I love listening to educational podcasts just as much as the next person. But sometimes my brain needs a break from facts, stats, and the goings-on of the world, and sometimes I just need a little stupid fun to laugh in the day.
Sometimes I need a distraction from the weird and chaotic world that we are living in right now. This is just another form of healthy escapism that I have found brightens my day, and hopefully, it will do the same for you. So without further ado, here are my top picks of podcasts to brighten your day.
All Fantasy Everything
I love All Fantasy Everything (AFE). Hosted by three comedians, Ian Karmel, David Gborie, and Sean Jordan, these guys draft anything and everything, all while making you crack up. Ever wanted to hear a group argue over the best song to dance to at a wedding? Then this is the podcast for you.
What feels like the dumb and asinine conversation you and your friends have together at 1 am is recorded by these guys. No topic is too specific or too weird for them. This is my go-to podcast for stupid fun. It’s one of the few things on my list of ‘If I were famous enough, I would go on this,” along with Drunk History and Hot Ones.
The three of them only take the non-serious things seriously, and you better make sure not to say a pick before your turn!
AFE feels like you get to listen and join in on a really funny conversation among some really good friends. If you see me grinning like an idiot while I walk my dog, then it’s because I’m listening to these guys draft whatever random topic they decided on for the week.
Besides actually listening to the podcast, one of the best things about it is getting to pick along with them. Sometimes I yell at them because they didn’t choose an obvious pick and then remind myself that they can’t actually hear me. So if you’re ever in the mood for witty and dumb nonsense, then this is the podcast for you.
The Weekly Planet
My go-to podcast for movie, tv show, and book recommendations. I’m no cinema buff. I won’t lie and tell you that “Citizen Kane” is the best movie ever made, and neither will these guys. Hosted by Nick Mason and James “Mr. Sunday Movies,” these two will watch, review, and react to everything going on in the world of movies and tv shows.
Let’s be honest, it feels like there’s a new show coming out every other day, but even with the surge of things to watch, I still take 2 hours to figure out what I want to watch. Quantity doesn’t mean quality.
The Weekly Planet helps weed out the bad or boring stuff, and it’s all thanks to their rating system. If I see a tv show on Netflix with three stars, does that mean it’s good or average or bad? Who knows? But thanks to Nick and James, the whole rating system has been streamlined. It’s either “The Best Movie Ever” or “The Worst Movie Ever.” No in-betweens.
My friend, Tyler, and I use this system when recommending stuff to each other. We don’t have all the time in the world to watch every movie that comes out or read all the books that draw our eyes or play every video game until the sun comes up like we used to, so if something is worth it, then it’s worth it and if it’s not then don’t even bother wasting the time. But this podcast is more than just reviews. It’s two friends talking about the nerdy stuff they love, and it’s just a blast to listen in on them.
Sports? With Katie Nolan
How do I even begin to describe Sports? Do they talk about sports? Yeah, kinda. Do they go on weird tangents? You can count on it. Does it have the best ad reads in the history of podcasts? Absolutely.
Sports? is a sports podcast that likes to cover things that are sports adjacent. If I wanted to listen to some hot takes about Lebron or Tom Brady, I would listen to Colin Cowherd or Stephen A. Smith, but what makes Sports? such a fun listen is that they talk about all the weird things that come out of sports.
Remember a few years ago when Chris Paul led a few of his Rockets teammates to the Clippers’ locker room through a secret door or tunnel? Yeah, Katie and Ashley spent a good while breaking down how ABSOLUTELY funny that whole thing was. Oh, and those ad reads I mentioned earlier are one of the best things about Sports?.
For most podcasts, the ad read sucks. No, I really don’t want to listen to you try to sell me on Dollar Shave Club or MeUndies, but Katie, albeit reluctantly, does her ad reads by doing an impression of some sort or she sings them to the tune of whatever song her co-host picks.
This is one of the few, if not the only, sports-related podcasts that I recommend going back and listening to old episodes. Get to know the KAJ and feel the heartbreak of saying goodbye to Jay and now, most recently, Ashley. But what makes Sports? so good is the authenticity that Katie shows to her listeners. This year has been hard on a lot of people, and she’s no exception. But instead of hiding behind some weird facade of a showbiz persona and masking whatever she may be feeling that day, Katie talks about her depression and anxiety. She has her highs and her lows, and there is just something so accepting and almost healing about hearing how it’s ok to not be okay.
The Old Man and the Three
Among my friends, it is no secret who my favorite basketball player of all time is. JJ Redick is the reason my college roommates hated playing NBA 2K with me. I could be triple guarded at the logo and still put up a perfectly green shot. He has held the title of “Most Hated Athlete” in college basketball. It doesn’t help that he played for Duke back in the day, which seems to be one of those teams that everyone hates, kinda like the Patriots. But what’s so good about listening to a shooting guard who has never won a championship? His perspective on everything he talks about is so interesting.
Haven’t you ever wondered what being a professional athlete is really like? What’s the day-to-day? How is practice run? What do you do on the road in between games? These are explored not only by JJ Redick and his co-host Tommy Alter but also through all the guests they bring on to the show.
Nothing drives me more insane than listening to people who get paid to talk about sports and not say anything meaningful about the sport. “They didn’t want it enough” is a phrase that makes my blood boil. But JJ breaks down his sport with a certain perspective that most people never get.
Listening to his guests, like KD or Kyrie, talk about who their least favorite person to guard is so refreshing from the nonsense that most sports shows say.
Outside of sports, JJ also has a wide range of guests he talks to, like politicians and professional chefs. There is a level of obsession you need to have to become one of the best at something in the world, and listening to people outside of sports talk about that obsession and hard work is motivational. This podcast is a peek into a world from a perspective that most of us will never get to see, and that’s what makes it so unique.
Take a break
Sometimes we need a break from how serious life can get. Some find solitude in how things are made or getting lost in the intricacies of battles long fought. For me, I need stupid funny nonsense. Things that aren’t serious about things that I like. These podcasts are an escape from all of the headlines that fill my timeline. Even things like Saturday Night Live are a reminder of politics and the anxieties in the world. And while we should stay informed about what’s going on, we also need to take a break. We need to smile and laugh and have a good time even when we are locked in our houses, avoiding a pandemic.