Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
The comedy-podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We’re here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows, and each one has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional and the noteworthy. Each week, our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
Las Culturistas – The Las Culturistas Culture Awards Nominees Are …
It was a huge week on Las Culturistas. The moment readers have anticipated for weeks finally arrived, when nominees for the Las Culturistas Culture Awards were finally revealed. Luckily, Best Lil Bro nominee Matt Rogers and Best I Don’t Think So Honey of All Time nominee Bowen Yang were available to make the announcement. It’s clear publicists all over the map put in the work campaigning for their clients, as the awards are filled with exciting races like the cast of Girls all competing for Best Twenty-something and Matt and Bowen both up for the Best Friend award. Hearing things like There Is a Big Sale at Our Favorite Store being nominated for Best News We Heard, Flamingos for Best Damn Bird, and Teeth Fall Out for Most Recurring Stress Dream are hilarious as it is. But hearing those things announced in that familiar cadence and seriousness of an early-morning Oscar-nominee announcement adds an extra layer of joy. Add Matt and Bowen’s enduring commitment to the bit for the entire episode and it’s just straight-up damn delightful. It’s an incredible start to what is sure to be an exciting awards season. Congratulations to all the nominees! —Leigh Cesiro
Household Faces – Xander Berkeley
After a year and a half of locked-down pandemic binge-viewing, this podcast featuring chats with familiar-faced character actors is an amazing companion show to … everything. The podcast is hosted by John Ross Bowie, a well-recognized face in his own right, who gets right to what makes these journeymen and journeywomen actors tick. This week is the ultrarecognizable Xander Berkeley, who usually plays that asshole you love to hate. (So much so that there’s a 12-minute supercut of his death scenes culled from many of his over 200 movies and TV shows on YouTube.) He stands out in much of what he does, from the first season of Fox’s 24 as the smarmy boss to Gregory, the leader of the Hilltop community in seasons six and seven of The Walking Dead. Bowie picks out some memorable roles from movies like Sid and Nancy (“I dressed like a homeless bum for the audition and the director, Alex Cox, was kind of disappointed when I showed up for shooting and I wasn’t!”) and John Connor’s annoying foster dad in Terminator 2, who winds up with a sword through the throat. Bowie and his guest also spend some time geeking out over their love of improv comedy and how much it contributes to their acting craft. Berkeley is a bottomless well of behind-the-scenes and star-studded stories, making this installment of Household Faces a jam-packed listen. —Marc Hershon
Lady to Lady – “Expiration Date Denier” ft. Roz Hernandez
Sleepovers are for hanging with the girlies, confessing crushes, and swapping spooky stories. Lady to Lady — hosted by comedians Babs Gray, Brandie Posey, and Tess Barker — perfectly combines insightful conversations and silly tangents between close friends. Their guest this week is comedian Roz Drezfalez, host of Ghosted!, and they talk about all things paranormal. They discuss how the movie Casper captivated the hearts of children and that the cartoon ghost was many people’s first crush. Drezfalez also discusses how child ghosts can be more mischievous because they didn’t learn any of the social skills that adult ghosts have adopted. She also talks about how ghosts could possibly just look like regular people and vanish into thin air, leading to a larger discussion in which each host shares a paranormal experience. They also discuss why people shouldn’t be afraid of ghosts, because if they wanted to cause damage to society, they would. In the segment “Lady Problems,” where they answer listener questions, they give advice to a listener who’s still hung up on their ex. All four give sisterly insight for the listener that provides “end of the sleepover” vulnerability and a great ending to the episode. —Alejandra Gularte
Tropes and Dreams – Friends With Benefits
Tropes and Dreams is a podcast about rom-coms that addresses the genre through a feminist and anti-racist lens. Hosted by Olivia Love and Charlie Vail, it’s a fast-moving and funny approach to movies that “attempts to do justice to both the silliest and most sincerely moving aspects of each film.” This week the hosts tackle Friends With Benefits — not to be confused with No Strings Attached. They ultimately declare the latter the better film, and the former, a 2011 Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis vehicle, as a “time capsule nightmare.” Taking the movie to task in a way that’s sure to tickle listeners’ funny bones, the quick-witted and high-energy Tropes and Dreams is akin to that spark you feel as you leave a theater, amped to discuss what you’ve just seen with your friends. So join in on the fun and reconsider some rom-coms. —Becca James
Celebrity Memoir Book Club – Lauren Graham Is Talking As Fast As She Can
Comedians Claire Parker and Ashley Hamilton are doing the Lord’s work with Celebrity Memoir Book Club, reading all the celebrity memoirs so you don’t have to. They get it — you’re busy. So each episode, they give listeners a full download on a book they maybe didn’t even know existed. This week’s book is a perfect example. Am I ever going to read Lauren Graham’s book Talking As Fast As I Can? No, probably not. But am I curious to know what kind of celebrity gossip or pearls of wisdom it might impart? Yes, very much so. Have I ever watched Gilmore Girls? Never seen a single episode. But do I want to know what it was like on set? Absolutely I do! Every episode is an easy, enjoyable, and hilarious listen — so much so that I’ve devoured many older episodes in the past few days. The Busy Philipps, Leah Remini, and Olivia Munn episodes are all standouts that will no doubt make you a deeply invested Celebrity Memoir Book Club fan and leave you feeling like you’ve done a lot of reading, without ever cracking open a book. —Leigh Cesiro
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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