Stefan Marolachakis, senior editor, @stefanmymind
Found magazine's motto says it all: "We collect stuff people find." Ever since co-creator Davy Rothbart discovered a strange note on his windshield in 2000—meant not for him, but a mystery man named Mario—Found magazine has been collecting and publishing the strangest and most compelling items they come across. With their new Found podcast, which premiered this week, Rothbart aims to take a closer look at the stories behind some of the best items they've encountered so far. Already a fan of Rothbart from his essay collection, My Heart Is an Idiot, and his appearances on This American Life, I had a hunch I'd like his podcast, and it doesn't disappoint. Funny and insightful, it's got a fun, detective-show feel to it—and, perhaps most importantly, it doesn't go for the cheap laughs. It takes all of its participants seriously, and the result is a welcome, life-affirming dose of empathy.
2 Dope Queens
Chantal Strasburger, assistant editor, @chantagold
The two dope queens in question are stand-up comedian Phoebe Robinson and erstwhile Daily Show senior correspondent Jessica Williams. My roommate turned me on to these two hilarious ladies after she attended one of their live podcast tapings in Brooklyn. The show swings between hilarious performances by special guest comedians and the hosts' own off-stage thoughts and musings on love, race, and life in New York City. Their first episode, "Dad Bods," which dropped this past April, is a perfect place to start. 2 Dope Queens is a refreshing and laugh-out-loud companion to daily commutes, wine with friends, or just a pick-me-up after a long day.
Rebecca Deczynski, editorial assistant, @rebeccadecz
Be honest with yourself for a moment and think: do you really know who Rita Ora is? Maybe you know she's a singer, or you saw that she had a part in Southpaw, or that she dated Calvin Harris pre-Taylor Swift—but do you know how or why she came to fame? Do any of us truly know? Perhaps not. But Who? Weekly is here to help. Hosted by Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, the (B-list and lower) celebrity-focused podcast sardonically sheds light on all of the so-called stars who pop in and out of tabloids, leaving the general public asking, "Who?" If you love celebrity culture but also maintain a keen self-awareness of its absurdity, then this is the podcast for you.
You Must Remember This
Chanel Parks, assistant editor, @chanelinezp
Film critic Karina Longworth is the creator, host, editor, researcher, and mother of the podcast You Must Remember This, which regales its listeners with tales of one of America's most beloved subjects: Hollywood. Covering the early days all the way up through the '90s, Longworth expounds on some of the most high-profile celebrities of all time—including Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, and Lena Horne, to name a few. Her episodes stray from the salacious, which makes the show a refreshing respite from our seemingly inescapable tabloid culture. Check out her multi-part series, "Charles Manson's Hollywood," highlighting the deranged relationship between the Manson family and the L.A. movie scene.
Rebecca Bates, senior editor, @re.beccabates
I'm writing about this podcast right now so that it doesn't get buried in the annals of history before you get the chance to hear it. Running sporadically, with only 10 episodes, the last episode was recorded a few months before the untimely death of its host, comedian and Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels. Analyze Phish was born out of a feud between Wittels and Scott Aukerman, the host of the incredibly popular Comedy Bang Bang podcast and TV show. Wittlels had been an avid Phish fan since his teens. Aukerman, a true musical theater nerd, was not. Wittels was determined to convert Aukerman into a fellow Phish lover by whatever means possible, and so, as comedians are wont to do these days, they started another podcast. In each episode of Analyze Phish, Wittels tried to introduce the band's music to Aukerman through various entry points he thought would be relevant (Beatles covers, Talking Heads references). Mostly, the show would devolve into bickering, as Aukerman remained unconvinced and Wittels became more impassioned. It's a hilarious love letter to a band that weirdly maintains a die-hard cult following (full disclosure, I don't understand or like Phish at all), and, looking back, a touching reminder of a comedic voice lost too soon.
Abbey Maxbauer, editorial intern, @abbeymaxbauer
If you couldn't get enough of Serial, this will be your new favorite show. This addictive podcast has all of the mystery of Sarah Koenig's NPR masterpiece without the heavy weight of justice hanging in the balance; these mysteries are not crimes, but rather unexplained happenings that are more irritating than anything else. Host Starlee Kine's curiosity compels her to solve these mysteries once and for all, and her inquisitive persona makes the show that much more enjoyable. In episode two, the author of an obscure book enlists Kine's help in tracking down exactly why Britney Spears was photographed carrying a copy of her book while snapped walking out of a restaurant in 2008. I won't spoil anything for you, but following Kine's winding road to the truth is a uniquely joyous experience.
Christian Storm, photo editor, @cstorm44
I have a confession to make to the world: I watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette on ABC. Religiously. Gender norms be damned! The silly drama and the dramatic silliness are the stuff reality television dreams are made of. So when I heard that Griffin McElroy, the youngest brother of the hilarious familial power trio behind the acclaimed podcast, My Brother, My Brother, And Me, was making a podcast with his wife, Rachel, about their shared obsession with The Bachelor, I knew I'd love it. And I was right. It's just like having your smartest, funniest friend talk to you about something you both are super-interested in while you commute to work, stifling laughs all the way. And that, in essence, is what good podcasts are all about—so if you, too, are a proud, card-carrying member of Bachelor Nation, this one's for you.