May I Elaborate?
There is no reason that a podcast in which someone pontificates on daily quotes from one of those cheugy inspirational calendars should be so effervescent. But, if the someone is JB Smoove, you can trust it’s a whole ass moment. May I Elaborate, from Team Coco, is hosted by JB Smoove and his friend Miles. Smoove, an actor and comedian you might remember from early Def Comedy Jam or Curb Your Enthusiasm, has a website banner that flashes the words “Create a Ruckus,” and this daily podcast delivers. The concept seems simple: Rip a quote from the calendar and extrapolate its meaning. But Smoove takes the straightforward episode structure and turns it into high concept art. This episode explores a poetic quote from the Talmud, opening up discourses on Neil deGrasse Tyson, why Superman can’t save Lois Lane by flying backwards, and how life isn’t a stationary shadow. Hell yeah. If you are a person who wonders if the sun and moon work at the same factory, believes in dinosaurs, or flies coach and pockets the snacks, May I Elaborate sees you, and offers a lot of inspiration couched in a gonzo sensibility. [Morgan McNaught]
Scarlett Moffatt Wants To Believe
What Really Happened To The Mary Celeste?
In 1872, the crew of the merchant vessel Mary Celeste vanished mid-voyage, leaving behind an empty ship and the seemingly unsolvable mystery of their fate. Now, nearly 150 years later, a podcast has come along that has definitively failed to shed even the slightest bit of light on this mystery. On each episode of Scarlett Moffatt Wants To Believe, bubbly British TV personality Scarlett Moffatt tries to convince her skeptic boyfriend, Scott, that the world of the supernatural is real. So far, Scarlett has failed to prove to Scott the existence of ghosts and vampires, but will she finally open his eyes to the possibility that extraterrestrials abducted the crew of that doomed brigantine? Absolutely not. Scott thinks that an attack by a kraken is more likely, though Scarlett, despite the existence of giant squids being a scientific fact, refuses to believe such animals exist. On top of never solving mysteries, this modern-day foul-mouthed Mulder and Scully read listener stories about ghostly encounters that sometimes involve tangents about eating garlic dipping sauce off hotel carpets. This podcast, to use their local vernacular, is a load of old bollocks, but it’s an extremely fun load of old bollocks. [Anthony D Herrera]
Adam & Steve
Now in its third season, Surface Level sees co-hosts/Howard University alumni/queer pals of color Damon Epps, Tony Jermin, and Jordan Randall engaging in illuminating conversations with guests and each other. For this episode, they talk about homophobia in the church—specifically the Black church. It’s an issue that, as they discuss at the top of the show, has made them stray away from anything religious, despite the church figuring prominently in their upbringings. (Damon was even a church choir director.) In the second half, they bring Michael A. Walrond Jr., senior pastor of the First Corinthian Baptist Church, into the conversation. Walrond doesn’t waste any time dropping progressive truth bombs about how hypocritical and narrow-minded the religious community regularly is when it comes to the LGBTQ community, especially whenever the former uses the Bible to condemn the latter. “There’s a big difference between the intention of the writer and the interpretation of the reader,” he says. “Unfortunately, for many of our churches, the interpretation of the reader reigns supreme over the intention of the writer.” As they say in church, preach! [Craig D. Lindsey]
The Sarah Silverman Podcast
Caitlyn Jenner, Poker, School Ties
Sarah Silverman made a name for herself as a comedian by not shying away from vulgarity (or anything else). Over the years, she’s also become a facilitator of difficult conversations, tackling an array of loaded topics with nuance and candor—as exemplified by The Sarah Silverman Podcast. She’s great at adding context to a given issue by framing it with personal anecdotes: she glides from a story about seeking out a Nintendo 64 to advocating for trans rights to encouraging folks to get vaccinated, all with the blunt practicality you might expect from the friend who’s always ready to give you advice, but only if and when you ask for it. The Sarah Silverman Podcast is a reminder that so many things in life are multifaceted—things can be funny and sad, trans people can bring national attention to an issue and propagate dangerous rhetoric regarding trans youth—but only by engaging complicated issues with candor can people continue to evolve. [Jose Nateras]