I only discovered podcasts within the last year. Over this time, I have come to one conclusion: podcasts are now what late night TV used to be. I remember sneaking downstairs to see a movie star, band or comedian on The Tonight Show (with Johnny) or Letterman. In college, some of my best memories were being with my friends late night and watching Conan goof around and have fun talks with celebrities. SNL has always been a staple of my late night viewing, even before I could understand it. The problem with these programs is as I grew up, I could not find myself in front of them when they were scheduled. I tried to watch the new Conan show, and almost made it a full week, before life intervened. Now I find these same experiences with podcasts. Funny and fascinating people having interesting and hilarious conversations about topics I am interested in and that I can listen to when I choose. Ah, techanologie.
After the jump are several of my favorite audio podcasts that I never miss in no particular order. Alert: most are comedy and get frequent explicit tags. That's just how I roll. I know there are many more (and I listen to twice this list probably), so throw down in the comments about your favorite podcasts.
Maron was always I could count on to give at least one moment in his comedy routines for someone to say, "WFT did he just say? Damn, that's messed up." A great podcast recently covered in the New York Times, Marc Maron specializes in frank talk about his life and his always interesting guests.
Ever have one of those nerdy conversations with your friends when you looked at each other and said, "Man, no one else would understand what we just said." Chris Hardwick and friends have these type of conversations all the time, often bringing excellent guests along for the ride.
Like movies? Well, Doug freaking loves them. Comedian Doug Benson gets some truly spectacular guests together for a live show that discusses, well, movies. Each show also ends with a fun challenge called "The Leonard Maltin Game" that will leave you yelling at celebrities through your Ipod.
Ira Glass lets you into a theme of Americana each week. Current events are often covered in a thoughtful and reverent way while off the wall subjects are introduced that make you think about the world around you. For all the NPR fanatics around, you fellas already know what I am talking about.
Get some webcomic creators together and have them talk about the business and their lives. That is the basic premise and it becomes truly enjoyable if you read the webcomics these folks write. Very funny folks having great conversations.
This is the one that got me into podcasts. I love Kevin Smith and his purely frank take on life. Partnered with Scott Mosier (or anyone else on the now huge row of the Smodcast network) and you have excellent, funny conversation where two dudes that like to talk and have fun with each other.
If there is one thing in this world that can stop me cold is a good story. Presented in spoken word, various people get up and tell a story, often with a particular theme. The stories never fail to be engaging, to the point where I cannot listen to them in the car for fear of becoming lost in the narrative.
Ever watch those Japanese game shows where you are not too sure what is going on but enjoying the hell out of it? That's this show. The New Show Full of Win features magician Brian Brushwood and funny man Justin Robert Young and various guests competing against themselves and their audiences for awesome.
These are the smart kids in the back of the classroom that are planning the hunt for Bigfoot when they grow up. Episodes generally consist of Andrew Mayne, Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young throwing themselves into fake scenarios of "weird things" that often descend into madness.
It is The Onion. I should not have to describe these short, hilarious, fake radio announcements.
My newest and most favoritest podcast, The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a live show in Los Angeles done by various performers in the style of old timey radio. Hilarious enough that I have to stop what I am doing, lie down and close my eyes away from others so as not to endanger them and me.