QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“The lowest point of [Entourage] was when Jamie-Lynn Sigler from The Sopranos was on the show and gave Turtle a handjob in one episode. When I’ve had family members die, I’ve felt less bad than I did during that episode.” —Greg Proops, The Smartest Man In The World
“Nothin’ in there but bones and feathers, boys.” —John Ross Bowie, quoting a post-coital Don Johnson
“I think you’re the most mild werewolf ever, is what it is. It’s the full moon every four weeks.” —Kyle Kinane on Dave Anthony’s erratic beard-growing cycle, Walking The Room
“I gave up on elves. I did not give up on stripes.” —Michael Ian Black on his relationship with Keebler cookies, Mike And Tom Eat Snacks
“[ABC’s Revenge] plays out like The Count Of Monte Cristo for dumb people, with the cool parts taken out.” —Dan Fienberg, Firewall & Iceberg
“One of my dreams is to tickle the jet engine of an American Airlines flight with one of my kites.” —Seth Galifianakis on his life goals
“That’s why my jokes are so fucking simple—it’s so you know they’re not true.” —Lisa Lampanelli, WTF With Marc Maron
“The only riot I’m okay with is a zoot suit riot.” —Julie Klausner, How Was Your Week?
NEW (TO US)
The latest episode, The Folly Of Prediction, is a fine entry point for new listeners. Dubner examines, in layman’s terms, prediction and its pitfalls, the gist being that supposed experts more or less suck at predicting the outcomes of the systems they’re supposed to be experts in, such as financial markets, crop futures, and football games. The show examines each of these in some detail, but more than simply harping on failed predictions, it explores why these failures aren’t surprising, given the prognosticators’ real incentives. The show takes a break from depressingly complex systems and looks at Pandora and its ability to predict music listeners will like. Dubner recognizes that Pandora is very different from predicting geopolitical futures, but it’s entertaining anyway.
The Apple Sisters #16: Boat Queen Week 4 Of 6
Best Show Gems: An In-Studio Appearance By Seth Galifianakis
Comedy Bang Bang #123: No Scoop For You: Amy Poehler, Adam Pally, The Bangles
Hang Up And Listen: The Legal Sucker Punch Edition
How Was Your Week? #28: “Sherry”: Jackie Collins, Amy Schumer
The Mental Illness Happy Hour #26: Paula Newman
Mike And Tom Eat Snacks #35: Clif Bars
The Moth: Josh Axelrad: The Gold Watch
Nerdist #125: Tom Wilson
Never Not Funny #916: John Ross Bowie
RISK! #228: Backlash
Sklarbro Country #60: Bring The Raw Bone: Rob McElhenney, Jason Nash
Sound Opinions: #303 Bootsy Collins
Stuff You Missed In History Class: The Freedom Rides: Nashville Steps Up
Stuff You Missed In History Class: Not Ned: Bushrangers In Later Years
Stuff You Should Know: How The Moon Works
Stuff You Should Know: How Acne Works
Uhh Yeah Dude #289
Walking The Room #69: Kyle Kinane And The Outhouse Gentleman
WTF With Marc Maron #211: Lisa Lampanelli
The Adam Carolla Show
The week in Ace, in order of descending interest: Carolla diehards will appreciate an unsentimental, impromptu memorial for Jimmy Kimmel’s Uncle Frank with roast master general Jeff Ross, who also gives a behind-the-scenes report from Comedy Central’s Charlie Sheen roast. X’s John Doe is the all-interview show of the week. It’s a must-hear for fans of the band, but skippable if Doe’s name doesn’t ring a bell. Carolla and Alison Rosen—both longtime fans—pick his brain about his creative and personal relationships with bandmate Exene Cervenka. Doe reflects on the group’s bad habits, commercial peaks, strategic missteps, and life after punk. With a gruff voice and amiable presence, Bryan Callen—star of MMA drama The Warrior and MTV’s supernatural drama Death Valley—muses about the mental and physical makeup of athletes, actors, and true tough guys. Grantland writer Jonah Keri gets less spotlight time than Ace’s astute analysis of the Mayweather-Ortiz fight and a sponsored round of Theoretical Road Trip, so the episode’s keeper bit is Carolla and Larry Miller’s explanation of why awards show hosts stink up the stage. When Internet producers Shaycarl and Kassem G appear, as always, Carolla is interested in how the guests got to their high-profile position—not so much about what they’ve done since they arrived.
The Best Show On WFMU
Best Show fans have heard this episode before: Tom Scharpling obsessing about the dark arts, yelling at associate producer Mike, a call from Jon Wurster mixed in with calls from listeners who only got in because of the ban on the regular callers. That’s not a bad thing, but this week’s show was pretty typical. Wurster (as Matthew Tompkins) unveiling the fall lineup for the Shout! Network had some great show ideas: a program where people whip each other with objects like the Shroud Of Turin, Kate Plus Eight Plus Eight starring Kate Gosselin and the Octomom, and Game Of Thrones, which is basketball played with toilet bowls.
The Bugle #166g: Offal Edinburgher
While listeners patiently await the return of English Smurf John Oliver from his non-existent movie world tour, this episode fills the gap with more clips from Andy Zaltzman and Oliver’s Edinburgh Fringe show. The guest for this set was God (who is apparently British), and the duo skip asking Him about the meaning of life in favor of making high-quality dick and fart jokes. While less topical than a regular episode, listeners are unlikely to be able to tell the difference in quality here.
Culture Gabfest: Feel The Burn Edition
No one can combine above-it-all arrogance with total cluelessness quite like Stephen Metcalf, who likens the neo-noir thriller Drive to a graphic novel (which he dismisses entirely as a form), doesn’t know who Carey Mulligan is (or Nicolas Winding Refn, for that matter), and believes you could “throw a dart” at Netflix and find a movie just like it. Yeah, good luck with that. Other segments examine the retooled machinery of Two And A Half Men and guest Seth Stevenson’s conversion experience at Burning Man.
Doug Loves Movies: Dan Gabriel, Robert Duchaine, And Matt Belknap
An in-studio recording, two well-behaved guests, and a Leonard Maltin game created and run by producer Matt Belknap: Sounds like the recipe for a low-key, low-stakes episode of DLM, which is exactly what’s offered here. Dan Gabriel and Robert Duchaine of the Best Medicine podcast are probably unfamiliar to most listeners, and while they’re game and good-natured, they don’t do much to distinguish themselves. There’s absolutely nothing offensive about this episode, but not much of note, either.
Doug Loves Movies: Deb DiGiovanni, Gareth Evans, And Ben Wheatley
At first it seems like this episode, recorded live at the Toronto International Film Festival (Doug Benson doesn’t like calling it TIFF), is going to be tortuous: Midnight Madness-selected directors Gareth Evans (The Raid) and Ben Wheatley (Kill List) clearly have no idea what’s going on and apparently little interest, answering most of Benson’s introductory questions with terse, one-sentence answers, forcing the host to scramble to keep the momentum up. But once the games start—Build-A-Title and The Leonard Maltin Game—the two directors come alive, especially the sardonic Wheatley, whose competitive side comes out during the Len Maltin Game to humorous/slightly obnoxious effect. Comedian Deb DiGiovanni contributes a very distinctive laugh, but not much else, to the proceedings.
Firewall & Iceberg, #93: Emmys, 2 Broke Girls, New Girl, The Playboy Club & More
In a pre-Emmys ’cast, Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg expertly and accurately handicap the awards. Skip ahead to 42:00 for a rundown of some of the more promising—albeit uneven—new shows from a lackluster fall season, including Fox’s Zooey Deschanel vehicle New Girl. New business concluded, the hosts resume gushing about Breaking Bad (last week’s high-body-count episode, “Bug”), and the meticulous critique enhances one of the season’s better installments.
Firewall & Iceberg, #94: Emmys, Person Of Interest, Prime Suspect & More
Sepinwall and Fienberg give a postmortem for the “meh” Emmys, lamenting the soft science behind questionable decisions and reveling in well-deserved wins. On the way to another Breaking Bad rave-up, the hosts rush through some new shows like they’re taking a shortcut through a bad neighborhood. On the way, they deal some lumps to Fox talent show The X Factor, ABC drama Revenge, ABC’s much-maligned Charlie’s Angels reboot, and NBC it-girl sitcom Whitney. They watch them so you don’t have to.
Nerdist #124: Tom Green
Considering his groundbreaking MTV show, battle with testicular cancer, and even his appearance on Celebrity Apprentice, Tom Green has the potential to be a great interview. Too bad this appearance on Nerdist feels like the kind of generic interview you’d hear on some morning zoo show—just without the fart noises and movie-snippet sound effects co-host Jonah Ray has frequently joked about putting in the show. The hour includes constant plugs for Green’s upcoming stand-up show, a ticket giveaway, and discussion about Canada and its relationship to the U.S. Cue fart noise.
Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Barbecue Smackdown And Other Local Interests
This Stephen Thompson-free episode starts with a segment on microculture specific to places the participants have lived, but it gets, as they admit themselves, pretty parochial over a discussion of regional styles of barbecue, and which states do it best. Which makes it a good pairing for the second segment, on pop culture (mostly films) that make drool-worthy use of food. But both segments are pretty list-driven and superficial; it’s fun to play will-they-mention-this bingo (Babette’s Feast? Check. Like Water For Chocolate? Check. Tampopo? No? Really?), but neither topic ever gets as colorful or conceptual as it potentially should have.
RadioLab Shorts: Loop The Loop
Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich look into the early days of aviation to learn about one of the most famous men of the 20th century—and why he’s been almost completely forgotten today. This 15-minute segment on stunt pilot Lincoln Beachey—who lives on today mainly as a jump-rope chant the two play throughout the short—doesn’t stray too far from the usual biographical format, telling the story of the man’s life efficiently, but it reintroduces a fascinating daredevil to listeners and conveys just a bit of the awe Americans of the era felt at watching men conquer the skies. (Also worth checking out: this lengthy essay by This American Life’s Ira Glass on what makes RadioLab work so well.)
The Smartest Man In The World: Tacos
Greg Proops’ latest podcast takes on the demise of Entourage as well as Kurt Douglas, the Tea Party debate, and the death penalty, but his smaller asides are the most entertaining, particularly his history of the Wahlberg family, his breakdown of Billy Wilder movies, and his Wolf Blitzer impression. If there’s a weakness, again, it’s that the digression-filled format wears out over the course of 80 minutes, though Proops’ sharp wit and, in the case of the death penalty, his fiery conviction, buoy the episode.
The Sound Of Young America: George R. R. Martin
Game Of Thrones and fantasy fans will love John Hodgman’s interview with writer George R.R. Martin. Obviously a fan himself, Hodgman almost demands answers to questions like how a person creates an entire religion and what it’s like for fantasy writers to meet their fans at conferences. Those who have never watched Game Of Thrones nor read a Martin book may feel not so much left out as elbowed aside.
The Sound Of Young America: Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction To Its Own Past, talks with Jesse Thorn about the history of “retro” in pop culture, going back to the beginnings of rock music. In short: Every genre of music has ripped off a prior genre. The discussion may not be incredibly enlightening, but it has some great music, and it’s fun to pick up on influences in popular music you may have missed.
Who Charted? #42: 12.5 Cups Of Summah: Todd Barry
The success of each episode of Who Charted? generally depends on how talkative and forthcoming the guest is. Although Todd Barry is one of the best comedians working today, the low-energy comic can hardly be described as “talkative” or “forthcoming.” This is one of the rare instances where hosts Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack have to carry the conversation over the course of the episode. Fortunately, the co-hosts are in a position to do all the heavy lifting because they have good chemistry, but it makes for a rather unremarkable episode.
WTF With Marc Maron #210: Brendon Walsh
Marc Maron decided somewhere down the line that comedian Brandon Walsh was the second coming of Neal Cassady, a crazy rock ’n’ roll rebel living on the edge and giving a defiant middle finger to corrupt authority. The problem is that Walsh can’t really live up to Maron’s romanticized image of him, no matter how much Maron prods him to recount tales of his prankish misadventures. He’s agreeable enough, but there’s an unbridgeable gulf between the real Walsh and the crazy, larger-than-life character Maron wants him to be.