Recommending a podcast always feels a little fraught; do you tell the recommendee to start from the beginning, or with your favorite episode, or the episode you think they’ll most enjoy? Well, never fear, because comedian Josh Johnson has solved that little problem by putting out the first-ever podcast album, Some of the Best of Vol. 1, this Friday, August 12, as an introduction to his podcast, The Josh Johnson Show.
Johnson, who’s also a writer on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, co-hosts the podcast with his friend Logan Nielsen (as well as another podcast, Hold Up, with fellow Daily Show writer Dulcé Sloan). This is very much a hangout podcast, with the pair swapping stories about their personal lives and their professional ones as comedians. Johnson and Nielsen have an easy and undeniable chemistry, which makes The Josh Johnson Show a hilarious listen that rises above the average two-guys-shooting-the-shit podcast. The album includes some of their most side-splitting stories, including one about Johnson’s obsession with a now-discontinued pumpkin creamer and another where he found out his identity was stolen while out on a date.
Ahead of the album release, we here at Paste are premiering an animated clip of one of the anecdotes featured on Some of the Best of Vol. 1. The video animates Johnson’s tale of hearing a man pitch a pyramid scheme at a funeral (yes, really). And, further down, we spoke to the man himself about the podcast, his friendship with Nielsen, and what his own funeral pyramid scheme pitch would be.
Paste Magazine: How did you decide to put out the (first ever!) podcast album? As someone who loves podcasts (and recommending podcasts), this seems like the perfect entry point for new fans.
Josh Johnson: We were getting close to our 100th episode and it was important for me to reach out to people in a way that felt accessible. That lets people know what we do and how we just kick back and tell each other, or the audience, stories about our lives and you don’t have to have any prior knowledge of the show. You don’t have to start at episode 1 if you want to just pick up with us at 101 that’s fine too. All I want to do are things that have never been done before and so I set out with Logan to find some of our and the fan favorite stories that give a glimpse into what the show is about.
Paste: How did you and Logan first meet, and how did you decide to start the podcast together?
Johnson: Logan and I met in Chicago doing stand up. We became fast friends and almost immediately started writing together and spending down time after open mics together. The podcast formed over the pandemic. We were already talking most days and it felt like the most natural and most fun way to share our conversations with people who we think will enjoy them.
Paste: How has your friendship with Logan changed over the years?
Johnson: I think we’re much closer now by default. We already talked a lot but now we have to keep up with each other to keep the show going. I always know what he’s up to now.
Paste: How do Logan and Dulcé, who you do Hold Up with, differ as co-hosts?
Johnson: Logan has to put up with my chaotic energy and rarely understands where I am coming from. Because Hold Up is such a different show Dulcé as a co-host is great and our dynamic is going against each other way harder. Whereas Logan and I actually agree on a lot of things. Like if I’m telling him a story we’re usually on the same side as far as feelings on it.
Paste: Are you ever surprised by the bits that become fan favorites?
Johnson: All the time. I remember we asked listeners to email in some of their favorite moments in 2020 and I was surprised one of them wasn’t even a joke or story, it was a conversation we had on not giving up. Sometimes we have the same favorites as our listeners but often some of the stories we absolutely love we have to accept are just for us.
Paste: If you had to pitch a pyramid scheme at a funeral, what would it be for?
Johnson: Hear me out. What do you think about an opportunity to buy and sell a home without ever having to go to a physical location. That’s right real estate in the metaverse is booming and if you can get five friends to buy six neighborhoods on your block you’ll have enough money in real life to buy your own block of land.
Paste: What lengths would you go to to get more of that (now discontinued) pumpkin creamer?
Johnson: I would probably trade my kidney for it because it would either be that or another organ that shuts down if I start drinking carton after carton of it again.
Paste: Are there any stories from the podcast that you wish got more love (and if so, what are they)?
Johnson: Uncle Walter’s Sticky Journal. To me that whole episode is one of the best we’d had in awhile and I think maybe listeners just need to catch up to that one. Just imagine finding your uncle’s sex journal. It’s as gross as it is intriguing.
Paste: Do you have anything else you want to tell Paste readers?
Johnson: This will be the first of many podcast albums. Thanks for checking it out and we look forward to sharing more with you in the future.
Some of the Best of Vol. 1 is out on Friday, August 12 and can be preordered from Bandcamp here.
Clare Martin is a cemetery enthusiast and Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Go harass her on Twitter @theclaremartin.