Are you listening to the brand new podcasts Definitely Dying, Creating Our Own Lives, and Our City. Our Story.? All three are fantastic, and I'm really excited about each one. Here's how they work...
The gist: Definitely Dying is a new conversational podcast from the Upright Citizens Brigade's network. Its hosts are Madeline Walter and Ben Axelrad, two comedians who also happen to be hypochondriacs. In each episode, they chat with a funny friend about their real and imagined medical woes. In the first episode, they talk with actor and writer Will Hines about their near death experiences. In the second one, they interview writer and comedian Joe Saunders about what it's like to be stabbed in the neck. And in the third one, they talk with actress Betsy Sodaro about germophobia and their fears of choking.
What's great: The show is obviously really funny, but their conversations are also fascinating to hear. While Madeline and Ben don't dole out medical advice, they often talk about what they've read from reliable sources. So far I've learned what schizophrenia smells like, which symptoms are indicative of scarlet fever, and how best to avoid consuming bits of grill brushes this summer (which is apparently a real problem). If you like funny conversational shows like Ann Faris is Unqualified or Crybabies, or if you're a bit of a hypochondriac yourself, definitely check it out. I also think it'd be a really fun (but probably slightly frustrating) listen for anyone working in the medical field.
Where to start: The show just launched on Tuesday, and three hour-long episodes have already been released. Smooth As Olives with Will Hines is the first one I listened to, and it definitely hooked me. Start there if you're interested.
Creating Our Own Lives
The gist: Creating Our Own Lives is a brand new show from the On Being Studios, inspired by its Your Audio Selfie project. In each episode, producer Lily Percy poses a single question about living -- can humor be a survival tool? can movies replace church? -- and a guest shares his or her answer. In the first episode, Olympian Billy Mays (who won the gold at the 1964 Tokyo Games after suffering with depression for years) talks about running as a spiritual practice. He says, "My number one objective of my Olympic pursuit was to heal a broken soul." His story is beautiful.
What's great: I love how ambitious this show is, and the simple style that it's done in could not be more perfect. Each episode features one uninterrupted voice, and aside from Lily Percy's brief introduction, she doesn't say a word to detract from the storyteller's thoughts. If you haven't heard this one yet and you're a fan of thought-provoking shows like On Being with Krista Tippett or Becoming Wise from the same studio, you have to check it out. It's really good.
Where to start: The show debuted late last week, and only one ten-minute episode has been uploaded so far. Definitely start there (or with this short preview!). A new episode on humor is on its way, hopefully this week!
Our City. Our Story.
The gist: Our City. Our Story. is a new interview-based series from New York City's 9/11 Memorial Museum. In each episode, host, producer, and oral historian Jenny Pachucki talks with a notable New Yorker about the impact September 11, 2001 has had on his or her life. In the first episode, she talks with former mayor Rudy Giuliani; in the second one, she meets Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro; and in the third one, she interviews New York Mets pitcher Bobby Parnell. The stories they share are really moving, and they're filled with uplifting messages.
What's great: So many museums are coming out with fascinating podcasts (like the International Spy Museum's SpyCast or the the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Voices on Antisemitism). I'm always thrilled to see a new one, especially when it's as well-done as Our City. Our Story. The podcast does an excellent job of building upon the museum's mission, and host Jenny Pachucki has a fantastic, lighthearted interview style that adds a lot to the show's conversations.
Where to start: Five episodes have been uploaded so far, and they're all right around ten minutes long. The first one -- America's Mayor -- is great. I'd highly recommend checking it out, even if the show doesn't sound like something you'd normally be drawn to.