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Travel back to the ’90s this week with analysis of The Craft and Garbage

The best podcasts for the week of May 10–16

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


“We could all be as serene as the Dalai Lama if we had our own personal Redbox.”—Andrew Lloyd Webber (Paul F. Tompkins), Comedy Bang! Bang!

“I don’t know if I actually equate cars with darkness, but that’s where I went with this list.”—Adam Kempenaar, Filmspotting

“I was really afraid, I was embarrassed to leave the house… I can remember specifically walking down the hallway, and the neighbor was starting to walk out, and she quickly went back in and shut the door. I have that memory.”—Adam Resnick on life after the Cabin Boy flop, The Fogelnest Files

“Man was not meant to not know what dog feces feels like on his foot.”—Mike Pesca on the minimalist running movement, Hang Up And Listen

“No one lifts anything in Portland. Everyone just goes to work at a draft table and they eat coffee and then they go home in a weirdly designed, egg-shaped race car bed that folds up into God’s consciousness for eight hours. Then it folds down and they go back out and be open-minded for a living.”—Dan Harmon, Harmontown

“Character is inconsistency.”—Mitch Hurwitz on the best advice he ever received from Jeffrey Tambor, How Was Your Week?

“In Europe, we do things a little differently, a little earlier. We were smoking cigarettes and fucking at 2.”—Julian F on the worldly, wise toddlers of Europe, The Mental Illness Happy Hour

“Since we went on the air, 280 different game shows have come and gone.”—Alex Trebek on Jeopardy!, Nerdist

“[Tim] Tebow’s out of the NFL?”
“Yeah, he can’t throw bread to ducks.”—Kyle Dunnigan and Tig Notaro, Professor Blastoff

“I’m a huge fan of wallowing… Extreme sadness is way better than the middle ground of just being okay.”—Scott Hutchison, You Made It Weird


Proudly Resents
If the iTunes store was a physical place, there would be an entire bin near the back overflowing with podcasts about cult movies as if they’re Matrix Revolutions DVDs. While the vast majority of them feature two random guys on Skype spouting facts about The Toxic Avenger straight from Wikipedia, Proudly Resents separates itself by never sticking to a standard format and doing its Toxic Avenger episode with a guy Toxie once threw from a moving car.

The only real constant on the show is inherently affable creator and host Adam Spiegelman, a segment producer for the likes of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, and The Arsenio Hall Show, who clearly has at least enough industry pull to score interviews with everyone from “Chainsaw” from the 1987 Mark Harmon vehicle Summer School to WTF-quality guests Tony Clifton and Bobcat Goldthwait (who reveals that if he directed Shakes The Clown now, Shakes would’ve killed himself at the end).

While some episodes might be as simple as a recording of a panel Spiegelman hosted at Blogworld or a recap of last week’s Celebrity Apprentice, others feature legitimately intelligent commentary from the likes of Jimmy Pardo, Conan staffers, and some of the guys from Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Spiegelman isn’t exactly Elvis Mitchell (in the Mrs. Doubtfire episode, he consistently refers to Pierce Brosnan as Pierce Bronson), but he does have an infectious and genuine love of good bad movies that can be refreshing in a genre typically filled with sarcasm and cynicism. [TK]


Weird, Gross And Beautiful
Be forewarned: this Discovery Channel-sponsored, animal kingdom-themed video web series is seriously cute. Feel free to take that as either commendation or condemnation, depending on your tolerance for such things. A faux-handwriting chalk-like font is used for all its lettering. The editing is jarringly quick, even for YouTube. And upbeat techno music, reminiscent of side-scrolling video games, plays on a loop as the show’s host, Catie Wayne—whose equally chipper alter ego Boxxy caused a 4chan civil war once upon a time—delivers a barrage of facts about how weird, gross, and beautiful this episode’s featured animal is, mixed in with a slew of purposefully adorable asides and some tween-friendly animations. Watching Wayne giggle and mug her way through a three-minute video about cuttlefish is probably more fun that spending that same amount of time skimming through a Wikipedia article about the mollusk species, but not any more enlightening. [DD]


Bonnie & Maude #21: The Craft
Kseniya Yarosh and Eleanor Kagan welcome back filmmaker Lyra Hill as a special guest for this episode examining The Craft. Hill’s personal history, having been raised as a social-activist pagan in California, gives her a more storied past with the film than most women of a certain age for whom the 1996 film remains a touchstone. But time seems to have dampened Hill’s loathing (somewhat), as she no longer has to serve as unofficial Wiccan ambassador at her high school, and the trio enjoy a spirited discussion of the film’s themes and legacy. Though the discussion veers a bit toward the absurd at times (“Why wouldn’t Rochelle use her witchcraft to end racism?”), the ladies make several incisive observations on the otherness, body-image issues, and odd absence of sexuality presented in the film. Anyone with fond memories of chanting “light as a feather, stiff as a board” will find plenty of food for thought in the unfortunate messaging on display in The Craft’s final act and eventual plot resolution, and the hosts get extra points for shouting out The New Inquiry’s oral history on the movie. [ABa]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #286: Time Bobby 3: Bobby Moynihan, Paul F. Tompkins
It’s been more than a year since the soft-spoken and stabby scamp Fourvel (Bobby Moynihan) returned to Comedy Bang! Bang!  alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber (Paul F. Tompkins) to follow up 2012’s fan-favorite episode, but time and space are increasingly convoluted this time around. The stage is set for this deeply canonical episode when a 90 year-old man (is it coincidence that he’s also soft-spoken and stabby?) awakes at the foot of a time machine with amnesia and murderous rage before turning to Scott Aukerman for answers. But nothingand no oneis what they seem in this episode with a mythology as revelatory as it is hilariously confounding. Like the first two entries, Aukerman and Webber spend a significant amount of time developing complicated plans with increasingly complicated mnemonic devices, but impromptu renditions of Little Shop Of Horrors tunes and an ambiguously epic ending help make this a pivotal installment in the series. [TK]

Doug Loves MoviesDC Pierson, Harrison Rains, Brandt Tobler
There’s a lot of competition for worst guest in Doug Benson’s eyes, but does Brandt Tobler really deserve the dubious honor bestowed upon him halfway through this show at Comedy Works in Denver? Probably not, unless the criteria is prize-bag contributions (enough gum and mints to meet a convenience store debit card minimum) or Martin Scorsese film guesses (The Town), but it makes for a fun running gag anyway. Local Movie Interruption host Harrison Rains and comedian DC Pierson joins Tobler for a high-energy, game-heavy show that’s marred only by about 12 minutes of audio funk at the top. Remarkably for a road show (hilarious bad answers aside), Benson manages to get through rounds of Love, Like, Hate, Hate-Like, Last Man Stanton and The Leonard Maltin Game without any major hiccups. It’s a fun episode that, even at 80 minutes, breezes by. [DJ] 

Filmspotting #490: Locke / Top 5 Car Scenes
The experience of sitting inside a car can be simultaneously claustrophobic and agoraphobic. Locked inside a static microenvironment, you sit immobile and watch the vastness of the world rush past you through a a shimmering rectangular frame. Perhaps this oddly familiar dichotomy explains why so many classic cinematic moments take place inside cars. Josh Larsen and Adam Kempenaar tick off a few of their favorites in response to Steven Knight’s Locke, which features 85 minutes of Tom Hardy’s protagonist watching his life spin out of control from the driver’s seat of his BMW. Two scenes from a pair of sexed-up bank heist films are easy, if not obvious, fits. Shaun Of The Dead—though not a film that immediately brings automobiles to mind— provides an equally justifiable example. Somehow, Adam manages to squeeze in a classic Humphrey Bogart moment that doesn’t take place in a car. And, oddly, it kind of works.  [DD]

The Fogelnest Files #89: Adam Resnick
Adam Resnick is a cantankerous guy, but in the best possible way. The former Late Night With David Letterman writer brings his delightful gray cloud into the Earwolf studios in support of his newly released acerbic memoir Will Not Attend: Lively Stories Of Detachment And Isolation. Though, he would clearly rather be someplace else not doing publicity, Jake Fogelnest’s enthusiasm and genuine fascination with his body of work seems to win him over, and by the end of the interview, he actually seems to be having a good time talking about his days in the Late Night writers’ room and how hard it was to leave the comfort of that cocoon for Los Angeles and the uncertainty of the early ’90s Chris Elliott vehicle Get A Life. However, it’s not until he begins recounting the nightmare of living through the abysmal Cabin Boy reception that the conversation gets truly fascinating. [DD]

Freakonomics: The Three Hardest Words In The English Language
This week’s episode is all about admitting one’s knowledge is lacking, and how even the smartest of us should probably get more comfortable with saying “I don’t know” more often. Conventional wisdom suggests that admitting a lack of knowledge, especially when on the spot, is a no-no, since it suggests incompetence. This idea is definitely underscored in school, when children are expected to be able to answer questions asked of them. But host Steven Levitt argues that the only real way to learn is through feedback, and if a person never admits that she is wrong, she’s never going to get feedback on what she should learn, or how to improve. A person who never admits that they are wrong may never look like an idiot, but they’ll rarely think creatively about solving the particular problems of career and life. [NC]

Hang Up And ListenThe Baring Your Sole Edition
It’s unclear whether Hang Up And Listens inconsistency with big sports stories and excellence with small ones says more about the show or 2014’s sports media environment. That dichotomy is on display in this episode, where Slate’s John Swansburg leads a wonderfully fun dissection of minimalist running shoes, which are better known as “those weird toe shoes worn by fit uncles.” A recent settlement by Vibram, the company responsible for the monstrosities, gives the panel an opportunity to consider the comic and possible health-related consequences of paleofantasy. While the unsubstantiated claims of a shoe company and the sound of Velcro in a microphone deliver a delightfully inconsequential segment, a discussion about Michael Sam, the first openly gay player on an NFL roster, falls flat. The panel has nothing to add to the conversation about cultural shifts and draft stock, which takes up time that could have been given to Velcro. [TC]

Dan Harmon found out just the day before this performance at Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival that NBC had finally made good on its perpetual threat to pull the plug on his long-embattled opus, Community, but the subject barely comes up. Aside from alluding to the fact that he got appropriately drunk upon hearing the news, Harmon needs a nudge from comptroller Jeff Davis to even briefly mention that he believes fans are probably far more upset about it than he is. Instead, similar to many of the shows during last year’s national tour, Harmon is far more eager to recount the misadventures of his day in Portland, which included an introspective trip to a strip club, a nearly violent confrontation with a beautiful (presumably) gay couple, and many alcoholic beverages. Still, Harmon and company are especially on point throughout and provide much needed levity during Community’s darkest timeline. [TK]

How Was Your Week? #167: Mitch Hurwitz “Unable To Close Her Eyes”
The dust has settled on the critical discourse on Arrested Development‘s fourth season, and just shy of a year from the big revival Julie Klausner sits down with creator Mitch Hurwitz to reflect on the show in a less scrutinous way. Klausner’s kid-sisterly reverence for Hurwitz simultaneously surprises the comic genius and gets him a little giddy, which allows him to open up to her audience with some of his less chronicled approaches to making television. It takes about two-thirds of the episode to get to the meat of Hurwitz’s philosophy, but his analysis of character types from Arrested Development to Seinfeld to The Larry Sanders Show and beyond as either commedia dell’arte patriarch/matriarch/craftsman/clown foursomes or id/ego/superego trios is well worth the wait, and a trip down Golden Girls memory lane provides some charming speed bumps along the way. [NJ]

Improv4Humans #134: Hubba Bubba Worthy: Danielle Schneider, Neil Casey, Pamela Murphy
Fans of Improv4Humans two secret weapons are in for one hell of a treat. Not only does Matt Besser bring Eric The (Un)Paid Intern and Doug Levison—a.k.a. The Angry Trumpet Fight Guy—on in this week’s episode, but he has the two talk for a special segment. Levison provides council for Eric, who has recently gained weight at an alarming rate. We only hear a brief segment of their conversation, where Levison suggests substituting alcohol with seltzer water (with a twist of lemon!), but it’s bizarre enough to suggest an entire satellite podcast could be devoted to the two of them. More prominently on display this week are Neil Casey, Pamela Murphy, and Danielle Schneider, who is Besser’s wife. The four get off to a great start, though a seriously uncomfortable quarrel breaks out between Besser and Schneider midway through. Thankfully, the show resumes course and the scenes are hilarious throughout. [MK]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #173: Julian F
The success of Mental Illness Happy Hour conversations with listeners often depends on the complicated ability of the guest to express themselves in front of a stranger to a worldwide audience. Listener Julian F makes it seem easy in this excellent episode, which features compelling talk about manipulation, addiction, panic attacks, and mania. Julian is articulate and interesting throughout the discussion, giving vivid snapshots of his life as a child, adolescent, and adult. Paul Gilmartin shares many of Julian’s issues, which often makes for an episode that has the give-and-take of a relaxed conversation rather than a podcast interview. Even the drug stories, which in the wrong hands can be like long-winded tales about someone else’s dreams, are full of fascinating detail. The 84-minute conversation is a solid use of podcast time this week. [TC]  

Nerdist #521: Alex Trebek
While this longer-than-normal Nerdist could benefit from a bit of editing, it’s still a delightful insight into an iconic American television personality. The conversation bounces back and forth between behind-the-scenes details about Jeopardy! and stories about Alex Trebek’s personal life. Trebek comes across exactly as one might think he would: wry, practical, and fond of puns. After 30 years on the air, he’s immensely proud of the program that made him a household name. He’s eager to analyze what has made the show so popular and share stories about past celebrity contestants. Jeopardy! nerds will undoubtedly appreciate his insights. For instance, potential contestants must pass several different tests in order to be selected, and he recommends contestants always bet it all in Final Jeopardy. This episode features a Trebek who is more relaxed and funny than he’s allowed to be on Jeopardy! Charmingly, he loves fixing the plumbing in his house as much as he loves celebrating academia on national TV. [CS]

Never Not Funny #1415: Dave Attell
While it’s kind of crazy to imagine Jimmy Pardo and Dave Attell somehow not being good friends, if this week’s episode of Never Not Funny is to be believed, the two brash, mouthy, alpha comedians barely even knew each other before sitting down to record. How can this be? What makes it all the more incomprehensible is just how easily Attell—there ostensibly in support of his new Comedy Central special, Road Work—falls into the conversational rhythm of the show, as though he’s making his 10th appearance. By the episode’s end, when Attell expresses his desire to become a Never Not Funny regular, it seems not only possible, but likely. Among the more enjoyable digressions this week is a comparison of what “the road” means for a East Coast comic like Attell versus a Midwest guy like Pardo. Spoiler alert: One features a lot more cow shows than the other. [DD]

Professor Blastoff #155 Gay Athletes: Renaud Notaro
The ragtag group of wiseasses in the hatch are hardly the people anyone would go to for a take on this week’s Michael Sam controversy, but Professor Blastoff comes out of nowhere with a first-round knockout. Tig Notaro’s brother Renaud is an actual expert and radio show host in Denver, and he’s clearly eager to discuss these developments with a different demographic than his usual drive time Mile High Sports audience. He brings a historical perspective to the proceeding that takes pains to remove them from the current hubbub in favor of speaking to Sam’s actual future in the sport, comparing the unlikely hero’s potential new responsibilities especially to cross-cultural phenom Tim Tebow. With episodes like this, it’s a wonder Blastoff doesn’t throw its hat into more overcrowded rings. [NJ]

Song Exploder #10: Garbage – Felt
This episode’s featured song, “Felt” by Garbage, feels like a throwback—not just to 2012 but also to previous episodes of the show. Luckily, this strong episode benefits from having three very enthusiastic guests: drummer and producer Butch Vig, lead singer Shirley Manson, and engineer and producer Billy Bush. Each of the three offers a different perspective: Manson explains the geneses of her ideas for the song, including how a friend’s advice inspired the lyrics and the influence of Siouxsie And The Banshee on the song’s unnerving final moments; Vig focuses on how they created the song’s lush, gauzy sound (by using slightly out-of-tune-guitars, for one thing); and Bush talks about putting everything together. This sense of collaboration—what Manson refers to as the “alchemy” between members—and the band’s obvious love of the song make this episode a fun listen no matter how you feel about late-’90s alt-rock and it’s progression into the ’00s. [AH]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: The Flu Epidemic Of 1918
The spread of Spanish Flu in 1918 is incredibly relevant, and hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey find an interesting presentation for today’s germaphobic culture. Avoiding the easy, well-trod path of lecturing listeners about using too much hand-sanitizer, Wilson and Frey instead provide their usual superb historical outline while noting that there was never a real cure found. Outside of condensed quarters for the swaths of vulnerable World War I veterans going in and out of hospitals, no scientist is exactly sure why a more modern virus has yet to wreck havoc on today’s population. Downton Abbey gets some use as a pop culture touchstone as well as Wilson and Frey own anxieties. They find the perfect balance of relatability despite this week’s rather dark visuals of bloated vital organs. They also save the most interesting and unfortunate tidbit for lastthe flu is called “Spanish” only because of the Spanish media were the only journalists reporting on it properly. [DT]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Frances Glessner Lee And Tiny Forensics
Frances Glessner Lee is rumored to have been the inspiration for Angela Lansbury’s character in Murder, She Wrote, but her practical creations are all the more interesting. Her idea to make tiny dioramas to depict crime scenes revolutionized forensic science, and they are used in Harvard classrooms as an investigation exercise to this day. But this was the early 20th century, and so Glessner Lee not only changed the way murders were researched but was a pioneer for women in law enforcement. Though not a formal member of the police, she regularly hosted investigation studies, and was the first American woman to be named a captain of the police (though the title was honorary). Hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey confess they have wanted to dedicate an episode to her for some time, and the wait was worth it. The extensive research they did on Glessner Lee’s life makes for an excellent gateway into her legacy. [DT]

This American Life #525: Call For Help
When news broke that they were stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a damaged boat with a sick baby, many questioned Eric and Charlotte Kaufman’s parenting choices. For the first time, the Kaufmans tell their side of the story, methodically laying out a harrowing sequence of events that led them to call in the Coast Guard. Dramatic and tension-filled, the Kaufman’s set the record straight while also giving listeners a gripping primer on how quickly things can go wrong at sea. Of the two stories that follow, Anna Sale’s piece about receiving unsolicited relationship counseling from former Senator Alan Simpson and his wife, Ann, offers listeners the biggest surprise. The advice the Simpsons give to Sale is unexpectedly thoughtful, drawn from 60 years of marriage that has survived some trying momentsincluding Senator Simpson’s shameful treatment of Anita Hill during Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings. [DF]

WTF #497: Shepard Fairey
Probably best known for his poster for Barack Obama, Shepard Fairey has been a respected artists and designer for many years, and Marc Maron’s respect for the man borders on incoherent (he uses “mindfuck” a lot). Typically Maron has an excellent grasp of his interviewee’s world and focus, and while his knowledge of art isn’t as extensive as that of music or comedy, he still manages to push Fairey to interesting discussions of Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Robert Crumb. Maron’s lack of artistic jargon is a good thing, too, because it stops the interview from climbing too far into the ivory tower. Instead, the two men get rather political, specifically about post-9/11 American culture, with great results. [NC]

You Made It Weird #207: Scott Hutchison
The great thing about hosting your own show is that you can get artists who have had substantive effects on your life to sit down and talk to you. The great thing about hosting two shows is that you can do it twice! Following his appearance on Pete Holmes’ eponymous TBS late-night show, Scott Hutchison—singer and lyricist of the band Frightened Rabbit—sits down for a second, longer, weirder conversation. The two men turn out to be a good match for each other. They both spend a lot of time inside their own heads, turning things over and analyzing minutia. They’re both sensitive, uncertain, and self-involved, with strong drives to succeed. One of the highlights of the enjoyable two-hour conversation is when they compare notes on strategies for picking (or not picking up) women, while constantly making asides to remind listeners that they’re both currently in happy relationships. [DD]


Book Fight! #60: Kevin Canty, Into The Great Wide Open
Though Mike Ingram clearly adores this book, the two guys don’t really have much to say about it other than it’s one of the rare works that give its teenage characters nuance. Fan Fiction Corner spotlights an entry featuring the judges of The Voice, though. [ABa]

The Bugle #269: Fiddlesticks To Russia
The self-described “audio newspaper” riffs on Brazilian soccer and the unfolding Ukraine-Russia conflict, using phrases you don’t get on cable, like “obviously bullshit,” which leads to the kind of tangent you can only get on The Bugle: the rich, endangered tradition of Russian profanity. [DXF]

Judge John Hodgman #160: The French Correction
Wife Allison and husband Anthony debate whether they should speak in their subpar French when they’re interacting with locals in their hometown of Montreal. If the dialogue is as disjointed and dry as this week’s episode, they definitely shouldn’t. Monolingual Americans can skip to the docket-clearing case, which rules on which is more unreliable: a telepathic navigator or GPS device? [DXF]

The Moth: My Post-Nuclear Family
Older readers of TIME magazine might remember a gem that describes homosexuality as nothing “but a pathetic, second-rate substitute for life—a pitiable flight from existence.” Andrew Solomon remembers, and this week he chronicles his bumpy road from self-doubting youth to proud parent in a happy, truly modern family. It’s touching, but maybe it’s a sign of progress that it’s not one of The Moth’s most compelling stories. [DJ]

Nerdist #519: Jessica St. Clair And Lennon Parham
Chris Hardwick sits down with two talented and accomplished comic actresses. Unfortunately, this is another interview that may prove it’s preferable to watch people do impressions and improv as opposed to listening them talk about it. However, it is really endearing to hear Lennon Parham explain how Jessica St. Clair watches horror movies for her by proxy. [MS]

Nerdist #520: Jim Jefferies Returns
When Australian comedian Jim Jefferies isn’t borderline offensive (he claims his girlfriend can “sense” when he’s having fun and calls to ruin it by asking him to take care of their child), he’s painfully unfunny. Even his spot-on John Ratzenberger impression isn’t enough to save this episode. [CS]

99 Percent Invisible #114: “Ten Thousand Years”
It’s noble that 99 Percent Invisible tries to tackle grandiose topics, but when the show goes big, it loses the narrow focus that’s made it so successful. That’s what happened on this week’s episode about how to convey a message of radioactive danger to someone 10,000 years in the future. [ME]

Sklarbro Country #199: Fat Guy In Foam: Bert Kreischer
Given the podcast’s sports angle, it’s obvious that Randy and Jason Sklar are going to book some guests that are total bros. Usually, that’s fine, because the Sklars have a certain knack for engaging with guests and making the conversation palatable for listeners who aren’t necessarily into sports or any of the other areas the show dips its toe in. However, this interview with Bert Kriescher is about as exciting as listening to a frat guy talk about his best spring break ever. [MS] 

Sound Opinions #442: Uncle Tupelo
Greg Kot’s status as America’s preeminent Jeff Tweedy scholar guarantees a level of depth to their interview with founding Uncle Tupelo drummer Mike Heidorn, but the hosts put too much focus on areas of the band that Heidorn self-admits to not being the expert on. [NJ]

Stuff You Should Know: How The Paleo Diet Works
Hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant make known their skepticism of the Paleo Diet without ever forming a solid point of view. Though they remain intellectually agile, a thin veil hides their contempt for fad diets. Instead of picking apart this particular one, they assume listeners already agree with them and glide over many details. The episode ends on a particularly odd note, wherein Clark and Bryant assure listeners that a little research is very empowering. In reality, diets tend to be confusing to navigate without a proper nutritionist. This episode does little to help. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: How The Human Microbiome Project Works
The Human Microbiome Project sounds like one of the most important scientific studies of all time: We are only 1 percent human DNA, and the rest of us is a teeming mass of unusual and important bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms that keep us alive. Unfortunately, the Project has amassed very little data thus far, and this episode is mostly about our futile attempts to catalog a near infinite amount of data. [DT]

Welcome To Night Vale #47: Company Picnic
Dystopian regime StrexCorp dominates the airwaves in this terrifying broadcast/company-propaganda segment. The two on air, Kevin and Lauren, demand that citizens attend the company picnic. All the scientists (minus Carlos) have been captured, and the mayoral elections will still happen as planned next month. No mention of our hero Cecil, though, whose presence is sorely missed. [PM]

Who Charted? #180: Zach Braff Disease: Joe Mande, Armen Weitzman
While substitute host Armen Weitzman may have absentee host Howard Kremer’s space-cadet sensibility, he lacks Kremer’s undeniable charm and charisma. He generally has no interest in driving the show or making it exciting for anyone not in the studio, which is a shame, since Joe Mande is a consistently great guest. [MS]