thebuckst0p / Ben

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Huffduffed (40)

  1. Slate’s #1: WTF With Marc Maron, “Louis C.K.” (2010)

    Marc Maron’s two-hour-plus conversation with Louis C.K. is one of the best interviews you’ll ever hear, providing genuine insight into the mind and career of one of the world’s great comics, as well as thoughtful meditations on success, failure, friendship, and fatherhood. On top of all that, this episode, for someone who’s listened to a lot of podcasts, feels almost like a coming-of-age moment for the form. Maron started his podcast at a professional low point, out of a kind of desperation. When he first began recording WTF, he was sneaking into the studios of the radio station that had just fired him (and not for the first time), putting something out into the world via this new independent medium because he wasn’t sure what else to do. And then a following grew. Maron was self-consciously bitter about his professional disappointments, and many of his conversations were with more successful peers; though it wasn’t a stated goal of the podcast, you could detect in the early episodes Maron working out some of his resentments and coming to know himself better through the frequently intense talks with fellow comics. This all came to a head in the episode with C.K., whom Maron had known for more than two decades and who had become widely acknowledged as the best stand-up in the country. When the second part was over, it was clear not only that WTF was a wonderful thing, but that podcasts themselves were a remarkable form.

    —Huffduffed by thebuckst0p

  2. Slate’s #6: 99% Invisible, “The Sound of the Artificial World” (2011)

    Some 99% Invisible episodes make me crave a visual supplement. (What did the lost walled city of Kowloon look like?) But in this episode, Roman Mars’ beloved short-form design podcast asks how sound designers make “organic sounds for inorganic things.” The clicks, sproings, and clatters that sound engineer Jim McKee demonstrates for Mars are the background noise of everyday life for people who use digital devices. The episode singles these sounds out for analysis and deconstructs their origin, a classic 99% approach that works beautifully. You may find yourself looking toward your phone several times during the episode’s five-minute run, thinking you’ve received a text—a weird overlap of podcast and life that makes the episode’s point perfectly.

    —Huffduffed by thebuckst0p

  3. Slate’s #7: Radiolab, “Space” (2004)

    Radiolab, like This American Life, is a gateway podcast, hooking listeners with a rich, 13-season back catalog of episodes that stand the test of time. “Space” was one of the first Radiolabs to have been produced during the podcast era, and the episode brings together many of the elements that make people love the show: interviews with a diverse slate of voices, scientists as well as artists and authors; an intriguing soundtrack (“Radiolab space episode music” is a Google search autofill); and, above all, an intelligent probing of the human, emotional aspects of an essential scientific topic. The most indelible part of the episode is the interview with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan. She tells the story of the pair’s collaboration on the “Golden Record” sent with the Voyager probes, a job they started as colleagues and finished as lovers.

    —Huffduffed by thebuckst0p

  4. Slate’s #8: The Dead Authors Podcast: Chapter 28 - Walt Whitman

    1. The Dead Authors Podcast, “Walt Whitman, Featuring James Adomian” (2013) The Dead Authors series, recorded live, features host Paul F. Tompkins—a podcast savant whose own Pod F. Tompkast also threatened to make this list—in the character of H.G. Wells. The conceit of the show is that Wells has whisked deceased favorites to the present day in his time machine. The authors, played by other comedians, submit to interviews, with varying results. James Adomian’s Walt Whitman is the best of the bunch. Never breaking character, Adomian responds to every question from Tompkins’ courtly Wells with a stream of Whitmanic prose. He stays in cadence, sticking with Whitman’s themes, spouting forth grandiose and nonsensical catalogs, only rarely finding himself at a loss for words. It’s a perfectly sideways interpretation of the poet’s signature style.

    —Huffduffed by thebuckst0p

  5. Slate’s #9: The Moth, “Franny’s Last Ride” (2009)

    The Moth began organizing live storytelling events in 1997. Eleven years later, they began turning recordings of those stories into podcasts. Few are as heartrending and eloquent as the one told by Mike DeStefano in 2007, which was released as a podcast in 2009. DeStefano, a comedian who died of a heart attack in 2011, talks about his life with Fran, whom he met in rehab when he was trying to kick heroin. Fran was diagnosed with AIDS after they started dating and before they got married. When she was in a hospice, shortly before her death, he bought the Harley-Davidson they’d always wanted and took her on a ride. “I always imagined the wind on a bike making you feel free, you know?” DeStefano says. “It’s so powerful. For 10 minutes we were normal, and that wind just blew all the death off of us. … Nothing I’ll ever do will be that grand.”

    —Huffduffed by thebuckst0p

  6. Slate’s #10: Welcome to Night Vale, “Pilot” (2012)

    1. Welcome to Night Vale, “Pilot” (2012) Choosing a single episode of Welcome to Night Vale is difficult, since one of the show’s greatest strengths is the long-term world-building it’s done over its 57 episodes. Created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, Night Vale is a sprawling fictional series narrated by an unnamed radio host set in a small town located at the hellish nexus of all things sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. What makes the pilot particularly notable, then, is the confidence and certainty with which it presents this world from the very beginning. Jumping straight into such a fully realized, high-concept world of cosmic horror from the word go is no easy feat, but this episode somehow manages it with poise. —Chris Wade

    —Huffduffed by thebuckst0p

  7. Slate’s #12: Love + Radio: Secrets

    1. Love + Radio, “Secrets” (2006) Nick van der Kolk’s Love + Radio is a podcast pioneer, taking the personal storytelling and high-quality production you might associate with This American Life into realms more risqué and even raunchy than you’re likely to find on public radio (though some episodes have, in fact, aired on public radio). The show has done episodes about a Detroit man running a strip club in his home and a woman who performed in balloon fetish videos, among many other subjects, winning multiple awards in the process. There are several episodes we might have chosen, but we like this early one, which tells stories about secrets, including one about the then quite new PostSecret project.

    —Huffduffed by thebuckst0p

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