Kelly Alto

"21 Fresh Podcast Recommendations from All Your Favorite Podcasters" [GQ]

Kelly Alto
"21 Fresh Podcast Recommendations from All Your Favorite Podcasters" [GQ]
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If you like:

Bodega Boys (Viceland)

>Download on Apple Podcasts

The topical roastfest that you listen to while you're waiting for Desus and Mero's new late-night show to premiere on Showtime next year.

Check out:

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Drink Champs (Crazy Hood)

>Download on Apple Podcasts

N.O.R.E. (of hip-hop duo Capone-N-Noreaga) has this hilarious and clearly drunk podcast where every rapper I ever grew up listening to (and other hood luminaries) come through, drink, and talk to N.O.R.E. and his co-host, DJ EFN, about anything and everything. There's some yelling and some slurred words, but N.O.R.E. having the access that he has makes this podcast unique—people loosen up around him. It's a shit show, but a fun one…not like that time you told your parents at Thanksgiving that you were liquidating your trust fund to explore Slovenia with a girl you met online, who may or may not have been a black-market organ harvester. —The Kid Mero, Bodega Boys

And:

Brutally Honest with Karlie Hustle (Mixamania)

>Download on Apple Podcasts

It's a hip-hop/lifestyle/culture podcast (with some moments of parenting advice) whose episodes range from mental health to hip-hop beef to drug addiction. It's a quick listen, but it can get super deep, and the host isn't afraid to have unpopular opinions—which she's able to defend and explain. —Desus Nice, Bodega Boys

If you like:

How Did This Get Made? (Earwolf)

Download on Apple Podcasts

A celebration of the best worst movies, by Jason Mantzoukas and married comedians June Diane Raphael and Paul Scheer. Think conversations about ‘The Room’ with ‘The Disaster Artist’ stars/creators James Franco and Seth Rogen.

Check out:

Disgraceland (Double Elvis Originals)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Wait, there's a great true-crime podcast that's also a music podcast? How soon can I get it in my ears?! On each episode of Disgraceland, host Jake Brennan delves deep into the true-crime stories related to some of our most beloved musical acts. Did Jerry Lee Lewis murder his wife? What were the events that led to Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes burning down her boyfriend's house? And a truly fascinating, harrowing tale of murder, cannibalism, and more within the Norwegian black-metal scene of the 1990s. Well researched and clocking in at around 30 minutes, each episode is a roller coaster of insanity. —Jason Mantzoukas, How Did This Get Made?

And:

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The Ride (Podcast: The Ride)

Download on Apple Podcasts

I am obsessed with theme parks, rides, and all things Disneyland and World—a secret that I don't share too publicly for fear of being shamed by my friends and loved ones. But after listening to this podcast about theme parks, hosted by three dudes who don't have kids, I have found my people. Each week they focus on a specific ride or experience as they interview other comedians and former employees of these parks. If you are looking for a starting point, I'll direct you to their two-part episode in which Eagleheartdirector Jason Woliner joins the guys to talk about two failed theme parks, one based on the world of Canadian puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft and the other on the Hard Rock Cafe. Yes, there was a Led Zeppelin roller coaster that played “Whole Lotta Love” in its entirety. (No wonder it's already closed.) —Paul Scheer, How Did This Get Made?

And:

Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)

Download on Apple Podcasts

I'm loving Pod Save the People, with host DeRay Mckesson. He is joined by fellow activists Brittany Packnett and Samuel Sinyangwe and academic Clint Smith—his weekly update on news, politics, culture, and social justice is my own personal classroom. The stories they uplift and think critically about are the ones I'm now wondering why I've never been exposed to/exposed myself to. I am learning so much from the conversations the hosts have and unlearning so much of what I've never thought to question. Mainly I'm grateful that these activists/thinkers come together each week to put their brains and hearts out on the airwaves for dummies like me. —June Diane Raphael, How Did This Get Made?

And finally:

Binge Mode: Harry Potter (The Ringer)

Download on Apple Podcasts

My most anticipated podcast of the year is Binge Mode: Harry Potter. I'm a huge fan of the work that hosts Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion have done on their Binge Modepodcast [editor's note: The first season was an episode-by-episode breakdown of ‘Game of Thrones’] and cannot wait for them to turn their attention on J. K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter books. —J.M.

If you like:

2 Dope Queens (WNYC Studios)

Download on Apple Podcasts

The comedy podcast-cum-hit HBO series hosted by self-described “Cocoa Khaleesis” Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson.

Check out:

Late Night Whenever with Michelle Buteau (WNYC Studios)

Listen on WNYC

Normally it would be fine to accuse me of being biased, seeing as Michelle is a 2 Dope Queens alumna. But she is hilarious. And her show is everything we love about late night: great celeb guests, funny monologue, and a breezy good time. Plus she always has Lisa Bonet curls popping, which, if you live in N.Y.C., you can see in person during the live tapings. As for everyone else, a great consolation prize for not getting to see her hair is listening to a new episode of Late Night Whenever every week. So subscribe, boo-boos! —Phoebe Robinson, 2 Dope Queens

If you like:

Bitch Sesh (Earwolf)

Download on Apple Podcasts

The lovingly cruel Bravo TV recap show from Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider.

Check out:

30 for 30: Bikram (ESPN)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Casey was a devoted Bikram-yoga practitioner for over five...weeks. Danielle had proudly...never tried it. Then we all started hearing rumblings that Bikram, the “guru” behind this rigorous form of hot yoga, was in fact accused of sexually assaulting some of his followers. This five-part series delves into the strange world of Bikram, giving us insane specifics about this unhinged, power-drunk yogi. We knew we were headed down a dark path when we heard that throughout all the classes he taught, two women massaged him while a third brushed his hair. It's the Wild Wild Country of the yoga world. —Danielle Schneider and Casey Wilson, Bitch Sesh

If you like:

Revisionist History (Panoply)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Check out:

Empire on Blood (Panoply)

Download on Apple Podcasts

The podcast I've loved this spring is Steve Fishman's Empire on Blood. It's in the tradition of many of the great true-crime podcasts like Serial, but somehow way weirder—every person you meet is nuttier and more vivid than the last. It's a reminder of just how insane the early 1990s were in cities like New York. We're only 25 years removed from a world of violence and drugs that seems almost unrecognizable today. —Malcolm Gladwell, Revisionist History

If you like:

The Gist (Slate)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Mike Pesca's commute-friendly interrogation of why we think of news and culture the way we do.

Check out:

Rational Security (Spaghetti on the Wall Productions)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Podcasts allow you a glimpse into different worlds. An immersion into wending narratives. A chance to be an anthropologist, friend, or eavesdropper. Which is great, but not what I use podcasts for: I use them as information-delivery vehicles. I need the smartest people with the most accurate facts making the most robust arguments. When it comes to the courts, the intelligence community, and defense and foreign policy, the Rational Security podcast is the ideal. Panelists Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey, Tamara Cofman Wittes, and Shane Harris are way-in-demand experts, who break news in their own domains and then come together for the most informative and necessary discussion of the week. They bring out the best in one another with their chemistry and rigor and leave listeners armed to process the threat matrix that is 2018. Then they have a scotch. —Mike Pesca, The Gist

If you like:

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The Nod (Gimlet Media)

Download on Apple Podcasts

A funny, poignant exploration of race from “blackness['s] biggest fans.”

Check out:

Keep It! (Crooked Media)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Each week co-hosts Ira Madison III, Kara Brown, and Louis Virtel hilariously discuss the biggest moments in news and culture: everything from Rihanna's Met Gala outfit to Melania Trump's ethics. Basically, Keep It! is the podcast version of the sampler platter of a good sports bar—you know, the kind where you get hot wings, potato skins, and chicken fingers all on the same plate. It's indispensable, dependable, and features a little bit of everything. —Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, The Nod

If you like:

Popcast (The New York Times)

Download on Apple Podcasts

A conversation among the paper's music critics that covers everything from Kanye to Ashlee Simpson.

Check out:

The Combat Jack Show (Loud Speakers Network)

Download on Apple Podcasts

There was nothing soothing about Reggie Ossé, who hosted his hip-hop shoptalk and interview podcast until his death from cancer last December. Go back and listen. He was a sparring partner, a skeptic, a fan who loved hip-hop so hard that he was never satisfied with the pat and polished. Some podcasts soothe; Ossé's scalded. —Jon Caramanica, Popcast

If you like:

More Perfect (WNYC Studios)

Download on Apple Podcasts

The ‘Radiolab’ spin-off about how shockingly interesting the Supreme Court is.

Check out:

Reply All (Gimlet Media)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Reply All is full of brilliant and often hilarious stories that are supposedly about (air quotes) the Internet but really are about anything. And what runs through all of them is the incessant, demented banter of the hosts, PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, who used to work where I work, at WNYC. At night I'd hear them bantering down the hall and think, Someone needs to just record those two at all times. —Jad Abumrad, More Perfect

And if you like Reply All, check out:

Comedy Bang! Bang! (Earwolf)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Every week Scott Aukerman interviews comedians playing made-up characters, and once you've listened enough, it can make you laugh the fifth-grade-sleepover kind of cry-laughter that hurts your cheeks. I recommend people start at episode 150, “Time Bobby.” Scott and his guest, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber (Paul F. Tompkins), spend an hour trying to outsmart a knife-wielding orphan. —PJ Vogt, Reply All

If you like:

Heavyweight (Gimlet Media)

Download on Apple Podcasts

In which Jonathan Goldstein helps guests get past their hang-ups by revisiting those moments with attendant parties.

Check out:

Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel (Audible)

Download on Apple Podcasts

I'm not a sports guy, but I imagine the thrill I get listening to Esther Perel perform talk therapy is sort of like watching Michael Jordan dunk. Perel counsels troubled couples and opens the door to the private world of therapist and client in a way that transcends voyeurism and instills a sense of genuine empathy. It is the opposite of a binge listen. It would be like bingeing caviar. —Jonathan Goldstein, Heavyweight

And if you like Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel, check out:

Invisibilia (NPR)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Invisibilia, the NPR podcast with Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin, is one of my few regulars. We often hear about advances in medical science and behavior, but rarely do we understand the human ramifications. They carve out shades of gray in a world that craves black and white and do an incredible job exploring the invisible forces behind it all. —Esther Perel, Where Should We Begin?

If you like:

Death, Sex & Money (WNYC Studios)

Download on Apple Podcasts

A weekly discussion of things like, well...death, sex, and money.

Check out:

Ear Hustle (Radiotopia)

Download on Apple Podcasts

I love Ear Hustle, co-hosted by inmate Earlonne Woods and radio producer Nigel Poor, with its mix of mundane and profound stories inside San Quentin State Prison. The episode “Dirty Water,” featuring an incarcerated sex trafficker and a woman who was trafficked, includes one of the most profound exchanges I've ever heard in audio. —Anna Sale, Death, Sex & Money

If you like:

The Bill Simmons Podcast (The Ringer)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Freewheeling, in-depth conversations on topics ranging from Colin Kaepernick to MTV's ‘The Challenge.’

Check out:

Still Processing (The New York Times)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Great chemistry, fun topics, super smart, occasionally crazy weird, Still Processing, with Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, is like hanging out with two friends. Conversation podcasts are hard because you have to structure them so they don't get derailed, but they also have to sound completely natural. They do that here. Anyway, I plan on stealing this podcast someday for The Ringer from the failing New York Times. —Bill Simmons, The Bill Simmons Podcast

 

And if you like Still Processing, check out:

Guided Meditations from Tara Brach (Tara Brach)

Download on Apple Podcasts

There's a theory about how to live life known as “radical acceptance,” or the practice of calling a cease-fire on your negative inner soundtrack and simply making peace with the reality of what is. Look, I know all of this sounds woo-woo, but host Tara Brach is a wonderful guide on how to apply the basic principles of Buddhism to your busy modern life in order to feel more aligned and grounded. Her wisdom has been instrumental in overcoming feelings of self-doubt, stress, anger, shame, regret. Her lectures have changed my life. —Jenna Wortham, Still Processing

If you like:

My Dad Wrote a Porno

Download on Apple Podcasts

The hilarious reading of an erotic-novel series written by Jamie Morton's father under the pseudonym “Rocky Flintstone” and co-hosted by James Cooper and Alice Levine.

Check out:

My Favorite Murder (Stitcher)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Who knew two people talking about their favorite homicides could be so funny? There's nothing like it out there. —Alice Levine, My Dad Wrote a Porno

If you like:

Slow Burn (Slate Plus)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Leon Neyfakh's recap of Watergate that is both entirely revelatory and eerily familiar.

Check out:

The Memory Palace (Radiotopia)

Download on Apple Podcasts

Every episode of this history podcast will make you feel as though you've crawled into a stranger's attic, opened a dusty armoire, and discovered a tiny, beautiful object that reveals a piece of history you've never heard. The Memory Palace vibrates with host Nate DiMeo's curiosity and his instinct for economical storytelling. He once said he tries to deliver the same concentrated emotional punch of a three-minute pop song. —Leon Neyfakh, Slow Burn

This story originally appeared in the August 2018 issue with the title "The 21 Podcasts That Are Better Than Any Summer Playlist."