I don’t know about you, but I love a good podcast. So, yesterday I was thinking about one of my podcasts, and I thought, “huh, why not make a list of my top five?” And then, when I decided to make the little collage that is the featured photo above, I realized that five wouldn’t give me two even rows, so I figured that a list of my top six was just as good.
Welcome To Night Vale
Decidedly, Delightfully, Weird
You might have heard of Welcome to Night Vale. They have a few books out, I think it’s relatively mainstream by now. Welcome to Night Vale is a fictional podcast about a very odd desert town, told through the radio show hosted by Night Vale citizen, Cecil Palmer (voiced by Cecil Baldwin). It was (I believe) the first in the family of Night Vale Presents podcasts, you can check them out at the link at the bottom of the article. Night Vale is good at using the strangest, often unsettling situations, to address real life situations. Whether it’s the mayor giving us a female political leader, Carlos (voiced by Dylan Marron) and Cecil’s adorable relationship which is absolutely never questioned, or pretty much everything about Tamika Flynn (voiced by Symphony Sanders), the show blends humor, absurdism, philosophy, and social commentary incredibly well.
Also, their twitter is a surreal gem in a sea of political nonsense go follow it. Right now. I’ll wait.
Conversations With People Who Hate Me
Actual Productive Conversations for Once
This is more of a serious one, so be in the right state of mind if you decide to listen. Hosted again by Night Vale Presents (all but two of the podcasts I’m gonna talk about are theirs, so get used to hearing this), Conversations With People Who Hate Me features Dylan Marron, voice actor for Carlos from WTNV, as he has reasonable conversations with people who have left him hateful comments online. I don’t really know if I’m selling it that well, but it really is an insight into the way different people think. Most of the time, when people actually meet (via skype) the person on the other side of the comment, and see that he is just as human as they are, it changes a lot. These conversations are not aggressive debates to change each other’s minds, but explorations into how and why two people with vastly different opinions think. Given the nature of most online discourse, I was surprised at how good natured CWPWHM is. It’s a valuable listen, definitely recommend. Especially with the way the world is right now, it’s important to be able to talk to each other without making everything an unproductive fight.
Welcome to the Dark Side, we have Twitter
Ooooookay, here we go. I’m going to be honest with you. I have a lot of strong emotions about Twitter. Most of them are negative and directly related to politics. I’m on there a lot due to the nature of my job, and I don’t mind. Like any other platform, it’s what you make it. So, off I go, phone in hand, armed only with my razor-sharp wit and ability to unfollow anyone I want. Anyway, this podcast is pretty relatable for me. If you are familiar with John and Hank Green, this is Hank and his wife Katherine’s podcast. It’s pretty much just them revisiting the past week’s news while reviewing and critiquing Hank’s recent Twitter posts. Many of which he regrets. Most of which Katherine regrets for him, as she basically just stays off of Twitter altogether. There are other highlights such as the reviewing of Hanks cringey draft tweets, and the “Hank Tweets at Trump” section, complete with a theme song and lots of regret. If you are a fan of Hank and Katherine, are frustrated by Twitter and the state of the world, or want something to laugh at (or all three, like me) you will probably enjoy Delete This.
Dear Hank And John
My Main Source for Quality Mars News
Poetry, Q&A, News About Sports, News About Science, Going off Topic and Losing Track of the Original Questions. This one has it all! You may know the Green brothers from YouTube (Vlogbrothers, CrashCourse, Hank Games, Etc.), but they have branched out into the podcast world and I love it. Dear Hank and John, is, as they say, “A comedy podcast about death where we answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week’s news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.” They have answered earth shattering questions like what to do about your secret pet snake that none of your family knows about when you go to college, how to befriend a crow (according to John just don’t oh please don’t this question is terrifying), or whether it’s cannibalism for mermaids to eat fish. Plus, more serious things like grief, loss, and John’s list of the most likely apocalypse scenarios. I love the little running inside jokes, some of which they’ve completely forgotten the origin of. If you listen to the podcast you’ll understand me when I say my name is Ryan, I live at the end of the spoon in the road, I’m signing this letter “Pumpkins and Penguins”, and this review is sponsored by The Concept of Inside Jokes. The Concept of Inside Jokes, here to make sure that you and your friends can laugh at things that no one else will find funny. If you know, you know. If you’re looking for a podcast that can go from hysterically funny to hardcore darkness within seconds, this is the one for you.
Alice Isn’t Dead
The Word “Thistle” Will Never Be the Same
Hosted by, that’s right folks, Night Vale Presents, this is another fictional podcast. Thankfully, because Alice Isn’t Dead is a bit of a horror story. Alice Isn’t Dead is told through the audio recordings of Keisha, voiced by Jasika Nicole. She’s a truck driver, on the hunt for her missing wife Alice, who, you guessed it, isn’t dead. During this time, she stumbles upon some sadistic not quite people with a taste for human flesh. Okay so yeah maybe more than a bit of horror, but it probably depends on what time of day you choose to listen to it…. I don’t want to tell you too much about this one, because spoilers would really make the experience less fulfilling, but if you like a good creepy story with a side of mysterious organization and conspiracy theory, you’ll probably like Alice Isn’t Dead.
Within the Wires
Seriously Pay Very Close Attention!
Within The Wires (Yeah, yeah, Night Vale Presents) is what I would call “gentle dystopia”. I’m almost a season behind, to be clear, so I’m mostly talking about the first season right now, but I’m pretty sure the second one is going to tie into it. When I first started listening to Within The Wires it took me a while to get into it. The format is really just these relaxation tapes, so I didn’t really think to listen for anything else. You have to, though, because there are clues dropped in each one that hint at a larger story, and it becomes more and more obvious as it goes on. When I went back and listened to it the second time it was basically a series of “OH! How did I miss that! That is so clever!”. I said spoilers would make Alice Isn’t Dead less interesting, but they would really ruin Within The Wires. The whole point is that you are discovering the story as it goes along, through these small hints. All I’m going to tell you is that it is a dystopia, everything is not as it seems, and you need to pay attention. To quote the narrator “Listen, Remember, Comprehend.”
Are you a podcast fan? Post your recommendations in the comments.