First, a little bit about why you should listen to my recommendations. I have listened to nearly every episode of every podcast on this list. There may be a few that I’m missing, but I’m sure I’ve heard 95% of everything these shows have put out. I currently listen to about 10 different shows weekly, and have gone back and forth between roughly 25 different shows altogether over the past five years. These are my 8 favorite comedy podcasts (note: only comedy is listed here) of all time though, and they are the ones I currently listen to as well. I am a diehard comedy fan and love podcasts with a passion. You can trust me on this one — I won’t steer you wrong.
Harmontown is my current favorite podcast (it switches all the time) because of the strange and hilarious, brutal honesty Dan Harmon brings to the table. It’s hard to really explain Harmontown; it’s just a show you have to hear. It is, more or less, a round table discussion in front of a live audience, but the audience is often a big part of the show. Dan, along with comptroller Jeff Davis and dungeon master Spencer Crittenden, talk to the crowd about their love lives, their jobs, and anything else that might be on their minds. The show never has any real plan, and that is what makes it so successful. There’s also lots of great (and famous) guests such as Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development), Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds), and Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, all-around Sitcom royalty). Harmontown has followed the tumultuous career and personal life of Dan Harmon from the infamous Chevy Chase voice mail (first played on the podcast), to his firing & rehiring at Community, to his marriage & divorce – all with total transparency. Check out the trailer for the documentary about the podcast here and hear the newest episode below:
Part of the MaximumFun.org network and hosted by “Feminasty Erin Gibson” and “Homosensual Bryan Safi,” Throwing Shade covers “all the issues important to ladies and gays… and treats them with much less respect than they deserve.” Despite being a straight man, I love this podcast because of how damn funny it is. True, you may want to be a bit left-leaning or at least be concerned with social issues to enjoy the news Erin & Bryan discuss, but the show is very entertaining regardless. I learn a lot about the injustices against women, LGBTQ individuals, and other minority groups going on in the world — all while laughing quite a bit. Normally, hearing about horrible injustices would anger me but when they’re presented with such biting wit and sarcasm by Erin & Bryan, it’s hard to get too upset.
The flagship show of the Earwolf network hosted by Scott Aukerman, Comedy Bang! Bang! is probably the straight-up funniest show on this list. Other shows feature something else in their format, but this show is pure comedy. And the format is this: one or two real guests playing themselves for an “interview” and a few guests playing characters. There are no real interviews, and what you hear on the show is 75% improv sketch comedy, 5% game playing (would you rather, freestyle rap battles, etc), and 10% Scott Aukerman’s bizarre, hilarious anti-comedy, and 5% plugs (everybody’s favorite feature). If you want laugh, this is the show to listen to. Many, many great comedy characters you see such as Nick Kroll’s (The League, Kroll Show) Fabrice Fabrice, Paul F. Tompkin’s (No You Shut Up, every podcast ever) Garry Marshall, and Lauren Lapkus’ (Orange is the New Black, The Comedians) Todd started on Comedy Bang! Bang! Words cannot describe how much I love this show. Listen below:
You cannot have a list of comedy podcasts without including Never Not Funny. In fact, you probably shouldn’t have a podcast list without Never Not Funny. Along with Ricky Gervais’ show, NNF is one of the earliest podcasts on the scene. It started in 2006 and I began listening 2 years after that, and haven’t missed an episode since. This show is consistently the best, funniest, most entertaining podcast around. Sure, I said Harmontown is my current favorite, but nothing will ever replace this show for me. NNF is the show that get me into podcasts in the first place. Every week we join Jimmy Pardo (Race to Escape, quickest wit alive), Matt Belknap (AST records), and a funny guest alongside “intern” Garon Cockrell (PopCultureBeast.com) and videographer & “walking ottoman” Eliot Hochberg (Modest Games, Ilios abstract board game). These guys opened the world of podcasting to me and many others, and deserve to be on every podcast list ever. Period. And the show truly is never not funny.
Paul F. Tompkins is, in my opinion, the all-around funniest man alive. He is an improv genius, a great comedic actor, an excellent stand-up, and the best podcast guest ever. If PFT is on your podcast then it is guaranteed to be funny. He’s been on Superego (my all time favorite, now defunct podcast — see below), many episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang!, The Pod F. Tomcast, and Dead Authors (a great non-profit LA-based show and podcast to promote literacy). Spontaneation is his newest podcast venture. The show is pretty simple and goes like this: Paul interviews a special celebrity guest (he doesn’t get enough credit as an interviewer) and then he and a group of “improv pals” act out long-form improv inspired by the interview and a blind question from the show’s previous guest — want to know who the previous guest was? “Hours of listening pleasure await you at Howl.fm As far as podcast improv goes, this show is the best one currently running (with Improv 4 Humans in close second). You gotta check it out if like PFT’s work, sketch comedy, or just laughing in general. Here’s a taste:
Okay, okay so I know I’ve said several of the shows above are the funniest or my favorite, but Superego is my absolute favorite of all time, ever. BUT Superego doesn’t really exist anymore so that is why I didn’t really consider it when calling the others my favorite. Matt Gourley (Drunk History, Wolfpop Network), Jeremy Carter (Thrilling Adventure Hour), Mark McConville (various podcasts, voice work), and the aforementioned Paul F. Tompkins (for the last few seasons) put A LOT of work into this show. There are several special, archived, and live episodes that you can pay for (well worth it), but other than that there are no new episodes on a regular basis. The production and guest list on Superego is just amazing. It is another sketch show, but unlike any others because of the sound production — each episode is like a radio play full of sound effects and excellent acting. I understand why they called it quits as it must have taken a lot of time and work to put these episodes out, but it shows and I thank them for every minute of it. It is hard to explain why this show is so funny, so I included an animated clip from the show featuring Patton Oswalt:
Get Up On This is slightly different than the rest of the podcasts on this list because it is not technically a comedy podcast. It is more of a recommendations or curation podcast. But wow, do Jensen Karp (Kayne West Owes Me $300) and Matthew Robinson (The Invention of Lying) do a damn fine job of curating everything from new hip-hop music to extremely nerdy Euro board games. This show is cool as hell, and makes you cool by listening to it. Want to impress your friends by knowing the next hot thing that is going to blow up? Jensen and Matty got you. This show got me up on Jidenna (Classic Man) well before it blew up — Classic Man was even being considered song of the summer by some. And it also got me up Raury (Devil’s Whisper) who is yet to blow up on the level of Jidenna, but will. That is what this show does; it brings the best music, movies, apps, games, etc to you before they get big. I love this show so much, and have found so much great music and excellent movies/tv shows from it. Matty once got me up on Black Mirror, a show I know include in my college English classes because it is so damn good. Get Up On This is really funny too, and damn entertaining, especially right now because we’re in the thick of beef season and #WeHongry. Instead of a clip from the show, I’m going to direct you to go to this site to see some of the stuff they have recommended (you can also listen to the show at Earwolf.com.
Last but not least is the Cracked Podcast, a companion show to Cracked.com hosted by Earwolf. If you like Cracked.com and their articles/videos, then you will love the podcast. It is, more or less, the audio version of Cracked articles. Again, like Get Up On This, it is not strictly comedy in the sense of the other shows, but it is pretty damn funny. More than funny, though, this show is very interesting. You will learn more from this show than any other on my list. Each episode has a different theme and features different guests, but the one constant is that it is always (except when he has a fill-in) by Jack O’Brien (Editor-in-Chief), and he plays lots of great music between segments. He is often joined by great Cracked writers such as Soren Bowie, Michael Swaim, and David Wong (John Dies at the End) and they talk about everything from conspiracies, to science, to pop culture. Cracked is entertaining and informative. Listen to the most recent episode below:
- Hollywood Handbook
- You Made it Weird
- Who Charted?
- Put Your Hands Together
- Improv 4 Humans
- The Crab Feast
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed my list and found some new favorite podcasts to listen to. As always, please drop a comment below and let me know what your favorite comedy podcasts are.