It occurred to me recently, while doing some behind-the-scenes work on Authors & Dragons, that as much as I love podcasts, as frequently as I listen to them, and as large as the general audience is, it’s a little crazy that I’ve had 2 blogs about my favorite audiobooks but never even touched on some of the great podcasts I love. Today, that changes! If you’ve got a long trip ahead (maybe to Emerald City Comic Con) then here are some free, great shows to help you pass the time along the way.
Bonus Blog Sidegame: If you’re a subscriber to the A&D Patreon, take a drink every time I talk about a podcast we copied on Mimic Chest.
As a man who loves comedy, fast food, and self-loathing, this podcast hits a great sweet spot for me. Hosted by Mike Mitchell (Love, Birthday Boys, Hidden America) and Nick Wiger (Funny or Die) these two eat their way through chain restaurants from all over, sacrificing their health to deliver meandering reviews that go way too deep on restaurants very few people even consider to be food. It’s fucking fantastic, and I tune in every week. There are also recurring bits that involve guessing what mystery food they’re eating, trying unusual foods listeners send in, and trying to figure out what kind of pie is in a bag. The style is very loose, the guests are almost always great, and the hosts have solid, if combative, chemistry. If you want to see how to do a podcast that’s a good mix of structure and free-flowing conversation, this one is a great case to learn from.
Bad with Money
I’m 99% sure this is going to be the only podcast I discuss today that has the chance of actually teaching you something other than trivia about bad movies. Bad with Money is hosted by Gabby Dunn (Just Between Us) and covers a wide array of topics dealing with finance. There is also a lot of social commentary about the role money plays in our culture and the institutions that use it, but even if that isn’t your jam its worth tuning in alone to hear the frank discussion of managing money and finances, especially from experts.
While I don’t talk about it much, mainly because it was super fucking boring, I used to work in the finance world. That came in really handy when I first started out doing the writing full-time, as I had a good grasp on budgeting, pipelines, self-employment taxes, and other things that come up when you run your own business. Now, a few years into the job, I better understand how fortunate I was to have that background. A lot of folks can do the writing work of this gig just fine, it’s managing their income that causes problems. If you’re thinking about taking a gamble on living off your writing/art/whatever, then I’d recommend listening to this one, as there’s a lot of good information that will come in handy.
How Did This Get Made
I know, I know, most people are already keenly aware of this one, but just in case, I’m giving it a quick plug here. Hosted by Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas (they’ve all been in way too much shit to list, just imdb them) it’s a podcast that dives into movies that are outright insane. Sometimes they revel in the madness, such as with Crank, and sometimes they just ogle at it, such as with Chopping Mall. No matter the film in question, its three great comedians and a talented guest, so they always deliver on something worth listening to. Bonus: Adam Scott comes on every time they talk about another Fast and Furious movie, so that’s a fun perk to keep an eye out for!
In truth, this is almost closer to a channel than a single podcast. Hosted by Adam Tod Brown (formerly of Cracked.com) this was originally a podcast on Cracked before Adam left the company. Once he did, he branched out the podcast into several different shows, most of which are hosted behind a Patreon paywall. The main show, still titled Unpopular Opinion, has always been free though, and it’s a entertaining listen.
Since Adam is working as a stand-up comedian in LA, most of his guests and cohosts come from that world, which makes for a constant stream of fresh, funny people to discuss various topics with. Their subject matter can be more or less anything; to give you an idea of the topic range they’ve done an episode dedicated to the glory of the McRib and one talking about the ethics of drone strikes. This show can be kind of a grab bag depending on the subject matter, but if you see a topic that sounds fun to you then give it a whirl.
High and Mighty
Technically, part of me wants to count Action Boyz in this one too, but since that’s Patreon exclusive we’ll stick to the free one. High and Mighty is a podcast hosted by Jon Gabrus (Guy Code, Adam Ruins Everything) who is a character actor and comedian. The format is… well, there sort of isn’t one. Aside from reading reviews in which listeners roast him at the top of every episode, the whole show is largely just free-flowing conversation. I actually found out about Jon Gabrus from the Chicken Nugget Power Hour episode of Doughboys where he was a guest, and followed him to his own show after laughing my ass off at his nugget eating skills.
This might be the hardest one to pitch, both because right now it’s my favorite, and because I’m really not sure what the key selling point is. There’s minimal structure, the whole thing is often one giant tangent, and nothing of value is taught. I suppose Gabrus himself is the selling point, as the man just has a talent for putting his guests at ease and getting everyone in the room laughing. Listening to the show is genuinely fun, and that, more than anything else, is what keeps me coming back.
For those wondering, Action Boyz is a Patreon podcast that’s sort of like High and Mighty swirled with How Did This Get Made, as Gabrus and a crew of fellow comedians spend hours reveling in the glory/horror of classic action movies.
Hopefully this helps you folks find some new shows to try, and if you’ve got any great podcasts that you think deserve more love then share them in the comments below for everyone else to enjoy!