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Podcasts to make your day better

Jun. 1, 2018
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When you’re walking around at school, when you’re driving to work, or when you feel a little lonely, grab some earbuds and listen to these podcasts—they will make you laugh.

1. Comedy Bang! Bang!: The Podcast - Scott Aukerman, Earwolf

Comedy Bang! Bang! is a weekly podcast hosted by comedy king Scott Aukerman, with funny guests like comedians and improvisers Jason Mantzoukas, Andy Daly, Lauren Lapkus, and Amy Poehler.  The most recent season has seen guests like John Mulaney, Phoebe Robinson, Jon Hamm, Tatiana Maslany, Patton Oswalt, and Natasha Leggero. For one to two hours, Scott and his guests talk about their upcoming projects, improvise bits, do characters, sing songs, and play short games like “Would You Rather?” and “Free Style Rap Battle/Contest” (which has its surprisingly epic moments). This podcast is almost like a cult—with recurring catchphrases, jokes, characters from multiple seasons back, and a very distinct, uncategorizable format and vibe. The whole show is ridiculous, strange, hilarious, pure comedy done by the best people. 

2. improv4humans - Matt Besser, Earwolf

Improvisation often creates the funniest moments, and if not funny, it is still insanely smart and wild. Improv4humans is a long-form improv podcast hosted by improv genius Matt Besser, co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade (an improv/comedy school and theater in New York and L.A.). The guests are, once again, hilarious improvisers who are skilled and practiced in long-form improv. Inspired by Twitter word suggestions, the news, or YouTube clips, improvisers launch into scene after scene, crafting characters and making callbacks left and right. Scenarios sometimes escalate really quickly, and scenes range from the Kool-Aid boy running away from home and hanging out with thirsty hobos on a train, to a space tourist being on a spaceship with an annoyingly talkative person and getting trapped in a turbulent space time continuum. Even though it's a podcast, it is almost exactly like any other UCB improv show. Some of the most impressive episodes are the trilogy episodes done in the Movie form, with consistent characters throughout. When done right, long-form improvisation is an art, as is this podcast. 

3. Off Book: The Improvised Musical Podcast with Zach and Jess - Jessica McKenna and Zach Reino, Earwolf 

Another improv podcast! But this time, it’s for musical lovers, too. Zach Reino and Jessica McKenna are two extremely talented improvisers with great chemistry and great voices. Accompanied by pianist Scott Passarella and guests like David Wain, Nicole Byer, Matt Besser, and D’Arcy Carden, they create musicals with lyrics and melodies and plotlines made up on the spot. This podcast will leave you both impressed and laughing. 

4. 2 Dope Queens - Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, WNYC Studios

Hosted by queens Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, this podcast highlights women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and others from diverse backgrounds. Important things like race, gender, sex, and politics are talked about, but Phoebe and Jessica never fail in bringing laughs. Guests also get to have their voices heard in a refreshing and clear way. There are three top-notch guests per episode, all with important messages or funny stories. What could be better than listening to a favorite artist of yours talking with the 2 Dope Queens? 

5. U Talkin’ U2 To Me? / R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE: ME? - Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott, Earwolf

Scott and Scott is how Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman introduce themselves, and they claim that their podcast is “the comprehensive and encyclopedic compendium of all things U2” and now “the comprehensive and encyclopedic compendium of all things R.E.M.”

Both hosts are '90s music nerds and huge fans of U2 and R.E.M. They bring other equally big fans of these bands out to hash over their experiences with the music, rate albums and songs, and talk about everything from meeting Bono to being in R.E.M. cover bands. Even if you don’t know the music or aren’t a fan, it doesn’t matter—most of the podcast, as pointed out by critics, is meaningless chatter and running jokes between Adam and Scott...or Scott and Scott, I should say. This podcast aggravates some to the point of writing lengthy, scathing reviews on the podcast website, but the point is that both Scotts do not care, and that is how they’ve been doing podcasts since Comedy Bang! Bang! On the more serious side, Adam and Scott are both very genuine about the music they love and so are the guests, which results in very special moments, including the long, comedic bits.

Some other podcasts to brighten your day with humor are With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus (in which Lauren Lapkus is the guest in episodes hosted by her improviser friends—mostly in character—and often featuring her improv group, Wild Horses), How Did This Get Made (by Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael—in which the trio talks about movies so bad that they are amazing), and Phoebe Robinson’s Sooo Many White Guys (a podcast in which Phoebe has honest and hilarious conversations with super cool people who are not white guys).