Awesome podcasts?
June 26, 2010 9:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some really captivating, funny, and/or interesting podcasts to keep me occupied during a long, boring commute.

Some that I currently subscribe to, to get a sense of my interests:

Sound of Young America - Really interesting interviews with great alternative/indie comedians, musicians and actors. I think Jesse Thorn asks some great questions, and the people that he interviews are always so down to earth.

Savage Love - SO filthy, really juicy and just hilarious overall. Sometimes I'll sit in my car and keep listening for a few minutes even after I've arrived at my destination. Especially when he gets on the phone with some of his callers.

Comedy Death Ray - They'll have a lot of my favorite comedians like Paul F. Tompkins and David Cross, but I honestly think some of the episodes are really hit or miss and I sort of drift in and out. I still subscribe through because I love "alternative" comedy which is an annoying term but I guess it best describes my favorite comedians. I could probably listen to Patton Oswalt talk for 2 straight hours (which I have, on his 222 album).

I've seen a lot of questions about podcasts looking for specific topics, podasts similar to TAL, podcasts that help you learn or make you smarter etc. I'd love if you all could recommend some podcasts that are just really frickin' entertaining.
posted by windbox to Media & Arts (44 answers total) 136 users marked this as a favorite
The Moth is a favorite of mine.
posted by cjemmott at 9:29 AM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Marc Maron's podcast is really funny. Stuff You missed In History Class has a lot of back episodes and touches on lots of intriguing stuff.
posted by Sara Anne at 9:29 AM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love Radio Lab: The New Normal, The Shy Baboon, Stochastity ,Detective Stories and Parasites were a few of the great episodes.

Stuff You Missed in History Class and Stuff You Should Know

And of course, The Moth
posted by krikany at 9:32 AM on June 26, 2010

Risk is a new one Kevin Allison is doing it's like the Moth but more aimed at entertaining than truth.
posted by edbles at 9:34 AM on June 26, 2010

You Look Nice Today is usually funny. To the Best of Our Knowledge is good, too, though not funny, usually. Its topics run the gamut from the Iraq war ("Boots on the Ground" series) to writing fiction to atheism to spirituality to travel to death and on. Recent shows have included "God is Back," "The Responsibility of Intellectuals," and "It's a Wonderful Afterlife."
posted by girlbowler at 9:37 AM on June 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

Radiolab is the greatest radio production of all time. It will blow you away.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:42 AM on June 26, 2010

A Way with Words. Much English language geekery and pretty entertaining, too.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:43 AM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing Stuff You Should Know. Love it.
posted by lizabeth at 9:45 AM on June 26, 2010

Uhh Yeah Dude. A thousand times Uhh Yeah Dude!
posted by tetralix at 9:47 AM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Adam Corolla, FitzDog -- funny low-brow.
TED talks
posted by callmejay at 9:49 AM on June 26, 2010

Caustic Soda is both interesting and funny. Their best episode so far has probably been Food if you're looking to sample.

If you like horror, Pseudopod has a different horror short story every week. Obviously since it's a different author each time, some are great, some less so. But on balance, they're very good.
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:51 AM on June 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Are you listening to Jordan Jesse Go? I like The Sound of Young America, too, but I LOVE Jordan Jesse Go.
posted by something something at 9:53 AM on June 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Never Not Funny is subscription based, but so, so worth it. They offer a free feed with the first 20 minutes of each show, and I highly recommend sampling it if you like CDR Radio, but think it's too hit and miss.

Jordan Jesse Go is Jesse Thorn's less-structured, hang-out-and-chat show, and it's great.

Others I like:
Doug Loves Movies
Kevin Pollak Chat Show
Stop Podcasting Yourself
40 Year Old Boy
The Bugle
WTF/Marc Maron
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:58 AM on June 26, 2010

Keith and The Girl - one of the original couplecasts. Out of Queens, NY, they regularly feature great guests and even had Marc Maron on before he began his own podcast. Popular enough that 60+ tattoos and 2 brandings have been done in their likeness. Five days a week.

I also enjoy The Comical Radio Podcast, another comedycast out of NYC with some pretty notable guests, (Greg Giraldo, Paul Giamatti).
Jimmy Dore and Stef Zamorano's Comedy and Everything Else has featured Paul F. Tompkins among others and is frequently political.
Both are weekly.

Some favorite non-comedy weekly podcasts are Coverville, NPR: Science Friday, Speaking of Faith, This American Life as well as Savage Love.
posted by geekyguy at 10:02 AM on June 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

I like SModcast (Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier taking about anything/everything) and 4PlayerPodcast (video game news, reviews, and discussion).
posted by Menthol at 10:11 AM on June 26, 2010

nth Jordan Jesse Go, Stop Podcasting Yourself, and Radiolab.

The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling is a weekly three hour radio program available as a podcast. Patton Oswalt and Paul F Tompkins are frequent guests and fans of the show. There's definitely a learning curve where you kind of figure out what's going on, what Tom's persona is like, who the frequent callers are, etc., but it's especially hilarious and rewarding once you understand the tone of the show. [wiki]
posted by Ortho at 10:15 AM on June 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

A Life Well Wasted is a podcast about video games, but it's unlike every other videogame podcast in that it's very TAL in style.
posted by juv3nal at 11:13 AM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

DNTO (Definitely Not the Opera) with Sook-Yin Lee.
posted by pick_the_flowers at 11:25 AM on June 26, 2010

And (how could I forget) Q with Jian Ghomeshi.
posted by jeanmari at 11:52 AM on June 26, 2010

Seconding The Bugle, featuring Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver (of Daily Show fame) - dear God, is it funny. True, they often focus on British or European politics... which, assuming you're not British or European, seems like it would be problematic - but trust me, it's not. Give it a go; you'll like it.
posted by captainawesome at 12:19 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

On the skeptic/atheistic side, George Hrab's weekly Geologic Podcast is pretty entertaining, particularly when he recounts stories from his day job as drummer for the Philadelphia Funk Authority.

One of my favorite podcasts is Ask Mr. Biggs, very entertaining, but very sporadic. Back episodes are well worth it, though.
posted by eafarris at 12:22 PM on June 26, 2010

Answer Me This Podcast is amazingly funny. And from this side of the pond for a bit of variety.
posted by Neonshock at 12:35 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you are at all into gaming, the Gamers With Jobs Conference Call is fantastic. Seconding 'A Life Well Wasted' and n'thing Radiolab. Dave's Lounge is also fantastic for downtempo electronica.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:55 PM on June 26, 2010

Third vote for the Bugle podcast. BBC Radio 4 comedy podcast usually has The Newquiz, very funny, alternating with The Now Show, frequently groanworthy but occasionally brilliant.
SModcast is scatalogical, but also entertaining.
NPR Wait Wait Don't Tell Me is excellent (there's a lot of NPR nerds here on MeFi).
posted by arcticseal at 1:03 PM on June 26, 2010

Seconding the BBC friday night comedy podcast. It's usually hilarious, even if you don't know much about British domestic politics. The Age of Persuasion (half-hour show about advertising) from the CBC is also quite good.
posted by monkeymonkey at 1:44 PM on June 26, 2010

Chris Hardwick, currently of Web Soup fame, recently started The Nerdist Podcast, which is really good, actually. It's a lot of comics and famous people (i.e. Stan Lee, Rob Zombie) but they spend a lot of time talking about the craft of what they're doing, rather than riffing on current events or stuff. It's like a behind-the-scenes of comedy, which I really like. I'd give it a try.
posted by cheeken at 2:58 PM on June 26, 2010

I was coming in to vote for Nerdist, especially the three live eps (Adam Savage, Paul and Storm, and Craig Ferguson).

The live tapings are fantastic, if you're ever around LA at the end of a month.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:16 PM on June 26, 2010

The Flop House is three guys discussing bad movies. It's always good.
posted by zardoz at 3:16 PM on June 26, 2010

Response by poster: You guys, this is such an awesome list. Thanks so much.
posted by windbox at 5:13 PM on June 26, 2010

I recently did a lot of travelling and the best podcasts for making me forget I was on a 9 hour flight/4 hour train ride/etc. were

Radiolab (mentioned above)
The Bugle (ditto)
Stuck in the '80s
Ouch! (recently featured in this FPP)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:44 PM on June 26, 2010

Ricky Gervais Show - If you like British humor. It's not educational; however it is very funny.
posted by jadegenie at 6:28 PM on June 26, 2010

If you are the least bit interested in beer: I love Beer School. Mostly two guys discussing beer, sometimes with other people, not douchey, not pretentious. But definitely nerdy; one's a regular on some Mac podcast. I listen when I'm bored at work, so I especially like how the episodes sometimes run super long.
posted by clavicle at 7:20 PM on June 26, 2010

Fifthing The Bugle. If you like movies, you can't go wrong with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's film reviews. It's just two smart, funny guys talking about movies (though Kermode is technically the reviewer and Mayo is the host, they have often both seen the films).
posted by Kattullus at 8:22 PM on June 26, 2010

Too Beautiful to Live (aka TBTL), based in Seattle. Smart, charming, funny. Five days/week, so lots of material to keep you occupied.
posted by judith at 8:27 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Tobolowsky Files are awesome.
posted by dobbs at 8:51 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

You definitely need to get on board the Best Show on WFMU train!

As mentioned, it may take you a few weeks to really click with what makes the show so great, because it has an insanely complex set of seemingly random-yet-subtle dynamics that you just won't be able to "get" within one of two listens. But once you do get it, you'll be absolutely hooked at a level worse than cocaine addiction.

Paul F. Tompkins and Patton Oswalt are practically "co-hosts" on the show, considering how frequently they appear on it, and this alone should be enough for you to realize that you're missing out on the funniest shit on the radio and internets.

If you want a "Cliff's Notes", entry-level introduction to the program, I recommend subscribing to the Best Show Gems podcast feed, which takes selected excerpts from some of the best moments of the Best Show on WFMU.

Jesse Thorn has done several TSOYA interviews with Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster (the brains behind The Best Show) that may help you grok the show. It's the perfect podcast for long road trips!

Full-disclosure: I am the editor for The Best Show on WFMU podcast...but I was a fan first and foremost before suggesting the idea of podcasting to Tom Scharpling back in 2005. This is literally a religion for me and thousands of other comedy nerds.
posted by melorama at 3:14 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'll also chime in again to also recommend the No Agenda podcast, with Adam Curry (yes, the former MTV veejay) and notorious tech pundit John C. Dvorak.

This is a combination that may seem truly dull and/or horrific on paper, but it's actually one of the most entertaining podcasts I've ever heard. It's kinda like a weird amalgam of the best parts of The Daily Show, Alex Jones and Art Bell shows. For instance, Curry and Dvorak might spend 20 minutes very impressively deconstructing a current news topic (or more often than not, deconstructing the mainstream media's coverage of said topics), only to immediately move on to talking about how certain world governments have literal "earthquake machines" that are strategically switched on to induce destruction in parts of the world that can be later exploited by "disaster capitalists" and the like.

The Wikipedia entry for No Agenda is actually a great rundown on what the show is all about. Very addicting.
posted by melorama at 4:13 AM on June 27, 2010

Oh hi, it's me again...

One last recommendation: Seven Second Delay with Ken and Andy (also on WFMU).

It's an hour of "radio stunts" every week. Andy Breckman (the creator of the Monk TV series) and Ken Freedman (station manager of WFMU) do ridiculous things like attempting to keep random people on the phone for the longest period of time, but using only 10 words or less...or calling random people from the phonebook, then putting them on hold and subjecting the person to incredibly stupid hold music (e.g. The Beatle Barkers) to see how long they can last before finally hanging up...

It's all so gloriously stupid and entertaining and awesome. And to the latter point, it shouldn't be surprising that Jesse Thorn also did a TSOYA interview with Ken and Andy, what with TSOYA being a show about all things that are awesome.
posted by melorama at 4:38 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like:

How Much Do We Love
which is two friends talking about things they love. Not a shopping podcast, but more just a conversation about things (both abstract and concrete) that are awesome.

Previous episodes have covered, among other things: finding the perfect tee-shirt of the season, the “homecoming landmark”, cheese plates, Stairway to Stardom videos on YouTube, quick pretend crushes, having a full tank of gas, American Pickers, and the “literally literally”.

Flat 29's Big Book of Everything
--3 English guys who take on a different topic each week and talk about it in an enjoyably ridiculous way. Lots of jingles and wacky musical interludes.

Their description: "Flat 29's Big Book of Everything is a comedy podcast cataloguing and discussing the contents of our universe. Every other week a new chapter is released tackling a new and exciting subject.
Full of useless trivia, rambling anecdotes, ludicrous discussions, and a new comedy song each chapter, Flat 29's Big Book of Everything is an enjoyable way to expand your knowledge about everything (as long as you currently know nothing at all about anything)
posted by exceptinsects at 11:52 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm seconding The 40 Year Old boy. Bring Depends, as you may wet your pants.
posted by Twicketface at 10:17 AM on June 29, 2010

Doug Loves Movies - Casually funny live comedy
Tobolowsky Files - Interesting and poignant stories from a great story teller (Try Ep. 13 for a personal favorite).
Uhh Yeah Dude - Snarky and funny
Freakonomics Radio - Informative and thoughtful
40 Year Old Boy - Stream of consciousness funny
posted by MotorNeuron at 12:49 PM on June 29, 2010

"Craftsanity is a place to escape the daily grind and renew your creative spirit through interviews with artists." craftsanity

"CRAFTCAST™ takes advantage of the podcast format to deliver weekly content, covering the latest information in the crafting industry. Listeners get personal time experience with a wide variety of artists and crafters." craftcast

I love these two podcasts!
posted by dietcokejunkee at 7:17 AM on June 30, 2010

Tank Riot for sure. Don't get put off with the preamble - they often don't start speaking about the advertised topic until 30 minutes into the podcast, but they're always interesting and often very funny. Nikola Tesla was my introduction to the show and has had me hooked ever since.

Kermode & Mayo's Film Review comes highly recommended. BBC Radio program cut into podcast format. Great dry humor and sarcasm along with quality movie reviews and great guests. Possibly my favorite podcast.
posted by yorkie at 9:30 AM on July 25, 2010

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