These days, anyone can start a podcast. However, it takes podcast hosts with genuine talents to craft an entertaining comedy podcast. It is much easier to voice opinions on the news of any given day, but much more challenging to create comedy in an audio medium that could actually make listeners smile on their commutes, during their workouts, or whenever they hear the pod.
From parody podcasts to improv shows to high concept affairs, the world of comedy in podcasting is a rich one. And when there are hilarious listens, they rank among the best of storytelling that podcasts have to offer.
10 My Brother, My Brother, And Me
For over ten years now, My Brother, My Brother, and Me has released weekly advice episodes with an immensely humorous bend. A cult following has sprung up around the McElroy brothers (Griffin, Justin, and Travis).
Their listens will take on greater importance in the wake of Yahoo! Answers shutting down. Now, whatever questions percolate in the minds of citizens will be best filtered through the McElroy brothers, rather than cursory Internet searches.
9 The Hottest Take
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the offices of The Ringer sure seemed like a fun place to be. Strong evidence for that came in the form of The Hottest Take, a Spotify exclusive podcast that asked Ringer staffers to voice their firmest opinions in a humorous manner.
Episodes included scorching hot takes on the ways in which Academy members vote for the Oscars and why The Crown remains one of the top Netflix originals. The topics are pretty accessible, but the gusto with which the hosts address them is hilarious.
8 The Gino Lombardo Show
A spin-off of a flagship Earwolf podcast, Comedy Bang Bang, The Gino Lombardo Show follows the titular comedy podcast intern (voiced by Jon Gabrus) across his daily misadventures in Patchogue, Long Island.
The canon of Gino Lombardo is a topsy-turvy one that involves federal investigations, one-on-one basketball, and food reviews. On his own Stitcher podcast, Gino’s arc remains wildly unpredictable.
7 With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus
Another podcast featuring a Comedy Bang Bang regular, With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus, is headed by, of course, Lauren Lapkus. Crucially, though, she is not the host of her own show.
As the title suggests, Lapkus is actually the guest on the pod, and those who appear take on hosting duties. She plays a variety of her own characters, like Traci Reardon and Ho Ho the Naughty Elf. The improv show has featured characters like Jessica McKenna’s Zelda, Ego Nwodim’s Toni Baloney, and Conan O’Brien’s self-portrayal.
6 This Is Branchburg
From Adult Swim and the ingeniously dry comedic minds of Brendan O’Hare and Cory Snearowski, This Is Branchburg posts a hilarious spin on local radio shows with numerous segments. A classic audio tradition receives the super fun send-up through Brendan and Cory celebrating Branchburg, New Jersey.
Any topic can be discussed by the local radio hosts. Somebody proclaiming that everyone wants to see his teeth. Somebody asking for a ride home. Anything goes in Branchburg.
5 Oh, Hello: The P’dcast
Two more established characters in the niche comedy world are George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon (charmed, he’s sure). Two old men from Manhattan, they started their own podcast in April of 2020 to investigate the death of Princess Diana.
Of course, George and Gil are characters played by John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, respectively. Yet, stars like Lin-Manuel Miranda also made sure to stop by to investigate the loss of Princess Di.
4 U Talkin’ U2 2 Me?
Back on the Earwolf side of things, Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman merged to become Adam Scott Aukerman and to explore the discographies of some of their favorite bands, including U2, R.E.M., Talking Heads, and (briefly) the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Naturally, the two never limit themselves to only music. Every episode is worth a pop-in because they’re also sure to reveal the cinephile sides of themselves with quick segments of “I Love Films.”
3 2 Dope Queens
Some of the podcasts listed so far have been included on previous “best of” lists and have become award-nominated. But 2 Dope Queens is truly one of the most acclaimed in its genre.
From 2016 to 2018 (and sparsely occurring installments since), Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson kept the format of their podcast simple. They didn’t reach for absurd concepts; they told funny stories and they told them well. Partnered with NPR and WNYC, 2 Dope Queens is still a pillar.
2 A Very Fatal Murder
From The Onion, A Very Fatal Murder should have essentially ended the myriad attempts to send up the true crime genre. What Serial broke open in the podcasting realm was perfectly satirized in the form of this 2018 miniseries.
It investigated the murder of a prom queen in Nebraska and it did so hysterically. The Onion remains at the edge of Internet-based comedy and their brief podcasting foray is a top example.
1 Comedy Bang Bang
In the world of podcasting, Comedy Bang Bang is a standard-bearer. It’s not only innovative, but it helped provide a vocabulary to how laughs could be generated in the audio medium. Hosted by Scott Aukerman, the podcast has been running since 2009 and has developed a number of hilarious characters and bits over the years.
Counted among its celebrity guests are Jon Hamm, Ben Stiller, and Amy Poehler. Counted among its character guests are Santa Claus, Garry Marshall, John Lennon, and small business owners. Where else does crossover like that exist?
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