Podcasters decamp to SF Sketchfest while Eddie Pepitone makes the rounds

Podcasters decamp to SF Sketchfest while Eddie Pepitone makes the rounds

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

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“Remember, we’re America, okay? We were founded by hillbillies in a boat.” —Greg Proops, The Smartest Man In The World

“I haven’t been called a goof since yesterday! How dare you?”—Harland Williams, You Made It Weird

“It’s like a glory hole at a funeral. For butts.” —Janet Varney on Tig Notaro’s concept of an “open assket,” The JV Club

“There’s not an improv show that started in 1979 that’s still going on.”

“Yes there is, baby. It’s called life.” —Pat Francis and Jimmy Pardo, Never Not Funny

“I remember [Abbott & Costello] being the funniest two human beings alive, and apparently I had not seen anything else, ever.” —Jimmy Pardo on revisiting Abbott & Costello as an adult, Never Not Funny

NEW (TO US)

Going Off Track
Going Off Track bills itself as “a more than music podcast.” Hosts Steven Smith and Jonah Bayer used to host and write Fuse’s Steven’s Untitled Rock Show, and have since parlayed their professional and personal connections into an expanding showcase for actors, comedians, and artists. In its first year, the weekly talk show has delivered cerebral, personal, and informed chats with Warped Tour musicians like Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazarra & John Nolan (Episode 29), Thursday’s Geoff Rickly (Episode 28), and All-American Rejects’ Matt Rubano (Episode 43). (But you don’t have to be a Hot Topic shopper to appreciate Rubano’s thoughts on being a Berklee-schooled musician in a punk-based scene.) However, Portlandia star Fred Armisen (Episode 39) is a perfect example of Going Off Track’s expanding focus, as he audibly beams with pride while discussing working punk-rock references into Saturday Night Live. Bayer’s younger sister Vanessa is also on SNL, and makes regular appearances on Going Off Track, bringing along her friend Janeane Garofalo in Episode 37. Just when Garofalo gets on a roll about the unspoken rules that govern comedy and free speech, the Bayers steal the show with a touching, funny, and underreported story about Vanessa’s teenage bout with Leukemia. (Garofalo reclaims the spotlight with satisfying anecdotes about comedy cult classic Wet Hot American Summer.) The hosts are first and foremost fans, and their conversations spend more time on side gigs and old projects than current products—as in Episode 40, where Samm Levine opens up about Freaks And Geeks, juggling, and his role in Kevin Pollock’s Chat Show, while barely mentioning his new network drama. Contrary to the title, Bayer and Smith keep the ’casts on track. [DXF] 


OUTLIERS

Gobbet O’ Pus
On each episode of the bimonthly Gobbet O’ Pus, infectious-disease specialist Mark Crislip weaves a pithy narrative out of interesting tales from his many years of experience treating patients, along with bits of info from related case studies published in infectious disease literature—all topped off with a generous helping of jokes and puns. Crislip doesn’t dumb down the technical lingo, and as a result there are often enough acronyms and proper names of diseases and medications in any given episode to make one’s head spin. However, he never comes across as snobbish with his jargon, and his ability to tell a story is strong enough to make each “gobbet” easy enough to follow. The show’s back catalog is extensive, with nearly 500 episodes going all the way back to 2006, but each episode stands alone and typically runs only three to six minutes long, so picking at random is as good as any approach. A recent episode—“Old Memories, New Cases”—is quite good, featuring details from Crislip’s time in medical school and a rather funny moment where he repeatedly botches a joke about his kids’ birthdays. [CG]


THE BEST

The Best Show On WFMU
The Best Show’s early episodes provide resounding confirmation that Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster’s unique style of comedy was fully formed from the program’s infancy. One of the pair’s earliest creations, barbershop singer Zachary Brimstead, makes a return this week in one of the best Wurster calls in some time. While Brimstead isn’t used as often as fellow 2000 character Philly Boy Roy, the morbidly obese barbershop-quartet outcast is just as funny, as Wurster gets to condescend to Scharpling while maintaining the sleaziness at the core of so many of his characters. A reading of Brimstead’s tell-all memoir and what sounds like an improvised bit about censored television programs match the strength of the first call from the character more than 12 years ago. [TC]

The Bugle #224: Papal Proton Packs
Feeding off the recent news of the Pope’s surprise resignation, Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver produce one of the funniest editions of The Bugle to date. From start to finish, there isn’t a clunker to be found, as the hosts mine humor from historical events (Christopher Columbus’ historical spring break likely involved less raging than Zaltzman would have you believe) and the recent transition into The Year Of The Snake on the Chinese calendar. (“Cobras must be feeling fantastic about themselves right now!”) But the program really picks up when papal issues come to the forefront, and every segment lands without fail. There are a bevy of offhanded comments and inspired bits that Zaltzman reassures listeners will add a few more percentage points to the hosts’ eternity in hell. The final moments dwell on a hilarious listener email about insane professional wrestler The Iron Sheik, closing out an absurdly enjoyable episode. [MK]

Doug Loves Movies: Gillian Jacobs, DC Pierson, And David Huntsberger
Gillian Jacobs and DC Pierson are model first-time DLM guests: Jacobs listened to a bunch of episodes before her appearance, so she comes ready to play during the games portion, and Pierson is a longtime listener of the show, to the point where he vocalizes surprised delight at discovering the guests sit at a table and finally learning what baseball-toting audience member Jordan looks like. They’re also both a lot of fun during the chat portion, with the super-enthusiastic Pierson coming off like a more focused Pete Holmes, and Jacobs’ loose, amiable banter strengthening her burgeoning status as a can’t-miss podcast guest on the level of Paul F. Tompkins. Return guest David Huntsberger is no slouch himself, turning in a hilarious impression of Philip Seymour Hoffman starring in National Lampoon’s Vacation. It’s a thoroughly entertaining episode from end to end. [GK]

Doug Loves Movies: Rory Scovel, Matt Mira, And Adam Burke
This installment of Doug Loves Movies is proof that the inclusion of Rory Scovel can make any podcast episode great. Scovel has great chemistry with guests Matt Mira and Adam Burke, and it doesn’t hurt that the crowd at Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont, Illinois is enthusiastic and appreciative. Scovel has a way of artfully weaving jokes and asides throughout the conversation without seeming obnoxious or intrusive, which is a pitfall of many a DLM guest grasping for airtime. Also, Scovel and Doug Benson’s impromptu bit on coked-up morning television hosts is nothing short of brilliant, and all too brief. [MS]

Fogelnest Files #23: The Bitter Buddha: Eddie Pepitone, Steven Feinartz, Matt Oswalt
As Nathan Rabin pointed out in his review of The Bitter Buddha, Steven Feinartz’s new documentary about Eddie Pepitone, the fascinating thing about Pepitone is that his art basically consists of him being himself: an overburdened, vocally exasperated New Yorker. Regardless of how contrived the shtick may actually be, there’s a disarming effortlessness to his performance, a fact that makes this week’s show feel pleasantly laid-back without slumping into laziness. In fact, it’s one of the funniest episodes of The Fogelnest Files so far, despite being one of the most unremarkable clips-wise. The highlight is without a doubt Pepitone’s morbid advice on bullying; the only real weak point comes when Fogelnest plays a video of spiritualist Eckhart Tolle and prompts Pepitone to mock his advice. It’s not that it’s a bad bit, but it lacks the natural, low-pressure comedy that abounds throughout the rest of the episode. [AB]

Freakonomics: The Downside Of More Miles Per Gallon
We get more mileage per gallon in our cars than any other time in history (24 mpg), and that’s going to go up. But as fuel economy increases, the cost of driving one mile goes down, so people have the incentive to drive more. This can lead to congestion, but there’s also a more worrisome outcome. Road maintenance is actually paid for by fixed federal and state “gas taxes.” Fuel efficiency will lead to less tax revenue, since less fuel will be purchased. One solution is to just raise the gas tax, but that’s not politically viable. Stephen Dubner suggests two alternative plans: to tax drivers per mile driven, so they pay the same amount for the roads no matter what they drive, or to index traffic fines to how much the driver earns (as they do in Finland). But, as Dubner admits, these don’t seem particularly palatable to the American public, either. [NC]

Hang Up And Listen: The Wrestling Or Wushu Edition
Stefan Fatsis’ “blue-suited sportocrat” character—the snooty, emphatically arrogant Western European voice behind various international sports-governing bodies—is so familiar to HUAL listeners that “It Eez Not Possible” T-shirts are available, but it’s still remarkable how often Fatsis has occasion to bring it out. This week’s head-slapping decision by the International Olympic Committee to cut wrestling from the summer games is classic sportocrat cluelessness, and Fatsis and Mike Pesca, working without Josh Levin, devote a segment to grousing over it. Joined by Around The Rings founder and managing editor Ed Hula, they not only question the wisdom of dropping a sport that’s been around since the ancient games, but get into the icky politics that likely led to the decision. Elsewhere, Fatsis and Pesca have a good discussion of Oscar Pistorius and the false deification of star athletes, but a closing segment on Native American nicknames like the Redskins is a little dry and predictable. [ST]

Improv4Humans With Matt Besser #67: Fish Hook: Lennon Parham, John Gemberling, Joe Wengert 
Following the example of Comedy Bang Bang, this week’s episode of Improv4Humans was filmed in the Earwolf Studios, complete with nifty graphics and obligatory demands for close-ups. It’s easy to see why host Matt Besser was nervous to plop cameras in the studio, let alone broadcast it live on YouTube, but the whole operation goes smoothly. Small touches like watching the “Crap On YouTube” video along with the gang feel natural, and seeing them improvise on camera works especially well. A nuanced Memento-style story of a hobo buying a nudie mag for a baby, who in turn is buying it for a different hobo, and so on, plays well because it’s always clear who’s saying what, a detail sometimes lost in the podcast. Best of all, watching their intern half-chuckle, half-grimace his way through a scene inspired by an awful first date story works especially well. [MK]

Judge John Hodgman: All Dogs Go To Trial
Some podcasts, like WTF, lose their intimate appeal in live settings, but others, like Judge John Hodgman, get fresh oxygen from an audience. Recorded at Sketchfest in San Francisco, this week’s episode benefits from the most California of cases: Brianne, a dog trainer with no real training or certification, brings her poodle mix Shilo everywhere she goes, getting into some places because she claims Shilo as a support-dog-in-training. The nature of that support? Emotional. Brianne’s boyfriend Zach quietly objects to this practice, but the interplay between Brianne and Judge Hodgman (with more funny interjections than usual from Bailiff Jesse Thorn) dominates a hilarious episode. The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle lends musical support. [ST]

The JV Club #49: Live At SF Sketchfest With Tig Notaro
For The JV Club’s live show at San Francisco Sketchfest (which was co-founded by Janet Varney), Tig Notaro returns as the first recurring guest of the podcast. The subject of one of the initial episodes Varney recorded, Notaro went through some serious hardships after their last conversation, losing her mother, getting pneumonia and C. diff, and then being diagnosed with cancer. Despite all she’s had to endure, Notaro has retained her dry sense of humor, and her chat with Varney is as hilarious as it is insightful and inspiring. The focus is on recent events in Notaro’s life rather than her adolescence, but it’s interesting how the same themes of family, friends, and future tend to always pop up in the dialogue. The live audience lends an extra energy that helps propel the conversation, and opening the floor to Q&A results in an even more in-depth exploration of Notaro and how she’s continuing to cope with those tragic four months. [OS]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #101: Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
It’s telling that Paul Gilmartin’s idea for a “great” dinner party involves going around the room to learn each guest’s most shameful or embarrassing moment. Gilmartin’s brief aside on his fantasy get-together, which could form the basis of a mission statement for The Mental Illness Happy Hour, comes during a lively conversation with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor. The writer, podcaster, and host of NickMom’s Parental Discretion talks about feeling unloved as a child and struggling with bulimia, postpartum depression, alcoholism, and trust issues with her husband as an adult. It’s only the second episode in the show’s run that’s eclipsed two hours, but the discussion never drags. A second tenet of the show’s potential mission statement happens late in the episode after Wilder-Taylor calls a listener’s fear list “dark,” which prompts Gilmartin to quickly interject that his podcast is “the place” for darkness. [TC]

The Moth: Walter Mosley: Let That Weight Go
Author Walter Mosley’s Moth tale is one of being a black man in a society that still presents him with difficult remnants of racism and casual bigotry. But instead of taking it to a place of indignation, he winds the story up in a slyly constructed moment of self-deprecating humor. On the one hand, it’s a compelling reminder of the pain that can be stirred up by the use of terms like “boy,” but it’s also in the Moth tradition of storytellers putting themselves in a place where they can learn something, and maybe take their own problems a bit less seriously. [SG]

My Brother, My Brother And Me #140: Hops For Pops
Coming off a mediocre episode followed by a week off, this week’s installment of My Brother, My Brother And Me marks a welcome return for the McElroy brothers. That said, a handful of bits don’t really go anywhere. But the ones that do hit hit hard—the best among them being a suggestion of a convoluted method of explaining simple subtraction to high school-students, along with a very silly take on the name of the Giant Eagle grocery store chain. A dud of a question about naming a home-brewed beer inspires the strongest segment, though, with a story of Griffin and Travis’ misadventures in the field of home brewing and a lot of jokes about dads. It’s good enough that callbacks to it successfully buoy some of the weaker topics that follow, making for a fairly consistent episode. [CG]

Nerdist #322: Shadi Petosky
Shadi Petosky’s animation house, Puny Entertainment, has created work for television shows such as Yo Gabba Gabba!, videogames for Cartoon Network, and more traditional comic outlets. But this largely takes a backseat in this week’s Nerdist interview, which focuses on Petosky’s gender reassignment. It helps that Chris Hardwick and his co-hosts seem to already have a relationship with Petosky, allowing her to open up about her struggles dealing with her sexuality as child and as she grew older. The subject matter is handled openly, never pulling back when Petosky lays herself bare emotionally. That’s not to say that the episode is devoid of laughter, as even in the midst of this serious subject matter the hosts find ways to make it feel lighthearted without trivializing Petosky’s journey. It’s a balanced episode showing just how thoughtful Nerdist can be at its best. [DA]

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Nerdist #323: Chris Kluwe
Chris Hardwick has been rather transparent about his disinterest in sports, so it’s surprising how well Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe fits into Nerdist. Kluwe’s a self-identified videogame fan, and the episode finds middle ground between his career and his interests; the discussion should appeal to anyone who’s become accustomed to the Nerdist style. Although the discussions of videogames and pop culture are spirited, the most interesting points come when Kluwe talks about the issues commonly seen among professional football players, such as the difficulty of maintaining their physical health and how common it is for athletes to struggle with bankruptcy. [DA]

Never Not Funny: Live At SF Sketchfest
With Jimmy Pardo still fighting the flu and unable to record this week, NNF drops a live episode recently recorded at SF Sketchfest. In tow, as usual, is Pat Francis, who continues his Sketchfest tradition of reading a bizarre message he sent on eBay. (This one’s especially mean, but funny regardless.) Pardo and Francis have a long relationship and an easy rapport, and Pardo’s sickness seems to make him especially agitated, with hilarious results. It’s one of those episodes that could fill this week’s quotes section on its own, as the freewheeling conversation covers improv, Suzanne Vega, the band Triumph, Oliver Pardo’s apparent setups for his dad, and much more. Great stuff. [KR]

Professor Blastoff #92: Live In San Francisco/Star Wars
In ostensibly the final installment of a three-part series of live episodes, Professor Blastoff sets its sights on the mother of all trilogies—and films Tig Notaro has actually seen—Star Wars. Prompted by a shirtless romp through Skywalker Ranch, the hosts devote nearly the full hour to a question-and-answer session with LucasFilm’s in-house specialist, Pablo Hidalgo, a Star Wars expert with the knowledge to answer all continuity and logistical questions and, if no answer exists yet, the authority to make it up. (Not to mention the sense of humor to deliver some of the episode’s best quips.) While the questions fall mostly on the side of informative, the hosts’ (and crowd’s) energy level and sharpness comes off a bit lackluster, especially in comparison to the last two weeks, probably due to live-episode fatigue. Still, even a lesser episode focused on Star Wars is a joy. [SM]

Radiolab: Speedy Beet
This episode is for lovers of classical music, and Beethoven in particular. Beethoven received one of the first metronomes after the device was created in 1815, and was so taken with it that he not only assigned tempos to his current work, but actually went back to his earlier works and set tempos for them as well. But the tempos that Beethoven prescribed are actually much faster than how he’s usually played, and almost impossibly fast in certain cases. So the way we’ve heard Beethoven’s works for the last few centuries is not actually how he wanted us to. There are a number of theories about the tempos, some of which are debunked by the Radiolab guys: The most interesting one suggests that Beethoven purposely set “too fast” speeds in order to force his musicians to play at the edge of their capabilities, in the hopes that their mistakes and struggle would be dynamic to the listener. Knowing that Beethoven liked to push both his audiences and his players, it’s unsurprising that he’d want to keep that edginess in performances after his death. [NC] 

Sklarbro Country #134: Milk In The Bathtub: Jack Black, Chris Cox
Though he hasn’t done many podcasts, Jack Black is a sneakily amazing guest whenever he shows up. Perhaps that’s because around Marc Maron or the Sklar brothers he’s more High Fidelity than Gulliver’s Travels. His story about Tenacious D getting a big break from David Cross is interesting, but far more compelling is his recollection of introducing Led Zeppelin at the Kennedy Center Honors, and how President Obama stuck it to Kid Rock after the ceremony. This Jack Black needs to be more prevalent instead of the Year One version. [KM]

Sklarbro Country: Sklarbro County #39: Owen Burke, Dan Van Kirk
Guest Owen Burke, host of the podcast Owen And T.J. Read the News, has a goofy demeanor, which pushes the Sklars away from their usual snark. But there’s a lot of reciprocal love between guest and hosts as well, since the Sklars are actually partially responsible for Burke’s career in comedy: At his first-ever stand-up gig, the Sklars, who were hosting the open mic, gave Burke some reassuring words after his set. Dan Van Kirk’s news stories are a little more centered on bodily fluids than usual, which gives the Sklars and Burke room to debate the important difference between throwing one’s semen at someone and actually ejaculating on them. [NC]

The Smartest Man In The World: Fences
Although Greg Proops can get a bit preachy now and again on Smartest Man, it’s worth remembering how much substance (and subtlety) his points have. This week was recorded just after the State Of The Union, and Proops’ impression of Obama is surprisingly dead-on. He has a couple of bones to pick with the president, most notably about his positions on women. Proops’ beef is not with Obama’s policies, per se, but how he tackles them, where he seems to speak for women instead of to women. It’s an important distinction that’s supported by the unusually exited crowd in Nashville. [NC]

Sound Opinions #377: Jimmy Cliff
Go to a random dorm room at a random college anywhere in America, and chances are pretty good that there will be a Bob Marley poster on the wall. But Jamaican reggae artist Jimmy Cliff is arguably just as influential to the genre, and his interview with Jim and Greg is fascinating, even to those who think all reggae music sounds the same after the first minute or so. Cliff tells insightful stories about how he came to play music, squashes any idea of beef between him and Marley, and discusses how the social-justice elements of reggae influenced punk music. It’s an unexpected gem of an interview. [KM]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Okichi, The Tragic Geisha
Hosts Sarah Dowdey and Holly Frey attempt to set the record straight about geisha culture, using the exemplary tale of 19th-century geisha Okichi. Though Okichi’s story is fraught with fictionalization, Dowdey and Frey are careful to note how sloppy the dates are and how unlikely some accounts may be. What’s most interesting is how geishas were not really the high-class call girls their reputations suggest. Their place in Japanese culture as musicians and even assassins has depth and even tragedy—Okichi’s life did not end well. The episode suffers at several points where more historical accounts would have added to the story; Japan was a closed country not eager to preserve details a geisha’s life. But the episode is worth combing for what story remains. [DT]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Pablo Fanque’s Fair
Hosts Sarah Dowdey and Holly Frey give Black History Month a proper send-off with the story of Pablo Fanque, a Victorian-era performer and Black-Briton. Discovered by Dowdey in a Smithsonian article, Fanque’s reputation got him into the Beatles song “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite.” Establishing himself as an acrobat and equestrian with the first British circus, he went on to run circuses and father a famous performer son. Though he died poor, he had an elaborate funeral procession and was well-loved throughout his lifetime. Though he still had unfortunate encounters with racism that are noted later in the episode, this SYMIHC is a vivid glimpse into Victorian England and its culture of live performance. [DT]

This American Life #487: Harper High School, Part One
This episode is certainly not uplifting, but it is enlightening, and probably a good candidate for a Peabody Award. In part one of a series of two, This American Life immerses itself at Harper High School in Chicago’s West Englewood, where 29 students were victims of shootings over the last year alone—a number that would receive national attention if it were a school located a few miles further north. The hopelessness of the kids’ situation, where being in a gang isn’t even a matter of choice and teachers can only do so much to help them, is overwhelming, but delving into this reality (with reporting from Alex Kotlowitz, whose reporting on inner-city living is always amazing) is much more valuable than pretending it’s not happening.  [CZ]

The Thrilling Adventure Hour #105: Behind The Scenes Of TAH
Thrilling Adventure Hour writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker have another sit-down with their collaborators, this time show director Aaron Ginsburg and performers Autumn Reeser and James Urbaniak. The episode doesn’t run as long or dig as deep as some of the other behind-the-scenes installments the show has done recently, but it still reveals a lot about the show—namely, how comfortable the cast and crew are in the esoteric little radio-drama-revival world they’ve created for themselves. Urbaniak’s banter on its own makes the episode worth hearing to the end. [SG]

The Todd Glass Show #90: Family Show (With Blake Wexler)
Despite the conspicuous absence of Daniel Kinno, the latest Family Show of The Todd Glass Show is an overwhelming success, seamlessly transitioning from bit to bit, each one sillier than the last. Todd Glass is consistently upbeat and energetic, mainly due to his amazing chemistry with frequent guest Blake Wexler. Also, Wexler gets to soak up some of the spotlight in a role other than the guy who occasionally flies into a rage just off mic. He especially shines in his bit as the overly chatty traffic reporter and as the angry drunk with a lisp. Although this installment clocks in at just over two hours, Glass and Wexler’s effortless camaraderie makes the show breeze by. [MS]

WTF #361: DC Pierson
For those who don’t like DC Pierson already—and seriously, after watching Derrick Comedy videos or reading his first novel, The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep And Never Had To, that’s almost impossible—then this interview with Marc Maron in the run-up to Pierson’s second novel, Crap Kingdom, should do the trick. As with all multitalented comedians a few decades his junior, Maron bottles his jealousy, only allowing it to emerge every so often in the form of self-loathing and regret. But for the most part, Maron deftly digs into Pierson’s childhood in Arizona, uncovering a great story of how Pierson’s high-school ex-girlfriend led him to sketch-comedy group Hammerkatz at NYU, which led to Derrick Comedy with Community’s Donald Glover, their film Mystery Team, and beyond. [KM]

WTF #362: Eddie Pepitone And Steve Feinartz
Eddie “The Bitter Buddha” Pepitone is a standby on WTF live shows, where guests get but a small percentage of the time and attention from Marc Maron that they’d receive from a full interview, so it’s nice to hear a more complete discussion with Pepitone. He and Maron switch back and forth between career-focused shit-shooting (overseas comedy festivals, TV appearances, Kevin James’ talent) and more sobering biographical details, like the emotional problems of Pepitone’s mother and his former pot habit. Also, for once, one of Maron’s guests has a beef with him: Steve Feinartz, the director of Pepitone’s documentary, confronts Maron over a perceived slight, but it’s quickly cleared up. [CZ]

You Made It Weird #126: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
This is one of those You Made It Weird episodes in which Pete Holmes rewards listeners in the form of surreal dialogue. It doesn’t take long for things to get decidedly weird with guest Jordan Vogt-Roberts, and in a charming way. Pretty quickly, the two get into subjects such as sex dreams, the symbology of the Taco Bell logo, and how a stripper might be named “Graphing Calculator.” As with all good YMIW episodes, it has a lot of personal revelation on the part of both Holmes and the guest, but more importantly, it’s also focused on stimulating and bizarre ideas. [SG]

You Made It Weird #127: Harland Williams
Harland Williams helps Pete Holmes turn in one of You Made It Weird’s best installments yet, if such things are measured by how much time Holmes spends giddily cracking up. Instantly identifiable as his rambling, wiggy, and strangely versatile self, Williams gels incredibly well with Holmes here, wringing a lot out of strange subject matter (apes vs. humans, the Amish) but not dwelling too long on any one riff. [SG]


THE REST

Comedy Bang! Bang! #201: End Scene: Jon Glaser, Matt Besser
Jon Glaser has a long and distinguished comedy résumé, but his more reserved demeanor allows Matt Besser’s Pope Benedict XVI to dominate the episode. Benedict is funnier here than he has been previously, and Glaser has some good stuff (like the leaf-blower guy), but it’s not essential listening this week. [KR]

How Was Your Week #102: “Men Of The ‘90s”: Peter Grosz, Craig Bierko
Jenny McCarthy’s new talk show provides fodder for one of Julie Klausner’s best monologues in weeks, though it’s not enough to counteract two relatively weak interviews. [DF]

Mohr Stories 133: Jenny Mollen
Twitter star Jenny Mollen curates an alternately compelling and mundane look into the world of a 21st-century niche celebrity, sharing stories of monitoring web traffic, cyberstalking her husband’s ex, and worrying about the prospect of parenting in the shadow of an antidepressant-dependent lifestyle. [DXF] 

Mohr Stories 134: Adam Carolla
As always, Ace’s presence turns Mohr Stories turns into The Adam Carolla Show, complete with rerun rants about working construction, the Grammy awards, and the indignity of being forced to listen to contemporary pop music. [DXF] 

Monday Morning Podcast
Bill Burr opens strong, railing against technology, but past that, for the first time in a long time, the Monday Morning Podcast becomes a slog. [CG]

Stuff You Should Know: Myths About The Brain
There are fun discussions about the brain’s misconception in this episode, but hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark regularly suggest listeners just read their list on howstuffworks.com, as they will be skipping much of their research. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: How Surfing Works
Surfing, one of the more intensely physical activities out there, is rendered sterile with science in this occasionally amusing but exhausting episode. [DT]

Walking The Room #143: Horseman Baby And Big Fun
Even for Walking The Room, this episode is too erratic and borderline-offensive to congeal into requisite listening, though the last segment on the evolution on podcasting offers some welcome introspection. [SM]

Who Charted? #116: Feel The Night: Mather Zickel
This episode starts out with some rather dry discussion of actor Mather Zickel’s creepy boarding-school wardrobe, and unfortunately it doesn’t get more interesting from there. [MS]

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