If you ask a podcaster to recommend a new show for your queue, it’s best to set aside a half hour or so as the show suggestions come pouring forth. A little while ago, feeling that my subscription list had grown a little stale, I asked I asked everyone hanging out in the Kids Listen Slack channel for shows to refresh my ears. It will become obvious fairly quickly, but I should say that despite this being a collective dedicated to kids’ podcasts, the recommendations below are for shows when the kids aren’t listening. So without further ado, here’s what Kids Listen producers are listening to:
Dear Hank & John — Hank & John Green
Youtube users will know Hank and John Green as the VlogBrothers, the YouTubers who inspired the Nerdfighter phenomenon. And John Green is of course an award-winning author of young-adult books like An Abundance of Katherines and The Fault in Our Stars. This show is the two brothers chatting, answering questions, and of course exploring whatever corner of nerd culture they find themselves in that week.
Bad with Money — Gaby Dunn
Do you ever see all of the financial advice books lined up on the shelf at the bookstore, or catch a bit of Suze Orman stalking around the stage as you flip past PBS, and feel a combination of dread, regret and the beginning of the hives? Just me? Gaby Dunn’s show actually proves it’s not just you, and each episode talks with someone about their struggles, anxieties and problematic relationship with money. It’s alarmingly cathartic.
You Must Remember This — Karina Longworth
This is probably the podcast that gets recommended to me the most often. Described as a “heavily researched work of creative nonfiction” about the “secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood,” the show is written, narrated and produced by Longworth, but episodes draw a smattering of celebrity appearances, as well. One Kids Listener especially recommended the recent Joan Crawford miniseries.
How Did This Get Made — Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas
This Earwolf lynchpin features three comedians discussing some of the worst movies ever made. We’re talking films that are so bad, the dial swings back around to good again. You may know Scheer and Mantzoukas from the dearly departed The League, and Raphael from Grace & Frankie, but even if those aren’t ringing any bells, the titles of the movies they discuss—say, Hell Comes to Frogtown and Death Spa—might be enough to lure you in.
No Such Thing as a Fish — Dan Schreiber
The writers for the legendary BBC quiz show “QI” (or “Quite Interesting,” for the uninitiated) host this show to discuss various oddities and interesting news items they came across during the week. The show notes for one recent episode summarizes the topics up for discussion as “toe wrestling championships, the ghost of Arthur Conan Doyle and trains armed with lasers.”
The Memory Palace — Nate DiMeo
I am personally obsessed with this show, which is deceptively simple storytelling podcast, in which DiMeo winds his way through a story from the past. But I consider the show almost like virtual reality, the way DiMeo immediately places the listener into the history he’s exploring in any particular episode. It’s simply beautiful writing.
West Wing Weekly — Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway
No surprises here: This is a weekly show about the Aaron Sorkin drama The West Wing. Joshua Malina was one of the show’s stars, and he and Hrishikesh Hirway (of Song Exploder fame, a podcast that could easily make this list) dissect each episode of the show, week by week. I’ve never seen one minute of The West Wing, but I know the same cult following the TV show garnered has enthusiastically shifted over to West Wing Weekly fans.
Here are a few shows that have come up as favorites in everyday discussion on the Kids Listen Slack: Mystery Show; How to Be Amazing; Another Round; Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids; Our Debut Album.
That’s actually a heavily cribbed list. Maybe we should start making this a regular feature around here? And hey: Tweet @kidslisten your favorite shows. We’re always up for another podcast.
Jonathan Messinger writes and produces The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian, and is the author of the short-story collection Hiding Out.