As I started this a good year ago now, a few things have changed. Some podcasts that were previously on this list are gone as they no longer are around or have just lost me along the way. As a result, this list is a bit shorter than it used to be but that’s the way things go sometimes, I suppose. Still, enjoy!
This is one of the more recent additions to my weekly list as of this writing but since tuning in after meeting Chris during PAX, the Idle Thumbs Podcast has quickly become one of my weekly staples to do work to and play games to. What makes Idle Thumbs so special is that the hosts have backgrounds in game development, bringing a unique evaluation of the video games they play. It’s also one of my personal source for information about the world of indie games and deep, intellectual (at times) conversations about the whole video game industry in a way not many podcasts do.
Host: Marc Maron
Being completely honest, the only reason I even know Marc Maron is due to this podcast. Hell, it seems like WTF was the first introduction for A LOT of people of Marc Maron, who has had a full career for 20 years as a struggling comedian and talk-radio show host. WTF is essentially an interview show; every episode sees Marc talking to a new guest about their career, life and other personal interests.
While I may not listen to every episode (there are 3 every week), I will happily check out any episode with a name I recognize and am never disappointed. As someone who has on occasion talked to people informally in an “interview” type podcast, it’s inspiring to hear how easily Maron is able to talk to famous people and relate to them in his weird, paranoid fashion.
I grew up (and still am) a huge fan of the movies Kevin Smith makes. So who better to listen to than the childhood friends that Smith himself has stated were responsible for his sense of humor? Tell ‘Em Steve Daveis a comedy podcast featuring Bryan Johnson, Walt Flanagan and Brian Quinn (better known to fans as “Q”) in which the trio talk about whatever is on their mind.
The dynamic is fantastic between the three; Bryan being kind of an outspoken jerk, Walt being a more conservative devil’s advocate in every conversation and Q being the more grounded of the two who usually has some poignant stories and thoughts on a variety of topics. While they may not be the most consistent, every new episode in my feed is a delight.
What makes a podcast special? Is it the content? The sound quality? Well, arguably those things help but for me, the chemistry between co-hosts is one of the most important things I look for when I listen to a podcast featuring multiple people and their personalities. In this regard, Ventchat is easily one of the best podcasts on the internet.
The interaction between the four hosts known only as “Fen”, “Turdhat”, “Esta” and “Sauce” is one you’d generally only get from long-time friends. Each host is easy to listen to, outspoken and has great comedic timing and put a lot of time into their segments and bits, making for a great listen every week and live show (if you can make it, check em out here Saturday nights at 9pm PST).
I stumbled into Slash/2 Podcast at what, in retrospect, was a strange transition time from a World of Warcraft podcast to a “whatever-the-hell-we-want-to-talk-about” podcast. Slash 2 brings a unique look into what the medium of podcasting can be; an honest conversation between a couple of friends who argue, bicker, and laugh with each other and the audience. It was the podcast that, in many ways, renewed my once lost love for talk radio by showing that not everything needs to be a technical marvel, it just has to be enjoyable to listen to.
And trust me, it IS enjoyable to listen to.