I don’t need to tell you how dark the state of the world is lately — I’m confident you know. What you might not know, however, is that podcast listenership has been down since the pandemic shuttered our workplaces and cancelled our commutes, which is unfortunate, given podcasts are the very thing that might bring us some relief and much-needed levity right now.
Now that far fewer of us are being smushed among sweaty strangers on trains or fighting the urge to scream at every other car on the road while stuck in rush-hour traffic, it seems we’ve forgotten that podcasts have the ability to take us out of our wallows and away from our present-moment struggles. And so, in the interest of encouraging everyone to return to a post-work, mood-lifting podcast ritual, I bring you a list of some great podcasts that might make you laugh. Yes, even now.
I don’t think anyone is funnier off-the-cuff than comedians Michelle Buteau and Jordan Carlos. On Adulting, the hilarious pair tackles all of our questions about growing the hell up. Each episode features conversations with other comedians, actors and entertainers about their own process of learning to “adult,” and every ep will make you feel less alone (or behind) in your own adulting accomplishments.
Most episodes are (were) taped live at Union Hall in Brooklyn, which also allows for perhaps the best segment of all — the answering audience member questions about adulthood. Questions range from “How can I be a good best man when I’m broke?” to “How often should I actually be changing my sheets?”
Listen to Adulting here, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Nicole Byer is an absolute freakin’ delight. If you haven’t already seen her stand up, watched her on Nailed It or listened to her other podcasts, then you’re in for a treat. Why Won’t You Date Me? is based on the premise that Nicole is perpetually, perplexingly single, and is on a journey to find out why. But really the show is built on conversations between Nicole and other thoughtful, funny and interesting people as they discuss everything from dating advice to hair maintenance to plant babies.
If you’re hungry for more Nicole after bingeing this podcast, she also has a new book out, #VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini.
Listen to it here.
After more than 25 years of Late Nights, Conan O’Brien has decided to take a swing at podcasting, and he is hitting it out of the park. Though the ostensible premise of the show is to see if Conan can make friends with his big-name guests, it plays like the host has finally found a way to turn his typical Late Night interviews into real, honest and fantastically funny conversations. Assistant and cohost Sona Movsesian and producer Matt Gourley also add a lot of hilarity to the show.
If you enjoy Conan O’Brien or the charm and entertainment of any late night TV show, you’ll love Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend.
Listen to it here.
It was a sad day for many of us when this amazing show ceased to be a podcast and turned into a series of HBO specials, but their extensive episode archive is still around for you to dig into whenever you need a laugh. For those not yet familiar, in every episode of 2 Dope Queens, comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams host a stand-up variety showcase, often featuring an array of lesser-known and incredibly talented comics (though sometimes they feature big names like Tig Notaro, Jon Stewart and, that one time, Michelle Obama).
Though Phoebe and Jessica’s careers may have skyrocketed far past the humble podcast, the episode archive will always be there for us.
This raucous podcast is equal parts informative and hysterical. Each week hosts Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi talk about important issues affecting women and the LGBTQ community. Even when the conversation turns to some of the darkest news, they always manage to bring the mood back to absolutely ridiculous. They’ve since gone on to make some spin-off podcasts, but the original Throwing Shade is always bold, goofy and great.
The Dollop is a podcast formula that is so original and it leaves other comedy podcasts jealous. Each episode, host Dave Anthony reads a wild and lesser-known tale from American history to his friend, Gareth Reynolds, who is unfamiliar with the story and reacts in real-time. The result is a hilarious retelling of history too wild to seem true, and leaves you laughing along with them.
This podcast from the Loud Speakers Network is a veteran comedy/pop culture show that started back in 2013. The Read features hosts Crissle West and her good friend (and former YouTube vlogger) Kid Fury as they talk about current events and read and answer letters from listeners. At the end of every show Crissle and Kid Fury also each choose a read they’ve pulled from recent headlines. Their conversations are warm, funny and super engaging. You’ll probably find yourself thinking you’re IRL friends.
Dr. Gameshow is a super fun and original show from the Maximum Fun Network hosted by comedians Jo Firestone and Manolo Moreno. In each episode, Jo and Manolo take calls from listeners who submit games for them to play, and then they attempt to play with either their special guests, friends or listeners who call in. The personality contrast between Jo and Manolo is itself hilarious, and their chemistry makes their attempts at these creative new games very fun to listen to.
You might recognise Jo from the stand-up world or from her roles on shows like Joe Pera Talks With You, High Maintenance and Shrill. If you’re a fan of her comedy, you’ll love this podcast.
Yo, Is This Racist? is a veteran comedy podcast by Andrew Ti that has evolved a lot in its nine-year history, but its titular question is (unfortunately) forever relevant. Co-hosted by comedian and musician Tawny Newsome, this show answers listener-submitted questions about the racially-insensitive in very honest, thought-provoking and often hilarious ways.
It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where this question so often needs to be addressed. But if we’re doing it anyway — why not make it funny?
Comedian and SNL cast member Melissa Villaseñor brings all of her charm, humour and outstanding celebrity impressions to this short and sweet podcast. Every episode can be loosely described as “Melissa talking about the silly things that are making her laugh this week,” but really it feels more like getting to hear a private performance of her wonderfully silly, original standup.