DID YOU READ

Our 10 favorite comedy podcasts that you should be downloading

Our 10 favorite comedy podcasts that you should be downloading (photo)

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It’s a different world for comedians these days. Once upon a time, you had to pray for a chance to get on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and then hope you were funny enough to get called over to the couch – the sure sign that you’d made it in the business. But there’s no Carson anymore, and the current version of The Tonight Show is kind of a comedy black hole.

What you do these days is start your own podcast to toss your brand of comedy out onto the internet completely unfiltered. If you’re successful, you might be like Ricky Gervais, who has managed to get his podcast turned into an animated HBO series, and even spun off his weird little breakout star Karl Pilkington into a show of his own, entitled “An Idiot Abroad.” There are a lot of these shows to sift through, but here are ten podcasts you should check out if you haven’t already.


1. WTF with Marc Maron

10-podcast-maron.jpgVeteran stand-up comic and former Air America host Maron is a painfully self-aware personality who exemplifies the kind of relentless, uncontrollable self-analysis that it takes to make a career out of telling people about your life on stage. With WTF, Maron is not only baring his own soul with all of its unsightly warts, but he’s also turning that critical gaze onto the greatest talents in comedy, getting intensely personal interviews out of people like Conan O’Brien, Norm MacDonald, Judd Apatow, Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters and more. This comedy confessional is always a fascinating listen.


2. The Nerdist Podcast with Chris Hardwick

10-podcast-nerdist.jpgSporting a delightful 8-bit opening theme song from Anamanaguchi that always puts one in the mood for a good time, professional nerdy comic Hardwick eagerly hosts this celebration of all things dork from the point of view of an excited fan with the knowledge-ability of a comedy veteran. His genuine appreciation for the comedy form and brainiac pursuits gives him free range to get guests running the gamut from astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson down to gutter comic Dave Attell, currently hosting a show called “Dave’s Old Porn.”


3. The Smartest Man In The World

10-podcast-proops.jpgImprovisational genius and “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” veteran Greg Proops takes his podcast on tour in front of a live audience each week. He’s funny, he’s eloquent without being afraid of profanity, and he’s fervently political as he covers the topics of the week and waxes conversational covering all kinds of topics. He may not actually be the smartest man in the world, but he’s damn smart and he’s quite thought-provoking.


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4. The Harland Highway

Harland Williams is a delightfully weird comedian who delights in making not-so-much sense. He’s an unrepentant goofball, which you know if you ever see him work the late-night circuit and cracking up the hosts. He ratchets up the doofiness of his voice so much that it’s almost disconcerting to listen to him actually being coherent. He may be an acquired taste.


5. Uhh Yeah Dude

10-podcast-uhyeahdude.jpgSeth Romatelli and Jonathan Larroquette (yes, the son of John) have one of the most consistently popular comedy podcasts going, to the point where even podcast innovator Ricky Gervais has expressed his fandom of the show. They don’t bother with guests. They just talk about things and entertain people with their conversations, and isn’t that what we all wish we could do with our scintillating repartee?

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.