“Werner Herzog” bums out Doug Loves Movies and David Lee Roth has a podcast now

“Werner Herzog” bums out Doug Loves Movies and David Lee Roth has a podcast now

To listen to these and other podcasts, visit Podmass Central, our podcast hub. 

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

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“Tyler Perry has the grace and the elegance of a late-career Steven Seagal, where it’s almost like a mattress on legs getting into fights.” —Elliott Kalan on Tyler Perry’s botched attempt to reinvent himself as an action star in Alex Cross, The Flop House

“I was singing with our church choir at that point because I wasn’t really sure whether I had faith or not, but gosh darn it, I like singing.” —Jeff Viniard, a man in the midst of a crisis of faith, Radiolab

NEW (TO US)

The Roth Show
Podcasting lovingly encourages narcissism. It’s an art form where egotists in love with the sound of their own voice can consummate that passion to the delight and sometimes mortification of a voyeuristic public. In that respect, it’s an ideal forum for David Lee Roth, who is brazenly self-absorbed even by rock-star standards. Besides, it’s not as if Roth is a stranger to broadcasting the random natterings of his drug-fogged mind to a listening audience: The ill-fated The David Lee Roth Show very briefly replaced The Howard Stern Show when Stern left for Sirius. 

But Roth is such a figure of our half-forgotten past, the living personification of easy-breezy, sunglasses-wearing ’80s California cheese, that it’s weird to imagine him occupying the newfangled podcast realm, even if The Roth Show episodes are essentially audio versions of Roth’s YouTube show of the same name. The technology might be newfangled, but Diamond Dave remains lost in a fuzzy, glorious past. He behaves throughout the show like a coked-up cartoon of a ’60s hipster, spitting word jazz and freestyle audio razzamatazz for an audience of one: himself. Roth isn’t just the whole show, he’s also his own best audience, an easily dazzled enthusiast who can’t stop guffawing at the things that come out of his mouth or marveling at his own wisdom.

Roth spends the first 10 minutes of the very first podcast marveling that due to the magic of sarcasm and slang, words can mean different things in different contexts. For example, sometimes when the brothers say “bad,” it means “good.” Seriously. Roth aspires to educate as well as entertain: The average episode of The Roth Show is a breathless, barely coherent combination of crackpot lecture, open-mic-night stand-up set, and long-winded autobiography, a weird and rambling half-hour monologue that flits distractedly from subject to subject. The Roth Show is alternately fascinating and exhausting, riveting in its unselfconscious craziness and utterly obnoxious. Fans of Roth and rubberneckers who find him morbidly fascinating are both likely to get a lot out of The Roth Show, albeit possibly not in the manner intended. But in a way, listeners are superfluous, since if podcasting didn’t exist, Roth would probably just be yammering these weird rants into a tape recorder for his own private amusement and edification. [NR]


OUTLIERS

Disalmanac 
At first glance, the concept of Disalmanac is pretty simple. Host Scott Bateman essentially puts together a comedic encyclopedia entry on a given subject, like Denmark or John Adams, and quickly veers from facts into dozens of playful untruths. And since the main part of each episode is basically Bateman on a silly monologue (his recent entry on Apollo 11 is mostly a long joke about Rush), it could understandably wear thin for some listeners. Then again, the episodes are short, typically seven or eight minutes, and the reward is in the bizarre snowball effect that happens as Bateman keeps his stream of not-facts going. In a recent episode about Greenland, for instance, he eventually ends up on a tear about his mom’s gross recipe for mac and cheese. Disalmanac episodes follow up the main segments with also-absurd “random bonus facts” from guests, who have ranged from Ted Leo (holding forth on New York City’s Gowanus Canal) to comics and games artist John Kovalic (on bands from his birthplace of Manchester, England). Like most good podcasts, Disalmanac has the virtue of hiding how much work it must be: Bateman wrangles all those guest spots, keeps the episodes tight and brief, and makes the music himself. He also has a Disalmanac book due out this summer. [SG]


THE BEST

The Bugle #229: Cyprus Ready To Go Mad Max
It had to happen sooner or later, but The Bugle is taking a two-week break after a brilliant run of weekly (and mostly punctually released) episodes. John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman seem intent from the get-go to make every moment of this edition roar, and they succeed with a typically hilarious episode focusing largely on the growing economic crisis in Cyprus. Early in their routine, it comes out that Chris The Producer’s parents live in Cyprus, and face the very struggles that Oliver and Zaltzman are lampooning. Instead of making things awkward, this revelation adds a sense of reality to the desperate situation and their profoundly absurd treatment of it. The two continue to riff on self-imposed censorship and Britain’s proud reduction of the price of beer by a single pence to wonderful effect. [MK]

Doug Loves Movies: Paul F. Tompkins, Chris Hardwick and “Werner Herzog” 
Doug Benson’s occasional adoption of Comedy Bang Bang’s open-door policy has pretty consistently resulted in great Doug Loves Movies outings, and the debut of perpetual gloomy Gus “Werner Herzog” on the show is no exception. Herzog is probably the most low-key persona in Paul F. Tompkins’ arsenal, so it’s a good thing he has the ever-excitable Chris Hardwick and Tompkins himself to bounce off of. The three balance one another out perfectly, and Tompkins undertaking the dual roles results in a couple of funny bobbles as “Werner” and “Paul” step on each other’s toes. The trio’s chemistry plays out especially well during the games portion, as both Tompkins and Hardwick are skilled, competitive players, and Herzog, somehow, catches on remarkably quick. [GK]

Doug Loves Movies: Duncan Trussell, Graham Elwood and Colin Quinn
Half the appeal of this installment of Doug Loves Movies is getting to witness panelist Colin Quinn be a lovable grump, whether he’s ragging on comic-book movies, giving guest Graham Elwood grief for talking about an obscure indie film, or making fun of Doug Benson when he’s trying to conduct a game. Usually, it’s fairly frustrating to hear an uninitiated guest try to navigate the games portion of the show, but it’s really fun to hear Quinn make fun of the games’ inherent ridiculousness while playing them. Comic Duncan Trussell rounds out the panel with his charming space-cadet/stoner sensibility. [MS]

The Flop House #122: Alex Cross
With Alex Cross, The Flop House hosts come down from the one-two insanity punch of The Paperboy and The Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure, returning from the domain of awful, surprisingly bland fever dreams to the realm of plain ol’ awful, unsurprisingly bland bad movies. As such, the episode serves as a prime example of the winning chemistry the hosts bring to the table no matter the topic of discussion. All three of the Original Peaches—but especially Dan McCoy—are on their game, and the quips just keep coming. On top of that, the mailbag is once again terrific, particularly when McCoy is shamed for his pervy tendencies just before reading an email titled “Krang with Boobs.” [CG]

Fogelnest Files #28: VHS Nostalgia: Rodney Ascher
This week’s episode, as the title suggests, unfolds as a kind of eulogy for the long-lost days of analog, whether that means VHS, celluloid, or scanimation. Guest Rodney Ascher proves to be an almost preternaturally competent companion for Fogelnest: In addition to directing Room 237, the forthcoming documentary about interpretations of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Ascher seems to share both Fogelnest’s enthusiasm for and knowledge base regarding items on the cultural periphery. (Case in point: His previous work includes “The S From Hell,” a fantastic short film exclusively about the 1964 logo for Screen Gems.) As an interview, the show is certainly engaging, but it’s also Fogelnest’s most educational entry to date—particularly for people unfamiliar with the days of Betamax or the general history of screen logos. It’s overall less raucous than usual, but it goes a long way to bolster Fogelnest’s credibility as a guide through the era that so fascinates him. [AB]

Freakonomics: 100 Ways To Fight Obesity
Freakonomics’ two Stephens (Levitt and Dubner) were recently asked to run a half-day think tank on combating childhood obesity. More than a third of American children are either obese or overweight, and the long-term consequences are impossible to quantify. The biggest problem is that the body has a very strong homeostasis device, which makes it hard to gain or lose weight, so after setting one’s weight at childhood, the chances of changing it in adulthood are very small. This week’s episode provides highlights from Levitt and Dubner’s discussion with the other members of the think tank (made up of nutritionists, activists, scientists, and economists) as they come up with practical and fantastical ways to combat childhood obesity. The conversation between the many experts is both funny and informative (and scary: The obesity epidemic is far worse than people typically believe), and has a loose, fun quality that Freakonomics usually lacks. [NC]

Hang Up And Listen: They Might Be Giant Killers Edition
With the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in the books, a number of exciting storylines have emerged, including the usual phenomenon of “Cinderella” teams from small and mid-major conferences taking down their more highly ranked opponents. The HUAL crew admires the confident, freewheeling style of No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast University—as opposed to the more cynical underdog strategy of slowing down the game and hoisting three-pointers—but they also note smartly that the talent drain in the NCAA, where the best players are “one and done,” has led to greater parity. The heart of the episode, however, is an interview with Thurl Bailey, the star of the fabled N.C. State team that toppled the Goliath that was the University Of Houston with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Bailey, who appears in the new ESPN documentary Survive And Advance, acknowledges how just a few small twists of fate made the difference between an early exit and a legendary run through the tournament. [ST]

How Was Your Week #107: “Santas, Attack!” Ted Travelstead, Chad Carter
Julie Klausner has known Chad Carter for more than a decade, and, as is often the case when Klausner has friends on her podcast, her interview with him is comfortable and natural. The main focus is on Carter’s interest in science, a refreshing change of pace for the podcast. Klausner and Carter’s easy rapport makes for an effortless and energetic conversation packed with plenty of opportunities for riffing and joking. The second half of the episode with Ted Travelstead is more subdued, but no less entertaining. Travelstead’s low-key demeanor belies a sharp, surreal sense of humor, which comes out in full force during a great story about playing a bad guy obsessed with Saint Anthony for criminal-justice students learning hostage-negotiation techniques. [DF]

Improv4Humans With Matt Besser #73: Inquisitive Triplets: Sean Conroy, Mike Still, Scott Rodgers, Bobby Matthews
Improv4Humans has its first musical episode this week, throwing Twitter suggestions and funny stories to the wind in favor of in-studio performances. By picking apart the songs, the four players zero in on a theme surprisingly well each and every scene. While an early spin on a Love Connection-esque game show never quite finds its legs, a medieval drinking song reignites the group between scenes, building a momentum that never quite gives out. The following scene deftly moves from locale to locale as a young man returns after ascending the ranks of a Portland death cult, much to the disinterest of his former peers. The next is a self-contained bit with inquisitive triplets asking obscene questions of their cheating father. The two scenes demonstrate how varied Improv4Humans can be in its laughs, and keeps things exciting each and every week. [MK]

Judge John Hodgman: Gas, Grass, Or Justice
Because the quality of the guests have so much impact on the quality of a Judge John Hodgman episode, it’s always a plus when Hodgman brings in an expert witness to keep the banter lively, even when the case itself doesn’t hold much interest. This week, Ruthie brings the case against her boyfriend Chris, a 30-year-old from Baltimore who has never learned to drive and has failed to follow through on promises to do so, even now that Ruthie is going to school in Lafayette, Indiana. Hodgman brings on Paul F. Tompkins to comment on Chris’ anxieties, because Tompkins himself only recently started driving at age 42. Hodgman, Tompkins, and Bailiff Jesse Thorn have so much great comic chemistry that the details of the actual case are like splashes of gasoline on a fire. [ST]

The J.V. Club #54: Lynn Chen
Don’t listen to this episode on an empty stomach, because actress Lynn Chen, creator of The Actor’s Diet blog, not only loves to talk about food, but knows how to do it in delicious detail. Her relationship with food forms the center of her conversation with Janet Varney, which ranges from the wonders of frozen Riesen chocolate chews to not appreciating the delectable Taiwanese meals prepared for her as a child because she wanted the crap that kids eat. With an opera singer for a mother, Chen considered the Metropolitan Opera House her second home, and her most enjoyable anecdote is about the terror of seeing it defiled for the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards (which she attended). The women spend a lot of time talking about contemporary food culture in their main interview, but Chen’s teenage personality shines through when Varney brings out the cootie-catcher and M.A.S.H. questions. [OS]

The Mental Illness Happy Hour #106: Robert Patrick Lewis
Paul Gilmartin’s ability to dig deeper with guests than most podcast hosts is exemplified in this compelling conversation with Purple Heart recipient Robert Patrick Lewis. When the former Green Beret tells the harrowing story that led to the decoration, Gilmartin sounds much more interested in Lewis’ emotional state leading up to the incident than details about blood, gunfire, and heroism. That tendency to treat all of his guests as complete human beings separate from their job title or accomplishments is one of the elements that set Gilmartin’s show apart. Lewis is deeply introspective throughout the extended conversation, which gives a fair amount of time to issues like faith, fear, and the lasting emotional weight that comes with taking a life in battle. The episode is a nice change of pace for the show, and earns its 131-minute runtime. [TC]

Mohr Stories #143: Margaret Cho
Margaret Cho’s short, dense appearance snaps Jay Mohr’s cold streak. With similar interests and minimal lifestyle overlap, the two are a perfect match, and Mohr deftly balances background questions, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and random chatter. His line of questioning is informed by the humanist agenda that defines this stage of his career (which will surprise listeners who just know him as Jerry Maguire’s alpha-male agent Bob Sugar). Over the course of the episode, Cho recounts her origin story of growing up in San Francisco with an empowering, progressive family who exposed her to gay pornography but were conflicted about their Korean heritage. The interview is skimpy on details about her work on Drop Dead Diva and a defunct clothing line, but the stories she does tell are enlightening contrasts to the versions from her stand-up act. A handful of underexplored topics will likely steer listeners to Cho’s new podcast, including a brief mention of a stint working for a phone-sex line that specialized in English-as-a-second-language interactions. [DXF]

Monday Morning Podcast
The topics of Bill Burr’s rants and ramblings are wide-ranging and eclectic even within the confines of a single episode. But almost invariably, at least once a week, he comes down on himself for having nothing to talk about and then appears to grasp desperately for something—anything—to talk about to fill the time. That is decidedly not the case this week, as he comes armed with a tremendous story about an odd experience on his recent flight to Indianapolis, which takes up almost half of the entire episode, and then follows that up immediately afterward with one about a run-in with some of the Sesame Street characters. The momentum dwindles a bit when he gets to listener emails, but even those aren’t bad. Nevertheless, it may be hard to enjoy the usual, lumbering version of the podcast should he return to it next week. [CG]

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The Moth: Rashaunda Tyson: It Could Have Happened To Anyone
A lot of Moth stories concern loss and grief, but in Rashaunda Tyson’s entry this week, the loss is drawn out across an entire life. Tyson recalls losing her mother to drug addiction, gradually working her way through a complex mix of anger and crushed hopes, examining a different side of her emotions with each narrative step. The story is overwhelmingly tragic, yet Taylor brings across her experience with deliberate care. [SG]

My Brother, My Brother And Me #145: Three’s Company High
With all the talk of sexualized Garfield/Pamela Anderson mash-up drawings and personified horses voting in elections, it can be easy to forget how handily the McElroy brothers turn much less outlandish and absurd topics into wise comedic gold, but that knack is on full display this week. The episode is oddly coherent in terms of theme, with most of the questions—even the silliest, completely unpunctuated Yahoo! Answers inquiry—having something to do with relationships, be they romantic, platonic, or familial. It may not end up among the show’s most momentous episodes, but it’s still incredibly funny. [CG]

Nerdist #337: Nick Offerman
Since transitioning into television work, Nick Offerman has become synonymous with manliness. This is due in large part to his role as Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation, as well as the love of woodworking Offerman and his character share. It’s inevitable that these topics arise during his chat with Chris Hardwick, but Offerman also talks about his work in smaller Chicago theater productions and how that informed his work ethic over the years. It’s not surprising that Offerman is humble and hilarious in equal measure, but it’s his down-to-earth nature that makes him so fascinating. The episode also does a good job breaking down Offerman’s television persona, showing that there’s more to Ron Swanson than just a killer mustache. [DA]

Nerdist #338: William Fichtner
As Chris Hardwick states in the intro to this episode, if you don’t know William Fichtner’s name, you certainly know his face. As Fichtner’s acting credits prove, he’s rather omnipresent for remaining fairly low-profile. On his episode of Nerdist, he proves to be thoroughly charming, sharing his love of NASCAR and various motor sports, pinball, and his experiences seeing Led Zeppelin in the band’s heyday. Fichtner’s variety of anecdotes and his ability to fit right in with Hardwick and Matt Mira make the episode a quick, energetic listen that never loses its momentum. Nerdist episodes have been running a bit long as of late—to both its benefit and detriment this week—which makes an episode this tight a very welcome change. [DA]

Radiolab: Are You Sure?
An inspired audio supercut of hesitant answers set against a tense score sets into motion a gripping episode of Radiolab, which covers the fine line between certainty and doubt. The first segment tackles a man’s tumultuous relationship with God and religion on an impressively personal level, through a cyclist the reporter happened to meet on a bike trip. The second segment, on a Texas Hold ’Em superstar’s statistical approach to doubt, is the least engaging of the three, but is interesting nonetheless. Finally, a harrowing story of a woman’s rape, subsequent incorrect identification of her offender, and the ruinous effects of the legal system makes up the last segment. The Radiolab crew really took a varied approach to storytelling this week, which pays off in a crackerjack episode. [MK]

Sklarbro Country #139: Cock Pulldowns: Kumail Nanjiani, Chris Cox
Kumail Nanjiani is a hell of a lot funnier than his role on Franklin & Bash suggests: He’s a regular guest on Harmontown, and has appeared on Portlandia, Adventure Time, and Newsreaders. And even better, his weekly stand-up showcase with Jonah Ray recently filmed a pilot for Comedy Central. Nanjiani joins the Sklars to talk about his videogame prowess, the tenuous popularity of squash in Pakistan, and the misery of getting one’s penis stuck in a zipper. To cap off the episode, Chris Cox returns with his Dennis Rodman impression to joke about the former basketball player’s diplomatic abilities. [KM]

Sklarbro Country Sklarbro County #44: Jim O’Heir, Dan Van Kirk
Though Jim O’Heir has led an impressive career, he will now always be known as Jerry Gergich, the loveable punching bag of Parks And Recreation. After a slight gaffe—“Damnit, Jerry!”—talking in the background of the episode intro, O’Heir bonds with Dan Van Kirk over memories of Chicago and talks briefly about eating at a restaurant mobbed by Miami fans watching the NCAA basketball tournament. Van Kirk’s stories this week, including a fight between brothers that begins in the family weapon room (in Florida, of course), offer great opportunities for the Sklars and O’Heir to riff some great imagined scenes. [KM]

Sound Opinions #382: 2013 SXSW Recap
Just in case listeners haven’t had enough of SXSW music recommendations, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot each offer their respective discoveries from Austin this year. The list of bands could go on forever—NPR did a list of 100 songs by notable acts—but the guys each pluck out four favorites, from Holydrug Couple and Savages to No Ceremony and Metz. It’s a fun and enlightening mini-guide to bands people should keep an eye on coming out of the festival. In their review, Kot and DeRo discuss Justin Timberlake’s new album, getting past all the flash and hubbub over Timberlake returning to music to go into just why the new album doesn’t sound as essential or arresting as his previous work. [KM]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: The Trial Of Goody Garlick
Witch trials were a bizarre and disturbing chapter in American colonial history, and in this episode hosts Holly Frey and Tracy V. Wilson reopen this case of accused 1600s witch Goody Garlick. An intensely gossipy community and meticulously kept legal records ensured nearly every strange line of these accusations survived. Elizabeth Gardiner Howell was a Long Island teenager who died suddenly after accusing fiftysomething Garlick of being a witch. A spectral black figure haunted Howell until she died, along with a phantom Garlick that no one but Howell could see. Howell’s intense deathbed hallucinations make for a compelling listen, and it’s easy to get swept up in the case’s melodrama. The subject of a witch trial might seem a bit predictable, but Frey and Wilson keep things interesting with footnotes like the “seven-point system of criteria for determining the presence of witchcraft.” [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: What Was The Most Peaceful Time In History?
Hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant start this discussion with a carefully researched list of the most peaceful countries in the world, called the Global Peace Index, which raises the question: What is the most peaceful time in history? Popular contender Pax Romana, a relatively peaceful time during the Roman Empire, was actually rather violent in the grand scheme due to its dependence on a vast, oppressive government. Technology appears to offset this problem, and as we come to understand cultures better, our current era may end up being the most peaceful. The interplay of fear and knowledge is a perfect catalyst for the hosts to riff and philosophize, but Clark and Bryant keep the esoteric research in perspective, and the discussion stays fun from beginning to end. [DT]

This American Life #490: Trends With Benefits
This American Life is not going to rest on its laurels after its ambitious two-parter on Harper High School. Now the podcast takes a look at how and why the number of Americans claiming disability benefits has doubled over the last 15 years, despite an increase in jobs and rights for those with disabilities. The amount of information that falls through the holes in the system is astounding: What exactly defines “disability”? And why are some initiatives penalizing people who actually work and whose children do well in school? The show only scratches the surface of this troubling issue, but it’s a surface that needed scratching. [CZ]

The Thrilling Adventure Hour #110: Captain Laserbeam, “Circle Gets The Square” 
Thrilling Adventure Hour’s Captain Laserbeam segment treats its audience to about a dozen goofy supervillain ideas per segment. But the real challenge is making those ideas play out through the show’s nimble wordplay, and the writers nail it with this episode’s main villain, Shape Ape (voiced here by Clancy Brown). He’s simply a not-too-bright creature obsessed with shapes, and in this episode he delivers a wonderfully absurd parody of Blade Runner’s “Tears in rain” speech. It’s one of those TAH moments that’s not only clever, but loveably nerdy. [SG]

The Todd Glass Show #95: Jake Fogelnest
Jake Fogelnest is easily The Todd Glass Show’s most enthusiastic guest. From the get-go, Fogelnest is more than happy to dive into any ridiculous scenario Todd Glass throws at him. The two have fun acting out a morning-zoo radio show scenario, and get some mileage out of a sound effect of a bubbling bong. Plus, Fogelnest expresses sheer delight at the use of the Jerry Seinfeld voice effect. The Bitter Buddha director Steven Feinartz is also on hand to insert hilariously unwelcome rave reviews of his Eddie Pepitone documentary throughout the proceedings. Aside from the rampant silliness, Glass does offer insight into his evolving attitude toward coming out by discussing the changes in how he refers to his partner in public. [MS]

Uhh Yeah Dude: #364
Episode 364 sees both Seth Romatelli and Jonathan Larroquette working squarely within their fields of expertise: Larroquette recounting a cautionary tale of sleep-driving, and Romatelli describing a lesser TV star getting turned away from a club in the most embarrassing manner possible. And after some engine-stalling where the duo try to determine the origins of Earth Day, they slide into their respective roles for the remainder of the hour. For Larroquette, that means describing the dangers of psychedelic tourism (which he still recommends), and for Romatelli, it means recounting tales from the tin age of TV. The regular features don’t deliver this week, but the rest of the episode makes up for them. [CW]

Who Charted? #121: The Origin Of Dubstep: Moshe Kasher
No matter the podcast, comic and author Moshe Kasher continues to be a consistently great guest. Part of that has to do with the fact that he’s lived such an eventful and arduous life despite being relatively young. Also, he’s a damn good storyteller and knows how to keep a conversation flowing. It’s a given that Kasher can trade pointed barbs with Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack about music and movies, but he really shines when given the opportunity to talk about himself. A prime example occurs when he reminisces about his early-’90s raver phase and how he inadvertently inspired dubstep pioneer Bassnectar to start DJing. [MS]

You Made It Weird #137: Jon Hamm
Pete Holmes’ conversation with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm could almost pass as an excellent straightforward long-form interview, aside from Holmes frequently referring to Don Draper as “Donnie Drapes.” Holmes gets Hamm talking about subjects like the gap between an actor and his best-known character. So while YMIW’s playful style is intact here, and Hamm is game for it, Holmes seems to have seen and grasped an opportunity to do something a little different with the podcast this week. [SG]


THE REST

Comedy Bang! Bang! #209: The Bisco Boys: Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die, Howard Kremer
Any time Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die—Harris Wittels, Paul Rust, and Michael Cassady—guest, it’s going to be an especially loose show, and that’s the case here. Howard Kremer doesn’t get much in with the hyperactive Rust and Wittels around, and the episode could’ve used more of him. And by the third “it’s funny because it’s grating” Don’t Stop song, it’s mostly grating. [KR]

Comedy Bang! Bang! #210: A Spiritual Journey: Adam Brody, Lauren Lapkus, Joe Wengert
A trio of first-timers—podcast newbie Adam Brody and new characters from Lauren Lapkus and Joe Wengert—makes for a slow show, particularly a first segment that really drags. Brody is game, and Wengert’s pop-culture medium is funny, but Lapkus’ character goes nowhere. [KR]

Doug Loves Movies: Brie Larson, Jack Plotnick And “Werner Herzog” 
“Werner Herzog’s” return appearance on DLM should have been great, but his fellow panelists don’t jibe particularly well with the downcast director. It’s not a bad episode, and it has its share of laughs, but a sense of missed opportunity hovers over the whole thing. [GK]

Mike And Tom Eat Snacks #78: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Mike and Tom review traditional Reese’s cups and several of the brand’s other permutations, but for the most part it seems like the hosts are grasping at straws. [DA]

Mohr Stories #144: Brace Philosophy
Brace Philosophy, breakout star of Showtime gigolo reality show Gigolos, reveals how one enters the profession, what he looks for in a client, and what happens in a session. Aspiring companions can tune in to learn about the protocol for peeing on clients. [DXF] 

Nerdist #336: Lily Tomlin
The episode starts strong but slowly peters out over its nearly 90-minute duration. A more condensed version surely would have been great, but at this length it feels a bit more laborious than it should. [DA]

Never Not Funny #1211: Copping To It With John Ross Bowie
John Ross Bowie is fine support for Jimmy Pardo, but a collective inability to make logical ends meet results in riffs that rely on recycled material and familiar Pardoisms for humor. [SM]

Professor Blastoff #97: Viruses (w/ Eric Kane)
Distracted, ill, or still dazed from a varnish overdose (Kyle Dunnigan, Tig Notaro, and David Huntsberger, respectively), the hosts aren’t in much shape to discuss this week’s topic, leading to a conversation that’s both cursory and conceptual. (Much thought is given to whether viruses have a soul.) An update on Notaro’s special mammal and another round of “Name That Punky” are pretty fun, though. [SM]

Stuff You Missed In History Class: The Contentious Invention Of The Sewing Machine
The fight over the patent for the first sewing machine is amusing, but the scattered plot is confusing and not as fun to follow. [DT]

Stuff You Should Know: Gesundeit! How Allergies Work
The cellular science of what causes our immune systems to go into overdrive is interesting, but there’s limited entertaining places for hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant to take the discussion. [DT]

WTF #371: E Of Eels
Marc Maron’s interview with Mark Oliver Everett of Eels covers some compelling personal drama, but doesn’t quite reach the heights of his other notable music interviews, in that it doesn’t find a way to make the subject interesting to people who aren’t already fans. [KM]

WTF #372: Adam Parfrey
Adam Parfrey’s conspiracy-theory-laden Apocalypse Culture books were a big influence on Marc Maron. Unfortunately, the interview fails to introduce the book and its author to a broader audience, which feels like a wasted opportunity given the juicy subject matter of the book and the author’s admitted taste for provocation. [CZ]

You Made It Weird #136: Megan Ganz
In an episode he proudly announces as YMIW’s longest yet, Pete Holmes has an amiable exchange with Community and Modern Family writer Megan Ganz. [SG]

Filed Under: Comedy

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