NYC’s top ten podcasts: Welcome to Night Vale, RISK! and more

Our favorite local podcasts center on everything from hilarious chats (How Was Your Week?) to historical tidbits (The Bowery Boys).

Illustration: Paul McCreery

With the podcast revolution in full swing, we decided to scour the Interwebs for the best NYC-recorded shows. (Also, that’s the last time we’ll use the phrase podcast revolution; we promise.) Sit back, download a few episodes and enjoy.

1. How Was Your Week?

Sure, funny lady Julie Klausner chats with some pretty terrific guests—including playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and comic duo the Sklar Brothers—for her weekly show. But equally enjoyable is her monologue at the top of each episode, where she dishes on whatever topics strike her fancy.

2. The Bowery Boys

Amateur historians Greg Young and Tom Meyers dig deep into NYC’s past for their monthly ’cast, often spotlighting ideas inspired by current events. A recent installment told the story of John Purroy Mitchel, the city’s second-youngest mayor ever, as a precursor to the upcoming mayoral election.

3. Welcome to Night Vale

Devotee of community radio? Lovecraftian horror? Lynchian black comedy? Check out this gem about the strange goings-on in a fictional desert town where the high school’s star quarterback has two heads, and a faceless old woman lives in your house. Yes, your house.

4. The Needle and the Mouse

Husband-and-wife team Dan Frommer and Lauren Sherman explore the intersection of fashion and technology in their on-trend show, which covers hot subjects like whether the new gold iPhone is all it’s cracked up to be and how to wear bike helmets with style.

5. RISK!

If you like your yarns raunchy, this weekly offering is for you. Host Kevin Allison (of sketch-comedy group the State) is uniquely talented at getting his guests (Sarah Silverman, Andy Borowitz) to dish R-rated tales they might otherwise be too embarrassed to tell. Allison also brings a live version to the Peoples Improv Theater once a month; the next one, Rock Bottom, happens October 24.

6. Ask Me Another

Competitive types and agile minds are hooked on snappy comedian Ophira Eisenberg’s NPR radio game show, which tapes at the Bell House. (AMA will record on October 22 with special guest Justin Long—you know, the Mac guy?) Any given edition can include obscure trivia, brain-bending word puzzles and musical parodies from guitarist Jonathan Coulton.

7. The Soundtrack Series

If hearing Biggie’s “Hypnotize” immediately transports you to your middle-school dances, then dig into this nostalgia-fueled feast for the ears. Creator and host Dana Rossi invites performers to share memories about a song tied to each month’s theme. The program is often recorded at venues around NYC—catch one at the Museum of the Moving Image on October 18.

8. On the Media

This WNYC-produced show may have one host (NPR’s Bob Garfield) in D.C., but no matter. He and Brooklyn-based cohost Brooke Gladstone offer critical analysis of the week’s biggest news items, whether it’s privacy issues, journalists’ problematic coverage of events or the weirdest things happening on the Internet.

9. The Next Stop Is…

Rail fans, listen up: This summer, Second Ave Sagas blogger Benjamin Kabak and producer Eric Brasure launched this biweekly transit chat. Tune in for insightful takes on MTA news, such as subway shutdowns and station developments.

10. Come to Papa

Stand-up vet Tom Papa invites comic pals such as Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Attell and Eugene Mirman to shoot the breeze for this radio show, recorded in the Comedy Cellar at the Village Underground. Be on the lookout for surprising guests, too—Rob Zombie and Carrot Top have popped by for past episodes.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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