Medical podcasts, although very informative, can often be a little dry. Personally, I like my medical facts, figures and everything in between, with a hearty dose of humour.
The following funny medical podcasts deliver exactly that. Each does their own unique thing to take apart the science, lay out some interesting facts and give us a decent laugh. This makes walking to and from hospital all the more fun.
Here are six of my personal favorites. Although I link out mostly to iTunes, free to fire them up in whatever podcast app you prefer. Some have their own dedicated site too.
This Won’t Hurt A Bit
A medicine, science, history and comedy podcast all rolled into one, This Won’t Hurt a Bit is a personal favorite of mine on Monday morning walks to clinic. Hosted by ER doctors Mel Herbert and Jess Mason (two strapping Australian lads), this pod first started back in 2015 and has taken various breaks before starting back up again for different seasons.
Featuring sound effects to go along with their stories, musical interludes and plenty of hilarious anecdotes, the production quality of this pod is solid.
Personal highlights of mine are the episodes on caffeine (where they go deep into the history of this addictive drink) and the two-part series on movie medicine (including all the obvious stuff they get wrong).
You’ll get strong vibes of popular YouTube series’ Crash Course here. Witty asides, jaunty music and descriptive re-imaginings all add to the flavor.
Check it out here.
I really wanted to keep this one a secret because of how great it is. I also wished I’d thought of the concept first.
Possibly way back before I even became a med student!
Based on the simple of idea of talking with sick people about their illnesses and the impact it has on life, each one of Sickboy’s episodes is a charming (but profanity laden) journey through disease and everything it involves.
Hosted by best friends; Jeremie, Brian and Taylor, three North American guys each with their own own particular brand of crass, the podcast was originally inspired by Jeremie’s own battle dealing with cystic fibrosis.
Sickboy is another pod that’s been running since 2015. Unlike some of the others on this list though, the boys behind it bring out fresh content a couple of times of week.
Right now there’s 300 plus episodes too.
Past episodes have covered topics like Parkinson’s, colorectal cancer, psoriasis and cerebral palsy. Often they’ll rope in health experts, doctors and other practitioner’s too, as well as a whole bunch of real people with real illness for brutally honest conversation.
Check it out here.
Officially titled Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine, this show is hosted by the husband and wife team of Dr. Sydnee McElroy and Justin McElroy.
Delving into the weird, gross, profound and oftentimes creepy, this is a medical history podcast exploration like no other. Publishing new shows every Friday, Sawbones is another huge treasure trove of medical funnies with over 300 episodes released.
Classic episodes worth checking out include:
- Hydroxychloriquine: debunking why it isn’t the Covid cure everybody expected
- The Hippocratic Oath: delving into father of medicine and whether what he said was legit or not
- Broken Heart Syndrome: looking at the little known pathology Takutsobo cardiomyopathy
What I love about Sawbones is how Dr. Sydnee’s husband plays the perfect foil to her super informed doctor, asking all the questions that perhaps the more medically educated wouldn’t think to answer. As well as some dumb ones. It’s fun.
Check out the podcast here.
Starting back in 2014, Bedside Rounds was born from the genius mind of Adam Rodman during his second-year residency stint in internal medicine at Oregon Health and Science University.
A podcast that focuses on individual stories in clinical medicine, Bedside Rounds blends narrative with history and throws in a lot of story telling too. Think of it as the “NPR of medical story-telling” (Adam’s words not mine).
So successful has this podcast been in fact, that host Adam has since left medicine to work as a medical educator and run the show full time.
Partnering with the American College of Physicians, Bedside Rounds dives into medical topics as broad as the work of Florence Nightingale, bloodletting in the form of leeches and the evolution of the physical exam (you know, the poking and prodding thing that most med students practice on each other first).
You can check it out here.
This pod takes ready, aim and fire at everything alternative medicine related. It also pokes fun at some of its more outlandish and absurd claims. Think dad-style humor with an authoritative bent.
Running since 2006, new episodes are hard to come by (the last came in June 2019) but there’s an active archive of well over 200 episodes to enjoy. Host Mark Crislip (an infectious disease doctor of over 30 years experience) pulls no punches though. Each episode of The QuackCast is a short and sweet tirade-laden masterpiece that rips into pseudo medicine and it’s problems of plausibility.
My recommendation: Quackcast 170 on chiropractors.
Note: Dr Mark Crislip’s Puscast series is also well worth a listen. This seems to be where his primary focus is now since shifting from The QuackCast.
Weird Medicine is the longest running show on this list (2007) and possibly the funniest. Known as the “the first and still only uncensored medical show in broadcast radio history”, the tagline pretty much tells you what to expect.
Also self-billed as a medical show for people who would never want to listen to a medical show, you’ll never get bogged down by heavy science listening to this pod. What you will get though is Dr Steve playfully batting away and alleviating random callers voice messages (yes, he includes a phoneline) regarding their health concerns. Warning: some of the callers are candid, weird and also a little bit creepy.
Certainly makes for intriguing listening.
To date there’s around 400 episodes available to download. The average run time for each is around one hour.
My personal favorite pick: Episode 385 – Great Blue Balls of Fire. A whole podcast dedicated to prostatic congestion.
Medical podcasts are so much better the more comedic they are. Those featured on this list? I’m pretty confident deliver when it comes to meeting that rather simple criteria.
Hopefully I’ll add more to this list with future discoveries too.
Image Credit: Owen Beard at Unsplash.