this month in comedy podcasts

This Month in Comedy Podcasts: Getting Older With Marina Franklin and Friends

Marina Franklin Photo: Amanda Stronza/Getty Images

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. You can also keep up with all our comedy-podcast recommendations in Vulture’s newsletter 1.5x Speed.

Worst Asian PodcastMinimalism + Asian = Marie Kondo / Do We Asians Have Hoarding Tendencies?

Ben An and Lingjie He are not comedians. Ben has worked in restaurants all over New York for most of his adult life, and Lingjie is a stay-at-home dad who used to work in real estate. But their very funny pandemic passion project, Worst Asian Pod, takes an irreverent approach to topics like mental health, food habits, and cultural quirks in the Korean American and Chinese American communities its hosts respectively grew up in. In this episode, they tackle Marie Kondo minimalism, highlighting kimchi fridges, hoarding, and reusing takeout containers as cornerstones of Asian American culture. While Ben argues in favor of hoarding some things, like “peanut butter and money, and toilet paper, which is the texture of money,” Lingjie is strongly opposed — “if I die, I don’t want my family to deal with my bullshit. I want to die a dignified man.” Full of the witty banter and natural chemistry that can be expected from two lifelong New Yorkers who have been friends for over 30 years, Worst Asian Podcast is a lot of fun. Some may even say it sparks joy. —Akanksha Aurora

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Feminist Buzzkills Live!: The Abortion Access Front Podcast — Roe is Dead: Here’s What You Can Do About It

Photo: Abortion Access Front

Abortion has been the front and center issue in the United States in the month since a leaked Supreme Court ruling suggested it would overturn its federal protections, but the Abortion AF podcast has been sounding the alarm for much longer. Hosted by The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead with activists Moji Alawode-El and Marie Khan, it’s a frank, wry, and witty answer to the minoritarian attacks on choice as those assailants continue to “throw sperm against the wall to see what sticks.” As birthing people face their potential new reality, it’s a relief to have such incisive voices cutting through the news with rapid-fire tragicomedy. Expert witnesses like Imani Grady and Jessica Mason Pieklo of the buzzworthy Boom! Lawyeredpodcast disseminate knowledge through the hosts’ jabs and dunks, and each episode ends with a guest comedian stopping by for a closing segment of pure banter, leaving the listener armed with the necessary good humor and outlook to organize for something better than Roe. —Noah Jacobs

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Friends Like Us — Lessons From a Mutha, Auntie, and Bestie With Bevy Smith

Comedian Marina Franklin’s Friends Like Us manages to find the elusive nexus between the humorous and the informative: The podcast centers women of color’s voices on topical issues, and though the news seems to bring never-ending lassitude, Franklin and her guests avoid the pessimism that can overtake even the best of us. Most recently, television personality Bevy Smith along with comedians Zainab Johnson and Joyelle Johnson join Franklin for a conversation that covers everything from gentrification to abortion access. The highlight of the episode, though, is listening to the four discuss the joys of aging as a woman (a theme which Bevy’s memoir expounds on in a chapter called “It Gets Greater Later”). As a woman in her 20s, there is no sweeter music to my ears than the words, “You couldn’t pay me to be in my 20s again.” Though Black women listeners might find a particular comfort in hearing four Black women speak about their experiences and perspectives so frankly, there’s really something for every woman here — whether you are young and bumbling like me or a little more seasoned. —Kriska Desir

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Las Culturistas — The 300 Songs of the Great Global Songbook Parts I, II, and III

Las Culturistas, hosted by Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers, celebrated their 300th episode by counting down the “300 Songs in the Great Global Songbook.” The list includes the likes of “Blurred Lines” by the Glee Cast at No. 299 and “This Land Is Your Land/America The Beautiful/Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez at No. 183: Each song is announced like an Oscar winner by Yang and Rogers, who then discuss how the song fits into popular culture and inevitably sing parts of it at the top. This special episode, coming in at six hours, is broken up into three parts so that it can properly honor icons like the dirty little freaks working at the Men in Black ride at Universal Studios and Paula Abdul’s vocal range. Fans of the show have recreated the songbook as a full playlist for when one needs quick access to Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” in four different languages. After six years of “I Don’t Think So, Honey” rants, this milestone installment is a hilarious moment of cultural history. —Alejandra Gularte

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Like A Virgin — We Come to This Place for Magic

On Like A Virgin, hosts Fran Tirado and Rose Dommu look back at “the formative classics that popped their cherries and made them who they are.” Tirado, a self-described “cult-ish, sheltered Christian camp counselor,” and Dommu, who has a “penchant for writing deranged fiction,” focus on pop culture by way of a mix of news, cultural criticism, and comedy through a queer-trans lens. This episode sees the duo stanning Nicole Kidman and her “legacy of representation for beautiful, depressed women everywhere.” There is much to talk about, given Kidman’s oeuvre, but Tirado and Dommu home in on Moulin Rouge! and Practical Magic. Both films lend themselves well to the hosts’ contemplative and cutting commentary, like when Tirado concludes that Kidman’s career choices reveal that she “really is a cinephile,” before Dommu, without missing a beat, replies, “I know. I’ve seen the AMC ad.” A fun stroll down memory lane, Like A Virgin applies today’s takes to yesterday’s pop culture in a way that’s sure to endear listeners to the show in the same way Kidman has enchanted the hosts for years. —Becca James

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

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