I have some posts that I’m currently working on — more book reviews, of course, plus some Deep Thoughts on a couple of library-related issues. But in the meantime, I wanted to tell you guys about some podcasts I’ve been listening to lately. I have them running in the background while I’m working on my computer at home. I listen to them on my iPod when I’m commuting to and from work, when I’m doing the opening procedures before the patrons come in, and when I’m on my lunch hour and break. Sometimes they’re the last things I hear while I’m going to sleep — I have trouble falling asleep in silence, so I need to set up the TV with a sleep timer or leave on the satellite radio or put on a podcast in order to fall asleep.
I’m primarily going to recommend funny podcasts, because those are the ones I listen to the most. That’s because they cheer me up when I’m feeling down, and also … what’s the worst that can happen if I’m listening to one in public? I might laugh out loud, or do my best to stop myself from doing so. I also listen to podcasts that are sad, thought-provoking, and powerful, but I usually listen to those in the privacy of my own home. I’ve made the mistake of listening to NPR’s This American Life while I was on the bus, and either been so distracted that I missed my stop or realized that I was about to start crying and that my fellow commuters were going to think that I was having a nervous breakdown. So I don’t listen to that one in public anymore. Anyway, here are a few of the “pick-me-up” podcasts I’ve been listening to lately.
This Week With Larry Miller – I’ve enjoyed Larry Miller as a stand-up comic for years, and admired several of his acting jobs (Remember those classic Law & Order episodes? Superb!) Well, he’s been sitting in on the Adam Carolla podcast for a while now, and I always look forward to his appearances. Anyway, he now has his own podcast on Adam Carolla’s network, and while the mood is different (just stories, no guests) it’s still a lot of fun. I like his sense of humor, I like his stories, and I like his positivity. The recent episode where he talked about his experiences as a young comedian performing at Studio 54 was absolutely HILARIOUS.
Thrilling Adventure Hour – If you like old-time radio, then you should definitely check out this show. This is a group of contemporary actors and comedians who record live shows in Los Angeles once a month. Each podcast is a different episode of a different serialized story. Some of the stories are good and some are great; my personal favorite series is “Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars.”
Video Games Hot Dog – First there was an online game called The Kingdom of Loathing (which, if you haven’t played it before, you should definitely try because it’s very smart and very funny … and it’s also kind of addictive). Then there was an internet radio show put out by the developers of that game, and in every episode of 120 Minutes With Jick and Mr. Skullhead they spent less than half the time talking about KOL and the rest of the time talking about LOTS of other stuff. Recently they broke up the radio show into several shorter podcasts, each focused on different areas of interest. They’ve only had a few episodes of this show so far, but I’ve been getting a kick out of it. They talk about new games, old 8-bit stuff that you can find online, plus a bunch of other stuff, too.
Pop My Culture – I first found out about this podcast when the hosts appeared on The Long Shot podcast (more on them in a moment), so I decided to give these guys a try. They talk about all kind of topics that fit under the “pop culture” umbrella, like movies, TV, podcasts, and … uh … Zac Efron. They also have one or more guests on each episode, and the fun is in the dynamic of the conversation. A recent episode with Thomas Lennon was especially entertaining.
Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! – I listen to two National Public Radio podcasts on a regular basis, and to clarify, this is the one that doesn’t make me cry. This quiz show is fast-paced and smart. Okay, sometimes it’s a little TOO smart, and listening to this show is kind of like watching Jeopardy in that I’m reminded of just how uninformed I am. However, it’s also a funny show, and I enjoy listening to people like Paula Poundstone, Mo Rocca, and Roy Blount Jr. and laughing along with them.
The Long Shot – Four comedians try to crack each other up, and often succeed. What, you want more? Okay … Sean, Jamie, Eddie, and Amber talk about what’s going on in their lives and then have a guest join them to talk some more. One of the best group dynamics I’ve heard in any podcast. You can tell that they really like each other, and you can also tell when they get annoyed with each other.
How Did This Get Made? – Do you love bad movies? Sure, we all do! Comedian and actor Paul Scheer started this podcast celebrating some very crappy films, and I’ve enjoyed listening to the conversations even when I had no interest in seeing the films. It has inspired me to seek out several films that I only knew from the trailers (apparently Season of the Witch and Old Dogs were even stupider than I realized). My biggest complaint about this podcast? It’s MONTHLY. Gah! Don’t … like … waiting!!!
Some of these podcasts are available to download or listen to on their respective websites, and all of them are available on iTunes. Oh, and I’m going to be adding a “recommended listening” tag to make my future podcast recommendations easier to find.