After starting her career in podcasting at WNYC, Mayer moved to Panoply where she was the first employee for the network, working as managing producer and overseeing the launches of dozens of titles, including season one of the widely lauded show Revisionist History. In 2017, Mayer became the executive producer for Earwolf and Stitcher, handling the development of their large slate of projects. She is now the Chief Operating Officer at Three Uncanny Four Productions, known for Broken: Jeffrey Epstein and Staying In with Emily & Kumail.
As someone who spends all day thinking about, and occasionally making, podcasts, my “joy listening” outside of work are shows I truly treasure. The only podcasts I want to listen to right now are ones in which I feel like I’m hanging out with my friends (that are actually strangers whom I’ve never met. You know what I mean – you all listen to podcasts). Most of these shows are a little bit surreal, which is a good distracting accompaniment to the horrifying pandemic reality we’ve all found ourselves in.
Sexy Unique Podcast
This show began as a Vanderpump Rules recap show (Sexy Unique Restaurant is the name of the restaurant where all the Vanderpump SURvers work). It still is a Vanderpump Rules recap show. But, it’s also so much more. In addition to recapping the current season of Vanderpump (RIP to the brilliant mess that show used to be), host Lara Marie Schoenhals also recaps other shows on the feed. Currently, I’m listening to Lara and her co-host, noted New Jerseyian Carey O’Donnell, recap season three of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. I also recommend their recap of Bravo’s 2010 gem Gallery Girls (“Gallery Ghouls” in Sexy Unique Podcast-speak). If you have even a passing interest in any of these television shows, do yourself a favor and listen. If you don’t have even a passing interest in these television shows then you should watch them, and then listen to SUP.
Election Profit Makers
“A podcast about election-related prediction markets” is the show’s description, and boy is it accurate. This is the only political/current events podcast I can listen to these days. I especially recommend the “Interview a Biden Bro” episode in which the Election Profiteers bring on a young centrist.
Pot Psychology duo Rich and Tracie are back in podcast form. The chronic giggliness of a stoned Rich and Tracie is basically the only thing that can force me to do anything productive around my house these days. Their bonus episodes on Patreon are also good. Rich may have gotten COVID, but he seems better now. There’s something about real life best friends Rich and Tracie laughing their way to a COVID recovery that made me feel like things could eventually turn out all right.
Origins with James Andrew Miller
Looking for the warm embrace that only six exhaustive hours of Sex and the City history and analysis can provide? Then, look no further than this series Origins with James Andrew Miller. Specifically, the wonderful, extensive, Sex and the City aural history from November 14, 2018. I was particularly fascinated by the way the series gets into how Darren Starr and Michael Patrick King worked together in the early seasons as a creator/showrunner duo. Plus, Kim Cattrall was the only major player that refused to be interviewed. Distractingly dishy!!
Seek Treatment with Cat and Pat
One day six months ago I started listening to Seek Treatment and then, two days later, I had somehow listened to all of the episodes that existed? The experience of listening to Cat and Pat discuss “boys, sex, fucking, dating and love” is akin to taking a Benadryl and realizing that five hours have just pleasantly disappeared (just me?).
Staying in with Emily & Kumail
I find nothing more soothing than Emily and Kumail walking me through how to handle sheltering in place while still feeling human. This is also the only podcast my dad has listened to regularly…ever, and I’ve been working in audio for 10 years. Per Bob Mayer “It’s like a therapy session you don’t have to pay for.” My dad has never believed in the idea of therapy…until this podcast, I guess? What a ringing endorsement!
The Dream, Season II
I worked with Jane and Dann on Season I of The Dream about MLMs. Season II takes on wellness. Listening to Jane Marie explain the truly bonkers (and insidious!) world of wellness just feels right at this time. It’s a very human investigation, there’s nothing cold about this show.
Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel
A classic as far as I’m concerned. I love listening to the intricate inner lives of strangers and thinking “well, at least I’ve got different problems.” Find a better way to get your mind off of the fact that you haven’t left your apartment in 45 days – I dare you!
Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Another classic. Listening to sisters Gretchen and Liz is a remarkably soothing exercise. For whatever reason I tend to listen to this show while doing my weight-lifting exercises. There’s something very satisfying about hearing crisp happiness tips while slamming a barbell down on the roof of your apartment building (I have apologized to my neighbors).
File this under “podcasts I miss dearly, re-listen to often, and that I regularly check for its rebirth like any day could be podcast Easter or something.” Plz Advise is an advice show but it’s also…a lifestyle, a state of mind. The show is hosted by Molly McAleer with regular appearances from her producer Kristina Lopez. One time I saw Kristina at an audio conference. I went up to her to say hi, but then I chickened out. So, hi Kristina! I am a fan. My favorite episodes are the ones that feature Molly (Molls) and Kristina. Unfortunately, they haven’t had a new episode since October 2019 but there are years of back episodes. When I’m feeling down these days I fire up an old episode and remember where I was when I was listening to it (anyone else do this? Is this having a photographic memory but for things you’ve heard? Isn’t it insufferable when people say they have a photographic memory?), which is almost always the subway, a place I have not been in a very long time!
Jessica Simpson’s Open Book audiobook
Nothing feels better to me right now than harkening back to a time that feels like it was 50 years ago but was actually just 14 years ago: 2006. You know the best way to do that? By listening to Jessica Simpson’s JUICY memoir “Open Book” on audiobook. It’s got it all: addiction, recovery, the story of a booming business, the existence of the early aughts, some true John Mayer reveals. This isn’t a podcast but it should be a podcast and I guess it could be a podcast. Jessica, call me.