Well, here we are again. This is my third year doing a roundup of my favorite podcasts. (Here’s year one and year two.) I thought the first one would be sufficient, but then I had so many new favorites last year I had to write another one, and this year I have about 30 more for you. The podcast world has been exploding, they just keep getting better, and I couldn’t be happier about it. If you’re new to this place, I survive on podcasts: listening on my commutes, all day long at work (like a solid 5-6 hours of listening per day), doing the dishes, running, cooking, working on illustrations for this blog, etc. They’re seriously the best for whenever you’re doing something repetitive that leaves your brain free to roam.
The illustration above is a self portrait – It shows me at my desk, working on a drawing by my computer and listening to a podcast. This is how you can find me most weeknights: hunched over a drawing in front of my computer, where I usually have my reference photo up on the screen. You can see my overflow collection of cookbooks above my little shelf to the left (the ones that don’t fit on my normal cookbook shelf), and some of the artwork on my walls. It’s my happy place in the evenings where I work on my personal projects.
This year at Thanksgiving I said I was thankful for podcasts. (I was a little drunk and our table had just finished a discussion about our favorite podcasts, but still …) If podcasts suddenly disappeared, my life would have significantly less joy. They make me laugh, they make me cry, they make me think, and they teach me a crap-ton of interesting stuff. This year’s additions have a heavy dose of true crime, politics (thanks to our crazy election this year), and entertainment. Please let me know your suggestions for new ones in the comment section – I found a few new favorites in there last year. Enjoy!
POLITICS, NEWS AND OPINION, ETC
Throwing Shade – This has recently become one of my favorite podcasts EVER. It’s a “political comedy” show where Erin (a straight woman) and Bryan (a gay man) discuss “all the issues important to ladies and gays, and treat them with much less respect than they deserve.” This one makes me smile so hard and LOL frequently. It has the most unusual Mailchimp ads you’ll ever hear, their chemistry cannot be beat, and it makes me excited for Thursdays.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Thursdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: TS253: Beyonce, Back to School, Judge Robin Camp, Guest Joan Ford
Pantsuit Politics – Beth and Sarah, a Republican and a Democrat, are friends and they discuss various issues in politics on this show. They do it respectfully and thoughtfully, in a way that I wish more people could do in their own lives with friends they disagree with. I know I struggle with this. I would suggest this show for anyone who’s looking for a political podcast that helps to bring them out of their bubble a little bit (although I would say both of these women are pretty moderate.)
FREQUENCY: twice a week
FAVORITE EPISODE: The Abortion Debate and How We Move Forward (one of the most rational discussions on abortion I’ve ever heard)
Abe Lincoln’s Top Hat – Here’s another political podcast that might get you out of your bubble. Ben and Marcus discuss everything going on in the world of politics (sometimes with a guest), with a dash of humor thrown in. I certainly don’t agree with these guys on everything, but I find their viewpoints to be from an angle you don’t hear too often in “the mainstream media.”
Slate’s Political Gabfest – Described as “the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks,” this political podcast helps to keep me informed. I like how this one is by people “from the biz,” but they’re talking about issues in a very candid way, and there’s some swearing involved from time to time. It feels more real than typical political news.
FAVORITE EPISODE: The “Is it Tuesday Yet” Edition
The Run-Up – This is an election-themed podcast by the New York Times and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. (It’s still going, as of my writing this.) While the political gabfest (above) is a bit brash at times, this one feels a little more intimate and heartfelt. Their “Dialogues” series between Clinton and Trump voters was fantastic, and their recent interview with Kelleyanne Conway (Trump’s campaign manager) was really interesting.
FAVORITE EPISODES: Dialogues: Craig and His Father + What’s Funny About Any of This?
With Her – If you want a more “human” look at Hillary Clinton, listen to this podcast. It was her short-lived campaign podcast where the host chatted with Tim Kaine, Chelsea, Bill, and Hillary herself, plus a few other people involved in her campaign. It was just simple conversations about the campaign she was running, what it was like to work with her, growing up with her as a mom, etc. I really enjoyed these.
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 11: “How are you feeling, Hillary?”
Strong Opinions Loosely Held – This podcast from Refinery29 takes a look at pop culture and modern happenings with a decidedly feminist slant. There aren’t many episodes (yet), but I’ve really enjoyed them so far and they cover a wide range of topics.
FAVORITE EPISODE: Just Shut Up
Slate’s Trumpcast – Jacob Weisberg was hoping this podcast would end after November 8th, but that wasn’t the case. He takes a very critical look at Donald Trump and everything he says, does, implies, etc. Trying to understand who this man is and what is going on right now in our country, he talks to historians, psychiatrists and other experts to dive deep. Oh, and in every episode their fantastic Trump impersonator reads some of his tweets.
FREQUENCY: a few times a week
FAVORITE EPISODE: A History Teacher and a Historic Event
Slate’s Double X Podcast – I just found this one and I’m very excited because I’ve really enjoyed Slate’s other podcasts. It reminds me of the political gabfest (see above), except it’s women talking about issues specific to women in the news and pop culture, etc. You obviously have to take these opinion shows with a grain of salt, but I’ve enjoyed their discussions very much.
FREQUENCY: every other week (Wednesdays)
DTR – I met my husband, Robert, very quickly on OkCupid, but my experience with “dating” in the digital age just about stops there. This podcast from Tinder JUST started and it’s all about dating and defining relationships in the digital age. There’s a whole episode about dick pics, for example. Say what?! I expect to learn a lot of weird facts from this podcast and think I’ll thoroughly enjoy it from the sociological standpoint.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Thursdays)
INTERVIEWS AND CHATTER
Sooo Many White Guys – The podcast world is a bit overrun with white dudes, so comedian Phoebe Robinson (from 2 Dope Queens, see below) uses this show to talk to performers, musicians, authors and artists, etc. who aren’t white dudes. She does occasionally welcome the “token white guy,” like when she talked with Mike Birbiglia, which is a great episode. The conversations here are wonderful and it’s nice to put the spotlight specifically on women and people of color to hear how their experiences are unique.
FREQUENCY: weekly, currently on a break between seasons
FAVORITE EPISODES: #6 Phoebe and Gina Rodriguez and Eddie Vedder Walk Into a Bar + #10 Phoebe Welcomes Token White Guy Mike Birbiglia
Hopefully We Don’t Break Up – I found this one recently and fell in love immediately. Real-life comedy couple Giulia Rozzi and Will Miles interview other couples, who also tend to be comedians or performers in some way. They ask them how they met, how they got engaged and married (if they’re married), what it’s like to live/work together, etc. It kind of reminds me of Totally Laime because they ask a lot of personal questions but also let the conversation lead the way and see where it takes them. It’s fun to hear how other creative couples operate together and I can relate to these people in a lot of ways.
FREQUENCY: every week or two
FAVORITE EPISODE: Chris Gethard & Hallie Bulleit
The Purrrcast – If you’re a cat person, this one’s for you. I’m actually NOT a cat person (Is there a Woofcast out there?), but I still enjoy this. Hosts Steven Ray Morris and Sara Iyer chat with their friends (a lot of comedians) about their cats. That’s it. Other things come up too, but that’s the underlying thread.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Wednesdays)
Baby Geniuses – I listened to a few of these recently after it was recommended by a friend. I did enjoy them (and learned some fun things), so I’m excited to tune in more often. Each week comedian Emily Heller and cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt talk to a guest who shares specific knowledge on whatever topic they want. It’s very casual while being surprisingly informative.
FREQUENCY: every other week (Mondays)
Roam + Golightly – My friend Laura has been pouring her heart and soul into this podcast and it’s pretty awesome. She chats with creative people about how to keep the creative spark alive, specifically outside of your 9-5 day job. If you need to add a little pep to your step and light to your life, this podcast will inspire you to find those moments in the every day.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Mondays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Minisode: The Feast of Saint Pizza (Philly Edition) & How to Organize Your Own Local Pizza Crawl (You can read my corresponding blog post to this gem here)
Guys We F*****d – I haven’t listened to this one a ton, but I do enjoy it. Self-titled the “anti slut-shaming podcast,” this show features conversations between the hosts, comedians Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher, and men they’ve previously slept with as well as other people in the comedy and sex industries. If you’re interested in the world of sex positivity and want to take a different look at female sexuality, this one will take you there REAL QUICK. Not safe for work, obvs.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Wednesdays)
The Shepod – Oh, this podcast. It’s one of my top favs right now and it brightens my life every time I listen to it. Hosts Rachael and Sarah are like my soul sisters. (I’ve decided I’m a perfect blend of both of their personalities.) I binge-listened to this one while I was developing my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, so I feel like I owe them a batch in the mail. In each episode they talk about what they’re watching, eating, wearing, etc. with some ’90s nostalgia thrown in, and it feels like you’re having brunch with your best girlfriends. Once you get hooked into this show you feel like you’re part of the coolest secret club but instead of mean girls, everyone is super nice. (If you know what I mean, you’re probably already a part of their Shepod AOL Chatroom.) “Rosé!” is their battle cry and the hardest questions here are Team Farts vs. Team Romance and whether you take off your bra or pants first when you get home. These are my people. (I’m Team Farts and Team Pants, btw.)
FREQUENCY: every other Sunday
FAVORITE EPISODE: Channing Tatum is a Handsome, Cut, Thumb
Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette – Real talk is exactly what this podcast is. Nicole talks to various guests and gets into the nitty-gritty of life and their hopes and dreams, fears, guilty pleasures, bad habits, etc. I need to be in the mood for this one because they’re fairly long and tend to make me very introspective, but I always come away feeling glad I listened.
FREQUENCY: Every 2 months she releases a full 8-episode season
FAVORITE EPISODE: Kathleen Shannon on Redefining Motherhood, Self-Help Addiction, and the Power of Asking Really Good Questions
Your Last Meal with Rachel Belle – I found this one recently on the “New and Noteworthy” podcast list. In each episode the host interviews a celebrity about what their last meal would be, and then she does a historical deep-dive into that food. It’s lighthearted, informative, and short and sweet compared to a lot of the podcasts I listen to these days.
FREQUENCY: every other week (Tuesdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Jillian Michaels, Junk Food
Death, Sex & Money – “The things we think about all the time, but need to talk about more.” Yep, that’s this show: honest and sometimes uncomfortable conversations about the things we all go through but rarely talk about with each other. So good.
FAVORITE EPISODE: Ellen Burstyn’s Lessons on Survival
TRUE CRIME AND HISTORY
My Favorite Murder – This is another one of my top favorite podcasts of 2016, and I’m going to see this show live in March!!!! Comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark tell each other about a different murder in each episode. What makes it so great is their chemistry, their super candid comments about the murder stories (“You’re in a cult; call your dad.”), and Elvis the cat who meows for a cookie at the end of every episode after their tag line, “Stay sexy, don’t get murdered.” The occasional minisode features hometown murders submitted by listeners.
FREQUENCY: once or twice a week
FAVORITE EPISODE: 18 – Investigateighteen Discovery
Up and Vanished – This is a Serial-esque podcast focused on the unsolved disappearance of Tara Grinstead, a former beauty queen and high school teacher, in 2005. The host, Payne Lindsey, is a filmmaker from Atlanta who’s currently working on a documentary about this case, and the podcast is documenting his research. It’s very well-produced.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Mondays)
Accused – Another Serial-esque podcast, this 8-episode one investigates the murder of Elizabeth Andes in 1978 and whether or not the right person was charged with the murder. And like Serial, it features a female journalist as the host.
In the Dark – This one was an investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in 1989. Weirdly enough, a week or two before this podcast was supposed to launch, the killer confessed to the crime. That didn’t make the podcast any less interesting, however. This was one of many cases where the investigation went very wrong, and the podcast takes an interesting look at how it all played out.
Stranglers – Similar to the ones above, this one takes a look at the story of the Boston Strangler and the amount of doubt still surrounding this case. You’ve got your typical interviews with suspects, victims’ family members, reporters and police who worked on it at the time, etc.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Wednesdays)
The Dollop – In each episode comedian Dave Anthony picks a story from history and tells his friend, fellow comedian Gareth Reynolds, all about it. Gareth has no idea what the topic will be and inserts his hilarious commentary throughout the show. The stories are always weird and interesting, and to hear these two men joke about it makes history fun. Expect lots of weird voices and fake dialogue to support the stories.
FREQUENCY: a couple times a week
FAVORITE EPISODES: Mashers and Hatpins + Otto in the Attic
Crimetown – If you liked The Jinx (which I still need to watch), get excited because this podcast is by people who worked on that show. Each season will focus on the crime of one American city, and first up is Providence, Rhode Island. Providence is known for its history with the mafia and organized crime, so it’s been interesting so far and sounds a bit more like a movie than real life at times.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Sundays)
Making Oprah – In this short podcast, WBEZ Chicago takes a look back at Oprah’s rise to fame. I grew up with my mom watching Oprah in the afternoons as I got home from school, but I never knew anything about how she got started. I found this to be interesting and engaging to hear about how Oprah and her four female producers put on this show that grew to impact our country in such a huge way. I REALLY loved it, and I now have even more respect for Oprah.
Spent – Sponsored by my favorite savings app, Qapital, this is a “funny money podcast for the financially challenged,” hosted by writer and comedian Lindsay Goldwert. It feels like a true podcast for millennials, tackling personal finance in an honest and approachable way for people who AREN’T money nerds like me.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Mondays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Corrine Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson: More Money, More Relationship Problems
So Money with Farnoosh Torabi – This is the financial podcast more for nerds like me, but also feels like it’s for millennials. The host, Farnoosh, is the author of When She Makes More, and her goal is to help people live a richer, happier life. In these episodes she interviews business people, authors and other influencers, plus she tackles listener questions from everything like prioritizing savings goals to credit card payments.
FREQUENCY: three times a week (M, W, F)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Michael Ian Black, Author of “A Child’s First Book of Trump”
2 Dope Queens – I’m still getting familiar with this one, but I’ve enjoyed each episode I’ve heard so far and it’s very popular on the charts. Comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams host a live comedy show in Brooklyn for this podcast featuring their favorite comedians. Topics include romance, race, hair journeys, living in NYC and more. In-studio chatter breaks up different parts of the podcast, which I think helps to keep the listener at home feeling like a part of the show.
FREQUENCY: weekly-ish, broken up by seasons
My Dad Wrote a Porno – OMGGGGG this podcast makes me laugh SO HARD. Jamie’s dad self-published an erotic novella, so of course he reads it aloud to his two best friends, James and Alice, for a podcast. The book is hilarious and not sexy at all (or at least not as sexy as his dad intended it to be, if he was aiming for something from a TubeV porn movie then he was a little off base). They all work through it together on the show, and their commentary is often funnier than the book itself. And they’re British, so the accents and British slang make it even better for me as an American.
FREQUENCY: twice a week, broken up by seasons for the different books (Book 3 starting in the spring!)
I hope I gave you some new ones to try out, and PLEASE let me know of your favorites in the comment section. Happy listening!
Illustration at top created with pen and Photoshop.
Prints of my illustrations (plus other products with my work on them) are available in my Society6 shop.
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