I'm a podcast junkie. I subscribe to several dozen and am constantly on the lookout for new ones, mostly listening while I'm making dinner or walking the dog around the block. If you have yet to make the conversion to full-time podcast listener, now is as good a time as any to finally clear some of those podcast episodes that might be taking up valuable real estate in your phone's queue. Here are some of my recent favorites.
Over My Dead Body: Joe Exotic
The Netflix docuseries Tiger King is all the rage right now, the I-can't-believe-this-shit story of a big cat collector (and Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate) named Joe Exotic and the death, drugs and general debauchery surrounding him. Late last year, the Wondery network released a whole season unloading the same bizarre saga, and I couldn't wait for each week's new installment.
Dolly Parton's America
Fewer celebrities are more universally beloved than Dolly Parton. She's one of those people whose very presence seems to make the world a better place. Host Jad Abumrad talks to fans, musicians, relatives, academics and even Parton herself to unpack both the good and the bad of her legacy as an artist, as a cultural symbol and as a human being.
The Other Latif
When journalist Latif Nasser saw a tweet referring to another man with his name, he decided to track him down, only to discover he was an inmate in Guantanamo Bay. The podcast follows the host's investigation, which ends up being a tangle of anti-Muslim sentiments and legal red tape, as well as the imprisoned Latif's struggle for freedom.
Elizabeth Holmes seemed like one of the all-time great success stories in medical tech, hitting the market with a machine that could detect latent diseases in a drop of blood. Of course, it all turned out to be a ruse, and this show details her scheme with interviews from those who were directly involved with it. A great companion piece to the HBO documentary The Inventor.
You Must Remember This
Writer and historian Karina Longworth digs into Hollywood ephemera, from forgotten movie stars to show-biz scandals to the production of Disney's notorious Song of the South. As a gateway, I'd recommend her seasons about the Manson family's connection to the entertainment industry and the parallel (and eventually diverging) careers of Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg.
Sometimes the best podcasts have the simplest premises. On Threedom, comedians Scott Aukerman, Paul F. Tomkins and Lauren Lapkus merely sit around and riff on each other, playing improv games, relaying childhood anecdotes and occasionally getting into heavier stuff. It's mostly very, very silly and very, very funny.
You're Wrong About
Hosts Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes make exhaustive deep dives into historical moments that have been misremembered or misreported, told in a conversational style that's both rigorously fact-checked and enlightening. Past subjects have included the Tonya Harding scandal, the O.J. Simpson trial and the D.C. snipers' reign of terror.
Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders
So many true crime podcasts, so little time. But what makes the case of two teenage girls murdered in a small Indiana town particularly compelling is that police have both video and audio of the suspected killer, taken from one of the victim's Snapchat accounts. This series details the investigation and provides the developing theories of the journalists covering it. ♦