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The Best Podcasts

July 23, 2014

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Since there’s been a lack of good TV this summer, I’ve had a bit of extra time on my hands and I finally devoted some time to the world of podcasts. As a public transit user, podcasts are great things to listen to on the commute to work, the bar, a friend’s place, or anywhere…and here are some of my favorites:

Welcome to Nightvale

A friend at work turned me on to this radio play. Nightvale is an unusual town, where strange things happen and are considered rather commonplace. While each episode can be listened to independent of the others, if you start from the beginning, you will grow to know and love the various characters in this strange town and look forward to hearing how their lives are changing. Whether you’re just looking for something interesting to listen to, or you’re a fan of old time radio serials, this is worth checking out.

Girl on Guy

Aisha Tyler is an actress, comedian and TV show host (The Talk), and she decided to create a podcast where she interviews people she finds interesting, ranging from actors to writers to gamers to activists. Most of the people she interviews are men (hence the name), but there a few significant women that she has interviewed, and every interview is fascinating. Coming to the show several years after it started, I cherry picked the people that I wanted to hear interviewed, but every single one has been fascinating. She does a segment at the end of every interview called “Self Inflicted Wounds” (also the title of her book), where she asks each guest to tell a story where the unintentionally caused themselves physical, emotional, or social harm. This is my favorite part of every episode, as many of the stories are not only entertaining, but laugh out hilarious. Check it out.

Inside Acting

If you are interested in becoming an actor in LA, you need to be listening to this podcast. Hosts Trevor Algatt and AJ Meijer relate their own experiences on their respective journeys in the entertainment industry and interview a wide range of actors, casting agents, fitness gurus, finance gurus, writers, directors, and more. Every interview is worth listening to, and they are incredibly interactive with their listeners. I discovered the podcast right when I was deciding to move to LA, and created a dialogue with them that has continued for over a year. These are just two dudes with a podcast, and you should definitely check them out.

NPR

I listen to multiple NPR podcasts, mostly because pretty much all of their programming is available. Every morning, I download the morning news, a five minute snapshot of what’s going on in the world. Every Friday, The Diane Rehm Show gives me a breakdown of the biggest domestic and international stories of the week with in depth analysis. I usually dip out when they start taking listener calls, but it keeps me up to date on the major goings on in the world. On the flipside of that, on Saturdays, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, the NPR News Quiz gives me a comedic perspective on the week’s news. This game show has recaps, silly news stories, celebrity interviews, and more, all within the guise of a game show, where the panel is usually made up of comedians like Paula Poundstone, Bobcat Goldthwait and Mo Rocca, so the news is actually interesting for once. On Sundays, I get my only non-news related podcast from NPR: The Sunday Puzzle. NYT Crossword Editor Will Shortz plays a word or number game with a weekly caller and provides a weekly puzzle for listeners to solve during the week. If you do, and submit it, you get entered into the lottery to become the next on-air contestant. As a crossword and puzzle fan, I only wish that this segment was longer than seven minutes.  That’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of NPR programming that is available to podcast, so feel free to explore.

What’s the T?

Do you watch RuPaul’s Drag Race? If not, you should. And whether you do or not, you should check out What’s the T, a podcast hosted by RuPaul and his best gal pal, the dame to his flame, Michelle Visage, a star in her own right and one of the judges on RPDR. They talk drag, work, life, love, society, beauty, fame, fortune and so much more and starting a few episodes in have a rotating guest that they both interview and have contribute to the topics they’ve decided to talk about. This is a fairly new podcast, so it won’t take long to catch up on all of the T, hunty.

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