Nothing can quite replace a good session of venting, roasting other people, roasting yourselves, and (occasionally) saying everything you love about each other with one of your best friends. But if you’re anything like us, you know there’s one thing that can almost sub for a real-life catch-up: a great podcast. So when you need the right podcast to fill the void until your bestie answers your texts (you know who you are), we’ve got the perfect list.
The premise of this podcast is exactly what it sounds like: wild, hard-to-believe stories about completely ordinary, anonymous people. The host, Kelsey McKinney, invites a new guest on each episode with a story tailored to their interests and background (the squirrel-hating guest, for instance, was told a squirrel-themed tale.) McKinney takes her guests through each story using a choose-your-own-adventure format, letting guests choose what they would do at each juncture before revealing what really happened. In every episode, expect the outcome to be hilarious and never quite what you expect.
Suggested episode: No One Tells Josh Gondelman the Good Gossip
Stuff Mom Never Told You
For a quick debrief, in-depth movie critique, or multi-episode feature, tune into “Stuff Mom Never Told You,” a research-based podcast from iHeartRadio. Co-hosts Anney Reese and Samantha McVey tackle intersectional issues on a variety of topics, with ongoing installments dedicated to feminist films, fictional icons, and happy-hour debriefs, to name a few. Though some of the episodes are more tonally academic than others, Reese and McVey navigate a variety of issues with sensitivity and vulnerability, talking about the topics in the context of their own lives. Regardless of the subject, their genuine friendship makes each episode feel like catching up with a close friend.
Suggested episode: The Dutiful Daughter
Sad in the City
At this point, we all realize: adulting is hard. In their new-ish podcast, “Sad in the City,” co-hosts Taylor Tomlinson and Brianna Peters dive headfirst into adjusting to life on the road, dating struggles, mental health, apartment hunting, and everything else that goes along with being a 20-something trying navigate life. Tomlinson, a comedian known for her Netflix specials “Quarter-Life Crisis” (2020) and “Look At You” (2022) is open about how lonely being in a city like New York can be. Though she and Peters talk about their journey to make friends as adults in the Big Apple, Tomlinson admits, “you’re also watching me become friends with Brianna, which was like 30 percent of the reason I started this podcast.”
Suggested episode: Rawdoggin Life with Marissa Meizz
Jemele Hill is Unbothered
Award-winning journalist and host Jemele Hill makes for the kind of podcast bestie that you’re just lucky to hang out with, honestly. She’s down-to-earth, funny, and straight-up in everything she does, whether she’s breaking down last night’s game or talking about the reverberations of “the slap” discourse. Hill’s podcast also proves that her list of real life friends is just as A+ list as her takes— with guests on “Jemele Hill is Unbothered” ranging from actors Daniel Kaluuya and Kerry Washington to Snoop Dogg. Whatever cultural or political topic Hill and her guests tackle each week, you can be certain she’ll know just the right questions to ask.
Suggested episode: BIG SEAN - “Deep Reverence”
We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle
Looking for a go-to friend who knows exactly how to deliver a feel-good, it’s-gonna-be-OK pep talk in the moments when everything just sucks? If her social media is any indication, Glennon Doyle is that friend to over 300,000 people on Twitter alone. She’s made a name for herself as an author and podcaster who knows what to say when self-care and compassion feel particularly tough. On her podcast, Doyle, along with her sister Amanda and soccer-star wife Abby Wambach, promise to do “the only thing that has ever made life easier” — getting honest and talking about hard things. If you’re looking for a cathartic pick-me-up after a bad day (or a new bestie-slash-therapist), this one’s for you.
Suggested episode: Natalie Portman: How to Know When to Say YES
Do your ordinary, “in-person” friends have a limit for how much you can nerd out about hockey? We’ve got an antidote for you — get your nonstop hockey-talk fix from “Puck Soup,” whenever and wherever you want. On this podcast, hockey experts Sean McIndoe of The Athletic and EP Rinkside’s Ryan Lambert talk not just about important happenings in the hockey world (and the fan culture around it), but throw in a side of fun commentary about movies, TV, and more. Whether you’re looking to stay up to date on the latest news in the sport or just listen to some fun dudes hanging out (and, occasionally, roasting each other), “Puck Soup” has got you covered.
Suggested episode: The Reverse Puck Soup Curse
Crazy Stupid Fangirls
Not much of a fanboy? If you’d rather keep up with celebrity gossip than sports games, there’s a podcast for you, too. Hosted by YouTubers Elle Mills and Michelle Platti, “Crazy Stupid Fangirls” keeps listeners informed on “Old Disney drama,” reality TV, and everything in between. Guest stars range from a “High School Musical” alum to a former child star from “Dance Moms,” and no matter the topic, you’re guaranteed a fun, juicy time. Whether you never exited your Bethany Mota phase or you’re still a DCOM kid at heart, this podcast will make you feel like you’re at an epic middle school sleepover in all the best ways.
Suggested episode: “How Scripted is Reality TV Really?” with The Circle’s Courtney and Savannah
Why Won’t You Date Me?
Unapologetically raunchy and consistently hilarious, actress and comedian Nicole Byer explores the minefield of modern dating with a rotating series of special guests, including comedian Lil Rel Howery, drag queen Willow Pill, and actor Penn Badgley. Whether it’s reviewing her Tinder profile, talking about one-night stands, or sharing past traumas, there’s something for everyone to relate to (especially if you’re also trying to navigate the dating world.) Even as she’s talking about her struggles on dating apps and beyond, Byer stays upbeat, oscillating between brutal honesty and dark humor as she regales her guests with stories.
Suggested episode: The 5 Love Languages (w/ Warren Burke)
Rose and Rosie, Parental Guidance
You know what’s a rung above really, really close friends? Try two women who’ve been together for over 10 years (and married for seven.) Rose Ellen Dix and Rosie Spaughton are Internet-famous YouTubers who have been chronicling and joking about their lives online since their third date — so you’d better believe they’ve got plenty of dirt on each other. They also recently had a kid, which, spoiler alert, is also the subject of their newest podcast. On “Parental Guidance,” “the girls” (as they call themselves) tackle parenthood from a wide variety of angles, with episodes on everything from the misadventures of finding a sperm donor to an in-depth description of their child’s (marathon-long) birth.
Suggested episode: Lights, Camera, Contraction! Feat. Louise Pentland
The Weekly Planet
If you want to fall down a movie-themed rabbit hole, look no further. Co-hosts James Clement and Nick Mason bounce between movie reviews, celebrity gossip, and fan theories while maintaining their friendly banter in each episode, ranging from a quick 20-minute chat to a two-hour themed compilation of film reviews. Featuring mostly action movies, Clement and Mason particularly enjoy comic book adaptations, and highlight movies from studios large and small. With new episodes out every few days, there is no shortage of comic-themed content to consume.
Suggested episode: Best Movie & Series Spin-Offs