Welcome to instalment six of Pick of the Podcasts, where we explore different podcasts grouped around a central theme.
For each series, I’ll provide a brief synopsis of the podcast and I’ll also give my pick of one favourite episode, which may help ease you in if you’re a new listener or highlight an episode to revisit for regulars.
Today’s theme: Podcasts to make you laugh
Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4
A suite of podcasts brought under one banner by BBC Radio 4, Friday Night Comedy consists of The News Quiz, The Now Show, Dead Ringers and The Museum of Curiosity. There is a new episode every week, though I have yet to fully figure out the schedule for when which show will appear! However, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these podcasts, all of them are funny in their own way so make sure to give them all a chance when you can.
My pick: The News Quiz – Now I know this is kind of cheating because I’m choosing The News Quiz as a whole rather than a specific episode but I hope you’ll go with me on this since the whole suggestion is kind of cheating anyway seeing as this podcast is actually multiple shows in one group. The News Quiz is essentially the TV show Have I Got News For You but in podcast format, even some of the hosts and guests on here are the same as the ones that you would see on the TV show. The News Quiz a great way to listen to the funny in the sometimes not so funny news of the world.
Originally a joint venture between Andy Zaltman and John Oliver, The Bugle is a satirical news show that pokes fun at what’s happening around the world. After John Oliver went off to front the popular US TV show Last Week Tonight, Andy continued on with The Bugle, hosting alongside the podcast’s producers as well as a variety of comedian guests. The early episodes will appeal if you are a fan of John Oliver, the later episodes will appeal if you are a fan of John Oliver-esque humour without actually listening to him.
My pick: Bugle Lady Special – It’s an oldie, but a goodie. This episode focuses on all women based news from around the world (way back in 2012). Funny (and a little bit sad) the first time around, but equally funny (and sad) listening to this episode now to hear how little things have changed in the years that have passed since it first aired.
How Did This Get Made?
Hosted by Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas along with occasional guests, How Did This Get Made? is a hilarious “conversation” focused on the picking apart of terrible movies. As the hosts try and navigate their way through the plot, very enthusiastic discussions take off in every direction. And it’s not always bad reviews of the movies, occasionally there is a consensus that the film being discussed is actually so bad, it’s good. Make sure to stick around to the end of the show when they read some truly spectacular 5 star Amazon reviews posted online.
My pick: Twilight Breaking Dawn Pt 1 – I want to start by begging you not to skip this episode because it is about Twilight. This episode made me loudly burst out laughing, in public, as I was walking home from work. And if that isn’t an endorsement for a comedy podcast, then I don’t know what is. If you like the books or not, if you like the films or not, this episode is worth listening to purely for how worked up Jason Mantzoukas gets over some of the finer plot points.
Dumb People Town
To summarise the premise of Dumb People Town in 5 seconds; comedians make fun of listener submitted stories of dumb people. In a bit more detail, this podcast takes a few real life news stories of people doing some ridiculous things and make jokes based on these events. Interspersed with a general chat between the hosts and the guest comedian, each episode has some truly hilarious moments and some that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief.
My pick: Jon Hamm – Bring in the Nerp – I often associate Jon Hamm with his more serious roles like in Mad Men, but I am always pleasantly surprised to be reminded that he is genuinely funny. His comedic presence is further enhanced by the fact that he had no idea what this show was about so his reactions to the news stories make them that much funnier to listen to. Prepare yourself to think that rural America is even more ridiculous than you might have already assumed.