Podcast Recommendations From Two Very Different Ladies

We're housemates and best friends, but we like very different podcasts. This is what we think about that.

Maddi: I love both sound and storytelling. About three years ago, I would only listen to podcasts when I was trying to fall asleep because I found them mind-numbingly boring, but this year I’ve taken two courses in audio documentary production and fallen head-first. Good podcasts are perfect for travel, they make a long car ride go faster and a walk more entertaining. I would describe my taste in podcasts as “theatrical mom.”

Gwen: Listening to podcasts is super trendy right now. Thanks to Maddi and my dad for getting me into them. Here are my faves.

Maddi's Podcasts

Heavyweight with Jonathan Goldstein

            Jonathan Goldstein calls himself “a therapist with a time machine,” but Heavyweight is a little hard to describe. Basically, Goldstein messes around with people’s funny and unsolved personal issues from years or even decades in the past. He sets up his dad and uncle, who haven’t spoken in years to hesitantly have a reunion. In another episode, Goldstein tracks down a girl he remembers seeing cry in a documentary film and asks her about how her life turned out. Previously, Goldstein worked as a producer with This American Life and his writing is poignant, sharp, and absolutely hysterical.

Invisibilia from NPR

            This is a show about “the invisible forces that shape our lives,” like attraction, mental categorization, and powerful emotions. It’s produced by three women, Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin, and Alix Speigel, and use these invisible concepts to explore crazy ideas -- what if “personality” is actually not stable or categorizable? What happens if a man tries to rob your family at gunpoint but you offer him a seat at your dinner table? Invisibilia is the kind of show where you want to finish to an episode in one sitting.

The Hilarious World of Depression with John Moe

            In this podcast, host John Moe interviews comedians who have struggled with depression and other mental health issues. While depression can be a numbing, horrible shroud, Moe hopes to explore the ways in which certain experiences with depression can actually be comical. One of the best things about this podcast is it reminds you even really successful, amazing people deal with mental difficulties, and it can make you feel much less alone. The show provides hope and support while letting you in on the experiences of some very entertaining people.

Gwen's Podcasts

My Favorite Murder

            Everyone and their sister listens to My Favorite Murder right now. Hosted by comedians Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, MFM is, somehow, a relatively lighthearted true crime podcast. Georgia and Karen are two of the funniest women, like, ever, and I can’t recommend their podcast enough. Obviously, the subject matter is heavy, but the way they present it makes it makes the horror actually manageable to listen to. Honestly, I think I listen more for Karen and Georgia than the content anyway. The podcast tends to cover some lesser known true crime--you’re not going to hear all about Charles Manson, for example, on this one, which I appreciate. That means that MFM isn’t ideal for a true crime newbie, although I was one when I started it. No matter what your level of interest is, I recommend MFM for Karen and Georgia alone; they’re smart, funny, socially conscious, and I wish they were my best friends.

The LadyGang

            The LadyGang couldn’t be more opposite to MFM if it tried. This is a pop culture/celebrity driven podcast hosted by three kinda-sorta-famous women: Glee actress Becca Tobin, entertainment journalist Keltie Knight, and lady boss Jac Vanek (remember those chunky black rubber bracelets with white letters on them that all the cool kids who went to Warped Tour wore in 2008? That’s how she started her company). Each Tuesday, the three women invite a celebrity guest in to talk about life in Hollywood and other random, fun topics like sex, love, and life in general. Jac, Keltie, and Becca are your hysterically honest friends who’ve had one too many mimosas at brunch, so I would recommend having a bit of a thick skin if you listen to this one (Hollywood is a bit… harsh). Despite this, The LadyGang usually has me laughing out loud, and I definitely feel like Jac, Keltie, and Becca are the friends who actually care about pop culture that I don’t have but wish I did. (Also: The LadyGang has one of the funnest facebook groups I’ve ever been in.)


            Here is a true crime podcast meant for people who really want to learn about the cases and also scare themselves half to death. Casefile is really well done and totally professional; the host covers all the important details of the case and explains everything in a very easy to understand way. He also has the most beautiful Australian accent I have ever heard. Do I listen just for the accent? Not no. Truly, this podcast is one of the most well organized and professionally narrated I’ve listened to. Nothing but good things to say about this anonymous Australian.

Honorable Mentions

Gwen: Full Frontal Radio Show

            Full Frontal is one of my favorite podcasts of all time, but it gets the Honorable Mention slot because the hosts haven’t made a new episode since November of 2015. Jack Barakat and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low hosted this silly, lighthearted, music fueled podcast from the back of their tour bus for two and a half years before tabling the idea. Full Frontal is definitely stupid, and Jack and Alex’s humor is absolutely that of a 14 year old boy (despite their being around 26 at recording) but I love every minute of it. Prepare yourself for a ton of stupid sex jokes, funny games with listeners (like Master Debaters and Are You Smarter Than Jack?), wildly unfulfilling answers to fan emails, a ton of great music, and occasional celebrity guests. 10/10.

Maddi: She Explores 

This is a recommendation from our friend Kate. It’s all about the outdoors produced entirely by women. It covers all sorts of adventures from backpacking solo to mental health and the outdoors. Both light and serious, it’s a wonderful take on the outdoors.

All of these podcasts are available to listen to on iTunes and probably also on PodcastOne.


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