For my final best of list this year, I am going to go very niche, and I'm going to give you all my top 5 podcast moments, or just flat out episodes of the year. Some of these are compilations, or random appearances on certain podcasts by people I like, or just straight forward episodes. Also, all mine are comedy podcasts, except for one, because that is what I like. I do not have anything from NPR, ESPN, The AV Club, Cracked, nothing like that. Also, there is no "Serial" or anything like that on my list. That was a one hit wonder type deal, and I think the second season of "Serial" proved that very point. Anyway, lets get to it.
At number 5, I have all of the "Doughboys" episodes during their "Tournament of Chompions". This was when Nick Wiger and Mike Mitchell, and one guest for each episode, went around to various fast food type restaurants and put the burgers in a tournament. They had franchises all over the US, places like Five Guys, Hardees, Burger King and Wendy's that they judged. But, they also went to places that some people around the US don't have, like Shake Shack and In N Out Burger. Look, I knew form the beginning of this tournament that In N Out was going to make the finals. Wiger, ever since the birth of "Doughboys", has talked about how In N Out Burger is the best place ever. He legitimately loves this place. There is no mistaking that. Mitchell knew this, so he tried to game the system by having friends of his that dislike In N Out on to "beat" whoever they matched up against. It finally happened, when John Gemberling appeared, and picked Burger King as the winner over In N Out. Wiger was audibly upset and Mitchell was audibly thrilled. But, like a whiny baby, near the end of this tournament, look, the whole thing was convoluted from the start, as I said, the matchup was going to be In N Out versus Shake Shack no matter what happened in each previous episode, they all but said this at the start, Wiger got In N Out back in, and they "won". But, what I liked about this whole series was how much Mitchell just got on Wiger's nerves. This is their whole setup for the podcast. Wiger is Mitchell's whipping boy, and he took that to a whole new level during the "Tournament of Chompions". It was funny, uncomfortable and everything I want from any episode of "Doughboys". It is a really good podcast.
At number 4, I have "The Bill Simmons Podcast" when Michael Rappaport was on the first time this year. This was one of the better episodes of "The BS" podcast, and it was all because of Rappaport. He is so lively and talkative and funny and has stories for days. When Simmons brought up the Knicks and Kristaps Porzingis, that was when this episode became great. Rappaport loves the Knicks, and he loves Porzingis even more. He really, really likes this Knicks team, but Simmons, and myself for that matter, do not think this Knicks team is that good, but do not say that to Rappaport. He went on and on and on about how they can compete, especially in the East, and talked about their potential "greatness", which involved Porzingis mainly. He loves this dude. He kept calling him the "Lativian gangbanger". He talked about how he was the next great NBA super star. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode because of Rappaport's lively conversation skills. His own podcast is great, but when he shows up on other people's stuff, it is must listen for me, especially when you talk about something in his wheelhouse, like the Knicks, or who the greatest "stick men" in Hollywood may be. Rappaport is a delight.
At number 3, I have any episode of "Comedy Bang! Bang!" that Neil Campbell is on, playing his loved character, the Timekeeper. This is one of the funniest things on podcasts right now. He is so weird, and sounds so odd, but I cannot help but belly laugh whenever the Timekeeper shows up. He is hilarious. Campbell is such a great improviser and so good on a podcast like "CBB". "CBB" is the perfect show for the talents of someone like Neil Campbell, and the Timekeeper is his greatest character. His performances are great, and any time he is on, I get giddy with excitement and listen, hoping that he will bring in the Timekeeper at some point. He was just on their holiday episode, and it was one of the funnier episodes all year of "CBB". This is always a wonderfully hilarious performance.
At number 2, I have the episode of "How Did This Get Made" where they cover the Village People movie, "Can't Stop the Music". The episode has Jason Mantzoukas and Paul Scheer, but no June Diane-Rapheal, but, they do get Cameron Esposito and Pete Holmes, and they are great substitutes for this live episode. First of all, "HDTGM" is one of the best podcast hands down, but when they do a movie this insane, and try to figure it out, it is laugh out loud funny. Mantzoukas seems legitimately confused the entire show, trying to explain this movie. Scheer is just dumbfounded the whole time, never stopping to ask any question that pops in his head. Esposito does her best to try and explain, but even she has a hard time trying to figure stuff out. At points she thinks she has something figured out, but then someone will give a counterpoint, and then she is questioning her theory. It makes for great podcasting. But, the star of this episode is Holmes. He, instead of trying to figure how this movie got made, he did what he does best, and just riffs the whole 90 minutes. He goes from doing impressions, to bad dad jokes and ends up doing some terrible, but also extremely funny, puns. Holmes is so god damn funny, and that is on full display during this 90 minute "HDTGM". I do not always love the live episodes, but this is one of their best of all time.
Finally, at number 1, I have the episode of "I Was There Too" when Matt Gourley had Marc Maron on to talk about his bit role in "Almost Famous". This was another live episode, but this was such a great, great podcast. First off, I vividly remember Maron in "Almost Famous", his catchphrase for "WTF" comes from that movie, and I loved his role as the angry club promoter. He went into this role. He talked about auditioning for the role, getting a call back, and reading with Cameron Crowe. I love these stories. Then he talked about set life. I love these stories too. But, after deep diving into his 3 minutes or so on screen, the talk divulged into stuff like cats, how he prepares for his own show, writing jokes and talking to the crowd. This is the perfect medium for Maron, and Gourley was great at letting him go on any tangent that he wanted. I really loved this episode so much, I have listened to it 3 times, and it has never gotten old. It was far and away the best podcast of 2016, in my personal opinion.
As far as the worst podcast episode of the year, it was anytime that Bill Simmons got on his soap box and complained about his show got cancelled, and how it was not his fault. His show was bad, I know, I watched it, and it was because of him. He is not a TV host. He is a writer and a podcaster, and he is damn good at those 2 things. He doesn't need a TV show too. But, for him to blame everyone else became very tiresome very fast. I would fast forward through these 10 minute whine fests because it was so grating and uncomfortable to hear. His show was bad, and that is that. It got cancelled, and that is what it deserved. Simmons has gotten better about it lately, but anytime it is brought up, I groan because I am fearful that he is going to get into why he was great and why everyone else was wrong. He needs to get over it and let it go. It's so childish and ignorant of Simmons to whine this much.
That's it for 2016. This has been a crappy year, but at least we have the good things on these lists, so that has to be some kind of consolation. Thanks for reading.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. The number one podcast in his heart is anything he does on the X Millennial Man. Check out his new one ones every Saturday. Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.
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