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Pandora apps put comedy in your pocket

Pandora's new comedy channels are available "to go," but you might need a little help finding them on your mobile device. Here's how.

Sweet! Pandora's new comedy channels are available in the Pandora apps, so you can yuk it up wherever you go.
Sweet! Pandora's new comedy channels are available in the Pandora apps, so you can yuk it up wherever you go.
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Recently I finished a three-month trial of SiriusXM Radio. And despite a relentless onslaught of calls and e-mails from the company, I elected not to continue my subscription. The only channels I really wanted were the comedy ones, which, frankly, weren't that great.

Pandora to the rescue! Yesterday, the incomparably awesome Internet-radio service introduced comedy stations. My first thought: "Please let them be available in the mobile apps. Please let them be available in the mobile apps." Because I figured that such an incomparably awesome addition to the service must come with a catch.

Huzzah! Turns out I can enjoy the likes of Daniel Tosh, Bill Cosby, Steven Wright, and Mitch Hedberg on my iPad, iPhone, Android phone, and so on--wherever there's a Pandora app. And make no mistake: Pandora's comedy stations are infinitely better than the ones on SiriusXM, if only because the mix caters directly to my tastes.

To start listening (and laughing), just create a new station like you normally would, starting with the name of a favorite comedian. You can also search for "comedy," but I should note that in my tests, this returned only four of the 12 available stations.

Thus, you may want to hit the site if you want to add any of those stations to your profile. The next time you run the mobile app, they should appear on your list.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that competing custom-radio service Slacker (which I often prefer to Pandora--it was one of my favorite apps of 2009) has offered comedy programming for years, though it has only two prefab channels. (Of course, you can easily build one of your own, selecting just the comedians you want to hear--a really nice perk.)

So who needs pricey satellite radio? With my iPhone 4 paired via Bluetooth to my car stereo, I can listen to exactly the comedy I want while driving around town. That gives me two reasons to smile. Three, actually.