Montreal comedians Tranna Wintour and Thomas Leblanc are the hosts of CBC Podcasts’ Chosen Family. The show celebrates the importance of friendship, resistance and community at the intersection of art, gender and sexuality. If that sounds too serious, don’t worry, it’s also hilarious. Guests so far have included Xavier Dolan, Margaret Cho, Rufus Wainwright, and Tegan and Sara, to name a few.
This list is a reflection of our eclectic interests and curiosities. The bulk of these choices feature queer hosts and producers, who we want to shine a light on. Collectively, between these ten podcasts, there is a wide array of topics and themes, from the delightfully absurd (like Gay Future) to the profoundly important (1619). Our own show, Chosen Family, seeks to understand and explore the connection that exists between the process of healing/self-betterment and the creative process, and these shows reflect elements of that too. The following ten podcasts are places we’ve turned to for inspiration, guidance, entertainment, education and much needed laughter.
In the late 90s and early 00s, Warner Music Canada used to release these annual compilation albums called Women & Songs that capitalized on the popularity of the female singer-songwriter genre turned into a phenomenon by artists like Alanis Morissette, Jewel and Fiona Apple. Miss Thing uses the compilations as a jumping off point for these very deep dives into the discographies of these artists. The level of obsession and knowledge of the hosts, Sean Ross and Derek Aubichon, is riveting.
This podcast is hosted by Luis Camacho, one of Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour dancers, and Kim Blackwell. We stumbled upon this podcast because we’re forever obsessed with Madonna, and Luis and Kim did a two-part interview with Niki Haris, Madonna’s former/longtime backup singer. It was wonderful to learn about Niki’s personal story, her time with Madonna, and her spiritual practices. Niki is an incredible artist in her own right, and the Werque interview is a rare gem. They also have great interviews with Sandra Bernhard and Debi Mazar.
This podcast is chosen specifically for its three-part Sex and the City documentary/oral history. Featuring revealing, in-depth interviews with the entire cast and production team (with the notable exception of Kim Cattrall aka Samantha), this documentary is nothing short of thrilling as we get a glimpse into how a pop culture phenomenon came to be. And it offers some very juicy details into the falling apart of Sex and the City 3 and the feud between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall.
Matteo and Emma are two of the funniest people you’ll ever meet; their podcast is mostly the two of them talking about everything and anything, sometimes they have guests, though the show is always at its best and funniest when it’s just the two of them. Matteo and Emma have great personal and comedic chemistry, and they have a unique ability to turn the mundane into the hysterical. Listening to the two of them feels like hanging out with friends, and that’s been especially needed during quarantine.
Hosts Justin and Maurice offer hilarious, uncensored discussions about current events, black culture, relationships, politics—nothing is off limits. Justin and Maurice bring so much heart to their conversations and their chemistry is infectious. Like Inside the Closet, listening to Category Is… feels like spending time with friends and that is always a comfort.
Bob The Drag Queen and Monét X Change are not only two incredible drag performers who won RuPaul’s Drag Race: they’re also friends who excel at offering sharp social and cultural commentary. On Sibling Rivalry, they serve black queer excellence with an extra shot of shade.
British actor Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament dissect contemporary art with warmth and curiosity. They speak to artists, curators and famous collectors (hello Elton John!) and make the art world more accessible than ever.
What if heterosexual men became… a silenced minority? This is the hilarious question at the center of the satirical fiction series Gay Future. Set in the future, this sc-fi series by duo Connor Wright and Christina Friel imagines a boarding school where one young man comes out of the heterosexual closet, to the dismay of everyone around him.
1619 is a blockbuster podcast series on race by the team at The New York Times. The title refers to the year that the first slave ships sailed in North American waters. In Episode 3, “The Birth of American Music”, critic-at-large writer Wesley Morris (co-host of the podcast Still Processing) deconstructs how popular music in America owes basically everything to the music created by slaves and their descendants. Both personal and thoroughly researched, this episode is a must to understand the connection between today’s musical landscape and American history.
Why is Dolly Parton considered an idol in all corners of American society, including in the LGBTQIA community? Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad asks this tricky question in this deep dive into Dolly’s world. The legend is interviewed throughout the series, which also includes talks with academics and superfans.