The world is a strange, serious, and often stupid place. Fortunately, we have comedy to help us make light of things when they threaten to overwhelm us. We’re not talking only about sitcoms or funny movies here, but also the growing range of comedy podcasts available to listen to on your smartphones and computers. Many of these are excellent, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the best comedy podcasts available right now. Whether you like your comedy to involve sketches and silly routines, or whether you prefer it to intersect with politics, culture and other areas, this list should get you laughing again.
Here’s a comedy podcast for those who like comedy on the surreal and off-the-wall side of the spectrum. In My Brother, My Brother and Me, three brothers — Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy — field questions and concerns from listeners, and give some of the funniest advice you will hear in a podcast. Their thoughts on toilet comfort, Billy Joel cosplay, and gargoyles might not be the most appropriate, but they will make you laugh.
Dating is hard, but it can also be funny. That’s the basic conceit of Why Won’t You Date Me?, in which comedian Nicole Byer invites a bevy of equally funny guests to explore the weird and wonderful world of dating and romance. Each week, a guest joins the podcast to make fun of their own love lives, which usually serves as a platform for Byer to join in by making fun of her own. Basically, if you’d prefer to laugh at your romantic résumé rather than cry, then Why Won’t You Date Me? is the comedy podcast for you.
Do you find American history a little intimidating and overly somber? Well, then The Dollop may be the comedy podcast for you. Every week, hosts and comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds share a story from American history that you’ve probably never heard before, but is nonetheless hilarious. Like, did you know that, in 1976, a plane with around 60,000 pounds of pot crashed in Yosemite? This is the kind of thing you’ll hear from one week to the next with The Dollop, and not only will you laugh, but you’ll learn some from one of the best history podcasts out now.
Made by the folks at satirical newspaper The Onion, A Very Fatal Murder is a comedy podcast which lampoons the epidemic of true crime podcasts that followed the success of Serial back in 2014. Its plot involves (the fictitious) David Pascall, an Onion Public Radio correspondent sent to the “sleepy town” of Bluff Springs, Nebraska, where he investigates the “mysterious” death of a 17-year-old girl, Hayley Price. If you’re tired of the true-crime podcast format, then A Very Fatal Murder does a very good job of injecting it with some much-needed comedy.
Are you a big fan of so-bad-it’s-good films and Z movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Room? Then look no further than How Did This Get Made?, in which three comedians get together, often with their comedian friends, and watch some of the worst movies ever made. It’s like Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the radio, minus the robots and the heavy focus on B-movies. In fact, part of what’s so hilarious about How Did This Get Made? is that many of the awful films they feature were intended to be blockbusters. Winter’s Tale, anyone?
First coming to prominence on Twitter and more recently launching their own TV program, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero are the self-styled Bodega Boys, which launched as a podcast in 2015. Each weekly show sees the pair riff on the latest happenings in pop culture, from video games and the New York Knicks to politics and COVID-19. Pretty much no topic is off-limits for the duo, whose unfiltered chemistry makes for some addictive off-the-cuff comedy.
Attitudes! is a podcast where comedy collides with gender and identity politics. Hosts Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi discuss the issues most important to women and gays with infectious irreverence. They may get a little too explicit for milder tastes, but the hosts rightfully call out bigotry and sexism while keeping the laughs coming thick and fast.
An improvised satire that follows the trials and tribulations of staff at a fictional mega church, Mega is a comedy podcast that’s equal parts bizarre, outlandish, and hilarious. New episodes are released weekly, with the characters portrayed by Holly Laurent and Greg Hess proving strangely compelling despite being so weird. They’re also joined by a regular intake of guest stars, who play fictitious versions of themselves going through religious awakenings or crises.
If you’ve listened to My Brother, My Brother and Me and want more from the The McElroy brothers, then try The Adventure Zone. This time, Justin, Travis, and Griffin recruit their dad to chronicle their escapades through various Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. It might not sound like much on paper, but the brothers have such a great rapport and knack for improv that their shenanigans put many other comedy podcasts to shame.
Having helmed one of the most popular late-night talk shows of all time, Conan O’Brien has turned to comedy podcasts with this offering from Earwolf and Team Coco. Basically, the format is similar to what it was with Late Night with Conan O’Brien, although in this case O’Brien has the opportunity to delve deeper with guests, which include such luminaries as Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Hanks, and Michelle Obama.
Is it just me, or are “WTF” moments becoming increasingly common these days? If you feel similarly, then you may want to check out WTF with Marc Maron, in which host Maron takes childish glee in milking bizarre events and happenings for all the laughs they’re worth. Helping along the way are number of comedic friends, writers, and celebrity guests, who all help to shine an amusing light on the world’s insanity.
Are you one of the many people on this planet who can’t stand Judge Judy? The supercilious, pretentious judge, the petty, squabbling litigants — all of these figures combine to make it one of the most ridiculous “reality-TV” programs on the air. Well, humorist John Hodgman has created a comedy podcast that taps into this anti-Judge Judy feeling, with his Judge John Hodgman podcast basically being a spoof coutroom reality shows. The podcast sees him adjudicating trivial domestic disputes within a simulated courtroom, complete with real-life sound effects and the balmy Jesse Thorn as the bailiff. It’s basically a Naked Gun for courtroom TV, and is a hilarious as that sounds.
If comedy on its own isn’t quite enough for you, then maybe you should give Duncan Trussell Family Hour a listen. Hosted by comedian Duncan Trussell, each week sees guests join the fun to chat about the kind of left-of-center topics that don’t really get covered by any other podcast. This means you’ll have fun laughing about everything from philosophy and science to tattoos and the occult. Highly recommended if you like to think and learn while you laugh.
The Bugle is basically The Daily Show With Jon Stewart or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but in podcast form. It bills itself as a satirical “audio newspaper,” in which comedian Andy Zaltzman breaks down — and ridicules — the news from across the globe. He also gets a little help along the way from a wide roster of comedians, including co-creator and former co-host John Oliver, Wyatt Cenac, Hari Kondabolu, John Oliver, Nish Kumar, Anuvab Pal, and Zaltzman’s sister, Helen.
Hosted by man-of-many-nicknames Scott Aukerman, Comedy Bang! Bang! is the pinnacle of improv comedy podcasts. Each week, Aukerman is joined by various comedians, actors, and other celebrities, with the guests often appearing as outlandish characters (such as The Time Keeper or musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber). Basically, imagine Saturday Night Live as a podcast, and you won’t be to far removed from Comedy Bang! Bang! offers.
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