Kelly Alto

"This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Who Charted? Remembers Brody Stevens" [Vulture]

Kelly Alto
"This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Who Charted? Remembers Brody Stevens" [Vulture]
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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, 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.

Who Charted? — Remembering Brody Stevens

When Brody Stevens took his own life two weeks ago, the comedy world lost a true original. He was a comic who could dominate a lineup by simply listing his credits or guessing the high schools of audience members. But more importantly, he’s been described by his peers as a warm, genuine, and compassionate person who emitted positive energy while waging a brutal battle with his inner demons. Stevens made more appearances on Howard Kremer’s Who Charted? than any other guest, and the show’s latest is a heartfelt tribute to his close friend. Along with longtime engineer Brett Morris and producer Kevin Bartelt, Kremer spends this emotional episode telling personal stories and eulogizing the beloved idiosyncrasies of Stevens, someone who “changed the molecules of a room” the moment he entered. Kremer also reveals that the two of them had recorded about 15 hours of a new podcast, Laurel Canyon Connection, that will be released soon. It’s hard to imagine the L.A. comedy scene without Steven Brody Stevens. But when you listen to his loved ones reminisce, you realize that his manic, positive energy has retained its power to change the mood of a room for the better. —Pablo Goldstein

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Late Night With Seth Meyers Podcast — Seth Off-Air: John Mulaney

There’s no doubt John Mulaney has had quite the career. He’s released multiple specials on Netflix, was the titular character of a sitcom, and, as of last week, is a two-time host ofSaturday Night Live. In recent weeks, however, a spotlight has been cast on some of Mulaney’s alleged credits, and questions about whether or not he’s actually written for SNLhave been circulating around the internetMuch like Trump trying to stop the Mueller investigation by screaming “NO COLLUSION” at a rally, Mulaney has conveniently booked himself on the Late Night With Seth Meyers Podcast to scream about his memories from 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Seeing as though Mulaney’s great-grandfather was in Congress, I assume he has enough political pull to get Meyers to corroborate these stories, regardless of their authenticity. Although Meyers is the host, Mulaney guides the conversation like a skilled lawyer and helps jog Meyers’s memory of monologues, sketches, and desk bits they worked on together. Whether or not these stories have any credibility, they are good stories nonetheless and are worth the listen. —Tom Rainey

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Hollywood Handbook — Weird Al, Our Close Friend

After a few fleeting mentions by Chef Kevin over the past couple of weeks, Hollywood Handbook enters Try Month, a self-described promotional stunt involving Hayes Davenport and Sean Clements putting some effort into the podcast for a whole calendar month, with a bang! It’s a perfect excuse for These Men to put a bow on their recent trend of derailing the show by getting lost in song, coming at the king himself with their own anti–Weird Al parodies with hits like “Light & Flirty,” “Pretty Fly for a Rad Guy,” and “Party With an IPA.” The songs themselves make a perfect episode, but there are also just enough bread crumbs for the Scoop Troop — like Hayes prodding at a months-old debate between Sean and Scott Aukerman about Sean’s pay scale on the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV show — to make it a repeat listen. Yankovic is a rare podcast guest, but he’s so perfectly suited to the show’s good-natured, hyperironic pop-culture obsessiveness that he could make a running at Third Boy status if he put his mind to it. Plus, Sean and Brett eulogize Weldon in a sleeper Mack Weldon ad and Moriarty is dating Santaman’s mom now. —Noah Jacobs

Unspooled — the Graduate

Trading in the train wrecks he covers on How Did This Get Made? for the triumphs of the American Film Institute’s top 100 list, Paul Scheer continues his sharp-witted film commentary on Unspooled. Co-hosted by The Canon’s Amy Nicholson, the lifelong movie buffs use the podcast to “dissect iconic scenes, talk to artists and industry experts, and discover just how these films got made.” The catch is that because Scheer has spent so much of his life obsessing over Bad Movies™, he has missed out on the “all-time greats” and is viewing them for the first time. This week, they tackle a top ten — 1967’s The Graduate, which sits at a respectable No. 7 on AFI’s list. Working through the plot, Scheer and Nicholson home in on the humor, making the subtle more substantial by pointing out the film’s many absurd moments. At one point Scheer astutely likens it to 2013’s Adore, which he previously discussed on HDTGM? He summarizes the much-less-critically-acclaimed movie as Naomi Watts and Robin Wright basically son swapping before adding, “It’s gross,” which is also one way to read the reality of The Graduate’s central relationship. Rounded out with tons of trivia and a conversation between Nicholson and Katharine Ross, who played Elaine Robinson in the film, Unspooled acts as a supplement to some of cinema’s greatest achievements, prioritizing curiosity over criticism in a refreshing way. —Becca James

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Broadway Baby — Meets Into the Woods With Justin Zirilli

I’ve never been a big Broadway-show buff and neither, until recently, has Alex Fosella. He’s a comedian and a podcast producer (Modern Day Philosopher), but until he recently turned 30, he never had a taste for musicals. Thinking he might, he has turned to a couple of friends, Kimberly and Jay Schmidt (both dyed-in-the-wool fans of the Great White Way), to teach him how to appreciate what’s going on up on that stage. The latest episode features guest Justin Zirilli, a New York stand-up and big fan of the musical form. I have to admit that the whirlwind of talk about shows and actors and songs and theaters in the opening minutes of the show had my head spinning (I’m not familiar with the Broadway scene myself), but the crew soon reins it in because their resident “Broadway Baby” isn’t keeping pace too well, either. They begin breaking down the various components of Into the Woods, written by James Lapine with music by Stephen Sondheim. (You may be familiar with the 2014 film adaptation, directed by Rob Marshall along with a pretty gigantic and well-known cast, including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, and more.) The show is a mishmash of popular fairy-tale characters who are thrown together into a Sondheim stew. With Alex asking questions about what certain songs are supposed to be about, and what else some of the famous faces in the most recent incarnation of the show have done, the trio of know-it-alls hilariously spill their guts in an effort to help even the most casual theatergoer figure it all out. —Marc Hershon