podcast

Favorite Podcasts of 2018

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I listen to a lot of podcasts. In the last year and a half I’ve listened to approximately 500 hours of podcasts (the app I use keeps track).

I’m not going to give the whole list of all the ones I listen to. There are a lot I don’t keep up with week to week. I might check in whenever there’s a guest I want to hear. The other shows I listen to because I just always have. It’s comfort food.

Here are the podcasts that I’m currently obsessed with. These are the ones I go nuts for every time there’s a new episode.

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

This show is fairly new but I’m already a huge fan. Conan interviews celebrities, asking why they’re not friends in real life. He is effortlessly funny in conversation, and it’s even better when the guest makes Conan laugh. It’s really great.

Doughboys

This show is not for everyone. It’s on the list but don’t think this is me recommending it to you. I don’t want you to listen and then get mad at me because you don’t find it funny. It’s dumb. It’s pointless. They can be really vulgar. I’m sorry. I don’t know why I love this show so much. According to Stitcher (the app I use to listen to podcasts) in the last 90 days I’ve listened to 56 hours of this show. Good lord.

Every episode the two hosts bring a guest along to review a chain restaurant. You want to listen to 2 hours of comedians talking about Papa John’s? Well, apparently I do. I want to listen to it all the time.

I don’t get it either.

Reply All

I recommend this show! I recommend it the most! LISTEN TO THIS ONE!

It’s a show about the internet. That’s how they describe it. It’s a narrative journalism series (like This American Life or Serial) where the hosts dive into the most bizarre and fascinating stories in different corners of the internet.

You ever get one of those scam phone calls where they tell your computer has a virus and they need to fix it? Want to know more about the company that makes those calls? Want to hear the host continuously call that company until he builds a surprising relationship with one of the men working for the scam? Well, good because that’s the best episode the show has done. It’s called Long Distance and you should listen right now.

Heavyweight

The same podcast company that produces Reply All also does this one.

The host, Jonathan Goldstein, helps people fix mistakes and regrets from their path. That one moment that changed everything in their life, Jonathan wants to help make it right. It’s funny. It’s touching. It’s always surprising.

Start with the episode “Rob.”

I’m starting to work on my own podcast and it’s really starting to scare me. I love podcasts so much. I know what it sounds like when they’re really great. I know the potential that’s there. How could I ever create something as good as the shows that I love? It can be daunting. Ira Glass’ advice is to just keep trying. Keep working. That’s the only way to close the gap between what you love and what you’re making.

So I guess I should just do that.

Learning how to podcast

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I’ve been slowly working on a podcast idea I’ve had for almost a year. This came in the mail today. Because I ordered it. Obviously. It wasn’t some random coincidence where a FedEx truck blew up in front of my house and a bunch of audio equipment Baja blasted through my window.

I’m interviewing a pastor on Thursday for this project. Nervous. Hope I don’t screw this up. It’s kind of “you’ve got one shot...one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted...” those are Eminem lyrics. I’m living Eminem lyrics.

Out on a Wire is a great book I read in January about how podcasts like This American Life and Radio Lab put their stories together. It was full of so much great advice I need to put to use now.

The Turnaround is a podcast all about interviewing , hosted Jesse Thorne. I should probably listen back to that too. There’s a lot to learn.

But the only way to get better is to make more. So that’s what I’m going to do. 

What You Like vs What You Make

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I’ve wanted to have a podcast for a really long time. And I've tried to make one. Several times. Believe me. There a lot of failed pilot episodes sitting on my hard drive. I’d have an idea, give it shot, realize it wasn’t what I wanted it to be, not know how to fix it, and THEN MOVE ON.

I listen to podcasts more than I listen to music. I love em. Can’t get enough. I know what a truly great podcast can be and so it’s hard for me when what I’m making isn’t as good as the stuff I love.

Right now I’m working on a podcast idea I’ve had for almost a year. I recorded an interview for the first episode back in January but I’ve been too scared to listen back. TODAY IS THE DAY!

I’m going back to this video of Ira Glass giving the best advice and hopefully it’ll encourage me to keep going. Because it IS super frustrating when there's such a huge difference between the quality of the stuff you like and the stuff you make.

 

"It’s take a while. It’s going to take you a while. It’s normal to take a while and you just have to fight your way through that."

 

What is a real apology?

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Up until a few years ago most people thought Domino’s pizza was garbage. The company was losing business, closing stores, and failing fast.

Then they did something risky. They admitted how much they sucked. They ran an ad campaign that basically said “Hey, we know everyone hates our pizza! We know you think the crust tastes like cardboard! We hear you and we’re fixing it. We’ve entirely changed how we make our pizza because we don’t want to suck anymore.”

It worked. Two days after the commercial started airing their sales were already growing. By week three they were running out of pepperoni. IT WAS A HUGE HIT.

Why did this work so well?

Domino’s CEO, J. Patrick Doyle, put it this way:

 
If somebody is going to convince you they’re going to change it has to start with them absolutely owning the problem in the first place.
 

Shout out to the CHANGE AGENT podcast for telling this story about Domino's.

True repentance starts with owning the thing you’re needing to change.

Over the last several months we’ve seen a LOT of men in Hollywood giving some pretty bogus “apologies” for sexual misconduct. They deny, they downplay, they blame the culture, they point fingers. It always feels like their main goal in responding to accusations is to save their own neck.

Except for Dan Harmon, creator of Community and Rick & Morty. Everyone needs to learn from Domino’s and Dan Harmon (this is a weird sentence I never thought I’d write).

In January Harmon was accused of sexually harassing one of his employees while working on Community. He addressed it on his own podcast that week and spent 7 minutes OWNING THE PROBLEM.

Here’s an excerpt:

 
And I lied to myself the entire time about it. And I lost my job. I ruined my show. I betrayed the audience. I destroyed everything and I damaged her internal compass. And I moved on. I’ve never done it before and I will never do it again, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it if I had any respect for women. On a fundamental level, I was thinking about them as different creatures. I was thinking about the ones that I liked as having some special role in my life and I did it all by not thinking about it. So, I just want to say, in addition to obviously being sorry, but that’s really not the important thing, I want to say I did it by not thinking about it and I got away with it by not thinking about it. And if she hadn’t mentioned something on Twitter, I would have continued to not have to not think about it, although I did walk around with my stomach in knots about it, but I wouldn’t have had to talk about it.
 

Read the whole thing here

It was a real apology. It wasn’t a PR move. And it was effective. After listening to the episode, the writer who accused him tweeted:

His apology brought healing and change because of Dan Harmon chose to be vulnerable.

Andy Savage is a pastor in Tennessee who addressed his own past sexual misconduct during a Sunday morning service. The New York Times did a HEARTBREAKING video with the woman Savage took advantage of back when she was just a teenager and he was her pastor. They get her reaction to his apology and it makes you realize how weak it really is. 

WATCH THE VIDEO (I’ll warn you that there’s one line in the video that is pretty graphic)

At first I just wanted to write about the church in general. I wanted to write "we need to be better at this" over and over and over. I wanted to question if we were setting a culture where people respond in church with quick PR statements to make themselves feel better or if true repentance was the norm. I wanted to write stuff like "if we understand the gospel and how crazy grace really is" and so on and so on.

But then I realized I wanted to focus on that because I didn’t want to have to examine myself. I’ve hurt people with my words and the stuff I’ve done. I’ve been selfish and stupid. I’ve sinned. BIG sins. How do I talk about them with myself, my closest friends, with God, or with the people I’ve hurt?

Have I made real apologies? Am I owning the problem so I can make a real change? Am I willing to be messy and seek forgiveness?

Do I need to be better at this? Do I need to be better at this?

Is a pizza company better at seeking forgiveness than a Christian?

How Do We Call Out What's Bad?

John Darnielle, frontman and songwriter of The Mountain Goats, said one of my new favorite quotes on the latest episode of the podcast I ONLY LISTEN TO THE MOUNTAIN GOATS.

He was talking about how his favorite protest songs are upbeat and fun. They’re about serious issues but they’re also songs you can dance to. And then he said this:

 

“It’s great to call out what’s bad but if we can do it in a way that everyone still has a good time along the way, we’re more likely to get more people involved.”

 

This is my entire motivation behind how and why I do stand-up. I want to talk about confession. I want to call out the types of issues we get nervous talking about but I think there’s a way of getting there that can involve a lot of silliness and laughs.

Yes, the actually message is serious but laughter can make it easier to swallow. I can’t believe I’m about to reference this but, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

Find out more about how I partner with churches for the most effective way to use comedy as an outreach.

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INTERVIEW: Comedy, Confession, and School Assemblies

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I’m on a podcast.

I travel with North Texas Youth Alive as one of their speaker for school assemblies. A while ago I wrote about one of the most difficult assemblies I've had to do.

This week I was interviewed by Kyle Embry, the director for the ministry, on their Youth Alive podcast. It’s designed to be another resource for the churches they’re serving.

I talk about how I write my segments for the assemblies, confession, and how to be there for students who are opening up about what they’re going through.

I haven’t listened back to this thing yet. I might sound like a total idiot. Who knows!

What Questlove Taught Me: "Is This Allowed?"

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There’s an episode of the A Piece of Work podcast all about emojis and whether they should be considered art or not. In one segment the host is interviewing Questlove, drummer for  The Roots and guy in the picture above this paragraph). He brings up this idea I absolutely love. He’s talking about music and says:

"…any album that’s ever come out and I had to ask “is this allowed?” Then it’s pretty much high art."

Now, I don’t know anything about art and I’d feel like a complete idiot if I started calling anything at all HIGH ART but I love the concept.

Think of ANYTHING groundbreaking, unique, revolutionary, or influential in our culture. There was a moment with all of them when people first encountered it and had to ask "are they allowed to do this?"

We get to so used to how things are already being done. How everything should look, sound, and feel.

Subconsciously trends turn into rules and we feel like we’re not allowed to break them.

I want to be more aware of this. When I’m brainstorming, when I’m working on something new, if I ever have an idea that makes me nervous and causes me to ask “is that allowed” I know I’m heading in the right direction.

A PIECE OF WORK: an honest podcast about art

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Last week while desperately hunting for a new podcast I found this 10 episode mini series called A PIECE OF WORK. The podcast’s website describes it as “everything you want to know about modern art but were afraid to ask.”

It’s hosted by Abbi Jacobson, co-creator of Comedy Central’s Broad City, and each episode she learns about a different style of modern art. Have you ever been to a museum and seen paintings that are just random paint splatters or a simple triangle painted on a wall and thought “Why?! What is this supposed to be?!” This podcast answers that question in the most entertaining way.

The thing I love about the show is how honest it is. The host often brings her friends (including Hannibal Burress, Tavi Gevinson, Questlove, RuPaul) to the museum of modern art and introduces art pieces to get their opinion. I love this part because the guests don’t feel like they have to lie, pretend, or sound smart. They’re just honest. If they think it's dumb, they’ll say. If they like it but they’re not sure why, they’ll say it. No consideration given to how "uneducated" they may sound.

Museums can feel like such daunting places because you might feel like you’re not allowed to be yourself. You feel this pressure to go from art piece to art piece, stare in silence, make a face like you’re REALLY getting something deep from it, then nod your head and move on. Like an intellectual or a fancy boy.

Whenever a museum curator is interviewed for A PIECE OF WORK they never shy away from the fact that they were well aware of what most people think of modern art. They know we often think it's total crap. They're not afraid to quote the biggest criticism all modern art receives: “What is this junk?! I could have made that.” But what's cool is they're willing to start there because they're confident in their ability to get us to a place where we understand and appreciate the art.

I think the honesty makes this podcast so accessible. The show doesn’t shame you for not “getting it.” It’s ok with you admitting you don’t like modern art. I think that approach made me lean in. That made me want to be more open to learn, and be a part of this conversation.

Honesty has that effect.

Listen to all 10 episodes: https://t.co/aguRGFGjS7