A couple of us here at Standard Issue resolved to find some new podcasts worth subscribing to in 2016. Who better to ask for suggestions than our wonderful cast of contributors? As usual, they came up top trumps. Here’s the first raft of recommendations.
Susan Calman on How Did This Get Made?
It’s very rare that I laugh. I know that might sound odd for someone who purports to make comedy her livelihood, but more often than not when I’m immersed in funny stuff I’m too busy watching or listening to the way someone constructs a joke to actually find anything amusing. Which is why the podcasts of How Did This Get Made? are a bright ray of sunshine in my otherwise overcast days.
I’ve had to stop listening to the show in public because I’ve been laughing so much: genuine gut-wrenching belly laughs that brought tears to my eyes. There are more than 100 episodes, many over an hour long, which have kept me company on long train journeys and backstage at countless lonely gigs in small towns and cities across the country.
In short, the HDTGM team have become the best friends that a girl could have without ever actually meeting them.
The premise of the show is simple: to examine bad movies and ask how they got made. It works primarily because of the chemistry between the three main presenters Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael, and the many brilliant guests they have on the show including the fabulous Amy Schumer, Eddie Pepitone and Kristen Schaal.
If you like movies and don’t mind some salty language and bad jokes about sharks then these podcasts are unmissable. All of the episodes are magnificent but my personal recommendations to start off with would be Deep Blue Sea, Face Off, Con Air, A View to a Kill, Howard the Duck and Jaws 4. Classics. Each and every one.
The show is next-level amazing. Give it a go. @HDTGM
Hazel Davis on Stuff You Should Know
From the makers of HowStuffWorks.com, the Stuff You Should Know podcasts are a delightful delve into everything from how cannibalism works to how vestigial organs work and everything in between (including HIV, money laundering, hangovers, droughts and Grimms’ fairy tales).
The proper joy is in the gloriously open-minded and laid-back approach the hosts (Josh Clark and Charles W ‘Chuck’ Bryant) bring to each topic, some of which are quite controversial. There’s no judgement, no agenda, just genuine, endearing curiosity and a “never-ending quest to explain absolutely everything there is on planet Earth and beyond.”
I listen to them nearly every single night in the hope that somewhere my brain is storing it all (unlikely).
See also the sister podcast, Stuff You Missed in History Class, which is also brilliant and equally addictive but a lot less funny.
Kate McCabe on Baby Geniuses
I’d recommend Baby Geniuses to anyone I like. But not anyone I don’t like (I don’t like sharing nice things with jerks). Highly amusing and highly interesting, it’s about a little bit of everything.
Broken up into zingy regular features, a typical episode looks like this:
Hosts Emily Heller (a comedy writer and standup) and Lisa Hanawalt (a cartoonist and the production designer of BoJack Horseman) open the show with casual, topical banter. They are instantly likeable and you wish you were their friend.
The feature ‘Ask Me, Ask You’ (a more recent addition) begins. The goal is to ask each other an intriguing and/or revealing question. They are never prepared and the questions are usually terrible. Somehow this works.
‘Wiki of the Week’ comes next and highlights a random, though typically salacious, Wikipedia page.
Then there’s the interview portion where the guest (usually a comedian) waxes on about their niche speciality subject. It’s fascinating.
Finally ‘Expert Hour’ arrives as the final feature. It’s mostly improvised character nonsense. It’s sometimes actual fried gold.
Baby Geniuses makes learning (mostly useless information) fun.
Cariad Lloyd on No Such Thing as a Fish
I used to run to Taylor Swift. It was encouraging, but after hearing Shake It Off for the 789th time, I realised I could use this time wisely and listen to a podcast (I get very bored when running to nowhere).
I found about NSTAAF (they weren’t worrying about acronyms when they came up with the title) because I know one of them, but despite you not knowing one of them, I think you’d enjoy it.
Put simply, it’s four of the QI elves discussing the best facts they’ve learnt that week. But it’s not like your uncle reading from his trivia book on Boxing Day; these people are charming, funny, hugely intelligent and take great pleasure at laughing at each other.
It will make you want to be a QI elf when you grow up, and have Sandi Toksvig as your Queen. I think even Tay-Tay might try to join us.
Pippa Evans on RuPaul: What’s The Tee? with Michelle Visage
When I first saw RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix I thought “I’ve found my God!” RuPaul is the ultimate in feelgood, what-the-hell-are-you-doing-with-yourself life advice.
This podcast may not improve your knowledge of world facts, but it’s a joyful hour of escapism; listening in on two best friends having a chat over a coffee or a martini or a wheatgrass cocktail (depending on the fad diet they are into that week). But it’s more than just idle gossip.
I enjoy the way Michelle and Ru weave between drag world chit chat and life philosophies. If there’s something to overcome, Ru has overcome it and you can’t help but marvel at the career of this extraordinary man.
With two strong personalities, they agree, they disagree and you leave the podcast feeling like you have just lip synced to Stronger by Britney Spears. And remember: If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?3562 Views
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