Critic’s notebook: The Best New Social Thriller Is a Podcast

“Adventures in New America” and “The Horror of Dolores Roach” take fiction podcasts to new heights with mash-ups of horror, comedy and social commentary.
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Strictly Business Podcast: HBO CEO Richard Plepler on Winning the Streaming Wars

HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler has done the math on peak TV, and it all adds up as long as his brand stays healthy. Take the 487 scripted series currently on TV, which amounts to 5,000 hours of programming, and add that to the 750 unscripted series that amount to 4,000 hours, and you get a […]

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The Book Review Podcast: O Pioneers!

Caroline Fraser talks about “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” and Tiya Miles discusses “The Dawn of Detroit.”
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The Book Review Podcast: Kurt Andersen on Channeling President Trump

Andersen talks about “You Can’t Spell America Without Me”; Liza Mundy discusses “Code Girls”; and Maria Russo on the season’s children’s books.
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The Book Review Podcast: The American Revolution in Six Lives

Russell Shorto talks about “Revolution Song,” and Richard Aldous discusses his new biography of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
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The Book Review Podcast: ‘Lights On, Rats Out’

Cree LeFavour talks about her new memoir, and Andrew Sean Greer discusses his new novel, “Less.”
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‘Broad City’ Star Abbi Jacobson To Host Modern Art Podcast

She’s teaming up with WNYC and MoMA for “A Piece of Work.”
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The Book Review Podcast: Steve Bannon’s Road to the White House

Joshua Green talks about “Devil’s Bargain”; Laura Dassow Walls discusses her new biography of Thoreau; and Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich on “The Fact of a Body.”
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Critic’s Notebook: This Podcast Is a Love Story, for Your Ears Only

The new podcast “36 Questions” sets a standard for the future of musical theater.
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LeVar Burton Has A Podcast For The ‘Reading Rainbow’ Generation

Take a look, it’s in a book … and wherever you get your podcasts!
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How Do Podcast Nuts Find the Time? They Listen at Chipmunk Speed

App settings that accelerate voices to 5x or more allow impatient listeners to finish hourlong episodes in minutes. ‘A presumably insane person.’
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The Book Review Podcast: The World of Jane Austen Fans

Deborah Yaffe talks about “Among the Janeites,” and Robert Ferguson discusses “Scandinavians: In Search of the Soul of the North.”
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The Book Review Podcast: The History of the London Zoo

Isobel Charman talks about “The Zoo,” and R. L. Stine discusses scary stories for children.
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TV News Roundup: Larry Wilmore to Host New Podcast on The Ringer Podcast Network

In today’s roundup, Larry Wilmore’s podcast premieres in mid-May, the final season of FX’s “The Strain” has a release date, and the nominees for the 2017 Rockie Awards have been announced. PODCASTS Larry Wilmore will host his own podcast as part of The Ringer Podcast Network. “Larry Wilmore: Black on Air” will feature interviews with… Read more »

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Destiny Raid Podcast Showdown: IGN vs. DCP

To celebrate Destiny’s new raid, IGN is teaming up with the <a HREF="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbVQ-qnM8t6YDU5K8Pys51pXMtQ01izh"Destiny Community Podcast. With the pure goal of fun (and team shame), we will be playing Crota's End to see who can earn the most points. The showdown was set up by Pope Bear, Charionna, and the DCP community. Fireteam Chat is proud to be their guest — as this community spirit is the heart of what Destiny has truly come to represent.

If you haven’t played Destiny or followed the game in a while, Bungie has re-released the year one raids, including this one, Crota’s End, at the current power level. They also redesigned a few elements an introduced new challenges, for new refreshed loot and rewards.

Continue reading…

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‘The Bachelor’ Season 21, Episode 9, Part 1: Here To Make Friends Podcast

One bearded hunk, 30 lovely (mostly brunette) ladies and four chances at love: It must be Nick Viall’s season as The Bachelor

This week, Claire Fallon and Emma Gray talk whiskey, fur coats, turtleneck sweaters, choose-your-own-adventure books and more notable moments from Episode 9, Part 1 of the most shocking season in “Bachelor” history. This is our feminist rant ― here we go:

 Do people love “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” or do they love to hate these shows? It’s unclear. But here at “Here to Make Friends,” we both love and love to hate them — and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.

Follow Claire Fallon and Emma Gray on Twitter. 

Want more “Bachelor” stories in your life? Sign up for HuffPost’s Entertainment email for extra hot goss about The Bachelor, his 30 bachelorettes, and the most dramatic rose ceremonies ever. The newsletter will also serve you up some juicy celeb news, hilarious late-night bits, awards coverage and more. Sign up for the newsletter here.

 

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This Podcast Explores Queerness, Books, Sex And Everything In Between

A thought-provoking and entertaining podcast called Food 4 Thot hit the airwaves this month, party in response to the anti-LGBTQ, white nationalist rhetoric and propaganda disseminated by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Starring Tommy “Teebs” PicoDennis Norris IIJoseph Osmundson and Fran Tirado, Food 4 Thot is a roundtable-style discussion that highlights topics across the spectrum of queer identity in “a space that promotes resistance, adds levity to their everyday, and does so with intellect.”

Each episode has a specific focus, with the first appropriately titled “Firsts,” exploring topics like bottoming and literary representation that the hosts personally identify with.

“The idea for this podcast came from a conversation between the co-hosts last summer, over four glasses of rosé,” Tirado told The Huffington Post. “We were all writers who enjoyed intellectual conversations about things like queer theory, politics, and Toni Morrison. But we also liked talking about sex toys, our exes, and Mariah Carey’s Vine account. There were so few spaces where people ― especially queer people of color ― could find conversations that allowed for both intellect and absolute trash talk. Thus, Food 4 Thot was born. We like to think of our podcast as a gorgeous seated dinner, serving you both healthy food and junk food, giving sluts like us a seat at the scholarly table. Food for ‘Thought,’ and also ‘thots.’”

If you’re interested in Food 4 Thot and would like to hear more from these four individuals, you can sign up for the newsletter on their website.

We can’t wait to hear more!

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The Modern Love Podcast: Emmy Rossum Reads ‘A Millennial’s Guide to Kissing’

In an encore presentation, the “Shameless” actress reads the story of a college student who receives a life-changing kiss from a stranger on a plane.
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The Modern Love Podcast: Haydn Gwynne Reads ‘Two Decembers: Loss and Redemption’

Hear the actress read the story of how a teenage girl’s gruesome discovery changes the trajectory of her life.
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The Modern Love Podcast: Molly Ringwald Reads ‘From Divorce, a Fractured Beauty’

On this week’s Modern Love Podcast, the actress reads the story of one couple’s surprising postdivorce discovery: a happy family vacation.
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Culture Podcast: Star Wars Isn’t the Only Thing Worth Celebrating Today

Culture Podcast: Star Wars Isn’t the Only Thing Worth Celebrating Today

This week on the WIRED Culture podcast we’re getting a little nostalgic while also looking forward to a bright future. The post Culture Podcast: Star Wars Isn’t the Only Thing Worth Celebrating Today appeared first on WIRED.
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Gadget Lab Podcast: Hello, Magic Leap. Peace Out, Snapchat

Gadget Lab Podcast: Hello, Magic Leap. Peace Out, Snapchat

This week: Magic Leap, Snapchat’s game-losing fumble, and the new Vivaldi browser. The post Gadget Lab Podcast: Hello, Magic Leap. Peace Out, Snapchat appeared first on WIRED.
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Culture Podcast: Beyoncé Helps Soothe Our Woes After the Loss of Prince

Culture Podcast: Beyoncé Helps Soothe Our Woes After the Loss of Prince

Some weeks on the podcast, things are pretty leisurely. This was not one of those weeks. The post Culture Podcast: Beyoncé Helps Soothe Our Woes After the Loss of Prince appeared first on WIRED.
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Modern Love: The Modern Love Podcast: ‘I See My Superhero’

The comedian Sarah Silverman reads “Beneath the Modest Alter Ego, I See My Superhero,” a love story about a kidney transplant.
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Inside The New York Times Book Review Podcast: ‘At the Existentialist Café’

Sarah Bakewell discusses her new book about the existentialists, and Liesl Schillinger talks about a new biography of Blanche Knopf.
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Gadget Lab Podcast: Just Keep on Live-ing

Gadget Lab Podcast: Just Keep on Live-ing

This week: Facebook Live, video streaming, bots, the Kindle Oasis, and lunch in the workplace. The post Gadget Lab Podcast: Just Keep on Live-ing appeared first on WIRED.
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Culture Podcast: We Can’t Shut Up About the Suicide Squad Trailer

Culture Podcast: We Can’t Shut Up About the Suicide Squad Trailer

This week, the best things to watch on TV were movie trailers, so that’s what we’re talking about on the latest installment of the WIRED Culture podcast. The post Culture Podcast: We Can’t Shut Up About the Suicide Squad Trailer appeared first on WIRED.
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Gadget Lab Podcast: VR Is Finally Here. So Now What?

Gadget Lab Podcast: VR Is Finally Here. So Now What?

We’ve been anticipating these last two weeks for decades. The post Gadget Lab Podcast: VR Is Finally Here. So Now What? appeared first on WIRED.
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Culture Podcast: We Can’t Believe We’re Talking About #OscarsSoWhite Again

Culture Podcast: We Can’t Believe We’re Talking About #OscarsSoWhite Again

This week on WIRED’s culture podcast we’re talking about diversity in the Oscar nominations. A lot.

The post Culture Podcast: We Can’t Believe We’re Talking About #OscarsSoWhite Again appeared first on WIRED.

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Gadget Lab Podcast: What We Really Learned at CES This Year

Gadget Lab Podcast: What We Really Learned at CES This Year

The hosts give us a download from CES, including thoughts on the state of Oculus.

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Culture Podcast: We Say Goodbye to David Bowie

Culture Podcast: We Say Goodbye to David Bowie

This week is a sad one. We lost one of our most admired and beloved artists: David Bowie. On this week’s WIRED Culture podcast we discuss Bowie’s legacy.

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Inside The New York Times Book Review Podcast: The Year in Poetry

Parul Sehgal and Gregory Cowles discuss the year in poetry, and George Saunders talks about children’s books.



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‘Welcome To Night Vale’ Is The Indie Podcast For Your Inner Weirdo

“All that glitters is not gold. Particularly that thing over there. That’s maybe a giant insect of some sort. It’s really too dark to tell. Welcome to Night Vale.”  – Cecil Palmer, “Night Vale” radio host (Episode 44, “Cookies”)

If you’ve never listened to the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale,” you’re already less of a person. But that’s okay, because you can always become more of a person. It’s one of the many perks to being a person.

Every two weeks, writers Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor and actor Cecil Baldwin take audiences into the small desert town of Night Vale, where real estate agents live inside deer, a five-headed dragon runs for Mayor and is also a blogger, and a faceless old woman secretly lives in your home.

It’s a perfect mix of engaging storytelling and absurd humor. Think “Prairie Home Companion” meets “Twin Peaks,” but where space and time sometimes don’t matter.

The Huffington Post sat down with the trio to talk about the release of their new book, Welcome to Night Vale, a more traditional format for a very untraditional project.

What did you see as the biggest difference between writing the book and writing the podcast?

Joseph Fink: It’s a lot longer.

[Everyone laughs.]

Jeffrey Cranor: We decided to take it out of Cecil’s voice, because while Cecil is reading the audiobook, it is ultimately a novel, so there is about 12 hours of audiobook there. The idea of a 12-hour radio show is not what we were doing. We wanted to take it into a narrative author’s world, go around Night Vale outside of Cecil’s point of view, which allows us to see something new.

You guys were writing the book while still doing the podcast. Did you have to plan ahead since this book wouldn’t be coming out until a year further into the “Night Vale” narrative?

Jeffrey: We definitely put thought into it. We had to think about when the book was coming out, and kind of where in the vicinity of the timeline it would be. We didn’t want to write the book ignorant of the podcast timing. Months and months from now it won’t make a ton of difference because people will be picking up the book at a different point from the podcast, but I think the people who are keeping time with the podcast are probably the same people who will buy the book the day it comes out and read it immediately. 

Does the podcast, and the often odd logic of the writing, make it easier to write the book and not worry so much about continuity?

Joseph: Oh, we worried strongly about the continuity. I mean, “Night Vale” has very strict continuity. That’s sort of the thing that allows us to be as weird as we are. From the very start, we said we can doing anything we want as long as we have a strict continuity. So there’s actually a very strict continuity that goes into the book as well.

Cecil, what were your influences, voicewise? Because it seems to change from episode 1 to episode 70.

Cecil Baldwin: It changed so much. We were still trying to figure out what this character was. And it was definitely a disembodied late-night radio host voice. There were some specifics here and there but there wasn’t a true personality yet. Much like any pilot. As the show went on, we all found more about the person behind the microphone and the people around [him]. Then they’ll write more and then it reflects back on itself, performance to writing. 

From a physicality standpoint, once the show started taking off, were you very protective of your voice? Were you walking into rooms yelling, “I need a humidifier in here!”?

Cecil: [Laughs] Oh, no! It’s just years of working in the theater, there’s certain things you try to do. Honestly keeping hydrated and taking vitamins are probably the best things you can do. We have a pretty rigorous touring schedule, and it’s trying to maintain that, but for the most part for the making of the podcast and the live shows, the microphone does a lot of the heavy lifting, which helps give the performance layers.

Joseph and Jeffrey, how has your writing evolved since the start of the podcast?

Joseph: We sort of just keep trying to do new things. We write, I feel, almost exactly the same in both the work rhythm and the general goal of telling stories that seem interesting to us, and then not really worrying about outside of that. On a personal level, I just constantly try to find new things to do with the 30-minute audio format, and new ways of telling stories, and things you can do with language. And that’s just a constant search.

Jeffrey: Yeah, as a writer I find I’m always trying to find tics and habits I have that I want to phase out. Then you read other stuff and go, “Oh, this is really beautiful, I’m really inspired by this, I’m feeling more emotional lately and I’m going to talk about these types of feelings.” I think that’s just how we are as writers. You’re always taking things in and putting things back out.

Is there a “Night Vale” film in the future? And given the characteristics of space and time, is that even possible given the way the world of Night Vale works?

Joseph: Sure, I think anything’s possible.

Jeffrey: We always have people interested, whether it’s a movie or any number of things, like “Please make a ‘Night Vale’ keychain!” or something, you know.

Cecil: “Night Vale,” the musical.

Joseph: “Night Vale,” the card game.

Jeffrey: All kinds of stuff. And you know, for us, we all come from this background of theater and stage performance and writing, so the idea of going from the podcast to the stage was a really logical and obvious transition. It’s been really great because Cecil’s so great onstage and we feel very comfortable in writing for that and understanding that, and the same thing for the novel.

And you know, moving into other mediums, it just takes more time finding the right people to work with, because none of us come from the background of making a TV show or making a film or making a tabletop game [laughs]. That requires a lot more reaching out. It’s not like we hit on a thing that could get us a check written. I’m sure if we said, “Sure, write us a check,” we could find someone to write a dollar amount, but that’s not what we’re interested in doing. We actually like “Night Vale.” Like, we’re not trying to sell it off.

You mentioned earlier about following a strict continuity for “Night Vale.” Do you guys have a show bible the way some TV shows might?

Joseph: My only bible is the actual Bible.

[Everyone laughs.]

Jeffrey: That’s what we use, we use the actual Old Testament.

Cecil: That’s it. If it’s not in the Bible, we don’t want to talk about it.

Joseph: No, I mean we had a spreadsheet, briefly, that lasted like four episodes. Because there’s only two of us writing it, you have lot more control than if you had a staff of writers and new people coming and going and you have to keep everything stable. Which is not to say we don’t make mistakes; we constantly make continuity mistakes. And then we sort of talk our way out of them in later episodes. But yes, we depend entirely on our fragile memory.

Cecil: Somebody made a “Night Vale” wiki page. I use that all the time. You know, trying to remember if this one character in episode 50 has appeared in episode 5 and also, did that person have a specific voice? That’s always a challenge and it’s easy to look online and be like, “When did X character appear, and in what episode?” and then I can go back through my sound files of old episodes and, “Oh, that’s what that person sounded like.” Then I can choose to, you know, pick up that character voice or do a more third-person read of what that person said. I think that’s the only online resource I really use. Because it is, you know, unwieldy amounts of pages and pages.

You had Will Wheaton on the show several times. Are there any other celebrities you would love to get on the show?

Joseph: Yes. Tatiana Maslany.

Cecil: Yeah!

Joseph: Tatiana Maslany. As Hiram McDaniels’ sister. I’ve been very seriously trying to get her. We’ll see how that goes. That’s my biggest dream.

Jeffrey: Barack Obama.

[Everyone laughs.]

Joseph: Oprah.

Cecil: Whoopi Goldberg. I always thought Whoopi Goldberg on the show would be amazing.

Where do you see podcasts, as a form, going? Because it hasn’t quite been monetized yet.

Cecil: Oh, don’t worry, people are always finding ways to monetize anything.

Joseph: It’s being monetized, actually, in a huge way. It’s a little worrying, in the last few months, big money has really come into podcasting. Bill Simmons’ podcast is produced by HBO. WNYC just announced a $ 15 million podcast studio. And they also had like a contest where the winners got, like, a $ 100K to do a podcast? GE is producing a serial drama podcast that’s 20 to 30 minutes long.

So, yeah I find that all super worrying because I think what makes podcasting really good is that it has this very low barrier of entry. You just need to have a very good and very specific idea and then you need to be able to execute that in front of a mic and then you’re on the same playing field as everyone else.

I think that’s still very much the case but I worry about that going forward as big money starts pouring into it.

Jeffrey: One of the great ways to find out about podcasts is the gatekeepers like iTunes and their lists and mysterious algorithms for why things move to the top of the list. In the four months that “Night Vale” was No. 1 overall above “This American Life,” it was never because “Night Vale” had more listeners than “This American Life.” That’s never been the case. We just had this surge of popularity.

Cecil: There was a dramatic spike.

Jeffrey: Once that surge came back down to a naturally steady increase, we obviously fell back below “This American Life.” But for us being an independent podcast, it was a really great thing to be able to have that. And my worry comes from whether or not that can stay a thing. “Lore” is another new podcast that is interesting and independent.

Joseph: “Lore” just hit the top 10 on iTunes.

Jeffrey: And that’s great, it makes me super thrilled to see independent podcasters reaching that. And I think there’s this hope that institutions like Radiotopia can hold it together and still be at the forefront of putting new, cool stuff out there that people can discover. You know, if big money comes into it, and Bill Simmons and GE and people like that are always at the top of the list.

Joseph: Or if they can buy big ads, because at the moment the iTunes main page is an equal mix of weird independent stuff, and if you have GE podcasts and HBO podcasts, then it really kills that.

Cecil: I think a lot about the ‘90s and the independent film movement when technology became more affordable and more accessible to filmmakers. All of a sudden, you have so many more diverse films being made under the banner of independent cinema.

And then now that’s like 25 years later and IFC [Independent Film Channel] came out of that, and is IFC independent film anymore? What does that mean?

It’s sort of the natural way of things, and it’s amazing to be on the vanguard of any movement. For us, it’s just keeping it going and exploring other new avenues and new mediums.

Joseph: I used to be super into fracking until the big energy companies moved in.

[Everyone laughs.]

Cecil: Ugh, yeah it’s so over.

Jeffrey: Yeah, it’s really annoying, now it’s everyone’s thing. All the hipsters are fracking.

Thanks to Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor and Cecil Baldwin. Their new book, Welcome To Night Vale is out Tuesday wherever books are sold, and probably some places where books aren’t sold and the vendor is perhaps wondering where all these books came from.

 

 

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‘Serial,’ The Podcast Obsession Of 2014, To Become A TV Show

When the “Serial” craze first got going last fall, one of the things you would hear from  listeners trying to get you on board was that the podcast was as compelling as a TV show. And it was true: once you started listening, the thirst for new installments rivaled the thirst for new episodes of great shows like “The Good Wife” and “Game of Thrones.”

Looks like Hollywood (being Hollywood) isn’t willing to cede such compulsiveness to public radio. Deadline reported today that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller — the writing-and-directing duo behind comedic hits like “The Lego Movie” and “21 Jump Street” — are adapting “Serial” into a scripted TV series. Several of the podcast’s producers, including Season 1 host Sarah Koenig, “This American Life” host Ira Glass and “Serial” co-producer Julie Snyder, will be executive producers on the show. 

“Chris and Phil take an unexpected approach to telling stories and that is so appealing to us at ‘Serial,'” Snyder said in a statement. “Developing a show with them is exciting because we feel like we speak the same language, only they’re smarter than us.”

There were rumors, for a while, that producers might adapt the content of “Serial” Season 1 – the murder of teenager Hae-Min Lee and the subsequent dubious conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed — into a movie. But Lord and Miller’s show will take a different tack. It will focus, instead, on the making of the podcast. And it apparently won’t be about the original podcast’s first season. It’s not yet clear whether it will be based on some upcoming season – such as the upcoming one, reportedly on ex-POW Bowe Bergdahl – or a fictional season of their own devising.

A show about a group of podcast producers doesn’t sound all that exciting on the face of it. But Lord and Miller specialize in adapting unpromising material — schlocky ’80s TV shows, plotless children’s books, blocks — into thrilling narratives. So if anyone can do it, it’s them.

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GameTrailers.com Game is a 4 Letter Word – Podcast Intro

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GT alumni Ryan Stevens has launched a new podcast about the many weird and wonderful parts of the industry you never knew about. Here’s a preview, in his own words.
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Podcast Reviews: The Late Show Podcast and Mike and Tom Eat Snacks

2015-06-05-1433543507-5526733-late_show.jpegDavid Letterman has said his last goodbyes and his show’s set in the Ed Sullivan Theatre has been carted off, consigned to the showbiz Dumpster. Next up is Stephen Colbert, who is busy running test shows, whipping his writers into a frenzy to generate material, and trying to nail down the new character that he’ll become to replace the OLD Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

Fortunately for his fans that have been jonesing for his return, Colbert has turned to podcasting to fill the spare moments in his busy days getting ready for the September 8th launch of the new version of The Late Show. And the debut episode of The Late Show Podcast, entitled “In The Bad Room with Stephen” is a yack-packed 20 minutes that doesn’t disappoint.

Recorded in “the bad room” — a square, windowless chamber in the bowels of the show’s production office, Colbert is joined by Tom Purcell, his executive producer, and Opus Moreschi, the head writer and supervising producer for the new show. Their conversation rambles around a lot of subjects having to do with the process of gearing up for the show.

Colbert’s improv chops are in full view, as he throws off great, bone-dry lines and quasi-jokes as this initial show unwinds. One topic checked off is the width of the new audience seats in the studio — will they be 21 inches or 24 inches wide? Equated by Colbert as being for “the European ass or the American ass” and, as one might expect, his studio’s seats are going to be spec’d for the American ass.

The Late Show Podcast may well be become a viral phenomenon of its own before the three months runs out and CBS takes the warps off of the new The Late Show Starring with Stephen Colbert television show.

2015-06-05-1433543552-7606083-MATES.jpegThe popular (and only) snack-rating show, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, may also be the most sporadically appearing podcast (besides my own) on the web. But hosts Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh are back for two consecutive weeks now, so maybe there’s a trend emerging.

Or maybe it’s just because Cavanagh’s character, the Reverse Flash, was killed off at the end of the first season of the CW’s The Flash series and neither of the gentlemen are overly busy at the moment.

In any case, fans of the show (or “maties”, as they’re referred to by the hosts) get at least a couple of nice hits in a row. This week — spoiler alert — the boys’ snack pick is Quaker Oats White Cheddar Rice Cakes.

As always, the snack is the least important element of this show. It’s the banter between Black and Cavanagh that so much listening fun. This episode offers up what can best be termed an angry history lesson about the Greeks by Cavanagh, who seems ill equipped to actually enlighten us about the topic.

This follows a rant about “unnecessary Smart cars” and wristwatches, both of which are contributing to the downfall of mankind. There’s also a cool song provided during the break, ostensibly from a fan, about the show itself.

I don’t want to give away much more but suffice it to say that if you think they’re going to laud the humble rice cake (complete with white cheddar flavoring), it doesn’t end up faring so well.

Podcasts I’m also listening to this week: Drive-Time Podcast: If The Brandy Bunch Kids Found A Porno Tape and Chillpak Hollywood Hour #420: Favorite Funny Ladies of Stage and Screen

The The Late Show Podcast AND Mike and Tom Eat Snacks reviews originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com.

Marc Hershon is the host and executive producer of Succotash, The Comedy Podcast Podcast, featuring clips from comedy podcasts from across the Internet as well as interviews with podcasters, comedians, and assorted show biz folk.

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What Is Podcast? A Quick Start Guide to Podcasting, Online Radio, Free Music, Podcast Download, Video Podcast and How to Make a Podcast

What Is Podcast? A Quick Start Guide to Podcasting, Online Radio, Free Music, Podcast Download, Video Podcast and How to Make a Podcast


Podcast downloads are a wonderful new online way to share files. A podcast is a way to send files from a distributor’s online site directly to the subscriber’s computer, where they can view them whenever they wish. A podcast works by having a small file called an RSS file placed somewhere on the podcaster’s web page. This RSS file is updated regularly, usually automatically with text and links to new media files available for downloading. The RSS file is then accessed by the podcast client of the subscriber’s computer. A podcast client is a small program that goes online to look for the RSS files that the feed subscribers wish to view. There are many podcast clients available for every conceivable need, and most are free to download and use.

Price: $
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Podcast Review: The Bugle #263: #JeSuisCharlie

In the light of last week’s tragic massacre in the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, I wanted to see how a news-oriented comedy podcast would handle the event. My go-to in such circumstances is The Bugle, with John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman.

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Both are British comedians and longtime friends but, with Oliver’s stint on The Daily Show, followed by his celebrated kickoff season as host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, they’ve teamed up long distance across the Atlantic for years to keep The Bugle alive.

They lead off this episode with the attack as their top story.

Zaltzman comments on the element that news outlets expressed “their defiance of the terrorists” by NOT showing any of Hendo’s controversial cartoons while displaying video footage of the terrorists killing a policeman and shots of the blood-stained crime scene. Oliver is as outraged as his podcast partner, putting a wry but angry spin on his commentary.

They also take delight in pointing out one unintended consequence: Charlie Hebdo’s print run for the next issue is jumping to 1,000,000 from a normal figure of about 30,000.

The back half of the show deals with the dropping price of oil, traffic laws in Russia, the 2016 elections in the U.S., and the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

While the news is often unpleasant, I can count on The Bugle to at least lighten the burden of it all.

Also listening to: The GameOverGreggy Show with guest Kevin Smith; and The X-Files Files with guest Matt Gourley

This review originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com.
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Podcast Reviews: No Pressure To Be Funny AND You Made It Weird

No Pressure To Be Funny: Festive Edition 2014

2014-12-20-NPTBF.jpegI don’t pretend to understand all the issues that are discussed on No Pressure To Be Funny, the excellent monthly panel show from England. That’s partially because a number of the subjects are UK-centric and partially because I’m not as well read as I should be.

Each month the show’s creators, Alistair Barrie and Nick Revell, stir a pot of lively discussions featuring journalists and comedians. This month it’s Hal Cruttenden, Michael Deacon, Jo Jo Smith and first-timer James O’Brien (who normally serves as the host for the show.)

While the results are frequently humorous, the show stays true to its title and not everything is played for laughs. The panel has a field day knocking Russell Brand and his style of comedy around for a bit. At one point Deacon points out how actual numbers make ludicrous one of Brand’s points in his recent book Revolution, which prompts Cruttenden to say, “You are ruining the poetry with facts.”

A lot of this episode keeps poking at ongoing UKIP (United Kingdom Independent Party) scandals, which are making easy targets of a host of politicians. Series co-creator and comedian Revell fires up a wicked salvo against the lazy, self-entitled nouveau riche and how they compare so poorly to everyone else during this season of giving. (I love his line, “I’ve acquired ADHD from living in the modern world, although I prefer to call it ‘multitasking’.”)

If you’re not afraid to learn a little something along with your comedy, you’re likely going to enjoy this show.

You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes – Guest: Dana Carvey

2014-12-20-YMIW.jpegPete Holmes is no stranger to “going deep” with some of the guests on You Made It Weird. And it’s a treat to hear his conversation with SNL veteran Dana Carvey, a comedic performer that we don’t hear from very often or know very much about what makes him tick.

In a conversation that verges on three hours, Carvey lets his guard down a bit to reveal elements of a difficult home life, fighting stage fright to get up on stage, and details of his health problems including a botched bypass that were never fully revealed.

Maybe the secret was that Carvey was just off a 13-hour road trip and Holmes had just finished an appointment with his shrink. (Carvey told me in a conversation shortly after this interview was recorded that he didn’t know what to expect and he just decided to go wherever the conversation ended up going.)

If you’ve ever wondered what’s behind the man behind The Church Lady (one of many Carvey characters that gets talked about here), this is going to be good listen.

Also listening to: The Adventure Zone #2: Here There Be Gerblins; and Selected Shorts – Bad Boy: Celebrating Hunter S. Thompson: Stephen Colbert w/Alec Baldwin, Anthony Rapp & Michael Imperioli

These reviews originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com.
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Podcast Review: Chewin’ It with Kevin & Steve

Do you ever find yourself thinking “I wonder what those Broken Lizard guys with the funny movies like Super Troopers and Beerfest are doing?”

Ponder no longer.

2014-10-19-kevsteve.jpgBecause at least two of them are podcasting (and have been for the past couple of years.) Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme pop up weekly on the Nerdist network with their show Chewin’ It with Kevin and Steve. These guys will take any subject and run with it, as witnessed in this week’s show when Lemme recounts having to take his infant son to the E.R. the night before. Heart-wrenching as it must have been at the time (the junior Lemme is doing fine), Heffernan assures his podcast partner that he and his future teenaged son will be laughing over the hospital hijinks in years to come.

The two then begin recalling the many and varied reasons for them each having had to visit hospital emergency rooms throughout their lives: A failed leap from a nightspot’s bar. A severed Achilles tendon from kicking through a frat house glass door. A crime-does-not-pay-story involving stolen porn and a nasty spill on a sewer grate.

Clearly, when these guys aren’t making movies, they’re getting into way too much trouble. And then sharing those exploits with us, so that makes it all right.

Also listening to: Plumbing The Death Star: Why Does Superman Find Lois Lane Attractive?; The Carson Podcast: Ed Ames.

This review originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com. Marc Hershon is host and executive producer of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast.
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Podcast Review: Greg Proops Film Club

Most podcast listeners, if they know Greg Proops, know him as the host of The Smartest Man In The World. (Many also likely know him as a long time cast member of TV’s Whose Line Is It Anyway.)

2014-09-19-GPFC.jpgSince the beginning of this year, though, he’s been pulling double duty. The Greg Proops Film Club is a monthly show, a sort of film companion if you will, featuring Proops in front of a live audience that has gathered to watch one of his favorite movies. The latest edition bookends a showing of The Man Who Would Be King, featuring Sean Connery and Michael Caine from 1975.

This is no dry dissertation however but, instead, finds the host reeling off anecdotes about the production (Rumor had it, for instance, that Humprey Bogart was slated to star in the movie a decade or more earlier but passed and the project lay dormant for years), memories about watching it for the first time as a teenager at a drive-in theater, and expounding on precisely why the movie holds so much cinematic goodness for him.

In much the same style as Smartest Man, Proops brings his engaging, rapid-fire intellect to the party, keeping the audience in stitches as he prepares them for a delectable silver screen experience. The show fades off as the movie begins and then fades back in as the film ends, leaving Proops to wrap up with a few more pithy remarks before sending the crowd, as he puts it, “off into this good night.”

This review originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com. Marc Hershon is host and executive producer of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast.
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Podcast Review: Modern Day Philosophers with Danny Lobell w/guest Shecky Greene

2014-09-06-Modern_Day_Philosophers.jpgComedian Danny Lobell moves into his second year of hosting Modern Day Philosophers, wherein he interviews a comedian guest and “pairs” them with a philosopher to then examine and discuss. Podcasting has become a place to get to hear some of the great comedians from the comedy wave two booms back – the 50’s and 60’s – and Lobell presents us with Shecky Greene, a classic funnyman if ever there was one.

The philosopher this time out? Blaise Pascal, the 17th century polymath who was a mathematician, inventor, physicist and writer. He built one of the first mechanical calculators, a fact that Greene and Lobell marvel over. “Kind words do not cost much,” said Pascal, “But they accomplish much.”

And Greene proves to be a very gracious guest. He sings. He speaks in dialects. He regales Lobell with stories of standup gigs of old. They dip into subjects such as Greene’s gambling problem, developed at a young age when his father schooled him in horse race betting and continuing through his time headlining clubs and lounges in Las Vegas. He’s quite forthcoming, revealing elements of his depression, his failed marriage, and his views on some of his contemporaries. (“Don’t ask me about Lenny Bruce. I’ll tell you sometime. Today I don’t feel like talking about Lenny.”)

We’ve lost some of our great comic minds lately – this is a wonderful opportunity to hear about the life and times of a comedy icon who is still quite lucid in his 80s, before it’s too late.

Also listening to: The Trev & Ben Show #63; Psychobabble with Tyler Oakley, #1: The Bestie

This review originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com. Marc Hershon is host and executive producer of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast.
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Podcast Review: Kumail Nanjiani’s The X-Files Files

Deconstructing episodes of TV’s The X-Files, cancelled over a decade ago, just got very meta with Episode 9 of Kumail Nanjiani’s The X-Files Files new series, because he brought in the first series alumnus.

2014-08-02-xfiles.jpgFellow comedian and actor Dean Haglund, most famous for playing long-haired, bespectacled Langley, a member of The X-Files conspiracy theorist trio The Lone Gunmen, sat in with Nanjiani for this episode. The reason being that they discussing/dissecting E.B.E., the first season episode featuring the debut of the Gunmen.

Nanjiani’s fanboy excitement is palpable at times as Haglund spins out tales from behind the scenes of the episode. And there are a few Easter eggs revealed that fans of the show never knew to look for before. Such as the style of Langley’s black hornrimmed glasses varied in the first few episodes because the prop master pulled them at random out of a bag of eyeglasses each time. And that the band The Ramones were such big fans of the show that they would time their appearances on stage during nights the show was on so they would be done in time to catch every episode.

This podcast is so focused on the subject matter of The X-Files that the two guys don’t even mention the fact that Haglund has been co-hosting his own podcast, the Chillpak Hollywood Hour, for over seven years. Maybe Dean should have Kumail on his show sometime to deconstruct HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Other podcasts I’m listening to: Improv Nerd, Strange Times

This review originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com. Marc Hershon is host and executive producer of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast.
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Podcast Review: The New Phil Hendrie Show

2014-07-11-phil_hendrie.jpgWhat’s so new about The New Phil Hendrie Show, especially if it’s already up to Episode 157 as of Monday this past week? The fact is that Hendrie is now a podcaster as opposed to being a broadcaster, which he was since 1973 when he got his first terrestrial radio gig outside Orlando, Florida.

For the past couple of years, he’s been slicing and dicing the archives of his famed broadcast into podcast-sized pieces but, as of March, he’s washed his hands of the flagging radio biz.

Now he does a morning podcast Monday through Friday, joined by the cast of crazy characters that used to interact with live callers on the air. Folks like Margaret Gray, General Shaw, David G. Hall, and Jay Santos now spend most of their time getting in Phil’s way, it seems, as he tries his best to get through news stories of the day.

In this edition, Hendrie sounded off about last week’s firing of Anthony Santos from the Opie & Anthony Show on Sirius XM, offering some suggestions how Opie could survive by going it alone.

Santos, of the Citizen’s Auxiliary Police, called in to comment on a recent TSA ruling about confiscating cell phones and laptops with dead batteries — but an odd speech impediment kept him from delving too deeply into the subject.

And Don Burman from Channel 19 News called in from Disneyland but was being hassled by people in the park for being a 40-year-old man standing alone and wearing Mickey Mouse ears.

While I miss the fun of Phil bamboozling unsuspecting callers with his amazing ability to be many people at once, the formula works well in this new format, too.

This review originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com. Marc Hershon is host and executive producer of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast.
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