Every list of “Best Podcasts” being published right now is wrong, as they prioritize professional standards and storytelling over the strength of the format — how DIY it is. Also, I am a reporter for a living and want to spend roughly 0.0 percent of my downtime listening to people analyze The News.
Here are the podcasts I listen to the most, in no order except how readily they came to mind as I counted.
The Bruenigs. Wonk husband and journalist wife (she happens to work with me) discuss news, life, and bad opinions.
Your Kickstarter Sucks. The concept alone would make a good podcast — two funny people go through a “six pack” of wretched Kickstarter concepts. The bonus is that the funny people are actually funny.
The Best Show with Tom Scharpling. Needs no explanation.
I Don’t Even Own a Television. Like those infinite number of “friends make fun of bad movies” podcasts, but for terrible books.
The Treatment. Elvis Mitchell talks to movie people.
Bullseye. Jesse Thorn talks to movie people and other kinds of people.
Chapo Trap House. There is really nothing as good as this when a few of the hosts get rolling. I still laugh at the moment when Will warned that the excerpt of a column he was about to read was “pure brain cancer” and Matt responded: “Feed it to me.”
Discord & Rhyme. Music nerds go through albums track by track. Disclosure: I have been on this one.
The Dig. Daniel Denvir interviews people doing interesting things on the left.
Slate Money. I’m allowed a couple of “normie” shows, right? This is relentlessly interesting about impenetrable topics.
Beyond Yacht Rock. The creators of “Yacht Rock,” a decade-plus later, sit around and make up genres then go through a top ten list that epitomizes said genres. Examples: “Stat Tracks” (songs about lusting after way-too-young women). “Nu-wop” (80s doo wop revivalism), “Divorcecore” (songs by middle-aged men about how it all went wrong).
The Next Picture Show. Movie critics watch an old movie then a new one and they talk about them.
Sh!tpost. A guide to the worst of the online far right.
The Weeds. Wonks!
WTF with Marc Maron. Go ahead and hate, but he has good guests and he tends to pull them somewhere interesting. Just skip the first 2 minutes of promotions and uninteresting updates on his life.
The Age of Napoleon. Like Hardcore History but with imposter’s syndrome.
The War Nerd. The intros are always too long, but Gary Brecher talking through all sorts of conflicts was great in column form and it’s great here.
Unpopular Opinion. I’ve been on this one, too! LA comedians discuss a world gone wrong.
View from the Cheap Seats. Listening to the Sklar brothers is the only way I can understand sports.