I can’t tell you the last time I listened to a radio show, but listening to podcasts is something I do on a near-daily basis. It’s such an appealing form of audio entertainment that keeps me company when I travel to work on the Tube, or when I’m just chilling or working at home. There’s no set time to “tune in,” and the format isn’t overrun by adverts or forced music interludes, which makes it such a more enticing medium.
That’s not to say I’m not a music fan, but the beauty of podcasts is the flow of conversation that makes you feel like you’re not actually listening to people chatting on the other end of the headphones or speakers, but you’re actually engaged in a discussion, albeit passively. As an entertainment journalist, I lean toward the entertainment genre and these five podcasts have inspired me to start my very own called Pop Cultured.
Until that podcast goes live, here’s a little more about my favorites that you should definitely start listening to (if you’re not already).
Thanks For Trying
The Last Skeptik, a London-based DJ and producer, is the host of this podcast where he invites his friends into his living room for a few drinks and a good ol’ fashion chinwag. But these aren’t your average friends; his mates are actors, musicians, producers, comedians, and writers who are making (or have made) an impact in their respective field of entertainment. His first podcast had the likes of Deadpool star Ed Skrein and comedian/rapper Doc Brown discussing family, movies, music, and more. It’s like listening in to a few mates chatting at the pub, full of laughs and unfiltered opinions about their lives, politics, the culture, and more. Other special guests include Holli Dempsey, Katherine Ryan, Heems, Gary Powell, Maverick Sabre, and Georgina Campbell.
Listen to the Thanks for Trying podcast on iTunes
Black Girl Nerds
I love everything about Black Girl Nerds; what they say, what they write, and what they stand for as a collective voice for nerdy female pop culture fans of color. For so long, it’s felt like the conversation surrounding movies, TV shows, and comic books has been focused on white male voices, (and it still kind of is) but BGN are making their intersectional feminist voices heard, and people are listening. The podcast boasts an exciting array of black female voices discussing the comics and TV shows they’re watching as well as interviews with some massive talent. The BGN have chatted to the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Jordan Peele, and even the cast of Black Panther at this year’s San Diego Comic Con.
This is one of the first podcasts I got into because it’s just so simple in its nature but ever so rewarding. Chris Hardwick chats to a famous person for an hour, and we learn more about them than we ever could on a late-night chat show. There’s no set up funny anecdotes, or even much discussion about the movie/TV show/book they’re promoting, but rather an honest conversation about their lives, their careers, and even philosophies to live by that keeps you listening with rapt attention. Jake Gyllenhaal, Angela Bassett, Catherine McNamara, and Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan appeared in some of my most favorite episodes, but there are SO many from the last few years to choose from.
Anna Faris is Unqualified
It’s hard to describe Anna Faris’s podcast because it’s an amalgamation of so many things. In the first half of the show, broadcast from her home in LA, she and producer Sim chat to a celebrity guest, do improv scenarios and play a game of relationship deal breakers. It’s especially funny when Anna dons her studio head hat as Karen Sarducci and improvs a general meeting with her guest to talk about fake movies her fake studio is fake making. The second half of the show is listener calls where she and her guest give unqualified advice on relationships and life. A particularly entertaining episode featured Jenny Slate, Chris Pine, and her hubby Chris Pratt, which now seems rather sad as neither couple are together anymore, so if that’s too heartbreaking for you to listen to, try out the ones featuring Nick Kroll, Sharon Stone and Terry Crews.
Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review
I’ve been listening to Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo on BBC radio since I was a kid, so their film review has a special place in my heart. Simon hosts while Mark reviews the latest film releases, and in between there is a plethora of dad jokes and funny anecdotes that have you literally laughing out loud. The main show is broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live, but the podcast is topped and tailed with chat from the dynamic duo, and all the ads/news bulletins cut out. As well as new reviews, a discussion of the Box Office Top Ten, DVD of the Week, and TV Movie of the Week, Simon interviews a celebrity guest relevant to one of the movies released that day. In recent months, the podcast has featured some brilliant chats with Christopher Nolan, Gal Gadot, Kevin Spacey, and Edgar Wright, and if you search back a bit you can find a special episode of Tom Hiddleston jamming with Mark. If that doesn’t convert you to the Church of Wittertainment, then I’m not sure what will.
P.S. Hello to Jason Isaacs! (You’ll get it when you listen.)
Listen to Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review podcast on iTunes or via their dedicated BBC page