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Marc Maron meets Mad Men’s Jared Harris, and both are delighted

The best podcasts for the week of May 3–9

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


“Wouldn’t they say ‘fuck’ a lot if [they] were running from zombies?” 
“Oh yeah. Our show is bullshit. They’d be saying the F-word nonstop. It’s a real problem.” —Doug Benson and The Walking Dead creator, Robert Kirkman, on the challenges of writing post-apocalyptic dialogue for non-premium cable, Doug Loves Movies 

“You’re the only guy I know who goes to the zoo and yells, ‘Come on! Go at it! I paid my seven dollars!’” —Elliott Kalan to Dan McCoy, The Flop House

“That was a crazy business fight. It was like two bankers going at it with a chain and a pipe in some alley. I don’t know why they’re doing it, but it had consequences for other people.” —Kevin Dorff on NBC’s Jay Leno-Conan O’Brien screwup, The Fogelnest Files

“For a guy who says he doesn’t want to be a prophet, you have tremendous God issues.” —Matt Gourley to Dan Harmon, Harmontown

“We don’t need colons anymore—got it, Winter Soldier? Stop it. Just name a thing a thing.” John Hodgman, Judge John Hodgman

“She and Anita Hill were our slut-shame martyrs of the ’90s.” —Julie Klausner on Monica Lewinsky, How Was Your Week

“What if I get caught? What if I get in trouble? But Helen and Wendy, good friends that they are, said, ‘They have to let you back in. It’s a hospital.’ This was persuasive.” —Nina Mitchell on the loophole that let her escape the stroke ward to attend a birthday party, The Moth 

“If you’re gonna take all these talented people and put something up on a screen and ask people to take their time to see it, we just want to obsess over it being good.” —Legendary Pictures CEO, Thomas Tull, Nerdist

“Or him he’s!” —Kyle Dunnigan and Tig Notaro, Professor Blastoff

“I saw it several years later, and I realized it was one of the most pretentious things I’d ever seen, and I thought ‘I’ll dub it into French, because I’ll probably get away with it then.’”—Jared Harris on Darkmoor, his feature-length, Duke University student film, WTF


You Must Remember This
Film critic Karina Longworth has written eloquently about the arc of careers, examining the often corrosive effect Hollywood has those who choose to live in it. For her new podcast, You Must Remember This, Longworth takes this fascination back in time, exploring “the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century.” So far, there are only three episodes (dealing with Kim Novak’s disappearance from Hollywood, Frank Sinatra’s ambitious 1980 concept album The Future, and the life of horror director Val Lewton), and Longworth is still working out some kinks with the production. But compelling stories and clever use of clips and samples makes this show well worth a listen for anyone with even a passing interest in cultural history.

In each episode, Longworth sets up a central mystery (What happened to Novak’s career? Why has The Future been completely forgotten?) and then delves into the surrounding history. She has something of a kitchen-sink approach, which doesn’t always make for the most coherent narrative, but does mean that every episode is packed with fascinating trivia like the fact that Lewton described one of his films as “Jane Eyre with voodoo.”

As scattershot as the episodes can sometimes be, they’re united by Longworth’s deep pathos for what it means to be a person, not just a star, in Hollywood. Her obvious sympathy for her subjects gives emotional heft to incidents like Novak’s doomed romance with Sammy Davis Jr. and Lewton’s early death. In excavating these forgotten tales, Longworth explores how Hollywood has written its own myth, and the toll that has taken on the lives and the dreams of the individuals who get caught up in the process. These stories are worth remembering and Longworth makes a compelling case for each of them. [AH]


The SunShame State
Alas, poor Florida. Gone are the quaint days of senior-citizen and hanging-chad jokes. Where local oddities were once relegated to local papers, nowadays, every strip club drunkard, bath salt enthusiast, and McDonald’s destruction-artist from the Sunshine State is made fodder for quirky headlines across the Internet. (At this point, Gawker may as well make its logo a Miami man eating another man’s face.) Hosts Camilo Fontecilla and Allison Huntley have as good a time as anyone else making fun of the state, but instead of focusing on bizarre outliers in the police beat, Fontecilla and Huntley satirize their home turf as only Floridians could. Luxury real estate, they point out, seems less inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright than Caligula, whoever designed the educational material at Epcot seems to hate Latin America, and CrossFit might be the region’s new unofficial religion. Their riffs aren’t always strong enough to sustain the show for the full hour, but the mix of pride and intimate knowledge in their kvetching makes The SunShame State a welcome addition to the online Florida-slag party and a must-listen for locals. [DJ]      


Book Fight!: Writers Ask: Heaven Is For Real
Though this week’s “Writers Ask” questions are a bit on the boring side, hosts Mike Ingram and Tom McAllister move at a good clip and offer solid insight. The episode’s length is the standard hour, but it doesn’t drag at all as some of the Ask episodes can, which suggests that perhaps this three-question format should be the standard from here on out. Topics examined include how to tell a dud writers’ conference from a scam; how necessary it is to a writer’s credibility to read most of the classic literary canon; and what to do when your novel isn’t quite long enough to qualify as a novel. In case all of that sounds thin, there’s also some signature Book Figh! silliness when Ingram channels the disembodied spirit of Question Asker Claire. While “add a 3,000-word subplot that works or remain true to the original vision” seems simple enough as advice, let’s all agree meeting the president is not a fail-safe plot point (See Telegraph Avenue). [ABa]

The Bugle #268: BrokeSadleBack Mountain
Co-host John Oliver returns from his hiatus after launching his HBO news show, Last Week Tonight, which has already yielded viral clips about America’s death penalty and India’s elections. His weekly podcast plays like a writers’ room session, in which the former Daily Show guest anchor and co-host Andy Zaltzman riff out rough, similar bits about Rubik’s Cube, Composting Awareness Week, sunken treasure, a Nepalese real-estate scandal, soccer controversies, baseball blips, and the alleged manuscript by Jesus’ wife. The sardonic Brits talk fast and think faster, endlessly bemused as America’s celebrity-obsessed, entitled-to-everything-now mentality—and garbage and fossil-fuel waste—pervades the globe. [DXF]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #285: Solo Bolo: Ben Schwartz
The last time Scott Aukerman went one-on-one with a guest, the show’s open door policy was seriously needed. The episode suffered without a kooky character to come and steer the show into intentionally wrong directions. However, Ben Schwartz, the only guest in this “solo bolo” b-b-b-bonusss episode, proves to be more than capable of chasing after increasingly ridiculous tangents as he and Aukerman burn through a musically inclined hour of giddy improv and fart jokes. While this isn’t exactly the show fans know and love, it’s a welcome step sideways from the regular structure. At one point, Schwartz notices this and gets at the beauty of it being just the two of them: Aukerman is freed from the shackles of the straight man. Without a narrative arc, their conversation sputters out toward the end, but the fun of this episode is laughing along to that point of exhaustion. [MK]

Cracked #33: Epic Lives Of People You’ve Never Heard Of: Soren Bowie
In this episode, hosts Jack O’Brien and Michael Swaim, along with panelist/Cracked writer Soren Bowie, discuss people who have lived extraordinary lives despite never becoming household names. In the introduction, O’Brien explains that anyone discussed within the episode could easily be cast as “The Most Interesting Man Alive” from the Dos Equis ads, without actually having to fictionalize any of their accomplishments. Probably the most compelling segment involves Bowie relaying the life story of Arctic explorer, doctor, war hero, amputee, boxer and $64,000 Question winner Peter Freuchen. After Bowie recounts’ Freuchen’s fantastically complex and nuanced life story, it’s a wonder his life hasn’t been made into a Lord Of The Rings-style epic trilogy. [MS]

Doug Loves MoviesGeoff Tate, “Mark Wahlberg,” Graham Elwood
It’s fun to see how much Daniel Van Kirk’s “Mark Wahlberg” has evolved over the past few years. His recurring bit of leaving enigmatic, short journal-like entries on Jason and Randy Sklar’s voicemail in Sklarbro Country was hilarious to begin with, and since then, he’s fleshed it out to a point where he can carry a whole episode. He jokes early on to Doug Benson that the very fact he’s appearing as a guest on Doug Loves Movies makes it his own show, and based on how content Geoff Tate and Graham Elwood are sitting back and letting him riff away, he’s right. Everyone is on their game, though: a round of Doing Lines With Mark gets gloriously weird when the other panelists genuinely can’t decipher whether “Wahlberg” is doing movie quotes or just talking, Tate turns around a handful of bombs, and Elwood is on his best behavior. [DJ]  

Doug Loves Movies: Jon Favreau, Robert Kirkman, Nick Thune, Bryan Bishop 
It should come as no surprise that Jon Favreau is a personable guest who seems to enjoy himself on a podcast. As Doug Benson points out, his IFC interview show Dinner For Five was essentially a podcast that predated podcasts, and his anecdotes about efforts the show took to create a casual and authentic atmosphere—pulled back cameras, filming during actual dinner hours, allowing actors to edit out tipsy indiscretions—help explain why he’s so at home chatting in front of a crowd at UCB. Back in L.A. after a couple of shows on the road, Benson plays an easygoing round of the Leonard Maltin Game with returning guests Nick Thune and Bryan Bishop, and welcomes The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Everyone is in such a good mood that not even another date-clue goof (See, Leonard Maltin? This is why the world needs a dedicated LMG app) sidetracks things. [DJ]

The Flop House #151: Any Which Way You Can
The Flop House teams up with We Hate Movies for a Clint Eastwood-orangutan double feature of 1978’s Every Which Way But Loose and its 1980 sequel Any Which Way You Can. Following the general rule that the more outlandish a film’s premise the better they are, the Floppers again turn in a great episode dismantling the fifth-highest grossing film of 1980. Because the film is lightly plotted, the Floppers set their sights on Eastwood’s relationship with his orangutan co-star, which is so absurd that they never lack for material. The episode really shines when the hosts get to the film’s sex scenes; discussions of various aspects of orangutan sexuality find the Peaches at their pervy best. The Flop House is always good when it has shared duties with other bad-movie podcasts, and this week’s episode rises to the top of the bunch. [DF]

The Fogelnest Files #88: Mailbox Full Of Blood: Kevin Dorff
Kevin Dorff and Jake Fogelnest take a stroll through a series of lost worlds in this week’s episode, taking time at various points along the way to stop and appreciate the mostly obscured features and alcoves. Dorff—a staff writer for Comedy Central Review, who began his career in the thriving Chicago comedy scene of the ’90s—explains the feeling of walking into the Second City building for the first time, and the awesome pressure of replacing Adam McKay in their revolutionary “Pinata Full Of Bees” revue. He describes the early days inside the writer’s room for Late Night With Conan O’Brien, when asking the prop guy for a “mailbox full of blood” was de rigueur. They also explore the weird media that was pumped into impressionable Midwest minds during Dorff’s childhood, as well as the USA network’s late night programming block that warped psyches in the late ’80s. [DD]

Freakonomics How To Think Like A Freak – And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions
It’s Q&A time on Freakonomics again, where hosts Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt field questions from their audience. These episodes have a loose fun to them, and nicely change the pace from how Dubner and company normally run things. Instead of actually trying to answer their first questioner’s list of queries about bacon, Dubner and Levitt take about five minutes analyzing her word choice and stance on eating animals. The hosts are rarely this Freudian, but it works somehow, mostly because they are upfront about the fact that they’re bullshitting. The show is most interesting when they break out into an open disagreement about whether they should have recently done a fundraiser (Dubner ran it, and was very pro, Levitt thought it was a horrible idea). Although the tiff only lasts for a moment, it’s fun to hear Dubner say something that Levitt probably rarely hears: “You’re wrong.” [NC]

Harmontown #98: HARMONOLOGY: Kumail Nanjiani, Matt Gourley
Dan Harmon happily admits no fewer than nine times throughout the course of this episode that he’s exceedingly drunk and/or high, and longtime listeners know that sort of forewarning typically portends (for better or worse, but usually better) an atypical show. This one is no exception. Fresh off a month-long hiatus and still wearing pirate garb from the Renaissance Faire he jaunted straight from, Harmon is at his Bukowski-esque best as he lays the extremely loose (but potentially lucrative) groundwork for a new open-source religion and exposes the accepted “rape culture” inherent at Ren Faires. Kumail Nanjiani and Superego’s Matt Gourley are along for the often bumpy ride alongside Erin McGathy and dungeon master Spencer Crittenden, but it’s Harmon who DM’s a non-canonical and megalomaniacal D&D campaign that’s this close to coherent and does little to disprove his insistence that he doesn’t have a messiah complex. [TK]

Improv4Humans #133: King Of The Dipshits: Colton Dunn, Mookie Blaiklok, Joel Spence 
At this point in Improv4Humans’ life, any episode with Mookie Blaiklok is practically guaranteed to be a winner. The sketch performer and I4H veteran brings a jovial energy to the pre-scene conversations that often guarantees an interesting skit to burst forth. Colton Dunn and Joel Spence round out the pool of guests in this week’s solid episode that’s funny as ever. The four improvisers take listeners through an hour of hilarious scenes, including a surprisingly sharp critique of artistic authorship right off the bat and a grounded look into the world of horrible babies flying on airplanes. While Matt Besser guides the show forward, Dunn stays a bit too far in the background, but this just gives Blaiklok and Spence more room to make each scene fly by. [MK]

Judge John Hodgman #159: The Waiting Game
When Geoff plays a board game, he plays it to win, but does it at a confessed “glacial” pace. Wife Mollie says his competitive approach and contemplative, 15-minutes-per-round rate of play drains all fun from the games. Judge John Hodgman and bailiff Jesse Thorn have a grand time ribbing the smug parties and extracting anecdotes about sessions, rules, and mores of Magic: The Gathering, Ascension, Dominion, Scrabble, Settlers Of Catan, and Words With Friends (Geoff is an engine-spammer, which he claims is a valid, ethical strategy, because there’s no rule against it). But is it all in the game? Clearing the docket, Hodgman hears a complaint from a couple whose polar opinions about Bill Murray movies are causing domestic discord, and the judge deconstructs Ghostbusters in the process. [DXF]

The Moth: Live In Boston
Remember the animated children’s show Blues Clues? Could a friendly, single woman please send the former host Steve, a.k.a. Steve Burns, her phone number? Based on his multiple story contributions and by all outward appearances, he seems perfectly lovely, but hot damn, he can’t seem to catch a romantic break. If there’s any consolation to his dating mishaps, they at least make great Moth vignettes, and in this week’s live Boston show, he peppers a few stories in as he acts as emcee for the night. Walter Pavlo, a former MCI manager, realizes he might be on over his head when clients like Enron can be listed as his “good accounts,” and things only get worse when he starts siphoning millions in funds from the “bad” ones. Nina Mitchell finds the silver lining in her new identity proceeding a stroke, and Matthew Dicks becomes the bigger man when confronted by his stepfather—it’s a rare case where hitting a man at a funeral seems perfectly justified. [DJ]

Nerdist #516: Thomas Tull
Thomas Tull is the CEO of Legendary Pictures, a major movie studio that also happens to be the parent company of Nerdist. As such, there’s the risk that Chris Hardwick will merely defer to Tull’s opinion and not engage in banter with his boss. Thankfully, Hardwick avoids that trap and spends a bit of time ribbing Tull the way he would any other guest. In particular, he’s not afraid to get in some jabs about the less-than-beloved Watchmen. Tull is a good sport throughout, and he comes across with a fairly open—if slightly corporate—presence. As with the high-watermark chat with Marvel president Kevin Feige, Hardwick is able to ask broader questions about multiple projects and to get a sense of Legendary’s scope and strategy. There’s a stereotype that studio higher-ups only care about money, not artistry; for his part at least, Tull seems just as invested in making a good movie as he is making a successful one.  [CS]

Nerdist #517: Ben Acker And Ben Blacker
This chat with Thrilling Adventure Hour creators Ben Acker and Ben Blacker hits the Nerdist sweet spot; it’s the perfect mix of goofy riffing and interesting conversation. In terms of comedy, there’s a solid running gag about a fictional app called “Twee As Fuck” that Wes Anderson-ifies the lives of its users. And in terms of stimulating conversation, this episode delves into what it’s like to write for multiple kinds of media. There’s plenty of detail about the origin and development of Thrilling Adventure Hour, as well as a discussion of the process of translating those stories into graphic-novel form. Anyone interested in writing professionally will probably find value in Acker and Blacker’s perspectives. The episode also does a good job of highlighting the duo’s chemistry and personalities; they both seem genuinely grateful for the success they’ve achieved. This isn’t Nerdist’s most thought-provoking episode, but it’s an enjoyably upbeat hour. [CS]

Never Not Funny #1414: Scott Aukerman
Earwolf’s co-founder, longtime friend of the show, and even longer-time friend of Jimmy Pardo, Scott Aukerman takes time from his extremely busy schedule to help Pardo, Matt Belknap, and the whole Never Not Funny team celebrate the show’s 400th episode. After spending some time getting to the bottom of how Pardo and Aukerman met each other, they play an old game of “guess what song this out-of-context lyric is from.” Aukerman describes what it’s like to work on a comedic project with President Obama—in so far as he’s allowed to discuss details—and walks everyone through the surreal bureaucracy of attending a White House function. In doing so, he reveals just how much he let down his anti-Obama, Fox News-conservative parents by helping to bring Obamacare to the masses through his work on Between Two Ferns. Aukerman, as always, is a fantastic conversationalist, and the time flies by. [DD]

99 Percent Invisible #113: Monumental Dilemma
This week’s 99 Percent Invisible discusses a problem straight out of Parks And Recreation: What do we do with a monument when we, as 21st-century people, don’t exactly agree with what it’s memorializing anymore? That’s what’s going on with a 30-foot-tall New Hampshire monument to Hannah Duston who, in 1697, was kidnapped by members of the Abenaki tribe, but then escaped, killing and scalping 10 members of the tribe—including six children—in the process. New England is littered with monuments to Duston—including one in New Hampshire that has her clutching 10 scalps—thanks mostly to the Manifest Destiny movement of the 1800s, and historical societies, ancestors, and members of the Abenaki tribe are constantly discussing what they should do with the memorials. It’s an interesting problem to have, and one that’s painstakingly and sensitively documented by 99PI producer Jack Rodolico in this week’s episode. [ME] 

Sklarbro Country #198: Thailand Fruit Plate: Bobby Lee, Jesse Thorn
This episode takes on an almost WTF quality as Randy and Jason Sklar go deep with comedian Bobby Lee. Lee starts off with some tales from his salad days, including the time that Andrew Dice Clay flew him out to Las Vegas to watch Clay lose obscene amounts of money gambling. He also tells an epic and somehow non-explicit tale of his harrowing experience in a Bangkok brothel. However, the most revealing portion of the interview occurs when Lee confesses his insecurities of making it into his 40s without having kids and kind of puts the Sklar brothers in the position to be his therapist. It’s probably one of the most honest and compelling podcast interviews recently recorded. [MS]

Sound Opinions #441: Darkside 
Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot assert their dominance as public radio’s preeminent rock critics with an episode that skews decidedly away from anything resembling the guitar sound. First they treat listeners to a live performance and interview with electronic duo Darkside, a group that both journalists are clearly high on. Darkside’s Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington warm up slowly but speak so eloquently about their project’s unlikely roots in ’90s garage-band aesthetics and The Big Lebowski that it becomes instantly clear why DeRogatis and Kot chose them to present their scene to the Sound Opinions audience. They go on to give an expectedly positive, nuanced review of the new record from Tune-Yards and close with an equally off-brand desert-island recommendation from the late pianist Laura Nyro. It’s a gateway episode on all sides. [NJ]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Blackbeard Update
Due to an extended absence from co-host Tracy V. Wilson, this episode continues the string of Stuff You Missed In History Class “update” episodes, though this one has enough new information to make for a refreshing listen. Much about Blackbeard has been uncovered since the original episode aired with SYMIHC’s former hosts in 2009. The last two ships that Blackbeard took before he died was done in a surprising and expert feint, and the way he did it supports the theory that Blackbeard never took another life during his career as an infamous pirate. Wilson and co-host Holly Frey take enough time to outline the new information (and link it in their show notes) that listeners will hardly feel as if this is an episode they’ve heard before. When the voices of the former hosts suddenly kick back in, details about Blackbeard’s intimidation and hostage-taking skills become especially interesting. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: How Gypsies Work
Gypsies, or Roma as they prefer to be called, are a vast and misunderstood ethnic group, and hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant do a bang-up job of bringing them dignity and understanding. Clark and Bryant make it clear that the word “gypsies” is used in the episode’s title simply because it will resonate with those who don’t understand the group. The Roma likely originated in India in 700 AD, and most of their modern names are ethnic slurs. And the misunderstandings often came, because they have been driven from homes by governments for hundreds of years (even in present day), based on prejudice. And the loss of language, history, and culture for the Romani people is alarming, particularly given their nomadic situation. But despite the heavy nature of the topic, Clark and Bryant have plenty of light-hearted nods to the band the Gipsy Kings, and their attitude is considerate as well as eye-opening. [DT] 

WTF #494: Jared Harris
Could it be that Marc Maron was genuinely unaware that he was sitting across from Lane Pryce, sadly deceased Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce partner, at the start of this interview? Maron actually has a series of “Oh my god, you’re that guy?!” moments throughout the conversation. This all seems to delight Jared Harris, the chameleon-like character actor who finished up his critically acclaimed three-season arc on Mad Men at the same time he was stepping into the boots of U.S. Army Commanding General Ulysses S. Grant in Lincoln. That he’s managed to leap from role to role in a string of respected projects without drawing too much attention to himself may partially explain why he presents himself as such a grounded and unassuming guy here. Though, having watched his father, the legendary Richard Harris, walk through the gates of success before him may also be a contributing factor. [DD]

WTF #495: Benmont Tench
Benmont Tench was the founding keyboardist for Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, and Marc Maron seems to be channeling his inner teenager when describing the effect the band had on his life. Before beginning the interview, Maron takes some time to describe the utopia that is flying first class, complete with celebrity sightings (which, of course, causes him panic attacks). His interview with Tench is interesting, especially for fans of Petty. Going through the history of the band, Tench describes how they got together, and what distinguished them from their peers in the mid-’70s. Tench has an “old-school rock ’n’ roller” vibe, which balances Maron’s typically manic nature, and they have a great time discussing their respective record collections, The Heartbreaker’s previous band names, and the songwriting strength of the 17-year-old Petty. [NC]

Who Charted? #179: She’s Upton, Not Uptight:Paul Rust, Armen Weitzman
With Howard Kremer off on tour, Kulap Vilaysack recruits comic actor Armen Weitzman to fill in as co-host. It makes sense, given how Weitzman has a space-cadet demeanor that’s similar to the absent Kremer. Fortunately, Vilaysack does all the heavy lifting when it comes to the hosting duties, letting Weitzman chime in with various unfocused meanderings throughout the show. Also, Weitzman and Vilaysack are joined by the exceedingly likable Paul Rust, a gifted actor, improviser, and consistently great guest on all of the Earwolf podcasts. He’s such a beloved guest that a listener had the good sense to ask for some “New No-Nos,” a callback to a Comedy Bang! Bang! but, during the Twitter portion of the show. [MS] 

You Made It Weird #206: Brian Greene
You can practically hear Pete Holmes’s head exploding at multiple times throughout this episode. There’s been a lot of build-up over the past 205 installments to a discussion like this with an actual theoretical physicist like Brian Greene, and it does not disappoint. It’s particularly fun listening to Holmes attempt to reconcile spirituality with Greene’s mathematic precision and get smacked down at every turn. If there’s one criticism to be made of the conversation, it’s that it’s very front-loaded with quantum physics and multiverse talk, which is probably rather appealing to most You Made It Weird fans. However, it’s not until sometime after the midway point that listeners begin to get a sense of Greene as a person, when he gets into his thoughts on fatherhood, why he gave up meat at age of 9, and why it took him several more decades to make the leap from vegetarianism to veganism. [DD]


Comedy Bang! Bang! #284: A Thrilling CBB Adventure Hour: Marc Evan Jackson, Mark Gagliardi, Paul F. Tompkins
Anyone who’s already a fan of the L.A.-based, old-timey Thrilling Adventure Hour stage show or its companion podcast, will probably find this crossover episode hilarious throughout. Anyone else (despite some genuinely great moments), might feel a little like they’re on the outside of an intergalactic inside joke. [TK]

Doug Loves Movies: Graham Elwood, Jackie Kashian, Chris Cubas
Doug Benson exhausts just about every goodnatured quip he has in him in order to combat an obnoxious corner of an otherwise-hot crowd at Madison’s Comedy Club On State, but it’s not enough to keep things from turning sour. Jackie Kashian is delightful, though—here’s hoping she follows through on her offer to cater doughnuts for Getting Doug With High. [DJ]

Filmspotting #489: 2014 Summer Movie Preview / Blue Ruin
Listeners who take the opinions of Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen to heart—or simply enjoy their banter—will likely enjoy hearing them prognosticate about films they haven’t seen. Others may find this summer-preview episode to be somewhat hollow. The recent backlog is full of better episodes for new listeners. [DD]

Hang Up and ListenThe Red Flags With Character Issues Edition
Listening to the Hang Up And Listen panel grouse about the emptiness of NFL Draft chatter reveals that there is no interesting way to talk about the most dreadfully overhyped, boring event in sports. A segment on Sports Illustrated’s Gary Smith is interesting, but most of this episode feels slapdash. [TC]

How Was Your Week #166: Liza Dye “That Bellevue Glow”
This week’s solid if unexceptional episode features an unusually scattered, though generally funny, monologue touching on Monica Lewinsky, Jessica Seinfeld, and the cannibal cop, as well as an interview about every New Yorker’s worst nightmare. Comedian Liza Dye talks about getting hit by a train, hospital humor, and New York Post headlines.  [AH]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #172: Lynette Carolla
Lynette Carolla is a great guest with some fascinating insights into dealing with a mentally ill parent. Sadly, the episode shifts its focus toward answering what it’s like to be married to Adam “dudes are funnier than chicks” Carolla, a damnable fate that will hopefully only befall one poor soul. [TC]

Nerdist #515: Jon Favreau
All-around show business juggernaut Jon Favreau is clearly stoked to be sitting down and parsing his career with Chris Hardwick. Unfortunately, the episode runs long and could use some editing, as evidenced by the fact that one has to slog through a lot of filler to get to a good anecdote, like the one about getting the notoriously taciturn Harrison Ford to open up. [MS]

Nerdist #518: Jennifer Morrison
There’s plenty to like about this episode: It starts strong as Jennifer Morrison outlines the differences between working on House and Once Upon A Time, and the last 15 minutes are a fascinating insight into directing a short film. But the middle chunk of this episode devolves into a discussion of Disneyland and first kisses that keeps it from being one of Nerdist’s best. [CS]

Professor Blastoff #154 Social Networks: David Kennedy
This episode might be enjoyable for those who have never heard of a social network before, or those who don’t mind listening to experts toss around unsourced numbers that go unquestioned by unfocused hosts. [NJ]

Radiolab: For The Love Of Numbers
Numbers are in stark focus in this week’s Radiolab short, and the crew looks at which numbers people like best and why. Unfortunately, the expert witnesses prove un-compelling and the whole affair feels like a bit of a stretch. [MK]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Voynich Manuscript Update
Hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey do their best to make this episode from less than a year ago feel as new as they can. There have been two major updates to the story of the 240-page illustrated book of mysterious alien nonsense known as the Voynich Manuscript, and they are indeed interesting (the book appears to have been written in a defunct Mexican dialect or a medieval Asian one). But neither theory resolves the mystery, so the re-aired episode that follows is a bit too recent to hear again. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: How Bipolar Disorder Works
Hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant handle this topic with both intelligence and consideration. However, compared to the amount of neurology the podcast has covered, the episode is surprisingly low on science. In fact, though the hosts do well empathizing with those afflicted with the disorder, they spend so much time speculating on its connection to creativity that the episode feels like it barely scratches the surface of bipolar disorder. [DT]

This American Life #524: I Was So High
Ira Glass’s interview with Marc Maron about his past drug use and sobriety is the standout this week. And while the other stories all have their moments, none captures both the humorous and the serious side of getting high quite as well. [DF]