Rank #1: Jim Gaffigan and His Good Looking Newscasters Joke
Rank #2: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Catskills Set
Jesse speaks to Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, the creators and co-writers of the tv-show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Despite the titular Mrs. Maisel being a fictional comedian, Jesse wants to know where she might draw her material from, and how she might write and perform comedy within the context of the show. Jesse asks Amy and Daniel about Mrs. Maisel's creation, and how they go about writing and pulling off a realistic standup performance.
Also included: the parallels between Mrs. Maisel and Breaking Bad.
Rank #3: John Mulaney's One Hundred Million Dollars
Welcome to season 3 of Good One! Kid Gorgeous a.k.a. John Mulaney stops by to break down a joke in defense of financiers. John shares how he found his stride in an 'old timey' voice, expands on his fascination with OJ Simpson, and talks about how working on Oh Hello influenced his writing style.
Rank #4: Gary Gulman's Trader Joe's
Jesse finally sits down with Gary Gulman to talk about a joke from his 2016 special It’s About Time.
The joke is about an experience Gary had at Trader Joe’s, but it’s way, waaaaaaaay bigger than that. Gary takes his audience through TJ’s snack selection and into Narnia, making companions of old women on the Upper West Side, finally culminating in a rumination on the nature of New Yorkers and taking a stand when injustice rears its ugly head.
Jesse and Gary dissect this joke from start to finish, picking apart word choice down to the syllable. Gary reflects on the inciting incident, as well as how his mental illness plays a part in the whole thing.
Also included: someone finally tells Jesse how his tweets could be better.
Rank #5: Jerry Seinfeld
Rank #6: Russian Doll's 22 Death Scenes
This week we're looking at the greatest joke of all: death. More specifically, the twenty-two deaths that occur over the course of the Netflix series Russian Doll.
Jesse talks to Leslye Headland, the show's co-creator, writer and director, about the protagonist Nadia's (Natasha Lyonne) journey episode-by-episode, and the significance behind each death she experiences. The show uses death to explore overcoming trauma and self-destructive behaviors under a deeply dark yet comedic veil.
Just a heads-up, this episode's going to spoil the entire plot of the show. So if you haven't seen it yet, we're recommending you go watch the show now.
Also included: Natasha Lyonne says "cockroach" funny.
You can watch Vulture's supercut of all of Russian Doll's death scenes here.
Rank #7: Emily Heller's Workout Clothes
Comedian, writer and actor Emily Heller talks to Jesse about a joke from both her album Pasta and her Comedy Central standup special Ice Thickeners. Despite being recorded about six months apart, her delivery and wording is almost exactly the same in each version.
Jesse and Emily go over her meticulousness and handling of tropes, as well as the writing retreats she employs to develop new material. Ultimately, the two get around to discussing how Emily actually hasn't done stand-up for some time due to her work in writing for television--namely HBO's Barry.
Also included: riding hairy shoulders to the moon.
Rank #8: Mike Birbiglia’s Celebrity Golf
Mike Birbiglia cemented his style of comedic storytelling in specials like Sleepwalk With Me, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, and Thank God For Jokes. He’s also the writer and director of Don’t Think Twice and the movie adaptation of Sleepwalk With Me. Now, his latest show, The New One, is running on Broadway.
In this episode, we’re talking about an earlier one of Mike’s jokes—his Celebrity Golf story, from the album My Secret Public Journal Live. Mike describes how he identifies moments from his life that become his jokes, how to align with an audience, and the inherent error that has to exist in a piece of art.
Rank #9: Nicole Byer's Fat Jokes
Welcome back to Good One. We missed you dearly.
For our Season 5 premiere, comedian, actress, and improviser Nicole Byer invited Jesse over to talk about the opening jokes of her new Netflix special, Aggressively Adorable.
Rank #10: Kevin Hart's Kids Walk in on Him Having Sex
Good One Season 5 comes to a close with another superstar comedian, Kevin Hart.
Jesse takes a trip to Atlanta to speak with Kevin just before the release of his newest stand-up special Irresponsible. They discuss the show's opener, a story about when Kevin's kids caught him having sex. Kevin explains how his jokes go from from small clubs to arenas.
The conversation also touches on some of the controversy surrounding his comedy, as well as the high expectations he's striving to execute at his level of fame.
Also included: potpourri.
Watch “Irresponsible” on Netflix on April 2nd, along with all of Kevin’s other specials.
Follow Kevin on Twitter.
Special thanks to DonTaé Hodge for engineering this episode.
Rank #11: Neal Brennan's White Guy Being Called the N-Word While Feeding a Horse Joke
Rank #12: Pete Holmes’s Green Eggs and Ham
Rank #13: Why Thor: Ragnorok Is So Damn Funny
Rank #14: Aparna Nancherla’s Anxiety
In the season finale of Good One, Jesse and Aparna Nancherla (Just Putting It Out There, Comedy Central's Corporate, Netflix's The Standups) discuss how depression and anxiety came to be a part of her act, how her jokes about mental health have been received over time, and the inherent stress of interacting with babies.
Rank #15: Bill Burr's Definition of Bravery
Rank #16: Seth Meyers's Juan Likes Rice and Chicken
Jesse’s back in the Late Night with Seth Meyers conference room with—wait for it—Seth Meyers! While there's plenty to talk about, the conversation centers around Seth writing the Documentary Now! episode Juan Likes Rice and Chicken. The two touch on Seth's parodies from when he was Head Writer at Saturday Night Live, along with his semi-autobiographical ties to Juan and Arturo.
Also included: Seth is unable to make Jesse’s tweets any better than they already are.
Season 3 of Documentary Now! starts February 20th, airing Wednesdays on IFC at 11p EST
Late Night With Seth Meyers airs weeknights on NBC at 12:35/11:35c
Rank #17: Bo Burnham's Can't Handle This
This week Bo Burnham, writer and director of the feature Eight Grade, was interviewed live at Vulturefest. Vulture senior editor Jesse David Fox and Bo discuss his auto-tuned rant that closed out Burnham's Netflix special titled 'Make Happy.' They dissect Bo's relationship to audience, comedy, authenticity and performance- and how that informed his vision as he makes his directorial debut.
This week's episode is brought to you by Spotify!
Rank #18: Ray Romano's Son Joe
Ray Romano sits down with Jesse to talk about his new Netflix special, Right Here, Around the Corner. The two go over Ray’s jokes about his son Joe, why he continues to see his family as a source of new material, and what made the Comedy Cellar the right place to tape his new special.
Also, Ray does an impression of an impression of Ray Romano.
Rank #19: The Good Place Writers Panel
In Fall 2018, we recorded a live panel discussion with the writers of The Good Place at Vulturefest LA. Moderated by Marc Evan Jackson, the panel guests reveal what comedy inspired them, how their writers room was formed, and offer advice to aspiring writers.
Listen to The Good Place: The Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.
Follow [most of] the panel on Twitter: