What should you be listening to? Allow me.
A few people have asked me to do some podcast recommendations on the blog. In February, I made a list of five (This American Life, Serial, WTF with Marc Maron, Stuff You Should Know, and my podcast with Jordan - shameless, I know). Here's five more you can delight your ears with this weekend.
In no particular order:
1. The Moth
Genre: Storytelling, nonfiction.
What's it about? The Moth is recorded live, which makes it especially dynamic because there's an actual audience. There's a loose theme presented, then people tell stories related to that theme. It started out as an actual show, packing small rooms all over the country, before transforming into a podcast.
What would it be rated? Anything from G to R - it depends on the storyteller. The same is true for the overall effect - some of these stories are hysterical, while some of them rip your guts out. I can vividly remember driving home one afternoon while listening to The Moth and having to pull over because I was in tears. It'll getcha.
Where do I start? Just choose one and jump in. You can get a little taste for what it's like by watching this clip from the season finale of Girls last year. Disclaimer: This clip is pretty foul. Not all stories on this podcast are like this. Not even most of them, really.
Genre: Well...any and everything, really. Confessional?
What's it about? Okay. This is such a cool idea. There's this comedian named Chris Gethard who hosts a weekly call. Anyone can call in to this particular phone line, and if he answers, then you have up to an hour to talk about whatever you want. The catch is, he doesn't want to know your name or any specific identifying details about you, beyond what you choose to offer up. He stays on the phone until the one hour mark, then the call is over. He can't hang up until you hang up.
What would it be rated? Again, anything from G to R. There is some intense stuff discussed on this podcast, as can be expected given that it's anonymous. There's also some truly hilarious stuff. It's a grab bag. It's also a pretty new podcast - he's only recorded 35 episodes - so it's fun to watch him find his footing.
Where should I start? My favorite one so far has been this conversation between Chris and a guy in his 30's - they start out talking about passports and end up talking about the details of Judaism. It's called Passport, Exodus.
Genre: ALL THE THINGS.
What's it about? I can practically hear the voice of Guy Raz as I type this. So TED (which stands for "technology," "entertainment," and "design,") is an organization that hosts talks all around the world. I'm sure you've heard of it. Brilliant people get up and explain something awesome. On TED Radio Hour, the host, Guy Raz, takes those same speakers and talks more with with them. You get to hear both clips of their talks and interviews with them, plumbing the depths of their subject.
What would it be rated? G or PG, mostly. He'll tell you if otherwise.
Where should I start? How We Love, Maslow's Human Needs, What We Fear, 7 Deadly Sins...you can't go wrong. Visit the page and start falling in love here.
4. WTF with Marc Maron
SO I'm cheating and listing this one again because I listen to it every week.
Genre: Interview, comedy.
What's it about? Incredibly foul comedian and TV star Marc Maron sits down with celebrities and interviews them for an hour. He does a little "bit" at the beginning of each episode, which is always funny and usually self-deprecating in a disarming way (but if you're short on time, skip it). The interviews are poignant, interesting, and (of course) hilarious. You'll learn lots about your favorite actors, authors, and musicians that you didn't know before.
What would it be rated? PG-13 or R. And it's not even because the content is mature, it's because Maron has the such a filthy mouth. I mean, the "f" word is part of his title, for the love.
Where should I start? There are so many good ones here that it's hard to list. Sarah Jessica Parker was just interviewed, hers is great. President Obama was on this podcast and it was brilliant. Louis CK did a two-parter. You can't go wrong. Start listening here.
Genre: Interview, informational.
What's it about? Oh, it's just about my favorite freakin' person Terry Gross interviewing newsmakers. She is so brilliant and so smart - lots of people of import are on the show, and lots of people you've never heard of are on the show. Either way, you leave with a deeper understanding of whatever it is she's asking about. And I promise you, you'll love her. This is also #11 on the iTunes podcast chart, so, you know. It's no slouch.
What would it be rated? G! It's public radio, after all.
Where should I start? Well, Stephen Colbert was interviewed a couple of days ago and he was fantastic. Start there! He actually made Terry LOL several times, and when the normally-staid-and-professional Terry Gross gets tickled, it's just delightful.
Happy listening, folks! Play them on your walks, runs, grocery store trips, car rides...podcasts are the very best.