The comedy-podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We’re here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows, and each one has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional and the noteworthy. Each week, our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend — “Desus and Mero”
The perceptions of New York have changed drastically through the decades, with some people still holding on to their old views of the city. Conan O’Brien recalls one of his earliest memories as a Red Sox fan: his teacher telling him, “If you wear Red Sox apparel to a Yankees game, you’ll be murdered.” But a very much still alive O’Brien is joined on his podcast by two native New Yorkers who remind listeners that if you can get gelato delivered at 3 a.m., New York is perfectly fine. Desus Nice and the Kid Mero join Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend to talk about their book God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons From the Bronx. O’Brien admires the duo’s ability to create beef with people in an engaging and funny way while citing his lack of celebrity beef. He doesn’t believe Desus and Mero’s past beef with Jaleel White was worthy of their time and reveals that the closest he’s gotten to beef was when Barack Obama called him out during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. They bond over advertisement pitches for their late-night shows, including a bench ad declaring Desus and Mero the new kings of late night, much to O’Brien’s disapproval. As O’Brien prepares for his final episode of Conan tonight, thankfully, Desus and Mero can secure their spot as late-night royalty. —Alejandra Gularte
Roy’s Job Fair — “What Do Heroes Eat?”
In a culture so often labeled as work-obsessed — which seems more attributable to a lack of social safety net than any puritanical aversion to idleness — a comedy podcast about work should be a hard sell. Yet Roy Wood Jr. avoids all the tedium of work talk on Roy’s Job Fair and finds hilarity instead. With the help of cohost JG, Wood Jr. interviews people from all walks of life about their worst jobs, tips for finding a new job, and even current openings at their places of work. This week, the podcast’s guest is new producer and co-host Ralph, who discusses his demoralizing first job on a talk show and unwittingly going on a blind date with Kobe Bryant’s sister back in the day. With a wide variety of guests, a solid team of cohosts, and an informative bent, Roy’s Job Fair is the perfect accompaniment to a work day or job search alike. —Kriska Desir
Did You Get My Text? — “Cookie Monster Geode”
Just when you thought podcasters were running out of raw material to fuel their feeds, along comes actor Meredith Salenger and her comedian-husband, Patton Oswalt, mining their own texts to each other. The results are by turns funny and charming. Especially when you consider that for the past year and a half, they’ve been under the same roof most days. It starts with a text from Oswalt to Salenger about a Virginia senator voting against the legalization of pot because of all the “marijuana overdoses,” which gets the two on a tear about smoking grass, especially doing it in front of your kids. They talk about their back-and-forth Ted Lasso texts. Surprise: Both love last year’s Apple TV+ hit. Then they get into the fact that Oswalt has learned he can’t buy Salenger jewelry that she will ever love or care about — especially from a second-hand store where refunds are not offered. Although, to the point of this episode’s title, she would consider herself lucky if hubby would shell out 50 grand for a giant geode that looks like Cookie Monster. “Although I prefer Grover,” she adds, just in case he’s in a buying mood. —Marc Hershon
Dark Fonzie — “Cigarettes, Booze, and Viagra”
It’s a podcast cliché to joke about skipping the first 15 minutes of WTF With Marc Maron to get to the interview. But I’ve always found those twice-weekly updates, ranging from cat news and career updates to unimaginable personal loss, to be an essential part of understanding who Maron is as an interviewer and a person, especially since he rarely guests on other podcasts. Now you can hear Maron go even more in-depth twice a month on his new podcast, Dark Fonzie, along with his close friend, fellow stand-up, and expert reseller of all things loosely labeled “goods,” Dean Delray. This is the type of show where “So, who are your guys?” refers to leather-jacket purveyors, ’70s guitarists, hardwood-floor installers, Harley Davidson sellers, and plumbers instead of comedic heroes. But it’s also the type of show bursting with stories from hard-living men who took their mid-life crises by the throat and turned them into life-saving reinventions. —Pablo Goldstein
My Neighbors Are Dead — “Summer Camp Massacre With Tim Ryder”
My Neighbors Are Dead, which pairs host Adam Peacock with rib-tickling guests “to talk horror and introduce [listeners] to lesser-known characters from [their] favorite horror films,” has no need for change. For years, it has delivered hilarious episode upon hilarious episode featuring everyone from Tony, a “skeptical tether” from Us, to Canoes With No Oars, the indie-folk rockers who opened for Low Shoulder in Jennifer’s Body. Not one to rest on its laurels, however, the podcast is breaking format and heading to northern Michigan’s Camp Whitlow Lake for My Neighbors Are Dead’s “Summer Camp Massacre.” With the stage set for “a fully improvised, multi-episode, summer camp slasher” complete with “favorite tropes from the genre,” Chet (MST3K’s Tim Ryder) kicks things off. Sharing intel about the massacre, Chet explains that he lost his girlfriend and some of his campers to a killer named Chad. He’s quick to declare, “Chet and Chad are very similar, but I would like to go on record as saying we are not the same person.” While suspicious, it’s too early to make any calls. Instead, listeners should follow along as the investigation continues with even more funny and frightening reveals. —Becca James
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
Got a comedy podcast recommendation? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
If you like comedy and you like podcasts, we recommend you subscribe to Vulture’s own Good One podcast, which releases new episodes every Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.
More From This Series
- This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Amy Grant’s Good Christian Fun
- This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Aack Cast
- This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Defending Phish
- Sam Richardson Will Always Defend Detroit and Poop Jokes
- Rosamund Pike Is First Lady Edith Wilson (and 3 More Podcasts Worth Trying)
- Childish Gambino’s ‘Redbone’ and the Unending Relevance of ’70s Soul