We’ve talked before about podcasts we like. But now and again, you come across an episode that is next level — so good that you laugh out loud or nod passionately while walking down the street. Here are seven of those episodes, if you’re in the mood for something special…
The Moth: The Curse (14 minutes)
Detroiter Dame Wilburn, pictured above, tells a hilarious true story involving a fortune teller and a quest to find love. As soon you start listening, you know there’s going to be a massive twist but you also feel the satisfying tension of knowing you’ll never be able to guess it in 1,000 years. You’ll want to be her best friend after listening. (We immediately Googled her other Moth episode and otherwise crush-stalked her online.)
This American Life: Tell Me I’m Fat (67 minutes)
Lindy West, the feminist writer and author of the memoir Shrill shares how she went from being embarrassed by her body to embracing it: “At some point, I just was like, you know, it’s fairly likely that I’m going to be fat forever. So why am I putting off figuring out how to live with that?” American Life staffer Elna Baker also talks about losing 100 pounds in 5 1/2 months, and how the way people treated her after that shocked her.
Invisibilia: Flip the Script (60 minutes)
This gripping episode features three instances when people were faced with hostility — but instead of being hostile back, they decided to be overtly kind. The results were mindblowing. In the first story, an armed robber walks into a dinner party. The second segment talks about police officers in Denmark who invited Islamic radicals over for coffee. And the third is about a guy just looking for a date. Not only is the episode compelling, it reminds you that there are two sides to every story and that people are inherently good.
Mortified: 50 Shades of Awkward (18 minutes)
The Mortified podcast invites people to read the embarrassing things they wrote as kids — diary entries, poems, love notes, you name it. Here, a sixth grade girl — inspired by Judy Blume – tries her best to write a erotic novel. Needless to say, she gets everything wrong. I was laughing so hard, tears were actually streaming down my face.
Love & Radio: Living Room (25 minutes)
When this first aired, we got a million emails from friends with subject lines like “devastating,” “OMG” and “must hear.” The narrator develops a one-sided voyeuristic relationship with her neighbors, who she can see through the windows of their uncovered Manhattan apartment. To say anything else would spoil the power of listening to this gut-wrenching story — if you haven’t already, go listen.
Modern Love: Just One Last Swirl Around the Bowl. (23 minutes)
Actor Jason Alexander (of Seinfeld fame) brings Dan Barry’s 2009 Modern Love essay to life. The story follows a man’s reaction to his daughter’s dying goldfish (“Why have I become emotionally attached to a pocket-size creature that lives in a cocoon of water?”). Yet the piece quickly strikes a deeper level, exploring the complicated relationship many of us have with mortality. The episode concludes with a candid interview between the author and his 12-year-old daughter, Grace.
WTF With Marc Maron: Terry Gross. (96 minutes) Comedian Marc Maron, known as the “father of podcasting,” interviews Terry Gross, the beloved “Fresh Air” host he calls the “most effective and beautiful interviewer of people on the planet” — and the result is otherworldly. Here are two immensely talented personalities baring their souls to each other about their lives, loves and careers. It feels like a privilege to be eavesdropping. There are tears, even: “You are home to most people,” Maron tells Gross. “Your voice is more comforting than probably any voice in their lives. I don’t know why I’m tearing up! Jesus Christ.”
What other podcast episodes would you recommend? Please share below…
P.S. More podcasts we love.