Top 10: Podcasts

Top 10 Podcasts Artwork

Especially since I created Off the Record I’ve increasingly made the effort to stay apprised of and up to date with as many different types of entertainment as possible. If I am being honest with you though, until this year, between my busy work schedule and so many other distractions I’ve really let podcasts slip under my radar. I have, however, used the free time I’ve had during the pandemic to really catch up on all the podcasts I’ve been recommended or have seen and wanted to check out. After a year of listening to various shows I’ve created a Top 10 list, which you can check out below. 

1. Welcome to Nightvale
Despite what I said in the intro I’ve actually been a fan of this series for several years now, but it was the exception to the rule more than anything. How best to describe Nightvale, well first of all it’s incredibly charming, it has a surreal absurdity that attracted me to it much the same way Mighty Boosh did when I first saw it on BBC 3 back in 2005. Nightvale is for all intents and purposes a radio show set within the fictional town of Nightvale, which is just a desert town in the southwest United States, but nothing about the town is ordinary or predictable, not that the residents care much. Joseph Fink, one of the creators, said that Nightvale is ‘a town in that desert where all conspiracy theories were real’ and that premise was interesting enough to encourage me to listen. I would strongly recommend Nightvale for people who like things a little odd but with a healthy dose of humour and almost wholesomeness.


2. My Brother, My Brother And Me
So I initially came to this podcast from the various hilarious excerpts posted on YouTube but upon checking out the full episodes of this amazing advice based comedy podcast I was drawn in and have eagerly been consuming the backlog of episodes. If you aren’t familiar with My Brother, My Brother and Me or MBMBAM it’s hosted by Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy, three brothers. Technically because he opens up the shows, the me in the title should belong to Justin but according to episode 333, the listener is actually the me and Justin is the comma which I guess makes me feel special. Anyway, MBMBAM is hilarious, the dynamics between the brothers feel genuine, the anecdotes, the banter, the back and forth and even the occasional squabbling not only come across as real but easily make the show something worth listening to. I’ve listened to it a lot over the pandemic especially, although like Nightvale it predates my new podcast obsession and it’s been a source of enjoyment and comfort.

3. Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald
This features Zach Braff and Donald Faison who played J.D and Turk on the popular show Scrubs, and honestly you wouldn’t think that two cast members reliving their glory days would be so good but as another entry of this list will tell you, you get to see a whole other side to the show, the cast and the characters when you see it through the lens of the people who made it and whose life it was for nearly 10 years. Also it’s sweet that their friendship is so real and that their first thought during the Pandemic was that they could do something together. It’s evolved as well and yet managed to keep an impromptu and casual feel, bringing the fun and the nostalgia in equal measure.

4. Small Beans Podcast
I love Michael Swaim and Abe Epperson, they are both fantastic creators, both formerly of Cracked and I’m really glad that they managed to move on to something as awesome as this. Seriously though Small Beans is a great experience with a lot of big personalities, they talk about a whole load of topics and you just kind of get into the flow with it. I do need to add that even though there are some familiar Cracked voices on Small Beans this isn’t just for fans of Cracked but can be enjoyed entirely on its own merits because it’s legitimately entertaining and engaging.

5. Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn
I initially became familiar with Gaby Dunn from their tenure on Buzzfeed, I followed them when they alongside their best friend and fellow former BuzzFeed talent Allison Raskin left and formed their show together called ‘Just Between Us’ which is fantastic and I strongly suggest you check it out. But anyway on to the podcast, Gaby Dunn’s Bad with Money is refreshing, perhaps owing to their own experience, or their comedy background, it always feels like your friend who inexplicably got their shit together and decided to tell you how to do it too. Gaby had a wonderful personality that translates well to the platform and manages to make it interesting, insightful and with listening to.

6. I Am All In with Scott Patterson
So this is fresh, practically brand new as of the posting of this list but I am already in love with it. I liked that Scott Patterson as a person seems to embody the best of Luke Danes, his character on Gilmore Girls and yet is so much more. He’s certainly less reserved than Luke, I mean even with Lorelai doing all of the talking I can’t imagine Luke doing a podcast. Oh and while I’m on the topic, I hope he gets Lauren Graham on for at least one episode. But anyway I liked getting to know Scott Patterson away from his character and it was great getting to find out more about the show and how it worked. For example it never occurred to me that because of different filming locations etc that some cast members might never have properly interacted. It’s still doing its feet but it’s awesome and I’m looking forward to more in the near future.

7. Shagged. Married. Annoyed with Chris & Rosie
This podcast features the fantastic antics of married couple Chris and Rosie Ramsey and it’s incredibly funny, not just because Chris is a comedian but because they discuss real life topics and make banter than flowed easily, sure it’s occasionally awkward but it’s genuine and I can see why I was recommended it by at least three people.

8. The Ensign’s Log Podcast
As a huge fan of Star Trek and Steve Shives I was super excited to check out this podcast and it doesn’t disappoint, because not only is it an interesting premise but it’s funny and self-referential and involves two low level ensigns discussing the events on board a certain ship during TOS.

9. Quick Question with Soren and Daniel
Not to keep shamelessly promoting podcasts by former Cracked creators but honestly I strongly recommend you check out Quick Question, Soren and Daniel have a legitimate friendship that comes across throughout and I genuinely look forward to new episodes each week. I also like their willingness to talk about anything, even the minutiae of their lives. Since they left Cracked I’ve been missing them both so it’s good to catch up with them now and much like the Small Beans Podcast, it helps, but is not required to already be a Cracked fan as the show easily holds its own.

10. Girl In Space
This is probably my most recent obsession and seriously it’s amazing, it’s genuinely compelling and truly riveting, with a rich and engaging storyline that was a treat to listen to. The framework of Girl is Space is that of an audio diary, and it has such brilliant performances. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Honourable mentions go to Even More News, A Conversation With… and Armchair Expert which I also really enjoyed but didn’t quite make the top 10 list.

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