The Best Podcasts To Wake Up To & Help Start Your Day Right

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The long journey to work is never a fun one, but since I've started listening to podcasts they've become slightly more bearable. When you really get into one, it almost feels like you're travelling into work with your friends nattering in your ear and it always puts me in a good mood (and I'm not even a morning person). It feels like like the podcast world has exploded this year with celebs, YouTubers, and anyone with a microphone literally putting their money where their mouth is. Here's a list of the best podcasts to wake up to whether you're keen on learning something new or want a comedian to crack you up on the tube.

It seems nowadays that there's literally a podcast for everything and for every niche, so down below you'll find shows that cover everything from beauty through to food. While some stalwarts have since folded in recent years (RIP 2 Dope Queens), there's some fresher faces on the scene ready to fill the void with cultural commentator Ira Madison III heading up Crooked Media's newest foray into the podcasting world.

Podcasting's also a space where women seem to be thriving, as the team behind Fat Mascara (a.k.a. the ultimate pod for beauty junkies) has been a total treat. Fearne Cotton's interview-style format is also totally charming, while on the other end of the spectrum, one of the grisliest podcasts on the — My Favorite Murder — is headed up by a couple of gals. And for those who love picking apart plot holes in your favourite fandoms, there's a Harry Potter and Buffy The Vampire Slayer pair down below for you that'll sate your geeky heart.

Ready to dive in? It's time to make some space on your phone as you'll want to download all of these episodes.

1. 'Keep It'

Crooked Media

If you’re a bit of a pop culture fiend, this podcast is a fascinating Venn diagram of entertainment and current politics. Run by Ira Madison III, Louis Virtel, and Kara Brown, this show unflinchingly dissects what’s going on in the entertainment world armed with witty repartee and the occasional deep dive into racial politics and LGBTQ issues at the ready. With new episodes dropping every Wednesday, one of my biggest pet peeves is that it’s not a daily show — waiting to hear their hot takes on some nonsense has quickly become a fixture in my life. It’s still a relatively new podcast, so luckily there aren’t too many to listen to if you decide you want to start from the beginning.

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2. 'My Dad Wrote a Porno'

My Dad Wrote a Porno

Starting your day off with porn may sound ridiculous, but once you listen to these unfortunate erotic tales you’ll totally understand why. Three old pals from uni, Jamie Morton, James Cooper, and BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine, have all come together over Jamie’s Dad passion project: self-publishing erotica online. Each episode sees the trio doing dramatic and hilarious readings of a new chapter, which will have you cackling and cringing on the tube into work. While it may have started off with them just recording in a kitchen over beers, they’ve since attracted major stars like Daisy Ridley and Elijah Wood to their ranks and have even nabbed an HBO special.

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3. 'Fat Mascara'

Fat Mascara

I was told about this podcast by the biggest beauty geek I know and I’ve been hooked ever since. A podcast about make-up and beauty may sound a little unusual, but there’s a reason why it’s racked up the awards. Hosted by two IRL beauty editors Jessica Matlin and Jennifer Goldstein, they bring their expertise (and jokes) to the table as they go through recent beauty trends, the hottest drops, and no-bullsh*t reviews of their own experiences. As a pair of well connected queens, they also do fascinating interviews with other clued in beauty kids like Jaclyn Hill, Bianca Del Rio, and Charlotte Tilbury.

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4. 'Potterless'

Warner Bros.

Harry Potter fans, raise your hands. Oh, is that all of you? I thought so. This podcast is hosted by one of the world's greatest anomalies — a millennial who has never read Harry Potter before — and it's a total riot as he unpicks the series we've grown to know and love. From making totally off-base predictions about how it all shakes out to pointing out obvious plot holes, the host Michael Schubert will either revive your love for the series or make you grow to hate it. In any case, it's a fun ride.

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5. 'Happy Place'

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Fearne Cotton’s lovely mellow voice is a relaxing way to begin the day and it’ll start you off on a positive note, as the name suggests. Described by Cotton herself as “a place where [she wants] to collect all things that make me happy”, she brings in a number of fascinating stars to interview from different walks of life. And there’s really no rhyme or reason to who she interviews, as in recent episodes she’s interviewed the likes of one of YouTube’s biggest stars Zoe Sugg (Zoella), comedian Stephen Fry, and even British Olympian Tom Daley. In any case, they’re always lovely chats.

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6. TED Talks Daily

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Before you wind up having to put your mind to use at the office, a good TED talk will warm you up and get the cogs going. As the name probably suggests, this is one of TED’s official podcasts and it’s uploaded daily with a recent chat. There’s a few I’ve got my eye on at the moment, including one that dropped earlier this week about toxic masculinity. The cool thing about the podcast is that there’s literally hundreds of episodes, so if you’re not too jazzed about what’s on this morning you can always comb through the archives for something more your speed.

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7. 'My Favorite Murder'

My Favorite Murder

A podcast about the goriest murders around may not be everybody's cup of tea, but this grisly one remains one of the most popular around. Run by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, they share a new and horrific true crime story with every episode — breaking down the nitty gritty and exploring hometown horrors swept under the carpet. Definitely one for Serial and Making a Murderer fans.

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8. 'Buffering the Vampire Slayer'

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Loved Buffy growing up? Me too. If there was ever a reason to rewatch Sarah Michelle Gellar kick butt this would be it, as the show run by Jenny Owen Youngs and Kristin Russo is kind of like the ultimate Buffy book club. Each episode is a deep dive into another episode of Buffy and they come at it with a hefty dose of hindsight, critical theory, and laughs; some of which will completely change the way you experience an episode. From breaking down Xander as a challenge to traditional masculinity through to the show's approach to feminism, it's all utterly fascinating and vampire-free.

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9. 'Off Menu'

Off Menu with James Gamble and Ed Acaster

This is still a relatively new podcast, but it’s a promising one. Stand up comedians James Gamble and Ed Acaster have brought banter to one of the unexpected passions: the culinary world. In each episode, they invite a food-lover to the show and into their “dream restaurant” where they can describe their perfect meal in detail. With the likes of the Guardian’s restaurant critic Grace Dent through to Scroobius Pip, it’s a fun show that brings people together over a shared love of food.

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