9 Comedy Podcasts to Listen to When You Need a Laugh
We all know that it's good to laugh, but did you know that laughter is actually good for your health? The health benefits of laughter are many and varied: it can help your body to release natural pain relievers; it burns calories; it can improve your immune system (positive thoughts release neuropeptides that help fight illness); it stimulates circulation and muscle relaxation, which relieves stress; it boosts your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart and muscles, and enhances the endorphins released by your brain; and it increases blood flow.
There are plenty of funny podcasts out there to choose from – from smart social commentary to culture deep dives and a dearth of improv shows that will dispel your worries about improvised comedy being too cringe-inducing to ever be funny.
Whether you're suffering from the winter blues, or cabin fever, or you just need a break from true crime or the stress of daily news, you will be wise to add some comedy content into your feed. Here are nine comedy podcasts to lift your spirits.
This British podcast is a true crowdpleaser. My Dad Wrote a Porno is wildly popular, with famous fans including Elijah Woods, Daisy Ridley and Emma Thompson. But if you're one of the three people out there who are still unfamiliar – it's basically a young man reading pornographic novels written by his dad aloud to his friends. When James Morton discovered that his dad had been writing an erotic novel called Belinda Blinked using the pen name "Rocky Flintstone", he made the selfless decision to share that discovery with the world. Not every comedy podcast will make everyone laugh out loud, but there's a strong chance you'll be crying-laughing ten minutes in to episode one of this gem. Co-hosts Alice Levine and James Cooper provide emotional support for Morton, and thankfully interrupting whenever Rocky writes a particularly befuddling sentence – it happens often. There are five seasons so far, so add this to your binge list and get ready to lol.
Confronting Demons is a relatively new podcast from comedian Megan Stalter, who broke through on social media this year in the early days of COVID-19 with her epic one-woman shows on Instagram Live. Stalter specialises in playing a range of delightfully unhinged characters, like the influencer from Paris, whereas her real persona is simply delightful. Co-hosted with her brother Nick, Confronting Demons is based on the premise that we all have demons to face. The roster of guests so far is mainly other niche comedians popular on Twitter and Instagram, such as Cole Escola, Caleb Hearon, Benito Skinner and Eva Victor. This is great pod if you're looking to go deep into the emerging comedy scene.
This improvised, character-based interview podcast imagines that John Lennon is actually alive and he's decided to host a podcast and answer listener questions. The premise's flawed logic only makes the whole thing funnier: it's not an alternative universe in which Lennon never died, rather he just got bored of being dead so decided to come back to life. He's avoiding Yoko because he's got one of her berets and doesn't want to give it back. He doesn't mind if people know he's alive, but he'd prefer they didn't tell anyone. His best friend is Ringo, and his catchphrase is "drums" – which so happens to be the trigger word Hanford uses to get himself back into Lennon's iconic, nasally, Liverpudlian speaking voice. Questions for Lennon is loose and silly – the perfect momentary antidote to reality.
This is the essential comedy podcast for comedy fans. Part interview, part improv, Comedy Bang! Bang! started on radio in 2009 by host Scott Aukerman and has developed a cult following since. Some episodes are a little inside baseball, meaning the more you listen the more you'll laugh.
The energy (and volume) of this podcast is enough to break anyone out of a funk. Jessica St Claire and Lennon Parham play Marissa Wompler and Charlotte Listler, a student and her teacher with a special bond. Marissa has been held back a number of times, with her age estimated somewhere around the early 20s (you'll hear her regularly remind everyone that she doesn't know how old she is) and Miss Listler is a no-nonsense former sniper who runs the school's remedial program for remedial kids. Through a lot of silliness
Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams hosted this live podcast from 2016 until 2018, with guests including Jon Hamm, Aparna Nancherla, Michelle Buteau, and Nick Kroll, inspired a four-episode HBO special directed by Tig Notaro. 2 Dope Queens discusses race, gender, sex and other topics that were otherwise monopolised within the comedy podcast community by middle-aged white guys, and Robinson and Williams will become your new funny best friends (in your own head) before you know it.
It's impossible not to smile when you're listening to Nicole Byer. Many know her as the host of Netflix's Nailed It! but Byer is another living legend of the comedy world with legions of loyal fans and multiple podcasts on the go at any given time. Why Won't You Date Me is her flagship pod, and in it she welcomes a guest with whom to discuss their dating history and current relationship status and, as the title suggests, ask why won't they date her. Guests include the best in comedy (Tawny Newsome, Jessica McKenna) as well as some of the best Drag Race alums (Bob the Drag Queen, Jinkx Monsoon, Trixie Mattel).
Don't you hate it when some guy is like, "I can't believe you've never seen [movie title]"? Australian comedians Alex Jae and Bec Charlwood know the feeling, and in this podcast they review all of those movies that dudes can't believe they haven't seen. From Inception and The Matrix to Rocky and all of those Star Wars ones, all of the usual suspects are covered (including The Usual Suspects) and the results will make you laugh.
Comedy legend Tony Martin hosts the world's first late-night call-in podcast, and that's all you really need to know in terms of why you should listen to Sizzletown. Martin has consistently been the best comedian working in audio for going on three decades, since his breakfast radio days in the late '80s. If you love his work, you'll love this. If you aren't a Tony Martin obsessive, treat yourself to his unique brand of whimsy and a measured pace that the majority of modern comedy often lacks.