The top ten comedy podcasts

We run down the ten funniest audio offerings on the web

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Free from the censorship shackles of TV and radio, and the time restrictions of live club gigs, you can often find comedians at their most creative and riff-tastic on the internet, in comedy podcasts.

There are hundreds of free downloads out there. Some have gained huge cult followings, others have more or less disappeared into the ether… But here we’ve rounded up what we think are the ten best comedy podcasts the internet has to offer.

1

Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast

In his unofficial role as the king of internet comedy, Richard Herring’s been churning out top-quality podcasts for yonks (we also highly recommend ‘As It Occurs to Me’, if you haven’t listened to it already). But his most recent series – RHLSTP, as all the cool kids are calling it – is his finest yet.

After a few minutes of topical jokes, Herring sits down with the good and great of stand-up and TV comedy, from Armando Iannucci to Stewart Lee, Jonathan Ross to Tim Minchin. But this isn’t a cushy love-in, Herring asks ridiculous questions and gets equally silly (and often filthy) answers. It’s made us laugh more than anything else on the internet, and considering the millions of cat videos available, that’s saying something.

Listen to 'Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast'

2

Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown

Terrifically shambolic sketch troupe Pappy’s have another excellent podcast – ‘Bangers and Mash’, a mix of sketches and chat – but it’s their flatshare-based panel show that we can’t get enough off. Each episode focuses on a household chore that Ben and Tom (the tenants) are trying to avoid, so landlord Matthew makes them compete in various tasks to decide who has to do it.

Of course, it’s just a hook for a panel show, with Matthew acting as host while Ben and Tom, joined by comedian guests, captain opposing teams. It’s miles funnier than any panel show on TV or radio (partly thanks to Tom’s ridiculously silly deep southern lawyer character, Fanshawe Standon).

Listen to 'Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown'

3

The Pod F Tompkast

What happens when it’s night-time on the internet? The Pod F Tompkast happens, that’s what. The creation of smart American comic Paul F Tompkins, this refreshingly laidback, almost sleepy podcast features Tompkins talking nonsense, suavely accompanied on the piano by Eban Schletter.

Each episode features a chapter of ‘The Great Undiscovered Project’ – an increasingly epic saga about an abandoned collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber, John C Reilly, Ice T and others – a recorded sketch from Tompkins’s live show in LA, and a phone conversation with comedian pal Jen Kirkman. But the big laughs come from Tompkins just chatting away, veering off on strange tangents and deconstructing his own musings. Plus, he somehow even makes reading out a list of his own tour dates funny! Bravo.

Listen to 'The Pod F Tompkast'

4

The Smartest Man in the World

Everyone knows Greg Proops is a master improviser; we’ve all seen his sublime work on ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ But its on his solo podcast – recorded at comedy clubs across the world – that we see the pompadour-donning comic’s improv skills at their best.

‘The Smartest Man in the World’ is simply Proop Doggy Dogg monologuing for an hour or more about absolutely anything – the town he’s in, news headlines, Genghis Khan… – all with acid-tongued wit and sharp opinions. Look out for recordings in London; the Proopcast comes to Soho Theatre every so often.

Listen to 'The Smartest Man in the World'

5

By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin

The second comedian-on-comedian chat action on our list, this time from ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ star Jeff Garlin. Because of his fancy showbiz lifestyle, Garlin’s guests are A-list Hollywood friends of his – Will Ferrell, JJ Abrams, Lena Dunham… – and, because they’re his pals, it feels like you’re sat in on their conversation in the pub (or ‘bar’, as the Americans would say).

The first episode, with ‘Curb’ co-star and creator Larry David, is a proper treat; David’s on wonderfully misanthropic form, and Garlin knows exactly how to rile him up. But Jeff, stop with the sponsorship interruptions already! Don’t you earn enough money without having to tell us how good Audible.com is every half an hour? Come on!

Listen to 'By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin'

6

Do the Right Thing

Another excellent podcast panel show. On ‘Do the Right Thing’, regular team captains Michael Legge and Margaret Cabourn-Smith are joined by guests to work out what the best action to take would be in tricky hypothetical scenarios given to them by host Danielle Ward.

Of course, all this leads to witty riffing about peculiar situations and a lot of brilliantly angry rants from Michael Legge. It’s the best Radio 4 panel show that’s not actually on Radio 4 (with added F- and C-bombs).

Listen to 'Do the Right Thing'

7

The Thrilling Adventure Hour

More than 100 episodes in and this ‘new-time podcast in the style of old-time radio’ is still going strong. Originally just a live show (it’s still recorded live in LA), Bens Acker and Blacker write ‘The Thrilling Adventure Hour’, which has the classy feel of a 1940s radio play: smart, snappy dialogue and wonderfully observed pastiches.

Also, at just 20 minutes long with engrossing recurring characters and stories, it’s the perfect quick listen.

Listen to 'The Thrilling Adventure Hour'

8

Peacock and Gamble Podcast

Childish and childlike stand-ups Ray Peacock and Ed Gamble’s banterous podcast is a consistently funny listen. The pair have the freedom to riff (for hours, apparently, edited down to just 30 minutes) on everything from their latest food consumptions to top trumps, via wanking.

During the Edinburgh Fringe they release a daily version, joined by a different guest comedian each day. The Marek Larwood episode (from August 9, 2012) is a particular favourite of ours.

Listen to 'The Peacock and Gamble Podcast'

9

The SModcast Network

There are so many top quality podcasts on Kevin Smith’s massive Smodcast Network, it would be too difficult to choose just one (or even ten), so we’ve picked the whole lot. Smodcast has offerings for tons of interests from multiple contributors:

Smith and actor Ralph Garman discuss entertainment news in ‘Hollywood Babble-On’, former porn star Katie Morgan answers sex-themed questions in a show simply called ‘Having Sex, with Katie Morgan’ and, for comic book fans, there’s the beautifully titled ‘Fat Man on Batman’, where Smith interviews people who’ve worked on caped-crusader projects. Bring provisions, though, some episodes can go on for hours…

View the Smodcast Network's podcasts

10

New Year’s Eve with Neil Hamburger

If you prefer a podcast with more of a radio feel, and hosted by a bitter, drunken, washed-up entertainer, then Neil Hamburger’s brilliantly bizarre offering is for you. As well as the chat, Hamburger (the anti-comic character creation of Gregg Turkington) plays old country or soft rock songs in their entirety, before counting down the new year, every single episode.

It’s essentially what you’d imagine Hamburger himself listening to on the radio, at home alone on NYE, slouched in a chair drinking whisky from the bottle and shouting through the ceiling. And it’s ruddy brilliant.

Listen to 'New Year's Eve with Neil Hamburger'


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Users say

14 comments
Dyson
Dyson

Brilliant selection. I especially love the Peacock & Gamble Podcast. You should check out the ManBuyCow Podcast. It started recently, so since this article was written, and they've released 6 episodes so far. It's the only podcast that's ever made me laugh as much as Peacock & Gamble (really miss those guys).

justin caudill
justin caudill

I don't know who compiled this list, but I don't ever want to be trapped on a cross country road trip with any of them!! To exclude ''The Joe Rogan Experience'', "WTF with Marc Maron", "The Adam Carolla show", and several other's is beyond me!! I understand it's a top 10, but one of the previously mentioned podcast's should have made it!! I will never understand some peoples idea of "funny"!! At least I can block this site, & stay away from it forever!! So, thanks for that at least!!

Roger
Roger

Really good list, but as with all lists there are some (un)forgivable omissions. If you are interested in comedy you really should subscribe to The Comedian’s Comedian.

Pete
Pete

Where the f*ck is The Bugle? Bastards.

Bugler
Bugler

Where's The Bugle?!!!!!

Ben Williams
Ben Williams

The Bugle's great, but it's not the only good podcast out there, and some others should get a chance at some promo too! The Bugle's mentioned on practically every podcast article out there - and deservedly so - but, personally, I prefer the list above. And, like everything in comedy, it's all subjective, eh?

Carla
Carla

I love the Talkin Sh*t podcast with Jim Jefferies and Eddie Ift... they are so wrong and yet so funny! LOVE THEM!!

tom
tom

tough to think the Bugle didn't make it on. Its great that this has been done and Time Out are nice people but without the Bugle this seems kind of BS

Joe Bor
Joe Bor

Check out The Neurotics podcast.

Lee
Lee

Check out the 4amcab podcast for some really funny sketches. Well worth a listen, it's really well written and beautifully put together.

John Bowes
John Bowes

@Saoirse - can't believe I also forgot to mention The Bugle. Superb. (f*ck you, Chris)

John Bowes
John Bowes

This list is useless - where are Answer Me This and The Complete Guide to Everything? Both consistently hillarious week in week out.

Saoirse
Saoirse

Some great podcasts up there but shame not to see an offering from either of the podcasting Zaltzmans. The Bugle and Answer Me This are my two top podcasts every time.