Roughly a year ago I wrote a different version of this article where I shared the five podcasts that had completely taken over my life. Tastes change just as much as people do, and as a self-proclaimed podcast addict I'm always looking for my next favorite. I stop listening to podcasts for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the episodes just get stale, sometimes the podcast straight up gets cancelled and sometimes the podcast moves to an exclusive platform (I'm looking at you, Joe Budden). So I think it's time to revisit my list with some new favorites. Disclaimer: I'm only going through new podcasts that hadn't made last year's list.
The Bill Simmons Podcast
Host(s): Bill Simmons
The Bill Simmons Podcast (BS Podcast) was one of those that I always knew about and kept popping up in the charts but never gave a chance. For the unaware, Bill Simmons was an incredibly successful columnist/writer for ESPN and was one of the key players in starting the 30 for 30 series. He had a hand in basically everything that made ESPN the sorts powerhouse that it is today.
Simmons is 100% one of the godfathers of podcasting. He started back during his ESPN days and built up his own incredibly successful podcasting network for his own website The Ringer. The Ringer podcast network has something for everyone, and is probably the embodiment of what podcasting is meant to be in modern times, but The B.S. Podcast is the crown jewel.
Simmons navigates sports and pop culture, sometimes separately and sometimes where they intersect, with a rotating cast of Ringer staffers and Bill's friends in the industry. He also has an impressive catalogue of celebrity and athlete guests from the likes of Kevin Durant, Spike Lee and others. Simmons best qualities is to find a way to find a new angle without being an obnoxious contrarian like so many of the absurd sports personalities strive to be. This podcast is one of my favorites and my only regret is that I didn't give it a chance earlier.
The Shrink Next Door
Genre: Investigative Journalism/Suspense
Host(s): Joe Nocera, Bloomberg & Wondery
This was another one of those podcasts that I took a random chance on. Honestly, me just randomly selecting a podcast and liking it has had pretty low success rates in the past but I ended up loving everything about The Shrink Next Door. If you loved Serial, the podcast series that took the world by storm, then you'll love The Shrink Next Door. The storytelling format is nearly identical: establish a base story/mystery and then slowly reveal details over time that complicate the story in an episodic format.
To avoid accidentally revealing too much about the story, here's the description from the podcast's Apple Podcasts page:
Veteran journalist Joe Nocera's neighbor in the Hamptons was a therapist named Ike. Ike counted celebrities and Manhattan elites as his patients. He'd host star-studded parties at his eccentric vacation house. But one summer, Joe discovered that Ike was gone and everything he'd thought he'd known about his neighbor -- and the house next door -- was wrong. From Wondery, the company behind Dirty John and Dr. Death, and Bloomberg, "The Shrink Next Door" is a story about power, control and turning to the wrong person for help for three decades.
Sounds exciting, right? The Shrink Next Door raises some high expectations and follows through flawlessly. The storytelling and development is extremely compelling and they manage to do it in only 7 episodes. I'd call it the spiritual successor to Serial but it also manages to stand on its own.
Congratulations with Chris D'Elia
Host(s): Chris D'Elia
Congratulations is everything that a comedian podcast is meant to be and more. If you have a favorite comedian, chances are they have a podcast. There are entire networks out there of comedian friends hosting and going on each other's podcasts. It's a great way to expand audiences and self-promote, but most importantly it's helped raise comedy into the mainstream in a way that I don't think has been seen in many years.
If you like Chris D'Elia, then Congratulations is just everything him turned up to a 10. He doesn't really have any consistent segments and has only had one guest on that I can remember, but it manages to completely stand on its own. Fans of Chris D'Elia should definitely give this a try and even those who like comedians similar to him would like it as well.
4. The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast
Host(s): Cody Ko & Noel Miller
Cody Ko and Noel Miller took similar pathways that a greater majority of internet personalities have taken. They started out on Vine and when that shut down they eventually moved onto YouTube independently and started a podcast together. They managed to do so without becoming the typical Vine star turned Instagram comedian. in fact, I'd say they're much more successful than in their Vine days, which I'd consider particularly rare.
The best way I can describe Tiny Meat Gang is if the collective mind of Twitter and YouTube had a podcast. They're internet comedians, so they talk about internet things. If you've seen one of their videos, their podcasts are pretty much the same just much less edited.