✈️ Airport books or “the super spreaders of human stupidity” 📚 10 Days of Lindsay Lohan 💁♀️ defenestration 🪟 gallows humor in the Andes 🏔
🍭 👂 You're in for a treat! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, November 7. In case this email is too long, listen to this trailer and subscribe now, the even more interesting part of the Andes plane crash/cannibalism story here, Michael Hobbes has a new show (!!) here. Note that this interview is the funniest interview I have ever published.
ps If you are pleased with Podcast The Newsletter, please spread the word.
👋q & a & q & a & q & a👋
Explain I Said No Gifts in 10 words or less.
Guests bring gifts against my wishes and we discuss them. It's even colder and more lifeless than those ten words would have you believe. Absolutely bone-chilling. I do not recommend it.
What did you want to be when you were eight?
A sweepstakes winner. I thought it was just a matter of time before the Publishers Clearing House van would pull up to my house and set me up for the rest of my life. Since then, my planning skills and grasp of reality have gotten considerably worse.
Why are gifts a good launching point for funny conversations?
They're perfect because the guest gets to bring something they're ready to discuss, and both the listener and I get to experience the surprise of whatever is in the gift bag. So far it's gone pretty well, but I'm just waiting to unwrap a ticking bomb and find myself in a hostage situation.
Which of your guests totally nailed the assignment?
Weird Al gave me a 3rd place trophy he won in high school, which feels like a priceless artifact. I got a ceramic cat from Mitra Jouhari that was so cute that I thought I was going to cry. Bowen Yang gave me some bath powders that have completely shifted the way I sit in warm water. Emma Thompson sent me some Scottish chocolate marshmallow candy, which was delightful because I'm always happy to discuss regional treats. As someone who doesn't plan on ever having a wedding, getting a beautiful waffle iron from Cole Escola really made me feel like a spoiled bride. Will Arnett gave me a Target gift card, which he thought was going to make me spend more money than I wanted, but I'm an excellent shopper and I converted it into two jugs of detergent with a few cents to spare. And Tony Hale made me a bowl out of rope which was an obvious attempt to show off how thoughtful and talented he is. Obviously, a few guests have brought terrible gifts, real garbage, but I'll let you listen and try to figure out which ones I'm talking about.
How have you changed as a host since you started the show?
I think I talk less about my cholesterol levels now.
Do you read your Apple Podcasts reviews? Any ones stand out?
Reading reviews from faceless people on the internet is a practice any mental health professional would wholeheartedly recommend, and so I do it compulsively. A review recently said, "Bridger is the mother I never had" and I'm proud to carry that mantle. Another review once said that anyone who likes my podcast should jump off a building, which I had a slightly different reaction to.
How do you prepare guests?
First, I ask them if they want a LaCroix. They frequently say no because I buy flavors that don't interest people. Recently I purchased Black Razzberry and Beach Plum, which I think are excellent. After that, I tell them we're going to have an easy, nice time. I feel like a dentist calmly explaining a minor procedure to a patient. I should get one of those lead aprons for guests to wear during recordings.
Who is your dream guest?
Martha Stewart. Martha, I know you're reading this. I'm coming for you.
Which podcast would you like to be a guest on?
One day I hope to be close enough to a crime that a podcast reaches out to me as a witness interview. I will snitch on whoever I need to if it gets me airtime.
Who do you wish had a podcast?
Garth Brooks. He posted a video to Facebook in 2014 that is still one of my favorite pieces of media. His podcast should follow the format of that video: Garth alone in a hotel room monologuing about Facebook in a voice that makes you think he could start undressing at any moment. If you haven't seen it, I can't recommend it enough.
What does your mom think of your podcast?
She's very supportive but I imagine she thinks there's too much swearing. There's not that much swearing, but any swearing is too much swearing for my mom.
Lots of comedians have podcasts. Yours is different—it’s not just a chat show, it’s completely unique. What do you think about comedians starting podcasts in general? It seems to be a big thing right now.
I wish everyone would cut it out and just let me have the spotlight for a few decades. Once I die someone else can have a podcast.
What do you think that the gifts people give you says about them?
If they're a good person or a bad person. It's very simple.
If you were going to launch another show, your budget is $1M and don’t worry about logistics or whether or not anyone would like it, what would it be?
It would be a podcast where I buy a $1M home in Palm Springs and then record from there. I would recommend songs and talk about tweaks I've made to cookie recipes. It would be absolutely excruciating.
And again, I also have a podcast idea for Garth Brooks.
Are you a podcast listener?
When the weather is nice enough for wandering around the neighborhood, or if I have a long enough commute that allows me to listen to both a podcast episode and at least twenty minutes of music. I appreciate the hour of learning a podcast can provide but then the complete emotional release provided by music played at an alarming level.
What’s a podcast you like that everyone already knows about?
This Is Actually Happening, Las Culturistas, Do You Need a Ride?, and Couples Therapy with Naomi and Andy.
What’s a podcast you like that not enough people know about?
Add to Cart is so lovely and fun. Dear Joan and Jericha is one of the filthiest things I've ever listened to. Lizzy Cooperman's In Your Hands is such an ambitious, funny experiment. Baby Mouth is always a good time.
What’s something you wish people asked you but nobody ever does?
"Bridger, when are you going to let the community do something for you?"
Bridger, when are you going to let the community do something for you?
When the time comes there will be a signal, and at that point I expect the community to act quickly and confidently.
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
🎙️If you’ve been waking up every day wondering what is Rose Eveleth up to?, your prayers have been answered—she dropped 27 episodes in one day that is part of a choose-your-own-adventure project, Welcome to Vangard Estates, in the Flash Forward feed. It’s a beautifully-crafted piece full of immersive sound and talented actors that sets you as the main character of the story with a decision to make—your father has Dementia and your sister has him staying at this care center in beta that seems like a bargain, but there’s a catch—it’s run by robots. Would you leave your father there? And if you did, what would you do when things start to get strange? And if you didn’t, would you let him live with you? There are 14 different endings, so the story you get is all your own. This week, Rose will be dropping follow-up interviews with experts for conversations about what inspired this story. It’s a fun audio game that gets you thinking about weighty matters—aging and family, and how that intersects with tech. By placing you at the center of the story, you’re forced to empathize with this topic in a completely unique way. Don’t feel overwhelmed, episodes are short. I bet you’ll blow through your first story and want to start all over again and again.
✨The Mash-Up Americans feed has been pretty quiet, but drumroll please…Rebecca Lehrer and Amy Choi are back with Grief, Collected, a show that examines American culture’s unique relationship to grief, how we can make a shift towards creating grieving practices, the risks we take if we don’t properly grieve what we’ve lost, and what clarity, empathy, and liberation we can gain if we do. Launching November 15, it will offer five episodes (that features conversations with people like Adrienne Maree Brown about things we should be talking about but aren’t) plus four meditations. It’s so needed and constructive but also as bright and sunny as Rebecca and Amy. Listen to the trailer now and make sure you’re subscribed.
✨ Pantsuit Politics interviewed Ashley Carman about the state of the podcasting industry. Listen here.
✨Call 1-844-POD-AT-ME every morning while you’re eating your Wheaties—and leave your own podcast recommendation at the sound of the beep. We might feature it on the hotline.
🎙️Stop the presses! I was not emotionally prepared for another Michael Hobbes podcast, but I got one, and sometimes I don’t know why the universe is so kind to us. If Books Could Kill, which he co-hosts with Peter Shamshiri (host on 5-4), explores airport books, (“the super spreaders of American stupidity”) and how they have captured our collective imaginations, spread terrible ideas, misused data to reach false conclusions, and caused real and actual danger in the world. They had a few episodes banked before they recorded the Freakonomics episode but decided to run with it first, because it is the perfect dangerous airport book, and this was a perfect episode. It’s a sigh of relief that two smart people are talking about how these books, fueled by complete lies, had a huge impact on the world. Listen here.
🎙️On a recent episode of The Skewer, Jon Holmes does what he always does, beautifully and weirdly remixes sound clips from the news to create a musical, lyrical montage of what’s happening in the world. But this time, he’s done it using 100 Years of BBC footage. It’s an odd and twisty history lesson that you can dance to and will make you feel like you’re on drugs even if you aren’t. (If anyone listens to this dancing and on drugs, please share your experience with me.) Listen here.
🎙️In anticipation of Lindsay Lohan’s new film Falling for Christmas (hell yeah) Ringer Dish is unleashing 10 Days of Lindsay Lohan, allowing Ringer hosts to celebrate Lindsay’s career, talent, ups and downs, her less-celebrated roles, her teenage drama, Lindsay Lohan twin theories, and my favorite so far—LiLo’s best sponcon. I feel like I’ve picked up her story in pieces and consider this imperative content. Start here.
🎙️You may already know the story of the Rugby team that got stranded in the Andes in 1972 and resorted to cannibalism in order to survive, and while cannibalism is often the reason people flock to this story, on You’re Wrong About, Sarah Marshall and guest Blair Braverman pull you through the story forging a new path, finding the more interesting pieces that lie beneath. It’s the story you know fleshed out with insight about how faith (and sports) played a role in the players’ survival, details of their inventive moments (like making socks out from the skin of of human forearms,) how even in an adventure that is literally so fucking unbelievably unfortunate and horrendous, our humanity expands and we can even be funny, and how these boys were really playing mind games with a mountain. It was a great spooky episode, part of Sarah’s survivor series (see The Donner Party episode w/Chelsey Weber Smith and another Blair episode about The Dyatlov Pass Incident.) Death is always close. Listen here.
🎙️What would you do if you booked a big, exciting guest and on recording day, they (and their pushy husband) were completely disrespectful on the call? I assume this happens all the time and people just let it slide. But Glennon Doyle’s We Can Do Hard Things team snapped into action, immediately cancelling the interview. This might have created a gap in their content calendar, but they turned the snafu into an episode of the three of them talking about boundaries, respect, and what to do (and how to know) if someone has crossed a line. It’s a reminder to anyone who has felt crossed that they deserve to shut it down and calm down that self-gas-lightey voice inside that says “that wasn’t so bad, was it?” This conversation gave me a lot to think about as someone who has a team to protect, but everyone has themselves to protect, and this is a great guide to standing up for yourself and your values, no matter what you think the cost may be. (BTW DM me if you know who this rude guest was—I’ll keep it private.) Listen here.
🎙️The story we all saw coming—the murder of JonBenét Ramsey, popped up in the Rabia and Ellyn Solve a Crime feed, and it ended up being the most sensical take on the case that I’ve ever heard. Despite all the missing pieces of the crime, Rabia and Ellyn (joined by Rachel Bilson and Olivia Allen) shared so many lightbulb moments that made me realize (spoiler alert) JonBenét was probably killed by an intruder? (And not a little boy or mother. Who the fuck knows how to murder someone with a garrote? I had to google it.) This show gives clarity to a case that’s been obsessively puzzling people for decades but also adds to what seems to be the thesis statements of this show—we cannot judge people because of how they acted post-crime, the police ruin everything, and the perpetrator is almost never who the media tells us it is. Listen here.
🎙️Art intimidates (and often bores!) me, so I was late to Death of an Artist. But once I started I didn’t stop. It’s the story of Ana Mendieta, an artist who played with blood and fire, chainsaws and gunpowder, to create bold, feminist work, and her (probable) murder by the famous sculptor and partner Carl Andre. (Ana was [probably] defenestrated.) Host Helen Molesworth revisits covers Mendieta’s life, death, and the trial that followed, but wades into lots of other interesting places. She interrogates her own feelings about appreciating Andre’s work knowing that he is (maybe) a murderer, the plight of women who dare to make men feel threatened, how the art world was impacted by the #MeToo movement, disparity in the art world, and the dynamics and political vectors surrounding art acquisition. This podcast is a sprawling lesson into a woman, a (possible) murder, a movement, and a very sexist industry, but it feels focused and fluffless. Listen here.
🎙️Blair Socci’s Dear Owen Wilson has been cancelled, and I am sad. Based on a real letter that Blair wrote to Owen Wilson in 2007 telling him how much she loved him, this show features special guests reading fan letters to celebrities they loved growing up. Her hardworking fact-checker Lucien provides her with extra tidbits about the celebs, so it’s a portrait of famous people and the other famous people who like them. The whole time Blair has been very transparent about how she needs likes and reviews and for people to spread the word in order for the show to survive. More transparent than most. We failed her, somehow. The show is no more. In a recent episode she talks about how she never used to review podcasts before but realizes how important it is, especially if you want to support a creator, now. Whether it’s a podcaster, a musician, an author, whatever. Don’t take their art for granted. Liking something without taking any action could lead to the death of something you enjoy. Listen here.
🎙️I have loved Ophira Eisenberg for years (I once co-hosted a storytelling show with her and also fell on my face climbing onto The Moth stage at an event she was hosting—I was wearing a pencil skirt. She helped me up.) I’ve enjoyed her as host of Ask Me Another, as a guest on other shows, and I’ve traveled as far as above 14th street to see her perform. I’ve listened to a few episodes of her new show Parenting is a Joke, and it’s the best parenting podcast I’ve ever heard. (I’m not a mom yet.) It’s a great balance of funny, the tiny oddities of children, funny, and the unspoken secrets of giving birth. (I really, really want men to listen to this.) It’s really for anyone who wants to laugh but covers stuff that some may think to “mommy group” for cool people. This podcast is, like Ophiria, mom and cool. Listen here.
🎙️Have you ever noticed the massive amount of TV and Movies from Ohio: Family Ties, MASH, Point Break, Devil Wears Prada, Hot In Cleveland, How I Met Your Mother, 3rd Rock From the Sun, The Bird Cage, Tommy Boy, Glee, Marvel’s Black Widow, CBS’s Ghosts…..? I hadn’t, Liz Pahl has. Her new show Heart of It All explores the connections between Ohio and Hollywood that you may or may not have noticed before, but once it’s been pointed out, you can’t get it out of your brain. As an Ohesian, I want to know…what is it about the place I call home that makes it an easy reference point for media to use…because it’s a joke? Exceptionally beautiful and interesting? Completely neutral? The birthplace of seven presidents? She’s interviewing artists, producers, historians and writers to uncover just how much Ohio and its people have influenced the entertainment industry. Totally did not know that Hollywood itself was literally named and created by a woman named from…(you guessed it) Ohio! Listen here.
🎙️ Wild For Scotland is an immersive storytelling podcast hosted by award-winning Scotland travel blogger Kathi Kamleitner that presents travel stories set in beautiful places (from Kilmartin Glen to Glencoe, and islands like Kerrera and Canna) which includes original audio from the locations, beautiful soundscape, and interviews with the people who inspired the narrative. It’s a sweet twist on a travel show that masters the magic of audio to bring you to a beautiful place. Listen here.
🎙️I love you!
This week we’re getting to peek into the listening life of Jennifer McCord, a producer who has also worked as a project manager, a human resources professional, and an apparel product line manager. She loves telling stories that are rooted in a sense of place, that map the gap between our thinking and our actions, or that explore the inextricable link between equity and design.
The app you use to listen: My friends often share episodes via good ol’ fashioned Apple Podcasts, so lately that’s been my most-used app.
What speed do you listen to podcasts? I’m a 1x person.
How do you discover new shows? Word of mouth, for sure. I spend a lot of time listening to tape for freelance clients’ shows, so at the end of the day my ears crave music or IRL conversations instead of more podcasts. I love that trying out shows recommended by my friends gives me a window into their listening habits and something to connect over too.
One show you love that everybody loves. Death, Sex & Money. I’m constantly taking notes on how to be a better interviewer.
One show you love that most people don't know about. Last year, I listened to Forever is a Long Time and was so moved by it – on a human level by how earnest everyone was who agreed to be interviewed for it, but also on an editorial level (if that’s a plane on which someone can be moved??) by how thoughtfully and critically Ian Coss, the creator, structured this really personal inquiry.