Unless you want to be alone with your thoughts on your daily commute, you’re going to want something good to listen to. While music is great, podcasts can make you feel like you actually have a friend. So many podcasts available today are just so depressing, though. Why are there so many about murder? No, if you’re looking to put a smile on that face before the existential dread takes over, here are some of the best comedy podcasts around to help you take the edge off.
Conan is the oldest and best late night host on television, period. He’s Jimmy Fallon’s daddy. O’Brien’s foray into the world of podcasting has proven to be his most natural medium. His brand of witty, self-deprecating yet paradoxically narcissistic humor has never felt more at home.
While his interviews with big name celebrities, from Tom Hanks to Shaq, are jovial and occasionally insightful, it’s his rapport with his staff that makes the show truly special. His long-time assistant, Sona Movsesian, is the perfect foil. She’s always quick to call him on his nonsense, and she always chimes in at the precise right time to bring him down a peg. Producer Matt Gourley is equally perfect. Where most producers have the exact same podcast voice at complete lack of timing, Gourley can improvise greatly with Conan when necessary.
With the recent addition of mini-episodes called Conan O’Brien Needs A Fan, where Conan speaks to a few non-celebrity fans to hilarious effect, the podcast has never been stronger or more prolific. The ad reads are always entertaining, too.
This one’s for comedy nerds. Hosted by Jesse David Fox, “Good One” is all about digging deep into the joke writing process. Each episode begins by playing the bit in question, then Fox goes over said bit with the comedian in extensive detail.
You’ll learn so much about your favorite comedians. What is their writing process like? What do jokes mean to them? How does that particular joke make them feel? It’s such a great way to get to know comedians better, as well as to achieve a better understanding of the mysterious world of comedy.
While it is perhaps the least outright funny podcast on this list, as the discussions of the process often get quite serious, laughs are still inevitable. It is a podcast about jokes, after all. Plus, comedians don’t often get to discuss jokes with this level of depth, and their appreciation for talking about something that actually matters to them really comes through.
Nicole Byer is one of the most naturally funny people around, and her podcast dives deep into relationships in hilarious and illuminating ways. Every episode ends with Byer asking the guest whether or not they would date them. Awkward.
Podcasts about relationships are a dime a dozen, but few are this funny. Things are bound to get messy. Listening to such open, honest and humorous discussion of love and sex can be such a rewarding and confronting experience. Will she ever find love? Or will we keep getting great episodes?
This one’s similar to “Good One,” but much more present. Mike Birbiglia is a prolific comedian and storyteller, with multiple great Netflix specials available to watch. If you’ve ever enjoyed his standup, you’ll surely be into his podcast.
While “Good One” looks back on a comedian’s past work, “Working It Out” sees both the host and the guest developing bits that aren’t quite done yet. It’s great to hear the process in action, as both comedians work off of each other to come up with new jokes on the spot.
As is often the case with the best podcasts, there’s more to it than meets the eye, though. Conversations can veer off into very deep waters. You never really know when the topic will shift to depression and anxiety. While that may be a little off-putting for someone whos is looking for a good laugh and nothing else, it can be tremendously fulfilling for anyone yearning for just a little bit more than that.
Scams are pretty hilarious when they’re not happening to you. The incredibly funny Laci Mosley knows this quite well. In this show, you’ll dive deep into the world of fraud. You’ll learn about the most high profile grifts happening today, as well as some of the most historic hoodwinks to ever occur.
By listening to “Scam Goddess,” you’ll educate yourself on the various scams that other people may try to pull on you, and you’ll come out the other side a much more savvy person. You’ll also have plenty of laughs along the way. Join the congregation.
If the previous entries were all a little to succinct for you, then it might be time to make it weird. Pete Holmes is one of the silliest yet most insightful comedians around. Even just his big goofy face alone is hilarious.
With his podcast, though, you won’t be getting his face, but you will be getting hours of laughs and philosophy. Hours is used literally in this case, as episodes can go on for a really long time. If you have an exceptionally long commute, YMIW is a great choice. You’ll hear some of your favorite comedians and occasional other celebrities talk about spirituality in ways you’ve probably never heard. It’s one of the oldest podcasts around, and it serves as a sort of proxy on this list for Marc Maron and Bill Burr as well. Keep it crispy.
What’s better than good movies? Really really bad movies, of course. Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas select the most baffling and awful movies ever made and rip them to shreds with hilarious results. Everything out of Mantzoukas’s mouth is hilarious. It’s science.
Whether you’ve actually seen the movie in question or not, it barely matters. Sometimes it’s even more fun to have no context for what’s going on. One warning, though. If you hold “Space Jam” near and dear to your heart, don’t listen to their episode on it. You’re going to have your childhood ruined. If you’re looking for the same premise but with video games, “How Did This Get Played?” is also great, although not directly related.
No one asked for this, and no one knew they needed it, but they absolutely did need it. John Mulaney and Nick Kroll’s Broadway show, “Oh, Hello,” is completely insane. They play two deranged, old New York men hilariously well. If you haven’t watched it on Netflix yet, you need to give it a shot. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if it’s for you, it’s so thoroughly for you.
Their short-lived podcast is inexplicably centered on the death of Princess Diana. You’ll learn absolutely nothing of value by listening, and that’s what makes it so great. It’s nonsense through and through.
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