Friday, September 02, 2011

These are the podcasts I listen to: Four

I listen to a number of old-time radio podcasts. Retro radio is one of my favorite things, and there's something extra-fun to me about the incongruity of listening to it via technology not only that the participants couldn't have imagined, their children couldn't have imagined. I won't recommend any specific episodes or even podcasts (there are simply too many), but if you share my interest, the iTunes search window is your friend.

Kevin Pollak's Chat Show

Actor and comedian Pollak was an "early adopter" of the online show/podcast format with this series, which he has described as an attempt to make "a funny Charlie Rose." Which I interpret as something with dignity which also tries to go a little deeper than your average come-on-and-plug-your-movie show...and is also funny.

The resulting show, available in both audio and video formats, is hit-and-miss. The best come when Pollak gets to the conversation with his guest quickly. He too often spends too much time beforehand chatting with regulars Sam Levene, the closest thing this show has to an Andy Richter, and Jaime Fox, who assists Pollak in the running of the show (she's also his romantic partner). This is not as much fun for the audience, or at least not this member of it, as Pollak thinks.

But some of the conversations are excellent, with Michael McKean a recent standout, and a joint appearance from Paul Provenza + Rick Overton a little further back another. Certainly enough to keep me a subscriber.

(The Laura Prepon interview, on the other hand, I've yet to be able to get through and it's not just because I don't like looking at Prepon so much since she went blonde--why, god, why?. It's because their conversation sinks into a discussion of poker, of interest to both of them as well as Levene. Just not to me. I can listen to conversations about things not really of interest to me, if those conversing can connect to me in such a way that I understand at least their passion for it. A recounting of winning hands does not qualify, at least not without a good story to go with it.)

Totally Laime

I've said of other shows in this ongoing "tribute" that they were "relaxed" and/or "easygoing." Well, Elizabeth Laime (get it?) takes that to such an extreme on her podcast that one could almost forget she was even there; her guests seem to get the lion's share of the attention. I'm not entirely sure that's a bad thing.

I don't mean that Laime isn't interesting herself: I started listening to this podcast because I liked a piece she'd written in an anthology. But the "podsphere" (people say that, right?) is not exactly lacking in people who like to talk about themselves--or, to be fair, in people who are engaging at it. It's kind of a nice relief to tune into someone who doesn't seem to be podcasting from the home for the pitiful wretched.

Recommended episodes: Garfunkel and Oates; Margot Leitman

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