Put Your Hands Together
Cameron Esposito’s weekly stand-up comedy podcast is the first of its kind and remains one of the best in Los Angeles. Recorded live every Tuesday at Upright Citizens Brigade, Esposito hosts and curates a lively group of the alternative comics that cater to the theater’s devoted audience. Podcast listeners get the benefit of going backstage for interviews with comedy’s best and brightest, which are spliced throughout the 75 minutes of nonstop funnies. While the live show exudes the feel-good vibe of its digs at UCB, listening to the podcast any other time ratchets up the intimacy so you can really let loose and laugh out loud. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
Former NPR reporter Madeleine Brand lends a breezy candor to serious inquiry into the issues Angelenos care about most. Press Play isn’t a show about the minutiae of local politics; rather, it tackles larger trends and ides affecting the public through a Los Angeles lens. Brand is an excellent interviewer, asking questions that get to the heart of the matter with just the right amount of wry comic relief to ease the tension of looking so pointedly at what’s important. Press Play airs Monday through Friday from noon to 1 pm on KCRW, but it’s available any time as a podcast.
Each week, The Library Foundation of Los Angeles hosts a thought-provoking speaker series called ALOUD at the Downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium. Most of the events are free and include readings from authors and a panel discussion with important figures, followed by an audience Q&A. Luckily for those who miss it, the magic is always captured and cataloged in podcast form. The archive is updated weekly for those who want to keep up, but it’s just as fun to rifle through past episodes for insights from the likes of singer and author Patti Smith, Homeboy Industries founder Father Greg Boyle, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and many more brilliant minds.
Comedian Marc Maron’s podcast WTF has made him the poster boy not only of LA podcasters, but of comedy podcasters in general. The podcast broadcasts every Monday and Thursday out of his Highland Park garage, a.k.a. ‘The Cat Ranch’; the intimate space serves as a kind of confessional for guests across the board, from comedians to musicians and writers – even President Obama’s been on the show. As someone who wears his demons on his sleeve, Maron serves an interview style that’s more instinctive than journalistic, and it usually makes for authentic conversation. At its best, WTF undermines manicured public personalities we only think we know, offering a space for listening and empathy that most media is sorely lacking.
You Can’t Eat The Sunshine
Unearth the hidden histories of LA’s loaded landscape with Kim Cooper and Richard Schave of alternative tour company Esotouric. Los Angeles is a city of myth and legend, and You Can’t Eat The Sunshine taps its reservoirs of historical fact and fiction. Cooper and Schave map out the lesser known, but no less compelling, tales of the city, consulting with LA experts and California characters in an attempt to understand the zeitgeist of this place. New hour-long episodes air once a month.