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What Podcasts Taught Me About Life

What Podcasts Taught Me About Life

Here’s the thing about podcasts: they’re like your funny, smart friends whispering stories in your ear anytime you like…

You can pause them if they’re talking too much. You can make them speak at double speed just for kicks. You don’t even have to talk back — though often you do anyway! For me, these audio episodes make me laugh, keep me company, and they teach me things I’ll never forget. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned:

The joy of waking up early. Every morning, I shoot out of bed to hear the sweetest sentences in the English language: “From the New York Times, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is The Daily.” As the sun illuminates my apartment, and the viola-filled theme song thunders through my phone, I feel alive. For the next twenty minutes, Barbaro makes sense of the day’s news while I make my scrambled eggs. From his perch on my countertop, he’ll say nice things like, “Thanks for letting me call you so late,” to a reporter breaking a story, or ponder a guest’s answers with empathic mmms. He even asks the kind of questions most would be too afraid to pose like, “Why do we pay income taxes?” or “What kind of sandwich?” The podcast connects me to the world before I’ve even had my coffee.

My Netflix habits have always had merit. For centuries, pop culture has transformed society, and yet, for centuries, it has also been dismissed. But podcasts like Call Your Girlfriend, Keep It and Still Processing break down how music, TV and movies — and the reactions they provoke — inform everything from social norms to politics. Like, how a heated argument within the cast of Arrested Development can stand as an example of the subtle ways that society is taught to minimize the experiences of women. Or what the theatrical release of Crazy Rich Asians means for Asian representation. These media events inform our national landscape — and that matters to everyone.

Podcasts save lives. I grew up four blocks away from an unsolved murder. It rocked my hometown for decades, and kicked off my lifelong fascination with true crime stories. The genre has always felt horrifying, intriguing and personal, as so many of the stories involve female victims. (I’m not alone in my interest, as a vast majority of true crime consumers are women.) My Favorite Murder, a comedy true crime podcast, provides tools for survival with catchphrases, like “f*ck politeness,” which tells listeners to follow their intuition when faced with risky situations. If I ever have an uneasy feeling, I no longer stick around for fear that leaving would come off as rude. There have actually been documented cases of fans who claim the show saved their lives. While the world still has a way to go, the power is beginning to shift.

Commuting is not *that* bad. It’s not often you’re on the R train wishing you had one more stop, but that’s exactly what happens when I listen to Who? Weekly, Reply All and Lovett or Leave It. I’ve realized the key to a riveting ride is a podcast that will make you laugh out loud while enduring inevitable delays. The premise alone for Who? Weekly makes me chuckle, donning the tagline, “Everything you need to know about celebrities you don’t.” Reply All, a podcast about the internet, without fail, takes you on a hilarious journey you never saw coming. (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C.) In Lovett or Leave It, host Jon Lovett is joined by a live audience to play games about current politics (was a quote said by a politician or a villain from X-Men?). Maybe, just maybe, a little bit of stalling is what we all need.

It’s okay to speak up. Thanks to podcasts like Jen Gotch Is Okay Sometimes, Forever35 and Dear Sugars, I’m having more casual conversations with family and friends about subjects we formerly hid behind closed doors — like mental illness, addiction and grief. In Jen Gotch Is Okay Sometimes, Gotch, founder of the brand ban.do, talks candidly about her bipolar diagnosis and how medication changed her life. In Forever35, a beauty podcast about how women practice self care, guests end up opening up about everything from recovering from job rejections to mourning a pregnancy loss. In Dear Sugars, the hosts share empathic advice, often citing their own personal experiences on topics like living with grief and overcoming infidelity. As it turns out, when we bring our secrets into the light, we learn that we are not alone.

We’re all in it together. If it isn’t already clear, one of the easiest ways I find connection — in my hopes, sorrows or specific celebrity interests — is to browse my podcast app. There, I found an engrossing investigation of Jake Gyllenhaal’s height. Proof that “pitching yourself” is horrifying for everyone. A story that confirms snacks are, indeed, the highlight of babysitting. Relief that my idols sometimes feel lost. Validation that getting older is really weird. Evidence that Phil Collins has all the answers. And, that even when the bottom drops out from under you, time slouches on, and we’ll all figure it.

Have you been listening to any great podcasts lately? Or any all-time favorites? Please share below…

P.S. A podcast for every mood, and an ode to alone time.

(Illustration by Abbey Lossing for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Cassie says...

    Michael Barbaro and his emphatic mmmmms! 💕 my husband and I impersonate his active listening sounds all the time. And we say that the WORST words to hear are, “I’m Michael Barbaro, see you on Monday.”

  2. Truth’s Table…It’s three black women who talk about racial issues and their religion. I’m a white woman whose stay at home mom life has really become very WHITE. I miss my college days where I had very diverse friends and we told each other stories about our race-like hair! Anyways, this podcast had a whole hour talking about black hair that was the most relatable, wonderful thing that I’ve ever listened to! Plus, they’re open about their lives and I like having a peek into other people’s stories.

  3. Here are my go tos:
    My Dad Wrote A Porno (seriously not erotic but dad tried LOL)
    Reply All (about the internet but light)
    This American Life (because… Ira Glass)
    99% Invisible (one of my faves – about design of all sorts)
    Criminal (because… Phoebe Judge’s voice lol)
    Crime Junkie (true crime but told by a narrator)
    The Pitch (think Shark Tank)
    Modern Love (because I need a good love story)
    Stuff You Should Know (pretty self explanatory!)
    Reveal (investigative journalism)

    I have more… but can you tell I commute two hours a day?!?!?

    • Oh my gosh, based on this list, we might be podcast soulmates. I listen to 7 of these! Some others for you: Ear Hustle, Heavyweight, Hidden Brain, Science Vs, This is Love (another one by Phoebe Judge!), and Nancy.

  4. Suze says...

    I love

    Young House Love (a youngish couple mid 30s who buy old homes and fix them up while they live there) Home Reno

    simple w/tsh oxenreider – girl boss, awesome Mom podcast

    CHOMPERS a two min tooth brushing podcast for kids. Amazing. Comes out every morning and night

    Modern love – celebrities read stories that were published in The NY Times about love, loss and redemption. So good!!!!

  5. Rick says...

    WTF. Rarely Marc can’t connect with a guest. Particularly interesting with music related guests. The Axe Files. Obama staffer and former newspaper man. Good political discussion.

  6. Megan says...

    Belatedly chiming in as well–but figured better late than never, particularly as I read through this list this morning, then listened to “Death Sex and Money” on my way to work (the Tig Notaro episode) and had a better day because of it. One of my go-to podcasts is NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. Great, insightful, funny hosts and a standing “things that are making us happy” feature.

  7. GOOP and GirlBoss Radio are my weekly, must musts. I find I fly through podcasts that I love. I listen at work, the gym, on a drive. Thank you for sharing more inventory for my addiction!

  8. Tracy says...

    My weekly listening is:
    The Dollop (hilarious American history)
    Pod Save America (politics)
    Ask Me Another (game show)
    Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me (news game show)
    My Dad Wrote a Porno (British hilarity)
    Love It or Leave It (political game show)
    Of A Kind (women’s interests)
    Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone (humor and info)
    Second Life (new career advice)

  9. Jessica says...

    How To Be a Girl is a beautiful podcast about a mom and her transgender daughter. At the end of each episode, I just want to wrap them in a big, safe hug. If more people listened to this podcast, the world would be a better place.

  10. Alice says...

    This is a solid list I LOVE Reply All and Keep it! Some others that are my current favs are Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, Deviant Women, Hysteria, Gastro Pod, Science Vs, The History of Fun, and Welcome to Nightvale. I love Nightvale so much, I only let myself listen to it when I go on a walk (I live in the burbs). I enforced this rule on myself so 1) I take more walks and 2) I’m not distracted so I won’t miss anything!

  11. debvil says...

    I have podcasts for different tasks through the week these are the ones I love right now.

    While I Sunday Meal Prep:
    You Must Remember This (Old Hollywood)
    Bowery Boys (Old NYC History)
    Rewatchables (pop movie chat)
    Sound Opinions (music convos)

    At work:
    Hidden Brain
    pod save america
    Mueller She wrote (Highly recommend!)

    car commute:
    Dirtcast (gossip)
    Getting Curious w/Jonathan Van Ness (surprisingly informative)
    DListed (funny gossip)
    Forever 35 serums :)

    Road Trips:
    The Moth
    Just finished Teacher’s Pet & Slow Burn

    thanks for all the suggestions!

  12. Candice Chavez says...

    I love podcasts. My favorite at the moment is Almost 30! Shoutout to krista and Lindsay for having really knowledgeable guests on a wide array of self development topics! Also been loving the party in my plants. Great one for healthy plant based living. Oh and wow in the world when I’m with the kiddos!

  13. Charlotte says...

    Really late to the comment party on this one, and I’m sure someone (or several people) may have mentioned it already, but my absolute favourite podcast is Desert Island Discs by the BBC.
    It’s such a pleasure to listen to and I’ve often been moved to tears whilst listening to it.

  14. Jane says...

    I often listen every time I am driving or walking my dog.
    A few of my favorites are; Happier in Hollywood, By the Book, 10% Happier, HER MONEY.

  15. Tali says...

    Michael’s voice on the Daily is seriously the best!!! Those calm, empathetic “mmmhhhmmm”s he does! It’s my daily dose of sanity and reason.

  16. Amy says...

    This post (and these comments!) came at just the right time… I was looking for something new to listen to. On the recommendations here I’m now obsessed with The Daily and Reply All. My rec to share: What Fresh Hell – a parenting podcast that always makes me laugh and think. Check it out!

  17. Amanda says...

    One of my favorite podcasts is No Such Thing As a Fish–the panelists on it work for a British TV show called QI, which specializes in random fun facts and comedy, and so does this podcast. Each panelist shares something they learned that week, which is frequently really incredible or bizarre, and then they all riff on the fact for 5-10 minutes. It’s really funny, especially after you’ve listened for a while and you’ve gotten to know everyone’s quirks, plus you learn something! It is pretty PG-13, so maybe don’t listen with small kids around, but it’s a blast.

    • Kathryn says...

      I LOVE Fish! It’s the podcast I save for my Monday morning commute, so I can start the week in a good mood!

      I’ve been lucky enough to go to two of their live shows – I really recommend it if you get the chance!

  18. Elizabeth Cameron says...

    Knew in my heart you were a murderino!

  19. Nina says...

    I had to stop listening to podcasts because I would find myself doing random things to do around the house just so I could keep listening. Then I wouldn’t go to bed until sooo late. Like, once the food was all prepped and the house was scrubbed spotless I would start doing things like sit ups… at midnight.

  20. Jessie says...

    Very late to the party, but this list truly delighted me! Thank you for this gift COJ and commenters! I love:
    -Terrible, Thanks for Asking: A show that somehow makes the hardest moments in life feel humorous, thoughtful and somehow doable. Plus the host, Nora McInerny is such a dang delight. Try episode 14, Best Friends Forever or episode 40, Expect Great Things.
    -Death, Sex and Money: Truly delightful conversations on the taboo topics of life. Also features a wonderful host in Anna Sale. Try the episode: Ellen Burstyn’s Lessons on Survival (the concept of ‘shouldless days’ continues to change my life).
    -Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel: Couple’s therapy that you just get to listen to like the fly on the wall you’ve always wanted to be!! Try Season 1, Episode 3: Speak to Me in French.

    • Candice Chavez says...

      I love where should we begin! So thoughtful and insightful. Over it and on with it by Christine Hassler is a good one as well! Dives deep into your relationships with others and with yourself.

  21. Rachel Coleman says...

    Can there be a post about podcasts for kids? Since having baby #2 I’m often trying to keep my older one entertained without relying on screens. We’ve been listening to lots of stories on CD and on Spotify, but I’d love to get her into some kid-friendly podcasts. Is there anything that’s good for the pre-K set?

    • Jill says...

      Check out Circle Round, it’s an excellent storytelling podcast with featured guests like Jason Alexander.

    • anne says...

      My kids loved Martin and Sylvia on Sparkle Stories when they were Preschool/Kinder age. They now really love Brains On. Wow in the World would be good for preschool! My 4yo likes it but it’s too young for the 8 and 11yo. Another good one is Story Pirates – super crazy and silly, I can only take one or two at a time :D

    • megan says...

      circle round and wow in the world are two of our favorites.

  22. y says...

    “The Hilarious World of Depression” helps greatly when I’m battling with my mental health. I would walk around for hours listening to other people describe what I was going through or worse and still remain upright. It’s funny at times, sad at times, but the host has the most soothing voice and just hearing him makes me relax into the podcast, like he’s an old friend there to just hang out and try to make me feel better. Not all of the episodes hit home, but when they do, they really do.

  23. Nina Franey says...

    Late to this comment thread, but wanted to share: Scene in Radio’s Seeing White series is a tour de force in relating the history of slavery and discrimination in our country and beyond. It’s challenging and thought provoking and humbling and I highly recommend it!

  24. Miranda Beall says...

    I look forward to Dax Shepard’s podcast ARMCHAIR EXPERT.
    It’s surprisingly thoughtful and he’s very open with his own struggles, allowing others to feel comfortable to share. I really, really, enjoyed the David Harbour episode (I sent it to a few men in my life who would appreciate the open communication of two men discussing hard times)

    • Kelly P says...

      This is one of my favorites too! I never realized what a big Dax Shepard fan I was – who knew?!?

  25. Amanda says...

    I love podcasts and I love this post! Thanks for the recommendations!

  26. Kate says...

    Loving these suggestions!

    If you’re into Bravo/reality tv, Bitch Sesh is kind of the best. It’s the only podcast that makes me laugh out loud on the train. Casey Wilson is hilarious.

    • Caitlin Lomen says...

      I don’t even watch any of the Real Housewives and I STILL love this podcast, Casey is a riot.

  27. Marcela says...

    Podcasts have been a part of my daily routine for a couple years now. With my flatmate we will leave a podcast playing in the living room while we cook or clean up, sometimes even while we are at the pool! I live abroad in a country where I don’t speak the language and people avoid having to speak to me at all costs. Having a podcast playing while I’m out is a great way of feeling less lonely.
    Recently, after 5 years of living abroad, I started to feel so disconnected from my friends and family back home. Following more Brazilian podcasts has reconnected me to them and our culture. In fact a lot of the content in Brazilian Portuguese is so good (dare I say better) I’m giving up some of the English speaking podcasts I used to love!

  28. Bethany says...

    So many good recs on here. One more:
    Mark and Sarah Talk about Songs
    Short and funny – I usually listen to politics, and it’s a nice break.

  29. M says...

    I, Survivor is a good one to check out.

  30. Robin says...

    That Phil Collins episode! So great.

    I’ve been really enjoying Everything is Alive lately. Bizarre but so well done.

  31. Heather says...

    I just started listening to podcasts and found a really great one called Mom Rage. I highly recommend it if you’re a mother and looking for a smart, entertaining conversation about the various issues that come along with being a parent, specifically a mom.

    • Portland says...

      I love Mom Rage!! Those two are jumping into podcasting like it’s no big deal. So honest and funny, bc that’s what it like to be a mom!

    • Elisabeth says...

      I’m a first-time mom in the trenches of sleep deprivation with my 14-week old baby and Mom Rage is getting me through it. While I haven’t quite figured out our routine yet, listening to Mom Rage while taking a long walk around the neighborhood is definitely part of it!

    • Faith says...

      Coffee + Crumbs is great, too!

  32. As a business owner, I fell in love with the world of podcasts by listening to Smart Passive Income, Entrepreneur on Fire, How I Built This, Masters of Scale and The Tim Ferriss Show. I love shows that make you feel like you’re a friend casually listening to two of your smartest friends having an amazing conversation just like you mentioned in the first line of this article. I guess I wanted to join in on the conversation in real life so I started my own podcast called Handling Business. I’ve been able to interview some of my idols in the business world and I’ve learned SO much. It’s so fun to see a community of all of us business friends getting together for a chat each week. I highly recommend starting a podcast to anyone who is contemplating it. It’s really easy! You just need to order a mic on Amazon, download Call Recorder for Skype and record your Skype interviews in a small quiet room. Then edit it yourself in Garage Band or find an editor on Upwork who can help you produce the final episode. Then upload it on SoundCloud or Stitcher or any other streaming platform so that you can feed it to the Apple Store or Google Play. To round it all out, create a blog post to describe the episode, blast it out via newsletter and be sure to invite your guests to also post it to their social media to get it out to your potential audience. After I write it out, I guess it is quite a bit of work, but it’s so fun and so worth it!

    • Nina says...

      Oh I love this Britt, thanks!

    • Emily C says...

      How I Built This is amazing! and the Tim Ferris episodes, while long, are so interesting. I really liked his recent episode with hotelier Liz Lambert.

      One drawback of listening to podcasts all the time is I feel like I don’t discover as much new music…but I’m sooo happy to be living in the golden age of podcasts!

  33. Jenna says...

    GUYS!

    Beautiful Anonymous!!!!!!

  34. Oh mannnnn, I wish I could flag this post as Important for Podcast Lovers™:

    Check out the app called Wilson.

    Every week, the app-magazine-thingy serves you a curated playlist of podcast episodes built around a different theme. It’s like Longreads for podcasts. It’s……….so rad.

  35. Michelle F says...

    Podcasts have saved me from going mad during my hour commute each way to work. My favorites are…
    -Page 7 (pop culture)

    -Round Table of Gentlemen (crude, hilarious talk about weird current events. No longer making new episodes but listening to the back catalog is hilarious)

    -The Hilarious world of depression (interviews with comedians, actors, musicians about their mental health journey)

  36. mandy says...

    love all of the suggestions for new podcasts! i now have a post-it filled up front and back with ones I need to check out!

    my current favorites that haven’t been mentioned as much here are:

    – Heavyweight: I LOVE Jonathan Goldstein and the way he tells stories. I feel like I know him.

    – Potterotica: the three (very funny) hosts take turns reading Harry Potter erotic fiction. It is so hilarious but beware that you will be laughing out loud at the gym/on the train/walking down the street.

    – The Splendid Table: short and sweet episodes about food!

    – Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!: informative, entertaining, funny!

    • anne says...

      I LOVE Jonathan Goldstein!! Heavyweight is laugh out loud funny. Wait Wait .. Is a favorite too. It’s so familiar and wonderful that I pretty much fall asleep to it every night!!

  37. Ellie Shaw says...

    I started listening to episodes of This American Life years ago when I needed company in the evenings whilst inputting data I’d gathered during the day for my biology degree dissertation. I’d never heard of it before (I’m from England) but it came up on a list of Top Ten Podcasts and it totally grabbed me, I listened to so many episodes that summer and it remains a firm favourite. My favourite podcast right now is The Guilty Feminist – a comedy show exploring feminism in our modern everyday lives. It talks about topics I care about and makes me laugh out loud whilst I drive down the motorway to work. I also really enjoy By The Book where two women read and live under the rules of a proclaimed self help book and share their experiences. I’m not a reader of self help books and now know more about those referred to in pop culture. My favourite episodes were the ones on The Little Book of Hygge and Zero Waste Home.
    I also enjoy Stuff You Should Know and The Moth when I want something a bit shorter.
    Looking forward to exploring the ones in this post too!

  38. Natalie says...

    Happier with Gretchen Rubin! Have been listening since the very beginning. Just a feel good hour in your week with helpful tips : )

    • Agreed! I have listened to every single episode, many more than once.

  39. Gigi says...

    So Where Are You From: for anyone who’s ever been asked this and anyone who’s ever wondered where their Asian friends are “really” from
    Ologies: fascinating podcast with a different “ology” for each episode – volcanology, areology (study of Mars), gemology, paleontology, kalology (study of beauty and its influence on society)

    • Caroline says...

      LOVE Ologies! The two-parter on Fearology was incredible, and Volcanology and Dendrology remain two of my absolute faves.

  40. E says...

    Podcasts are amazing!

    Into health/health policy podcasts right now – especially a new podcast called The V Word — as in, Vaginas :) by 2 Stanford gynecologists covering topics like miscarriage, egg/embryo freezing/fertility preservation, abortion, postpartum, lesbian health, surrogacy and painful sex, to name a few.

    Other amazing podcasts covering women’s health/policy topics:
    1. What the Health: an all-women cast of brilliant journalists commenting on all things health policy, updated weekly
    2. Afropunk Solution Sessions: esp their Below the Belt episode, about reproductive health of women of color
    3. The Longest Shortest time: esp Awkward Adventures in Infertility, Genetic Future Telling, Egg over Freezing,
    4. Unladylike: esp their first episode on Abortion

  41. Lots of good recommendations. I love podcasts.
    My absolute favorites are:
    The Simple Sophisticate Podcast, I have never missed an episode, she taught me how to cultivate a high-quality life, and living simply.
    The Lazy genius, she taught me how to be s smart domestic goddess and not spending lots of time doing chores.

  42. Julie Jarrett says...

    The Seeing White series on Scene on Radio.

    From their website: Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.

    Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?

    Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen took a deep dive into these questions, along with an array of leading scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, in this fourteen-part documentary series, released between February and August 2017. The series editor is Loretta Williams.

  43. I’m SO with you on this! I love the tradition of listening to the Daily, although I use it as my reward for accomplishing (or not) whatever I have that day while I make dinner each evening. My husband listens to it while he gets ready for work, but only when I’m not in the room… I can’t have any spoilers! I’ve also started listening to This American Life on Mondays. Mondays suck so much less now!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      yes to everything you said, lindsay! mondays are my favorite because of the pod drops! hahaha <3

  44. mandy says...

    i love this! i love podcasts so much and totally agree that they have changed the way i clean, commute, communicate and see the world. we love so many of the same ones :) podcasts make me cry, laugh out loud in public and give me tools to be a better person!

  45. Caitlin says...

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve gotten into a bit of a podcast rut and have had to ‘break up’ with a few lately that I’ve outgrown, realizing how shallow they were getting – looking at you, Lady Lovin!
    And I’ve been desperately searching for new ones that I can learn from and sink my teeth into but feel overwhelmed every time I start searching for one. So this list is incredibly helpful!!
    My husband actually got me hooked on Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, which is SUPER fascinating and basically like a shorter audiobook.

  46. Molly says...

    I enjoy the Goop podcast. I especially loved the one with Oprah, and the one with Olivia Wilde. There was also one on fear that I actually took notes on…ha! My notes:

    New approach to fear…
    “We’re gonna say f**k it…
    Bring it on. I love fear. Fear sets me free.”

    I know people have strong feelings about Paltrow/Goop but I always learn something interesting from the podcast.

    • i second this! i’ve been shocked by how much i love the goop podcast. some of them are a bit new-agey-only-GP-can-afford-this-stuff for me, but i feel like elise does a great job as interviewer, and they pick interesting, relevant folks to talk to.

    • Miri says...

      I couldn’t find the one on fear. and would love to listen to it. Do you know the exact name of the episode?

  47. Heather says...

    Please please please everyone listen to Truth’s Table. It is by black women and for black women, but as a white woman I have learned so much, been so humbled, and been given hope that just maybe racial reconciliation is possible. It has been such a gift to me to be able to enter a totally black space without my whiteness being intrusive.

    • Fiona says...

      thank you for this, downloading now. I’ve been on a search for something similar to this, since I’m already listening to Queery (LGBTQ folks talking with eachother through a different lense) and Code Switch (as bi-cultural this one is more one of people who can relate to my experience talking to eachother). I find being able to listen to conversations that have NOT been filtered through the “usual” (white, cis, straight) lens so helpful as learning moments.

  48. Alice says...

    I LOVE this! So many great new listens for me. I have to say though- the Break Up episode of This American Life has to be one of my favourite podcast episodes EVER. When you realised that she was speaking to Phil Collins- just absolute radio gold.

    I love podcasts too. My new favourite is How To Fail, with Elizabeth Day. Dolly Alderton’s Love Stories was great too, but just one season- sob sob sob. And of course, as a Brit, I LOVE Desert Island Discs. The Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen episodes are AWESOME. I always learn so much about humanity from these three- they’re perfect.

    • Rae says...

      Desert Island Discs is the BEST. I cry during 50% of the episodes.

  49. Claire says...

    Check out sickboy! It’s truly unique I think. Hailing from the Canadian East Coast, I have a soft spot for the accents. It’s bro-y and comedy themed like the “stuff” podcasts but I find the subjects lead to much more meaningful and fun listening time. They interview people with different diseases and conditions, from people who’s are terminal to people living with STIs, I always learn something and it really helps to approach some scary illnesses that will likely come up over the course of a lifetime.

  50. Ruby says...

    Candice and Casey’s Couples’ Therapy for sure! I get so overwhelmed by the amount of podcasts and series out there I end up checking out very little and just stick to films and books. I’m sure I’m missing out though.

    • edie says...

      LOVE them.
      So real. And fun to learn more about them outside of his videos on YouTube,

  51. Geraldine Conway says...

    I’m obsessed with Podcasts although I’ve definitely fallen behind because of school holidays. The following are a few of the ones I listen to:
    Death Sex and Money
    NPR Politics (love this even though I’m Irish, living in Ireland!)
    Good Muslim Bad Muslim
    Blabbermouth
    Dear Prudence
    Dear Hank and John
    Ear Hustle
    Hidden Brain
    How I built This
    The TED radio hour
    Invisibilia
    Love & Radio
    Modern Love
    Mother of Pod
    Planet Money
    RadioLab
    Reply All
    Savage Lovecast
    Snap Judgment
    Story Corps
    Mortified
    The Moth
    The NewYorker Radio Hour
    This American Life
    Where should we begin

    • Stacy G. Harper says...

      You and I listen to a lot of the same ones. Try out 99% Invisible too… the host, Roman Mars, is my voice crush ;-)

  52. Emma says...

    One from Australia for you: ‘Dispatch to a Friend’. Two female friends share their letters to each other. With a focus on cooking, travel, gardening and books it is about nothing but also profound, it’s such a joy to listen to!

  53. Marnie says...

    STRANGERS with Lea Thau
    Terrible thanks for asking
    Alone, a love story
    Not by accident

    Currently obsessed!

  54. Desert Island Discs from BBC is my all time fave listen. Going back to 1942 they interview musicians, movie stars, artists, politicians and sports stars. Everyone has an interesting story to share and great musical choices.

  55. Annett says...

    So many great new ideas! Although I also try not to spend too much time on podcasts and select them. However, one podcast I really, really like is Awesome with Alison. She (and her husband) are all about self care, gratitude, and emphazising that you are already awesome. They are really funny, but can make you cry when they get into serious stuff.

  56. Eva says...

    WTF with Marc Maron got me through the long, lonely days of maternity leave! I’ve also been loving Lore & tore through Dirty John last year! P.S. Does anyone else find My Favorite Murder to be too scary? I love those hosts but the stories were keeping me up at night! I’m such a wimp and even more so since I’ve had kids!

  57. The Flower Podcast! It’s definitely more niche, but fascinating insight into the world of flowers and the people who work with them!

  58. Gretchen says...

    So many wonderful recommendations!

    I would add:
    *Latinos Who Lunch
    *Bad with Money
    *She’s All Fat
    *Medium Playback
    *The Nod
    *Showcase
    and a +1 on the Scene on Radio series on whiteness and males!

  59. I love podcasts! And even recently just started my own with a friend. It’s called Psychology of Nothing. We’re two psychologists sharing all our mind chatter about acne, aging, even underwear. I love Cup of Jo and it would be so amazing to have you and your community take a listen.

    I first got hooked on podcasts with Serial. Probably my favorite is Dear Sugars. I’m so sad they’re wrapping up soon. Thanks to Stella and all the comments for the recs! Can’t wait to listen to some new pods!

  60. Cayce says...

    The teachers pet!

    • debvil says...

      YES – Just finished and hoping for more episodes/updates on this case soon!

  61. Sara says...

    I love Guy Raz! How I Built This, and TED Radio Hour are awesome and my boys are obsessed with Wow in the World.

  62. Laine Dalby says...

    Thanks Stella. Great post.
    My favourite podcast: NPR’s Car Talk. I have zero interest in automobiles, but this former radio show is really about people, relationships, and problem solving. It’s funny and touching, and when the news of the world gets me down — which it’s done as of late — Tom and Ray, the brilliant hosts, restore my faith in humanity.

    • My dad used to always listen to car talk when we were on our way home from church when I was little. I always hated it, but now I look back fondly. It’s one of the things I’ll always love him for

  63. Sarah says...

    I’ve been loving the Woven podcast- it’s hosted by two smart Christian women but the topics apply to everyone- body image, stewardship and socially conscious shopping, balance… so good! I don’t think they have a website but their Insta is @woveninhim

  64. Lina says...

    I am so late to this comment thread but I am surprised no one has mentioned “American History Tellers”!!! Their newest series is on the creation of the american national parks system and its amazing. Super informative and fun to listen to!

  65. Lorena says...

    I recently listened to the BBC podcast called The Adoption and binge listened the 17 episodes over 2. It is the true story of the removal of 2 young children from their biological parents and the process of finding them their new family. Remarkably all parties involved were interviewed and included in the podcast. Gripping, heart-wrenching and hopeful!

  66. Lindsay says...

    As a mom of 3 little kids, I never seem to have moments in my day to listen to podcasts! I need to figure this out!

    • Kelly says...

      I have two little ones, and I listen all the time! When I’m making them lunch, when I’m folding laundry… it brings a little more “adult” into my day — I feel like I can still be learning something and engaging in the world while still being attentive to them while they’re playing (in a way that I couldn’t say, read an article while I’m with my kids). I’ve also recently gotten into audiobooks!

    • Robin says...

      It’s what I listen too when I’m doing the post-bedtime clean up ;). Or, better, audiobooks! I never have time to read physical books anymore, but the chores are always there for me.

  67. Kate says...

    Coffee and Crumbs for all the moms out there!!

  68. Kristin says...

    Gimlet — BRING BACK MYSTERY SHOW!

    • Jessica says...

      YES! I still think about the episodes on the Kotter lunchbox and the belt buckle.

    • Jill says...

      YESSSSSSS. I feel like they replaced it with Heavyweight, which I love, but Starlee had something special. I miss her.

  69. VMM says...

    When I left my job with no plan two months ago, Second Life podcast by MyDomaine was suggested to me by a colleague (whom I’d barely known but she so kindly suggested it) and it has truly been invaluable. Its the exploration of “career changes that can come at any age.” Host Hillary Kerr is one of the best interviewers I’ve heard for her insightful questions and interjections at the exact right moment and set my explications high for other podcasts – and I can’t seem to get into any others for that reason! Highly recommend.

  70. Mina says...

    Most of the relies come from the US podcast listeners. So I thought I’d suggest a couple of gems with some Australian connection.

    – Science Vs – This is a Gimlet Media show with a lovely Aussie Presenter. Easy to listen. Full of facts, not strong opinions.

    -The Earful Tower – Young Australian male living in Paris and figuring out France with the help of a new guest each week. It is like listening your friend talking to different people over a cup of coffee.

    – This Glorious Mess – A podcast for “Imperfect Parents”. Andrew Daddo and Holly Wainwright casually talk about all the disasters and delights of parenting from toddlers to teenagers.

    Enjoy!

    • Thank you. I loved the entire “I don’t know how she does it” series in the same podcast network, Mama Mia.

      More British and Irish suggestions please.

      I love the Irish Times Women’s Podcast and Roisin Meets.

  71. Emily says...

    here are a few i love that I’ve yet to see mentioned…..

    1. How Did This Get Made (a hilarious podcast that talks about terrible movies)

    2. Dissect (a music podcast that provide in-depth analysis on an album, each episode featuring a track. Season 1, “To Pimp a Butterfly” is exceptional)

    3. Invisibilia (the episode “How to Become Batman” changed how i approach just about everything in life)

    4. Raised by TV (two comedians talk about the 90s television they obsessively watched while growing up)

    5. Miss Information (i’d call it the female hosted version of “stuff you should know”. I really like the hosts because they give me that give me that “time with your friend’ feeling AND I learn stuff )

    • Yes, I also loved “How to Become Batman!” Such a phenomenal episode!

    • Stacey says...

      Love to see a fellow How Did This Get Made fan here :) x

  72. Laura says...

    You need to watch the Fourth Estate- a doc series about the NYT and the Daily makes many appearances.

  73. jana says...

    ….but when are we getting a Cup of Jo podcast?
    ……..may I suggest Earful of Jo? Lololol.

    • Fay says...

      I have actually searched iTunes before, in hopes that maybe a COJ podcast exists and maybe, somehow, I just missed it! Yes, please, to a COJ podcast!

    • Paige says...

      Yesssss!!!

  74. Alex says...

    I cannot say enough good things about the By the Book podcast with Kristen Meinzer and Jolenta Greenberg. These two are a JOY to listen to and I look forward to it every week. They tackle different ‘self-help’ books and their commentary is equal parts hilarious and insightful. They also clearly have a really supportive, loving friendship. Love, love, love.

    https://www.panoply.fm/podcasts/bythebook

  75. Johanna says...

    Uh, hullo? Tell us about the unsolved murder! Did it ever get solved?? That’s such a great story!

    • Jessica says...

      Google it. They got two suspects who Grand a jury indicted. Court is in September.

  76. Huge podcast fan over here! Ear Hustle, The Read, Reply All, Still Processing, By the Book! I loved the way you phrased it about listening to your funny, smart friends. I was lucky enough to be a producer on a podcast with W. Kamau Bell last year. Then as I was getting more into stand-up comedy earlier this year, I met a new friend and we started our own! It’s called B+ Average if you’d like to listen. I describe it as funny girl-talk for the average person. https://open.spotify.com/show/0H0PPZOjq6otJWM1xs0BNd

    • Nikki says...

      Omg yes it’s amazing! My new favorite.

    • Ash says...

      I am trying to get into this one but I am struggling. I find it so infuriating to hear about cases where no one seemed to care that a woman died. It’s so frustratingly depressing 😪

  77. Lori H says...

    A podcast that I did not think I would like, and hesitated to start – Ear Hustle. It is produced inside San Quentin prison. Going in, I thought it would be scary and harsh, titillating to the curious. Instead it is thoughtful and interesting (fascinating actually) and the lesson is that inmates are human. Also humorous! It has changed me.
    Another one I looove, Every Little Thing – nerd out to cool and interesting facts. Very NPR-ish

    • Jessica says...

      Agree – ear hustle is the best!

  78. Fay says...

    Podcasts SAVED me from profound loneliness during my first few months of motherhood. I felt incredibly disconnected, at a time when everyone around me seemed super active and politically engaged (this was spring 2017)-and I could barely stay awake. Slipping on my headphones for a stroller walk, listening to the Pod Save America team and the BBC Women’s Hour, helped me feel less isolated and connected with the world. Thank goodness for them! Another favorite: Coffee + Crumbs. I love their blog and motherhood essays, and listening to the podcast is like eavesdropping on your favorite friends :)

    • Jess says...

      Fay, I had my baby at the end of January 2017 (6 weeks early and, no lie, I swear part of the reason he was early was the stress caused by the insanity in US politics) and those are the two podcasts I listened to non-stop as well. Love Women’s Hour. I feel like not enough Americans know about it, but it’s such a good BBC program.

      I still listen to every single new one that comes out, usually while making breakfast. :)

      Checking out Coffee + Crumbs now.

    • Lindsay says...

      Podcasts have also kept me great company in the first 10 months of motherhood. The ladies on Nursing & Cursing have become close friends.

  79. Liz says...

    One from across the pond for you: Desert Island Discs. Interviews with all sorts of interesting people listing the 8 favourite tracks that they would take if they were stranded on a desert island. There are hundreds (thousands?) of episodes available. It is superb!

  80. Betsie says...

    I love that I’m alive during the Age of the Podcast! My required listening is Pod Save the People. It’s a current events podcast hosted by DeRay McKesson, who somehow is able to be encouraging, focused, and inspiring in these tough times. I end every episode feeling energized and motivated to keep up the good fight.

    • Sarah says...

      That pod is so great! I’ve been lucky enough to go to a live recording of Pod Save the People in DC and they are so inspiring.

      Also saw Lovett or Leave It recorded live. Inspiring in a different way :)

  81. Christy says...

    Armchair Expert is far and away the best podcast I’ve listened to recently. Dax Shepherd chats with a wide range of celebrities, psychologists, friends, family etc pulling really interesting topics out of their stories and keeping it relatable, open minded and fun. His relationship with his friend and producer Monica is adorable and I always leave feeling relaxed, educated, and like I just spent time with friends. Also he’s effing hilarious!!

    • Annie says...

      I’m enjoying that one, too!

    • Jill says...

      Agree! Favorite podcast and I find myself using new bits of knowledge from it all the time! My husband is getting used to me starting a convo with “I heard the most interesting thing on Armchair Expert…”

    • Cassandra says...

      Armchair Expert is totally insightful! When Dax talked about the concept that each person has a core set of individual fears that they carry through life and that when we react badly to something it’s usually because the situation has triggered one of our fears, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. Now when I’m feeling anxious, hurt or upset I can step back and ask myself, “what am I really upset about” and I can question whether my reaction is appropriate for the circumstance or if I’m just acting from a place of fear. It’s been really helpful for me as a reminder to act from a place of positivity and love and to not immediately draw upon a negative experience from my past as my frame of reference.

    • Jess. says...

      Love, love, love Armchair Expert. So insightful, heartfelt, witty, smart. I just can’t get enough. I particularly loved the episode with Dax’s mom, Laura Labo. xox

  82. courtney says...

    Don’t miss “This is Love” – Pheobe Judge of Criminal and her team did a great job. It’s so uplifting … only 6 episodes so far. BUT DO IT

  83. Alisa says...

    I have learned so much by listening to “Pod save the people” and “The Wilderness”– both from the Crooked Media team, and also podcasts I didn’t think I’d enjoy, but turns out, they are the two I’ve learned the most from and especially Pod save the people, has given me insight/new perspective.

  84. Kris says...

    Favorites:
    -Ear Hustle
    -Criminal
    – This is Love
    (are you seeing the Radiotopia trend?)
    -S-Town
    -Risk!

  85. AM says...

    A few of my favorites are:
    -But That’s Another Story. It’s about books and how they change us, but it’s really more of a storytelling show
    -Heavyweight from Gimlet
    -One True Pairing – the hosts are hilarious and they talk about their favorite couples each week

  86. JP says...

    I like listening to The Daily…daily – but I have to say, that every time MB sighs or says “hmmm” (which is often) makes me cringe!

  87. Liz says...

    THANKS – I have just started to get into podcasts and LOVE them – exercise has become somewhat enjoyable, I am looking forward to trying out a lot of these recommendations.

  88. Stella says...

    I got this tip from a past post here about books, but I’ve been really into a new podcast called “That Book.” The hosts are funny and relatable – no book-shaming here! I like to have it on while I cook dinner, it feels like my friends are chatting in the corner.

  89. Jenf says...

    This is Fifty with Sheri and Nancy. Former exec editor of Oprah show and her BFF of nearly 30 years embark on the second half of life. It’s like hanging out with friends….even if you’re not 5-0 yet. Lovely outlook on middle age.

  90. edie says...

    FYI: LIVING ALONE CAN BE SO LONESOME, but having friends like Terry Gross (NPR’S Fresh Air), Grace Bonney (old episodes of After the Jump), and Adam Rappaport (from Bon Appetit’s Foodcast) makes it a bit more tolerable.

  91. Great minds think alike! I just wrote about podcasts as well! (modbroadco.com) I learn something new everytime I listen to a Desert Island Discs or a How I Built This. Podcasts are the best!

    Allie

  92. Elise says...

    Did anyone else have to give up podcasts (at least for a while?) I wasn’t giving myself enough time to be in my own head, and a small persistent voice kept telling me I was missing out on something that other people were immensely enjoying. I would start one podcast and decide after a few minutes that another one might be better. They were fascinating and funny, but when I really thought about it, they weren’t adding to my life. Maybe someday I’ll get back to them, but I have found freedom and growth in the fresh clean mental space.

    • I’ve had a really hard time adding podcasts into my routine, even though I try. I used to listen to NPR shows a lot before I had kids and could listen at home or in the car. I sometimes try to listen to podcasts while I’m cleaning or folding laundry, but those tasks don’t take an hour, while the podcasts do. I don’t have a commute, and prefer not to wear headphones when I walk my dog every day. And Forever 35, which is hilarious and funny, has a lot of adult words that aren’t appropriate for my kids to hear. I wish podcasts were shorter, too. An hour or longer is a lot of time to spend listening to one topic, unless you are in grad school, LOL.

    • I hate podcasts. I’ve never been able to get into them. Too much talk in the world already.

    • Amy says...

      I was also (am also!) a huge podcast fan, but found the exact same thing- I was constantly plugged in, was chain-listening so that I couldn’t remember the details of any individual episodes, and wasn’t giving myself any time to be inside my own head and think.

      I took a break for a month or so and am now back into them, but in a much more conscious way- I try to give myself time to digest and think over an episode when it ends and make sure I make time for listening to music and thinking my own thoughts too (going for walks/runs without my phone helps!)

    • Neha says...

      Hi Catherine, My favourite short podcast is Writing Excuses with the tagline “15 minutes long, because you are in a hurry, and we are not that smart” It’s 4 very cool authors talking about writing books… I am not a writer but I love the podcast!! And they are already in their 10th year or something…
      Maybe give it a try!!

    • MB says...

      I feel like such an anomaly but I don’t like podcasts! I recently admitted this to some friends and bless them, they spent the next 15 minutes offering up things I might like. I just feel like there’s already too much noise in the world and I appreciate the quiet!

  93. Anna says...

    Absolutely loving this illustration!!!

  94. Jenny says...

    The true crime mystery podcast currently creating a huge buzz in Australia is, The Teacher’s Pet. The investigation into the disappearance of a young mother and wife in 1982 has led to the reopening of this cold case. Compulsive listening on my bus to work.

  95. Claire says...

    Yes, agree with other commenters who recommended the “LaDonna” episode of TAL — incredible.

    A few others that I recommend without reservation:

    —Ear Hustle, a podcast produced inside San Quentin Prison, is unmissable. So many incredible stories from inmates about incarcerated life.
    —Longform, for in-depth interviews with journalists and writers.
    —Rational Security, if you want to geek out about current political affairs with natsec insiders from Brookings, Lawfare, and the WaPo.
    —The Organist, which is the podcast produced by the Believer. Beautiful and weird and wonderfully produced.
    —Hi-Phi Nation, a philosophy podcast that is anything but dry — it takes on topics like reincarnation, the reproducibility of scientific experiments, and the ethics of following the wishes of the dead.

  96. Mims says...

    Podcasts make never ending repetitive housework bearable!
    I love 99%invisible……about all things related to design (because if the design is good, you don’t notice it, hence 99%invisible) and the Infinite Monkey Cage…a BBC science podcast that is laugh out loud funny.

    • Stacy G. Harper says...

      Do you love Roman Mars as much as I do ;-) Have you heard the episode about the cemeteries in San Francisco? If not, check that one out… super interesting.

  97. Libby says...

    Aaaaaaaannnnnddd I now won’t be able to rest until I’ve listened to all these fun new suggested episodes!! Thanks for the suggestions!

  98. Erica says...

    I’m obsessed with podcasts! And this comments section is lit 🤓

  99. Kate says...

    I wish I could get in to podcasts more! It just never occurs to me to listen to them. On road trips I can drive in silence for hours without noticing. My commute is too short and I would get interrupted at work a million times if I tried to listen there, and when I have downtime at home I’m probably reading a book on the couch or cooking and listening to NPR. I’m totally inspired now to carve out more/different ‘me’ time to try out some of the ones being recommended here!

  100. Nassim says...

    I absolutely love Terrible, Thanks for Asking with Nora McInerny. She interviews people who face various difficulties in life and discusses their “pain, awkwardness, and humanness” with each situation with a little humor.

  101. Sasha L says...

    The Guilty Feminist, Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell, Only a Game (about sports but weirdly engaging and entertaining even if you hate sports) and Science Versus are some I haven’t seen recommended yet that are fun and a great way to keep your brain growing.

    I love these posts that elicit recommendations from readers ❤️

  102. Meg says...

    My favorite thing about podcasts is how they can make unpleasant things so much more pleasant!!!! I love to listen to my favorite podcasts while folding laundry, doing the dishes, etc. I can’t even remember how I accomplished my chores without podcasts, haha.

    • Erica says...

      Same!!!

    • B. says...

      This! I feel like podcasts saved my life this year. I moved further from my job to accommodate my boyfriend’s grad program. Podcasts have made my commute tolerable, and also the time I spend diffusing my hair!

  103. CB says...

    1. Where should we begin? With Esther Perel!!!
    2. More perfect
    3. This american life
    4. Criminal
    5. Reply All
    6. RFK Tapes
    7. Sleeping at last enneagram shows
    8. How I built this
    9. Radio lab
    10. Planet money

    About to start Slow Burn and recently started Strangers.

    • p. says...

      Second Where should we begin? SO GOOD and thought provoking.

    • Emma says...

      Hmm, this list is very similar to my go-to’s so I will have to check out the ones that don’t overlap :)! (I also love ‘where should we begin,’ ‘more perfect,’ ‘this american life,’ ‘how I built this.’ I would add “Civics 101” although the episodes are quite short.)

      Definitely agree with another commenter about wanting to have some mental time/space without distraction. I feel like podcasts definitely can become a sort of white noise instead of having time for reflection and being present in whatever task is at hand. Certainly I find them incredibly distracting if I’m trying to do anything that really requires much thought–however, I do a lot of repetitive manual labor (see also: moving woodchips for 10+ hours between yesterday and today!). I work alone, and I think I’d go crazy without podcasts! I also like listening to them while making delivery drives as I know the route by heart and am usually driving during the time of day that NPR simply repeats the same brief news items over and over.

    • Steph says...

      Yes to Slow Burn! The season on Watergate was fascinating (and a little eerie to see how history has been repeating itself lately), and I’m just starting this new season on the Whitewater/Clinton scandals. What an interesting deep dive on two periods of history that are still consistently referenced and whose ramifications are still unfolding. Also, Glen Weldon on Pop Culture Happy Hour picked it as one of his “What’s making me happy” features, so there’s another vote in favor of it.

  104. Betsy says...

    My favorite podcasts are Spilled Milk, Gretchen Rubin’s Happier and – because my family is into Disney – WDW Prep to Go.

  105. Maggie says...

    As a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, I’ve been LOVING my new podcast find, “The V-Word”. Hosted by two wicked smart and relatable Stanford OBGYNs, they demistify some of the common taboos of women’s health (Discharge! Miscarriages! Postpartum Vagina!). Perhaps I’m biased due to my career choice, but I feel like this is one of the best hidden gem podcasts out there right now.

    • Brooke says...

      This sounds really interesting! I think most women could do with more education on their bodies- we aren’t taught enough and we certainly aren’t taught to frame it positively and proudly, you know?

      Just subscribed- thanks!

  106. Sasha L says...

    I don’t listen as much as I used to (work from home now, no commute, so yay!), but my husband and I listen together on drives or when we’re falling asleep when camping. The best, by far, I’ve heard recently is a This American Life (remember when that was a RADIO SHOW friends?!?) called LaDonna. Holy cow, couldn’t stop taking about it and sharing and thinking about it for months afterwards. If you haven’t heard it, stop what you’re doing and listen now.

    Still waiting for COJ team to interview LaDonna. Please. It would be amazing.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Sasha, agreed! It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever, ever heard,

    • Erica says...

      Totally agree! LaDonna was a powerful episode

    • Alex Ball says...

      It’s still a radio show. On Public Radio. Support your local public radio station, where good shows become podcasts.

    • Helen says...

      I listened to this last night after reading your comment. It was such a good episode and LaDonna was so inspiring!

    • anne says...

      It’s so crazy how fast podcasting has become a thing. I think back to only like 6 years ago when my friend and I complained about sitting in the driveway to finish radio shows. We still hadn’t figured out how to download episodes directly on our phones and not through our desktops. 6 years is not a long time!! This American Life and Car Talk are what got me sitting in the driveway when my first was born 11 years ago!

  107. Podcasts are amazing for giving you such fresh and new perspective!

    Paige

  108. Meg says...

    The babysitting snacks story had me laughing so hard! Haha The absurd and hilarious thought processes of a teenage sitter were so familiar… oh do I remember the days. I had a client/parent from actual heaven (I’m convinced) who kept a stocked drawer of my favorite treats. Always made me feel so appreciated :) Now I do the same because, heck yes! Snacks ARE the best part!

  109. Amy says...

    My favorite is My Brother, My Brother, and Me. It’s a comedy advice podcast that manages to create some of the most genuine laugh-out-loud moments that I’ve ever heard. (The hosts also make The Adventure Zone, which is a role-playing podcast. I didn’t think I’d like it, but it draws you in. It’s the first time I ever cried at a podcast.)

    • Carolyn says...

      Have you tried Sawbones or Wonderful! ? Those guys are podcasting MACHINES!

    • Cait says...

      A fellow MBMBAMbino! I adore the McElroys and all of their content. My friend recommended MBMBAM to me as a birthday gift and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Utter hilarity, and I recommend it to everyone.

  110. I am CRAZILY into Podcasts right now, ones to check out are “The Habitat”, “The Adventure Zone” and “The JV Club with Janet Varney”, “Armchair Expert” (by Dax Shephard), “My Dad Wrote A Porno” and finally “Girls With Goals”.

    All are worth your time!!

  111. Becka says...

    Love this post, Stella! I had a dream recently that Terri Gross was retiring and I woke up feeling bereft! I rely on her to keep me company at home while I’m cooking dinner alone in my kitchen — such a comforting ritual. Thanks for these recommendations, too!

    • Peggy says...

      I’ve had the same dream!

  112. Tawnie Bryant says...

    I’m not big into podcasts; however, Pod Save America is one I’ve started listening to after seeing the guys on Colbert several times. I’m really liking it!

  113. Shelley Ahrens says...

    I’m loving Karina Melvin. I’m also reading her book called Artful Eating and changing my rushed relationship with food! Her podcast is light and lovely to listen to but very thought-provoking!

  114. Erin says...

    very very into this illustration!!!

  115. AJ says...

    This is ace! Podcasts are hands down the best thing that’s come out of smartphones for me, love them, they’ve transformed my commutes too. I’m going through an action-adventure phase right now, love that I can be on a stuffy commuter train on the way to my London office desk, listening to an amazing stranger talk about the months they spent climbing mountains or cycling across continents, day after day. It’s an ironic sort of escapism but it’s feeding my soul like nothing before, and I’m hoping it’ll rub off and I’ll work out a way to ditch the city commutes and join the mountaineers one day too :)

  116. Annie says...

    From a fellow Brooklyn resident, your R train comment made me laugh out loud. Why is it the SLOWEST train in the world? Thanks for these recs…

    • Greta says...

      I call it the R you kidding

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Annie and Greta, I cannot stop laughing. The “R you kidding” train is the best thing I’ve heard all year.

    • Helen says...

      The R is the WORST. It was barely moving this morning and I thought to myself, I could run to work and beat the train there.

  117. judy says...

    On Being with Krista Tippett–the most thoughtful interviewer with the most interesting guests! From the website: We pursue deep thinking and social courage, moral imagination and joy, to renew inner life, outer life, and life together.

    And Kate Bowler (who also interviewed Lucy!) author of Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved.

  118. Claire says...

    My favourite podcast that I recommend to anyone that will listen is Ologies. It’s so engaging, even with topics I thought I wasn’t that interested in. It’s the only podcast that I excitedly listen to every single episode.

  119. Tracy says...

    I’m a podcast junkie…and a pop culture fanatic. I find it fascinating, funny, and am always up for more. On that note – I can’t’ recommend Keep It (from Crooked Media) or The Rewatchables (from the Ringer) enough. Both are smart, engaging, and so damn funny.

    The Rewatchables is a rotating panel of hosts from The Ringer who go through the most rewatchable movies. Each episode is a movie and is fantastic. It’s like reading the Television Without Pity recaps I loved in high school but for my favorite movies!

    Aaaaand, Keep It is a panel of comedian/writers who delve into that week’s pop culture headlines with a political slant (I love Ira, Louis and Kira so much, it’s maybe unhealthy). My best friend and I listen every Wednesday on our commutes and then get together on Wednesday nights to drink a glass of wine and relive our favorite moments. I’ve started keeping notes because I’m laughing so hard and I don’t want to forget to tell her about it!

    • debvil says...

      I LOVE rewatchables – fun break from my news & politics pods.

  120. Sarah Laskow says...

    I love podcasts so much my husband makes endless fun of me. But they have saved me during times of unemployment, pregnancy, night feedings, endless commutes, early mornings and late night meal prep. The familar voices keep me company while my hands or feet are busy. 6 months ago I replaced Morning Joe on MSNBC with Michael Barbaro and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Turning off the TV and tuning into podcast has been so good for my soul.

    Some of my favorites…My Favorite Murder, Reply All (hosted by my high school boyfriend!), Today Explained, The Longest Shortest Time, Death Sex and Money, Pop Culture Happy Hour, NPR Politics Podcast, Up and Vanished, Sword and Scale, etc., etc. :)

    • Carolyn says...

      Alex or PJ?!?!?!

  121. Meghan says...

    This is fantastic! I’m around your age, Stella, and I love seeing your name in the byline – I resonate with prettyyyyy much everything you publish :) Can’t wait to listen to The Daily in the am! Thanks for all the lovely recs, per usual.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Meghan, thank you so much for writing and for this kind support! Made my day. The Daily will change your life, too :)

  122. Hannah says...

    Great illustrator pick! I <3 Abby! Hope to see more.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Yay!!! Thank you! Love Abbey’s work so much!

  123. Uli says...

    love podcasts! but since my iphone got lost in a train chaos and I’m left with a Samsung, I have no idea which app o use to organize my podcasts – nothing really works the way I’m used to. So annoying. If anybody has an advice, I’d be so greatful!! My commute home from work isn’t the same any more…

    • Lauren says...

      Have you tried Stitcher? It’s what I use to listen although I tend to listen to audiobooks more so I can’t say if it’s the best option.

    • Jenny says...

      I have some on Spotify. Not sure they have a Samsung app.

    • Dawn says...

      I also use Stitcher after switching to Samsung from an Iphone. I’ve tried a few different ones and this was the best option I found.

    • Ana says...

      I use Pocket Casts on my non-iPhone (I have a Pixel 2) and it’s great!

    • emily bailey says...

      I use Podcast Addict on my Samsung!

    • Jasna says...

      Perhaps Google Podcasts app?

    • Uli says...

      Thank you so much for all your advise!! will try out today and hope I can be happy again with my podcasts :-)

  124. J says...

    I love Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, and Pod Save America. “My boys”, I call them (to my hubby, who rolls his eyes with a smile). Every time I listen to them, I know I’m in my bubble, but it is a relief to listen to people who are equally outraged by the current political situation speak so thoughtfully, even when (especially when?) they drop f bombs. And totally agree about The Daily. It’s such a great show.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      LOL at calling Pod Save America “My boys” – so funny and true. I feel like they are my actual friends.

  125. Sharon in Scotland says...

    “My dad wrote a porno” is back at the end of the month…………….WOO HOO!!!

    • Meredith Whitfield says...

      Thank GOD! Who is the special one!?!?

    • Bethany says...

      I cannot listen to this one in public, because I’ve never not laughed out loud. It made a super long customs line and layover way more fun because I’m smirking at all the people around me who don’t know what is in my headphones.

    • Abigail says...

      YES!! I learned of My Dad Wrote A Porno from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour a couple years back (another favorite podcast). I’ve had so many embarrassing laugh-out-loud moments on the train with this one–not to mention I wish they could be my real life friends :)

    • LP says...

      I love to laugh and “My Dad Wrote a Porno” does the trick, regardless of what kind of day I’m having. I especially love listening to it while grocery shopping…people look at me wondering what has me laughing with tears in my eyes!

    • My absolute favorite! I think the name turns some people off but if they only realized how not erotic it is…. and I want to to friends with all of them!

  126. Allyson says...

    Getting Curious with JVN and The West Wing Weekly make my commute actually enjoyable! Also, comedy nerds need to browse Marc Maron’s WTF Pod archives for their faves. Always a good listen.

  127. Laura says...

    You should check out The High Low, with Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton, so funny! A v popular podcast here in the UK… they’ve taken the month of August off (shouldn’t we all?!) but there’s a big back catalogue and they’ll be back in Sept!

    • Katy says...

      Yep, I second The High Low.

    • Kate says...

      I’m Canadian and am LOVING the High Low! As much as I miss them and think of them longingly as news stories which I know they would have excellent takes on have broken, I am also v impressed and happy for them for taking August off too. Any other English podcasts I shouldn’t miss?

  128. Jillian says...

    I find when podcasts are very specific I sometimes get bored of the subject quickly. :\ Not always, but usually.
    Has anyone been listening to Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard? He’s the most engaging host, I just never get bored with it… he’s one of those people who can just talk. And I’m a person who prefers to just listen and laugh really hard at his embarrassing stories. I can’t miss a second. If I walk away I pause, or rewind back to hear it all.
    Any other Armcherries?? Monica mentions CoJ in an early episode and that’s when I knew I loved her :)

    • Nicole says...

      Such a great podcast! Brene Brown is going to be on and I’m so excited!

    • Jess. says...

      Armcherries unite!

  129. Erin says...

    I highly recommend the Scene on Radio series Seeing White and their latest series, Men. Also love Everything Happens!

    • Cooper says...

      Also listening to Seeing White and it’s transformative!!! Highly recommend.

  130. lauren says...

    So happy you referenced that TAL Phil Collins episode, which continues to be one of my favorites… I still remember when and where I was when I heard it (summer of 2008 driving on I-208 from SF to Saratoga to visit my good friends)

  131. Vivian says...

    I agree about Michael Barbaro. He is such a beautiful voice to have with breakfast.

  132. Meredith says...

    Monday has actually become a day I look forward to, because 5 of my favorite podcasts release episodes that day! (Forever 35, My Favorite Murder, Armchair Expert, Matt & Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure, and Young House Love Has a Podcast)

    • Sarah says...

      I came to the comments to see if someone else was into Young House Love has a Podcast! I love John and Sherry, they are such a delight.

    • Catherine says...

      Young House Love Has a Podcast is one of my favourites, such a fun and lovely couple bantering back and forth on running a house, renovating and life.

  133. I’ve listened to all the episodes of Harry Potter and the Sacred text and loved them. I can never get enough of Harry Potter. Another podcast I just started listening to is The Liturgists Podcast. Its tagline is “Making room at the table for the spiritually homeless and frustrated.” I for sure feel that way, but this podcast reminds me there are religious people out there who welcome everyone, even those of us in the LGBTQ+ community. It gives me hope.

    • Sarah says...

      If you like Harry Potter, you should listen to my cousins’ podcast – http://www.realweirdsisters.com. They are hilarious HP superfans! And in a crossover of your interests, they recently interviewed their dad on air (he is a Presbyterian minister).

    • Sarah, I’ll be sure to check that out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  134. mary says...

    LOVE this post!! I adore Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions so much, and also Conspiracy Theories, Death by Champagne, Here’s the Thing with Alec baldwin, and hidden brain. So many!! I’ll definitely be coming back to this comment section even though i have no time to listen to all the ones I subscribe too plus my audio books!

  135. Tina says...

    I’ve really been enjoying This Movie Changed Me. It’s fun to hear stories of how people connect to a movie.

  136. I have a very boring job so podcasts are my lifeline. I’ll definitely have to add some of these to my list! I’m currently very into Mondern Love, Hidden Brain, How I Built This, Career Relaunch, This American Life (always and forever), Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Unladylike, and The Longest Shortest Time. There are so many great ones, it can be a lot to keep up with!

    My kids are also starting to get into podcasts, and they’ve been great on our commute. Their faves are Storynory, WOW in the World, and Story Pirates.

  137. Monica says...

    Beautiful Anonymous. “1 phone call. 1 hour. No names. No holds barred. That’s the premise behind Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, hosted by comedian Chris Gethard”

    It’s made me laugh out loud, cry, scream, jump up and down. It’s incredible.

    • Jodi says...

      I was scrolling to see if anyone had mentioned Beautiful Anonymous, Monica! I love the unpredictable slices of life that end up being shared. Chris Gethard is also so funny and basically the nicest guy ever. I listen every week!

    • Stephanie says...

      Yes! This is my all-time favourite. (I’m going to a live taping in London next month and am so excited.) This show is thought-provoking, empathetic, important and FUN.

  138. Dylan says...

    I love the goop podcast! One of the most recent episodes was with Joanna’s sister Lucy and definitely a favorite of mine. Heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time. I highly recommend.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Seconded, Dylan! xoxoxo

  139. I am a podcast addict, but the one thing I *don’t* like about podcasts is how difficult it is to jump in once the fandom gets really intense. I’ve found it really hard to jump into My Favorite Murder and I could never get into Gilmore Guys even though I like both of those subjects. It’s really good for hosts to remember that people are going to be jumping in at anytime!

    I am always blown away by how even though they’ve been around for ev er, This American Life still produces a handful incredible, stop-you-in-your-tracks episodes each season.

    • Amy says...

      This American life is the best, kind of the original podcast in some ways. Great post.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Such great points, Lexie!! And agreed, This American Life has been killing it more than ever!

  140. Stephanie says...

    This post had perfect timing! I was just looking for a new one to start! I am a huge fan of Forever 35 and got that recommendation from COJ. I think I’m definitely going to check out My Favorite Murder since I’m on a true crime kick these days! Also, just started Call Your Girlfriend and loving it so far!

  141. Molly says...

    Armchair Expert
    Typology with Ian Crohn – eannogram discussions.

  142. Cara Mills says...

    I’m an avid podcast listener and I appreciate all of these recommendations. One that I would suggest really helped me through the difficulty of a miscarriage – it is called “Terrible, Thanks for Asking.” They cover a variety of difficult topics (death, divorce, loss of a child, postpartum depression, etc), but in a way that is approachable and human. When I describe this, it makes it sound like these episodes would be sad or depressing – but they’ve taught me so much about empathy, grief, how people react to difficulty, and yes…even to laugh at certain aspects. I hope others check it out.

  143. My favorite podcast is How I Built This, from NPR. Guy Raz interviews entrepreneurs about their experiences, and it’s so interesting! It’s an incredibly wide range of people and businesses, and that’s one of the things I love about it.

    http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510313/how-i-built-this

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Yes, Emily! Agreed!

    • Betsy says...

      My kids listen to Guy Raz on Wow in the World! and I love that they’re growing up asking for him.

    • Uli says...

      love npr!! and listen to their podcasts during all my Berlin commutes.. (and missing Tom Ashbrook.. even if I sure see that they had to let him go). I’m german but love american podcasts to take me through another kind of news and entertainment!

  144. JB says...

    I love Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast but the real star of the show is Monica Padman. Get that lady her own show!

  145. The Dr. Phil episode of the Mystery Show is my favorite podcast OF ALL TIME. Great Magnetic Fields track in that one too. Thanks for sharing!!!

  146. Bailey says...

    I LOVE PODCASTS!! I am definitely known in my circle of friends as the person who constantly references podcasts in conversation, and, because of that, have also become the person to come to for podcast recs (a duty I take very seriously). My absolute favorite show that wasn’t referenced here is Every Little Thing, which is a Gimlet podcast hosted by Flora Lichtman. ELT has a silly and fun energy to it–celebrates the weird and wonderful corners of everyday life and is described as a “factual answering service specializing in small questions.” I can’t recommend it enough!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      This sounds amazing, Bailey! Can’t wait to check it out.

    • Yes! I love ELT and how random the topics are. How old is Winne the Pooh? How to Spot a Spy, Are Babies Born with Tails? (an ode to dad-founded myths) and Are You Living With a Psychopath? are my favs.

    • Nicole says...

      Bailey, Flamingos… right?! Flora is so great.