Years ago I wrote about all the movie review podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis (actually, I need to update it severely). Today, I am offering all the other podcasts and radio programs that are syndicated for free in podcasts.
The podcasts that I am describing here are predominately focus on economics, human interests, science, social science, and interview formats that are captivating. Keeping up with these Podcasts are an excellent way to remain current on entertainment, news, and a variety of other issues. Some are incredibly funny, some can shed a tear or provoke goosebumps, but in all, each is well produced and the producers and hosts are passionate about their programs and it shows.
Elegantly anacromized from “What the Fuck,” Marc Maron has found the sweet spot after being fired for the last time from Air America. He interviews fellow comedians and entertainers new and old in his garage turned studio at his self-described Cat Ranch. He targets their biographies to find out how their comedic styles developed and attempts to find shared experiences as a stand-up comedian and entertainer. His interviews are incredibly personal, intelligent, and focus on the highs and lows of life.
Comedy Bang Bang
The Comedy Bang Bang is a more absurd version of WTF Podcast. Scott Auckerman interviews a comedian or entertainer and is always joined by a special guest who either improvises impersonations of famous people or send-ups of stereotypes. This podcast is 20% catching up and 80% absurdist and bizarre bullshitting; the good kind, of course. The podcast has recently been adapted into an IFC television show that is an even more absurd and post-modern, and utilizes much of the same format as the podcast, but in as a half-hour program.
Judge John Hodgman
The PC guy from those early 2000s Apple commercial has become the go to guy on stonefaced hilarity. Now, once a week, John Hodgeman dons the robe and has common citizens state their cases to determine the most rational solutions to assist in the domestication of wayward friends and couples. Typical cases have been whether to use hand soap or dish soap in a dispenser by a sink and what constitutes a spoiler alert when discussing Breaking Bad. A recent episode included Suze Orman to provide expert testimonial.
The Tobolowsky Files
Published sporadically, but always packed with insightful commentary, Steven Tobolowsky narrates his specific moments in his film life. More like a slice of a larger memoir, each episode is a captivating story by our country’s most recognizable character actor even though few know his name. Tobolowsky is a true raconteur with a generous amount of stories about his life that he’s willing to share. Stories have included his battle with cancer, having Christopher Nolan plead for him to be in Memento, and drinking charades in Europe.
This American Life
One of the America’s most beloved NPR programs, This American Life is an hour-long human interest and social science radio show that tackles and exposes relevant and fascinating stories about Americana. The program has debunked myths, described trends, and enchanted audiences on their weekly radio program for three decades now, and you can download the podcast version for free.
This NPR science program features short and feature-length episodes where they unravel scientific and medical issues and present them in an accessible way. They reveal new scientific discoveries, medical advances, all told in a lovely narrative that is well produced and accessible. Host Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich have built a solid reputation of having a high quality production and fascinating stories. Abumrad even won a MacArthur fellowship in 2011 for his work in Radiolab.
Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin
Published bi-weekly and similar to WTF Podcast, Baldwin has discussions with entertainers, industry professionals, and any one he thinks is interesting and wants to know more about them or their work. These interviews are incredibly touching and professional, and Baldwin is surprisingly a great host.
All of these podcasts are free, but many of them survive on advertising and/or donations. WTF Podcast even has a premium membership that allows you to enjoy much older episodes no longer available in the free feed, and others have some benefits as well. Consider throwing in a $10 bucks to your favorite podcast and pass the karma along.
Let me know if there are any other podcasts that are absolutely essential to listen to by commenting.