My day usually consists of 1-2 hours of walking, biking or bus riding and so listening to podcasts has become a favorite pastime. I’ve listened to a ton and try to check out new ones whenever I can but I have to admit to being a fairly tough audience and overly-loyal listener. My rotation is small and it seems to take a lot for new podcasts to break in.
Every so often, I’ve been tweeting out my “Power Rankings,” which are basically my rankings in that moment for my favorite podcasts. If every podcast put out an episode on the same day at the same time, this is the order in which I would want to listen to each one.
Previous incarnations are…
Current Sean Keeley Podcast Rankings: The Flop House, Pop Culture Happy Hour, How Did This Get Made, Skalrbro County, Judge John Hodgman
— Sean Keeley (@NunesMagician) October 8, 2013
Podcast Power Rankings, 2/16: 1. The Flop House, 2. HDTGM, 3. Cracked, 4. NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour, 5. Sklarbro County.
— Sean Keeley (@NunesMagician) February 16, 2014
Now let’s find out where things stand on March 7th…
Honorable Mention: Judge John Hodgman, Doug Loves Movies, Why Does It Exist?
9. The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project – I’m only one episode in but, yeah, it’s as good as you’d think it is. I don’t normally stick with character-based podcasts, but…it’s Andy Daly.
Great Recent Episode: Episode 1. You might as well start at the beginning. You can catch up pretty quickly.
8. F This Movie! – It’s really hard to pull of a good “let’s talk about terrible movies” podcast when you’re not famous or including famous guests. It comes down to personality. Do you sound interesting or are you a monotone robot? Are you just 100% hating on everything or do you provide honest, real opinions? F This Movie manages to find great balance, provide some solid insight and most importantly stay fun. It’s a recent discovery but I’m going down the rabbit hole as we speak…
Great Recent Episode: The RoboCop remake episode is a pretty solid rundown of what worked, and more importantly didn’t work, about the reboot.
7. Comedy Bang Bang – I will admit I’m a little hit & miss with CBB. It usually depends who the guests are or if I hear that a certain episode has great characters/bits in it. If James Adomian, Neil Campbell, Andy Daly, Jason Mantzoukas or Jon Daly are appearing, I am so there.
Great Recent Episode: Oh, Golly! What begins as a convo between host Scott Aukerman and guest Jason Mantzoukas devolves into chaos when a disturbed puppeteer and his puppet Golly show up and turn everyone’s world upside down.
6. Slate’s Hang Up & Listen – Not every topic discussed on the show is interesting to me. I often find myself skipping past one discussion to get to another one. But what I find so refreshing about the podcast each week is the “common sense” approach of all three participants. No “hot sports takes” here. Opinions are level-headed, nuanced and make for interesting sports discussion, which, last I checked, isn’t readily-available in a lot of places.
Great Recent Episode: The Off With Their Headers edition. Starts with a conversation about young soccer players and the perils of headers but it really picks up steam when they have an open discussion about the NFL considering banning the N-word.
5. NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour – Ol’ Dependable in my podcast line-up. It’s always there every Friday. It’s almost always the same folks. They almost always introduce the show and themselves in the exact same way. And you come to rely on their opinions, thought-processes and appreciations to help make sense of the pop culture ephemera of the day. Listen to a couple episodes and then try not to say Glen Weldon’s “I write about BOOKS and COMIC books for the NPR website” with the same affectations along with him every time.
Great Recent Episode: The Lego Movie & Adolescence In Pop Culture. A discussion about how much everyone enjoyed The Lego Movie leads into an interesting chat about how teenagers and youth are depicted in movies & TV and whether or not it’s ever actually truthful.
4. Sklarbro County – Not long after Artie Lange left The Howard Stern Show, I stopped listening. It’s not that Howard lost it or that the show wasn’t funny anymore. But, for me, Lange was a critical edition to the mix and the lack of his voice/effect sucked some of the excitement out of the proceedings. I feel the same was about Daniel Van Kirk on Sklarbro County. The Sklars are the name recognition and each episode’s guest is there to do funny business, but Van Kirk’s insights, bon mots and characters are what take this version to the next level over it’s counterpart, Sklarbro Country.
Great Recent Episode: Sklarbro County 92. The Bryant Gumbel answering machine message at the end of the show is the stuff dreams are made of.
3. The Cracked Podcast – A recent addition to the rotation. Brought to you by the same people behind the Cracked website, each episoded is chocked with fascinating discussion points, facts and otherwise “WTF” realizations about the way the world actually works. It’s the podcast most likely to make me tell others about “what I learned today.”
Great Recent Episode: Bad Ideas That Control The World. If I told you that speed bumps kills eight-five people for every one person whose life they save, you’d say I’m a lunatic. And that’s why we keep making speed bumps.
2. HDTGM – “Make fun of a movie” podcasts are a dime a dozen. But the ones that succeed are the ones that keep you coming back for the personalities. How Did This Get Made has a fantastic balance between its three counterparts. Paul Scheer guides the ship. June Diane Raphael tries her damnedest to actually live up to the question asked by the title of the show. And Jason Mantzoukas is the wild card prone to fits of hilarious hatred for everything.
Great Recent Episode: Mortal Kombat. The more insane the movie, the better this podcast.
1. The Flop House – It’s so rare to find a three-person podcast where all three members are irreplaceable and the entire thing would come crashing down without just one of them. When Elliot Kalan took off a couple episodes to take care of his newborn daughter last month (priorities, man), the podcast lost a lot of mojo. But even if Dan or Stuart were gone for extended periods of time, while it might still work, it simply wouldn’t be the same show. Now that Elliot’s back, Flop House is once again fully operational. When that’s the case, there isn’t a better listen out there.
Great Recent Episode: After Earth. Give The Floppers a terrible M. Night Shyamalan film with suspect science and insane plot holes and they’re going to make magic.