Editors’ Picks: Best Podcasts to Binge During a Pandemic

Las Culturistas

Looking at my list of new episodes of my podcast subscriptions is enough to incite a panic attack. Of course I understand why we need all the information we can about COVID, and I’ve been gobbling up newscasts, stories, infographics and The Daily episodes like a little pandemic PacMan… but at a certain point in the day (say, 3:28 p.m.) my poor brain needs a break. And for comfort and warmth and wit, I turn to Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers on Las Culturistas. The comedy writers—Yang has been on SNL’s writing staff for years and is a guest player in the latest season—and, dare I say, queer icons are the pals you need in a crisis. They ostensibly are there to gossip about the latest in pop culture with a fun guest, but they usually get sidetracked with their own winkingly strong opinions and confident declarations of “The Rules of Culture.” Episodes end with a segment called “I Don’t Think So, Honey” where each of them and a guest “goes off on culture” in a high-speed, 60 second rant. (Recent examples of egregious societal offences include reclining on an airplane, bootcut jeans and jade face rollers.) They’re playing up the outrage, but they’re having a ball, and the boys are the perfect mid-day balm to soothe the nerves before wading back into the news cycle. I don’t think so, honey: this pandemic, am I right or am I right?! —Stacey McLachlan, executive editor

The Rewatchables 

This might be a tad redundant because if you’re serious about listening to podcasts there’s a better-than-decent chance you’ve listened to or at least heard of The Rewatchables from The Ringer podcast network. Basically, Ringer founder and CEO Bill Simmons and his merry band of editors and writers “re-watch” a movie and talk about it on an hour and a half-long podcast. That’s it. But for anyone who loves movies, it’s awesome. Sure, Bill sometimes has some pretty outdated opinions and some of the films they pick (Den of Thieves, really?) are questionable at best. But they’ve been going since August 2017, so if you’re just hearing about this now, you’ve got a lot of options. It’s no surprise that my personal favourite pods are about movies I love, and I bet yours will be too. Lately they’ve been doing movies that are relevant to this particular period of time like Contagion (duh), Castaway (isolation) and Edge of Tommorrow (we’re all gonna die?), if that’s your jam.—Nathan Caddell, associate editor



Am I trading one stress (COVID-19) for another (true crime tales)? Yes. And yet listening to Criminal is oddly soothing, all the more so because of Phoebe Judge’s legendarily dulcet tones as she gets into the details of details of some vintage crime. It’s often not violent crime she’s chronicling—one of the most compelling episodes features a woman who discovered her own mother had stolen her identity from the time she was a child, and essentially ruined her credit score for life—but honestly, I feel my anxiety-riddled heart calm as soon as I hear Phoebe say, “I”m Phoebe Judge, and this…is Criminal.”—Anicka Quin, editorial director

How Did This Get Made

To be honest, the podcast I listen to everyday is the NYTimes Daily, but having just listened to a particularly doom-y and gloom-y one I appreciate the need to hop into something a little more….relaxing. And that’s where HDTGM comes in—the premise is simple: three LA comedians and a few of their famous friends watch a terrible movie and then go over it in front of a live audience, picking apart all its flaws. The hosts Jason Mantzoukis (John Wick: Chapter 3, Big Mouth), Paul Scheer (Veep) and June Diane Raphael (Grace & Frankie) and their pals (past guest have been Nick Kroll, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron) have a chemistry that propels a basic concept into the comedic atmosphere. A good starting point: guest Adam Scott (Big Little Lies, Parks & Recreation) makes multiple appearances every time a new Fast & Furious movie comes out.—Neal McLennan, Food Editor