Last week, I was preparing to go for a run when I realized my iPod had no juice. I’ve been running for 25 years but I still can’t go far if I don’t have some distraction– a friend or music. Hearing myself huffing and puffing makes me tired, and all I can think about is being done.
I was annoyed because I haven’t run much in months (thanks polar vortex) and I was motivated by the beautiful day. I started to look on my iPhone for Pandora or some radio app and saw my “podcasts” icon.
I’ve only listened to a podcast once. My savvy friend and pop culture maven Julie told me months ago to listen to a podcast called By the Way, hosted by the actor and comedian, Jeff Garlin. Garlin is best known for his role on Curb Your Enthusiasm and now stars in one of my favorite comedies, ABC’s The Goldbergs.
Julie flagged it for me because Garlin had had a great talk with my hero Lena Dunham, the actress, writer, and producer of HBO’s Girls. The podcast is basically a recording of Garlin sitting on stage in front of an audience interviewing one person for at least an hour. It’s uncensored, seems mostly unedited, and because of Garlin, unpredictable.
I loved the Lena Dunham chat but after I listened to it, I forgot all about podcasts. I read books and magazines, watch too much TV, try (failing lately) to keep up with movies and spend too much time on social media. I didn’t think I needed to add another entertainment category to my already busy schedule.
But there I was in my spandex pants with my running shoes double knotted, all hydrated and ready to go. So I scrolled through the By The Way interviews and picked Judd Apatow, the director, writer and producer of TV shows like Freaks and Geeks and Girls, and movies like the 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up.
Apatow is wildly talented and accomplished, but also is about my age, Jewish and neurotic so he seems very familiar to me. A conversation with Garlin and Apatow sounded very promising. I started running and within a few minutes I forgot I was pounding the pavement and felt like I was hanging out with two funny guys.
The discussion was completely engrossing. I even giggled out loud a few times, and wondered if people on the street thought I was nuts. Listening to people talking in your ears, and the natural progression of conversation on the show felt intimate.
The two are friends and have some shared experiences so that lends itself to easy rapport, but Garlin is a no-bullshit kind of guy, unafraid of offending people, especially celebrities. Like when he went on a hilarious rant about how much he hates director/producer Michael Bay (Transformers and Armageddon) and refuses to see his movies.
The guys were still chatting when I finished my run so I stretched and then cleaned my kitchen while listening to the end of the show, when Garlin takes questions from the audience. I didn’t want it to end. One guy asked when was the last time each of them had smoked pot. Their answers were very surprising.**
I’ve always had a fantasy of being friends with Apatow and his wife, actress Leslie Mann. They seem very cool and as normal as you can be in Hollywood. As my week went on, I kept thinking about that great conversation, as if we had all been pals at dinner together. When a friend asked if I had ever tried pilates, I answered no, but wanted to add, “But Jeff Garlin does it once a week!”
So now I’m obsessed with the idea of podcasts. (I know they’ve been around for 10 years but I’m a late bloomer when it comes to tech.) I realized it’s a great distraction on long walks with the dog and on my commute to the city.
But I’m such a newbie, I don’t know any good ones besides By the Way.
I’m so behind on this so please enlighten me and recommend your favorite podcasts in the comments…… I’m listening.
**Apatow said he hasn’t smoked since college because he did it too much and hated the way it made him feel. Garlin also had not smoked in many years.