With Podcasts I Ride

I work for a courier service.  I drive almost 300 miles every workday.  I listen to music.  I listen to news radio during rush hour for the traffic reports.  I listen to nothing but the whistling wind.  I listen to podcasts.  These are the podcasts of my driving week.  Maybe you’d like to listen to them, too.

I listen to all of these via iTunes, but they are also streamed from their respective sites, which are linked within the images below. 

WTF with Marc Maron
Post Day: Monday and Thursday

Marc Maron is a comedian.  He is also an excellent conversationalist. After nearly 400 episodes, he has talked to most comics you can think of.  Old, new, some he has history with, some he’s only recently met.  Over the years, he has collected an oral history of what it’s like to be a working comedian. Whether you’ve heard of the person Marc is talking with or not, it will be worth your time.

As the podcast has grown in popularity (and possible exhaustion of the list of comics willing to talk), he has been speaking with more musicians, actors and directors.  All just as engaging as the conversations with his fellow comedians.  Marc has a natural fascination of how people get through life.

Every episode starts with an open monologue.  He uses this time to set some background to the particular interview and whatever else is on his mind.  He has an anxious and aggressive personality.  I've heard it’s not for everyone.  There is a fast forward button.  The talks are great.

Where to Start
Episode #398 - Danny Lobell.  Not only a great conversation with someone who had a comedians podcast before he did, but Marc greets new listeners in the opening and explains how to get the older episodes.  iTunes only has the last 50 episodes.  Here is a list of past guests. 

The Sign-Off
 “Boomer Lives!” One of Marc’s cats left and never came back.

The Firewall and Iceberg Podcast
Post Day: Monday or Tuesday. 

Dan Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall are the Siskel and Ebert of TV criticism. Every week they give you the straight poop on what's airing. They preview coming debuts and review finales.  Do you like Breaking Bad or Mad Men? You're in luck, because they talk about every episode as they air.  And, when the opportunity arises, they will analyze the business of television and the thinking behind programming.  

New content dries up during the summer, so they give themselves a summer project.  In the past, they have re-watched the entire series of Undeclared (episodes #19-26) and the first seasons of Twin Peaks (#77-79, #81-83, #85, #87) and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer (#131, #132-#137, #139-#142). 

This year, however, they are doing something different (and if you ask me, a lot of fun). They will be revisiting TV pilots. They will pick shows that can be found streaming online (Netflix, Hulu,, HBOGO, etc.) to make watching them a little easier.  The Sopranos kicked things off a few weeks ago (#185).  Taxi, Cheers (both #186) and Veronica Mars followed (#187).  Watch the pilots for The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show for next week's conversation.

Where to Start
It's a current events show, so the most recent. Or #185, if you want to get in on the pilot fun.

For in-depth discussions of Breaking Bad and Mad Men episodes:
Breaking Bad, season 4: #85-91, #92-94, #96-98
Breaking Bad, season 5, part 1: #139-142, #144-147
Mad Men, season 4: #27-31, #33-35, #37, #39-42
Mad Men, season 5: #121-128, #130-132, #134
Mad Men, season 6: #176-181, #183-present 

And, if for some reason, you still need more discussion of the final season of Lost, Dan and Alan can get you through that, too (#2a-13, #15-18)

The Sign-Off
 “See you in the next life, Jack.” Midnight Run is Alan favorite movie.

Fight for Comics
Post Day: Wednesday

I started reading comics about a year and a half ago.  I looked for podcasts that reviewed the weekly outpouring of product every week and could clue me in on the vast history of the world I was getting to know. There aren’t many weekly comics podcasts, and this is one of the few (that I found) without Comic Book Guy snark. Oh, they can be sarcastic and frustrated about the comics industry at times, but it’s done without the eye-rolling and attitude of someone who read it all and can’t be impressed anymore. They love comics and it shows.

It took a few episodes to “get to know” these four friends, to fall in line with their patterns. But now, I look forward to their blathering. They are funny guys.  The fact that one of them sounds like somebody I know makes it that much more entertaining.

Where to Start
The last two weeks have been particularly good. Episode #195 is a regularly structured show, while this week's show is all Superman, featuring discussions about Superman Unchained (the new comic series), Superman Unbound (the latest animated movie) and Man of Steel (the latest live-action/computer-animated motion picture).

I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman
Post Day: Wednesday

Jen Kirkman is a comedian. Her drunk history made me laugh. Her albums made me laugh.  Now her podcast makes me laugh every week with her daisy chain stream of consciousness and storytelling. 

(If you're one of those folks who like to read words without pictures, her book, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids, is very good. )

Where to Start
It’s just a few weeks old; start from the beginning.  But, if you want to jump to some great ghost stories and my new favorite expression, dovetail water slide, go straight to episode six.

Broken Projector
Post Day: Friday

This podcast for is hosted by Scott Beggs and Geoff LaTulippe (screenwriter of Going the Distance). They interview filmmakers, largely independent creators and veterans of the industry, and engage in lively debate on movie-related topics, like which sequel is better: Temple of Doom or The Last Crusade (episode #1)? 

Where to Start
Hitchcock vs Spielberg (posted January 24, 2013)
What the Hell is Happening to VXF? (March 8, 2013)
Kickstarter for Millionaires (March 15, 2013) 
or the most recent one

And if you want more interviews of independent and veteran filmmakers, check out this podcast's predecessor, Reject Radio.

The Sign-Off
 "See you next Friday" is a riff on John Landis's recurring joke, See you next Wednesday. 

The Empire Podcast
Post Day: Friday

It's the movie magazine for your ears! Hosted by members of the Empire magazine staff, this is a weekly podcast full of answers to listener's questions, movie news, interviews and reviews of the latest releases. Once in a while there will be bonus episodes, which are either extended interviews or spoiler specials. They speak with British and Irish accents, making you a classier person for listening to them.

Where to Start 
The most recent regular podcast. As for the specials: 
The British Board of Film Classification Ratings Special (posted June 6, 2013) is a great look into the how films are rated in the UK with an interview of the BBFC’s executive director. 
The extended interview of Danny Boyle (March 27, 2013)
The extended interview of William Friedkin (June 29, 2012)

Doug Loves Movies
Post Day: Thursday or Friday (the regular show)

Doug Benson is a comedian. And he loves movies. Every week, he guides a group of guests (comedians, actors, directors) though a conversation that usually sticks to cinematic topics and a game or two. It's light-hearted and fun. If you take it too seriously, you are a shithead.

The Leonard Maltin Game is the star of the show for me.  It’s like Name That Tune but with actor’s names and movie titles instead of musical notes and song titles. Since it isn't always explained, here's how it's played:

Once a category is picked, Doug gives the panelists a few clues from Leonard’s review and the number of names listed in the cast. The panelists say how many names they need to guess the movie title. The number is whittled down until someone says “name that movie!” Then, the names are read from the bottom of the cast listing, up, so that the smallest roles are read first.

Panelists can also bid zero names or negative names. With zero names, only the movie title needs to be named.  With negative names,  the panelist must name the movie and the cast listing from the top, down, as Leonard has them listed.

If the panelist gets it right, he or she gets a point. If the panelist gets it wrong, the challenger gets the point. The first person to two points wins.

Where to Start
Scroll through past episode and find guests you've heard of then go from there. There are different lengths of episodes. Start with the ones in the 45-60 minute range.  Those are the regular, weekly shows. Last week's episode with Rory Scovel, Sarah Silverman and Zach Galifianakis is very good.  iTunes doesn’t have much before this year.  The rest can be purchased here

The Sign Off
The panelists play for members of the audience. The losing audience members get to have Doug call someone a shithead.

So concludes my podcast week.