You know what’s crazy? The term “podcast” has only been around since 2004, thanks (reportedly) to BBC journalist Ben Hammersley, who blended the words “iPod” and “broadcast” to come up with—tada!—“podcast.” That said, podcasts have certainly made up for lost time. In the past decade, the podcast industry has exploded, with a whopping 42 million Americans now listening to at least one podcast per week, and well over 100,000 English-language podcasts in existence today.
But with all those programs to ram into your earholes comes a problem: Which podcasts are worth your time, and which ones should be avoided like a Jacksonville Jaguars-Tennessee Titans preseason game? Made Man combed the internet, sampled hundreds of hours of podcastery and came up with seven of the most entertaining, enlightening and fresh podcasts available today—especially for men like you, who are simply trying to make their way in this wacky, mixed-up modern world of ours.
1. Take a Knee
When it comes to podcasting, no one is more prolific—or flat-out better—than Adam Carolla. The former construction worker who got his start on the radio show Loveline has a longwinded, comparison-filled opinion on pretty much any topic, but with Take a Knee, Carolla demonstrates a nice-sized portion of unselfishness as he brings on successful people from all walks of life (but mostly the entertainment world) to hear how they got where they are today, complete with their biggest accomplishments and their greatest failures. With guests like Norman Lear, Terry Crews, Alan Alda and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, it’s definitely worth the few bucks per month it costs for all this wisdom. Oh, and if you don’t want to shell out the dough, the daily Adam Carolla Show is great too.
2. WTF With Marc Maron
If for some reason you can’t stand Adam Carolla, pretend we recommended this podcast instead. Maron interviews comedians and entertainers of all kinds, and the conversations are invariable raw, honest, thought-provoking–and hilarious.
3. Sklarbro Country
Jason and Randy Sklar are identical twin brother comedians and actors from St. Louis, Missouri. (You may remember them from their underrated ESPN Classic show Cheap Seats. Or from their rated-just-about-correctly Burger King commercial.) Their podcast, cleverly titled Sklarbro Country, features the two of them giving their hot and humorous takes on the worlds of both sports and pop culture. (They actually know a heck of a lot about sports, especially the NBA and college football.) They also have some pretty funny guests on the pod, like Tom Arnold, Jay Chandrasekhar and other actors/comedians/Hollywood types. So if you like pop culture, sports and/or twin Midwestern comics, check out Sklarbro Country.
4. Six Pack
The premise here is simple: Two guys (former Made Man scribe Shawn Donnelly and current Made Man editor Steve Mazzucchi) split a six-pack of beer and hit a six-pack of topics that are both male-relevant and fascinating, in a smart-stupid way. Like: Where do you sit when you meet an internet date at a drinking establishment, the bar or a table? And, who would win in a fight between a T-Rex and a hippo? And, why does Alison Brie show off her beautiful breasts in GLOW but Betty Gilpin does not? The discussion is funny from the beginning, but it gets even more amusing as the guys start to feel the effects of their beer (a different brew each episode). That’s when things get real honest.
5. Finding Girlfriends
This is another podcast from the guys behind Six Pack. Only, instead of talking about hippos and internet dates, the dudes discuss each and every episode of Girlfriends, that sitcom from the early 2000s on UPN that starred four sexy African-American women, including Tracee Ellis Ross (of Black-ish fame… and daughter of Diana Ross fame). Sounds like kind of a random show to focus on, right? Especially for a pair of, well, white dudes. But as the hosts explain, they’re studying this show in order to learn more about both women and people of color—in the hopes of becoming better boyfriends and better people. Which are two worthy causes for every guy!
6. Fake the Nation
If you look at political news as sort of like broccoli—something you know you need to consume for a healthy life, but something you normally try to avoid—then Fake the Nation is basically broccoli wrapped in strips of delicious bacon. And by bacon, we mean the smart and biting humor of host Negin Farsad (MTV, PBS) and her funny cavalcade of guests, like Greg Proops (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Myq Kaplan (Last Comic Standing), Aasif Mandvi (Million Dollar Arm) and Aparna Nancherla (Crashing). The show is also helpful if you happen to be a white guy, because it forces you to hear what some non-white and non-male people think about what’s going on in our country. And again, it’s a hell of a lot funnier than John Dickerson or Chuck Todd.
7. My Dad Wrote a Porno
You know the expression, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Well, no one gave Jamie Morton lemons. But he did happen to discover one day that his dad wrote a pornographic novel. And instead of trying to ignore this fact or immediately set up three sessions per week with the nearest psychotherapist, Morton decided to start a comedy podcast in which he reads a new chapter from his father’s porno every episode. Better yet, he brings in a pretty impressive list of guests—like actors Michael Sheen and Stephen Mangan—to help him make sense of each smut-filled page. When you think about it, this podcast deals with all of the biggest issues in a man’s life: fatherhood, sex, comedy, lust, love, and your dad writing about anal penetration.