My Brother, My Brother and Me is a comedy advice show for the modern era that features very little advice. Hosted by real-life brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy, they offer ‘wisdom’ to listeners who submit questions, as well as answer anonymous posts from Yahoo! Answers.
Look, MBMBaM is a really popular podcast. It’s been on for 8 years and has more than 400 episodes. All three brothers do other podcasts and between them, there are over 14 different shows. With such an established and prolific show, it’s hard to know how to get into it.
Once upon a time, Bradley Davis, Podchaser CEO and ultra snob, refused to listen to My Brother, My Brother and Me, which is my favorite podcast. In an effort to convert him, I curated the best of the best and sent him a list of top episodes to listen to if you want to fall in love with MBMBaM. And readers, it worked.
Here is an updated version of the list I made for Bradley in hopes that you too will find joy in the McElroys’ big bag of goofs.
🙋♀️ UPDATED FOR 2020 – FILL YOUR LIFE WITH LAUGHTER AND BEES.
Five hundred of anything is a lot, but when it’s a free comedy podcast it definitely deserves to be celebrated. This episode, other than a reference to a top episode from 9 years ago, is less jokes and more heartfelt gratitude. Give this one a listen after you’ve already become a big fan, and truly appreciate the boys’ journey, their families’ support, and Travis’ wife totally dunking on him.
Nothing is more relatable than our favorite brothers talking about their large collection of luxury cars! Too bad it’s been edited out of the show for the past nearly-10 years.
Every year has a nickname the boys discover and totally use all year long. Sometimes it’s super appropriate (Frankenstein-teen: Become the Monster was very 2019) and sometimes not so much (Twenty-Fixteen: Building Bridges just did not work for 2016). Instead of a long, laborious exercise in trying to just come up with something, 2020 provided almost TOO many options and some might argue the best one was left on the table. (20-HONEY, DOWN TO BEES-NESS FOREVER).
This might be the most controversial opinion I have ever held in my life: I love Play Along at Home. Listen to this episode and join the heated debate.
How many birds could there possibly be? A lot, actually. Tune in to this episode for some piping hot McElroy Birdwatching Tips.
The brothers don’t often crowd-source answers to questions, but when one person was in desperate need for multiple celebrity impressions recording answering machine messages for a LASIK clinic, they used a lifeline and asked the audience, and the audience answered. Submitted impressions are sprinkled throughout the show, as are the brothers’ wheezing laughs. Who doesn’t need to hear a terrible Ray Romano talk about eye surgery?
This perhaps is the most frustrating episode in the entirety of the show, because Justin refuses to acknowledge that it would be weird to eat microwaved grapes.
Live shows aren’t always the best, partially due to unpredictable audio quality and cringy crowd questions. But the brothers’ energy is always off the rails (like when Griffin discovers a fraternal betrayal in front of a live audience), and the crowd really delivers in Episode 436. And Justin gets to bring out his “That’s a Christmas to Me” bit. If your guilty pleasure is watching terrible Hallmark Christmas movies, you will ace this game.
The boy ain’t in this one, folks. But it’s still a solid, classic episode cram jammed full of guaranteed laughs.
Riddle me piss, boys! The birth of a new bit is always a miraculous sight to behold. The moment the McElroys discover Riddles.com, you can sense that the show (mostly the live ones, when this bit gets resurrected) will never be the same again.
Do you like vicariously living through someone’s anxiety? Do you wish you could experience more second-hand panic? You are in luck. The boys were invited to record an episode from the red carpet of Jimmy Buffet’s Broadway debut musical, “Escape to Margaritaville,” and interview stars such as Marilu Henner and Al Roker. No lie, I tried to listen to this one a second time but just couldn’t deal with the second-hand anxiety, but it’s a classic every MBMBaM fan should be familiar with.
Sometimes the people we love the most, are the ones who can hurt us the most. The journey to healing begins in Episode 383 where James Buffet himself appears as a guest expert, and concludes in Episode 400.
MBMBaM is at its best when it’s just three brothers trying to make each other laugh. The brothers are all dads now, but at the time of this recording only Justin has experienced fatherhood and talks at length about discovering what having a 3-week-old baby is really like. Ep 215 is a great intro as to what the show is and who the brothers are, and also has my favorite joke ever: Glass Shark.
I’d love to explain this one, but simply put…MY BEAN! IT’S BEEN FREAKED!
I’m just gonna say it. The early episodes are not good. They have poor audio and joke quality, and the brothers are the first to admit it. But in this episode, the brothers are back together again in their home state of West Virginia. Their stepmom Carol made them a lot of spaghetti, and the jokes roll out as they are “effed up on pasta.”
This is the episode Bradley said was his favorite and convinced him to keep listening. If you ever overthink the social cues of having a repairman in your home, this will be primo relatable content.
Maybe it’s because I related a little too hard to one letter writer’s problem of too many old Orlando Bloom posters, or maybe it’s the thoughtful critique of 50 Shades of Gray, but this one is my Most Quotable episode.
Now that you’re in the MBMBaM groove, you’re ready for the Birthday Surprise Hole. This episode get off the rails and never gets back on. Griffin is overruled and bullied by his older brothers as they refuse to answer any questions and instead tell stories about their childhood and embarrassing adolescence. You get to know them better, hear them be totally self-deprecating, and laugh at Justin’s unfortunate financial decisions.
There are a lot of running jokes and self-referential goofs in MBMBaM. The boys are really into horses, ghosts, shopping for haunted dolls on E-bay, and the stylish t-shirts of Tybee Island, Georgia. This episode features one of the recent bests: Shrimp! Heaven! Now!
Since MBMBaM is produced by Maximum Fun, they do an annual pledge drive to increase monthly donations. Those episodes aren’t always the best since they’re interrupted more often for long ad spots. But the brother generally try to pull out the big guns and treat their listeners. Occasionally, MBMBaM features a “guestpert,” where a celebrity guest like Elizabeth Gilbert or Jimmy Buffet comes and lends their wisdom to the advice. This episode features none other than a pre-Hamilton Lin Manuel-Miranda, Broadway star and MBMBaM superfan.
Now that you’re an official fan of My Brother, My Brother and Me, there’s a TON of other content for you to consume.
The McElroy boys also do The Adventure Zone, a tabletop RPG podcast with their dad Clint. The first season was a years-long Dungeons & Dragons arc, DM’d by Griffin. After a round of testing new games and GMs, the boys are now playing a Monster of the Week system by Evil Hat Productions.
While they worked at Polygon, Justin and Griffin created Monster Factory, a hilarious Youtube series where they use game character creators to make horrifying children and stretch the game far beyond its intentions.
Perhaps the best MBMBaM adjacent content is Til Death Do Us Blart, which is an annual and eternal podcast shared with Guy Montgomery and Tim Batt from Worst Idea of All Time. Once a year, the boys watch and discuss cinematic masterpiece Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. The creators are determined the podcast will outlive them, and at the end of the episode nominate a host to take over in the event of his untimely death.
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