While sheltering at home for the last three months, I haven’t had a chance to listen to many podcasts. I used to consume them in my car wherever I went, but since I’ve emerged from home only a few times (almost always to retrieve food), my trips have been neither frequent nor long. But once the weather turned warm and dry enough for me to start taking daily walks around the neighborhood, I have plugged in my earbuds and spent 45 minutes at a time strolling and listening to some of the large number of episodes that have automatically downloaded to my iPhone.
Of those, I have three to recommend to you.
One is Alec Baldwin’s conversation with Woody Allen on “Here’s The Thing.” The latter no doubt agreed to do it because he has an autobiography to promote (“Apropos Of Nothing” — which I reviewed here). Plus, they already have a relationship, with Baldwin appearing in three of Allen’s films. The topic of Woody’s past legal problems (and the reactions of some of the actors who appeared in his movies) did come up — Baldwin says he was forced to ask about them by the executives at his podcast company — but it didn’t take up the bulk of the discussion. Rather, with gentle steering from Baldwin, Woody delved into some of the aspects of his life and career at a depth he didn’t in the book, and it was good to hear the stories in his own voice.
Second is Alan Alda talking with Paul McCartney on “Clear and Vivid.” While there’s very little new from Sir Paul, he does explain the meaning of an “oobley” chord, which really tickles Alda. Unfortunately, as with most McCartney interviews, there aren’t any questions about the music he’s created in the 50 years since the Beatles broke up other than his classical piece, “The Liverpool Oratorio.” Alda could have chosen any of the Ten Questions For Paul McCartney that I came up with in 2018. Still, how often do you hear an acting legend and a musical legend talking about their crafts?
Third is Jerry Seinfeld’s appearance on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. It’s a booking the host had been hoping to get for years, but Seinfeld was never interested — or seemingly ever knew who Maron was. Because Seinfeld doesn’t want to discuss his offstage existence, the psychotherapy life review that’s usually part of a Maron interview is replaced by deeper discussions about comedy, including what makes a funny person funny. They also compare their experiences having their own TV shows, the difference in their styles in developing material, and the discipline of writing bits out vs. winging them on stage.