Hello, Good Millennials! How are you? Doing okay? Drinking enough water? Did you watch the Downton Abbey finale? Good. I’m happy you’re here.
Over the past year, I have really gotten into the podcast life. Interviews with famous people, comedians telling jokes, friends telling stories – I am all about a good, engaging podcast. Now that I live in NYC and take the subway everywhere (and when I’m on tour and spending endless hours in the van), I rely on podcasts even more. What is a podcast, you ask? It’s an on demand radio in your pocket or on your computer! I use them to keep up with pop culture, listen to the news, and just relax with hosts who now feel like old friends. With the help of some trusty pals, I’ve listed some favorite podcasts below. All are available on the podcast app or on their respective websites. Happy Listening!
Style: Discussion/Interview – Females in creative/tech industries
In the “podcast for long distance besties everywhere”, BFFs Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow call each other from their respective closets to discuss anything and everything related to womanhood. Election coverage with a feminist lens? They’ve got you. Need advice on diva cups in their segment This Week In Menstruation? Look no further. Call Your Girlfriend is the podcast for millennial feminists who want to be a part of a global discussion on pop culture and current events. Plus these very intelligent and extremely fun ladies also talk with fascinating guests from various fields (tech, journalism, arts, and MORE!) with their Phone-A-Friend episodes. This is my favorite podcast. Ann and Amina plz be my BFFs thank u!!!! Plus sign up for their newsletter!
Style: Discussion/Interview – Academic/Creative/Celeb/Issues-based
Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton host this booze-enhanced podcast that covers everything from race to gender to pop culture (and squirrels… always squirrels). They lead listeners through a fascinating and funny listening experience, utilizing clever segments and meaningful conversation. They also talk candidly and lovingly about mental health and self care, and I feel like I’m listening to wise mentors when Another Round comes on. This podcast has a cocktail party vibe without any of the schmoozing or inevitable mansplaining. I always look forward to this podcast each week and I learn a lot, too. Plus, they interviewed Hillary Clinton! Legit! For more, read this great piece by the Guardian.
Style: NPR-esque radio program, interview/discussion component
Lena Dunham hosts this podcast miniseries highlighting various aspects of female life. Each one of the 5 full episodes (there are some mini-episodes thrown in, too) focuses on a different part of what it means to be female in 2016 – love, sex, work, friends, body, and the big picture. Lena and her team interview incredible women of all ages and types, allowing them to tell their stories in a way that is honest, funny, and often very moving. This podcast specifically highlights women of color and women in the LGBT community, and the production quality is spectacular and totally engaging. I cannot recommend this enough. Even if you “don’t like Lena Dunham”, you WILL like this podcast!!! Seriously!!!!
Comedian and actor Lauren Lapkus hosts this totally improvised podcast that makes me laugh outloud on my train rides home. The premise is each week Lauren brings on a special guest who plays the host of a fictional radio show. That host then introduces Lauren who is playing the guest on the fictional show. The best part is the show is 100% made up and sometimes Lauren doesn’t even know who she’ll be playing when the show starts. Cue the shenanigans. It’s also on the Earwolf Podcast Network, and they host A LOT of really great podcasts for your listening pleasure. My favorite episodes are with Paul F. Thompkins as Santa Claus. Let that sink in.
Style: Comedy/Improv – Weird and Goofy
Actors, improvisers, and all around hilarious creative people Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham host this improvised podcast as their character alter egos: Marissa Wompler and Charlotte Lissler. The premise is Marissa is a senior at Marina Del Ray Public High School and this podcast is her senior project. She is lead by her teacher and mentor Charlotte Listler (who also happens to be a former sniper) and they have guests from the school come on the show (i.e. Jessica and Lennon’s improv pals from UCB, your fave tv shows and more!). Make sure you start this podcast back at the beginning, because there are so many callbacks and relationships established each episode that I am always amazed this show is improvised. My favorite improvised podcast. Also love Comedy Bang Bang!
Style: Interview – Artists, Comedians, Authors, Celebs
Maybe you know Aisha Tyler from… well, everything. She’s a host of the daytime tv series The Talk, guest stars on Criminal Minds, does standup, writes, hosts panels, and also finds time for this podcast. She’s one of the hardest working people in show business and uses this podcast to connect and unwind. She has a breadth of knowledge and seems to be able to connect with literally anyone. Her interview style is conversational and personal, and she truly cares about her podcast community and loves connecting with her fans. Because she’s so busy she has scaled back her podcast production, but with her app you can listen to the over 200 podcasts in the Girl on Guy vault. I always feel smarter and calmer after listening to Aisha and her guests. My fave episodes are with author Kelly Carlin, George Carlin’s daughter, and Amber Tamblyn.
Created by authors Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed (yes, THAT Cheryl Strayed), Dear Sugar takes the advice column to the airwaves and answers your most burning questions about life and love. According to their website, Sugar “fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return.” Strayed is an active feminist, and she and Almond make a great pair. Together they create the engaging advice persona Sugar, and they tell the stories of their listeners with heart. Plus you can read Strayed’s essays as Sugar in her book “Tiny Beautiful Things”.
Style: Interview/Conversation – Media/culture
I am a new fan of the She Does Podcast, so I will let their their website do the talking for me. It’s a super accurate statement.
She Does podcast features creative minds working in media. Each episode centers around an intimate conversation yet digs deeper into each woman’s background, philosophy and process through artful audio documentaries soundtracked by music made by women. The show is hosted and created by Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg, documentary makers who are interested in how their guests got to where they are today. Whether up and coming or well-established, She Does features notable women of all generations, working at the intersection of media, film, journalism, art and technology. We bring you stories of what makes these women tick, their beginnings, their roadblocks, and the delightful bits in between.
Style: Interview/Discussion – Politics/Polling
I wanted to highlight podcasts specifically created and/or hosted by females, but I gotta give a shoutout to Nate Silver and the team at FiveThirtyEight. This election season is giving me an ulcer, but the pollsters at FiveThirtyEight keep me sane. Their blog uses statistical analysis to tell stories about sports, politics, and news, but their big thing is compiling historical numbers and all legitimate polling data to create some pretty accurate polling about almost anything related to politics. I mostly listen to their Elections podcast because they utilize lots of math/science and lots of smart/talented people to explain polling data, delegate counts, and everything in between. If you are a political junkie or want accurate data and interesting discussion, listen up!