10 must-listen podcasts that'll make even the most unpleasant commute joyous
Fill your ears with gold!
Podcasts are good, aren’t they? They’re entertaining, educational and have achieved the unthinkable by making commutes enjoyable.
But happens when you’ve listened to them all. Or at least you’ve listened to the big hitters. The big names. The This American Lifes and WTFs and Serials of the world?
We asked ten of the internet’s most interesting people what they personally chose to fill their lugholes with. Fill your phone with these and never have a conversation on the train again!
- Check out the best political podcasts if you feel like understanding what is happening in the news, or the best comedy podcasts if you want easier listening
As recommended by Charlie Jane Anders, author of All The Birds In The Sky, former editor of io9 and co-host (with Annalee Newitz) of new podcast Our Opinions Are Correct.
“I’m a huge massive fan of Still Processing, the New York Times podcast featuring Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris. Not only have I been a fan of both of them separately for years, but it’s a total joy to hear the two of them hashing out all manner of cultural topics. Every episode is so thought-provoking and full of insights, it’s like hanging out with your two smartest friends. I just love listening to their easy banter about all manner of topics.”
Make No Law
As recommended by Cory Doctorow, award-winning author, digital rights campaigner and founder of Boing Boing.
“As someone who spends a lot of time hanging around campaigning lawyers, I’m really interested in the burgeoning “lawsplainer” genre: Make No Law (the history of the First Amendment as told by former Federal prosecutor Ken “Popehat” White); What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law (Constitutional law prof Elizabeth Joh uses Trump’s norm-violating misdeeds to explain the history of Constitutional Law) and More Perfect (the histories of seminal Supreme Court cases and the legal precedents they established).”
Brian Gittins and Friends
As recommended by Scroobius Pip, rapper, spoken word artist, excellent beard owner and host of the podcast Distraction Pieces.
“I’d pick Brian Gittins and Friends. Gittins has been one of my favourite comedians for a while but this podcast has introduced the world to the wonder that is Dave Edwards, and it will never be the same. Hearing Dave awkwardly interact with a long list of guests from the cream of the comedy crop is a joy to behold, all while Gittins gleefully steers directly into that awkwardness.”
Grandma’s Virginity Podcast
As recommended by Michael Kupperman, cartoonist, artist, author of the forthcoming graphic memoir All The Answers and complete genius.
“I haven’t been listening to many podcasts lately, but one I loved is Grandma’s Virginity Podcast, with Justin Roiland, Ryan Ridley and Jackie Buscarino. They stopped doing it about the time Rick and Morty (which Justin co-created) took off, but this is an extremely profane and loose round-table discussion of various topics. Their guests included Dan Harmon and the real-life model for Abed from Community, Abed Gheith; the show reflects the insane Channel 101 energy that has spiraled into so many other projects.”
Why Is Your Bottom So Dirty?
As recommended by Pappy’s, the comedy trio (Matthew Crosby, Ben Clark and Tom Parry) behind podcasts Flatshare Slamdown and Bangers & Mash.
“One of the funniest comedians around (and a favourite guest from our own podcast), the always unpredictable Lou Sanders, has teamed up with circuit maverick Luke McQueen for a new improvised comedy podcast. Each week they sit down in character as Clare Cares and Dr Benjamin Jones with another comic - also in character - and attempt to resolve their deep seated personal and emotional issues. It’s exactly the kind of comedy we like: ramshackle, nonsensical and really, really funny. It’s pretty new but there are already over 5 episodes (6 episodes) available, so plenty to tuck into.”
As recommended byJohn Rain, host of James Bond-obsessed podcast Smershpod.
“Wrestle Me takes me on a beautiful trip down memory lane to revisit my childhood fascination with Wrestlemania. Hosts Pete Donaldson and Marc Haynes bring stacks of facts, bags of affection and lorry fulls of LOLZ. It’s my current obsession.”
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
As recommended by journalist and cultural commentator Ira Madison III, host of Keep It and occasional Shortlist contributor.
“I already loved Jonathan Van Ness on Queer Eye and the podcast adds new interesting depths to his personality [episode titles include “How Come I Don’t Know About The Armenian Genocide? and What’s Up With The Opioid Crisis?]. I always love hearing another queer person interrogating life.”
Post-Mortem with Mick Garris
As recommended by Outlaw Vern, the internet’s best film writer and author of Seagalogy: The Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal.
“Mick Garris is best known as the writer-director of Stephen King-based movies and mini-series (Sleepwalkers, The Stand) and for creating the Showtime anthology series Masters of Horror. But he’s also been interviewing filmmakers in various forums since the ‘70s, and he brings those skills to the Post Mortem podcast. While there are several great horror podcasts from my generation of Fangoria-reading horror fans, only Garris interviews veterans like Joe Dante, John Landis, Stuart Gordon and John Carpenter as a peer. When Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 star Caroline Williams fumes about accusations that Tobe Hooper didn’t really direct Poltergeist, Garris is able to give his perspective as the on-set publicist!”
As recommended by Allie Goertz, editor of MAD Magazine, singer-songwriter and host of Everything’s Coming Up Simpsons.
“99% Invisible is a show about the unnoticed architecture and design that goes into every aspect of the world. The show covers topics as boring sounding as the origin of billiard balls (my favorite episode), to the origin of malls, to the colour of money. They’re tiny topics packed with fascinating history that I find myself retelling constantly. With episodes clocking in at 20 minutes and under, you learn something incredibly cool incredibly quickly. Short podcasts are where it’s at, and I’m someone who recaps 23-minute Simpsons episodes for over an hour.”
Dumb White Guy with Brendon Burns
As recommended by Dan Schreiber, radio producer, QI researcher and host of No Such Thing As A Fish.
“I’m listening to this non-stop at the moment. It’s brilliant. And completely original. It’s unlike any podcast I’ve ever listened to. It’s the life and thoughts of a comedian on (and off) the road. I’m absolutely addicted to it. A warning though: in the words of Brendon’s good friend, comedian Paul Provenza, ‘If you’ve ever been offended by anything, don’t come in.’”