Top 5 Podcasts You Should Be Listening To
Courtesy matescast.tumblr.com Michael Ian Black from Mike & Tom Eat Snacks
Every couple of weeks, someone on Facebook inevitably poses the question, "Which podcasts should I be listening to? Not This American Life." It's the second most frequent post after "I lost all my numbers. Text me ur cell." If you are one of these curious people, or have a friend who is, then this is your answer.
Honorable mentions include Stuff You Should Know, where adorable duo Chuck and Josh drop knowledge bombs on everything from "How do dreadlocks work?" to "What's the deal with carbon trading?," NPR: Tiny Desk Concerts, The Moth and The Thrilling Adventure Hour starring Paul F. Tompkins and Craig Cackowski.
5. Mike & Tom Eat Snacks
The State's Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh, who you might recognize from Ed, do a very simple thing: They review snack foods. In addition to their thoughts on the banana, Bugles and Jelly Belly Very Cherry Pudding Snacks, Cavanagh and Black bicker a lot and are often profane. Sometimes it takes a solid 15 minutes before food is even mentioned. The podcast is a lot like sitting around a living room at 3 a.m. with some of your friends with the munchies -- goofy at its weakest and hilarious at its strongest. The best moments are when the snack food is awful ("This by itself will not give me a disease. But it might lower my immune system and cause me to catch a disease. It is the HIV of snacks.")
There are some strong similarities between Radiolab and This American Life. They both weave together different stories based on a theme and host Jad Abumrad has a definite vocal resemblance to Ira Glass, but Radiolab uses more science and more clips from professors with foreign accents. Seemingly simple premises like Cities and Words end up being immersive hour-long experiences full of awe-inspiring stories. In Cities, listeners heard about Centralia, the small Pennsylvania town that was largely abandoned after the underground mine caught on fire and continues to burn today. In Animal Minds, Abumrad and co-host Robert Krulwich relay a story of a daring whale rescue and how the animal may have found a way to say thanks -- but probably not.
3. Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
Fans of Fresh Air, or people who would like Fresh Air if it had a younger spirit, will likely appreciate these celebrity interviews from host and producer Jesse Thorn. Thorn partnered with the A.V. Club for the new year and changed the name of the show, formerly known as The Sound of Young America. Old episodes of TSOYA are still available on iTunes, with interviews of celebrities as varied as Judd Apatow, John Darnielle and Mary Roach. The first episode of Bullseye features cast members from Downton Abbey and Dan Deacon.
If you thought the host of Singled Out would never amount to anything, you aren't alone but you are also incorrect. Chris Hardwick, along with Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, is now the voice of Nerdist (and a contributor at Wired). Celebrity guests from all types of genres always have fun (look for the Nathan Fillion episode, in which the Firefly and Castle star shares a cookie recipe) and the hosts seem to have a genuine love for the subject matter.
1. WTF with Marc Maron
In January 2011, The New York Times printed a lengthy profile of Marc Maron detailing his battles with addiction and struggle to find fame in the comedy world. It's his anger and his openness that make WTF singular, and the comedians who appear on his show, including Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K. and Mike Birbiglia, are honest without precedent. Louis C.K., in fact, had a friendship with Maron that had become strained over the former's success and the podcast's two-hour interview with him ended in a reconciliation. Other episodes to keep an ear out for starred Chris Rock and Conan O'Brien.