What We’re Listening To – March’s Picks

Two months into the new year, and I’m happy to report that I am succeeding at one of my resolutions: to listen to a variety of podcasts more frequently. (As someone who works in audiobooks, I recognize the irony of having to resolve to do that.) Here are my picks if you’re in the market for a new podcast.
 
The Dollop: Not to sound like too much of a hipster here, but I was fascinated by U.S. history long before Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton came along. When I’m not listening to Chris Jackson soliloquizing as Washington or Daveed Diggs rapping as Lafayette and still want my fix of our messy past, I turn to The Dollop, a hilarious podcast about some of the more insane events in U.S. history, told by comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds. Many of my favorite episodes revolve around the evolution (or lack thereof) of women’s rights; imagine the scandal of the first lady to wear pants or to dare to go to the post office on her own! Like Hamilton, The Dollop also humanizes our most revered figures. You’ll never look at George Washington the same way again when you learn that his most heroic feat was not helping to win the revolution or found a nation, but rather was stoically suffering through agonizing toothaches. I am thrilled that we’ll have a full audio program soon from Dave and Gareth, The United States of Absurdity, coming to your headphones this May!
 

The West Wing Weekly: Now that we’ve established my love of U.S. history, let’s turn to our country’s more recent events. Exhausted first from coverage of the election and now from the endless news cycle of the new administration’s first hundred days, I’ve decided to retreat into a fictional political world: the world of The West Wing. This is my first time watching the show, and it’s a treat. What has made the viewing extra special—no small triumph when you consider the phenomenal performances of Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, and company—is that along the way I’m listening to The West Wing Weekly, an episode-by-episode discussion of the show as told by longtime fan Hrishikesh Hirway and actor Joshua Malina. In discussing the episodes, the podcast covers a plethora of topics, from the show’s nuances and historical context, to behind-the-scenes looks at the entertainment industry and politics, with former West Wing cast, crew, and political consultants as guests. Though the podcast, as its name promises, focuses on a single TV show, it’s range is satisfyingly far-reaching.
 

Sooo Many White Guys: But if I had to choose one voice to have in my head all day, it would likely be Phoebe Robinson, author of You Can’t Touch My Hair. Luckily for myself and other eager listeners, Phoebe has not one but two incredible podcasts, and the one I’ve been drawn to lately is Sooo Many White Guys, where she interviews talented actors, authors, musicians, and the like. The common  criterion: they are not white men. (And because Phoebe is nothing if not fair, she has one token interview with a white guy each season.) My favorite episode is her interview with Roxane Gay, in which they discuss Roxane’s background, her writing, and her disdain for rosé.