Funny Business

Since I started commuting to work five months ago, I’ve had a lot of time on the train to read and to listen to things on my iPod. But what began as fumbling around the iTunes store’s podcast section has now turned into a strict diet of comedy that I don’t know if I could do without. The line-up consists primarily of interview-type things, with some movie trivia and improv thrown in. It’s a nice way to spend two hours when you’re crammed next to people in big coats. If you’re interested, and you should be because if you like to laugh, this stuff is for you, here are the shows that occupy my train rides:

WTF with Marc Maron: I’m late to the party with this one, even though Maron used to live a few blocks from me. He’s a terrific interviewer and gets some really great comedy people (David Cross, Michael Ian Black, Steve Almond (Not a comedian, I know, but also a really fantastic conversation), Gary Shandling, Amy Poehler, and the list goes on and on) to come to his garage and chat for an hour. This show posts twice per week on Mondays and Thursdays.

Doug Loves Movies: This podcast is usually recorded live and includes a ton of guests like Sarah Silverman, Jon Hamm, Edgar Wright, and so many more. It’s hosted by comedian Doug Benson and the way it works is the guests participate in a game of movie trivia–the Leonard Maltin game. People determine how many names from the cast list (starting with the lowest billed) they can guess the title in. If you’re a movie buff like I am, you’ll love this show. It posts every Friday with a few mini episodes (which often involve another great movie game called Build-A-Title) in between.

Nerdist: I feel like this is the father of all comedy podcasts. I got into it just recently, but have heard about it for what seems like forever. Another interview show, Nerdist is hosted by Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira, and is, like it’s title suggests, pretty nerdy. If you like comedy but aren’t as into things like comics and Apple products, you might want to check this one out last. I don’t think this show has a specific schedule, but a new episode drops every few days.

How Did This Get Made?: This is another movie podcast with comedians. I love it because I feel like it’s basically what I do with my friends: rip apart terrible movies, but in a relatively kind way. The show is hosted by Paul Sheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas, and each week they watch a bad film and bring in a guest to discuss its shortcomings. Things like Catwoman, Superman III, and Drive Angry. All movies just asking to be made fun of, right? Guests include people like Damon Lindelof, Doug Benson, and Adam Scott. This is another podcast with no strict schedule, but new episodes are available almost every week.

Comedy Bang Bang: Probably my favorite podcast of all the ones I listen to. Comedy Bang Bang (formerly Comedy Death Ray) is a talk-show format (with host Scott Auckerman), but it’s very improvisational, and guests usually play characters–people like the Cake Boss, Ice-T, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Werner Herzog. There are a lot of returning guests on this show,especially the fantastic Paul F. Tompkins and Nick Krall. The reason I even decided to write this post is because I just read that the show was picked up for television by IFC (again–Comedy Death Ray used to air on there). So, if you don’t want to listen to the podcast, you can just watch it there. I recommend doing both. New episodes of Comedy Bang Bang are released on Fridays.

The Pod F. Tompkast: There aren’t many episodes of this podcast, but the ones that are available are great. Paul F. Tompkins is one of my favorite comedians, and his highbrow humor is definitely apparent on this show. It might be tough for some people to sit through, but I think it’s great. Most of the content is Tompkins doing live comedy, but there’s also some studio material, including characters like John C. Reilly and John Lithgow. There isn’t a schedule for this show, so just subscribe and have them delivered whenever they’re available. It’ll be a nice surprise when it shows up!

I know there are a million more comedy podcasts out there, many that I’d love to have the time to listen to. But these are what fills my ears on the train right now. If I get the chance to listen to more, I’ll add them here. And if you, three readers, have any suggestions for me, put them in the comments and I will seek them out.