Lately, all my spare time is devoted to listening to podcasts. The fiction ones are my favorite, but I love certain current events commentators and there’s a couple of funny podcasts which lighten my mood every time. See my list below – you may find a new favorite. And let me know of any good ones you have!
If you choose just one podcast to add to your collection, make it “Wrong and Wronger.”
This one stars Steve Olivas, a psychologist turned humorist turned author for rock stars, and James Breakwell, the Twitter-famous “funny dad” who writes hilarious stories about his family of four girls and the adventures they share. Steve and James started podcasting together after an inteview when the two realized their sarcastic jabs at each other “clicked.” Originally, the show was about the two of them taking opposing sides (by coin toss) on the weighty issues of the day: dogs vs cats, mustard vs ketchup on hot dogs, bubble wrap vs peanuts. Then they’d invite their audience to vote for the winner. About 160 episodes in, they decided to branch out and now just natter on about whatever’s on their mind. You should start at episode 206, when they started discussing the saga of Steve’s new rural property in Tennessee, now known as Rattlesnake Ranch.
I discovered this podcast during August 2021, when the news was full of the disastrous way we left Afghanistan, and the ensuing tragedies. I had to stop listening to the news for a while – and I chose this podcast as a way to find some sunshine in those horrible days. Steve and James’ crazy stories and hiliarious debates made me forget all the ugliness each time I listened. If you choose just one podcast to add to your collection – make it this one!
I love this lady. She is about 10 years younger than I am and has six kids under the age of 18. She’s Catholic and a standup comedian. In other words, she’s as different from me as anyone could be. She spent most of her young married life at home with the kids, while writing funny books and starting a blog about her conversion, then started a radio show, then followed her dream of being a stand-up comedian! The description on Apple: “This podcast is like if someone gave a TED Talk after three mimosas.” You will love her!
History and Commentary
Darryl Cooper covers history, religion, philosophy, ritual – all seeking to bring meaning out of chaos. I first discovered him through where else, Twitter. His latest podcast is an in-depth look at the West Virginia Coal Mine Wars, and the injustices done to coal miners as they sought to better their lives. Other favorite episodes include the series he did on Epstein and his audio versions of his Substack posts.
Speaking of Substack writers, I’ve been following Bari Weiss’s work at her Common Sense Substack since she left the New York Times. As an extension of that, she’s started her podcast Honestly. She’ll interview a guest on one of the issues of the day – and that guest can be anyone, liberal, conservative, whomever. It’s thoughtful, thought-provoking, and dare I say, shows surprising balance in such a polarized time.
Instead of drifting off to sleep to a TV screen, I drift off to sleep listening to a podcast story. The trouble with the Leviathan Chronicles is that these science-fiction episodes are so well-written, well-acted and voiced (with over 60 actors) that I have to stay awake to listen to just one more episode. The initial three seasons focus on the story of a hidden city – known as Leviathan – hidden deep in the Marianas Trench in the Pacific. Just start listening to it – you’ll be so involved in the characters and the relationships the author builds that when the story becomes fantastical – you’ll be swept along.
And now for my favorite…
I’ve loved this funny, witty, oh-so-beautifully written and acted British podcast for the last few years. It’s only 4 seasons long – and I’ve yet to finish the last two episodes because I can’t bear to have it end. Here’s the perfect description, from the podcast website:
RUDYARD FUNN RUNS A FUNERAL HOME ON THE ISLAND OF PIFFLING.
It used to be the only one. It isn’t anymore.
Rudyard Funn and his equally miserable sister Antigone run their family’s failing funeral parlour, where they get the body in the coffin in the ground on time. But one day they find everyone enjoying themselves at the funerals of a new competitor – the impossibly perfect Eric Chapman! With their dogsbody Georgie, and a mouse called Madeleine, the Funns are taking drastic steps to stay in business…-Wooden Overcoats