I’ve always had a poor-kid complex. I grew up with limited access to cable TV, Limited Too fashion, and nearly anything technological; which bred an unnecessarily defensive response to all things ‘cool’. This meant I vehemently denied any interest in Hannah Montana, Lizzy McGuire, and all up-and-coming boy bands (exception: the Jonas Brothers).
I assured myself that I wouldn’t want brand-name fruit snacks or juices, even if I could afford them. Kids with packed lunches were alien to me. I revered my premature lack of serotonin – insistent I was just a woke, insufferable old soul. I was half right.
I’ve recognized this defensive, against-the-grain reaction has needlessly trailed me into my adulthood. If you had asked me a year ago if I were interested in any specific podcasts, I would have rolled my eyes at you. I would have assured you I wasn’t ‘granola’ enough to dedicate my precious time to tuning into a three-hour conversation about intermittent-fasting. I would have told you that my commute was only 10 minutes, and that I was perfectly comfortable listening to the same home-grown, bangin’ playlist every. single. day.
Well, luckily, it’s a year later. In the past 365 days, I’ve gone through a personal revolution. I am more aware of my maladaptive patterns, unique strengths, and creative interests. I am more affirmed in my self-worth than ever before. I continue to challenge myself in many ways, and I don’t think I’ll ever be tempted to stop.
When it rears it’s ugly head, I now recognize my poor-kid complex, and ask myself “are you denying this experience because it conflicts with your values, or is it because you feel intimidated and/or unworthy?”. I’ve since found that exploring my vulnerabilities has enlightened me to the most rewarding experiences.
Wow – it really took all that to get me to a point where I want to tell you I’ve got the Top 10: Podcast Recommendations for you. Who the f*ck gave me the microphone?
The Joe Rogan Experience. He’s the resident bully of bullies themselves. He’s a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact expert of all things. At first listen, he’s easy to hate. He’s often inebriated and has a tendency to drive conversations with a stiff arm. However, his well-informed, passionate approach often produces incredible results. Most episodes last around three hours, featuring a selection of interviews with: activists, comedians, politicians, and professors galore. My favorite episode centered on the reality (and impending doom) of global warming. I haven’t slept the same since.
Tara Brach. Depending on the episode, Tara may guide you through a targeted meditation, or invite you on a long-form exploration of a specific emotion. She speaks of forgiveness, love, and peace in unfamiliar ways. I am certain her voice could be manufactured and distributed as an effective blood pressure medication. On your next trying day, I encourage you to listen to her session titled “The Gift of Silence: Quieting the Mind”.
Dr. Drew After Dark. If you thought that Loveline was explicit, you’re in for a wild ride with this one! In this series, Dr. Drew explores the lives of famed comedians. The first half of each episode is often marked with an emotional interview about each performer’s childhood, past relationships, remaining fears, etc. Dr. Drew identifies commonalities and wisdoms for all listeners by drawing on themes of unhealthy attachments, general anxieties, etc. The second half of each interview usually involves the dissection of some sexually explicit, disturbing collection of internet video scum. While entertaining it… can sometimes prove quite jarring. Thanks a lot, Tom Segura.
Stuff You Should Know (SYSK). Josh & Chuck are the dynamic duo you never knew you needed in your life. They maintain an inherently good, professional, and truth-seeking brand for each episode. Each edition centers on an equal parts intriguing yet entirely nerdy concept. Some of my favorites explore the truth behind Iran-Contra, solar power, and Area 51. This one is my favorite for an early morning drive.
Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. Dax teams up with his ‘soulmate’ Monica to interview a slew of actors, journalists, politicians, etc. It is reminiscent of Joe Rogan’s podcast; except with less machismo, more discussion of trauma and mental health, and pointedly no substance abuse. Dax is admittedly faulted in his egocentric hard-wiring, and it is interesting to bare witness to his navigation of these all-too-human faults. It subconsciously requires the listener to introspect their own shortcomings as well. I highly recommend his interview with John Gottman – Relationship Guru Extraordinaire & another with Monica Lewinksy (you already know her, I forget why…).
Your Mom’s House with Tom Segura & Christina P. Undoubtedly, this is the most diabolical husband/wife pairing in the land of podcasts. Their episodes are often broken into thirds; the first featuring an intimate conversation between the two of them, the second involving an interview with a celebrity comedian, and the third represented by reactions to more horrific videos from the internet. While each edition ranges in its explicit content, they are always real. This one has zero frills. If you’re into dead-pan humor, or a general disdain for the human race, Tom’s your guy.
Ologies. Alie Ward offers a passionate dissection of virtually any field of study on her featured podcast. It is easy to sift through her content to select a topic that piques your interest. My favorites have divulged the details of Egyptology, Somnology, and Selenology. Bonus: she’s incredibly humble and delightfully awkward.
You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes. Wow, another podcast dedicated to interviewing comedians? YES. Pete entertains an impressive line-up of actors and stand-ups alike. They bond over their shared industry experiences, and don’t shy from any discussions of mental health or family trauma. Queue up his episodes with Blake Griffin and Fred Armisen. You won’t regret it.
Not Proud of It. Bestfriends Steph & Bridget discuss “anything and everything… that [they] may not always be proud of”. Through their incredibly honest long-form conversation, they provide consistent entertainment for all listeners. There is never a lack of humility, humor, or hi-jinx. Of course, I have a soft spot for episodes 69 – Cabin Fever & 76 – Beetlejuice (my first & second podcast experiences!). Steph has a specific way of disarming and intimately engaging anyone she’s speaking with, and it’s magic to experience it real time.
The Drip. Wow? Katie, you’re really gonna plug your brand new podcast like this? That’s showbiz baby! Tune in for long-form interviews featuring all things comedy, mental health, passion, & relationships! This project is only 1.5 episodes into it’s inception… but you’re gonna love the way you look. I guarantee it. Wait…
As a self-professed know-it-all, I’m forever indebted to the wealth of creativity, knowledge, wisdom, and wonder stock-piled onto modern podcast platforms. These resources make it possible to dial into a specific interest of yours and expand your understanding of the topic (as well as empathy for anothers’ interpretation of that same thing). They subsequently inspire intimate conversations with friends and family alike.
Most notably, this podcast culture of ‘anything goes’ has lended me the confidence to voice my own experience, my passions, and my viewpoints. I stay inspired by all of you out there creating something/anything – and can’t wait to see what we do next!
P.S. – Check out the latest Espresso In the Suburbs playlist here.
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“Once we believe in ourselves; we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”E.E Cummings.