ENTERTAINMENT
07/28/2015 08:21 am ET

Slip Into Someone Else's Life With 8 Great Interview Podcasts

All you need is an audio player, earbuds and some spare time.

The in-depth profile is a magazine staple -- a nuanced look at the cover star of that month, revealing the subject's workout regimen, lunch du jour, thoughts on their latest project and, if we're lucky, some as yet unrevealed factoid to file away in our collective unconscious. Whether we want to be them, be with them, or just find out what it feels like to try on a different persona for a while, we'll always be drawn to Q&As about other people's lives.

If you want to get your fix of stories about fascinating lives but tire of staring at screens or loathe the paper pileup of discarded monthlies, consider the fine medium of podcasts. They're free, downloadable on demand, portable and don't weigh down your recycling every month. Plus, simply because this medium has a more niche presence versus the behemoths of radio, TV, web and print doesn't mean they don't attract quality talent and compelling stories.

Here are 8 podcasts to dive into on your next road trip or workout session:  

  • “WTF with Marc Maron”
        <strong>For:</strong> Literally everyoneDude got the president as a guest. We needn&rsquo;t say more about Marc Maron&rsq
    WTF with Marc Maron
    For: Literally everyoneDude got the president as a guest. We needn’t say more about Marc Maron’s popular podcast, but if you’ve been under a pop-culture-lacking rock, we’ll give you a run-down. Standup comedian Maron started the twice-weekly download in late 2009. Now he’s racked up over 600 episodes (perfect for your cross-country road trip or sick day, just sayin’). He’s had just about everyone who’s anyone on the show, including culture darlings Amy Schumer, Jon Stewart, Louis C.K., Donald Glover and, of course, the prez himself.
  • “With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus”
        <strong>For:</strong> Improv nerds    &ldquo;Clipped&rdquo; and &ldquo;Jurassic World&rdquo; star Lauren Lapkus has her r
    With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus
    For: Improv nerds “Clipped” and “Jurassic World” star Lauren Lapkus has her roots in improvisational comedy, the madcap, you-had-to-be-there humor made mainstream by shows like “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” She manages to translate her onstage experience into our earbuds with this podcast, in which she is the constant special guest to a rotating cast of hosts, including comedy-scene mainstays like Gabe Liedman, Nick Kroll and Cameron Esposito. The result is an always different, totally inventive show (some “show titles” include “A Lil’ Dab’ll Do Ya” and “NBA on NPR”) where neither us listeners nor Lauren nor her host know what’s coming next. If you listen to this, you’ll probably be the weirdo who’s laughing at nothing on the subway, but it’s worth it.
  • “OffCamera”
    <strong>For:</strong> Lovers of longform celeb profiles who need to, like, run errands and drive and stuffThis audio offshoot
    OffCamera
    For: Lovers of longform celeb profiles who need to, like, run errands and drive and stuffThis audio offshoot of the magazine and web series of the same name is an ideal antidote for those who love famous faces, but not the uninspired sound bites or tabloidy gossip that accompanies them. Host Sam Jones, a photographer and director by trade with his own connections to the industry, sits down for fascinating and refreshing chats with celebrities of all sorts: try Lizzy Caplan, Jon Hamm, or Matt Damon’s episodes on for size.
  • “Criminal”
    <strong>For:</strong> Fair-weather podcasters who only listened to &ldquo;Serial&rdquo; and want moreIf you were one of the z
    Criminal
    For: Fair-weather podcasters who only listened to “Serial” and want moreIf you were one of the zillion people last fall to help catapult “Serial” to its place as the first legitimate podcast sensation, this calmer -- yet just as intriguing -- series hosted by Phoebe Judge will satisfy you until the next season and beyond. Each episode covers one true crime, from a former fake money-printer to a son who discovered his mom’s online paramour was a scam artist to a brother who desires to avenge his sister’s murder. Judge’s careful and illuminating reporting and interviews blur the lines between right and wrong, between an evildoer and a complex human who just got caught in the wrong place.
  • “She Does”
    <strong>For:</strong> Creatives in need of inspirationWho does the coolest &lsquo;cast about women entrepreneurs and artists
    She Does podcast
    For: Creatives in need of inspirationWho does the coolest ‘cast about women entrepreneurs and artists these days? “She Does,” hosted by Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg, illuminates a prominent woman in media in each episode. You’ll be hooked after episode 1, with “High Maintenance” co-creator Katja Blichfeld, but the inspiration and how-do-I-get-your-job envy don’t stop there: available episodes also feature the likes of Anna Sale (see our next recommendation), photojournalist Lyric Cabral and senior Pixar executive Mary Coleman. The show's guests prove time and time again that the creative dream's not dead. 
  • “Death, Sex and Money”
    <strong>For:</strong> People with a voyeuristic streakHost Anna Sale starts each episode of her podcast reminding us we&rsquo
    Death, Sex and Money/WNYC
    For: People with a voyeuristic streakHost Anna Sale starts each episode of her podcast reminding us we’re about to dive into “’Death, Sex and Money’ … the things we think about a lot a need to talk about more.” Among the group of podcasts that focus on interviews with so-called average folk -- people who are not household names, yet still have wild, interesting tales to tell --  this one from WNYC might be the cream of the crop. Whether she’s interviewing a funeral director about his business or asking a freelance producer why she came back to the same city that priced her out, Sale isn’t afraid to bring up the tough stuff and put a close lens on her varied subjects, and remind us that we all struggle with the same basic desires and crises.  
  • “The Sporkful”
    <strong>For:</strong> Non-snobby food loversEven if you feel befuddled by most foodie trends, you&rsquo;ll find common ground
    The Sporkful/WNYC
    For: Non-snobby food loversEven if you feel befuddled by most foodie trends, you’ll find common ground in “The Sporkful,” a WNYC podcast hosted by Dan Pashman. Aside from tantalizing food-related revelations like “true confessions of a ballpark food vendor” and “investigating an office fridge food fest” (the scourge of our modern times, TBH), the podcast has hosted notable personalities like Wyatt Cenac, Dan Savage and the creator of the cronut himself, Dominique Ansel. Even if you can’t tell ramps from kohlrabi, you’ll find yourself loving the weird food facts and perspectives unearthed with each episode.
  • “Tape”
    <strong>For:</strong> Audiophiles who are feeling metaDescribed as &ldquo;a radio show for people who make radio&rdquo; by co
    Tape
    For: Audiophiles who are feeling metaDescribed as “a radio show for people who make radio” by co-host Mickey Capper, this podcast features interviews with some of radio and podcasting’s finest. Even for those without any experience behind a mic or a spit guard, it’s an illuminating look at how to pursue your creative dreams -- and how to become among the best storytellers out there. Capper and co-host Mooj Zadie are clearly passionate about their subjects -- their questions lead each conversation to a different, interesting place, and the duo even brought the fun off the Internet with the Tape Festival in Brooklyn this past July.

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