12 Comedy Podcasts As Smart as SmartLessReading Time: 5 minutes
Obsessed with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett’s SmartLess? There’s more where that came from.
SmartLess is having a good year. Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett launched the podcast in 2020, it was acquired by Amazon for around $80 million in 2021, and this year, Max premiered a six-episode documentary-style special following the show’s six-city North American tour. It recently jumped to number two on the Apple Podcasts charts, right below The Daily.
That means if you’re reading this you probably know all about the show, and maybe you’re in the market for something with the same vibes: funny, offbeat, conversational. Here are 12 podcasts that might not be in the top five just yet, but are sure to bring you lots of laughs.
Seth Meyers and his brother Josh are the hosts of Family Trips With the Meyers Brothers, a show that asks guests to relive their family vacations. Talking about trips is an excuse for them to have fun conversations with John Oliver, Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler, and other funny people (who aren’t making rounds on all of the other famous people podcasts). It’s a peek into the families and childhoods of well-known folks, with storytelling, tangents, brotherly banter between Seth and Josh, and a custom-written parody song about each guest at the end of every episode.
What’s it like to be a celebrity trainer? Which ’90s shows were ahead of their time? Why do we lie? On Baby, This Ts Keke Palmer, Keke comes to the mic with questions and invites guests (including the likes of Jordan Peele, Amy Heckerling, and John Stamos) to help find answers. Keke’s big personality sparkles as she dives into the obsessions taking over her brain and unpacks them, taking some funny people along for the ride. You’ll learn something you never thought you knew you needed to know.
On All Fantasy Everything, everything can be fantasy drafted—racehorse names, chips, words that make you sound dumb, places to sleep that aren’t a bed, animals that you wish would fuck right off, and even fantasy drafts themselves. Comedians Ian Karmel, Sean Jordan, and David Gborie host a roundtable with their friends, taking turns coming up with draft lists like you’ve never heard before. Every round is a springboard into wacky stories and tangents about the specific things in life that we love, are annoyed by, and do when we think nobody is watching.
Comedians George Civeris and Sam Taggart are unpacking straight culture one piece at a time with the aid of funny guests on Straightiolab. Their conversations, which are about 75% wild tangents, are so off the wall that they go right past weird to totally genius. Whatever outrageous, tenuous ties they find between the topic of the day and queerness inevitably segue into quasi-philosophical conversations about gender. Think of it as academic comedy. Each show starts with a silly game segment that makes no sense (and nobody is allowed to ask questions about it), and George, Sam, and the guests end each episode with TRL-esque shoutouts. To steal from George and Sam, ‘if this writeup doesn’t make you want to listen to the show, then congratulations, you are probably gay.’
You know someone is a good friend if they will pick you up at the airport. Usually, it’s an enormous ask. But if you’re shuttling around some of the biggest comedians in LA, it’s fodder for an outrageously funny podcast. On Do You Need a Ride, comedians Chris Fairbanks and Karen Kilgariff pick up guests like Margaret Cho, Reggie Watts, Jackie Kashian, and Ron Funches, and deliver them home safely, somehow. (Seems risky that their recording studio is their car.) Their conversations are as breezy as any you’d have with your friend on a road trip, as breezy as the L.A. wind kissing Chris and Karen’s cheeks as they go pedal to the medal, windows down, talking about dogs on Benadryl, drunk spelunking, Tupac’s hologram, the hunks of Point Break, and more.
Lady to Lady feels like a sleepover with your best friends Brandie Posey, Barbara Gray, and Tess Barker. The trio hosts fun-filled chats packed with jokes and silly segments pulled from your childhood birthday parties. Guests come on to play along, and at the end, the segment ‘Lady Problems’ answers listener questions with funny but helpful advice. Every so often the ladies do solo episodes—casual chats about their lives that are somehow 10 times more entertaining than mine.
Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher are comedians who are funny on their own merits, but together, they are magic. Their joint podcast Endless Honeymoon is a laugh-packed relationship show that gives completely unfiltered advice to callers about fostering friendships with the opposite sex, what to do about a flatulent partner, and more, even as it offers a peek into their own relationship. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be married to a comedian, this show makes it seem pretty fun.
Anthony Atamanuik has created a podcast about anxiety that is so much more than giving tips on how to deal with it, or about interviewing girlbosses or tech bros who have claimed to have overcome it. Don’t Panic is a variety show that brings in guests to consider life’s worst case scenarios—and the rich soundscape makes you feel like you’re going through the disaster yourself. Tips are offered, so try to remember them if you’re ever attacked by a swarm of bees or accidentally launch your car into a lake. In the end, you might die. Anthony and his guests might, too. Hope you make it out alive.
On Double Threat, comedy legends Julie Klausner (Hulu’s Difficult People) and Tom Scharpling (The Best Show) team up for long-winded, laugh-packed, and often completely bizarre variety show full of singing, skits, and conversations about topics trending in pop culture, from Carvel’s newest ice cream cake, to Liza Minelli’s bunions, to creepy movie characters, to Ted Cruz getting a beer can thrown at him. Guests like Alan Cumming and Ricki Lake pop by for complex and madcap conversations.
Hollywood Handbook claims to be ‘an insider’s guide to achieving your showbiz dreams from two A-List it-boys who are living theirs.’ But that would be boring. Instead, hosts Hayes Davenport and Sean Clements are teasing the idea, inviting celebrities from Kumail Nanjiani to Aubrey Plaza on to talk about their projects, yes, but the whole time they are playing the role of two people dying to get into the industry. It’s full of inside jokes, running gags, and improvised skits that tell a story about being famous—and how much of it is real is up to you to figure out.
Doughboys is a show that offers funny but serious fast food restaurant reviews by the duo of Mike Mitchell and Nick Wiger. The guys bring on other comedians to either praise or totally roast staple items from nationwide chains like Taco Bell and more localized spots like Del Taco. Episodes are long—they start with a brief history of the establishment, plenty of banter between Mike, Nick, and the guest, and a lengthy, detailed overview of the food (what was ordered, and how the joint rates on a 5-fork scale). The more you listen, and the more you get to know Mike and Nick and their combative dynamic, and realize this show is just as much about their friendship as it is about the burgers.
This just in—comedian, actor, and host of The Eric Andre Show Eric Andre is the host of the brand-new Bombing With Eric Andre, a platform that gives him space to hang out with friends to talk about failure, and share funny stories about bombing on stage and in public and general life. On episode one, out now, Eric brings on Michelle Buteau, and the two share stories about their early stand-up days—peeing in bottles and doing shows drunk in front of unappreciative crowds. The show uses playful production elements to give the stories a layer of verisimilitude—but the stories don’t need them. Bombing isn’t fighting failure, it’s relishing in it.
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