LOL-worthy comedy podcasts to get you through that Thanksgiving car ride – The Boston Globe
From late-night hosts to stand-up standouts, the Boston area has produced some of the funniest and most beloved stars in comedy today. As more comedians and entertainers bring their stage skills to the podcast medium, a number of top comics with local ties are already making waves with their digital shows, growing passionate fan bases who are eager to tune in each week for a laugh. Whether you’re looking to spice up your morning commute or need to fill long stretches of that family holiday road trip, check out these top pods hosted by comedians with local roots.
CONAN O’BRIEN NEEDS A FRIEND
The Brookline-born comedy icon may be done with the late-night scene these days, but he’s still getting plenty of laughs with his hit podcast series. Continuing to play the role of affable, cordial host, Conan O’Brien has interviewed a who’s who list of notable guests since the show launched in 2018. Everyone from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to Willie Nelson and “Weird Al” Yankovic have stopped by the weekly podcast for intimate conversations that are more in-depth than typical talk-show banter. Hear O’Brien commiserate with fellow comic and “Saturday Night Live” alum Rachel Dratch over their mutual Massachusetts roots in a recent episode from the current season.
THE DANA GOULD HOUR
Have a laugh while taking a deep dive into the worlds of comedy, show biz, and more with the Hopedale native’s highly entertaining podcast series. Each month, the “Stan Against Evil” creator and former “Simpsons” scribe sits down for lengthy chats with authors, comedians, and other special guests. While stand-up veterans like Bobcat Goldthwait often visit the show, Dana Gould’s podcast has also featured interviews that veer into horror history, including discussions with cult horror director Jeff Lieberman as well as Anne Serling, daughter of Rod Serling, creator of “The Twilight Zone.”
HOW DID THIS GET MADE?
Some blockbusters are just so bad, they require deep dissection into how they ended up on the silver screen. That popcorn-fueled detective work falls in the hands of Nahant native Jason Mantzoukas and his podcast co-hosts, Paul Scheer and June Diane Raphael. Since 2010, the trio and celebrity guests (occasionally in front of live audiences) examine hilariously awful films each week, talking through all the plot holes, over-the-top character moments, and other major reasons that make these movies cinematic sins.
JUDGE JOHN HODGMAN
Court is now in session. Humorist and Brookline native John Hodgman renders his judgment over petty squabbles and trivial disputes in this hilarious podcast, which celebrated its 500th episode in January. Joined by his “bailiff” and co-host Jesse Thorn, “Judge” Hodgman hears absurd cases directly from guests, reviewing “evidence” and all, and offers his final word on situations like a couple arguing over proper fish tank size, fancy ducks vs. fancy geese, and how to properly pronounce the word “vegan.”
MAKE MY DAY WITH JOSH GONDELMAN
Most major news stories don’t put a smile on Josh Gondelman’s face, so he made a game show to cheer himself up. The Stoneham native and former “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” writer created a podcast that attempts to put a positive spin on pop culture and politics. The weekly show features different comedians competing against each other, offering their more cheerful takes on current events in hopes of getting a laugh while turning Gondelman’s frown upside down. It may be a tall order, but the rotating guests of comics are always up for the challenge.
MIKE BIRBIGLIA’S WORKING IT OUT
As any comedian will tell you, creating a joke or stand-up routine is a process that isn’t always pretty. Shrewsbury native and comedy star Mike Birbiglia doesn’t shy away from showing the rougher edges of getting a laugh in his weekly podcast, “Working It Out.” Each episode features a one-on-one chat with a comedian or creator as they test out original, new material on the spot, as well as have deeper discussions around life, laughter, and different creative processes. Comics, writers, and actors like Brie Larson, Stephen Colbert, Malcolm Gladwell, and more have all stopped by to work it out with Birbiglia. Available on Spotify
MONDAY MORNING PODCAST
Enter the uncensored mind of Bill Burr every week with this fan-favorite, one-man podcast. Each Monday (and most Thursdays) the Canton comic goes on lengthy, self-described “rambles” where he hilariously muses to himself about any topic that comes to mind that day. From what makes Chinese takeout food in New England taste so amazing to his thoughts on the latest sports or news controversy, no talking point is too big or mundane to get a (usually) expletive-filled rant out of a riled-up Burr.
NO FUN WITH JEN KIRKMAN
Jen Kirkman gives fans an up close and personal look at her life as a comedian, as well as her candid thoughts on what’s going on in the world in this weekly, one-woman series. In between cracking jokes and telling stories about apartments in Brooklyn and hiking trail names, the Needham native will also get serious from time to time, often offering her no-nonsense breakdown of important, hot-button topics in politics, comedy, and the entertainment industry.
YOU MADE IT WEIRD WITH PETE HOLMES
Pete Holmes isn’t afraid to get a little weird with his guests. The comedian and Lexington native’s long-running podcast features him humorously poking and prodding comedians, authors, and other interviewees over a “secret weirdness” they may be hiding. However in recent years, the show has evolved to also include more wide-ranging and in-depth conversations around deeper topics such as life, family, and religion. Notable guests over the years include Adam Sandler, Jon Hamm, Seth Rogen, plus fellow Massachusetts natives B.J. Novak and Bo Burnham.
All podcasts are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and other streaming services.
Matt Juul is a writer based in Boston. Follow him on Twitter @RunTheJuuls.
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