For those of you who aren’t out and about celebrating the end (finally) to 2016 and mourning the failure of #SMOD to show up, I decided to share some of the ear candy I’ve been enjoying for a break from politics. These are the podcasts I keep in constant rotation on my phone for a bit of distraction when not thinking about work. I’ve sampled more than I can count over the past few years, but at the moment these are the ones which provide constant entertainment that you might want to try. I’ll warn you in advance that I have rather eclectic tastes that run toward humor, trivia, RPGs (that’s Role Playing Games, not rocket propelled grenades, though I could probably use some of those too) and all sorts of paranormal stuff. See if you find any of these appealing, presented in no particular order:
The QI (Quite Interesting) elves are a group of brilliant, witty folks in England who love deep dives into trivia of all sorts. Each week a group of them come up with their favorite fact of the week and the rest of the gang jumps in with other facts related to the topic. Always funny, as well as educational and interesting, it’s a short podcast that you can sandwich in most any time.
Jessica Chobot and Andrew Bowser of the Nerdist Network host a weekly show (which you can watch live on YouTube if you want a visual experience, but can download to listen to any time after) covering the world of weird stuff. On any given week it could be ghosts, serial killers, Ouija Boards, how to make your own magical sigil or the possessed animals inhabiting Bowser’s back yard. Really good stuff.
CaF is an ongoing real play podcast of the Call of Cthulhu tabletop roleplaying game. It’s very story driven without getting bogged down in endless dice rolling and the gamemaster, Veronica, creates a brilliant if generally lethal world for the players. (Don’t get too attached to the characters because the owners will generally be rolling up a new one before too long.) The series is in its 4th season now and you could probably jump in mid-stream and enjoy it, but I’d suggest going back to the beginning and listening to the entire history in order if you feel like binging on something and want to get the most out of it. But it’s addictive. You’ve been warned. Prepare to roll sanity.
This one is my serious addiction. The Mysterious Universe Podcast is hosted by Australians Benjamin Grundy and Aaron Wright. These guys cover everything from aliens to cutting edge technology to strange science stories. Rather than simply accepting every wacky theory put forward by conspiracy theorists they gleefully call out the bat **** crazy for exactly what it is while exploring other topics more thoughtfully, but always with humor. They do a free podcast every Friday, but if you sign up for their premium (“plus”) subscription program they do massive extensions after the free show and a separate plus show every Tuesday. Tons of content here and it’s always good.
This one is a bit off the beaten trail but if the subject matter is of interest to you or anyone you care about it’s very informative and still fun. Comedian and writer Matt Mira and his wife, Buzzfeed’s Doree Shafrir, are going through the process of in vitro fertilization because they couldn’t manage it the old fashioned way. (Spoiler alert: It’s Matt’s fault.) They’ve been helping a lot of people who are facing similar medical challenges and exploring why the subject is so rarely discussed in polite company. Oh, and they also have a great dog who shows up on the broadcast.
This last one has been around for nearly two hundred episodes (great for binging) and it’s a ton of fun. It’s hosted by comedian Brian Frange and actress Phoebe Tyers (who recently starred in the TBS series Search Party). Each week they select a topic based on the cryptozoological, paranormal or just plain strange. Great production values and a rotating series of guests or co-hosts. A lot of silliness and a great community of listeners across various social media platforms.
Toss in your own suggestions. I’m always looking for something new.