Podcasts that will have you learning and laughing in public
Whether you are looking to learn something new, laugh, cry, or all the above, there is a podcast for you. Somehow radio’s more vibrant grandchild holds our attention and satisfies our very specific desires. We can sit, walk or run to the tune of thousands of hours on niche broadcasts. For new listeners cutting through the fat to get to the meatiest content can feel daunting. After all, every time a bell rings new podcaster uploads their very first episode. In an effort to move ears closer to quality material, we put together a shortlist of shows that you are going to want to follow. In a saturated market, these podcast crews manage to stand out.
Hosted by Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris
When it comes to world-class podcasts, the NY times have cornered the market. We would be remiss not to give a special mention to The Daily, hosted by Michael Barbaro and 1619, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones. Still Processing, hosted by Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris does not break the NYT winning streak. Both Wortham and Morris (a Pulitzer Prize surprise winner) are senior culture writers who bring their knowledge, unique opinions and honesty to each episode. This podcast captures the zeitgeist of our times in an unapologetic black voice.
Hosted by Ed Gamble And James Acaster
The show is set in comedic duo Ed Gamble and James Acaster’s entirely fictitious and ridiculous magical restaurant. Every guest on the show is asked to choose their favourite starter, main course, side dish, dessert, and drink. Expect to hear unpopular opinions like “I hate Monster Munch!” and we paraphrase, “Yorkshire pudding isn’t that good”. Gamble and Acaster are enormously entertaining and charmingly weird.
Still Bodega Boys
Hosted by Daniel “Desus Nice” Baker and Joel “The Kid Mero” Martinez
Desus and Mero offer listeners hot takes on the week’s most noteworthy news stories. Expect to hear plenty of skits involving original characters and NY usual suspects. Yesenia, Micheal Anthony and your local Bodega Papi. Do not expect this podcast to be SFW, Bodega Boys podcast features a problematic light (picture flashing red lights and horns) when conversation enters problematic territory. The Bodega Boys (with their manager Victor Lopez) cast without a script, free of pretense and full of jokes.
Hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes & Will Arnett
Whether you listen for the surprise guests, the array of self-deprecating jokes or unexpectedly entertaining auto zone ads, this podcast is worth 45 minutes of your time. Arnette, Bateman and Hayes are undisputed heavyweights of early 2000s novelty situational sitcoms and this podcast reminds us why. Each week one of the hosts chooses a guest to bring on the podcasts without letting the other two know. Smartless has had guests that range from Maya Rudolph and Will Ferell to Stacey Abrams and Kamala Harris.
Two Twos Podcast
Hosted by Rose Frimpong and Nana Duncan
If you don’t know Rose Frimpong and Nana Duncan from the Two Twos podcast, then we suggest you get to know them. This podcast takes us into the lives of two black lesbians living in London and everything that entails. When you listen to Two Twos, you feel like you are hanging out with friends. Frimpong and Duncan have a way of discussing big topics in very digestible ways. “Two Twos podcast is creating a safe space for people like themselves, bridging the gap between LGBT+ people and cis-gendered straight people!”
Brown Girls do it Too
Hosted by Poppy Jay, Rubina Pabani and Roya Eslami
Whether or not we like to admit it, we all think about sex a lot. For South Asian women, talking openly about sex, let alone their own sexual experiences, is often met with heaps of shame and disapproval. Poppy Jay, Rubina Pabani, and Roya Eslami started the BBC produced Brown Girls Do It Too podcast to represent sexually liberated Asian women who are proud to talk about their relationship and sex lives. This sexy show is definitely for grown-ups; it gets deep, good, and gross in all the right ways.
Oh, Hello: The P’dcast
Hosted by Gil Faizon (Nick Kroll) and George St. Geegland (John Mulaney)
“Charmed, I’m sure.” Join George and Gil as they tackle completely outdated and inappropriate subjects like the untimely death of Princess Diana and other topics they have no business discussing. Both men first appeared in the cult classic, Kroll Show, performing in a series of skits called “Too Much Tuna.” The skits involved Gil and George “pranking” unsuspecting and uninterested guests with sandwiches filled with an absurd amount of “tuna fish”. This Podcast starts fresh off their stint on Broadway. No seriously, Gil Faizon (Kroll) and George St. Geegland (Mulaney) had a lengthy run on Broadway. Against the best advice of podcast heavyweight Ira Glass, these two elderly freeloaders have put together an uncomfortable masterpiece of a season.