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Making podcasts skimmable since February 2018. 
#10·April 20, 2018 · By Michael Yessis
Beycomé? Seems like every other podcast this week featured Beyoncé and/or James Comey. Lots from and about them — and so many more compelling people and topics.

8 Pod Takes: Provocative Thoughts From This Week's Podcasts

1) “How the fuck I’m gonna tell his daddy he’s dead as a doorknob from catering?”

Listen: The Nod: Taco Bout It (14:03)

  • That’s Chef Ocho, upon witnessing his good friend and co-worker shot and killed at a party they catered.

  • Host Brittany Luce tells Ocho’s heartbreaking and heartwarming rise from selling tacos from his front lawn in Watts to popular purveyor of “Black tacos” in L.A.

  • My take: The most compelling pod I listened to this week.


2) “When you’re spending $600,000 on leather in three years, that's an addiction.”

Listen: Dear Sugars: Buyer’s Remorse — With Buzz Bissinger (3:54)

  • That’s Bissinger, who’s no shopaholic. The term, he says, minimizes his and others’ life-altering affliction.

  • The “Friday Night Lights” writer lays bare his behavioral addiction to the Sugars.


3) “All pet names should end in a vowel.”

Listen: Judge John Hodgman: Yappy Trails (6:22)

  • The assertion by Chris, recounted by his son Chase in Hodgman’s court, earns nine seconds of uninterrupted laughter.

  • Chase’s case against Chris: His dad talks too much about pet names and other topics during their hikes instead of quietly enjoying the surroundings.

  • Hodgman adds: The best name for a dog is Hambone.

  • Spoiler: Hodgman sides with Chase. His dad should STFU.


4) “Any place that's called an innovation center isn't, almost by definition.”

Listen: The Tim Ferriss Show: Astro Teller, CEO of X - How to Think 10x Bigger (12:33)

  • That’s Teller, guest on a very-short-by-Ferrissian-standards pod about shifting one’s perspective vs. aiming for incremental growth in business.

  • Says Teller, aka Captain of Moonshots at X, a division of Alphabet: Think Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory vs. a more traditional incubator.


5) “It’s almost as though it’s impossible to make a distinction between malice and ignorance.”

Listen: Monocle 24: The Big Interview: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (17:01)

  • Adichie laments the “increasing orthodoxy” on the political left that people need to say things a certain way, or be banished.

  • The conversation with the author and Ted Talk fave Adichie ranges from her issues with the left to fashion to feminism.

  • She says: “I want us to get to a world where we no longer need feminism. That’s my big dream.”


6) “It's like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Listen: All Songs Considered: Swan Songs: Music For Your Final Exit (32:09)

  • So says co-host Robin Hilton, amid a rundown of songs ASC listeners want played at their funerals.

  • Hilton’s take expresses the opposite sentiment of one of the top song picks, the Avett Brothers’ “No Hard Feelings.” Holding grudges = taking poison.

  • Other notable picks: “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),” by Talking Heads; “The Rainbow Connection,” by Kermit the Frog; and “Do You Realize??,” by The Flaming Lips.


7) “What would it really be like to live through an alien invasion? You wouldn't be on the team with Morgan Freeman.”

Listen: Culture Gabfest: Apocalypse Mom Edition (16:04)

  • That’s Julia Turner, in support of the premise of the hit film “A Quiet Place.”

  • She likes that the movie twists the alien-invasion premise, asking, “What would it be like to be a bystander, and not the hero?”


8) “This is the part of the movie ‘Conspiracy Theory’ where we find out that Mel Gibson is crazy because it all really happened to him.”

Listen: Pod Save America: “Not a scrupulous individual.” (26:21)

  • That’s Jon Lovett’s pop culture-lensed interpretation of one of the week’s (many) big news stories: The feds raided President Trump’s attorney/fixer Michael Cohen’s office, home and beyond.

  • The crux: Trump’s business dealings may now be under investigation.

  • The question: Are we now, as the headline of guest Adam Davidson’s The New Yorker piece suggests, at “The End Stage of the Trump Presidency”?

  • My take: May Davidson be prophetic.

Got a Pod Take, a show to binge or a great guest I should consider for next week’s newsletter? Send it!

One Podcast That Mesmerized Twitter


The New York Times audio documentary by Rukmini Callimachi‏ (@rcallimachi) on how ISIS emerged went live to non-subscribers Thursday. The early response:

Go Deep

1) James Comey

Listen: Fresh Air, The Daily, 5 Things, The New Yorker Radio Hour, Pod Save America, Channel 33, The Ben Shapiro Show, FiveThirtyEight, NPR Politics, The Gist, Fake the Nation, Political Gabfest

  • The former FBI director achieves podcast saturation, saying his piece about Trump and his new book on Fresh Air, 5 Things, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Daily.

  • Podcasters, too, say their piece about Comey: “[He’s] just 6-foot, 8-inches of pure moral rectitude,” says Pod Save America’s Jon Favreau, with a laugh.  

  • More Comey critique on the other pods listed above and many more not listed here, to be sure. Dude was everywhere this week.  

2) Beychella

Listen: Still Processing, The Read, Keep It!

  • Beyoncé’s Coachella performance blew up podcasts all week.

  • Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham tossed their original show to talk Beychella for more than an hour, ranking her show among America’s greatest concert performances.

  • The Read goes 2 hours, 15 minutes on the performance.


3) Life on (Fake) Mars

Listen: The Habitat

  • The seven-part pod about six volunteers living in an imitation Mars habitat — somewhere in Hawaii — dropped Thursday.


4) U.S./Mexico Border Policy

Listen: Radiolab’s Border Trilogy

  • The last episode of a three-part series investigating the U.S. Border Patrol’s “Prevention Through Deterrence” policy drops today.


5) The DC vs. Marvel Comics Rivalry

Listen: Business Wars

  • Backstabbing, spying and petty grudges — and the story of the birth of superhero culture — fill this seven-part series on the comic book rivalry.


6) David Ortiz

Listen: David Ortiz: The Big Papi Story

  • The four-part profile of the baseball great dropped Monday.

Guest Appearances By...


Albright, Madeleine The Atlantic Interview

Almond, Steve Otherppl

  • One of the Sugars talks about his new book during his Otherppl trifecta.

Alvarez, Gustavo The Sporkful

  • On the value of food in prison. “It’s everything,” says Alvarez.

Anderson, Louie WTF With Marc Maron

Banderas, Antonio ID10T

Bangs, Lance R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE: ME?

  • Filmmaker nerds out over “Green” with other R.E.M. nerds.

Bryant, Kris Pardon My Take

  • Cubs’ 3B on life-changing power of success, Bryce Harper’s pizza preferences.

Carden, D’Arcy It’s Been a Minute With Sam Sanders

  • Janet!

Chandrasekhar, Jay The Big Picture

  • The director of “Super Troopers” on the sequel, being Indian-American in Hollywood.

Couric, Katie Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard

Cryer, Jon How Did This Get Made?

Del Toro, Guillermo Talkhouse

  • Two-part conversation with Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin.

Ellis, Kelly Decrypted

  • She’s suing Google for discrimination.

Falco, Edie Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Friedkin, William Talkhouse

  • Two-part conversation with Academy Award-winning director Guillermo Del Toro.

Gaffigan, Jim Maltin on Movies

Gerhardt, Sarah Outside Podcast

  • Big wave surfer says big waves distill life to its “experiential essence.”

Grant, Adam Stay Tuned With Preet

Hamilton, Mindy Strictly Business

  • For those curious about Lexus’s product placement in “Black Panther.”

Hari, Johann The Ezra Klein Show

  • “We’ve been getting less and less good at meeting people’s deep underlying psychological needs,” says “Lost Connections“ author.

Harris, Sam The Joe Rogan Experience

Henry, Brian Tyree Fresh Air
  • Convo with Paper Boi from “Atlanta.”

Hickenlooper, John The Axe Files

Hodson, Christina Scriptnotes

  • Writer Hodson and host John August aim to solve Hollywood’s issues surrounding inclusion and representation in 59 minutes. “That’s very achievable,” deadpans Hodson.

Hunter, Michael The Joe Rogan Experience

  • “Venison is the new kale,” wrote the restaurateur. He tells the tale of the ensuing chaos.

Isbell, Jason Sound Opinions

  • “When somebody puts out an album that’s not political right now, if they’re not just a straight-ahead entertainer...everybody goes ‘What the hell are you doing? Why aren’t you talking about politics?’” says the singer/songwriter.

Khalilzad, Zalmay The Axe Files

  • Convo with former U.N. Ambassador on the future of conflict in the Middle East.

Kilgariff, Karen Duncan Trussell Family Hour

  • My Favorite Murder host talks murder. And comedy.

Lemon, Don The Jamie Weinstein Show

  • Trump! Trump! Trump! with the CNN host.

Mendes, Shawn The Dan Wootton Interview

Middleditch, Thomas Comedy Bang! Bang!

Neumann, Ann Deviate With Rolf Potts
  • On death and dying with author of “The Good Death.”

Schwartz, Ben Comedy Bang! Bang!

Shriver, Timothy Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

  • Convo with chairman of the Special Olympics.

Simien, Justin Keep It!

  • The creator of Dear White People raves about Beychella.

Tyler, Aisha WTF With Marc Maron

  • She talks about her directorial debut, handling big life changes.

Wright, Lawrence Fresh Air

Pick From a Podcaster

This week’s podcaster: Through Friends at Work, Ade Toye explores how to improve emotional intelligence (EQ) in the workplace one conversation at a time.

  • He adds: “As someone who has worked in a few industries and lived in multiple countries and cultures, I understand how easy it is to misunderstand and be misunderstood. EQ skills have helped me adapt quickly and thrive and they will help you too.”

His Pick: The Communication Guys Podcast: This is For Your Own Good [Episode 84].

  • He says: “Tim Downs and Dr. Tom Barrett do a great job of looking at the factors involved in how to offer badly-needed criticism to a co-worker who might not take it well. I learnt a lot from what they had to say. I highly recommend their podcast for anyone seeking practical advice on how to communicate effectively in different contexts."

Reviews and Recommendations

“Trump, Inc.”: A True-Crime Podcast About the President’s Business Dealings (The New Yorker, Sarah Larson)
  • Larson’s sold: “If you like true-crime podcasts, in other words, have I got the podcast for you.”

Paul Bae Helps Spearhead the Audio Drama Movement (Discover Pods, Kevin Goldberg)

Why the New York Times Is Making a Podcast About ISIS (Vulture, Nicholas Quah)

Behind 'Ear Hustle,' The Podcast Made In Prison (NPR, Ari Shapiro)

Sandra Is an Anxious Tech Thriller for the Age of Siri and Alexa (Vulture, Nicholas Quah)

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Copyright © 2018 Michael Yessis, All rights reserved.

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