Ah, 2020. What a wild, heartbreaking year it’s been—one that’s kept us on our toes in ways bad and good and mediocre. It’s a year that has, for the most part, kept us confined to our homes and, as a result, has encouraged us to turn to simpler forms of entertainment to bide our time. Said entertainment came in the form of Zoom calls, a lot of streaming, and plenty of listening to podcasts too.
Today we’re sharing our team’s favorite podcasts from 2020, in case you’re looking for a morsel of entertainment and distraction to keep you occupied while cooking or going for a walk around the neighborhood or driving around town. If you have any podcast recommendations you’d like to send our way, please do share them in the comments!
1. Noble Blood
This show is thirty or so minutes of true-life tales of murder, mayhem, and the macabre that affected royal families throughout history. My favorite episodes covered the lives and deaths of all of Henry VIII’s wives.
2. The Two Princes
This is technically not a podcast but rather a serialized story. The Two Princes is a fairy tale not too unlike the ones we grew up with: handsome princes, feats of daring, and evil curses, with a positive LGBTQ message. Season three has incorporated songs into the narrative and is requested daily at my house.
1. The Art of Growth
I love this podcast for exactly what its name implies. I love personal growth and this show is an individual, artful, approachable take on that topic. The podcast hosts graciously explore the lessons they’re learning and how they are integrating them into their own lives.
2. Live Awake
Kate recently introduced me to this podcast. At its core, it’s a beautifully guided meditation that helps me find center in my life. It’s relaxing, empowering, centering, and grounding, and I’d highly recommend it.
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1. The Daily
The Daily covers timely political and human interest topics alike in an investigative, empathetic manner. It’s the news I need without the anxiety.
2. 10 Things to Tell You
This podcast includes insightful, timely reflections and thought-provoking conversations. It’s one of my favorite weekly listens.
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1. You’re Wrong About
In a year heavy with news media and combative politics, this podcast was oddly soothing for me. History often serves as a good case study for big shifts in our culture because we have the benefit of hindsight, and this podcast dives deep into the misconceptions and misinformation that gets lost in the shuffle. If you want to dive in but are not sure where to start, the five-part series on Princess Diana is brilliantly nuanced, informative, and heartbreaking.
2. Phoebe Reads a Mystery
This podcast covers exactly what the title states. The host of the award-winning true-crime series, Criminal, Pheobe Judge reads us a mystery novel a chapter at a time. Who doesn’t want to escape to another world narrated with a voice like THAT?
3. Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris
This show includes practical tips on how we can all feel better each day, brought to us by reputable journalist, Dan Harris. Through interviews with experts on a wide range of topics, the podcast covers everything from mindset shifts to micro-habits that can change our days for the better.
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1. The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice
I LOVED discovering this podcast in which fiction writers read their work to the podcast audience. It’s soothing, evocative, and well worth a listen.
2. The Jordan B Peterson Podcast
This show was a recommendation from my boyfriend. I am a super theological thinker and although he and I don’t share the same beliefs on everything, I love listening to Jordan talk through open-ended questions in such an intelligent way. This is a podcast that will have you thinking about its content long after you listen.
This is not a feel-good podcast in any way, but it’s incredibly interesting nonetheless. In each episode, the hosts unpack cults and why exactly people are so drawn to them. If you liked The Vow or Scientology and the Aftermath, this podcast is a good, watered-down version of those documentaries.
1. Couples Therapy
Naomi Ekperigin is one of my favorite comics out there, and when I discovered she hosted a podcast with her husband, Andy Beckerman, I was absolutely delighted. On the podcast, Naomi and Andy interview couples of all kinds—be it partners, siblings, or friends—about their relationships. It’s a very funny, highly insightful show I’d recommend to anyone.
2. Bad on Paper
Bad on Paper is hosted by Grace Atwood (of The Stripe) and Becca Freeman. In weekly episodes, they dive into conversations about life, dating, careers, and more, while also interviewing guests from a variety of backgrounds. It’s one of those shows that makes me feel like I’m listening in on a conversation with two friends—a welcome respite from plenty of time spent alone this year.
3. Why Won’t You Date Me?
In this podcast, comedian Nicole Byer interviews guests about their relationships and dating lives while sharing experiences from her own end of the spectrum. The interviews also delve into discussions on careers, politics, and more. It’s a hilarious, intriguing exploration of human nature, which, in my humble opinion, is the makeup of many of the best podcasts out there.
Jackie is the Editorial Director at Wit & Delight. In her spare time, you can find her running along the river road, loitering in the vicinity of the nearest puppy at a local brewery, or recharging her soul in her tiny sanctuary of an apartment. You can follow her on Instagram @jackiesaffert.
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