I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with my online subscriptions list. Every month, inadvertently, a sizeable amount of money leaves my account to various digital platforms, from Netflix and Comixology to Anghami and iTunes (this last one, despite me not owning an iPhone anymore). But, a particular subscription I hold dear is my Stitcher Premium membership ($4.99 or Dh18.3 per month), allowing access to hundreds of hours of premium, ad-free content.
Apart from being home to all of Earwolf’s chart-topping productions (the entire back catalogue of Comedy Bang Bang, WTF with Marc Maron and How Did This Get Made?), Stitcher Premium also hosts close to 200 albums by stand-up comedians (find everyone from Aziz Ansari and Maria Bamford to Paul F Tomkins and Whitney Cummings).
A number of UI concerns and frustrations might confuse new users of podcast apps, and to them I’d say stick to the free app until you get a hang of the ecosystem. But hardcore podcast fans might stand to benefit from a premium subscription. And if you’re planning to make the plunge, here are four shows hiding behind the paywall to check out right away.
The Teacher’s Lounge
Improv group Big Grande’s The Teacher’s Lounge is the funniest thing to have happened to the world of comedy podcasts. Ad-libbed for the most part, the series follows the teachers at Hamilton High School as they start a radio show to keep students, other faculty members and parents informed of the various ongoings at the school. Featuring names like Paul F Tomkins, Drew Tarver, John Mackey, Dan Lippert, and Ryan Rosenberg (comedians who appear frequently on other Earwolf shows Comedy Bang Bang, improv4humans, and With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus), the series, which is in its fifth season, explores the heights of aggressive yes and-ing as they set each other up with ridiculous backstories which they have to carry forward from episode to episode. If you love comedy, don’t pass up on The Teacher’s Lounge.
This comedy punk rock musical podcast is a rollicking ride through the world of intellectual property in the creative industry. The three-part story, co-created by best friends Matt Besser and Bobby Matthews, follows a stand-up comedian and a rock musician who are both approaching 40 and fear their time to “make it” is running out. One has his idea stolen, the other steals an idea. Tune in if you’re in the mood for some serious deep-cut parodying of punk rock bands like Minor Threat and Millions of Dead Cops.
An audio-drama by Issa Rae (of Insecure fame), Fruit tells the story of a black professional footballer who refers to himself as X and who is suddenly coming to terms with his sexuality. In the show, X tries to navigate his feelings and find his place in an alpha male-dominated industry, as he also tries to figure out the expectations of his friends and family. It’s a very intimate and personal portrayal that cuts through strata of race, gender, identity and sexuality in a way that feels humane and sensitive. Two seasons worth of episodes are now available to listen on Stitcher Premium.
If you’re a fan of sketch comedy shows like Key and Peele, Portlandia or Saturday Night Live, Superego is for you. One of the older sketch podcast shows to exist, the entire back catalogue is now available for your listening pleasure on Stitcher Premium. This including bonus Cinema episodes, which feature hilarious live movie commentaries for films such as Alien, Die Hard, the Empire Strikes Back and Spider-Man 2.