The 2022 Podcast Roundup

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Podcast, anyone?* More like Podcasts, everyone! What I’m trying to say is, it seems like everyone in the whole entire world is making a podcast nowadays. Or at least listening to them.

I’ve certainly been listening to dozens, if not hundreds**, in the past year. So without further ado, (and instead with further adon’t), here’s my roundup of my biggest takeaways from listening to podcasts in 2022, organized by category.

(*-Like “Tennis, anyone?” but replace “tennis” with “podcast.”)

(**-I guess it depends on if you count by the show or by the episode. Or how kooky you’re feeling.)


The Podcasts of 2021 That I Looked Forward to the Most

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For 2021, I’ve decided to elucidate my favorite podcasts of the year by recognizing the ones that I was most excited to listen to every week. (Or however often a new episode is posted!) But first, I’ve made a list of every podcast that I currently subscribe to on my feed and which I listened to at least one new episode of in 2021, because each and every one of them deserves to be called The Best!


The Best Podcasts of 2020, According to jmunney’s Ears

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Any ranking of the best entertainment of the year is necessarily incomplete and represents the personal proclivities of the ranker, and that’s especially true in the case of podcasts. I listen to more podcasts than anyone I know personally (by a wide margin), but that’s still less than approximately 0.0001% of all the podcasts out there. So for my Best Podcasts of 2020 feature, I decided to make it particularly personal by listing ALL the podcasts that I listened to in the past year, because they’re all special, and all worth shouting out. I’ve organized them into a few categories: 2020 Debuts, Veterans, a few specialty categories that you’ll discover when you get to them, and Podcasts That I Host.


Best Podcasts of the 2010s

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Any ranking of the best of the best must come with the caveat that the ranker hasn’t seen/heard everything, and that’s especially true in the case of podcasting, despite it being one of the youngest entertainment mediums around. Obviously I didn’t listen to every podcast released in the 2010s, but I did listen to my fair share. My feed mainly consisted of comedy, pop culture, and comedic pop culture shows. But even if I confine myself to those categories, I cannot claim that I was anywhere near comprehensive. So then, what you are about to read is the revelation of my podcast journey I went on in the past decade.


Best Podcasts of 2019

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I continued my regimen of podcast listening as usual in 2019, so here’s a quick rundown of the audio shows that were tickling my ears and my brain the best the past year.

1. Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
2. Black Check with Griffin and David
3. How Did This Get Made?
4. Harmontown
5. Judge John Hodgman
6. The Ron Burgundy Podcast
7. Pop Mom
8. Pop Culture Happy Hour
9. Unspooled
10. Good One: A Podcast About Jokes

Honorable Mentions
R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE: ME (Always a transcendent pleasure, but only released four new episodes in 2019.)
Comedy Bang! Bang! (Released plenty of episodes, but I only listened to a few of them.)

Best Podcasts of 2018

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This post was originally published on News Cult in December 2018.

Any Best Podcast list curated by one person must include the caveat that only a portion of all the podcasts out there have been listened to by the listmaker. My podcast diet mainly consists of comedy and pop culture, so consider this a list of the best comedy and pop culture podcasts of 2018. (Also, as it turns out, you can [mostly] consider this a list of the best of one particular podcast network.) My choices are not in any particular order, except for my overall #1 selection.

Overall Best: R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE: ME? – Four years after comprehensively covering the lovable lads from Liverpool, Adam Scott Aukerman were back to talk about R.E.M. and nothing else in 2018. It truly was The Year of R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE: Me?, and we were all just living in it.

Best Episode: “Staind Glass 2” – Todd Glass, the man who has very strong opinions on music but the most chaotic knowledge about the subject, returned for Scott and Scott to see if he knows anything about R.E.M. He also regaled the boys with a story about a wedding he surreptitiously, hilariously attended, and thus a proud podcasting tradition continued.

Blank Check with Griffin & David – Griffin Newman and David Sims’ competitive advantage of being the only two friends to host a podcast together continued delightfully along in 2018, as they examined on the films of even more directors who have been given “blank checks” to pursue their passion projects. In 2018, the lineup consisted of Paul Verhoeven, James L. Brooks, Brad Bird, Ang Lee, Nancy Meyers, and Tim Burton.

Best Episode: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – This episode is perhaps best remembered by Blankies for the envelope gag, but the entire episode is a winner. Frequent guest JD Amato is the perfect addition to examine this confoundingly ambitious entry in Ang Lee’s filmography, as he makes the case that even if this is not a great movie, everyone who considers themselves a film buff should watch it to see what it is all about.

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend – Conan O’Brien takes his deconstructionist approach to the podcast medium, as he wonders if the friendships that have eluded him when interviewing people on his talk show can be forged when they occur on this more longform setup.

Best Episode: Bill Burr – Burr gets personal enough to help Conan along on this journey, but the real reason this episode taking the top spot is the part at the end when Conan lists a bunch of fake (unfortunately so) Pokémon.

How Did This Get Made? – This podcast stalwart had no shortage of awful and bizarre so-called movies to add to its crosshairs in 2018, and I came to appreciate it even more for how it’s just some friends hanging out and having the  best time ever.

Best Episode: 200th Mini Retrospective Clip Show Spectacular – The meat of this episode was clips of previous episodes, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that some of the best moments of HDTGM? are people just riotously cracking up, you realize the value of just looking back and taking in the memories.

UnspooledHDTGM?‘s Paul Scheer actually got around to watching and discussing some good movies as he teamed up with critic Amy Nicholson to dive deep into the American Film Institute’s ranking of the 100 greatest American films of all time. Two film nerds digging into movie history and showing off their enthusiasm for canonization (or questioning canonization) is always a good formula.

Best Episode: Duck Soup – Paul and Amy are joined by Marx Brothers super-fan Conan O’Brien, who has some legit comedy nerd theories regarding what Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo are all about.

Vulture Festival 2016

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Last weekend, I attended several panels at the Vulture Festival, an annual pop culture extravaganza thrown by the entertainment wing of New York Magazine. Here’s how it went down.

DAY 1: SATURDAY, 5/21/2016

Breaking Better Call Saul
Vulture TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz chatted with Rhea Seehorn, Michael McKean, and BCS co-creator Peter Gould. Bob Odenkirk joined in via phone (which was unfortunate because he is not the type of guy who will be all “Awkward setup be damned!” and just jump into the conversation). This was a rather engaging discussion, as these folks are eager and eloquent when discussing their process. One major point was the inevitability posed by Breaking Bad already establishing where Jimmy/Saul’s life is headed. To this end, Peter noted how fans often ask him if Kim and Chuck will die, which he at first thought was due to a lack of imagination but then realized it was more about a concern from people in the hope that their favorite fictional characters will remain alive and well.
I had a chance to talk with Rhea Seehorn after the panel. I asked her if she would be submitting as Lead or Supporting for the Emmys this year. She said that her publicists take care of that, but she was pretty sure they would be putting her down for Supporting. When I mentioned that I blog my Emmy prognostications every year, she asked for my info so that she could check out my stuff.