10 essential podcasts to get you through your commute

Listened to every podcast in your library? Check out our ten audio faves.

Whether you’re looking for an accessible history lesson, side-splitting comedy, eerie drama or even a musical, we’ve got you covered.

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness

You’ll know Jonathan as one of the Fab Five in Netflix’s wildly popular Queer Eye reboot, or perhaps as the host of Funny Or Die’s hilarious Gay Of Thrones webseries. Brimming with energy and a seemingly boundless enthusiasm for history, politics and personal stories, Jonathan welcomes an expert guest each week to give him a 30 minute primer on subjects as wide-ranging as “who was the Beyoncé of Renaissance art?, “what makes a cult a cult?” and “is Saudi Arabia cute now?” Jonathan hurls questions at his guests without pausing for breath and they often end up tumbling down all kinds of tangential rabbit holes, which makes for a pretty fun half-hour.

Sandra

This audio drama from Gimlet Media stars Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat as Helen, who takes a job at a tech company in a last-ditch attempt to leave her old life behind. Her new employer just happens to be the maker of a Siri-esque digital assistant named Sandra (voiced by Kristen Wiig), and Helen soon finds that working behind the curtain isn’t quite what she expected.

Thirst Aid Kit

Ever wanted to gush about your celebrity crush? This is the podcast for you. Each week, BuzzFeed’s Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins take listeners on a giggle-inducing deep dive into their thirst for a different dreamboat. Episodes so far have focused on leading men like Michael B. Jordan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Oscar Isaac and Colin Farrell, as well as literary figures and even sexy cartoon characters — and the first season finale featured a guest appearance by Captain America himself, Chris Evans!

Global Pillage

Hosted by comedian Deborah Frances-White (of The Guilty Feminist fame), Global Pillage takes the comedy panel show format made popular by the likes of Never Mind The Buzzcocks and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, populates its panels with much more diverse talent than you’re likely to see on TV, and takes it on tour; each show is recorded live and includes participation from the audience.

A Very Fatal Murder

You’d be forgiven for thinking that 99% of all podcasts are in the true crime genre. Ever since the first season of Serial, it seems we’ve become obsessed with real life murders, and this near-the-knuckle parody from The Onion skilfully satirises the pop culture phenomenon of metropolitan radio hosts travelling to rural America to exploit a real-life tragedy for podcast fame.

Troll Play 

We all know the internet can be a weird and scary place, but it’s also pretty funny. In Troll Play, Australian comedians Alice Fraser, Cal Wilson and Sami Shah take online incidents and mine them for laughs.

Queery

Stand-up comedian Cameron Esposito hosts this weekly hour-long podcast, where she sits down for what are often intense and illuminating conversations with well-known figures from the LGBTQ community. Recent guests include award-winning author Roxane Gay, comedy legend Margaret Cho, and Drag Race star Trixie Mattel.

Evil Genius

Can you separate a problematic figure from their work? In this BBC roundtable, Russell Kane questions whether a successful or influential person who was truly awful in their personal life still deserves the label “genius,” by tallying up the pros and cons of their legacy. Historical figures who have been thoroughly examined by Kane and pals include Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Roald Dahl, Margaret Thatcher and Hugh Hefner.

Why Won’t You Date Me?

Nicole Byer, who made us laugh out loud as the host of baking show Nailed It!, talks sex and dating with her friends from the world of comedy in this baudy, no-holds-barred podcast.

36 Questions — The Podcast Musical

The appeal of this three act musical will depend, unsurprisingly, on how much you like musicals. Starring Jonathan Groff (Glee, Looking, Mindhunter) and musician Jessie Shelton, the 36 Questions podcast uses the experimental ’36 questions to fall in love’ to explore the fractured relationship between a young married couple. Can these 36 questions heal the rift between them?

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