The Big Listen ended production in May 2018. While this site is no longer updated, all the content remains available for archive purposes.
Actress and comedian Lauren Lapkus, best known for her roles on TV shows like Are You There, Chelsea? and Orange Is The New Black, has always loved playing characters. Like child star Victoria Conch. Or the “World’s Most Prolific Bridesmaid” Annabelle Tool. Or Wendy “The Worm” Weidelman, the first female breakdancer. She likes it more than she likes actually playing herself, which is why the premise of her podcast, With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus, is so perfect.
To quote the show’s theme song, she’s the host but she’s always the guest. And the guest is the host, so she’s not really the host. So that means each week Lapkus is tasked with playing a different character based on whatever podcast or radio show the guest invents. Shows like Deep, Deep, Deep, Dark Secrets; or Passions of the Christos; or Women’s Glib. And it’s all improvised.
Lapkus isn’t just into fake podcasts, though. She also listens to real ones. Currently, she’s putting her ears on:
Tell Me More Shows To Check Out!
- We The Podcast — Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is a man of many distinctions. He’s the first Muslim elected to Congress, he’s deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee and he’s the first legislator podcaster on the Hill. His podcast features frank discussions and political speechifying about how Americans interact with the economy. Not only is the show a way to reach constituents in a novel way, but it also shows Ellison’s command of the issues.
- How’s Your Day — On each episode, this new podcast from KUOW in Seattle tells “a story you don’t know from a day we all remember.” So they look at stories that happened when Princess Diana died, when the twin towers fell and when Nelson Mandela took his first steps as a free man, to name a few. The podcast is a needle in a haystack exercise and it proved much more difficult than producers Arwen Nicks and Shane Mehling could have imagined. But the stories they found are beautiful and poignant.
- Strangers — Storyteller Lea Thau has always prided herself on her show’s “radical empathy.” But after the 2016 presidential election, she found it hard to have any feelings other than rage at people who voted for Donald Trump. So she decided to explore that in a new mini-series called “Lea In Trumpland.” Thau travels to visit with Trump voters and stays in their houses, eats their food and gets drunk with them all in an effort to reach some better understanding of “the other.”
- Very attractive listener recommendations: An Inexact Science and The Ready To Go Patio Show
Do you have a podcast recommendation you’d like to share with us? We want to hear it! Give us a jingle on the Pod Line at 202-885-POD1 and leave a message. Then we’ll put you on the radio and your grandma will brag to all of her friends at bridge club!
Thanks for reading, pals! ‘Til next time…keep listening, America.
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This is the final episode of The Big Listen. Boo! Hiss! Our show is going off the air (read more on that here) and we’re shifting our focus to other projects. So this is last you’ll hear from us. But we’ve so enjoyed getting to share all the great shows we’re listening to with you. Thank you for spending some time with us. Keep reading...
Over the course of your life, you’ve probably had at least a dozen email addresses. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that at least a couple of those have been super embarrassing. Comedian Nicole Drespel can relate. Not only has she had deeply mortifying email addresses, but she’s also sent more than her fair share of ridiculous emails. Keep reading...