This month’s top 10 list marks a full twelve months of creating them! Hurray! It’s sometimes a lot of work in the last few days as I try to remember what was so great about a particular episode, but overall I’m happy to be making these lists. They’ve always been a blend of my personal life and preferences with what are objectively big events or great episodes in the podcast world, but I’m pretty comfortable with that.
As always, I’m interested in hearing what other people listen to. What suits your fancy? I had a conversation with a new friend the other day where we shared what podcasts we loved. We only overlapped on one, even though we both loved storytelling and comedy. There’s so much out there worth hearing that I know my lists can’t fully capture.
Regardless, here’s what I enjoyed for this month of August, 2015:
There’s a need in me to synthesize what I’ve seen tonight, August 6, 2015: the Republican party had a debate among ten of their seventeen primary candidates, followed immediately by Jon Stewart hosting his last episode of The Daily Show.
It was notable that Stewart did not engage in much comedy about the debate itself. Obviously the show is taped earlier than the debate, so there was an ongoing gag about that. The debate was ripe for ridicule, though, and the viewing audience was, for the first time, made to realize that this man (and his writing staff and correspondents) wasn’t going to be there each night to make sense of it all.
Trevor Noah was recently announced to be taking Jon Stewart’s place as the head of The Daily Show towards the end of this year. I haven’t been a regular viewer of the show for some time, though it and The Colbert Report hold a special place in my heart from high school and college.
The news was met with excitement that finally someone other than a white straight cis man was going to head a major late night show, even if it’s in a slightly different, “comedy newsy” category. I went to watch a few of Noah’s segments from the past few months he’s been on the show.
“Spot the Africa” is fantastic, juxtaposing Americans’ expectations of what Africa is with the reality that it’s more similar to the US than we perceive. The impact is so strong that the audience clearly gets a little uncomfortable.
“Boko Haram in Nigeria” is similarly powerful because it highlights a huge oversight in our public consciousness on current events in Africa and their similarity to the Middle East, pointing to our priorities and misperceptions.
Within a day of the announcement, though, scrutiny of his past behavior has become the more dominant headline…