Podcasts, the twenty-first century’s answer to radio dramas, have been growing in popularity for a while now. The vast majority are donor-supported and therefore free to listen, making them easy to get hooked on. But if there is one thing I love more than free entertainment, it’s comedy—specifically comedy that distracts me from my endless spiral of anxiety and overthinking. So here’s some recommendations for comedy podcasts I listen to for when I need a pick-me-up.
1. Judge John Hodgman is a weekly podcast by comedian John Hodgman. Every week Hodgeman hears one or two cases from regular people about a conflict they are having. He and his trusty Bailiff Jesse Thorn hear both side’s arguments and then the Judge comes up with a verdict that the people involved have agreed to follow. And if you are wondering, no, John Hodgman is not a real Judge. The podcast is light and pleasant and you get a lot of joy from just hearing Hodgman banter with Bailiff Jesse Thorn (also not a real bailiff). Some of the disputes he has solved include, “is chili a soup or a stew, is this room in my house called an “office” or a “den” or “a room full of junk, and when is it may someone else’s Chinese food be legally considered abandoned property.” Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Only one judge can decide.
2. The Bugle is the exact opposite of Judge John Hodgman, at least in terms of humor. It is political, direct and unsubtle. These traits do not make The Bugle unfunny though, quite the opposite. The Bugle is more edgy but also more likely to make you keel over in pain from laughter. It is hosted by Andy Zaltzman, a British comedian who looks at world events and laughs at how absurd real life can be. And I do mean world events. The Bugle is a British podcast that covers whatever the top news is, whether it be from Australia, Philippines, India, United States, or outer space.
3. Two Dope Queens is a podcast so good that four episodes were adapted into HBO specials. The podcast features comedians Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson, two people who are each hilarious and witty in their own rights. Together they host a comedy show each week in Brooklyn where they and other comedians tell stories about “sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York, and Billy Joel” and other things that I can’t say in a family-friendly article. Basically imagine having a two hour comedy special with amazing talent brought to you every week directly on your phone. Check it out.
Podcasts are an amazing medium that is going through something of a renaissance. People have been experimenting with what you can do with the format and the results have been amazing (and, in these cases, hilarious). If you are feeling low or even if you are not, try these shows out. You might find your new obsession.
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