Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
<i>Comedy Bang! Bang! </i>celebrates 700 episodes with laudable lunacy

Comedy Bang! Bang! celebrates 700 episodes with laudable lunacy

PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.

Comedy Bang! Bang!
Plan One: The Scrooge Gang

Illustration for article titled Comedy Bang! Bang! celebrates 700 episodes with laudable lunacy
Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

A little over a year ago, during the surreal pre-lockdown weeks where everyone was making end-of-the-world jokes and rigorously scrubbing their hands, fan-favorite comedians Jason Mantzoukas and Andy Daly joined host Scott Aukerman for what would become one of the last in-person CB!B! recording sessions. Now, exactly 50 Zoom-recorded interview-improv sets later, there’s some gratifying and symbolic bookending for listeners as the two guests return to mark two milestones: 1) the 12-year-running show’s 700th episode, and 2) the famously cautious and hygienically minded Mantzoukas seeing some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. One of the noteworthy evolutions to occur over CB!B!’s history is how the show’s massive guest list has splintered off over the years to form mini-casts with episodic storylines, and the Daly-Mantzoukas pairing is among the best, with the always-game Mantzoukas playing soundboard to Daly’s buckwild array of characters. This week, I Ain’t Never Seen A Cowboy Eat Hummus author Dalton Wilcox (Daly) joins the Schmiedelberg Loudest Pretzel In Germany salt inspector August Lindt (Daly) and a professional royal watcher/Prince Philip Body Double (also Daly) to foil a plot to induct Sha Na Na into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It’s all hilarious nonsense outdone only by Mantzoukas’ bafflement at the latest beautiful, demented degression of Ben Schwartz and Horatio Sanz’s “Closing Up The Plug Bag” theme. [Dan Jakes]


Pure Cinema Podcast 
The Films Of David Lynch - Part One

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

Pure Cinema is the official podcast of the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, now owned by director/cinephile Quentin Tarantino (though it’s temporarily closed due to the pandemic). Needless to say, as the official podcast for such an established picture house, Pure Cinema is thoroughly committed to its mission: hosted by Elric Kane (of the Shock Waves podcast) and Brian Saur (of the Rupert Pupkin Speaks film blog), each episode includes a “5 Films Because” list from both hosts, and this time around, the pair dive deep into the work of David Lynch (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet—you know them all). Featuring interview clips of Lynch as well as audio of his work, the hosts share personal stories about their first encounters with Lynch’s movies and express appreciation for how he approaches filmmaking: with specificity and artistry, focusing on sound and images. They also discuss how Lynch never tries to appeal to a general audience, but rather embraces an extremely personal ethos akin to sharing an intimate dream or fear. [Jose Nateras]


Sound Of Gaming
Harnessing Special Powers

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

BBC Radio 3 is a hub for both classical and experimental music, making it the perfect platform to explore the world of video game soundtracks. Sound Of Gaming, with new host Louise Blaine, has returned for another season that delves deep into the inspirations and influences of modern video game composers. In this episode, Blaine has hand-picked some of her favorite tracks based around the theme of gaining and wielding special powers. The breadth and scope of video game music is well covered in these selections, which range from the sprawling, Morricone-tinged Red Dead Redemption 2 soundtrack to the laidback kookiness of Yu Miyake’s music for the classic Katamari Damacy. The centerpiece of the episode is an interview with prolific composer Inon Zur, who wrote the haunting piano theme for Fallout 4. One of Zur’s underlying beliefs, he explains, is that his compositions should never tell the player how to feel. Instead, he strives to make music that empathizes with what the player is going through. Sound Of Gaming is a smart and thoughtful introduction for non-gamers to a world of music they would otherwise never experience. [Anthony D Herrera]


The Food That Built America
The Chips That Took Over The Snack World

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

Chips are definitely a top American comfort food, especially now. But during World War II, America tried to deem the chip “inessential” and stop production; as you can imagine, it didn’t go over well. The History Channel and OZY’s new podcast, The Food That Built America (based on the homonymous documentary series), is a study of famous food companies, the titans that built them, their corporate intrigues, and the edible products that shaped our nation. This episode tells the story of the unbannable chip, as well as what happened to the government’s postwar excess of dehydrated cheese—in a word, Cheetos. If you love a Frito-Lay moment, you’ll be pleased to learn about the brand’s origins as two rival companies that joined forces, and how a chance stop at a dinerette created the fried masa chip we know as Fritos. [Morgan McNaught]

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

pop-culture critic, multi-disciplinary artist, playwright @ Columbia University, they/them