Singapore has extremely efficient public transportation and I wind up taking the subway or bus to most places. Right now as I’m interviewing (yay, funemployment), I end up traveling to different parts of Singapore on a weekly basis, and sometimes travel quite far to get there. To keep myself entertained, I’ve been listening to a lot more podcasts.
Here are my favorites:
Radiolab podcasts conducts a deep dive on one topic every episode. The topics are often rooted in science but the show blurs the line between science and philosophy. The show focuses on obscure topics but each episode is compiled with such great storytelling technique that you become enthralled in a topic you didn’t even know existed.
Favorite episode: the Fu-Go episode was my introduction to Radiolab and I was immediately hooked. The episode goes back to WWII and details a mysterious series of attacks in the US.
2 Dope Queens
We’re changing lanes very quickly from science to a comedy duo. Jessica Williams (The Daily Show) and Phoebe Robinson (Blaria and Broad City) are hilarious hosts and share a lot of personal details. Each episode the two banter a bit before inviting a diverse panel of comics for their individual stand up session. It’s cool to hear from new comics every week but the best part of the show is the friendship between the two hosts.
Favorite episode: That Time I Had Sex with The Rock. This was an episode where I couldn’t hold in my laughter and definitely wound up looking insane on the subway.
S-Town was created by the producers of Serial and This American Life. S-Town starts off with a man from Woodstock, AL who believes there was a murder in his small Southern town. As the reporter starts to investigate, he happens across a mysterious death and a search for buried treasure. This was an interesting podcast because it’s not a weekly serialized podcast but all seven episodes were dropped at once so you could binge-listen the entire series.
Favorite episode: definitely start from Chapter 1!
The Modern Love podcast is an adaptation of the popular New York Times column. Actors will read an essay and is then followed by a brief conversation with the actor and the author. Modern Love explores all kinds of love and runs the spectrum from romantic, familial, joy, and grief. You could be giggling one week and tearing up the next but each story is heartfelt and relatable.
Favorite episode: “One Last Swirl” is read by Jason Alexander (aka George Constanza) and is about how a man cares for his daughter’s pet goldfish.
Every week, you’ll hear about various legends and myths. Some of my favorite episodes are where you hear the different variations on childhood fairytales like Chinese Cinderella. The host has clearly done his research and is able to summarize epic Greek myths in a fun and creative manner.
Favorite episode: this Thor story is pretty entertaining and will give you a sense of Jason’s storytelling style. He’ll tell you specifically when he feels like these supposed Gods are acting silly.
Terry Gross is hands down the best interviewer. She’s obviously well prepared for the conversation but is able to shift and change gears as the conversation ebbs and flows. This show has a diverse roster of interviewees, ranging from authors, to politicians, to celebrities. I learn something new with each episode.
Favorite episode: the interview with Pete Doctor, director of the movie Inside Out. It was interesting to hear about his personal experience dealing with emotional 11 year olds and the intense research with scientists and psychologists.
Reply All is a podcast that investigates things that happen on the internet and humanizes technology. Sometimes, they research sometime at length, such as a blog where an imprisoned man’s letters are posted, and other times they conduct a “Yes, Yes, No,” where the three key hosts explain a recent trending internet phenomenon.
Favorite episode: The Russian Passenger is a two-part episode about one of the host’s Uber account. He woke up to find someone had used his account in Russia and the team investigates how and why this happened.
This is a fun one. I’ve listened to this for a few years and now every Friday, when I hear the gang, I feel like I’m listening to my friends debate about pop culture phenomenons. Each episode is a panel of four NPR correspondents and they discuss two pop culture things (movie, tv show, book, podcast, etc.) and share their opinion. The third part of the podcast is where each person on the panel shares something that is making them happy this week. This show has exposed me to a ton of new reading material, movies, music, and tv shows.
Favorite episode: there are too many to choose from! I enjoyed the recent episode about Riverdale and teen soaps. It’s a goofy topic but they were very serious about the reviews and also had some interesting insights.
Love + Radio is a little hard to describe. Each episode is a new story and they focus on the human connection. I’ve read reviews that the show is about “intriguing characters who aren’t quite who you think they are when you first meet them.” I usually cringe at least once during these episodes but it also can be a very emotional and educational episode.
Favorite episode: The Living Room is an episode about a woman’s one-sided relationship story with with her new neighbors. They never shut the curtains so she’s privy to all their activities and it’s an emotional story the neighbors’ love story from an outsider’s perspective.
Do you listen to these podcasts? What are your favorites? What do you do to keep yourself entertained on long commutes?