Welcome to Night Vale: an appreciation of the spookiest, funniest podcast


Weirdly coincidental timing with this post; I’ve been binge-listening to WtNV for a few days now.

I am enjoying it, on balance, but I feel like each episode could be improved by paring it down from twenty minutes to about five. There are some real gems, but they are buried DEEP under lots of “this would be hiLARious if I were stoned right now” stuff.

I do love the tagline they came up with for Audible: “Audible.com: you can’t burn what you can’t even touch.”

1 Like

I think you’re onto something. After hearing so many people raving about NightVale I downloaded the first three episodes and just couldn’t get into them. I thought maybe if got better later, but two more episodes didn’t change much for me - I felt like I was listening to a peyote-influenced X-Files worldbuilding fanfiction.

I binge listened and enjoyed the crap out of it, but I don’t think it’s made for the binge because there are too many overlapping themes and phrases that seem like Mix n Match versions of themselves over and over again.

Still though, I am immersed in the world of Night Vale and have my Eternal Scout Patch. What I like best is the Sinister Forces that seem to be to be actively interwoven and shadowier than the every day mundane Sinister (like the Helicopters and the Dog Park).

Great Stuff!


I love the podcast but watch out for the fandom.

1 Like

This is one of my favorite things ever. My spouse and I listen to an episode or two at a time, and look forward to new episodes.

1 Like

Yeah, I think this podcast is a tad overrated. When I first caught wind of it I was very intrigued, not the least because it was getting a lot of good buzz. And while there are some interesting stories in there, there is, as past commenters have mentioned, a lot of forgettable sections too.

That would be fine, except the dude who reads the stories can hardly be bothered to break from the two voices he gives (#1: deep-but-monotonous, indicating he’s “serious” or “spooky”; #2: higher-pitched yet kind of joyless, like he was excited about something but lost confidence of it midway through his speech).

So yeah, it’s decent, but not a great podcast

it’s great to see a little more experimentation with the podcast format. I can listen to comedy podcasts all day, but it’s nice to mix it up, particularly in the direction of fiction/“radio” drama (I really like The Truth). Still though I haven’t quite caught the WTNV fever that seems to be sweeping the podsphere. They seem to be reaching for something that Joe Frank mastered 20 years ago.

1 Like

I’ve been listening in bulk since Idea Channel did an ep on it. Solid. Imperfect, but delightful. Peyote-influenced X-files worldbuilding fanfiction, sure, but sign me up for that!.

Idea Channel Ep Here

I absolutely love WtNV, it´s the only thing I play on the computer when I do some creative drawing or sketching.

I will get my scout patch soon. SOON.

Maybe at the Dog Park.

1 Like

Joe Frank is exactly who it reminds me of; I wasn’t sure how widely he was known outside of Santa Monica, though.

1 Like

KALW in San Francisco used to carry Joe Frank. I think his work is brilliant and completely transporting… perfect for listening while sitting in a darkened room. Maybe he was way ahead of his time… perhaps he should repackage the episodes and podcast them, with a few ads for stamps.com thrown in.

1 Like

(Fun fact: JF was the voice of the ship’s computer in Galaxy Quest)

They’ve been playing him every Sunday night on WBEZ in Chicago for years followed right after by Ken Nordine. Great double shot there. If this is as good as Joe Frank I’ll have to give it a shot.

I’m of the opposite opinion. If only it was just a little longer. I like that it takes time to listen to and I savor each episode from start to finish. And I wish I lived there. So much better than Desert Bluffs.


The @nightvaleradio twitter feed is pretty entertaining, also. It has the same surrealistic feel as the podcast, without the story lines or recurring characters.

1 Like

Oh, I’d love a longer version too - it’s just that I think their comic timing is a bit off. Most of the really funny bits are one-liners, which are tossed off en passant; when they set up a longer joke they drag it out way, way, longer than it can really support.

I also sorta wish the tone weren’t quite so arch/ironic; of course none of this is real, but I wish Cecil sold it a bit more horrifically. (A bit more Lovecraft, a bit less “comedy parody of Lovecraft”.) Ah well. It’s still fun.

And Desert Bluffs sucks.

If only I could have hair like Carlos.

Oh and Steve Carlsberg should take a long walk off a short pier.


I like the sensibility but can’t stay interested. You know those movies where the plot stops dead so some bozo can explain what’s happening? It’s like that, but ALL THE TIME

1 Like

Here’s a fascinating essay examining Welcome to Night Vale as “liberal horror”, as opposed to, say, The Exorcist’s “conservative horror”.

Personally, I couldn’t stand the podcast, as it reminded me unpleasantly of things like people covering up abuse and exploitation (by telling everyone loudly that you should not notice your instincts saying things are fucked-up and wrong, because that’s the way they’re supposed to be): as the essay I linked says,

Its [referring to Twin Peaks’, but also by analogy Night Vale’s] horror is subtle, creeping, awful, and predicated entirely on the idea that the worst stuff is invisible because we, as respectable human beings, want it to be invisible. Why the hell would we speak up about ghostly visions if we can’t even talk about the nice waitress at the diner whose husband beats her every night?