Author Unknown – IFC – December 14th, 2011

      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

      Veteran 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

      Sporting 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

      Improvisational 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.

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

      Seth 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?

6. Comedy Bang Bang: The Podcast

      Formerly Comedy Death-Ray Radio, Scott Aukerman is a Mr. Show veteran, meaning he’s got a lot of connections in the quality comedy business and attracts some great guests like Patton Oswalt, Ben Stiller, Michael Cera and more – and often these celebrities will come on in character doing celebrity impressions (anyone from Ice-T to Jesse Ventura) or some other such tomfoolery.

7. The Pod F. Tompkast

      Perhaps the best name for a podcast, playing on the name of host Paul F. Tompkins, The Pod F. Tompkast allows the respected, cerebral and droll comic to exercise his own brand of humor with sketches featuring guest stars or just stream-of-consciousness conversation on a variety of topics. He even sports a composer in Eban Schletter to give an air of class to the proceedings, if Tompkins’ tendency toward the highbrow wasn’t enough for you.

8. Jay and Silent Bob Get Old

      AKA the SModcast for longtime View Askew producer Scott Mozier, this is the forum for Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes to do what they do best – mine their personal lives for filth, folks and fun. Smith is famously unfiltered and a recently converted pothead, and he will talk about absolutely everything, including the specifics of his wife’s anatomy.

9. Pop My Culture

      Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland are comic and improvisational actors hosting a weekly round-up of everything that is not serious in the world, including things like an in-depth discussion with Phil LaMarr about his role as one of the crime-fighting gymnasts in the Mr. T cartoon from the mid-80s. They do voices, goof around and genuinely have a good time riffing on movies, TV, celebrities and what-have-you.

10. Sklarbro Country

      Jason and Randy Sklar are twin brothers who describe their show as “the intersection of sports, comedy and indie rock,” but they claim you don’t have to know a damn thing about sports to get into their brand of hijinks. They’ve had guests like Patton Oswalt, Jon Hamm, Weird Al Yankovic and Amy Poehler, in case you have doubts that these sports fans are somehow lacking nerd cred. They even follow The Iron Sheik’s Twitter feed. Now that’s comedy.

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