I recently was referred to as chatty. While the speaker may not have meant that as a compliment – I chose to take it as one. I’m content with this social quality of mine.
As a chatty person I also like to listen to people chat – eavesdropping is a very fun hobby although not ideal in the workplace – so during my first, very boring, 9 to 5 I found podcasts to fill the silence.
Contrary to my eavesdropping tendency, my love for listening to people talk is not all encompassing. The speakers have to meet one of the following requirements:
- Have something fun or educational to say
- Not grow to annoy me over time
- Give me the feeling that I could be friends with the speaker
Number one is a given and two is a bit arbitrary – sometimes people just don’t appeal to other humans – but three is the most important for me. Obviously everyone looks for different qualities in friends; I feel the same way about podcasters. Not everyone can be my cup of tea but the following five podcasts are.
My Favorite Murder *Warning DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS ALONE AT NIGHT OR WHILE FALLING ASLEEP*
My Favorite Murder is my favorite podcast. The premise is that the hosts Karen and Georgia (with the help of Steven their resident millennial editor) each present a story about a murder case. It sounds morbid on its face but Karen and Georgia do more than just retell a horrible story – they normalize the fascination of true crime. While in theory it should be uncomfortable listening to a comedy podcast about murder, in application K & G are able to honor the victims and help everyone find humor to balance the gravity of the cases they discuss. K & G present themselves as flawed humans and openly discuss mental health and their personal battles with anxiety, depression and eating disorders. They normalize the true crime lover in all of us and I love them dearly for it.
How Did This Get Made
This is my go to “laugh my ass off” podcast. The premise is simple: Hosts Paul, Jason, June and whatever guests they have on discuss an awful movie. True to the title, by the time they are done sharing the plot of the movie with the audience you also begin to wonder how the movie was made. B & I went to see them live for my birthday a couple years ago and they discussed The Lake House (if you have not seen The Lake House I do not recommend it). This podcast is perfect for long car rides or any time you need a dose of silliness.
Lizard People is a comedy podcast that mocks conspiracy theory culture. The host Katelyn has a different guest on each week and their primary goal is to convince her of the legitimacy of a conspiracy theory. After the guests theory is presented she a rates them on how convincing their argument was. The guests’ arguments range from an “I made this up” vibe to college research paper. It has a UCB vibe with “Who’s Line is it Anyway” undertones in the sense that the arguments can seem improv’d and her scores don’t matter. Lizard People is fun due to its silly subject matter and is a perfect palate cleanser after a MFM binge.
Cults fascinate me! Part of me feels like if I had joined a cult it would be Heaven’s Gate – the other part of me knows I’m way too chicken to join a cult. Lucky for me my obsession with cults is not unique. Heaven’s Gate is a full podcast series on the Heaven’s Gate Cult. If you do not know about this cult I highly recommend listening to the podcast! The hosts interview former cult members, the family of cult members and the daughter of the founder. It does an excellent job of digging into the UFO cult scene and humanizing the victims of this groupthink.
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
NPR is Nostalgia Public Radio for me. When I lived at home, I woke up every Saturday morning to my stepfather BLASTING “Car Talk” with Click & Clack or “WWDTM the NPR News Quiz”. If you’ve never listened to WWDTM it’s pretty straightforward. Basically a bunch of liberals in Chicago get together and participate in different styles of quizzes about the news. Guests get to call in and compete for the prize of Bill Kurtis on their answering machine.The host is a former english major named Peter Sagal. They have guests ranging from James Comey to Aubrey Plaza. As a kid I loved listening to all the adults talk about the news intelligently and loved that adults made the news into a game. Now that I’m an adult I unfortunately know what they are talking about (the news is bleak atm) but I still enjoy the show. WWDTM is a nerdy, comedic twist on the news.
Podcasts may have brought the death of talk radio but I’m glad I’m able to curate the voices/subjects I listen to. The rise of podcasts and their heavy mix in social media has created communities where we can all fulfill our love of eavesdropping with permission.
Let me know your favorites in the comments.