How Podcasts Have Changed My Life

I am not kidding around with that title. Since I discovered podcasts, my life has become infinitely better. Although radio has died, the power of the spoken word is still thriving. I don't need to have every podcast give me insights into political strategy or tell a quaint story of Americana; I actually prefer podcasts where two interesting people are just having a conversation- about anything, really.

Listening to a podcast makes you feel like you are in on the conversation without having to do the work; as an introvert, that's the ultimate dream. Now, before you tell me that there's this thing called real-life, in-person conversations that I could engage in, I shall interrupt you with a "no duh" retort. It's just nice to sit back and listen to others' ideas, without pretending to be engaged or getting into a pointless argument with someone.

Enjoying podcasts have also made horrible tasks more bearable. They make me look forward to my commute to work. I am more motivated to work out on the mornings my favorite podcasts release new episodes. It makes cleaning the massive amounts of cat hair that cover my apartment on a daily basis more bearable. I'm also more able to articulate my thoughts during an argument (a.k.a., more likely to "win" the argument) because I've listened to others debate topics.

There are over ten thousand podcasts on iTunes, and they range from everything from very specifically focused on RPG games to a couple of comedians shootin' the shit. And, since anyone can produce one, there is a lot of 'em. All you need is a laptop, a cheap microphone, and an inflated sense of self-purpose. It can be overwhelming to know where to start, so it's great news for you that I will be recommending podcasts on a weekly basis.

I love podcasts so much that it was inevitable that I started my own. Shameless plug, you guys! Here are two of many that I recommend:

Throwing Shade
Throwing Shade is part of the Maximum Fun Podcast network (similar to television networks, in that it is a conglomerate of similar-minded shows). Throwing Shade is recorded by Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi, both comedians and writers for Funny or Die. They discuss "issues pertinent to ladies and gays" and prove that discussing political issues do not need to be serious or academic.

In fact, the dynamic between the two goes off the rails so quickly it's hard to sometimes even know what they are talking about. I'm fine with that because they are hysterical. They can be talking about birth control legislation one moment, and the next moment about how they like to prank homeless people in their spare time. They play off each other so well that it explodes into the most inane, hysterical conversation ever. Its like being friends with the funniest people at the party.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour
This podcast combines my two favorite things: show business and psychopathology! Host Paul Gilmartin interviews a different actor, comedian, writer, or musician each week and delves into the sordid details of the origins of the guest's mental health disorders. There's no beating around the bush; he asks about parents' relationships, sexual history, worst fears, etc. Since artists are generally messed up and love talking about themselves, it makes for some gloriously uncomfortable moments. By the time Gilmartin and his guest partake in a "fear-off," in which they alternate sharing their deepest darkest fears in life, it's like the guest has metaphorically stripped naked and is parading up and down the public street. It's glorious, especially when you relate to the person's issues and feel a little less shameful about it. (I mean, not that I've experienced that or anything...)


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