In Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at email@example.com.
Storytime With Seth Rogen
Seth Rogen is looking to add “podcaster” to his list of accomplishments, which already include actor, writer, producer, entrepreneur, and ceramicist. Rogen’s instantly recognizable vocal qualities make him a natural storyteller, and in Storytime With Seth Rogen, he uses these skills to showcase other people’s stories as well. In the premier episode, Rogen is joined by Quinta Brunson, a comedian and author with an undeniably interesting biography: she comes from a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses in West Philadelphia, and her blossoming career has involved A Black Lady Sketch Show, Seth Rogen’s film An American Pickle, and more. Brunson is a great guest, not least of all because she’s full of stories; listeners are treated to a description of her clandestine classes at Second City Chicago and a fateful encounter with Paul Rudd, among other events. High-quality sound design and Rogen’s own skill for interviewing (plus his infectious laugh) make for a special listen, and it’s likely that this series will only get better. [Jose Nateras]
The Line-Up With Shaun Keaveny
Jodie Whittaker, Mud, Mates & Wine Flights
What if you had the power to get the Vengaboys, Cannibal Corpse, Beyoncé, Bowling For Soup, and Enya to play a day-long music festival? As frightening as that thought may be, this is the awesome responsibility thrust upon guests of The Line-Up, in which host Shaun Keaveny makes people’s wildest musical fantasies come true. In this episode, 13th Doctor and festival fanatic Jodie Whittaker chooses the five acts that would comprise her perfect day of sunshine, Springsteen, and hanging with her mates. Keaveny, a veteran radio DJ, has a familiar rapport with Whittaker that allows them to slip easily from line-up building to nostalgic tales of the mud-choked Glastonbury ’98, where the 16-year-old future Timelord first fell in love with the festival experience. This tour of her life in music provides the foundation for her picks, especially her unapologetic devotion to Coldplay and their drummer, Will Champion. But a festival isn’t just about the bands. Keaveny also tasks his guests to provide food and drink for the thousands of revelers, and Whittaker obliges with unlimited wine and chili dogs flown in from Tucson, Arizona. The Line-Up is blue-sky thinking for a world ready to get back out and party. [Anthony D Herrera]
For more than five years, culture writers Lindsey Weber and Bobby Finger’s popular almost-celebrity almost-news recap series has achieved a remarkable feat: translating the entertainment value of tabloid nonsense for the tabloid-averse. Whether they’re discussing Christy Carlson Romano’s aggressively normcore YouTube front-facing videos or The Bachelor contestants’ social media misfires, Finger and Weber mine compelling narratives from the dispatches of folks who sit on the fringes of pop culture. A podcast that explicitly breaks down the world into Who?s and Thems may sound catty as hell, but part of the hosting duo’s special alchemy is their ability to gawk at public-ish figures without getting malicious; rather, there’s always respect for the hustle, empathy for the condemned, and schadenfreude only for the truly awful. This week, Weber and Finger discuss Nina Agdal’s giant COVID couch ad; why people forget that Joel Edgerton is Australian; and the Who? behavior of Katie Couric, whose new memoir is the stuff of Bravo TV dreams. [Dan Jakes]