Catch up on ‘Wits,’ ‘Amicus’ and Other Noteworthy Podcasts
This week a good portion of my podcast diet took me back to the ‘90s—but in the best way possible. (Unlike the Full House revival, which I’m already sick of hearing about.)
MTV VJS DIDN’T LIVE AT THE BEACH HOUSE.
If you watched MTV in the ‘90s, you may want to download this ep, in which host Chris Hardwick and guest Dave Holmes reminisce about their years working for the network. Both share interesting tidbits, like Holmes’ story about being disappointed nobody actually lives at the MTV Beach House and Hardwick’s revelation that two episodes of the MTV game show he hosted, Singled Out, were filmed with gay contestants. (Only one aired, but the network buried it soon after. Hardwick says they were the best episodes the series ever did.)
MTV DIDN’T APPRECIATE BALDNESS.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for MTV trivia, and I got a little more in this Wits episode with guests Paul Scheer and Neko Case. Highlights include beautiful performances by Case, a John Mellencamp-inspired sketch, and a fun chat with Scheer, who says during Human Giant’s MTV run, he was told to wear hats or wigs in an attempt to cover his bald head (which wasn’t a secret at all, he noted, since he appeared hatless on other shows).
SOME HIGH-PROFILE LAWYERS QUOTE POETRY.
Slate’s Supreme Court podcast is incredibly well done; if you’ve never heard it, the latest episode is a great place to start. In it, host Dahlia Lithwick speaks with Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, one of the lawyers who argued against same-sex marriage bans before the Supreme Court last month in Obergefell v. Hodges. It’s an informative conversation that reaches a particularly moving peak when Hallward-Driemeier recites lines from Edwin Markham’s poem “Outwitted.”
ACTOR STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY GIVES THOUGHTFUL ADVICE.
Fans of Tobolowsky’s other podcast, The Tobolowsky Files, should check out Big Problems, in which he offers succinct advice to listeners. The latest episode concerns a long-distance relationship, and the actor cites examples from his own life—like the time he was separated from his wife for months while doing a Broadway play—in order to help.
IF WOODY ALLEN DOESN’T LIKE YOUR IMPROV, HE’LL SAY SO.
I really enjoyed Marc Maron’s conversation with Parker Posey, conducted in a New York hotel room (in which her dog pees on the floor). Posey shares her experiences as an actor who still has a hard time finding intelligent, witty roles. She talks about starring in Woody Allen’s upcoming film, Irrational Man, and notes that Allen encouraged her to improvise. At one point when she dared to do so, she says she heard him utter two words after the scene: “That’s terrible!”
SAMANTHA BEE PLAYED A PART IN GEORGE TAKEI’S CAREER REVIVAL.
In this episode, the longtime Daily Show correspondent bids farewell to the staff and shares some of her fondest and strangest memories. (She joined the program in 2003.) One of them involves an early piece Bee produced about, well, porn. Her interview with George Takei went viral, leading to somewhat of a career comeback for the Star Trek star.
THE PARISIAN MCDONALD’S SERVES COFFEE IN CERAMIC CUPS.
This episode is all about coffee, from how to improve a terrible cup to the different ways people give in to their caffeine habits. Food writer and coffee expert Oliver Strand participates in a taste test of McDonald’s coffee—which he admits isn’t terrible, though he notes the chain really excels with java in France. “They’ve made a real push to make the McCafés (in Paris) pleasant experiences,” he says. (Along with the fancy cups, they have baristas and macarons!)
HENRY ROLLINS’ TIP FOR EASING ANXIETY: BE PREPARED.
As someone who has spent many hours listening to Henry Rollins—yep, he also has his own podcast—I didn’t learn too much from this chat. However, I did appreciate the confident musician’s advice for those struggling with anxiety: “A lot of nervousness comes from lack of preparation, because you haven’t done your due diligence,” he says. “You must say ‘no’ to your friends, ‘no’ to that thing you wanted to do, and just turn everything off and get to work. Once you’ve done that—when you’re ready ready—people better look out. ‘Cause you’re coming.”