4YE Year In Review: The Podcasts That Kept Me Sane In 2020

Like many of you, I have been working from home since the end of March. While I haven’t had my daily commute to and from work to catch up on podcasts, I have been taking my lunch break and walking around my neighbourhood and podcasts have never been so important as an escape, a companion, on these daily rambles. Some of my favourite podcasts have kept on offering up weekly and bi-weekly episodes but with so much time, I have had to seek out some new content and these gems have truly made my 2020. Here are five podcasts that have kept me sane over this crazy year.

LadyGang – Lady Lessons

The LadyGang has long been a podcast favourite of mine and I have tuned in to Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin and Jac Vanek since the beginning. While I definitely recommend going and listening to this podcast, over the northern summer, the ladies put out a special summer series tying in with the release of their book, Act Like a Lady. Titled Lady Lessons, the five part series took a deep dive into important topics that are still often considered taboo: Fertility (ep 349), Finances (ep 351), Career (ep 353), Mind and Body (ep 355), and Race (ep 357). Bringing in experts in each of the topic areas, the ladies had a no holds barred discussion exploring each of the areas. Insightful, raw, educational and definitely inspiring, this series was just what I needed after the first half of this year.

My Dad Wrote A Porno

Credit: My Dad Wrote A Porno

This has to be THE best find of mine this year and I have my Facebook friends to thank for it. In April a few of my podcasts were going on hiatus, I was up-to-date with others and so looking for something new. A call out on Facebook and a few people recommended this. It sounded interesting and so I downloaded the first few eps. It only takes you maybe 10-15 mins of the first ep to be completely hooked on this hilarious podcast. Host Jamie Morton’s father has self-published a porno series – Belinda Blinked. Joined by friends James Cooper and Alice Levine, the trio struggle through the current five volumes and yearly Christmas specials, picking apart the sheer absurdities and complex sexual pairings of the crew at Steeles Pots and Pans. With a celebrity following that includes Elijah Wood, Emma Thompson, Lin Manuel Miranda, Dan Levy and many, many more that feature on special footnotes episodes, My Dad Wrote A Porno will have you laughing out loud and has been the tonic needed in 2020. While no new book was released this year, a double Christmas episode and a footnotes with agony aunts Joan and Jericha dropped this month. Belinda Blinked 6 starts up Monday 24 May 2021 so plenty of time to start listening or go back and relive some of the series’ highlights.

Showmance – The Glee Recap Edition

I was a big fan of The West Wing Weekly podcast and every time I listened to it, I wished that there could be something similar with another of my favourite shows – Glee. Well my prayers were answered in 2020 when stars Kevin McHale (Artie) and Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) launched the Glee Recap Edition for the second series of their Showmance podcast. Each week Kevin and Jenna are joined by a fellow Glee cast or crew mate to sharing insights, memories and behind-the-scenes goss from the episode. Though Glee has now been off our screens for five years, it’s availability on Netflix has introduced the musical dramedy to a whole new group of fans and this podcast will appeal to fans, new and old alike. The podcast has been on hiatus since the middle of August following the death of cast mate Naya Rivera in July. I am hoping that Kevin and Jenna will be back in the new year at some stage, especially as the episode they are up to recapping is season 2, episode 6, “Never Been Kissed” and the introduction of Darren Criss’ Blaine Anderson.

The Hamilcast

Is there anyone who hasn’t fallen under the Hamilton spell as yet? Even after the musical was released on Disney+ earlier this year? Well for those of us who are longing to see a live performance once again (fingers crossed all goes to plan in Sydney and I can see it April 2021), the Hamilcast is not only the next best thing, but it’s the perfect companion to the musical. At almost 250 episodes, fan Gillian Pensavalle (G. Pen) talks all things Hamilton. Each week she is joined by guests from the various Hamilton companies across the US and UK (cast and crew), the Hamilton creative team, as well as historians, super fans and those that just Hamilton – the man and the musical. She also tries to get through chapters of Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, though I’m only currently on episode 112 and due to the flood of amazing guests, Gillian has not had a chance to dive into Chernow for quite a while. The podcast provides a fascinating look not only into the founding fathers and Alexander Hamilton, but the inner workings of Broadway and putting on a production such as Hamilton. Always entertaining and educational, this podcast is a must for any Hamilfan.

The Michelle Obama Podcast

Similar to the LadyGang’s Lady Lessons, Michelle Obama’s podcast gathers friends and family of the former First Lady to discuss the relationships and things that make us who we are. And like the LadyGang, this is a no holds barred conversation, full of laughs, love, tears and fears. I have long been impressed with Michelle Obama, her outlook on life and her work. This podcast provides a further look behind the veil of the Presidency and shows a daughter, sister, wife, lover, mother and friend. The conversations are engaging and interesting, touching on topics that are of keen interest to me in both my work and my life. There are only nine episodes so you can quickly work your way through them, but they are definitely worth checking out.

Clare Sidoti
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