My Brother, My Brother and Me used to be an advice show.
The comedy podcast—launched in 2010 by Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy—sees the three brothers from Huntington, West Virginia, answer a whole range of queries from listeners and Yahoo! Answers. What started out as a hilarious, weird podcast has spawned a family dynasty of fantastic programming and rabid fans. Six years later MBMBaM still dishes out advice on the weekly, but the show’s evolved into one that’s become a beacon of humanist positivity—one that genuinely makes the people who listen to it want to be better.
There’s no shortage of podcasts that try to make the Yahoo! Answers service funny, but MBMBaM plants its flag as the best in this space of conversational, loose programming. It’s the McElroy brother’s incredible relationship and rapport that makes their show consistently hilarious after 300-plus episodes. Whether it’s questioning the true nature of Slimer from Ghostbusters, checking up on eBay’s finest haunted dolls, or collectively workshopping vampire assassin Tit Liquid, it’s impossible not to fall in love with their interplay.
MBMBaM joined the Maximum Fun network in 2011, alongside a host of other great shows tackling the assumption that larger podcasting networks seem too cliquey or corporate. Shows like Throwing Shade, Judge John Hodgman, and new addition The Beef And Dairy Network solidify my running theory that the best way to incubate a podcast is to let its creators have fun and build their voices over time.
For MBMBaM, the brothers McElroy had a leg up due to their existing, downright loving relationships. It was no surprise when the rest of the family got involved in making podcasts. Sawbones is an awesome medical history show from Justin and wife Sydnee, which highlights all the weird ways we’ve tried to cure ourselves over the centuries. Done live, it’s more funny. Sydnee, along with her sisters Teylor and Rileigh, also do Still Buffering, a show about how the trials and tribulations of being a teenager have evolved in recent generations. Griffin and his wife Rachel helm the fantastic fancast for the Bachelor series, Rose Buddies.
Those are your starting points. There are 13 active shows from the McElroy clan, and you’re sure to find something that fits your interests. Whether it’s a guide to surviving the apocalypse, lessons on how to tackle etiquette, or even a beautifully produced Dungeons & Dragons adventure, the McElroys have managed to create an empire of podcasts that consistently manage to stay charming and hilarious. It’s like how you’ll see Tom Hanks in basically any movie he makes.
A goofy advice podcast isn’t going to cure societal ills, but MBMBaM finds humor in the mundane and built its empire on roping you into its familial bond. Some podcasts convey urgent intel, others flourish on their episodic narrative—MBMBaM wants to pour you a drink and hang out.