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Lockdown Listen: 10 International Comedy Podcasts to Keep You Company

By Karishma D'Lima 30 April 2020

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We’ve all spent over a month in lock-down now. You might have had some fun sitting around at home, watching Netflix, and attending conference calls in your underpants for the first couple of weeks, but such small pleasures only last for so long. After a couple of weeks, you start missing the office. It’s the little things – the buzz of keyboards and hushed conversation that comes with a room full of people busy at work, the water-cooler gossip about who’s in trouble with the boss, or discussing the latest Vir Das comedy special over a smoke break in the parking lot. Most of all, you miss the comforting background sound of other people’s voices.

That’s where podcasts come in. Whether you’re looking for something to fill the eerie silence of your empty (except for you) flat, or you want something to laugh along to as you do the dishes, podcasts are the perfect antidote to a lonely quarantine. Here’s our picks for comedy-related podcasts to get you through the lock-down.

1. The Comedian’s Comedian (Stuart Goldsmith)

An interview-based podcast with Stuart Goldsmith where he chats with a variety of comedians like Russell Brand, Jimmy Carr and Hannah Gadsby about their process of comedic creation and the challenges that come along for the ride. It’s intimate and very revealing of the people behind the stage personas.

A student of comedy can learn the ins and out of writing jokes, performing routines and peek into the creative reflections of experienced comedians. This podcast is an exploration of comedic creativity and the candor Goldsmith evokes in his guests promises some real talk and lots of laughs.

Listen here.

2. My Dad Wrote A Porno (James Mortan)

Jamie Mortan’s elderly father self-published a pornographic book. In this podcast, he invites his friends James Cooper and Alice Levine to enjoy it with him, much to the listener’s amusement. Each episode covers one chapter of the book, as well as bits of hilarious dissections of sentences—and even specific words—from Rocky Flintstone’s (Mortan’s Dad’s pen name!) first ever porno. With quick wit, brilliant improv and banter that can only happen amongst real friends, the hilarity maxes out.

For all your smut needs this quarantine, check out My Dad Wrote A Porno. Jamie, James and Alice are the perfect quarantine buddies. (Bonus: you can purchase the book online and read along with them!) It has over 250 million podcast downloads and the trio have even taken the show live on tour.

Listen here.

3. Off Menu (Ed Gamble & James Acaster)

Here is another concept podcast hosted by British comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster. Off Menu is an offbeat food and comedy podcast where guests are invited to pick their dream menu start to finish. With guests like Kumail Nanjiani, Katherine Ryan and Arabella Weir, the strange albeit entertaining discussions center around food and the guests. It was nominated for the 2019 British Podcast Awards in the Best Entertainment category.

Their website also features a list of recommended restaurants from all over the world, mentioned in the podcast. Shout out to Nish Kumar for recommending Mumbai’s Bademiya!

Listen here.

4. Hello From The Magic Tavern (Arnie Niekamp)

A unique high-concept podcast hosted and produced by Arnie Niekamp, Hello From The Magic Tavern is a weekly improvised narrative comedy podcast. The podcast is set in the fictional world of Foon, where Arnie is trapped; and features an array of magical cast and characters (mostly from Chicago’s comedy improv community).

For comedians, it’s a chance to learn the techniques of structured improv, voice acting and narrative building. Arnie is joined each week by co-hosts Usidore the Blue (Matt Young), a wizard, and Chunt (Adal Rifai), a shapeshifter. The three regulars interview guests and let listeners in to new aspects of this magical land. Safe to say this one might not be for everybody.

The show developed a cult fan following with real-life listeners interacting with the characters by sending email messages to Arnie and Chunt and through in-character Twitter accounts. The show even has five(!) miniseries spinoffs.

Special mention: In Season 3, Ep 38 – Distant (Released 27 April 2020), Arnie, Chunt and Usidore are trapped in different locations and try to figure out how to communicate with each other. Sound familiar?

Listen here.

5. The Ron Burgundy Podcast (Will Ferrell)

For those not familiar with the Anchorman film series, Ron Burgundy—the protagonist played by Will Ferrell—is a helmet-haired, ego-centrist parody of 1970s US news anchors. Ferrell has now brought his beloved character back with The Ron Burgundy Podcast. Carolina Barlow co-writer and co-host adds her own energy and humour to the show; and laughs are guaranteed. For comedy-lovers that haven’t yet watched the Anchorman series, do it! It’s a great way for you to waste your quaran-time with a lot of laughs. Of course you can also just jump straight into the podcast, you’ll still get all the jokes.

Ron Burgundy has been seen on television and late night shows and is the epitome of character work. You’re sure to find yourself bingeing through old episodes and tweaking for new ones every week.

Listen here.

6. Comedy Bang! Bang! (Scott Aukerman)

Coming back to the real world, this podcast is edutainment at its best. With
a history in radio and television, host Scott Aukerman (who also produced Between Two Ferns) takes a deep dive into the brilliant minds of the world of comedy, music, television and film. Aukerman has a knack for collaboration and pulls in industry veterans, as well as featuring lesser known but equally entertaining guests. You will find Aukerman hosting guests from across industries like Patton Oswald, Amy Poehler, St. Vincent, Michael Cerra, Zach Galifianakis and Nick Kroll to name a few.

The show is a mixed bag of conversation, character acts, comedy songs and several improv-style games. It’s totally packed and totally entertaining!

Listen here.

7. You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes

A weekly comedy interview podcast hosted by—you guessed it—Pete Holmes. While there was an initial focus on interviewing comedians, he has since brought on guests from a variety of fields like scientists, authors and even pastors. Guests like Judd Apatow, Bill Nye (the science guy!), Jon Hamm and Chelsea Peretti offer casual pearls of wisdom in each episode, and you will definitely get some new insights along the way.

The show’s title came from the original concept where Holmes would discuss three “weird” things he knew about the guests but has since evolved into more laid-back and reflective discussion we are let in on. Fun fact: Kumail Nanjiani was the first guest on 25 October 2011.

Special mention: The episode with Jesse David Fox. A reflective discussion on comedy as an art-form—the conventions, choices, challenges and motivations. It’s packed with inspiration for any budding comedian.

Listen here.

8. Matt Morgan’s Funny How?

Most comedians spend their time thinking about what people will find funny. Why is that even funny? Or how could you NOT find that funny? Well, here is a very explicit podcast investigating exactly that. The host Matt Morgan is quick with a cutting sense of humour, and will definitely keep you giggling along with him.

He invites guests to find out what “tickles their pickle”; Morgan’s easygoing energy guarantees some interesting twists and turns in the conversation. This one isn’t for the faint of heart as it can get a bit dark, a bit strange, and is littered with expletives. That said, Morgan’s hilariously futile attempt to dissect comedy with the experts may actually leave you with some new comedic insights to think about.

Listen here.

9. On Comedy Writing (Alan Johnson)

This is another edutainment podcast for comedians, comedy lovers and writers alike! Alan Johnson hosts a podcast dedicated to writing comedy. Interviewing guests with unique experiences in the comedy world, Johnson discusses the business behind comedy and breaks down the craft of comedy writing. It’s unique in that Johnson speaks to a wide cross-section of the people involved in the business of comedy, from screenplay writers, stand up comedians, animators, joke writers and sketch comedy writers.

Unfortunately, the podcast has aired its last episode. However, there are over 100 released episodes, for your listening pleasure.

Listen here.

10. Comedy Album Book Club (Jason Deline)

This is the comedic podcast version of your regular old book club hosted by Jason Deline. Every month, Deline and the guests curate a comedy album, and then get together to talk about it! A comedy album is very simply an audio recording of a comedian’s set.

For all you comedy buffs out there, this is an insightful breakdown of some of the best comedy acts. You might even find some gems that you haven’t heard of yet! Check it out.

Listen here.

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