Sunday, August 28, 2011

More podcasts

Making It with Riki Lindhome

Lindhome is the Garfunkel in Garfunkel and Oates, the singing-songwriting team all the nerds have crushes on and I am no exception.

She's also an actress whose films have ranged from two with Clint Eastwood to the Last House on the Left remake, and worked in the theater with Tim Robbins' Actors Gang.

The idea of her podcast is to talk to other people who, like her, have basically "made it" (get the pun of the title now?) in the business they call show. Not your Emma Stones necessarily in terms of fame, but people who are at the very least financially secure from their work.

She's trying (I think) to give as gloss-free a look as possible at the process of getting there; they're fun conversations on which to "eavesdrop."

Recommended episodes: Diora Baird and Lindhome talk candidly about being good-looking women in Hollywood, and it's actually a lot more interesting than I just made it sound. And my favorite Terminator-turned-supercomputer/sociopathic, human trafficking and murdering villain, Garret Dillahunt.

The Nerdist

This is a chat show about, as the title suggests, nerdy things. However, since host Chris Hardwick uses the definition of "nerd" as-

"A person who is intensely interested in a particular hobby or topic."

-he casts a wider net than you might imagine. SF TV shows, more mainstream fare, comic-books, comic-book movies; comedy and comedians are all subjects worthy of nerding out over on this show (among others).

When Hardwick and sidekicks Jonah Ray and Matt Mira don't have guests they do what they call "Hostful Podcasts," which is just the three of them talking. These can be fun and informative, but the best shows hands down are those with the guests, especially if those guests have some relationship with one or more of the hosts.

For example, possibly the episode to which I've re-listened most often features geek god Wil Wheaton, whose friendship with Hardwick spans two decades; that history can be heard in the way they talk to each other.

That episode, like all of those I would choose as the "best of the best," was recorded live before an audience. The hosts and their guests universally seem to do better with an audience to play to.

Another recommendation, but only if you're already a fan, is the special Doctor Who episode they did for the premiere of that series' season six. Hardwick is arguably the best known Who fan in least as far as the contemporary version is concerned. When it comes to the original; classic series his knowledge is a little more shaky.

Which is why he gets taken to school in the episode featuring his only rival for most famous US Dr. Who fan, Late Late Show host and all around cool guy Craig Ferguson.

WTF with Marc Maron

Odds are even if you don't listen to many (or any) podcasts, you've heard of this one. Maron is the current face of podcasting, having taken over the role from Ricky Gervais. His experience working in radio no doubt helps the professional sound, but the biggest rocks in his pack are his neurosis and ability to articulate same.

As with The Nerdist, the very best episodes are those whose guests have some history with Maron; since he's a 20-plus year veteran of stand-up, that's almost everyone. But in Maron's case, however, there's a running gag in the number of guests to whom he has to apologize at least once during the show, usually for having acted like a dick to them in some previous meeting.

As a recommended episode, I'm going to suggest you start with the recent 200th, even though it's atypical. For this Maron turns the tables on himself and is interviewed by New York City comedian Mike Birbiglia.

Basically, if Marc isn't for you, his podcast won't be either, and an hour and a half of him talking about himself should be enough to tell you if he's for you. Besides, he certainly has a history with that guest. As a bonus, there's a closing montage of "greatest hits" from the first 199 episodes.

To be continued...

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