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2020 has given us all a hard time. However, there has never been a better time for podcasts! Even though the format has been lingering around for a couple of years, it has been booming in recent months and kept our minds engaged. And at least a little bit distracted from the rest that has happened in the world.
From those covering urgent social issues to our everlasting favorites of true crime and food podcasts, nearly everything has been covered. The pandemic produced new types of audio series too, offering tips on how to survive quarantine or what to do with your food stocks in your kitchen cupboard.
Be it old formats or new emerging shows, here are OmniPod’s favorite podcasts that got us through 2020.
And here’s to 2021 being an even better podcast year, we believe!
#20 My Favourite Murder
Two American comedians, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, are talking true crime and get 35 million downloads a month, as of 2020. In each episode, the hosts take turn telling each other about murder cases, picking up the facts from news, TV shows and various online sources, making you as a listener feel as if you are meeting with your two friends.
By blending murder stories with self-care tips and life struggles, the show has been attracting fervent loyal fans, the “Murderinos”, since its start in 2016.
#19 Home Cooking
The two friends Samin Nosrat, a chef, and Hrishikesh Hirway, podcaster, musician and “not much of a cook” will help you figure out what to cook – and keep you company during the quarantine. They share smart ideas of what to create with the ingredients you have on hand, such as cans full of beans or salmon, accompanied with plenty of puns and questions from their listeners. About time to dive into your cupboard and see what it has to offer!
#18 No Such Thing as A Fish
Have you ever wondered why Churchill looks grumpy on the £5 note? If you want to impress your friends at a dinner party with facts they certainly will not know, “No Such Thing as A Fish” is the right podcast for you. The hosts talk about ridiculous, funny and interesting topics with a nice bit of humor. And coming back to Churchill: the photographer had just removed his cigar before taking the picture…
#17 Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
The former Late Night TV host and comedian Conan O’Brien is looking for a real friend. That’s what he said, at least, when he started his podcast in 2018, joking that his only “friends” were the people working for him. Since then, he invited fairly known guests in his show, revealing some of their strange quirks and secrets. Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks or Jimmy Kimmel are only a few of them!
#16 Dirty John
At only six episodes long, Dirty John is a quick listen. And a highly recommendable one! It tells the story of a real-life crime, a mysterious man who enters the life of Debra Newell, a middle-aged woman looking for love. And everybody except Debra can tell that something is completely off with this man. Thus begins a creepy and thrilling narrative that will not let you stop until you’ve worked your way through it all.
#15 My Wardrobe Malfunction
There are times in life when we struggle with fashion, and moments when our clothes badly let us down. “Wardrobe malfunctions”, so to speak. It happens to all of us, also to podcast host Susannah Constantine, who decided to start a podcast about our relationship with the items we wear in the beginning of 2020. She and her interview guests tell us about their biggest fails and mishaps and let us feel much better and less embarrassed about our own horrible stories with our wardrobes and outfits.
#14 Grounded with Louis Theroux
Being “grounded” in a lockdown is not particularly funny. However, Louis Theroux takes the opportunity of the pandemic to track down individuals he has long waited to talk to. The conversations are wide-ranging, amusing and emotional. And Theroux doesn’t even flinch from welcoming people he doesn’t particularly like, as he once admitted in a conversation with one of the guests. That was both-sided, though.
#13 The Ron Burgundy Podcast
Ron Burgundy, a former comedy film character played by Will Ferrell, wants to start a podcast even though he has no idea what he’s actually doing. That is the initial position of this show. With Ron figuring out what a podcast is, there is also “a whole butt load of time to discuss anything” for him, and you, as a listener. Each episode, Ron engages in conversation with another notable person on a specific theme. In true Ron Burgundy fashion, these conversations have a tendency to go off the rails, which makes the show genuinely entertaining.
#12 You’re Dead to Me
Allow us to introduce you to the history podcast for people who don’t like history – and also for those who do. You’re Dead to Me blends history with a hint of British humor. Host and historian Greg Jenner and his guests, experts in the field as well as comedians, dig into the history of football, the Egyptian pyramids or the Neanderthals. Not at all in a boring, but rather delightful way, we promise!
#11 If I Were You
If you need advice on something, email Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld. They are your men and offer guidance in areas they’re qualified to talk about. And, also in areas they’re not so qualified to talk about. The episodes always start with the hosts reading out questions sent in by listeners. After brainstorming ideas and improvising the situations which are described in readers’ messages, they reach a conclusion on what they would do, if they were the involved person. If we are allowed advice to you: don’t take their recommendations at face value.
#10 The Last Podcast on the Left
Another piece from the true crime corner, The Last Podcast on the Left covers all the horrors our world has to offer, both imagined and real. The hosts, three friends, dive deep into research to address the oddities of life including aliens and cults, but also following the trails of the most notorious serial killers in history. Gruesome yet fun to listen to, and a huge load of research behind publishing which we should all honor a bit.
#9 WTF with Marc Maron
Marc Maron, a famous American stand-up comedian, gets them all. All the people you’ve ever wanted to talk to. Well, a lot of them, at least. One of the guests in this popular interview podcast was Barack Obama back in 2015 during his presidency, where Maron managed to have a very normal conversation with a rather regular guy, as it seemed. Other guests talk about their difficult past as drug addicts or about attempted suicide, and comedian Todd Glass used his appearance on the show to come out of the closet as gay. WTF is characterized by humor and deep revealing conversations and offers intimate insights into celebrities’ lives.
#8 The Dropout
The six-part podcast The Dropout rolls up the true story of Elizabeth Holmes who dropped out of university, became youngest self-made female billionaire in the world, was heralded as the “next Steve Jobs” – and lost it all. Now she faces 20 years of prison, being accused of fraud, and her company dissolved in 2018. This thrilling, gripping and award-winning crime podcast brings out all the details of Holmes’ life and is definitely worth your time and attention.
#7 Code Switch
Besides a contagious virus, 2020 brought wide discussions about race into this world, after the killing of George Floyd by the police in the USA. And Code Switch, hosted by journalists of color, brings fearless conversations about race to us, and how questions of racial injustice impact every part of society. This is without doubt a challenging piece of work to listen to, but more relevant than ever before.
If you love to hear stories where you know that 90% is absolute bullshit, Gossipmongers is the right podcast for you. The two hosts David Earl and Joe Wilkinson read out dubious rumors and urban legends sent in by listeners. At the end of each episode, they choose their favorite piece of gossip in the “Gossip World Cup Finals”, and then one of them shouts the winner out the window. That’s pretty much it – ridiculous rumor reading by British comedians.
#5 Drunk Women Solving Crime
This true crime show is like getting together with your best friends, having a fun night out with a bottle of wine or two and getting deep about murder. Every week, the hosts come together exploring a crime they or their guests have experienced, quizzing each other on historical crimes and solving crimes from their listeners. All after consuming enough alcohol to ease the seriousness of it all. The idea for the podcast emerged from a pub discussion about crimes the hosts had – drinks involved, of course.
#4 Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster
Each week, British comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster have guests over who present their perfect imaginary meal from start to finish. While putting their courses together, the discussions center around food and personal experiences and backgrounds of the invited people. And, before the guests arrive, the hosts announce one secret ingredient that at least one of them doesn’t like. If the guests pick it, they are thrown out of the dream restaurant without getting any dinner. Highly amusing, for sure!
#3 You’re Wrong About
There is stuff we’re wrong about. Events or people that have been miscast in the public imagination. Journalists Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall, obsessed with the past, are getting down to the essence of these things and try to get them right. What’s all the fuss about Princess Diana, for example? Or about that Y2K-bug scare, which made people fear that the year 2000 would make society crash at large? They will tell you.
#2 Why Won’t You Date Me
Nicole Byer wants to find out why she’s single. And decides to do that very publicly by hosting a podcast. She speaks with people she once hooked up with, but also other guests, from therapists to celebrities, discussing everything about love, sex and life. A perfect podcast for the dateables, undateables and everybody else interested or not in everything about love.
#1 My Dad Wrote a Porno
Undeniably and uncontested, this is OmniPod’s all-time favorite. A show about an erotic novel (read: porno!), written by the father of Jamie Mortan, one of the podcast’s three host, which gives you the best company wherever you are. Each episode covers one chapter of that piece of “erotic literature”, being read aloud and critiqued by the three friends. Inappropriate, cringy, and hilarious, that’s for sure! Imagine your own dad writing a porno… we feel you.
Hope this list can inspire you to your next podcast binge-party. Happy New Years!