week’s sole case, the plaintiff wants her theme-park-veteran boyfriend to drop his reservations and experience a new Disneyland ride. File under “People With Too Much Time On Their Hands Revel In Their Delightful Lifestyle, Part 48.” [DXF]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #181: Lauren Hennessy
Lauren Hennessy talks compellingly about life as a transgender woman in this installment, but the conversation lags in the second half. While Paul Gilmartin says he doesn’t want to make Hennessy’s gender identity the episode’s sole focus, the discussion ends with what feels like an incomplete picture of his guest. [TC]

Nerdist #543: Alfred Molina
Chris Hardwick sits down for a one-on-one chat with veteran actor Alfred Molina who is best known for playing villains in such fare as Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Spider-Man 2. Hardwick and Molina have a very laser-focused and refined discussion on the craft of acting, so it may be a little too inside baseball for non-thespian listeners. [MS]

Nerdist #544: Jessica Chobot
While she has an interesting perspective on marriage, motherhood, and the expanding “nerd” market, Jessica Chobot—who hosts Nerdist’s daily news YouTube series—just isn’t quite enough of a known entity to make this podcast a must listen. [CS]

Professor Blastoff #163: Planning: Andy Wood
Professional comedy-festival producer Andy Wood hops into the hatch to talk about his time-tested “start a Google doc and call your friends” method for planning his projects. [NJ]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: The Battle Of  Mons And The Angels That Followed
The subject matter of the Battle Of Mons and its supernatural overtones sounds compelling enough, and Tracy V. Wilson has an old classmate to thank for the inspiration. Unfortunately the mysterious nature of ghost stories is undercut by the academic nature of Stuff You Missed In History Class, and the episode becomes a rather standard “nothing to see here” recounting of this World War I legend. [DT] 

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Suleiman The Magnificent
With a name and title like Suleiman The Magnificent, it stands to reason that there is an intriguing tale worth telling. And Stuff You Missed In History Class hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey do there best to tell it, spending ten minutes or so building up Suleiman’s unusual claim to the Ottoman Empire’s throne. But ultimately Suleiman’s role in frightening wars is rather minor, and his renaissance man talents do not come into play. [DT]  

Stuff You Should Know: Is Brain Size Related To Intelligence?
On a particularly inconsequential episode of Stuff You Should Know, hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant compare studies that reveal brain size has little to do with intelligence. It’s interesting to note that tests can increase brain matter until it nearly pops one’s skull, and that unchecked growth may be tied to autism. But the lack of an answer and a little too much complaining that scientific names are weird keep the conversation from maintaining a flow. [DT]

Who Charted? #188: Summah Donkey
Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack are put in a tough position when guest and Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch fails to show up for his scheduled guest appearance. Kremer and Vilaysack are clearly befuddled by the no-show, but they manage to pull off a decent episode on their lonesome. [MS]

WTF #513: Brian Frazer
All the fixings for a great WTF are here: anger issues, death, God, secret lives, and so on. Unfortunately, the “tightly wound” (in Marc Maron’s own words) comic uses most opportunities for a compelling narrative to plug Zoloft and healthy eating rather than explore his career, neuroses, or anything of substance, really. [JW]