With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus is a (usually) comedic podcast with a clever trick: instead of hosting the podcast, Special Guest Lauren Lapkus is the guest each week, with a new host each week, usually playing a character. Lauren has to come up with a character on the spot based on how the "host" introduces her. As is to be expected, this leads to some hilarious and unexpected improvisation as both parties try to keep up with each other.
With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus contains examples of:
- And Now For Something Completely Different: Episode 13, The Tom Leykis Radio Show. James Adomian takes over more than any host before or since, and all that can be heard of Lauren for the first half hour of the episode is her laughter. And when she finally does turn up, it all leads to an ending that's more of a mindfuck than could be expected from this show.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: Subverted in the first Wild Horses episode, where everybody treats it as totally normal.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: In the Wild Horses episode Space Cadets, Debbie claims she never farts, poops, or even cries. This is later explained by her reveal as an alien.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Scott Aukerman's character Buttercup, who though loving is consistently rude and foul-mouthed, in addition to hosting a similar podcast to WTF with Marc Maron.
- Catchphrase: "Help Me Rhonda!" was one, but now that it's the name of a segment it doesn't get used as often.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Traci stands out among Lauren's characters as the guest on the first episode, as well as the only recurring character.
- Expository Theme Tune: The opening theme doubles as this. The entire premise of the song IS the entire premise of the show.
- Interspecies Romance: Tawny and her sentient dog, Rambo. Tawny (played by Lauren Lapkus) and her dog have what turns out to be a realistic and complex relationship once we figure out her dog Rambo (also played by Lauren) is sentient. Later, their relationship is complicated by a pregnancy and the sort of drama you would expect in a compelling romance. Rambo's a dog though.
- Large Ham: T-t-t-Tom Leykis! James Adomian takes Tom Leykis' eccentric personality and dials it Up to Eleven. Throw in a wide arsenal of wacky sound effects and you've got quite a character.
- Rule of Funny: What with being improvised, and the majority of choices made being either this or following the "Say Yes" rule. Sometimes, as is often the case in improv, this can really dig Lauren or her host into an illogical conundrum they later have to explain their way out of.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Ben Schwartz consistently disrupts the flow of the show to either do this or sing.
- Self-Parody: The hosts of the Dumbbells podcast appear as the characters The Kettle Bros, and make fun of the unstructured nature of their own show, whilst cranking up the fitness obsession a lot.