I don’t know if this is telling of my age, but commercial radio is just uninteresting to me these days. On the other hand, I discover new music (and relisten to old music) via the Internet. As a result of my Internet searches, I discovered podcasts about six years ago. For you not in the know, podcasts are pretty much audio programs on a particular subject, often with hosts who are fans or as become the case recently, with noteworthy Hollywood talent behind them.
A minor confession: at one point in my life, I posted my own podcast around 2007 to about 2009, but stopped due to many different factors (mainly podcast hosting still tends to cost some coin, and just exhaustion). I have not heard them in some time, but I can confirm that they varied in levels of quality, audio and content wise. But the work on that made me appreciate some of the work that goes into podcasts you can find online. So, I thought it would be nice to highlight some of the podcasts I listen to that you might want to check out (and the best part, you don’t have to pay anything to listen to them):
SModcast — This was probably my introduction to the world of podcasts back in 2007. The hosts, writer/director Kevin Smith and producer Scott Mosier has had its ups and downs, like any series that has managed to make it to 231 episodes and counting. On the plus side, there are some often surprising moments of revelation, like Smith’s raw response at the time to the perceived failure of something like Zack & Miri Make a Porno, to hilarious childhood tales of growing up for both hosts. While recent episodes do fall into Smith laughing at his own jokes (I’m assuming it’s not because of his recent obsession with weed), its still an enjoyable hour of listening for filthy humor.
Where you might want to start: Among the recent string of episodes, there’s been a few fill in guests while Mosier has been off on other projects, like interviews with Lisa Kudrow and Russell Brand. It’s the big starting point for Smith’s podcast network, and still one of the more consistently listenable in said network.
The Bugle — A recent addition to my podcast listening, this humorous review and analysis of news stories around the world offers droll British wit thanks to its hosts, Andy Zaltzman and Daily Show regular John Oliver. Recently, the show has had some fun beating up the candidates in the recent presidential election, and talking about everything from the Lance Armstrong scandal to the Pope retiring. Unlike many of my podcasts and those on this list, this tends to be a lean and concise listen that will give you a laugh, while maybe forcing you to research some of the more obscure jokes that are peppered into the show.
Where you might want to start: the show posted a two part year in review, which compiles their best clips from 2012. But really any recent installment isn’t a bad place either.
How Did This Get Made? — This one tends to have a lot of funny, with hosts Paul Scheer (NTSF:SD:SUV, The League), June Diane Raphael (Burning Love), and Jason Mantzoukas discussing a bad movie per episode. Episodes tend to have guests like Doug Benson and Michael Ian Black drop in to talk about classic movie WTFs like Mac & Me, Adventures of Pluto Nash and even current perplexing fare like Fast Five and the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn duology.
Where you might want to start: The Crank 2 episodes have some hilarious discussion, especially in a latter ep with one of the directors about how they made the Crank movies. Also worth checking out is their analysis on Mac & Me and the recent Lifetime/Lindsay Lohan disasterpiece Liz and Dick.
The Nerdist — Pretty much the center of the growing Nerdist media empire, this podcast with Chris Hardwick features a slew of talent in all different areas of geekdom and entertainment. Even when it doesn’t have a guest, there are the occasional shows when Hardwick and his rotating company of co-hosts have some extended free-form conversations that still bring the funny. It’s a laid back discussion that can often be insightful and hilarious all at once.
Where you might want to start: The recent batch of episodes run the gamut in terms of guests, from writer Warren Ellis, to wrestler Chris Jericho, to musician Tom Morello, and to actress/novelist Amber Benson, among others. And with that variety, it’s a little hard to pin down where you may want to start with. But there tends to be enough variety in the episodes from probing discussion to hilarious tangents that makes the hour or so worth a listen.
Mission Log — This Roddenberry produced podcast is all about Star Trek, going through the run of Trek shows and movies. Each episode goes through an episode of the show in order (although the first one deals with the original unaired pilot The Cage), with hosts Ken Ray and John Champion discussing the episode and the issues brought up in the story. It’s a lively discussion filled with some fun trivia, some discussion into the early inaccuracies of the original series, and some debate as to the themes of the episode. Occasionally, there’s also a “supplemental” episode with interviews with noteworthy Trek fans like Mark Altman (Free Enterprise), Robert J. Sawyer (FlashForward), and even Rod Roddenberry, and some follow-up on discussions brought up in earlier episodes.
Where you might want to start: Since they do an episode a week, at this point the podcast is still into season two of the original series, so if you got any favorites from before, say, “Friday’s Child”, best to look there for your entry way in.
Look, these are just a few of the many podcasts I subscribe to, and some of them are not for everyone’s taste. I will be mentioning some other ones eventually in a future post, but in the meantime, what are your favorite podcasts? Do you have any podcasts you listen to not on this list worth recommending?