I don’t mind chores. Because both my job and my hobby are mentally (and often, emotionally) taxing, I find mindless chores like dishes and vacuuming to be a nice reprieve from being in my head. To make them even more tolerable, I have a secret weapon: Podcasts.
Mindless chores (and long drives) has led me to discover a lot of podcasts. That means, to be thorough, this’ll be a two-parter. How exciting!
So, no one asked, but here’s part one of what I’m listening to and why, broken out by how I define the podcast type:
If you’re looking for a podcast that’ll give you a few laughs, these are the ones I like.
372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back: Hosted by Mike Nelson and Conor Lastowka, both of Rifftrax, this is the most consistently funny podcast I know. The podcast is essentially a bookclub where the books chosen are bad. They started reading the works of Ernest Cline and have since covered everything from terrible, rambling self-published science fiction to major publishing successes like E.L. James and Dan Patterson. Hilarious and often enlightening in how they find plot holes and writers’ ticks, this is the podcast I most look forward to hearing.
How Did This Get Made?: I only recently started listening to this, but have quickly burned through a lot of back catalog. Hosted by Paul Sheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas with a rotating cast of guests, this is similar to 372 Pages in that they purposefully watch movies they expect to hate and then discuss them together. Usually, they’re right. Sometimes, they end up enjoying the films and recommend them. No matter what, though, they’re funny and endearing and Paul tries to work in movie trivia to every episode.
Reply All: This is a weird podcast because I’m never sure exactly what it’s meant to be. The hosts, Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt, describe it as a podcast about the internet–a pretty broad premise. Whatever each episode ends up being, Alex and PJ are endearing and funny, unafraid to let the listener into their thoughts and emotions. The episodes where they perform investigations into weird internet problems are often disarmingly enlightening.
Podcasts have brought me into the world of oral storytelling. Not audiobook, per say, but legit campfire storytelling. You’ll notice all of these recommendations have a certain bent to them.
Lore: One of the largest podcasts out there, having spun out to books and TV, this is the podcast that introduced me to this type of storytelling. Aaron Mahnke is gifted at weaving historical information with the fantastical, all told in a compelling, entertaining way. Its sister podcast, Cabinet of Curiosities (also hosted by Mahnke), is also good for bite-sized (10 minutes, usually) stories.
Spooked: I don’t believe in ghosts or the supernatural, and this podcast makes me glad for that. Each episode is an interview with someone who claims to have had a ghostly experience. Some are frightening, some are fun, some are benign, but all are interesting. Unfortunately, the latest seasons are behind a paywall.
Camp Monsters: Literally about sitting around a campfire with a good friend and listening to a spooky story, Camp Monsters discusses one supernatural creature per episode. My favorite so far has been “The Tale of the Thunderbird,” an interesting legend from the midwest that doubles as an unsettling alone-in-a-cabin story.
The Moonlit Road: Defunct now (the last podcast went up in March, 2018), this podcast is worth listening to as a way to get in a good story when you only have 15 minutes to kill. Focused on Southern tales, I found this podcast to double as a cultural experience with entertaining storytelling.
Bedtime Stories: Like the others on this list, Bedtime Stories tackles myths, legends, ghosts, and other unexplained phenomena from around the world. While being a nice audio experience in and of itself, the creators go the extra mile to illustrate the stories for their YouTube Channel.
What sort of an aspiring writer would I be if I didn’t listen to podcasts about the writing as an artform? Check these out for equal parts inspiration, advice, and technical improvement.
The Bestseller Experiment: What began as an aimless attempt at writing a self-published novel that would hit an Amazon bestseller list became an inspiring podcast focused on learning about writing from the best around. The two Marks are easy-going, bring a fun yet practical perspective, and are well-connected enough to get interviews with a wide range of amazing authors.
Writing Excuses: Perfect for those moments when you only have 15 minutes, but are in the mood to listen to established authors wax philosophical on writing technique and process. There are 14 seasons of this show, with the later seasons going deep into different aspects of a specific topic, so there’s lots of gold in these thar hills.
Scriptnotes: A screenwriting podcast hosted by wildly successful writers (across mediums) John August and Craig Mazin, Scriptnotes is an honest, enlightening look at life inside the film and television industry. Established segments like the “3 Page Challenge” and “How Would This Be A Movie?” are insightful peeks into industry criticism and where ideas come from, respectfully, while the frequent high-profile guests bring challenging perspectives to Craig and John. And it also gave me the phrase, “Chim-chim the chip chimp champ,” for which I’ll be forever grateful.
Reedy’s Bestseller: Reedsy is a self-publishing enterprise, so it’s understandable if you’re skeptical about the intent behind their podcast. But I’ve found it to be a well-produced, enjoyable deep dive into the process behind self-publishing from authors that have succeeded.
These aren’t all the podcasts I like under these various topics, but they’re a good starting point if you’re looking for something new to listen to while doing chores. Next post I’ll talk my favorite political, educational, slice of life, and financial podcasts.