Do you ever find yourself at work, or driving in your car and can never find anything you want to listen to? Did you listen to KSR live or already knock out the podcast for the day? How about you try some other podcasts (once you’re finished with KSR’s of course)? Each week I’ll take a look at 2-3 podcasts that might strike your interest, especially if you’ve found your way here to Funkhouser.
This week we take a venture in to the world of more nerdier podcasts. Whether your interests are in Doctor Who, Star Trek/Wars, Sci-Fi, comic books, stand-up comedy, board games, movies and TV Shows in general, etc., these podcats might be right up your alley.
Hosts: Chris Hardwick, Matt Mira, Jonah Ray
Typical Day of Release: Usually Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Average Length: Approximately 1:15
Recent Guests: Bill Hader, Kurt Braunohler, Eddie Pepitone, Vince Gilligan, George RR Martin
Best First Episode to Start With: Any are good, depending on your interests… I thought Rick Moranis, Billy Crystal, Lily Tomlin, Joan Rivers are all fantastic. OH AND NICK OFFERMAN TOO, GREAT EPISODE.
Well obviously, the first podcast in the nerd edition is going to be “The Nerdist.” Over the last couple of years, nerd culture has gained in popularity that I’m sure has spawned an uncountable number of uber-hipsters saying they liked nerdy things before it was cool. However, Chris Hardwick and the nerdest lads just aim to show that anyone can be a nerd about anything, it’s just having an great passion for an idea, show, game, movie. It’s just those things people obsess over used to not be as cool before.
Anyway, with the popularity that Chris Hardwick has gained in the last two years, he has been thrown into the world of popular culture. He hosts Talking Bad and Talking Dead on AMC, The Nerdist TV Show on BBC America, Celeberty All-Star Bowling on YouTube (soon to be AMC as well). Because of all of those connections he’s made, he’s able to bring on a lot of great celebrities to the Podcast. Twice a week, the podcast will center around a celebrity and what is going on in their world. I encourage you to listen to something like Lily Tomlin or Joan Rivers because you get to hear great stories about what entertainment was like when they were in their heyday (Joan Rivers, especially). The Nick Offerman episode is fantastic, simply because they don’t talk about Parks and Rec much, they get into his woodworking business, or Megan Mullally’s music work now. Also, his laugh is so contagious, you can’t help but enjoy Offerman.
Usually once a week, there’s an episode called a Hostful, where Hardwick, Mira and Ray just sit around and talk about what’s going on in their own worlds, and being stand-up comedians, it gets pretty funny. Certainly, if you’re new to the podcasting world, give The Nerdist a shot as it’s pretty tame, but highly interesting information you get to hear from celebrities.
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show
Hosts: Jeff Rubin (College Humor – Nerd Alert, Bleep Bloop)
Typical Day of Release: Tuesdays, but not the first Tuesday of the month
Average Length: Approximately 1:15-1:30
Recent Guests: Chuck Klosterman, US Memory Champion Nelson Dellis, The hosts of Classic Simpsons Trivia in NYC
Best First Episode to Start With: Like The Nerdist, almost all are great listens. I recommend Episode 3: Scott of Scott’s Pizza Tours, Episode 5: Legends of the Hidden Temple w/Kirk Fogg & Anthony (Contestant), Episode 46: Action Park, World’s Most Dangerous Waterpark, and Episode 91: Classic Simpsons Trivia
I once interviewed Jeff Rubin for a podcast I was working on putting out called “The Skinny Mic,” a podcast about game shows. I never put it out because 1) I got this spot at Funkhouser, and 2) it wasn’t particularly great. Not because Jeff wasn’t an awesome guest, but I think the idea of hosting a podcast vs. actually hosting a podcast were two different things in my brain. I still have the file somewhere, but it may never see the light of day.
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show may be one of my favorite podcasts. The podcast has the tagline “Interviews You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Hear,” and he’s right. I mean, look at this lineup:
Jeff has had over 100 episodes so far since the inception of the podcast, but if you look at the list above, there are some pretty strange topics in there. But the best part is, they’re really interesting. I mean, there are some pretty nerdy topics that Jeff covers with his guests, but they’re all worth an hour of your time. Also, in episode 27, I get an unnamed mention for breaking Jeff’s RecordSetter record for Most Trivial Pursuit 90’s Edition “Pop Culture” questions in 60 seconds. (Just so you know, I also hold the record for most Granny Style Free Throws Made in a minute).
One of the best things about Jeff’s podcast is that he picks people to interview that truly interest him. This is an important point, because he gets really excited and is generally pretty knowledgeable about the topic of the week. If he’s not, he still has so much interest to learn about what makes these interesting topics, well… interesting. Go to iTunes, find the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, look down the list and find one episode that might interest you. I am fairly confident that after that episode, you’re going to want to binge on 3-4 more in a sitting, because they’re that good. Oh, above I mentioned Episode 46 about Action Park. Check out this video that is part of a documentary on it. One semi-NSFW word in it at 3:40. But if you like this, you’ll certainly like the episode of Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin.
Judge John Hodgman
Hosts: John Hodgman w/ Bailiff Jesse Thorn
Typical Day of Release: Varies, but usually Wednesday or Thursday
Average Length: Approximately 1:00
Recent Guests: All the guests are normal people, who Skype in to the podcast.
Best First Episode to Start With: Shut Your Pie-Troll 2: Girl brings a case against her friend who hosts “Bad Movie Nights” parties at his house. She thinks the night could be more fun if he changed a few things.
You know John Hodgman from a lot of things: “I’m a PC”, The Daily Show and hopefully from his standup special on Netflix, “Ragnarok.” In this podcast, Hodgman brings his dry sense of humor into a courtroom setting, vaguely familiar to that of “The People’s Court.” Each episode a plaintiff brings their argument against the defendant to Judge John Hodgman. These aren’t criminal things, but more “First World Problems.” For example, a recent episode description reads:
Aaron wants to move his beloved refurbished egg pod chair into the home he shares with his wife Kara. Kara objects to the outside piece of furniture and says it needs to stay in storage until the time and place are right.
Paul brings the case against his friend Jeremy. Paul likes to wear jerseys and hats from his favorite team to sporting events, even when that team isn’t playing in the game. Jeremy says that wearing the gear isn’t in good taste. Who is right?
I think Matt Jones knows who is right in that situation.
Judge John Hodgman is an easy listen, as you don’t have to really think to much about the subject while it’s on. It’s always interesting to listen to people who have some simple problems in their life, but at the same time, those problems might also be some that you have. Hodgman comes at the issues with a great sense of humor and tends to ask questions in the situation that some people normally wouldn’t ask. I classify this as a nerd podcast, solely on the idea that John Hodgman is somewhat of a self-proclaimed nerd in his own right. Definitely check this one out, it’s good for a lot of laughs.
Do you have a favorite nerd podcast? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter @rbramblet and we’ll try to feature it in future editions of Funkhouser’s Guide to Podcasts.