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Friday, April 20, 2012

Podcast Primer

This isn't book related, but podcasts do compete for my audiobook listening time.  I so enjoy listening to podcasts because they are short, funny, usually light listening which keeps me entertained for that commute to and from work.  And many times during work as well.  There are so many podcasts out there for every topic that it can be overwhelming trying to find something you would like to listen to, but for the most part they are all free and how can anyone turn down free quality entertainment?  So many professional artists (comedians, magicians, writers, etc) are podcasting, and it is fun to hear about their lives from their viewpoints.  And it is great to be able to support a medium where any benefits the podcasts reap from their shows (from doing advertisements for products they believe in) goes directly to them, and not 'we-need-to-profit-from-everything' corporations.  And also the podcasters get to control all of their own content.  So, for this post, I just wanted to highlight my five favorite podcasts.

I should say first that there are SO MANY that I haven't heard, and this is not a five of the bestest podcasts list, but just some that I really enjoy, and maybe for anyone who hasn't tried listening to podcasts, this would give some idea on which ones are really entertaining.  I think I enjoy podcasts by comedians the best, especially when they are just riffing and joking amongst each other, but they can also give some interesting insight into the human condition, because observing the world is something comedians are really good at doing.

Nerdist Podcast
With Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira

Itunes / Website

My first podcast, because they had an interview with current Doctor on Doctor Who, Matt Smith.  I enjoyed the joking and loose conversational style of the "interview" and continued downloading episodes where they talked to other actors I was interested in.  Eventually it starts to feel like you are listening to a conversation among your close friends, and really hilarious friends at that.  Chris, Jonah and Matt have a great group chemistry, and their "hostful" episodes with no guests, where they just talk about what is going on in their lives, are so entertainingly funny and silly, that I look forward to them more than the guest podcasts.  The podcast has such a positive energy that is fueled by their humor, and interest in people, and by their genuine wish to see that people live life to the fullest and to truly "enjoy their burrito."

You Made It Weird
With Pete Holmes

Itunes/ Website

Pete Holmes is my favorite comedian.  His material is silly and observational and served up with manic energy and charm.  His podcast lets him talk with his fellow comedians about three usual topics: comedy, relationships, and religion, while also trying to make it weird and awkward whenever possible.  In an hilarious way.  I think his enthusiasm and totally accepting attitude over different viewpoints on religion specifically is refreshing and makes for a great forum for sharing of interesting thoughts and ideas.  His conversations are always brimming over with joy - from his outbursts of laughter to the delight he takes in people making it weird (and keeping it crispy) - so that this podcast is always a pick-me-up at the end of a long day at work.


Doug Loves Movies
With Doug Benson

Itunes / Website

A movie game podcast with comedians, for the first 20 minutes or so the comedian guests usually sit around and talk and riff about themselves, about movies or anything that comes up.  Then they play Build-A-Title (linking names of movies together) and the Leonard Maltin Game (too complicated to explain- listen to the show).  All parts of the show are fun (did I mention how much I love listening to comedians banter?) with the bonus of trying to be able to play along with the game in the comfort of your car.  (I'm not very good at it)  You do wonder how people can remember so much about movies though!  Doug most always tapes with a live audience, so you can hear how fun it is to see the show live.  Going to one of the tapings is a goal of mine!

Fitzdog Radio
With Greg Fitzsimmons

Itunes / Website

One of the few podcasts I listen to where the host can spend most of the hour just talking by himself, and I am still riveted and entertained.  Greg does a few podcasts talking about what is going on with his life - but always with a humorous spin - but mostly he has interviews with guests in the business.  He can be snarky and insulting but you always feel that he is a nice guy and a great person to hang around with.  The little games he plays with his guests are highlights for me - especially 'Talk Your Way Out of It' (you can watch video versions of this game on his website) where you talk your way out of awkward situations, and the newest game 'This Is What Your Talking About' where you talk for a minute on a randomly given topic.

Brian Howard Show
With Brian Howard, Cowen Angus Bailey, Jenny Lynn, and Jack Dagger

Itunes / Website

Most of the podcasters are variety performers as well as comedians and between them they know juggling, fire eating, knife throwing and martial arts.  I've seen Brian Howard perform live as Broon at the Renaissance Faire and have thoroughly enjoyed his shows along with the ones he performs with "Moonie".  So that led me to listen to his podcasts where the format is more like a traditional radio talk show, but with no censorship (thank goodness).  The group talk about such a variety of topics, that you never know what is coming up, but that is the charm of the show.  Everyone seems to have an opinion on something so in depth discussions are the norm.  The show is often silly though, and Brian presides over his fellow hosts like an angry father, at times affectionate, understanding, or chastising.  The guests are usually of the variety performing crowd, which makes the podcast an interesting window into the realities of this kind of work.

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