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Word of Mouth

Jesse Thorn's Podcast Picks


With so many choices, exploring the wild frontier of podcasts can be overwhelming. Don't fret, we have a great starter package for you.  We asked Jesse Thorn, host of NPR's Bullseye and founder of Maximum Fun, to share five of his favorite podcasts with us. He delivered six. Full disclosure, Jesse admits a slight bias in selecting some podcasts from his podcast network, Maximum Fun, but made it exceedingly clear that he is not directly involved in their production. We present Jesse Thorn's podcast picks, in no particular order, of course.

The Memory Palace

It's a history show, but to call it a history show is to diminish what it really is. It's really remarkable.

Hosted by Nate DiMeo, The Memory Palace podcast takes history beyond dry recitation to sharing American history in a "beautiful, almost poetic way."

Stop Podcasting Yourself

It's like listening to a morning radio show if you actually liked the people that hosted a morning radio show.

Hosted by Canadian comedians Graham Clark and Dave Shumka, Stop Podcasting Yourself has a classic format with delightfully funny guests. "They're so Canadian and polite."

The Goosedown

For me, it's really nice to have a comedy show that reflects an urban cultural background.

Another comedy show, The Goosedown is hosted by two L.A. comics, Kimberly Clark and Jasper Redd. "In some ways it's structured like a conversational mixtape, and Kimberly and Jasper are so funny together. To be perfectly frank, while I don't sound like it, I come from what they call an 'urban' background.  Basically, what I'm trying to say is, Kimberly and Jasper are black and I really appreciate that. There are so many white podcasters and it really gets old after awhile."

99% Invisible

It's a show that's a sort of "This American Life" about architecture and design.

Produced by Roman Mars, 99% Invisible takes a unique look at the world of design and design in the world. "It's the show I listen to every week the second it comes on my iPod. I love the collision between the practical and the aesthetic."

Shields and Brooks

It's just imprinted on my brain in the same way that very few other things are.

"It's audio version of the PBS news hour. Shields and Brooks is my favorite segment. I find them both to be fascinating men full of insights."

Never Not Funny

You can really imagine him holding one of those long skinny microphones with the little ball at the end like they had on seventies game shows.

Never Not Funny is hosted by Jimmy Pardo, a stand-up comedian in L.A. "He's sort of like a guy who would open for Dean Martin, but now. He tends to wear a cardigan or a suit and tie. He's one of the forefathers of comedy podcasting."

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