Podcasts of People Monologuing?
August 23, 2016 3:59 PM   Subscribe

I like the This Is Actually Happening, Rumble Strip Vermont, Me, You, We and -to a lesser extent- Home of the Brave podcasts because they feature ordinary people talking about their weird/noble/fulfilling/quotidien experiences with a bit of production gloss thrown on top. I’m NOT interested in podcasts like The Moth or RISK!, which feature stories that the speakers have honed to a fine point and deliver as public orations. Can y’all recommend some other podcasts that fit into the first category and avoid the second? Thanks!
posted by Going To Maine to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
The Radiotopia podcasts Love + Radio and Strangers sound like what you're looking for, especially Love + Radio. Love + Radio (rambling, monologue-y, different interviewee/storyteller every time) is a bit "edgier" and features unsettling, weird, poignant stories, whereas Strangers (skilfully edited, but still feels very authentic and in-the-moment rather than poised & polished) is all about human connection and the human condition. I've listened to almost every single episode of both, and there are no duds.

News From Lake Wobegon is not, I'm pretty sure, actually just off-the-cuff monologuing, but it sure sounds that way; it's a news & "town gossip" from a little fictional prairie town, very much focused on the quotidian.
posted by stellarc at 4:16 PM on August 23, 2016

StoryCorps from NPR is just lovely. I've also heard great things on KCRW's Unfictional.
posted by maudlin at 5:42 PM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Everything Is Stories is a lot like This is Actually Happening -- long form interviews with no narration. They are probably my favorites in this category.

For a slightly produced feel, you might enjoy Anxious Machine -- depending on the episode, the stories feel very authentic and not interview-y. ARRVLS is similar.

Death, Sex, and Money is a produced interview, there's no getting around that. But somehow Anna Sale makes it feel extremely authentic and intimate, even when she is interviewing very famous people. The Karl or Titus Burgess episodes should give you a good idea.

Reveal is more of a news show than anything else, but the creator is a black man and he often speaks frankly and revealingly about his experiences with racism. I love how he's an interviewer who dares to ask the hard questions. I was listening to Lawless Lands today and there's a moment where he calls out the white man in this piece which made me think of the honesty I associate with these other podcasts.
posted by possibilityleft at 5:49 PM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Tobolosky Files. Stephen Tobolowsky is a well known/seen character actor and he tells stories from his childhood, learning to be an actor, working on movies, struggling through life, etc...

It may be a little more polished than you're looking for, but it's soooooo good. Funny, compassionate, full of wonder, human. And he's not performing these stories in front of an audience. They're recorded as if he's just talking to you in a bar.
posted by brookeb at 7:53 PM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Unfictional (a KCRW radio show that also exists as a podcast) often matches your description.

Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People is a dialogue rather than a monologue, and almost gloss free, but it might be worth a try.
posted by eotvos at 10:35 PM on August 23, 2016

The 40 Year Old Boy is a comedian Mike Schmidt narrating his current life while weaving in stories from his (extraordinarily colorful) pass. Almost every episode is a monologue, stream of conscious style. The episodes that aren't tend to be episodes recorded with his childhood best friend.
posted by mmascolino at 4:34 AM on August 24, 2016

I'm not sure if this is too polished, because their About page does reference The Moth as inspiration, but I've enjoyed the Arctic Entries storytelling series -- a relatively new acquaintance told a story on a recent episode about a jacket he wore on the first day of fourth grade, and his seemed pretty typical of the product offered. While the stories are clearly practiced, the production isn't super glossy and the stories are told in front of a live audience which helps a lot.
posted by palomar at 10:23 AM on August 24, 2016

(On second thought that's pretty much exactly what you don't want, so maybe never mind!)
posted by palomar at 10:26 AM on August 24, 2016

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