Things I Like Month: Showbiz Types Podcasts Edition

You know what we don’t talk enough about in American society? Celebrities and Showbiz types. When are we going to pay them some mind?

Ahh, but I kid. And in a way that tickled you, no doubt.



Yes, we spend entirely too much timing thinking about, watching, and reading about celebrities. But we do it a very specific way. For my money, these are podcasts that cut through that nonsense to deliver interesting and/or fun interviews, not insane paparazzi chases through city streets.



At the beginning of the week, I said I was just talking about the podcasts I liked, not ranking them or declaring absolute favorites. Forget all that noise, won’t you? Because I’m declaring POP MY CULTURE my absolute #1 favorite podcast revolving around showbiz types. #1! #1! #1!

Ahh, but why would I say this?

Well, for one thing, I will listen to this no matter who they have as the guest. Timothy Omundson? Of course, he’s on Psych. The Brooklyn Brothers? Not really sure who they are, but yes, definitely. Weird Al Yankovich? Do you even need to ask.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. So, let’s back up.

The show is hosted by Cole Stratton, co-founder and runner of the SF Sketchfest, occasional RiffTraxer, and actor, and Vanessa Ragland, voice on Krogzilla, various live sketch and improv antics in the LA area and revolves around a special guest from the worlds of TV, film, music, stand-up comedy, or podcasting.

But “revolves” is a loose term. Much of the show is a freewheeling discussion amongst the parties about several recent events in pop culture, what the guest likes to watch on TV, and then, eventually, a little bit about the guest’s career. As such, the interview doesn’t feel canned or prepared and even guests who blatantly show up to push their wares—Fred Stoller comes to mind—join in the fun with almost no cajoling.

Besides the largest section of the show, the aforementioned interview, there is other fun to travel through. The show opens on the brief thanks to people who’ve donated lately. However, the thanks are often delivered by the like of Jason Statham (Stratton), Beefaroni, a little girl (?) voiced by Ragland, pocket Katherine Hepburn (Ragland), and Gizmo (Stratton) or via Ragland tight rhymes spit over Stratton’s beatboxing.

Then, post-interview, the guest participates in Firsts—a single question about the first time something happened in his/her life—Stratton’s questions which tend to be trivia about the guest’s own career and Ragland’s which inevitably contain “Have you ever met an Olsen twin,” and some sort of “Would You Rather…?” query involving an angry wizard.

I cannot overstate that you, all of you, should start downloading this podcast right this second.

Released: Roughly three a month

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

The Show

Cole Stratton

Vanessa Ragland




Wife-husband team Elizabeth Laime and Andy Rosen host a guest in their home for a generally structure-less interview. Hands down, the highlights of every episode are the two “games” the guest participates them. In the first, “La(i)me or Totally,” Elizabeth shoots a series of words at the interviewee who says either “Totally,” if they like it or “Laime” if they don’t. Amongst the words/phrases are “backpacking in Europe,” “jean jackets,” and “tongue piercings.”

The second game, however, is the true mindbender. Called “The Oprah Game,” it is openly acknowledged that, in fact, it is no game at all. To summarize, guests choose a random number, Elizabeth reads the description of the episode of Oprah that coincides with that number and asks, “Any thoughts.” That’s it. That’s all there is. And the guests are nearly always befuddled. I can’t do it justice in text, you really have to listen to it yourself.

Released: Weekly

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

Elizabeth Laime

Andy Rosen




Actress and former Huffpost “anchor” Janet Varney hosts women as they look back on their adolescence and how it gave rise to the adult they are today. Varney herself is open about her childhood as well and she and the featured guest nearly always fall into an excellent rhythm from beat one. As any exploration of adolescence should, each episode includes a game of MASH and the use of a cootie catcher. Frivolous and deep by turns, the episodes tend to pass by much quicker than their running time would suggest. As a father of a future teen girl, I consider it invaluable research, but I think there’s enough in each episode to keep non-parents or current teens interested.

Released: Weekly

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

Janet Varney


Tomorrow: The Weekend! Have you some fun! Then, Monday, Sex and Relationship Podcasts!