Remembering Harris Wittels and More of This Week’s Notable Podcasts
This week’s roundup touches on everything from Civil Rights history to a loss in the entertainment community. Want more recommendations? Head to the archive.
1. HARRIS WITTELS LOVED COMEDY … AND COMEDIANS LOVED HARRIS WITTELS.
This week, several podcasts pay tribute to Harris Wittels, the 30-year-old comedian and Parks and Recreation co-executive producer who died Feb. 19. WTF reposts a 2013 interview with a solemn introduction from Maron, while Who Charted? compiles Wittels’s funniest moments on past episodes. (Co-host Kulap Vilaysack says she and several of Wittels’s close friends recently paid tribute to him by feasting on something he loved: McDonald’s cheeseburgers.) Before playing Wittels’s final podcast appearance (recorded shortly before his death), Comedy Bang Bang host Scott Aukerman remembers his friend with sadness and affection, emphasizing just how much the late comedian believed “motherf---ers want to laugh.”
2. BILL JONES HELPED PAVE THE WAY FOR MANY ADOPTIVE PARENTS.
This moving installment features a short interview with Jones, who, in the late ‘60s, was the first single man in California to successfully adopt a child. Jones speaks about his son, Aaron (pictured above), and how much he loved being a father.
3. YOU CAN BUY NEW COKE AND CRYSTAL PEPSI ON EBAY.
Indeed, there are podcasts about beverages, and this installment offers a lively conversation with comedian and beverage-loving guest Paul Scheer. Topics include whether 7 Up is better than Sprite and what Paul typically drinks in one day (Arnold Palmers, iced hazelnut coffee, the occasional evening espresso). During a discussion about retro beverages, we learn New Coke and Crystal Pepsi are still available … for a price.
4. JON STEWART ONCE WRECKED $2,000 WORTH OF AQUARIUMS.
In this chat, the Daily Show host talks about leaving the show (“I’ll miss the experience of making it much more than the experience of presenting it”), his film career (including Death to Smoochy) and an early job at Woolworth’s in which he damaged a significant amount of merchandise.
5. A LONG, COMPLICATED ROAD LED TO THE BROWN V. BOARD DECISION.
In honor of the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, this week the podcast examines the landmark Supreme Court case that made school segregation unconstitutional. Episodes outline the five cases that made up Brown v. Board as well as integral figures, including future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
6. JASON SUDEIKIS AUDITIONED FOR THE BLUE MAN GROUP.
The Saturday Night Live alum talks about his childhood and early days doing improv comedy in Chicago. He says he tried to join the Blue Man Group but it didn’t pan out, and when he looked at himself in the mirror during an audition, he thought he resembled a “big blue Peanut M&M.”
7. STEPHEN COLBERT HOSTS THE OCCASIONAL PODCAST, TOO.
The future Late Show host pops up on the radio program to introduce stories read by Jane Curtin (Gail Godwin’s "St. George") and James Naughton (Annie Proulx’s "The Trickle-Down Effect"). He also says he has been listening to Selected Shorts for almost 20 years and is thrilled to be a part of it.