Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Everyone has their own sad and lonely times and deals them in their own ways. If you are an ardent listener, brighten your mood and spirits by tuning into the podcasts listed below.
'Jenna & Julien' If you're familiar with the legendary YouTube couple that is Jenna Marbles and Julian Solomita, it'll come as no surprise that their podcast is as crazy as what they get up to on their channels. While you won't witness Jenna turning herself into a chair or Julian being transformed into a Bratz doll (no I'm not kidding), listening to their banter and chemistry for an hour is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. Listen to it here — although IMO it's much funnier to watch.
'Wonderful!' Speaking of awesome couples online, Rachel and Griffin McElroy presentWonderful! — the aptly-named weekly podcast where they discuss anything and everything that makes them feel good and will make you feel good too. And if you're wondering whether they've talked about a specific subject that you want to hear them discuss, they've got a handy search feature on their site that will immediately bring up related podcasts. So neat. Listen to it here.
'2 Dope Queens' Want an hour of empowering talk mixed with conversations of "sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York, and Billy Joel" between two BFFs? Well, 2 Dope Queens is definitely the podcast for you. I honestly cannot go a week without catching up with these queens, and you'll feel the same once you've heard an episode. Listen to it here.
'Ear Biscuits' If like me you can't enough of Good Mythical Morning's Rhett and Link on the daily, they also produce a weekly podcast called Ear Biscuits which is literally an extension of their YouTube channel for your ears. The way the duo bounce off of each other makes for a bundle of laughs, especially when it comes to their opinions on what would happen if the day was 12 hours longer or how humans survived without mobile phones. Y'know, the stuff that keeps you up at night. Listen to it here.
'Can I Pet Your Dog?' A question I ask on the daily, Can I Pet Your Dog? is hosted by "dog owner Allegra Ringo and dog wanter Renee Colvert" and involves endless conversations about all the good dogs that roam the world. From dogs they've met during the week to discussions with guests about their dogs, this podcast is a must-listen if you want to listen to people obsess over pups for an hour. Listen to it here.
'The Hilarious World Of Depression' As someone who has been diagnosed with depression, this podcast has always been a go-to for me. Laughter may not always be the best medicine, but The Hilarious World Of Depression offers "a series of frank, moving, and, yes, funny conversations with top comedians who have dealt with this disease." Aiming to lift the stigma often associated with depression, this podcast totally needs to be on your radar. Listen to it here.
'How Did This Get Made?' A question I often found myself asking during my time studying film at uni, How Did This Get Made? explores the good, the bad, and the ugly with these weekly deep dive into some of cinema's most questionable entries. Hosted by actors June Diane Raphael, Paul Scheer, and Jason Mantzoukas, the trio try to make sense of films that more often than not are so bad that they're so good. Listen to it here.
'Dear Sugar Radio' Hosted by the writers of its advice column namesake — Wild author Cheryl Strayed and author Steve Almond — Dear Sugar Radio is a two-for-one of wisdom. Strayed and Almond field questions about love, body image, money, creativity, and family with the same unflinching compassion they once brought to their now-defunct Dear Sugar column. While their approach to answering letters sometimes feels like soft-love, the hosts round out most episodes with alternate advice from the likes of Tavi Gevinson, Roxane Gay, and George Saunders. It’s like a literary roundtable discussing the private lives of relatable strangers — who needs Netflix? Icebreaker Episode: Letters from Teenagers Listen to it here.
'Strangers' Host Lea Thau features stories that are best described as “an empathy shot to the arm.” Sometimes they’re about literal strangers changing each other’s lives — like the recent episode about a woman donating her kidney to someone she found through donor match-making — but often, the episodes are about the “strangers” we should know better than anyone: ourselves. Every story selection redefines our concept of “stranger,” and Lea often leads by example, sharing her own experiences in an open, unapologetic way (her first episode, “Terry’s Treasure,” is an account of the time she met a man while online dating who later asked her to donate her newborn’s faeces to… um… just listen to it, k?) Icebreaker Episode: The Love Hurts Series Listen to it here.
'Love + Radio'
Equal parts dark and illuminating, Love + Radio tells the stories you didn’t know you needed to hear (mostly because you didn’t know they existed). Host Nick van der Kolk takes a backseat to his guests, stripping down interviews until they play like addictive monologues. With episodes about everything from catcalling to one man’s devotion to understanding the KKK, Love + Radio is intimate and charming, an honest look into lives you were previously unaware of. At the same time, certain episodes make you feel like a kid whose mom forget to pick her up from the depths of someone else’s personal tragedy. Icebreaker Episodes: Greetings from Coney Island, The Living Room, Jack and Ellen Listen to it here.
'The Moth' The Moth is known for its open-mic StorySLAMs: nationwide, storytellers show up to an event and put their names in a “hat” to be chosen for stage-time; the lottery winners perform for an electric audience and a panel of judges. The event has become so popular that it’s difficult to score a ticket online, but no worries — The Moth Radio Hour is something of a greatest hits collection. Storytellers range from the amateur to names like Mike Birbiglia, Margaret Cho, and Malcolm Gladwell. From near-death experiences to decades-long love stories, The Moth Radio Hour features a breadth of diverse, life-affirming stories that’ll make you laugh or sob (depending on the episode, sometimes both). Icebreaker Episode: A Superhero Gets Sick Listen to it here.
'The Longest Shortest Time' The Longest Shortest Time’s slogan is, “The Parenting Show for Everyone,” and I can’t express how real that is. I’m single. I don’t have kids. I don’t even know kids — but I can’t get enough of this voyeuristic podcast. Host Hillary Frank has a knack for telling parenting-adjacent stories that have mass appeal: like the one about a woman who raised her baby in a house of 65 sorority sisters, or the one about two teens who played mother to freakishly realistic baby dolls for high school credits. You kind of walk away from each episode wanted to hug everyone involved. With interview subjects of all ages, The Longest Shortest Time is an honest meditation on family, love, and sex (or lack thereof) that truly is for everyone. Icebreaker Episode: Peeping Mom