Listening Chronicles #19
Documenting thoughts on the podcasts that I listen to and those I would recommend.
Welcome to the Listening Chronicles !
If you’re reading this for the first time - this is the space where I document thoughts on the podcasts I’m listening to and those I would recommend you to listen to as well.
I think an underlying theme of this edition would be comedy and content creation, because a lot of the episodes I’ve heard in the past week or so, consists only of interviews with creators of different genres.
Also, a small bonus YouTube video recommendation at the end.
Let’s get started !
Podcasts I Listened To
1) Journey Of A Joke | Kenny Sebastian and Rahul Subramanian
I really like standup comedy.
When I came across standup, I was around 14/15, it was like a new source of entertainment just opened up for me - a lot of fun. At the time, I really didn’t think that there was a process to creating comedy and getting people to laugh. I thought these were people who were naturally funny, and had hilarious stories to share. I assumed they were living the best life, of travelling to different cities, of performing and earning lots of money. I never knew what happened behind the scenes.
Journey of a Joke, was a fantastic series started by Abish Matthew where he would sit down with some popular comedians in India, and discuss one of the standup bits that they’ve uploaded on YouTube which was popular.
It was educational and made me respect stand up comedians a lot more, because of the sheer effort that goes into creating one single joke, forget about 1 hour long specials. Abish has a really amazing knack of getting his guests to think out loud about the creative process or something they might have been doing intuitively or subconsciously for years.
The series has come out with the 6th Season. The first two episodes are with repeat guests ( I would urge you to check out their first appearances half a decade back) - Kenny Sebastian and Rahul Subramanian.
It was fascinating to watch Kenny reflect on his career shifts since he became popular. The breakdown of the popular Crowdwork videos of Rahul is really good. I’m always in awe of good crowdwork videos. Being able to create comedy without knowing if your jokes will land, relying on so many uncontrollable factors to make it an engaging experience for the people who’ve come to watch you - I can’t imagine navigating that kind of tension in front of a big audience.
Give it a listen !
2) Colin and Samir | How Hasan Minhaj escaped the YouTube Algorithm
Last week, I watched Hasan Minhaj’s new comedy special - The King’s Jester. It was so good. Gripping, honest and hilarious.
Actually, even if you don’t listen to anything on this list - that’s alright. I would urge you to check it out on Netflix. It’s worth your time.
Colin and Samir, as I’ve shared previously in this series, are a pair of YouTubers who make educational content for other content creators out there. They breakdown trends in the creator economy, talk about why certain creators have become successful or have failed, and interview with a bunch of creators about their stories, process and learnings. I love YouTube. I naturally enjoy every video from this channel.
This interview with Hasan Minhaj was also revelatory. I didn’t know about his early experiments with YouTube or how he got into The Daily Show or his ‘Dark Ages’ trying to find a job. My favourite bit in this conversation is when he talks about dealing with fame, and trying to draw boundaries for himself as an artist in a world where the distribution of your content is dominated by algorithms.
3) The Old Man and The Three | Hasan Minhaj
As you can see, I’m still on the Hasan Minhaj hype train.
This was a different conversation. It wasn’t about the creative process of the new standup special or writing comedy. This conversation was a really honest discussion between a fan and a former NBA Player. They talk about the thrill of being a media personality, but my favourite part in this conversation is when discuss ‘winning’, and how one thinks about their own legacy. If you’re a fan of the NBA, this conversation is worth listening to.
I’ve recommended The Old Man and the Three before too. It’s mainly a conversation podcast with NBA Players, executives etc. I think because the host JJ Redick is a former NBA athlete, you often find that the guests on the podcast are more open and comfortable talking to him about their stories.
4) The Flagrant Podcast | Mr. Beast
This is a really long conversation. This time, with one of the biggest YouTubers of the world - Mr. Beast. I follow Mr. Beast, because I’m in sheer awe of the scale of his YouTube empire. Over 200 million subscribers spread over all of his channels. He’s dubbed his channels in a bunch of languages to get views from different parts of the world and he runs a bunch of businesses competing with fast food chains and popular chocolate brands.
It is an insane journey. They discuss all of this, and a lot more on the show. It’s hilarious, entertaining and there are some great moments which keep you engaged throughout.
Of course, I wouldn’t recommend watching this if you don’t know anything about Mr. Beast. But if you are curious about the biggest YouTuber, then you should consider checking this out.
5) John Green’s Lecture | How Will The World End?
This isn’t a podcast, but I really wanted to recommend this as I just finished watching this. It’s a talk by John Green - about his worldview of his faith (Christianity), how he grapples with the existential dread of being a human and what’s his hope for the future.
For me listening to John Green in The Anthropocene Reviewed, or even watching this lecture always reminds me of a simple fact when I’m down - despair isn’t the whole story. One of my favourite parts of the talk is when he ruminates on the human condition (or atleast one minor aspect to it)
"Within our finite selves, we can still imagine boundlessness. Not just imagine it, but also to some extent, describe it.
We can know that the set of real numbers is larger than the set of natural numbers even though they're both infinite.
And that is the human condition. Or atleast the human condition in this world as I see it.
To be finite, but able to conceive of the infinite.
To be mortal, but be able to conceive immortality.
To be able to end ourselves, but not save ourselves."
It’s around 30 minutes long.
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That was it for this edition !
What podcasts have you been listening to? Anything you would recommend?