While it’s great to unplug and enjoy the natural sounds of your surroundings, it’s nice to escape into some tunes to get you through some of the ho-hum of your day. Or just to help you relax. Similarly, podcasts are a great means of escape, often with compelling stories and conversations to both tickle the intellect and quench the nagging thirst for entertainment.

A few of my faves below… although I’m always discovering and dabbling in other greats…

WTF w/ Marc Maron – a lot of comedian insight, cerebral ranting, deep interviews w/ celebrities… and Obama (in the archives)!

The Great Debates – these guys take on any issue with ridiculous intellectual passion!  Sample topics:  Beer is Better than Wine,  June is Better than July, Keanu Reevs is a Great Actor… sometimes special smart guests BJ Novak and John Mayer.  It’s kind of amazing.

Speaking of amazing…

How to be Amazing – comedian/actor Michael Ian Black interviews some greats from different arenas of success (literature, science, tech, film, politics) to learn that even the most successful peeps struggle and fail in the process of becoming amazing.  If you think you’re amazing, this is humbling.  If you think you’re stupid, this is comforting.

Call Your Girlfrienda podcast for long-distance besties to catch up on politics, internet, pop culture, and social commentary.  Two hella smart ladies tell it like it is in a peer-arena pow-wow.

Girl on Guy – (discontinued, but archives are available) comedian/actor Aisha Tyler (sf local!) is thoughtful and super smart (I would listen for her vocabulary alone – whenever you hear SAT words w/ obscenities, something magical happens), interviewing all kinds of celebrities, humorists, gets down to the personal nitty gritty via sincere storytelling and conversation.

Give ’em a listen!  They totally do that smart-feeling thing you turn to reading The New Yorker for.  Explore topics you always knew how you felt about, but could never articulate.

I’ve always got an ear open for more good listens… what are you listening to these days?

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