Podcasts are the future of audio entertainment. Unlike radio where if you don’t tune in at a particular time, you may miss a great interview or on-air incident, you can listen to podcasts at your leisure after taking seconds to download them online. There are a lot less restrictions than standard radio so people can spout off on any topic with very little interference. Hosts can bring guests on and converse with them or just spend an hour talking about a particular topic. Some concepts of certain podcasts are pretty out there but that’s the beauty of the medium. The concept has been around for awhile but has really skyrocketed over the last few years. Some people have made a career in the podcast world and people worldwide, like you, are launching their own shows. Let’s take a gander at some of my favorites:
The Art of Wrestling w/ Colt Cabana
Colt Cabana is universally referred to as the most well known professional wrestler who isn’t signed with WWE. While he did have a cup of coffee with the promotion in 2008, he made virtually no impact. In addition to being one of the most in-demand grapplers on the independent circuit, the 15-year veteran parlayed his knowledge of show business into many others careers such as stand-up comedy. Adding to his entrepreneurial lifestyle, the Chicago native started his own podcast entitled, “The Art of Wrestling,” in 2010. While doing a tremendous job of providing exposure to the hottest talent in independent wrestling, Colt also brings current WWE and TNA superstars on as guests as well as wrestling legends such as Steve Austin, Jake Roberts, and Bruno Sammartino. The realities of the pro wrestling world are revealed when Colt and many of his guests talk in-depth about the hardships they have to go through on a daily basis to make a name for themselves in the business that they love. His real-life best friend, former WWE megastar C.M. Punk will sometimes appear in the opening monologue to shoot the breeze with his old pal. This podcast is highly recommended if you ever wanted to know about the process of getting started in the wrestling industry and what an independent wrestler goes through everyday.
Notable episodes include: Montel Vontavious Porter and the life he led that landed him in prison and worked hard to become one of WWE’s premiere players in the late 2000’s, New Jack and his crazy, uncensored personality detailing his days at ECW, WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts and his journey to become the voice of WWE live events, and Kofi Kingston for his inspiring story of going from boring office worker to popular WWE wrestler.
WTF? w/ Marc Maron
Photo credit: iTunes
I’ve always considered Marc Maron to be the “Anvil of stand-up comedy.” For those who don’t get the reference, Anvil were a semi-popular heavy metal band in the 80’s who toured with the most popular names in the genre and even influenced the likes of Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax but failed to achieve the mega stardom that their contemporaries did. After a critically acclaimed documentary about them was released in 2008, Anvil experience a resurgence in popularity and have toured and recorded consistently since. Maron went through something similar. Being around since the 80’s he performed alongside the biggest comics of the day but did not achieve the level of recognition that they did and went into relative obscurity for many years. Up until 2009 not many people heard the name Marc Maron outside of a brief cameo in Cameron Crowe’s 2000 film, “Almost Famous,” until he started his own podcast called “What the Fuck?” (or ‘WTF?’ for short). On the podcast, Maron is very open about his personal life, talking about his family and current love interests all before conversing with various figures in show business. Maron, to me, feels like he learns something new at the end of each episode which makes “WTF?” all the more satisfying. Since the show has taken off, his stock has risen with sold out shows worldwide and a television program based on his life, “Maron”, currently airing on the IFC network.
Notable episodes include: Tom Arnold detailing his up-and-down life and how Arnold Schwarzenegger helped save his career, Tool and A Perfect Circle singer, Maynard Keenan, talking about his wine business, Aubrey Plaza’s quirky rise to stardom from growing up in Delaware to having a stroke while attending NYU, and late comedian Patrice O’Neal talking about his life at home.
Nerdist w/ Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick is a comedian whose biggest claim to fame was hosting the popular 90’s MTV dating show, “Singled Out.” That is, until he started the “Nerdist” podcast in 2010 with friends Matt Mira and Jonah Ray. After his show garnered rave reviews, a whole entertainment empire, “Nerdist Industries” was formed with several other entertainers helming their own podcasts such as cooking connoisseur, Alton Brown, and hilarious, off-beat comic, Michael Ian Black. Broadcasting three times a week, Hardwick travels all over the world to interview celebrities from a magnitude of backgrounds whether it’s film, television, comedy, music, or sports. With the popularity that his podcast has brought him, Hardwick’s career has been steadily on the rise with the addition of two popular series: “Talking Dead,” where he hosts a panel of celebrities in talking about that night’s episode of the popular AMC zombiefest, “The Walking Dead,” and “@midnight,” an all-star improv comedy bash on Comedy Central.
Notable episodes include: Aaron Eckhart who is normally very private about his personal life, Donald Faison talking about the differences of auditioning in Los Angeles and New York, musician, Tom Morello, detailing his political causes and life at Harvard, and Thomas Jane discussing his dream projects.
Mohr Stories w/ Jay Mohr
Jay Mohr has been an active figure in film and television throughout the last 20+ years and starred in one of my all-time favorite films, “Suicide Kings.” He started up his own podcast, appropriately titled “Mohr Stories,” which is recorded right from his own garage and on his own network, “Fake Mustache Studios.” What makes his show more unique is that Mohr, a heavy metal fanatic, brings on people from that community such as former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach and Megadeth singer/guitarist, Dave Mustaine.
Notable episodes include: Dave Mustaine from Megadeth and his journey to a more spiritualized lifestyle, WWE Superstar Mark Henry mentioning he was in training for the Olympics in Atlanta during the Centennial Olympic Park bombings, and Alice in Chains guitarist, Jerry Cantrell, talking about his relationship with his father.
The Steve Austin Show w/ Steve Austin
Although wrestling legend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was never known as an easy-going, wise-cracking guy in the wrestling ring, opting instead to flipping off his opponents before beating them down and celebrating with a cold beer, he’s always been outspoken. Since his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009, Austin has been passing his time acting in films and recording his own podcast, “The Steve Austin Show.” The show includes a variety of guests from different industries and Steve isn’t afraid to speak his mind and get to the hard questions. Listeners get a real insight into how humorous and easy going the Texas Rattlesnake truly is. When he’s not catching up with guests, Austin will talk, answer questions, and just give his opinions on the current state of WWE. The real highlight of the show is Austin’s hilarious, over-the-top shills for his sponsors. If the show is sponsored by Dollar Shave Club or other irrelevant service you’ll probably never use, Austin will rave on about it for a few minutes and convince you to buy it right then and there.
Austin actually has two podcasts, a more family-friendly one and a more adult version. The popularity of Austin’s show on the PodcastOne network has paved the way for other key figures in wrestling, such as Chris Jericho and Jim Ross, to start their own shows.
Standouts include: The face of WWE John Cena and his rise to the of the company and how he’s continuing to improve, two-part episode with Jim Cornette who has an excellent stories from the wrestling business, the two-part episode with wrestling greatest play-by-play announcer, Jim Ross, Impact Wrestling’s Eric Young and how he keeps his passion for wrestling while hosting a fishing program on Animal Planet, and two-part episode with former ECW announcer, Joey Styles explaining with love for wrestling and going to school on Long Island.