Studio: Nerdist Industries
What It Is
Comedians Doug Benson & Karen Anderson, along with various guests, sample diverse foods.
The show is quite sporadic. Benson and Anderson stay busy (Benson, in particular, seems to have about half a dozen other podcasts, including what is perhaps my favorite podcast of all time, Doug Loves Movies). Sometimes you’ll go a few months without an episode; other times, they’ll stick to a fairly regular every couple weeks schedule. Shows run an hour to an hour and a half. Explicit rating is fairly earned, but nothing is ever gratuitous and the show has substantially less language than most other comedy podcasts since Karen Anderson lets her young son listen to parts of the show. iTunes has the entire archive of nearly sixty episodes. Also, is this our first Nerdist podcast? I think so. Won’t be our last.
What About It
Doug Benson is the force behind one of my two or three favorite podcasts, Doug Loves Movies. This one isn’t as good as that one is, but it’s still a real winner in my book. Doug and Karen invite a local chef or caterer or food truck to come by and provide them with a meal, usually samples of several items. They chow down, talk about the food and crack wise with whoever their comedian guest is. It’s a consistently funny show; I like Benson’s laid back sense of humor and Karen Anderson’s wacky personality is the perfect balance. The discussion of the food is always interesting and fun. It’s a solid podcast, recommended even if you’re not a foodie. Of course, Doug does always ask his guests where they stand on food. You can guess the rest.
3 ½ stars.
You’re a fan of both comedy and cuisine.
Avoid Like the Plague If
The sound of people chewing initiates a seizure.
Best Entry Point
Several good ones here, but there are a couple I just really need to recommend. The first is a potluck at Cinefamily, a seemingly really amazing theater in Los Angeles. The potluck takes place right after Doug and a few other comedians have done a live riffing of Now You See Me, the 2013 film about con-job, master thief magicians. (That’s something Doug does fairly often at Cinefamily). Unbeknownst to them, the director of the film, Louis Letterier, happened to be in attendance. So, the live recording of Dining with Doug & Karen gets a surprise walk-on when the director of the film they just spent two hours ripping to shreds arrives. The movie geek in me loves this one. That’s episode #27.
But probably the best episode is #39, an episode I’ve listened to more than once. Guest chef Elyse Lain and guest comedian Wayne Federman do, well, let’s just say, they do not get along, based in large part on the fact that Federman pulls no punches in his negative assessments of Lain’s prepared food. This episode really takes the awkward cringe comedy up a notch or two. “Wayne’ll be lucky if I ever speak to him again,” Benson growls in the following episode when Anderson jokingly asks when Federman will be back as a guest. Yeah, it’s that bad. It’s even burned into my brain where I was when I first heard it; I’ll never forget blasting through the Kansas plains during an amazing windstorm, heading from Wichita to Abilene, just laughing out loud over and over. This episode is unbelievably funny, painfully awkward and a real classic.