Paul Scheer made his name as both a comedian and actor, but it’s with podcasting that he’s really come into his own recently. Scheer co-hosts How Did This Get Made? and is the curator of Earwolf’s new pop-culture-themed Wolfpop network, where he’ll also act as the daily moderator of The Sylvester Stallone Show. Given his passion for all things pod, The A.V. Club figured (rightly) he’d be a great person to curate our first 24 Hours Of podcast marathon.
8 a.m.: The Dice Tower, “Essen 2014”
The A.V. Club: Why did you pick The Dice Tower?
Paul Scheer: Rich Sommer from Mad Men was on The League recently, and he’s a big board-game guy. So he kind of got me into board games. Wil Wheaton also did this TableTop series for YouTube.
As adults, you forget about board games. We only remember Monopoly, and then there’s always party games and stuff like that. But there were like some real cool board games, so I went into this deep board-game wormhole and now I feel like I’m a board-game fan. I’m trying to learn about board games. I started listening to The Dice Tower, and I listened to a handful because I’m kind of new to it, but they had just gotten back from Essen. Essen is the German trade show for all board games. They’re talking about all the games they were playing, the prototypes, and it’s amazingly fascinating because it’s so specific and they are so into it.
You don’t even know what board games they have. They have board games just about manufacturing cars. Things that you would never think they would make board games about, there are board games out there that represent them. So I am very much into The Dice Tower and listening to these guys who are super passionate about board games tell me about board games.
AVC: The Dice Tower sounds like a good way to get into something that you might not know what to start with. People might like Settlers Of Catan but wouldn’t know where to go next.
PS: Yeah, that was kind of it. And it’s like, where is there a board game store? It’s weird. I guess there are board game stores, but I just wanted to get an understanding of it. After listening to a handful of these episodes, I went out and bought some board games, and now I’m in the tougher position of finding people to play these board games with. That seems to be the harder one. I’m begging my wife to play a board game with me.
Rich Sommer has 760 board games. It’s crazy. He’s really into it.
9:30 a.m.: Serial, “The Alibi” and “The Breakup”
AVC: Serial is a fantastic podcast.
PS: Oh, my gosh. I would put all the episodes of Serial on this list, but I knew that we had to do 24 hours, and I didn’t want to cheat by just putting eight hours of Serial, or whatever it will be. So I just figured, put one and two and you’ll come back to it.
It’s amazing. Serial is the best thing ever. It’s like every great murder documentary but in audio form, and it’s ping-ponged so much. Although now, after last week’s episode, I do feel like I feel like I know my theory on it now.
I think he’s totally guilty because last week, [episode six] when they had “The Case Against Adnan [Syed],” the most damming piece of evidence—and I didn’t feel like it was given its proper due—was that this girl went missing, this girl that he was intimate with, his girlfriend. And he never tried to call or text her. That’s guilt.
Sarah Koenig said at one point, “Oh well, the smoking gun is this,” and it was some weird phone call. I was like, “That’s not the smoking gun. Fucking call or text her.” That speaks more volumes than anything. The only reason why he wouldn’t do that is because he killed that person. I have people that I don’t even like that much that I’d be worried about. She was the first person he called when he got the phone! No way. I don’t get it. I was ping-ponging back and forth, and now I’m content.
AVC: That Jay dude seems shady if you really want to get into it.
PS: Jay has done way more. Jay is definitely guilty of something, and he’s lying, and he should be in jail, too.
Jay’s thing is so crazy. First of all, these guys weren’t friends and yet they’re hanging out all the time. Then they say it’s somebody he smokes weed with. The thing that’s so crazy about it is—and this is the thing that makes me think that Adnan is a sociopath—is that it had to have been so premeditated, and then leaving her in the back of the trunk. Something major happened here, and I hope we’ll be able to figure out what because it doesn’t seem like a crime of passion; it seemed like something weird.
Also, I thought marijuana was supposed to chill you out and make you real mellow. These guys are going out killing people. I feel like strangulation and pot smoke don’t really work. I feel like you’d get bored in the middle of it and start doing something else.
AVC: I hope there’s a resolution at the end of Serial, and it’s not just like, “Well, you be the judge.”
PS: I feel like it’s going to be exactly what you just said. It’s going to be, “And there you go. Now it’s up to you.” Unless something major happens.
The Internet culture is so pervasive that you can’t keep a spoiler now. If something major happened in that trial, we would have read about it by now.
I feel like there’s not going to be any resolution. All there’s going to be is this reordering of this guilt, unless he confesses to it, which at a certain point, it’s like “why not?” You’re already in there. You’re not getting out.
Another thing, too, going back and interviewing these kids from high school, imagine someone talking to you about what you did on one day in high school. Their memories are all over the place, and even if they were still in high school, I would never use a 16-year-old kid as a character witness. There’s so much going on. It’s so the worst. Let this be a lesson to every high school murderer out there: Don’t do it because the witnesses will screw you over. Your friends will not remember where you were at what time.
AVC: My husband and I both graduated from high school in ’99, and we can’t even remember what time our school started or ended, or how we got home.
PS: It’s all weird hearsay. How about that weird kid who was like, “Yeah, I saw a body in the back of the car.” What’s that kid about? There’s too much weird stuff going on. And people recanting their statements and not recanting. I just feel like maybe we’ll find out something about Jay. I hope we find something out about Jay.
AVC: I want to start a podcast about Serial. [Editor’s note: We did it.]
It’s so great because it’s water-cooler podcasting. It’s great. And I can’t believe it they only have MailChimp. MailChimp’s getting a lot of play. Every corporation must be so pissed. Like one percent of the population can use MailChimp. Get a good ad on there. McDonald’s could be raking in that money.
AVC: Serial is also starting off with a good story. The next story might not be this fascinating.
PS: You can’t really top it. It’s going to be like True Detective season two. People are already like, “Fuck it.” You’re not going to get the same story, which I think is good, but people are just going to want to hear murder stories.
That’s the other thing, too. We’re all obsessed with that stuff. I can watch CNBC with that guy who wears the jeans and the white hair. I could listen to him all day and watch all those stories. They’re all immensely fascinating to me. It’s actually funny because I’m working on a comedy version of something very similar to that for HBO. So it’s just been awesome. Murder stories are engrossing no matter what they are because it’s someone so dumb.
11 a.m.: Jim Harold’s Campfire, “Double Doppleganger”
PS: To me, one person around the campfire kind of stories are fascinating. There’s one person, and they’re like, “This happened to me. I was there.” And it gets real quiet, and you just kind of get caught up in the story of it. This podcast is a genius idea because it rotates the people telling the story, so it’s not just one person.
It’s not, “Ooh, and the scary ghost hook was on the window.” It’s like real people having real encounters with something. Whether or not they are true, they are true to these people, and that’s one I find so mentally fascinating.
12 p.m.: Freakonomics, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”
AVC: You have a couple of picks on here that are just real people telling stories. For instance, this new Freakonomics podcast.
PS: I just stumbled across that one. It’s like they’re on a game show. It’s kind of like Shark Tank meets American Idol. There’s a panel of judges, and you go up with a piece of information. And depending on if your information is cocktail-party worthy and it’s something that no one knows and you impress the judges, they give you some sort of rating. That’s the first round of it, and I love that. It’s just little nuggets of facts, little weird tidbits. I love getting that kind of knowledge, that bite-size knowledge. If it’s about physics or the Civil War, it’s great. It makes me so smarter, especially after looking at a day of BuzzFeed articles.
1 p.m.: The Dinner Party Download, latest episode
AVC: The Dinner Party Download is full of cocktail-party trivia, too.
PS: I love that podcast. If there’s ever been a podcast that I would want to create, that is the one. I’m trying to actually do one of those for the new network we’re doing right now because it’s such a fun format.
But those NPR shows are so amazingly produced. They’re hard to do. There are so many remotes and all this other stuff.
I feel like sometimes when you’re a comedian, people are like, “Tell me a joke.” I could never tell you a joke. No one can, but at least, if I’m ever put on the spot, I can tell you, “Here’s an interesting drink you can make.” The Dinner Party Download just challenges you on certain levels. There’s some interesting news that you don’t know about. I love it. It’s like a CliffsNotes of the week. It’s really fun.
AVC: Something I’ve found being a writer or listening to podcasts is that people like to talk about things that aren’t necessarily promotional. Matthew McConaughey doesn’t always necessarily want to talk about his movie, and he’s more interesting if he’s not.
PS: One of the things about How Did This Get Made? that I love—and I’m not patting myself on the back—but when we first started, I was trying to figure out a podcast to do and I was like, “There are so many interview podcasts and once someone’s gone through the circuit, you don’t have an interesting angle on it.” I don’t care. So we never promote. At the top of the show, you’re like, “They’re on this show. You can get their movie here. You can watch their show here,” but it’s all about something else.
What I like about it, probably similarly to you, is that when you get to hear somebody out of the context of promotion, you almost always want to see whatever they’re doing in a weird way because you’re like, “Oh, I like that person.” You’re engaged with them on some level, and it makes you want to seek out the thing instead of just hearing them say the same story that they’ve said a million times.
AVC: You want to spend more time with them and get to know them better and follow them on Twitter and support their whatever.
PS: Exactly. And that’s kind of one of the goals I had with creating this Wolfpop network. I’m trying to create a handful of shows that are not guest dependent and that are more fun.
I’m a podcast fan, but I’m also a guy who listens to Howard Stern every day. I’m just in this world where there’s all these characters, and I feel like a good podcast is when you love these people, you want to hear them and you’re interested in their points of view. I think a lot of the shows on this network we’re doing use guests in a very interesting and very specific way, and it’s just not a regular interview show. There are some interview shows, but a not lot of them.
Just hearing Devin Faraci and Amy Nicholson argue about film is so fascinating to me. Or listening to somebody like Deanna Raphael and Emily Foster from Hello Giggles. They basically interview a young person. It’s just fun to hear. That’s the podcasts I’m interested in more. I’m less interested in interviews and more interested in hearing what people have to say and who they are.
AVC: Interviews can also be so hit or miss, I think. You might be really fascinated to hear what someone has to say, but if it’s a bad interview, it’s a bad interview. Or there could be someone that you’d never feel like you’d want to hear about, but it can be one of the more interesting things you’ve ever heard.
PS: Exactly. I’ve said that all the time. Listening to Stern, sometimes he’ll have people where it’s like, I don’t know if I’m a big Neil Young fan. I know who Neil Young is, but then all the sudden you get these interviews. He has an interesting way of grabbing people and getting a different interview. I’m sure that’s the same way his audience who loves Neil Young is like, “Who the hell is Aziz Ansari?” And then he makes it interesting on that level, too. I think the trick of a good interviewer is knowing how to make somebody universally interesting, not getting so in depth about something that it alienates people.
1:50 p.m.: How Did This Get Made?, “The 1st Annual Howdies Pt. 1,” “88 Minutes,” and “Punisher: War Zone”
AVC: Well, let’s talk about How Did This Get Made? then. You picked three episodes for this marathon.
PS: I’m promoting my own show, but The Howdies is something that I worked so hard on, so I’m putting it up there. The Howdies basically was a giant crowdsourced project that I did with all of the fans of the show where we did an award show based on our first 90 episodes. It’s a recap of everything we’ve done and we pulled out all these really fun moments. It took me months to get that thing together, so that’s a real labor of love.
And for any of your people who read this and have not listened to my podcast, which they shouldn’t feel any pressure to, I put on “88 Minutes,” which is a fan favorite and one I really love. Pete Holmes is basically doing Al Pacino impressions for the majority of it. But 88 Minutes is a kind of perfect How Did This Get Made? movie because it’s an Al Pacino movie that fulfills all the things that you want. He’s yelling, he’s having sex, and it’s kind of weird and there are all these weird twists and turns. So that’s one of my favorite episodes.
And then the final How Did This Get Made? episode we put on was this one where we got Lexi Alexander, the director of Punisher: War Zone. She came on the show and spoke about how the Hollywood studio system really hurt her movie, from making her cast people she didn’t think were right to not letting her do violence in a very particular way. So as far as I’m concerned, we’ve had people like Vanilla Ice on the show and Non from Superman 2 and the directors of Crank and a whole bunch of people on the show, but Lexi was one of the most interesting ones because she was a director of a movie that we went in going, “This was really fun and crazy, but here’s the backstory.” And we got a very in-depth backstory from her, so that’s kind of the gamut of How Did This Get Made? If you’ve never heard of our show, those three episodes, you’ll either really like it or you’ll hate it. So there you go.
5:30 p.m.: Star Wars Minute, “Empire Minute 114: Great Line”
AVC: And speaking of in-depth backstory, Star Wars Minute.
PS: Oh my God. Star Wars Minute, it’s amazing. They break down Star Wars minute by minute. Every podcast is only about one minute of Star Wars, and they do it for all three movies. It’s one of these things where you hear the premise and you go, “Oh that’s clever, but I’m not interested in that.” And then you listen to it. I realized I was hooked because I’d listened to three 15- or 20-minute podcasts, and they were still on the opening crawl. And I was like, “Okay, I’m in,” and it’s so much fun.
These guys are amazing, and I reached out to them at one point to come over to our Wolfpop network, but they were taking a break. But they did let me in on what their next project is, and it’s equally amazing.
I love this podcast. If you are a Star Wars fan, and even if you’re not, just to break down a film minute by minute—you don’t think there’s stuff to talk about but there is plenty and they really, really get into it. It’s fun. You wouldn’t think that there’s stuff there, but when you start analyzing the costumes, a person’s look, a line, you will get sucked in. I guarantee it.
6 p.m.: Worst Idea Of All Time, “Difficulties”and “Salmon”
AVC: And then similarly, Worst Idea Of All Time, which is about repeatedly watching the same movie over and over.
PS: Somebody sent this to me, and it’s amazing because it’s the worse idea of all time. The movie is secondary to it being the worst idea. But it’s these two guys from Australia I believe, and they decided to watch Grown Ups 2 every week for a year, so it would be 52 episodes of Grown Ups 2. Once again, a premise-y kind of podcast. They have ridiculous comments, and now they’re 36 weeks into it and are losing their minds. Your stomach starts churning. They’re just forcing themselves to watch this movie over and over and over again and talking about what they get out of it and the insights and what’s going on in their lives. One week, one of the guys had a birthday and was like, “I was having such a great day, and then I realized on my way home, oh no, I have to watch it again. I have to watch it before tomorrow.” I’m sitting there, and it’s like agonizing, screaming at the screen, just going, “No, stop!” You’re basically watching their descent into madness. They’re really going through it. I love this podcast.
6:50 p.m.: You Made It Weird, “Live From SF Outside Lands!”
AVC: This is another kind of descent into madness
PS: This is one of my favorite You Made It Weirds because Pete [Holmes] revels in this idea of, “I’m going to ask you questions that are going to make it weird. I’m going to talk to you about sex. I’m going to talk to you about religion. I’m going to talk to you about everything.” So what I love about this episode is that the tables kind of get turned on Pete here, and he makes it weird, but not the kind of weird that he wants to make it. This is one of the most uncomfortable podcasts you’ll ever hear next to Marc Maron and Kumail [Nanjiani] on Doug Loves Movies.
It is a live show, and Eric André comes out and he’s hilarious and his energy is super intense, and he’s going to do bits and going to do all kinds of crazy shit. So he comes out first, show is going good, off to a great start. Then Jon Glaser comes out, and Jon Glaser is one of the funniest guys. He wrote for Human Giant. He writes for Conan. He wrote and created Delocated. And Parks and Rec, of course. He’s on that too, so a million things.
So, Pete is definitely goofy. Eric is definitely goofy. And I think that Jon is down with being goofy, but Pete just opens up and says the wrong thing right out of the gate, which was basically, “Hey you and I were both up for the same thing and I beat you out for it. I got that.” And it immediately turns Jon sour because he’s like, “Yeah, you got that thing that has made you probably hundreds of thousands of dollars,” which is the E*Trade baby. That’s what Pete got. And he goes, “I have two kids and I really could have used that money.” And I think it started off as a bit, and it just gets darker.
It is a You Made It Weird for the ages. It is weird, it’s amazing, it’s super uncomfortable, and you get those feelings of, “Oh, no. This has gone badly. This has horribly gone wrong,” because then Brett Gelman comes out at the end, and everyone’s pushing each other’s buttons in a really aggressive, uncomfortable way. It’s like being at a terrible family dinner where no one wants to be there.
AVC: What was the aftermath of that? Do you know?
PS: I think they all just left slightly irritated at each other, but when you hear it, they leave it all on the stage. Nothing is being hidden there. It’s like an Arthur Miller play or something. It’s all there. You’re seeing it all play out.
8 p.m.: Superego, “Episode 1: 17: Best Of”
8:30 p.m.: Totally Mommy, “Sleeping Kitty With Morgan Walsh”
PS: SuperEgo is one of my favorites. We did this network with Matt Gourley and Adam Fischer. All three of us were working on this network. I just think Matt is one of the funniest and most interesting guys and smart. He just has a great podcast. I just chose the best-of episode for that because it’s an improvised sketch show. It’s really well done. It’s really smart. Paul F. Tompkins is often on the show and hilarious on it. But it’s just a really well-done show, and it’s super funny.
It’s a rare thing to have a sketch on a podcast. And they do great sketch, which is improvised sketch, but it’s still produced to a point where it’s almost like a written piece. I highly recommend that to anybody.
And Totally Mommy is a podcast from Elizabeth Laime, and she’s somebody I know from her other podcast, Totally Laime. Totally Mommy’s great. I just had a baby, and she just had a baby about a month before me. So this is basically her journey as a mom. And it’s been great because it’s week by week saying what she’s been going through. The ups, the highs, the lows. She often cohosts with her husband, so it’s been a really great security blanket for me to have this person to look to and be like, “Oh, you’re going through the same stuff. This is not weird. This is normal.” I love that it’s just basically having a real person in the shit, and I’m going through it at the same time.
9:40 p.m.: Best Show Gems, “R.B. Calls About The Gathering Of The Juggalos”
AVC: Is Paul F. Tompkins in this as well? I know he was on Best Show fairly often.
PS: Paul F. is not in this one. I think Paul F. is in the second time they did the Juggalos call, I believe.
I’m a huge [Tom] Scharpling and [Jon] Wurster fan. I love Best Show, and can’t wait for the return of Best Show. It’s amazing. Bill Hader turned me on to “The Gas Station Dogs.” “The Gas Station Dogs” is my all-time favorite. It’s on New Hope For The Ape-Eared, which is an album, but anything these guys do I can listen to nonstop. I love it. I love them. They’re geniuses. Scharpling is great. They’re both hilarious. And this is just the beginning of their obsession with the Juggalos. The one with Paul F. Tompkins is amazing.
10:25 p.m.: Welcome To Night Vale, “Pilot”
AVC: This might be a weird transition, but much of The Best Show is about a fake town, Newbridge, and Welcome To Night Vale is also about a fake town.
PS: Yeah, definitely.
I should keep better track of this show. Sometimes I lose it a little bit. And I love this thing. It’s very cool, It’s very Twin Peaks, X-Files-y. You’re listening in on this town. It’s like a radio play to a certain degree, and clearly things are happening here and you’re kind of a voyeur in this town.
AVC: Have you seen Welcome To Night Vale live? It’s crazy. Their fans dress up and it’s like Comic-Con.
PS: That’s so cool. I was supposed to do one of their live shows, and they gave me the wrong data and then I couldn’t switch it. I was so bummed that I could never do it.
It’s so good. I really like it!
10:45 p.m.: Radiolab, “Escape!”
AVC: Night Vale is one of those podcasts that translates really well to a live show. You have an episode of Radiolab on this list, and that show is great live as well. Have you seen that live?
PS: That ending was beautiful. When everyone had the little lights in their hands? Did you see the astronaut one? That was the one I saw.
AVC: No, I saw the dinosaur one.
PS: Oh, okay. Mine ended with an astronaut floating in space, and everyone had these little lights they put on their hands. It was the coolest way to end the show.
AVC: So why did you pick the “Escape” episode?
PS: It’s so funny. I remember that one being one that I liked. And for a lot of these podcasts, it’s so hard to pick the ultimate episode. I always feel, “Oh, I like this and I think this is good.” I’m always a little bit, “What is this about?” I just get kind of suckered in.
I remember “Escape!” being one I really liked, but I can’t remember the specifics of why it was so good. I remember that being amazing. I’m a big magic fan, and I also love prison escapes, so I remember that being really fascinating, talking to somebody who’s escaped from jail numerous times. That’s what stuck out to me. I don’t know if I have a great selling point on it. But I really liked that.
AVC: Radiolab, like This American Life, develops around a loose theme. For instance, this episode talks about both a prison escape and a blind man who learned to manipulate the telephone.
PS: Now I’m remembering that the space one also ties to the blind guy who didn’t watch people’s faces. Just being about isolation and stuff like that. Again, very similarly, it’s a topic that if someone asked you, “Would you like to hear this story?” You’d say, “No.” But they suck you into a whole story. I’ve never gone, “Oh, that’s an okay one.” I always feel like I really enjoy them all.
AVC: And the things you hear on Radiolab can come up a lot once you hear something that you really identify with. I talk about the one about whether animals have feelings all the time.
PS: My wife and I talk about it all the time because we were both caught up in it when we first were getting into it and everything was around. Playing it for each other in the car, we’re just like, “Just listen to this” and “What do you think about this?” It makes me laugh.
12 a.m.: TED Radio Hour, “The Money Paradox”
AVC: This is another one where you could say, “Do you want to listen to a podcast about money?” And you’d be like, “Mmm, I don’t know.”
PS: That’s the thing. It’s another one where you get sucked in.
It’s like you’re hearing an interesting lecture. I feel like being in L.A., which is kind of devoid of culture, you kind of forget about, “Oh, I should open my mind a little bit more.” And so I always feel that TED Talks and Radiolab and Freakonomics just help you expand your mind. I can get a little bit stagnant just reading about movies or comic books or something dumb, and this always makes you think about the world in a much bigger point of view. TED Talks does a great job of taking an idea that you’d never thought about and really making it pertinent.
I’m having a hard time describing these bigger shows, which are ones that are always like, “Oh my God, that was really interesting.” I love that one about leadership, and I love this one about how video games actually are a great way to get together with teamwork. Interesting points of view come out in an interesting way on a bigger idea.
1 a.m.: iFanboy, “Pick Of The Week”
AVC: On a smaller tip, you chose iFanboy “Pick Of The Week,” which talks about comic books.
PD: I’m a big fan of this. It’s a simple, easy one. I love this podcast because it’s just what I love, comic book nerds going through each week. They’re like “Okay, this is what was really good. Here’s a little in-depth thing.” For me, I read comics and I’m easily swayed. So if somebody’s like, “You should read Sweet Tooth.” I’ll be like, “Great.” “You should read the new Aquaman.” “Oh, great.” I have no defined allegiance, even though I’ve written for Marvel when I wrote my own comic book. I love just finding out about stuff because I don’t have the time to just buy 50 comics and sit down with them. So this is a great way to be like, “I’ve got to get this and I’ve got to get that.”
It’s really fascinating to hear anybody who’s that passionate. Same thing with The Dice Tower—just people who are super passionate joining together to create something. I want to hear from them. I don’t want to hear from anybody else. I want to hear from passionate people about what they’re interested in. It’s more interesting than anything else.
AVC: Do you find that there are guys on iFanboy that you agree with individually? Like someone’s picks jibe more with yours than someone else’s?
PS: I actually agree with both of them. They both have really good taste.
For me, it allows me to be a little bit smarter because it’s kind of like a CliffsNotes for comic books, too. Even though I’m not reading the book that week, I can be like, “Okay, so that’s what’s going on with whoever right now.” It lets me keep my nerd card if I’ve maybe slacked off on a couple weeks of reading. I know what’s happening with the X-Men.
2:10 a.m.: The Q&A With Jeff Goldsmith, “Aliens 25th Anniversary Cast Q&A”
AVC: The Aliens reunion is pretty nerdy.
PS: Jeff Goldsmith is great. He basically does a screening of a movie and then just does a really interesting interview. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but there’s nothing on the surface that’s groundbreaking about it. But I think his relationship with the filmmakers and the fact that they all just came from seeing a movie really infuses their show greatly.
What I like to do with it is, once I see the movie that they’re talking about, I go in and listen to it because you get a real in-depth view because they just watched it. It’s not like a sitting down for a press junket day. It’s like, “We just saw this, so let’s talk about this right now.” It keeps the interview fresh.
I really loved that Alien one because they gathered most of the cast at the New Beverly. I don’t think Sigourney Weaver was there. And they just kind of got into it. That’s a classic movie, and you have that whole cast. They’re just telling stories and there’s a great camaraderie there.
When David Wain is on there, he’s always very funny.
Jeff Goldsmith has a sense of humor about himself too, which is something that I think is important in interview shows. One of the shows we got for Wolfpop, Josh Horowitz, is this guy who has interviewed me a bunch of times over the last year. And his podcast, Happy Sad Confused, I’m like, “I want to bring this over here because your interviews are more fun than just a press junket.” He gets people to do stuff and lets them be goofy. He had Woody Allen on his podcast, and then he had Daniel Radcliffe. And he elicits the same amount of fun from surprising people. I like an interviewer who can get people out of their comfort zone or to do different stuff.
2:10 a.m.: WTF, “Robin Williams”
AVC: You have Robin Williams on WTF on your list. One of the reasons that was so great was because he was willing to just be open about whatever.
PS: I love that interview. I know it seems like I’m only picking it because he just passed away and I’m not. I’m picking it because it was one of my favorite ones, for two reasons: It was early WTF, and that was when Marc [Maron] was still working some more stuff out. I feel like he was really deferential to Robin Williams, but he’s asking some real serious questions. Also, it was the first interview in memory when Robin Williams isn’t just busting into a million characters. It was very quiet and it was a very soft interview. That one and the Jonathan Winters one in particular were ones that I really love. I was a huge Mork & Mindy fan growing up. I remember thinking that was the funniest show. I watched reruns, but I just loved it. Those two guys definitely made an impact on me.
Sometimes you catch a good Bill Murray, and you’re like, “That was great. I feel so good.” Bill Murray was just on Stern, and again, he can get into it. He was on Charlie Rose a while ago. When you get them in these moments where they’re not being goofy and they’re just kind of being real, I love that. It’s the best. And that Robin Williams one, I think I just never knew all that stuff. Just talking about the jokes, theft and drugs and everything. I really love that one. That’s a great interview and a great use of Marc too because anything with a comedian and addiction and darkness is his wheelhouse. He’s particularly great.
3:20 a.m.: Call Chelsea Peretti, latest episode
PS: Chelsea Peretti is one of the people I find enormously funny. No matter what, she’s so unique. She makes me laugh really, really hard. And her show, it’s a call-in podcast show, and basically she just takes phone calls and berates the people calling in. She has this amazing soundboard where she is able to shit on people through a soundboard.
I put the latest episode because you can jump in at any given point. Chelsea, her show is whatever it is. It’s structureless, and it’s her taking calls, talking to people. If she likes them, they stay on longer, and if she doesn’t, they’re gone. Scharpling does that, too. It’s just that same idea of, “Nope, don’t have time for this idiot. Next one. Let’s hear this.” There’s something really fun about that. I’m a huge Chelsea fan, so that show makes me laugh every single time I hear it.
AVC: I’m sure this is going to come up in the comments: How many podcasts do you listen to? How do you have time to listen to all these podcasts?
PS: Well to me, podcasts are like TiVo. I’m not behind the desk listening to all these every week. But I’ll check in. Like Chelsea Peretti, I don’t need to listen to every week. Best Show Gems, I’ve heard a lot of them but I’ll go back. And these are some of my favorite podcasts, too.
As a matter of fact, besides Serial, I’ve been a little podcast light because I’ve been working with all the Wolfpop stuff. I’ve been helping with the content and the structuring of all those podcasts, so I’ve been really engrained in those. For my last month, I’ve really just been listening in to a bunch of these first and second episodes of all these shows and working with the people on the shows. Actually, I’ve almost been listening to more podcasts than ever lately, but they’re all these new ones that are coming out that I’m super excited about, too. I love them, but I didn’t want to put them on the list because I don’t want people to think I’m just throwing them out there for no reason.
AVC: You obviously love podcasts. You obviously know what you’re talking about.
PS: I’m legitimately excited. We have Leonard Maltin, and it’s fun to listen in on all this stuff. I just listen to them in my car when I’m driving. That’s how I listen to all my podcasts anyway, so when I would give notes, I’m just like, “Here I am. I’m in my car and does it work? This is keeping me entertained. I want to hear the next one.” That was the only way I could test out whether I liked these shows, and it was a good test. I feel like it worked.
[The rest of this interview was completed via e-mail. —ed.]
4:00 a.m.: Wham Bam Pow, “Birdman”
PS: Cameron Esposito loves action and sci-fi movies almost as much as me. Each episode takes you inside new movies, old ones, and weird things that everyone loves if you love action and sci-fi. Basically if you are a nerd, you’ll love this show.
4:50 a.m.: All New Friends, “Will Comedian Little Esther Be Our New Friend?”
PS: It’s a simple question: Could you and a random stranger be friends? The hosts Tatti Ribeiro and Katie Kimmel don’t know who the guest will be until they walk through the door and try and figure out if they can be friends. The interviews are great but it’s the chemistry between Tatti and Katie that makes you come back for more.
6:00 a.m.: Nerd Poker
PS: Imagine listening in to the funniest people around playing D&D. This podcast is one of my favorites.
7:00 a.m.: The Sylvester Stallone Podcast, first 10 episodes
PS: This daily podcast started with a great idea—me interviewing Sylvester Stallone—but due to circumstances out of my control, it has slowly destroyed my life, my family, and my relationship with my high-powered celebrity friends. I’m almost too embarrassed to have you listen to it.