Podcast lovers who are feeling the holiday cheer -- I've got four great episodes for your ears.
Comedians of Christmas Comedy Special (#422) from This American Life. This episode aired in December 2010, and it's an hour of holiday jokes performed live by comedians like Wyatt Cenac, Edith Zimmerman, Mike Birbiglia, Jenny Slate, Julian McCullough, and Dave Hill. It begins with a group of ten-year-olds telling adorably hilarious and totally made-up jokes about the holidays, and it ends with one of the funniest festive tunes I've ever heard. I'd recommend this episode for your holiday road trip or even playing in the background at your next family gathering.
Hanukkah Lights 2015 from NPR. NPR releases this holiday special every December, and this year's was exceptional. It features some of the best Hanukkah writing around, including pieces from writers Leah Lax, Eric Kimmel, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer. It's equal parts entertaining and informative (for a non-Jew like me) and the closing piece from Jonathan Safran Foer -- "A Beginner's Guide to Hanukkah" -- was fantastic. I listened to this episode during my lunch break, but I think it'd be even better while baking holiday treats.
How Christmas Worked from Stuff You Should Know. This short episode, which aired back in 2009, is fascinating. It covers the historical roots of the Christmas holiday, including the pagan origins of gift giving, the life of the real St. Nick, and the odd reason we bring fir trees into our homes each December. This episode was practically made to be listened to during Christmas morning's breakfast with your nerdy dad, or while doing some last-minute online holiday shopping from bed this weekend.
A Very Special Sedaris Christmas from This American Life. This one aired almost twenty years ago -- in December 1997 -- and it's one of my all-time favorites. Comedian and author David Sedaris, along with funny people Julia Sweeney and Matt Malloy, read live on stage from his book of short stories, Holidays on Ice. This episode is pure gold: it's so funny, so smart, and so festive, but not in the way you'd expect since a lot of his stories are pretty dark. It would be perfect along with some wine and gift wrapping, or during your post-feast stroll on Christmas night.
So tell me, have you listened to any of these? Will you? What's your favorite holiday episode? I've got a long flight ahead of me and would love to know!