Podcast of the week: Mike and Tom Eat Snacks

There’s a lot of room for niche podcasting in a world as vast as the Internet, and that’s what makes the very selective shows so fascinating. Not only do people have to make the topic intrinsically interesting, but they have to have fun with it. They have to make it worth your time.

I wouldn’t have thought Tom Cavanaugh, star of the short-lived but critically beloved Ed, and Michael Ian Black of The State, Stella and VH-1’s I Love the… anthologies, would be the duo to discuss the intricacies of snacking. Every week, the two assemble in a rented office in New York, make loud chewing noises into the microphone and visciously rate everything from candy bars to ice cream to popped potato chips.

Although listening to a pair of friends riff on things like the mini-Häagen-Dazs spoons, why Lorna Doone is less Scottish than other shortbread cookies and how people should never eat a Toblerone bar without giving their friends a heads-up, the real joy of the show is in the elaborate universe the group has created.

Whether it’s their heavily fictionalized Eastern European producer, their many run-ins with fellow snack aficionado Ted Danson that strangely go unrecorded, or a long running argument about how Mike shouldn’t eat all his food in the pool when he goes to Tom’s house, the world they’ve created is a lot of fun and most of the joy comes in watching the two seamlessly riff on a variety of topics and  jump from character to character with confidence.

Really, the best thing about MATES has been the sense of just being with friends, talking about what everyone likes and being overly critical of the endlessly meaningless. Of course something this acute needs as much serious attention as possible.

Download Now: Mike and Tom discuss Hershey’s “Take Five” bar in an episode that elaborately discusses what kind of sexual appetite the Take Five bar would have as a woman, the perfect 10 rating for “Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream” which involves an elaborate impression of the bros at Ben & Jerry’s going up against the snobs at Häagen-Dazs and an in-depth discussion of how there may be too much bread and not enough fig in the classic “Fig Newton.”