The Orbiting Human Circus


Discover a wondrously surreal world of magic, music, and mystery. This immersive, cinematic audio spectacle follows the adventures of a lonely, stage-struck janitor who is drawn into the larger-than-life universe of the Orbiting Human Circus, a fantastical, wildly popular radio show broadcast from the top of the Eiffel Tower. WNYC Studios presents a special director’s cut of this joyous, moving break from reality. Starring John Cameron Mitchell, Julian Koster, Tim Robbins, Drew Callander, Susannah Flood, and featuring Mandy Patinkin and Charlie Day.
Season one of The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air) is a co-presentation of WNYC Studios and Night Vale Presents.

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Recent Reviews
  • Karen.A.238
    Again and again
    I read a lot books. I listen to podcast like I do most books: once. Except for this podcast i have listened straight though but find myself going back again and again. ‘Gain a different perspective or one of the characters comes forward. The troupe is so genuine with each other and the narrator becomes part of the story in moments that really touch my heart. I adore this silly, congenial, smart and complex, musically sound podcast.
  • Nniiccee.
    Love love love
    This is my comfort podcast. Not only are the stories incredible, it is so beautiful to listen to. The characters are all so complex and compelling, it’s impossible to not be drawn in. 💖
  • JoBee1990
  • TheBasicWriter
    I love this podcast to pieces! Although I know that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I personally love its beautiful atmosphere and how immersive and warm it feels. I love whimsy and flights of fancy, making this perhaps my all time favorite podcast.
  • TheSavageCabbage
    A Beautiful Show
    This wonderful show has entertained and emotionally moved me time and time again. I can not recommend it enough!
  • Hahahahahahhaaaa
    Whimsically Fantastical!
    I don’t know why there’s a sudden onslaught of dislike for the second season in these reviews. I thought it added so much depth to the characters and feeling of the show. It’s really just brilliant story telling. Music, as always, A+. One of my favorite podcasts now.
  • cloudsm_m
    one of my favorite podcast ever listening to the first season was amazing with the raisin broadcast type episodes and although season 2 was different i still loved it nonetheless. it gave more insight into the actually storyline and character of Julian in real life rather than the imaginary world he made up in season 1 can’t wait for season 3!
  • pavlov999206
    2nd Season Disappointment
    Loved the first season and it’s classic radio show feel. Got lost and disillusioned with the whole broadcast in this never ending, convoluted, self-aware second season that I have found hard to follow since episode one.
  • mkaycop13
    Amazing Audio Engineering
    Except for the despicable about of mouth sounds from the Julian character only. Literally, every other character doesn’t broadcast every spit bubble pop, every swallow, every back of the throat gurgle except for Julian. It blows my mind that a podcast with an interesting concept, cast, and characters continues to have this abhorrent amount of mouth sounds. And because Julian is the main character, the sounds are inescapable. This podcast was the sole reason I found out how much I cannot stand mouth sounds on audio mediums, and I would’ve preferred to find it in another place. Also, there was the weird mention of beastiality with the polar bear and Julian that hasn’t felt right since I heard it. In short, good concept, good characters, good story, annoying mouth sounds from the main character.
  • PhelineCat
    loose and unformed
    This feels like an idea that needs a lot more development. It's weird to be weird. I listened to quite a few episodes until I realized it wasn't going anywhere. There's no point to it, no point to the peculiarities and wanderings, just like some of their other podcasts. There's a lot of good stuff beyond horror, true crime and 90 min might-as-well-not-be-edited interviews in the podcast world.
  • All your friends are spiders
    Was not interested at first. Then, I got hooked
    At first I thought the story was overshadowed by the sweeping music, but once I learned to get past that, the story was amazing!
  • Ash8787421780
    What is this? It’s nothing but rambling.
  • alycat2895
    Such a cute show with lots of good stories wrapped in other good stories! The acting is top notch and whenever I listen it feels like coming home.
  • CitizenTrent
    I stayed up all night
    Listening to the first season story. The next day my partner wants to know what I was listening to. I told him a few of the big names, nothing rings a bell. I say well, it doesn’t matter! We listen. He is hooked! The first episode is a little wild with the radio changing but you’ll quickly realize what kind of story you’re being told and it’s very fun to imagine all of the guests. The voice actors! Cheers to you!
  • can code better than this
    Thank You
    This podcast just makes me so incredibly happy.
  • Libraryknight
    Thank you for a sweet, fun, and imaginative podcast that keeps me guessing as to where it’s going.
  • mossdragon mountain
    Listening to this podcast makes me feel calm and warm and wonderful
  • Doyouhaveahairtie
    Fills my heart with love
    this is my favorite podcast. they janitor is the most endearing character i have ever encountered in fiction, and the overall sound experience is 👌👌👌. i want him to be happy.
  • a certain age
    I found this through the recommendation of another NightVale Presents personality, “Dear Scooter” on the #SleepWithMe podcast. Marvelously creative with the quality of a dream.
  • I am the night
    This show has such a magical quality about it
  • jDanowitz
    This show means so much
    I want a thousand seasons. I re listen to it all the time
  • S Gentry
    How can something new give you nostalgia?
    This show is made up of equal parts hope, warmth, and whimsy. ☺️
  • abbagabbablooey
    Whimsical, imaginative, and terribly boring!
    Lots of potential here, and a few grins at whimsical concepts like the orchestra bird, but overshadowed by a lot of pointless mumbling and a complete lack of plot.
  • epicNtek
    Haven’t heard it but all hail
    All hail the mighty glow cloud.
  • princesstrillion
    Absolutely love this.
  • Walaf Shan
    Humble and beautiful
    This is a lovely story of a lonely man with a rich imagination, beautifully rendered and frequently ambiguous. You will be glad you found this wholesome, uplifting series that celebrates both talented performances and relatable experience. Although most of us keep a longer distance from polar bears.
  • WorkingHardToBeThisPoor
    Wow, just...WOW
    I'm now listening to Season 2 and am once again impressed! These sounds are a whole world to visit and also a small, wonderful feeling inside us. It's really beautiful. ❤️ Earlier: Very beautiful; full of feeling, imagination and beautiful music. May make you cry here and there. Worth it! 😄
  • Traipsenugget
    Instant favorite ❤️
    This podcast is so beautiful and well-executed. I’ve only been listening for a couple days, and have already caught up with all the episodes (I was exhilarated to find out we’re actually getting more episodes starting tomorrow!) and the story and characters have made their way into my heart. Everything about it is just so lovely - there’s this sort of cozy, nostalgic feeling it gives you, and in a way, you never feel alone when listing to Julian, and I really love that. Like I said, I only recently discovered this podcast, but I have to say, it’s already one of my favorites of all time. It’s a shame it’s so underrated and little well-known, because I think more people need to hear it. Please, keep up the amazing work, and I can’t wait for future episodes/seasons!
  • MissElla02
    Stunning Podcast
    This audio drama is absolutely gorgeous. It’s quirky, unique, and heartfelt. From the first episode, I was immediately drawn in by Julian’s escapades and felt immersed by the vivid sound design. This is easily bingeable and I look forward to new episodes!
  • stirfylover123
    Genuinely one of my favorite artistic works ever made
    It’s very sad when something that affects you this deeply isn’t that well known at all. I wish it at least had a prominent cult following
  • fluffleluv
    A weird podcast for weird people
    Love it so much. So weird and wonderful, it’s the best! And one more thing-ALL HAIl THE GLOW CLOUD!
  • BuchananMoncure
    Filled to the brim with perfection
    There’s nothing better
  • Magikastle
    Pure Joy
    Perfect. I cry.
  • omolara_505
    A bit like marmite...
    I love this podcast so much and can’t recommend it more! I get how it may not be everyone’s thing but it’s def worth a try. The tone is so floaty and calming which makes it perfect for late night listening or long absent walks! Also the music is 10/10
  • Rayj55
    I listened to this while I was on acid. It was by far one of the best choices I’ve ever made.
  • SafeTinspector
    Just... just... go smacking....
    Incredibly surreal yet touching, incoherent yet narratively sublime, continuity as solid as it is unsupportably absurd, Sublimely Kafka-esque, with production values that make me wish there were an auditory equivalent to cinematography just so I can gush about the sound framing and lighting... you have to listen so I can feel justified in my love. Why do I need you to justify my feelings? I shouldn’t... I... just want to share this with you.
  • Lonely wolf32
    Feels like home
    I’m so happy I came across this podcast! Feels like you're transported in time in another era or dimension. You can’t but help fall in love with Julian. So much heart and joy.
  • dhtothe3
    The Janitor 💙
    I am obsessed with this podcast. I can’t stop thinking about the voice of the janitor. I hear it without headphones. I listened to John Cameron Mitchell’s Anthem: Homunculus too... John please keep creating podcasts/stories like these. 😘😘 Also if you need VO actors 🙋🏻‍♂️🙋🏻‍♂️
  • Tutemi
    It’s a little bit of magic, I don’t know what else to say. I’m so glad it’s back. Give it a try, it will pull you in
  • Ducknewton
    favorite podcast
    i'm so excited about the new episode!! the story of this podcast is unlike anything i've heard before and something about it feels like home
  • Hoody32
    The French accents is so fake it’s racist.
  • Ella&Jules
    love this podcast
    I am in love with this podcast!! The environment created within this podcast is warm and lively, and I keep coming back to it. The small stories interwoven into the overall plot are fantastic and I re-listen regularly. I have listened to the whole podcast about 3 times. I’m love the newest episode and so excited to see what comes next!
  • Bi//yB|@ck
    Oh Yeah!!!
    Kicking some chicken!!!!,
  • MrGunder
    Poignant Absurdist Theatre
    Deftly balances joy and comedy, with the fraught triumphs of the human spirit, on tightrope walk over a metropolis of imagination.
  • absolute trash fire
    A lot of people find Julian irritating and so did I, but he really grows on you. It sounds like childhood wonder. I really enjoyed it. Still wondering if they were saying pie eating Cossack or Kazakh.
  • PostAdolescentMale
    Lost for words, there’s a bit of everything here and it’s all amazing.
  • Rita Orlo
    A podcast that more people need to hear
    The atmospheric nature of Julian Koster and his podcast is a phenomenal journey to surreal realism. The obscure acts in the Orbiting Human Circus complements the music created by Koster’s band, the Music Tapes. Hoping for season 2 to come out soon!
  • kit sherman
    wonderful, whimsical, with a very relatable and endearing protagonist, and [mild spoilers but trying to minimize] the twist at the end is the best of its trope that i've ever seen.
  • KT every nickname is taken
    I hate the janitor with a passion
    The podcast itself is interesting and pleasing to the ear. However, the janitor(who is the main character, mind you) is the most annoying thing I have ever heard. I’m not going to lie, it’s 100% his terrible, terrible voice. Why does he always sound like he’s crying or getting ready to cry? Why does he mumble every word that comes out of his mouth? It sounds like he’s playing chubby bunny while having a panic attack. What makes it worse is that when you listen to the commentary at the end of each episode, the voice actor just sounds like a normal dude. So why does his character’s voice make me want to throw myself off of a building? I was hoping that he would die in episode 8 so I wouldn’t have to listen to him anymore. Good Lord.
  • 24688642krissy
    So very confused
    I tried listening through several episodes since some shows can take a bit of time to find the groove but I’m throwing in the towel. What’s the plot? The ramblings of the janitor may be interesting to some but I just couldn’t.
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