If you know me in person, I open pretty much every conversation with podcast recommendations. I really got into podcasts first through This American Life and Serial, and when I discovered My Favorite Murder, I was 100% hooked. Since everyone knows about My Favorite Murder, I haven’t included it in my list… Here are 16 (yes, 16!) podcasts that I really enjoy. One of the first things I do every day is refresh my Podcast feed to see what new episodes are there! Listening to podcasts while cleaning, knitting, driving, or doing my makeup is the BEST.
I discovered most of these podcasts from friends, or on other podcasts that I like, so I wanted to share them in case you haven’t heard about them either! Podcasts that I find Relative To My Interests include:
- Comedy that isn’t obnoxious or abrasive. Mostly from women, but some guys do this great. I love very risque comedy, but especially with true-crime/comedy there is a fine line between hilarious and horrifying. (This is the reason that I don’t recommend Last Podcast on the Left).
- Beauty stuff, obviously
- True Crime, especially really good serious investigative podcasts OR stuff about serial killers OR true crime/comedy mashups like My Favorite Murder
- Horror, especially that which presents a creative use of the podcast medium
So, here we go with my top 17!
- The No Sleep Podcast. Okay, if I had known what this actually was I might not have started listening to it, but trust me, it’s GOOD. This is a series of well-produced and well-acted stories from r/creepypasta. That concept sounds dumb to me but honestly they are riveting and scary AF. Some of the stories are a little hit or miss but the ones that are good are SO GOOD. The episode that got me hooked is S9 E20, the story My Brother Ben, Who Was Adopted. It took a very disturbing and unexpected turn…
- Radiotopia Showcase’ The Polybius Conspiracy. First of all, yes, these are real interviews with real people. During much of the 7-episode arc I was wondering if it was actually fiction and it took a little bit of googling to figure out for sure. The basic premise is that there is a man who gives street tours in Portland, OR focused on a mythical video game urban legend. That’s all I want to tell you about it–it takes turns and leaves you wondering even after the last one.
- The Dollop. The “brother” podcast to My Favorite Murder: one of the co-hosts was Karen Kilgariff’s “first comedy boyfriend”. From their opening line: The Dollop is a bi-weekly* American History Podcast. Every week, Dave Anthony reads a story to his friend, Gareth Reynolds, who has no idea what the topic is going to be about. I have learned so much from this podcast, and it’s always hilarious. Even though the hosts are two cis-men who often say pretty graphic off-color things, they are pretty “woke” when it comes to sexism, racism, and our historical atrocities.
- My Dad Wrote a Porno. As far as I can tell, everyone’s already listening to this, but just in case… This is three British comedians: a gay man, a cis/het man, and a woman; one of them reads aloud to the other two from his father’s series of really, really bad erotic novels. I have laughed harder from this podcast than anything in years. It will bring you joy, I promise.
- You Must Remember This. Probably the most impeccably researched and well-produced podcast I’ve ever heard. You Must Remember This tells long-form stories about the lives of Old Hollywood. The multi-part series about Joan Crawford was fascinating, but my favorite storyline was the six-part series about Charles Manson in Hollywood. I thought I knew the story of the Manson Family and I’m here to tell you that I did not.
- Generation Why. Aaron and Justin tell us about true crime and other mysteries (mostly murders). Sounds simple but they are great, insightful and interesting. Another impeccably researched podcast and they’ve been on for years so there are HUNDREDS of episodes to listen to. Not all the episodes are on podcast services but you can download them all for free on their website. They’ve done most of the major serial killers (BTK, Night Stalker, Ted Bundy, etc) and many lesser known ones.
- Reaching for the Moon. A sweet little podcast from Everglades Moon Local Council that comes out every Sabbat for Wiccans. I haven’t found many witchy podcasts I enjoy, but this one kind of makes me feel like Prairie Home Companion for witches. It’s not super high-production but it’s warm and enjoyable.
- True Crime Obsessed. OK, it’s a little meta: This is a cis/het woman and a gay man reviewing and discussing true crime documentaries, like Voyeur, Cropsey, and The Keepers. They’re hilarious and I enjoy listening to episodes about movies I have wanted to see but haven’t watched (I don’t mind spoilers).
- And That’s Why We Drink. These two kids have a special place in my heart because I started listening from the very first episode–they had followed me on Twitter, because I think they were following everyone who followed MFM. Good marketing strategy! Em and Christine spend each episode discussing a paranormal/ghost story that Em presents, and a true crime story presented by Christine. They’re engaging, charming, and well-researched. I have enjoyed following their adventures on the podcast and via twitter/Insta (especially when the love between Em and Christine’s BFF Allie blossomed) and I like to think of myself as their queer auntie, but with 4 million downloads in one year I know I’m just one of many fans! (Congrats on your fame explosion, kids!)
- The Faculty of Horror. I binged the hell out of this when I discovered it a few weeks ago and it’s my new absolute favorite podcast. Andrea and Alex, a sociologist and horror writer, respectively, host an academic analysis of a particular horror film in each episode. They are unbelievably smart and well-researched, but have great senses of humor, and I am absolutely fascinated by every episode. They’re great at calling out and discussing problematic themes, characters or plot points while acknowledging their own perspective as cis/het women. It’s highly feminist and highly critical of horror in the best possible way–they love horror and they love these films but they break everything down and unpack it. My favorite episode so far was The Exorcist, and fair warning: They play an audio clip in the episode for the film Audition that literally made me dry-heave for 5 minutes.
- Fat Mascara. Jess and Jen are two seasoned beauty editors and each week they have a guest from the beauty industry, like my fave Marcia Kilgore from Beauty Pie. These women KNOW beauty and I always learn something about trends. It’s the only beauty podcast I really like; Natch Beaut is also pretty good but I have to be in the right mood for the host’s boisterous personality.
- Alice Isn’t Dead. One of the best pieces of horror fiction I have ever experienced in any media format. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the fact that it comes from the creators of Welcome to Nightvale should give you a clue. It’s scary AF, totally suspenseful and twisty. There are two seasons up, and season 3 comes in 2018.
- Limetown. Horror fiction, but presented as an investigative podcast ala Serial. Ten years ago 300 people disappeared from a small town and a reporter wants to know why. Also totally creepy and I can’t wait to find out what happens in season 2 (2018).
- Zealot. If you’re a big fan of My Favorite Murder, like me, you might remember Jo as the girl who moonwalked across the stage and did a hometown murder. After that episode aired, her podcast, Zealot, was #1 on iTunes. It’s actually good, though! She’s Australian and she has a guest on each episode to talk about a different cult. She’s hilarious and has these little jingles for things that cults have in common (like “Does anyone? Think? They’re Jesus?”)
- The Cleaning of John Doe. This is a new true-crime podcast with stories from a woman who runs a crime scene cleaning company. I’ve encountered crime scene cleanup several times in my work (we’ve had to call for hoarding situations) so I have been very curious about what that job is like. In the podcast you get both crime stories and her own story of how she created and grew her business. Sometimes graphic, but all interesting.
- Fat Feminist Witch. The only other witchy podcast I’m really into, I like it because I, too, am a fat feminist witch. Also, the host is darling and the topics are interesting!
- True Crime Fan Club. I like 2 things about this podcast: First, she does a lot of research and discusses in great detail some grisly and lesser-known crimes. Second, she has this soft, soothing voice that sounds like an ASMR video. What’s not to like?
So, there you go, my top 17 podcasts. Don’t ever complain to me about your commute again! 😉