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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.
Bald Talk – Weird Al Yankovic Is Bald Inside
For the second-season premiere of Bald Talk, the glabrous hosts Brian Huskey and Charlie Sanders invite the decidedly not-bald “Weird Al” Yankovic as their guest. But even though Weird Al actually has longer hair now than in his ’80s heyday, he tells the hosts there’s a bald person within him trying to get out. Given that the guest can’t exactly relate to the whole premise of the podcast, the hirsute parody hitmaker spends most of the episode regaling the hosts with tales old and new. From his early days recording “My Bologna” in a Cal Poly Tech bathroom to his evolving views on his Michael Jackson parody “Fat” to being asked by Portugal. the Man to contribute vocals on a serious song about Indigenous Americans, Weird Al has a list of stories as long as his luscious curly locks. —Pablo Goldstein
Scream, Queen! – Shelter in Place
Scream, Queen! isn’t technically a comedy podcast. Billed as a show “about scary movies, by people not typically depicted in scary movies,” it sees hosts Drea Washington and Tommy Pico (Food 4 Thot) approach the genre from a “Black/queer/Indigenous perspective” and, as they say, “have a damn good time.” They never fail to deliver on either front. Now in their fourth season, the hosts have switched up their segments from their earlier seasons. Still, the meat of the podcast remains their deep dives on horror movies, which always include Pico and Washington’s accomplished takes and undeniable humor. This week, they discuss A Quiet Place Part II, and Pico has some issues with it. “I just did not understand why some space demons land on a planet that’s mostly water, and they can’t swim,” he says. Washington offers possible explanations before Pico jokingly dismisses her with, “I don’t think you know what water is. I think you’re thirsty.” Bookended by pouring one out for a character done wrong (Mercedes Mason in Quarantine 2: Terminal) and giving it up for a scream queen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead in 10 Cloverfield Lane), this smart and funny podcast is sure to get you thinking and leave you laughing. —Becca James
Knowledge Fight – Sandy Hook Response w/ Mark Bankston
The team at Knowledge Fight has found such great success analyzing Alex Jones through dark comedy, but Jones’s unflinching peddling of conspiracies about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 is a stain that’s been beyond humor healing all wounds. But if anyone can get partway there, it’s rare guest Mark Bankston, a lawyer representing victims and families of Sandy Hook in a suit against Jones in Texas, who joined the resident experts Dan and Jordan for a truly cathartic interview immediately after the presiding judge issued default judgments in the case on October 1. Tune in to hear a respected lawyer do his spot-on Jones impression and recount the ludicrous, minutes-long silences littered throughout his depositions of Infowars affiliates — and stay tuned to see if Jones will ever get around to selling his house to pay for his slanderous coverage. —Noah Jacobs
For What It’s Worth – Monty Franklin, Mary Gallagher, and Mike Siegel
Veteran comedian and podcaster Murray Valeriano, host of the long-running Road Stories show, is back with For What It’s Worth, “the only music and comedy game show … that matters!” The podcast — which is also available in video form on YouTube — features three comedians pitted against one another in three different rounds, styled very much in the vein of a conventional game show. Most episodes have a variety of musical performers represented in the trivia-based questions that Valeriano poses, but this week’s comic contestants — Monty Franklin, Mary Gallagher, and Mike Siegel — find themselves in a Beatles-only arena. Franklin, an Australian stand-up, doesn’t seem to know much about music in general, let alone the Fab Four, but his two opponents are up for the challenge, though the Beatles focus seems to be a surprise to all. Except Valeriano, who takes to the questions with relish and really has his best Wink Martindale hosting style ramped up. The game moves quickly, the patter between host and contestants is engaging, and you might exit the roughly half-hour having learned a few tidbits about music you didn’t know before. —Marc Hershon
Bible Brothers – Numbers 26: The Bible’s Greatest Hits w/ Abdullah Saeed
It’s tough for Robert Padnick and Dan Klein to feel comfortable booking guests when the Bible will so frequently pivot into long, boring lists of people’s names without much comedic potential, but Abdullah Saeed (Great Moments in Weed History) may have helped them rewrite the playbook. These particular lists in Numbers 26 happen to be full of some classic minor figures, which actually also serves to make this episode a decent jumping-in point as Klein identifies the backstories of people like Abraham’s strange nephews Uz and Buz, and the editing from Cooper Peltz gets the names bumping with dubstep and the Survivor theme song. Plus, the relative lack of content coming from the Big Man Himself gives Saeed time to tease a future chapter where Jesus smokes pot, and the boys take an uncharacteristically raunchy examination of the potential biblical etymology of jerking off. —Noah Jacobs
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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