2016 was a year of many things, but it will probably be most remembered as the peak of the golden age of podcasts. Here, in no particular order, is our list of the 50 most mediocre podcasts of the year:
1. Battle of the Bottled Waters with Carson Daly – Two bottles of water enter, only one leaves. Except when there is a tie, as is often the case when Carson Daly compares two brands of bottled water.
2. Unsolved Vandalism – A look at the circumstances and theories behind some of history’s most intriguing property damage.
3. Slate’s Imagine a Flyover State – Join a roundtable of Slate editors as they do their best to imagine what it would be like to visit a place like, say, Nebraska.
4. Neil deGrasse Tyson Fact Checks the Commercials- The great astrophysicist takes some time to talk about some of his favorite commercials and why they are scientifically inaccurate.
5. Screensaver Nostalgia with Jay Baruchel and Michael Cera – Take a trip down memory lane with JB and MC as they revisit some of history’s most famous and most infamous screensavers.
6. ESPN’s Re-re-re-visiting the ’92 Dream Team – They may have been good, but were they great? And if so, were they really great?
7. Jackass: The Podcast – The boys are back, and if you thought the TV show and the movies were outrageous, you aren’t going to believe the stunts they say they’re doing on the podcast.
8. The Ethics and Morality of Baywatch – Join Stanford Ethics Professor Debra Satz as she revisits this 90’s classic episode by episode and deconstructs the concept of right and wrong according to the norms of these fictional Los Angeles County Lifeguards.
9. Fresher Air with Terry Crews – Terry Crews listens and audibly reacts to a recent episode of Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
10. Subsequent – Each season features the story of one crime and a radio host’s mission to taunt and ridicule the convicted criminal into feeling true shame.
11. The Breads of Subway – This series dedicates one whole episode to each variety.
12. The Meats of Subway – Unaffiliated with The Breads of Subway.
13. HGTV’s Audio Home Makeovers – Sometimes it’s even more satisfying to imagine how much better a house must look from just hearing someone talk about it.
14. UPS Guy Stories - Every UPS guy has a story.
15. John Hodgman Reads Another Email from Williams-Sonoma – John Hodgman reads actual emails from Williams-Sonoma.
16. People Who Fell Off Things with Mary Lynn Rajskub – Join Mary Lynn as she tells some of the most outrageous and sometimes disturbing stories of people who were on things and then fell right off them.
17. WBUR’s The Pig Latin Hour – Exactly what it sounds like.
18. Room Service with Danny Pudi – Community’s Danny Pudi talks to some of your favorite actors, writers, and comedians about their favorite chain hotels.
19. Sweet-ener Talk – Sugar, Sweet’N Low, Splenda, and so many more! If it’s sweet and it’s powder and it comes in little packets, it gets an episode.
20. Ingrid Michaelson Checks the Ingredients – Each week, Ingrid Michaelson grabs something at random from the pantry and reads the label.
21. Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Federal Circuit Court Roundup – America’s most famous chipmunks cover America’s second-most famous level of federal court.
22. Check Out This Hold Music with Jon Hamm – Jon Hamm plays and reacts to some of the most recent hold music he heard on the phone.
23. Jumping Over Stuff with Jaleel – Urkel himself, Jaleel White, picks a different household object each episode and records himself attempting to leap over it.
24. Crossword Clues with Jessi Klein – Join comedian and writer Jessi Klein as she gives today’s New York Times crossword puzzle clues and absolutely nothing else.
25. Michael Ian Burps – Like everyone, Michael Ian Black occasionally has to burp. Unlike everyone, he now records it and releases it on Itunes and Stitcher.
26. Rob Schneider Prank Calls Obama –Rob Schneider has no way of getting Barack Obama on the phone, but he tries.
27. Unmic’d with Dee Snider – It’s raw commentary. It’s off the cuff celebrity interviews. It’s almost entirely inaudible because he tried to record it on his old laptop.
28. Fortunes Favor Mo Rocca –Mo Rocca reads and reviews all the fortunes he’s saved from a lifetime of munching on fortune cookies
29. This American Life Blooper Reel – All the juiciest outtakes of Ira Glass stumbling on his lines.
30. Michael Winslow’s Philosophy Corner – Join The Man of 10,000 Sound Effects as he examines free will, logical positivism, and metaphysics from his own unique perspective.
31. Riffing on Crayons with Christopher Mintz-Plasse – It’s McLovin. It’s crayons. He’s not holding anything back.
32. Talking Over a Blender with Snoop Dogg – Join Snoop and his guest as they try to talk over a painfully loud blender.
33. Kate Walsh Narrates Viral Videos – What’s the next best thing to watching the most popular online videos? Listening to Kate Walsh narrate them frame by frame?
34. Thumb War with Abby Elliot – Listen to Abby take on all comers in the thumb war arena in this unique twist on the celebrity interview podcast.
35. Ezra Klein Does 60 Sit-Ups – And he still is able to say some pretty smart stuff.
36. A Room Full of Cats – No host. No rules. Just a mic and a room full of cats.
37. Radiolab: Sound Effects Only – All those cool beeps and whirs without all the annoying wondering about science and stuff.
38. Let Some Guy Read a Wikipedia Page for You – Some dude googles something mildly interesting while you wash the dishes.
39. Stamps.com Ads Digest – A round-up of all the best Stamps.com ads without all the annoying content.
40. What’s in Anna Faris’s Pocket? – Listen as Anna Faris reveals whatever is in her pocket that day. Turns out Anna Faris doesn’t wear that many things with pockets.
41. Can You Make This Face? With Lauren Lapkus – Every episode, it’s a different celebrity guest but always the same question from host Lauren Lapkus (Orange is the New Black, Jurassic World): Can you make this face?
42. ESPN’s Interviews With People Who Didn’t Know LeBron Very Well – A teacher who taught at his elementary school but didn’t teach him directly, a relative of his neighbor, a guy who lived in his childhood home after LeBron moved out. These are the kind of people you can expect Stephen A. Smith to speak to about LeBron’s life and legacy in this exclusive interview series.
43. Hurry, Janeane Garofalo Has To Pee – Short interviews that get to the point because that’s all her bladder will allow.
44. Celebrity Pet Interviews with Billy Bush – No one knows celebrities better than their best friends, and Billy Bush gets a chance to interview them without their owners there to watch over.
45. The Price Is Right Contestant Commentary – Take a trip back to some of the most classic PIR episodes with the people who actually lived it.
46. Jim Gaffigan Goes to the Gap – Uncensored and unrehearsed, Jim Gaffigan records himself buying a sweater or some khakis at the mall.
47. Mindfulness: Relaxation Fuzz – You’re really just listening to AM radio, but there’s a peace to it.
48. Questions for Ghosts – This team of ghost hunters try to interview actual ghosts with mixed results at best.
49. Why Haven’t You Seen Hamilton Yet? – NPR’s only interview show that scolds celebrities, artists, and academics alike for not having seen Hamilton yet.
50. Celebrity Monopoly – Listen as each week, a handful of celebrities from across disciplines wish it hadn’t come to this.