To be totally honest, I had not been a huge podcast connoisseur before about a year ago. My lifestyle didn’t seem podcast-friendly; I don’t commute via car, and when I’m on the subway I’m usually — are you sitting down? this is a shocker! — reading a book. But over this past summer I realized that podcasts are also a great way to pass the time when you’re taking long walks, which I was doing a lot of because I had a new book out and was trying valiantly not to spend time online, where book reviews live. More recently, I have come to appreciate the value of podcasts for when you are waddling around pregnant and it takes you 2x longer than usual to get anywhere. Podcasts: they are good. Did you know? Angie and I put together this list of a few of our favorites. The geniuses behind these shows make me feel like I have no business behind a mic, but like, in a good way.
Comedian Emily Heller and writer/illustrator Lisa Hanawalt’s podcast features all kinds of different guests, some famous, some not, who are encouraged to share their “expertise” in whatever they happen to be an expert in, be it Buddhism or marriage or the terrible 1993 movie of Dennis the Menace. Heller and Hanawalt are the best part, though. I have listened to a lot of other podcasts featuring comedians and some of them have more “painful, competing to try to be funny” than actual funniness. These women make me guffaw helplessly while walking down the street.
Anna Sale interviews actors, authors, writers and ordinary people about the most don’t-go-there topics (see: title of show). My favorite episode so far has been her interview with Jane Fonda, who comes across as both almost supernaturally cool and special and also completely normal and ‘Just Like Us’ when it comes to breakups. Sale works some magic that elicits realness from all her guests, and also somehow renders highly bummerific subject matters (see title of show again) not-excruciating to think about.
Molly Lambert and Emily Yoshida (and, in earlier episodes, Tess Lynch)’s podcast is now dead and gone, but all its episodes are still available. These are rambling and beautiful conversations about TV and life between friends with a remarkable gift for memorable turns of phrase, and for taking pop culture seriously with good results.
Josh and Chuck are like your science-obsessed cousins with the ability to make complicated topics understandable and interesting. So much so that you find yourself repeating what you’ve learned at dinner parties and feeling like a smarty pants. The last two episodes explained blood types and explored polyamory–need I say more?