best of 2022

The Best Comedy Podcasts of 2022

Featuring hot and juicy goss, behind-the-scenes access, and investigations of straight culture.

Photo-Illustration: Rowena Lloyd and Susanna Hayward; Photos: Courtesy of the Studios
Photo-Illustration: Rowena Lloyd and Susanna Hayward; Photos: Courtesy of the Studios

Where were you when you last laughed until you cried?

Look, we know: The last six two years have been a blur, a never-ending barrage of bad news and bullshit, variants mutating and vaccines desperately taken. Our favorite shows were canceled or ended before their time; we lost a lot of the people we all loved; and even some things that promised to make the future a little bit better were taken off the docket forever, all in the name of tax breaks.

But thankfully, in 2022, there were moments of respite, particularly if you knew where to listen. All over the internet, podcasters spent the year telling jokes, playing improv games, and just generally goofing right the heck off. They talked with famous people and interesting people and learned people. They put out new series, new seasons, and new bits, all determined to make you laugh hard enough at a free sample episode on your evening commute that you’d be forced to subscribe to a Patreon out of sheer guilt.

Comedy podcasts made things a little easier. They uplifted us with hot, juicy goss; granted us behind-the-scenes access to our favorite franchises; and queered everything from Jackass to ringworm with perfect joie de vivre. No, they didn’t cure COVID, but they could help you get through it when you got it. A little chuckle in the seasonal aisle desperately searching for those expensive little coconut-covered marshmallows never hurt anybody. And why waste the 45 minutes your dentist always makes you wait in the lobby?

When we published our list of the best comedy podcasts of 2021, casual joy might have felt impossible. But thanks to my iPod Classic and a symptom-free bivalent booster, the last time I laughed until I cried was yesterday, when I, like our comedy-podcast experts all try to do most days, listened to one of my all-time fave shows’ latest episodes (hint: It’s on this page). If you still can’t remember your last time, then this year’s list of the best comedy podcasts is made for you. So come, share a few giggles with us at the end of this hell year, and give thanks to the broadcasters who gave us some much-needed breaks from it.


Blocked Party 

Photo: Stefan Heck & John Cullen

This year has been no different from any other in the life of the noble social-media poster. We log on every day to fight for our morals in the trenches of timelines, ducking and dodging trolls and rubberbanding from Reddit to Twitter to Instagram to, uh, Mastodon. Each refresh is a new battle, whether we’re collectively raking someone over the coals for giving homemade chili to her neighbors or for slapping Chris Rock. Our weekly screen-time report is a political statement. But whether you believe that Twitter is a public utility Elon Musk has no business “disrupting” or that Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg destroyed democracy in the United States (or both!), it’s important to remember that this is all but pure chaos. Blocked Party, hosted by nü-metal-obsessed retired professional curler John Cullen and Weird Twitter linchpin Stefan Heck, has perfected the coverage of these niche skirmishes.

Every week, guests range from @dogboner and his fixation on old men who post photos of their debit cards in porn-bot replies to more normal guys like Ola Dada, whose block tale is as simple as not reading past the words “as a Black woman” on an unsolicited DM. The format truly contains multitudes: In some of the year’s other outstanding episodes, a man known professionally as Sexual Jumanji detailed having Joe Rogan go to bat for him against Musk himself, undisputed 2021 Vulture podcast queen Jamie Loftus had to appeal her Twitter ban directly to the International Olympic Committee, and the Your Kickstarter Sucks crew flew to Canada for a weekend of sold-out joint recordings with their shared Twitch stream The Go Off Kings. This social-media thing is really taking off, and Blocked Party isn’t too far behind. — Noah Jacobs

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website


Normal Gossip

Photo: Defector Media LLC

Ah, gossip. We love it, we hate it, we hate that we love it. Hosted by author and self-proclaimed “gossip queen” Kelsey McKinney and produced by Alex Sujong Laughlin, Normal Gossip is a thoughtfully curated, highly addictive collection of listener-submitted gossip, from knitting-group revenge plots to mundane co-worker conflicts. In many ways, binge-listening to Normal Gossip feels like the auditory equivalent of disappearing down a YouTube rabbit hole about makeup-influencer drama: You may not know the first thing about winged liner, but you’re going to read ten pages of screenshots anyway. The more you know, the more you want to know.

While the drama itself is delicious, it’s the winning combination of McKinney’s pettiness, lighthearted humor, and ability to choose hilarious guest hosts that earns this podcast its place on this list. And unlike a self-directed YouTube rabbit hole, Normal Gossip does more than just deliver the hearsay. McKinney’s approach is compassionate and deliberate, and though the social norm of gossip and those who enjoy it is shrouded in shame, she’s rarely derisive — even while picking stories apart, she is joyous, indeed celebratory. Her love of gossip and appreciation of its power shine through, transforming listeners from passive voyeurs to the actively invested.

And here’s the best part: Everyone has gossip. Tobin Low had us on the edge of our seats with an emotional roller coaster of a barista tale, Youngmi Mayer made us think harder about hot dogs and their fate than we ever have, and in the widely unfamiliar world of knitting-circle gossip, there was nothing more grounding than the soundtrack of writer and podcast host Rachelle Hampton’s contagious laughter. Funny and thought-provoking, Normal Gossip presents the scuttlebutt with all the heart and none of the shame. The only thing to be ashamed about is missing an episode. — Akanksha Aurora 

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website


Ghosted! By Roz Hernandez

Photo: Starburns Audio

Whether you’re fascinated, skeptical, or agnostic about the paranormal, there’s no better or funnier guide to it than Roz Hernandez. She doesn’t claim to have a sixth sense, but her experience with the supernatural goes back to her childhood. With the help of celebrity guests, psychic mediums, and other experts, she investigates both personal and historical accounts of paranormal events, like the 1949 exorcism of Roland Doe, the case that inspired The Exorcist. Hernandez doesn’t try to convince the listener or her guests of anything, and a well-told ghost story is just like any other good story, whether or not the ghosts are real. Still, the true fun of the podcast is how it reveals the unshakable yet sometimes arbitrary lines in the sand we all draw when it comes to the existence of life beyond the human realm. For example, comedian guest Jared Goldstein dismisses the Roland Doe case as just a kid with an attitude problem but goes on to passionately describe a UFO sighting that has haunted him for over a decade.

Besides Herndandez’s dutiful research on supernatural events of yore, Ghosted! features a segment in which she reads eBay ads for haunted dolls and offers her guests the choice between an evil doll and a sex doll. While listeners can refer to video versions of the podcast for photos of the dolls, conjuring a mental picture of them based on nothing but the outrageous ads is a worthwhile creative exercise. Take Tilta, a $104 sexual demonic spirit equipped with not one, not two, but three penises. The podcast also includes “EVPs or EVPlease,” where Hernandez plays electronic voice phenomena from the ghost-hunting side of YouTube and has a guest decipher what the purported spirit is saying.

The show approaches the otherworldly with a light, familiar touch, but discussions of the spiritual are also ripe for sincerity — take, for example, Hernandez and comedian River Butcher’s discussion of addiction as a sort of demon and Butcher’s defense of reincarnation. Regardless of your beliefs, Hernandez has hit on a subtle truth here: The way we talk about the absurd, the mysterious, the alien, if you will, reveals who we are. — Kriska Desir

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website


The Read

Photo: Loud Speakers Network

Since its inception in 2013, The Read has consistently delivered hilarious and honest musings on life, pop culture, politics, relationships, and everything in between. Hosted by YouTuber Kid Fury and writer Crissle West, The Read feels like coming home after a long day to smoke a joint and talk shit with your funniest friends. Structured in a few core segments discussing Black excellence, pop culture, listener letters, and the titular “read,” the podcast provides a good mix of social commentary, insightful mental-health takes, and relationship advice. (Break up with him!)

Although the show’s structure has remained more or less the same over the years, the hosts always keep it fresh. Between Kid Fury bursting into song every other episode and Crissle coming up with increasingly cutting ways to roast male rappers, every episode is laugh-out-loud funny. What’s really special about The Read, though, is that it has the range. All the running jokes are interwoven with heart, sincerity, and thoughtful conversations about mental health and the political realities of the queer Black experience. The duo has discussed topics like the Oscars slap, Steven Universe fan theories, Lil Uzi’s head-diamond theft, and the momentous 2020 election with equal finesse and insightfulness.

Arguably the most memorable weekly segment is when the hosts read listener-submitted letters asking for advice on marriage, relationship issues, and mental-health concerns. And boy, do they deliver: In one particularly memorable instance, a letter came in from a woman whose best friend had bought a candle for her boyfriend, sparking suspicions and arguments around bestie-boyfriend gifting etiquette. In their response, Kid Fury and Crissle went back and forth about the merits of candle buying versus not candle buying, which ultimately led to a two-part episode. During this segment, Kid Fury and Crissle feel like supportive but firm older siblings who hold your hand but hold nothing back.

The hosts have leaned into their bold sensibilities to create something affirming, authentic, and funny as hell that centers and celebrates the queer Black experience: mental and emotional challenges, excellence, joy, Nicki Minaj Twitter, and all. In a world and industry that feels dominated by billionaires, bad takes, and bad news, The Read feels safe, therapeutic, and so completely necessary. — Akanksha Aurora

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website


The Always Sunny Podcast

Photo: Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia premiered on August 4, 2005, as an unassuming multi-cam in the shadow of NBC’s new prime-time push that would go on to define the sitcom landscape for the better part of a decade. The show held strong and built its base, and before anyone knew it, it had shattered the competition in longevity, toppling the record for longest-running live-action comedy, which had lasted over 55 years. Much of this staying power can be attributed to the central actors — Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day — and their uniquely unshakable dedication to keeping the show going despite their other ventures. That devotion comes from a true creative bond, and somehow The Always Sunny Podcast puts that bond on even clearer display.

“The Gang” debuted the podcast on November 18, 2021, with the expert steering of writer Megan Ganz, an unabashed Sunny superfan turned executive producer and the heir apparent to the show’s legacy. Once again, they were a small fish in a big pond. Podcasts like Office Ladies had scratched the itch of behind-the-scenes stories from Hollywood stars, while others, like Breaking Bad Insider, set a template for people to nerd out about specs. So the Gang had to innovate again.

In its rookie year, they essentially abandoned the recap format to create something new and comforting: hour-long Champagne-fueled rants about Teslas not unlocking in underground ramps or being cut in line at the drive-through; alternately browning out in McElhenney’s basement and engaging in an intense competition to see who’s the healthiest; clip shows with fan favorites including the waitress and the waiter; and pure, heartwarming navel-gazing on some of their most enduring, beloved episodes, such as the year-capping review of “The Nightman Cometh” with Lin-Manuel Miranda. Many episodes even veered into a pop-up writers’ room for the upcoming season, down to Ganz pitching Howerton’s Thanksgiving eating habits as a Rickety Cricket quirk. Raucous live shows in Philly and Louisville and online from their studio in Los Angeles saw fans showing up costumed in person and in chat rooms to shout along to their favorite bits; more are planned for 2023. Best of all, if the Gang’s track record is any indication, they haven’t even begun to peak. When they do, we’ll know because they’re gonna peak so hard that everybody in Podcast Land is gonna feel it. — Noah Jacobs

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website


Fly on the Wall

Photo: Dana Carvey and David Spade

Plenty of TV series have cranked out “rewatch” formats, in which people connected with the show take a look at its history or certain episodes with the aid of those who appeared in it or had a hand in bringing it to life. Fly on the Wall is a unique animal in this genre. Debuting at the beginning of the year, it features comedians Dana Carvey and David Spade talking about NBC’s late-night comedy institution Saturday Night Live. Not only are they both alumni of the 47-year-old show (Carvey from 1986 to 1993 and Spade from 1990 to 1996), but they have long been fixtures in the stand-up comedy world. While the podcast started out featuring former SNL cast members, writers, guest hosts, and musicians, Carvey and Spade soon opened their guest slot up to many others.

Out of all the big-name guests they’ve had in the first year (Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, Chris Rock, original cast member Laraine Newman, and Ben Stiller, to name just a few), their best get had to be the prime mover behind SNL: Lorne Michaels. In his rollicking two-part visit, Michaels’s tenure with the show from its inception brought forth a multitude of behind-the-scenes stories, all told as only the renowned raconteur can spin a tale, whether about calming the nerves of guest hosts like Sir Paul McCartney (another visitor in the podcast’s first year) or explaining his own approach to casting the show as a kind of chemistry experiment where he’s always trying to find the right balance of talent, energy, and humor. As much territory as the hosts covered with their TV-comedy mentor in the two episodes, one hopes they’ll invite Michaels back again to dig even deeper into the rich history of this iconic show. — Marc Hershon

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website


Y’All Gay?

Photo: Yall Gay Podcast

Hosted by Ali Clayton and Ever Mainard, Y’all Gay? poses a rhetorical question since the podcast is, in the hosts’ own words, “for everyone.” This inclusive invite seems inextricably linked to Clayton and Mainard’s southern upbringing. Since debuting on February 14, 2022, Y’all Gay? has embodied a certain charm and hospitality in which the humor remains rooted in a genuine, generous kindness. This makes the show easy to tuck into and enjoy as the hosts discuss everything from pop culture to top surgery, with a lot of sometimes relatable, always hysterical chatter about bathroom behavior thrown in.

Bolstering these topics is a hilarious honesty that has the hosts charismatically oscillating from self-assured to self-deprecating. Take the episode “Vintage Porn,” which focuses on, among other things, “big career opportunities,” as Clayton says, with Mainard adding, “Huuuge, huge!” Mainard, who also happens to be one of Vulture’s 2022 Comedians You Should Know, comes to the episode newly released from the nondisclosure agreements they had signed to screen-test for Saturday Night Live, and they are ready to talk. The rundown of the audition process alone will fascinate anyone with even a passing interest in the show. But beyond that, it’s so sincere, with Mainard noting, “I feel self-conscious because I didn’t get it,” and asking themselves, “Would I want to live in that environment?” before jokingly concluding, “Probably. Live from New York, you can kiss my ass.”

This is podcasting! This is the community ethos the medium is celebrated for, in which listeners are nigh-immediately enchanted by the intimate conversations Y’all Gay? enthusiastically engages in. From there, it’s an invigorating ride on an emotional roller coaster that goes from sad to silly as Clayton and Mainard move on from career talk to discuss ringworm and polygamy before closing with a raucous story about how Clayton found a vintage porn magazine, Shaved, which the hosts read from. It advertises “bald beavers dripping with desire — hot and hairless,” sparking one of the many gigglefests that pepper the podcast. Perhaps Clayton says it best when she imagines listeners remarking, “These dykes are weird,” because they are wonderfully weird — unafraid to be as vulnerable as they are vulgar and as respectful as they are riotous while entertaining their audience, of which you’ll surely want to be a part. — Becca James

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website


Couples Therapy

Photo: Naomi and Andy

Four years into its podcast tenure, Couples Therapy — a spinoff of the live show hosted by comedians Naomi Ekperigin and Andy Beckerman, a married couple — has aged like a fine wine. It doesn’t need a gimmick: Between Ekperigin and Beckerman’s chemistry and the bright voices in entertainment the couple call friends, the podcast feels like a standing invitation to a weekly dinner party whose hosts are as warm and kooky as they are smart and insightful. There is a certain comfort in listening to two people who speak the same odd but wonderful language, especially when it produces quotables like “The only cultural appropriation I’m comfortable with, Naomi, is using your Black Girl Sunscreen.” In a dizzyingly uncertain world, the hosts’ curiosity, vulnerability, and humor — and those they draw out of their guests — are constants.

Although comedy is the heart of the show, Ekperigin and Beckerman don’t shy away from complex topics, from their own interracial relationship to polyamory with Bob the Drag Queen and dating as a Muslim woman with comedian and actress Zainab Johnson. At my risk of belaboring the dinner-party metaphor, relationships, politics, and religion aren’t off-limits at this table; we always get to the good stuff. That’s probably why listening to Beckerman, Ekperigin, and their guests give advice to listeners is so enjoyable. Not only is Beckerman a former philosophy professor, which adds a nerdy richness and nuance to his takes, but the couple has built a real trust with their audience. One listener’s boyfriend tries to gaslight them into returning to a vegetarian lifestyle; another is shut out of her partner’s reconciliation with his estranged alcoholic father. Each is answered thoughtfully but with a healthy dose of drollness, too.

Maybe it’s trite to say there’s something in Couples Therapy for everyone — from nosy comedy nerds who enjoy in-depth interviews with rising stars to those who just find the hosts’ candor refreshing. Still, the heart and levity with which the two consistently approach the knotty bits of being human have made them a staple in the comedy-podcast world. “Doing the work” has never been so much fun. — Kriska Desir

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website


Dead Eyes

Photo: Headgum

Sure, tragedy plus time equals comedy, but where in that equation does catharsis live? And what if the tragedy part doesn’t outright traumatize you or leave you for dead so much as it just reminds you that you’re a fuckup forever? Dead Eyes, Connor Ratliff’s epic poem of a podcast on the Headgum network, spent its third season in a close analysis of just such a circumstance. Beginning in October 2021 and continuing into 2022, Ratliff repeatedly reminded audiences about his being fired from what could have been a career-making role in the acclaimed HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, all because (as his agent later told him) the show’s creator, Tom Hanks, said Ratliff had “dead eyes.” That slam — so delicious in its confidence-annihilating intensity yet so common as Hollywood cruelty goes — calcified over the years into a monolith of shame, which Ratliff asks guests like Adam Scott (who auditioned for Band of Brothers), Erik Jendresen (who wrote it), and even Hanks’s son Colin (who starred in it) to spend each episode helping him chip away at.

In September 2021, Ratliff received a surprise email: a secret offer, initiated by his two-time Academy Award–winning “nemesis,” to talk on mic about the burn that started it all. Ratliff and his team, including producers Mike Comite and Harry Nelson, scrambled to undo the nearly completed season and re-create it as an audio thrill ride for an unsuspecting listenership. Their finale episode, “Tom,” released on March 10, featured a typically warm, self-effacing Hanks coming to understand in real time just how much he’d hurt the young Ratliff and ended with a perfect new theme song by Aimee Mann. It was the most satisfying conclusion imaginable.

Many stories about Dead Eyes have referred to Hanks as the show’s white whale. More accurately, he was its MacGuffin — an excuse for Ratliff to suss out whether he’s worthy of a career, respect, and love. Now that he has bagged his trophy and (presumably? hopefully?) found some peace, the future of the podcast remains to be seen. Will it continue to excavate the possible multiversal realities of Ratliff’s life? Or will the show now focus on a new trauma from its host’s days as a working New York actor? No one knows for sure, but whatever Ratliff does next, we’ll be listening. — Sean Malin

Listen: Headgum | Apple | Spotify



Photo: Big Money Players Network and iHeartPodcasts

Is it embarrassing to be straight? Are elements of straight culture, like penis straws and handshakes, confusing to you? Unfortunately, you cannot ask any follow-up questions, but thankfully, there’s a podcast that peels back the layers of societal norms that are just expected to be understood. Inspired by the Radiolab podcast, StraightioLab, hosted by comedians George Civeris and Sam Taggart, bravely goes where no other podcast willingly wanted to go before. Each week, it enters into the deep, fascinating, and forced-upon-us world of straight culture. In a heteronormative society, being straight is a given, but the hosts dive deeper into various het topics that are cultural staples for those who say “Let’s rock and roll.” Game night (with Melissa Rich), snacks (with John Reynolds), and family merch (with Rachel Sennott) have all been analyzed, assessed, and categorized by Civeris and Taggart, who walk the line between earnest and ironic while dissecting a group they aren’t a part of. Other important topics have included ironing (with Alex English), teenagers (with guest host Naomi Ekperigin), and awkwardness and randomness (with Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers).

Despite being committed to the bit, the show often leads to larger, deeper discussions, especially ones centered on the queer community. “Jackass,” featuring SNL’s Sarah Sherman, analyzed the relationship between gays, girls, and Jackass and how those fans felt alienated by the dominant straight male fanbase at the show’s peak. The trio discussed the modern overlooked values of Jackass on an in-depth level, channeling fear, friendship, and consent. But Civeris and Taggart’s sincere, earnest conversation wasn’t met without some sarcasm and revelations (Sherman shared that Chris Pontius refused to punch her in the boob). StraightioLab easily gets its guests involved in the sincerity in the middle of their bits, which is one reason the show has earnestly earned the top spot. — Alejandra Gularte

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Honorable Mentions

My Dad Wrote a Porno

Photo: Medium Maze Ltd

We couldn’t let the curtain fall on 2022 without an honorable mention for an amazingly novel show. My Dad Wrote a Porno debuted in 2015, and it was recently announced that the podcast will be closing out production this month. It was cooked up by British TV writer and director Jamie Morton, who’d discovered that his father, writing under the nom de plume Rocky Flintstone, had written a pornographic novel call Belinda Blinked. Reading it aloud to his friends James Cooper and Alice Levine proved to be too hilarious to keep to themselves, so the group turned the experience into a show that has been laughingly shocking, ribald, and, at times, puzzling. “Rocky” plays a little loose and clueless with his grasp of human anatomy and the way the parts fit together, not to mention how interactions between two (or more) people engaged in wild, “zipless” sex might actually act and sound.

Part of the fun of Morton reading Belinda’s saucy sagas to his chums is that Levine and Cooper haven’t heard or read the chapter featured in the episode before recording. So their shocked, bewildered, and howling reactions to the books’ exploits — that’s plural, by the way, as Rocky was inspired to pen no fewer than five Belinda Blinked sequels — are genuinely off the cuff. So many of the passages are so funny that it’s difficult to recommend a particular episode, which means you’ll find at least one or two classic moments in any installment you choose.

The show has boasted over 470 million downloads over the course of its run as well as an HBO comedy special, and as the show heads out of the studio, the three principals are kicking off a live U.S. tour starting this month. And who knows? Some of their live appearances may even include a visit from Rocky Flintstone himself. — Marc Hershon

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

The Best Comedy Podcasts of 2022