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Marc Maron has a new relationship, and The Flop House rips R.I.P.D.

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


“Corey is writing us, as so many do, to share a couple of bits of pedantry.” —Bailiff Jesse Thorn, Judge John Hodgman

“There’s only one place where ghosts and sex intersect. And that’s the blowjob scene in Ghostbusters.” —Elliott Kalan, The Flop House

“I’m not here to hurt you. I’m here to save you in maybe a painful way.” —Jesse Ventura (James Adomian), Comedy Bang! Bang!

“I’m the King Of Rotterdam, check out my shoes!” —Host Josh Clark, on the good feelings new shoes bring, Stuff You Should Know

“Nick Cave, maybe? We could do a podcast on him.” —Host Chuck Bryant, on the abundant number of episodes his podcast dedicates to caves, Stuff You Should Know

“The food and the sex go together in Casanova’s world.”
“As opposed to food and maps.”

—Hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey describe the better skills of Giacomo Casanova, Stuff You Missed In History Class

“I am suddenly visited by the blessing of this word, ‘awkward,’ which everyone in [my son’s] generation uses. Things are either ‘random’ or they’re ‘awkward.’ I knew at that moment what a great blessing that word was because my father’s generation had to agonize about everything... my generation is obsessed with appropriate/inappropriate... his generation is concerned only about grace.” —Adam Gopnik, The Moth 

“I was sort of like new wave/dance/Duran Duran/straight edge. There was not much intersection. I was the intersection.” —Aimee Mann, on who she was in high school, Who Charted?

“Is it too early to talk about my gynecologist?” —Maria Thayer, How Was Your Week?

“If you’re in a position to fire Adam Goldberg, can you even bring yourself to not do it?” —Kumail Nanjiani, Harmontown

“Walk signals across the whole of Night Vale are malfunctioning. Of course, usually they show either a graphic photo of a run-over pedestrian, indicating you should wait, or time-lapse photography of flowers wilting, indicating that it is safe to cross. But this morning, commuters all over Night Vale are reporting that, bafflingly, they now all have just the word ‘WALK’ in bold, white letters.” —Cecil Palmer, Welcome To Night Vale

“It really takes a special talent to out-rage Adam Sandler... It’s indicative of the way that he could momentarily steal an entire movie, pretty much from anyone.” —Josh Larsen on Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Punch Drunk Love performance, Filmspotting

“My favorite swear word is ‘fiddlesticks’! Oh my god I said it out loud!” —Tom Lenk impersonating Zooey Deschanel, Nerdist

“I watch sports to see someone’s world fall apart.” —John Oliver, explaining how the carefree attitude of snowboarders ruins the Olympics, The Bugle


Man School With Caleb Bacon
A slight sidestep from the “comedians interviewing comedians about comedy things” podcast genre, Man School With Caleb Bacon at least feints at something more interesting. The conceit is that it’s a series of lessons by men with useful life experiences for enriching the lives of other men. Aside from Bacon’s guest list being exclusively male, there’s not much man-centric about it. In fact, it seems possible that the testosterone angle does the show a disservice by discouraging half its potential audience and summoning up expectations of dick jokes, playful misogyny, and red-meat enthusiasm—it even has the word “bacon” in its title. The show is considerably more inclusive and thoughtful than its name might suggest. That said, it’s still much more of a conventional interview show than a collection of lessons. 

For instance, when Bacon interviewed Iranian-born comedian Maz Jobrani about his experiences immigrating to the United States at the age of 6—after the Iranian Revolution—it’s enlightening, but it’s unlikely listeners will learn any more valuable “lessons” from it than they would from Jobrani’s 2010 WTF episode. And while it is fascinating to hear Jake Pentland explain the craziness of growing up with Roseanne Barr for a mother, there’s not much helpful info to be gleaned unless listeners will be dealing with a coked-up Tom Arnold sometime soon. Of all the recent episodes, Papa Joe Aviance’s—in which he recounts losing 250 pounds—comes the closest to useful. Really though, this is nitpicky criticism. It’s a better-than-average interview show with a charismatic host that’s trying to find its niche in a saturated market. [DD]


The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project
It was probably only a matter of time before a few of the characters that have taken advantage of the open-door policy at Comedy Bang! Bang! started taking advantage of the open-door policy of the Internet in general. Part CBB spin-off and part “Battle of the Earwolf Network Stars,” The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project operates under a deceptively simple premise: Each week, suddenly ubiquitous improv impresario Daly and Superego’s Matt Gourley showcase an amateur podcast pilot submitted to Earwolf for unsolicited consideration. But every one of those podcasts—each with its own unique tone, format and production values—is a starring vehicle for one of the many idiosyncratic characters Daly has brought to life on CBB. Gourley and a revolving cast of other familiar voices are in tow, playing the parts of equally hilarious sidekicks, guests, and unwitting participants.

In the first installment, the pair premieres The Wit And Wisdom Of The West With Dalton Wilcox—purportedly a platform for the self-proclaimed “Poet Laureate of the West” to boost sales of his widely unread book. What follows is unbridled Wilcox: tales of quasi-justifiable vampire homicide told to his city-slickin’ publisher (Paul F. Tompkins, never not laughing), a cowboy-poetry workshop stolen by Sally Jespa (Betsy Sodaro), and a performance by Superego’s resident country outfit, the Journeymen. In the second episode, the spotlight shifts drastically to old-school broadcaster Chip Gardner and the aptly titled Hail Satan With Chip Gardner. Simultaneously mild-mannered and morbid, it features unwinnable game shows, a fair amount of Satanism, and a fierce debate that will have listeners rethinking everything they thought they knew about Carol Channing.

Debuting at the top of the iTunes comedy chart, The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project was already a lot of listeners’ favorite show before it even aired, and two episodes deep, it’s justifying that distinction. Daly adeptly wields depth and nuance as he further fleshes out his characters and the open-ended, Superego-esque structure lends itself to constant re-creation. Any fears that characters like Wilcox or Gardner couldn’t carry their own shows are quickly allayed as the first episode clocks in at a surprisingly fluid two hours and the second is still wildly entertaining at more than 90 minutes. Still, with the promise of future pilots from fan favorites like sleazy theatrical director Dom Dimello and former champion water skier/current Sha Na Na hopeful Hot Dog, it’s possible the best pilots are yet to come. [TK]


99 Percent Invisible #101: Cover Story
After a couple of recent, semi-obscure misses, 99 Percent Invisible is back investigating something that influences us all: magazine covers. In about 17 minutes, the podcast runs listeners through the past 50-odd years of magazine cover design, from Esquire’s use of cartoonish mascot Esky to the same magazine’s current text-heavy cover design. A conversation with Coverthink blogger Andy Cowles is especially interesting when interspersed throughout the podcast, with the former Rolling Stone art director explaining everything from why gossip rags use yellow text for their sensationalist cover lines to the difference between American and British magazine racks. Former Esquire cover designer George Lois also adds some color, describing the origins of some of his iconic covers, including one that required subject Muhammad Ali to seek permission from the head of the Nation Of Islam. [ME]

The Bugle #260: International Love Triangle
Love is tangentially in the air at The Bugle as John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman take aim at Valentine’s Day in all of its obligatorily observed glory. The soap opera surrounding the White House state dinner in honor of French president François Hollande couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for Oliver, who gleefully points out that neither Hollande’s first lady nor his mistress should be all that surprised he went stag. The lads are spinning sarcastic gold by the time they ponder the appeal of a New York restaurant’s $30,000 Valentine’s meal, but it’s the distinctly unromantic topic of London mayor Boris Johnson comparing George Clooney to Hitler that sets Zaltzman up for one of the episode’s best bits. [TK]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #271: Tiny Little Boy Parts: Nick Thune, Molly Bretthauer
Over three years ago, Nick Thune famously came to a taping of Comedy Bang! Bang! armed with a recording of his next door neighbor having a psychotic meltdown. Subsequent appearances brought updates to the neighbor situation—who immediately found out his episode had been broadcast on a popular podcast—and now finally, three years later, this week’s bonus episode puts the saga to rest. Thune and Scott Aukerman are old pals, and the first half of the show coasts on their banter. Later on, Molly Bretthauer appears as Meredith (or is it Molly?) Coldwell, Aukerman and Thune’s agent. Fans might remember Bretthauer from her impressive CBB debut as Dykula from the most recent Halloween episode, and she’s equally great here as the two’s gravelly voiced and impossibly old agent. The three work great together to round out another solid episode. [MK]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #270: Off The Grid: Jon Daly, James Adomian
One half of the Pepper Men returns for a victory lap of sorts: Jon Daly and multi-instrumentalist Cyrus Ghahremani made a hilariously real-sounding Red Hot Chili Peppers parody song, “Abracadabralifornia,”  ahead of the band’s Super Bowl appearance, which fooled plenty of people into thinking it was the real deal. Daly makes a rare non-character appearance to talk about the song and is joined later by James Adomian’s Jesse Ventura, who takes a break from being off the grid to discuss drones and rig some charges underneath Daly’s and Scott Aukerman’s seats. Any time Daly makes an appearance, it’s a must-listen, and Adomian rounds out another solid episode. [KR]

Doug Loves Movies: Samm Levine, Dan Van Kirk, Chris Mancini
It’s a shame Daniel Van Kirk’s Mark Wahlberg impression isn’t a permanent addition to the Doug Loves Movies panel, because his hyper-arrogant and aggressive portrayal of the actor is spot-on. Van Kirk also inserts a game called “Doing Lines With Mark” into the episode where he repeats a ridiculous or upsetting quote from one of Wahlberg’s movies until someone on the panel can guess the movie. There are few things more upsetting than hearing a real or imagined Wahlberg threatening to “pop both your cherries.” In addition to being an entertaining presence, Van Kirk’s Wahlberg is also a formidable Leonard Maltin Game opponent, quickly making him a Doug Loves Movies favorite. [MS]

Doug Loves Movies: Tom Lennon, Jonah Ray, And Steve Agee
This is another episode where the chat portion is cut short and the Leonard Maltin Game is essentially the show’s centerpiece. It works out since the panel takes the game seriously when they’re not breaking to reminisce about the underrated Tom Hanks vehicle Joe Versus The Volcano. It’s also another rare occasion where Benson manages to end the episode ahead of schedule. Benson makes use of the extra time by introducing a bonus game where the panel is challenged to name as many Philip Seymour Hoffman movies as they possibly can. It ends up being a nice journey through the late actor’s impressive and diverse career. [MS]

Filmspotting #477: Philip Seymour Hoffman Tribute (Top 5 Scenes)
What a terrible reason for such a compelling episode. Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen barely scratch the surface as they as they recount their top five favorite performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman’s long career. Listeners gets the impression, though, that the episode could have been twice, or three times, as long and it would still have felt insufficient. The films of Paul Thomas Anderson pop up predictably often on both men’s lists, and its no surprise that the actor’s Oscar-winning work in Capote is discussed at some length. But the hosts’ mentions of his roles in films like Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead and The Talented Mr. Ripley—performances that can easily be lost in an immense and impressive filmography—that strike the hardest. Each reminder of a film forgotten, or a performance overlooked, makes the cinema’s loss that much more difficult to comprehend. [DD]

The Flop House #145: R.I.P.D.
With Elliott Kalan back from paternity leave, the Original Peaches turn in an episode that has them at the top of their game. R.I.P.D. is the sort of movie that is seemingly made for The Flop House treatment; it’s inept, formulaic, and, as the Floppers are happy to point out, as ill conceived as a movie about ghost cops can be. The best chunks come when the hosts attempt to make sense of the movie’s flawed metaphysics (which, it turns out, is very important in a movie about ghost cops). After the last two episodes—which, with Kalan sidelined, were a little more stunted than usual—this week’s show is a satisfying return to form. [DF]

The Fogelnest Files #77: Committed Weirdos: Chris Gethard
As came up in his You Made It Weird interview several months ago, Chris Gethard has always seemed like the guy who never really got his turn. But with The Chris Gethard Show making the jump from New York City public access to a Comedy Central pilot, it looks like Gethard might finally get a platform that works for him (Full disclosure: I am an employee of Comedy Central, though unaffiliated with the pilot). This week’s live interview from SF Sketchfest is certainly not the first time Jake Fogelnest has brought up his own public access past with Squirt TV (see his interview with Eric André), but it is a more philosophical treatment of a scene in which Gethard and Fogelnest are both deeply invested. And to Fogelnest’s credit, the nostalgia about the platform never feels anything less than endearing. [ABe]

Freakonomics: Why Marry? (Part 1)
Americans have a particular propensity for marriage. In comparison to many other developed countries, they marry earlier, with more frequency, and in larger amounts. But, changes in technology, gender roles, and economics have turned marriage into something entirely different than what it once was (and for the better, most would argue). Americans now, for the most part, marry based on compatibility of interests and values. Also much of “common wisdom” about divorce—like how 50 percent of marriages end in it—is incorrect. Divorce rates have actually been falling for years. One of this episode’s experts, an economist at the University Of Michigan, argues that those shared interests and values actually are the reason for the falling rates. With this new model for marriage, people have been able to better choose someone who will remain a compatible life partner over the long-term. [NC]

Hang Up And Listen: The Sam, Sochi, And Smart Edition
In a big week for sports news that raised larger cultural discussion, the HUAL panel covers Missouri defensive end Michael Sam coming out publicly before the NFL draft, Oklahoma State basketball player Marcus Smart shoving a Texas Tech superfan who verbally abused him during a game, and the Opening Ceremonies in Sochi. The non-Olympic stories offer intelligent, analytical summaries of the charged discussion around homophobia in the NFL and the exploitation of free labor in college basketball. But the Olympics continue to be a dominant story, as HUAL will issue extra mini-episodes during the week to cover the lesser-known events. [KM]

Harmontown #90: CyberChrist And Stubnortz
About a half-hour into this episode, Dan Harmon and Comptroller Jeff Davis observe that they’ve got “too much show and too little time.” Theoretically, that means the show should be bursting at the seams with wonderful moments from guests—and that’s partially true. Davis’ utterly rational laundry list of complaints about Uber inspires many callbacks throughout the night. Kumail Nanjiani continues to be the Most Valuable Guest—ripping on Adam Goldberg and waxing philosophic about Warren Zevon—even as he’s working away on a television version of his show The Meltdown with Nerdist co-host Jonah Ray. And Harmon’s best story of the night is revealing some backstory to Ben Folds’ “really great low-rent Leonard Cohen song” for the Community David Fincher episode that ended up so catchy Harmon calls it “shamefully toe-tapping.” The other guests are enjoyable but not as memorable as the unbeatable combination of Harmon, Davis, and Nanjiani. [KM]

How Was Your Week? #154: Maria Thayer “Shakespeare On My Bike”
In the monologue, Julie Klausner continues to riff on the differences between LA and New York, but it’s funnier than usual, thanks to a focus on more universal new-city woes like a finding someone to apply fake eyelashes without lecturing you about The Notebook. The second half is even better; Klausner and guest Maria Thayer have a great rapport and spend the interview cracking each other up. Topical bits about Woody Allen and Philip Seymour Hoffman drag a little, but the two women’s genuine friendliness as they commiserate about the perils (and perks) of being a redhead more than makes up for the slower sections. [AH]

Improv4Humans #120: Wild Horses: Lauren Lapkus, Stephanie Allynne, Mary Holland, Erin Whitehead
This week’s Improv4Humans features some great booking, which means some of the biggest laughs of 2014. At the request of a Southern fan, Matt Besser assembled an all-star cast of Lauren Lapkus, Stephanie Allynne, Mary Holland, and Erin Whitehead. The ladies are all members of Wild Horses, an improv team local to L.A., and the fan who requested them thought correctly that an appearance on I4H would be the best way to see the group perform. Besser was right to indulge the fan, because the ladies of Wild Horses have great chemistry, with some of the best laughs coming from their reactions to each other’s stories. (Allynne’s tale of seeing a man almost die in a gym is a clear standout, along with a hilariously off-kilter list of potential topics for a date.) Besser should take more advice from listeners if it’s as good as this. [MK]

Judge John Hodgman: A Trial Of Two Cities
Hodgman answers a classic unanswerable question: Whose city is better? Philadelphian plaintiff Christine claims her city is clearly superior to the adopted hometown of defendant Lara, of Raleigh. As is often the case, the issue is compelling, but deconstructing the parties’ backstories makes the podcast an interactive experience. The ruling itself isn’t as surprising as Hodgman’s definitive tone. If for nothing else, tune in for the judge’s brief but catchy a cappella rendition of Boyz II Men’s “Motownphilly.” In a protracted coda, listeners write in to let the hosts know that not everything they have ever said has been entirely factually correct, and Hodgman makes a docket-clearing case ruling regarding the acceptable pronunciation of the word “aunt.” [DXF]

The Moth: Firemen, Bourbon, And Bathhouses
The most memorable Moth stories fall into one of two categories: heart-wrenching tales of triumph or anguish from everyday voices, or over-analysis of small events from incredibly witty people. This week’s full radio-hour episode, which is apparently a thing to stay, falls into the latter. At the expense of tenants waiting to use an elevator, the late Katherine Russell Rich explores her wild side with a New York firefighter, and Jim Beam’s great-grandson Fred Noe talks about his father’s influence when he was growing up. In a hilarious story about an awkward incident with his son, The New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik dissects the vernacular generation gap between himself, his son, and his grandfather. What he finds is as profound as it is optimistic. [DJ]

Nerdist #479: Live At SF Sketchfest 2014
In addition to the appeal of its high-profile guests, the other main draw of Nerdist is the comic rapport of Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira. The latter relationship is highlighted in this live episode, and many of the topics—jokes about Singled Out, Mira’s weight, and Frasier—will be familiar to long-time Nerdist listeners. Thankfully, guest Tom Lenk brings a new energy to the mix. The former Buffy star draws big laughs from the live LA Sketchfest audience as he shares stories about stalking Malcolm Gets and does a rather surreal Zooey Deschanel impression. Depending on listeners’ mileage for the hosts’ camaraderie, this will either be a must-listen or a must-avoid episode. But a few heartfelt thanks from fans at the end of the live event are a reminder that Nerdist has become a success not just because of its guests, but also because of its hosts. [CS]

Never Not Funny #1403: John Ross Bowie
Perhaps the best part of this week’s Never Not Funny has nothing to do with guest John Ross Bowie (who’s quite funny) or the entertaining conversation he has with Jimmy Pardo and Matt Belknap. No, it’s that Pardo doesn’t apparently understand that Scott Aukerman is joking when he says his favorite song is Prince’s “Batdance.” That moment comes and goes quickly, but it’s a funny Easter egg for fans of Comedy Bang! Bang! and Aukerman’s long-running joke. Episode #1403 also offers a surprisingly lengthy discussion of C.W. McCall’s discography (and Elliott Hochburg’s bizarre fandom of it) and plenty of entertaining asides. [KR]

Sound Opinions #429: World Tour: Russia
Timed to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Sound Opinions talks with Moscow-based music critic Artemy Troitsky about the history of Russian rock music, from The Beatles penetrating the Iron Curtain to the music railing against Putin today. Like the other stops along the World Tour, this installment covers the basic high-profile Russian groups across multiple genres. Kino, DDT, Pussy Riot, and t.A.T.u. all merit mentions, but protest hip-hop artists like Noize MC and other contemporary bands dig deeper than the bigger names. It’s a comprehensive introduction to a national music scene that doesn’t get much play in American circles. [KM]

Stuff You Should Know: Do Objects Or Experiences Make Us Happier?
In a particularly mushy episode that is much about feelings as it is research, hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant have a fun go at the psychology of materialism and what makes people truly happy. According to Clark’s research, material possessions have a six- to 12-week ticking clock before their ability to give pleasure runs out. But as Bryant notes, reusable items like guitars keep giving through something called “active engagement” and defy the rule. Human memory and the Great Recession are also larger themes at play, and Clark and Bryant keep the conversation lively and timely without leaning on the rather murky waters of whether nostalgia is a good or a bad thing. A highlight is the idea of the “hedonic treadmill,” the idea that you will always take things for granted and want to replace them. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: How Cave Dwellers Work
Though hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant note that they are now completing a trilogy on the seemingly limited topic of caves, they find a unique anthropological bent in “cave men” that is highly entertaining. It would seem that cave men, as a type of people, have never truly existed. When mankind made all of its cave art it had to be almost entirely nomadic to stay alive, and as Bryant notes caves are not all that great to live in. By finding plenty of pop culture references to Ron Perlman and Werner Herzog, the hosts connect contemporary misconceptions with the true past. In particular, they refer to the documentary Like No Place On Earth, which follows the story of holocaust survivors who hid in a cave for a year and a half. The idea of their suffering makes the debate much more clear. [DT]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Giacomo Casanova
Any listener will likely recognize Giacomo Casanova’s last name as being synonymous with seduction, and hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey have done extensive research not only on Casanova, but also the women he loved. Though some of Casanova’s background is unsurprising (he abandoned studies to become a priest and became a professional gambler) Wilson and Frey note that Casanova was focused on the pleasures of his lovers and leaving them in a better state than he had found them. His desire to actually better people’s lives flies in the face of the stereotype of making virgins less desired as marriage material. The hosts paint a full picture though; possibilities of incest and very real STDs do not escape Wilson and Frey. Also included are tales of his grace and shame, making this episode a thoroughly fascinating portrait. [DT]

Welcome To Night Vale #41: WALK
The multi-dimensional odyssey of Intern Dana is one of Night Vale’s longest-running pieces of mythology. She reappears in this week’s episode, interrupting Cecil Gershwin Palmer’s broadcast—about malfunctioning walk signals that now actually display the word “WALK”—at multiple intervals to offer musings on her presence in another plain drawn to a blinking light atop a mountain. Night Vale has its shining moments in episode that reward a long buildup of backstory that forms a narrative patchwork—but the show also excels when it checks in on recurring characters by mixing absurdly comical situations with philosophical wonderment. To that end, Dana offers plenty of lightly profound statements: “There are so many things in this world to be scared of. Why add to that number when the only cause is you know nothing about them and they are huge?” This is the best Night Vale episode of the year so far—though any diehard fans should also shell out at least a dollar to get the special live double-episode “Condos” (featuring the first appearance of Dylan Marron as Carlos). [KM]

Who Charted? #167: Slope Style
Aimee Mann continues her unbroken streak of becoming more likable and relatable each time she opens her mouth. While trying to make sense of the top five Canadian pop songs with Kulap Vilaysack and Howard Kremer, she’s clearly doing her level best to be diplomatic, but lets bits of delightful, curmudgeonly attitude seep out from around the edges of her words. She also shares an intriguing picture of domesticity, while recalling herself and her fellow singer-songwriter husband Michael Penn sitting on the couch and flipping back and forth between the Winter Olympics and CBS’s treacly Beatles tribute, while begrudgingly admitting that some of the concert special was actually entertaining. Kremer, for his part, credits a strong showing in this episode to his recent life choice to smoke a little less pot. [DD]

WTF #470: Ron White
A conversation with Ron White is the best place to get honest, unfiltered information about the realities of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour scene. White is like a jovial, folksy uncle who enjoys kicking back with a cigar and some whiskey, while talking about his long and winding road to consistent work, if not always satisfaction. But that’s not the real reason to listen to this episode. After all the personal consternation in the past year with Maron proposing to his girlfriend and then ending his engagement, his pre-interview monologue is another doozy. He recounts the story of first meeting Moon Zappa 20 years ago, their innate chemistry, and the road of missed connections leading to the two finding each other recently. So Maron’s in another relationship, and really doesn’t want to screw it up. [KM]

You Made It Weird #194: Jared Logan
Jared Logan is probably the best guest Pete Holmes has welcomed onto the show in a while, because he’s so adamantly anti-bullshit. That’s not to say that he won’t joke around. (In fact, he’s hands-down one of the most casually funny guests in YMIW’s run.) But he doesn’t tolerate any of Holmes’ usual hedging, particularly when it comes to religion. As opposed to other guests whose connection to the spiritual is anecdotal or hypothetical, Logan grew up among what sounds like some rather hardcore Pentecostals, and he’s got a lot of honest and well-articulated anger about it. It’s fascinating to hear someone who, unlike Holmes, came out of a deeply religious upbringing with a grumpy and fiery skepticism rather than a new age, agnostic sense of the divine. (He also gets props for being so upfront about his weight problem.) [AB]


Book Fight!: Don’t Invite The Spite
This Writers Ask episode gets niche as a follow-up to the previous Ask episode about copyright. For anyone interested in the intersection of e-books, indie publishing, and libraries, though, this discussion hits the sweet spot. Stick around for the pros and cons of being a Pitch Perfect fan and what that says about a person. [AB]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #154: Dr. Jessica DuBron
The listener surveys are a refreshing highlight in this episode, which takes a wrong turn with a brief bit of uncharacteristically crass gossip about an unnamed celebrity. [TC]

Nerdist #477: Topher Grace
At the beginning of the episode, Topher Grace claims that he’s held off on social media for so long because he’s much better “in person,” however, the subsequent interview doesn’t really prove his case. [MS]

Nerdist #478: Morgan Murphy
This chat with comedian Morgan Murphy is a must-listen for those just starting out in stand-up, but it’s a bit too much shoptalk for a more casual comedy fan. [CS]

Professor Blastoff #142: Film Making: Mike Kennedy
Kyle Dunnigan feels more like a bully than a comedian this week with his attempts at riffing on the subject. Any knowledge gleaned from the guest is shallow, but not nearly as shallow as the humor. [NJ]

Radiolab: What Lies Beneath
This week features a largely unfocused segment on the origins of a famous political dodge, or maybe it’s about recovering a sunken Soviet submarine. It’s hard to tell, because the episode never makes up its mind as to where it’s going, and lacks the clear direction Radiolab is known for. [MK]

Sklarbro Country #186: The Stench Is Deafening: Nia Vardalos, Jason Nash
Out of all the My Big Fat Greek Wedding anecdotes Nia Vardalos shares—and they overrun the episode a bit—the most interesting one surrounds a serious and unfortunately unrealized offer for My Big Fat Greek Wedding: On Ice. [DJ]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Abelard And Heloise
Hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey do their best to add elements of romance and drama to this tragic love story, but the tale starts with such hubris that it’s hard not to expect or even hope for the worst. [DT]

WTF #469: David Bronner
Marc Maron’s interview with David Bronner is more interesting than a conversation with the owner of a soap company (and grandson of its eccentric founder) has any right to be, but even at only an hour and some change it feels overlong. [CG]