Meet Longform and Professor Blastoff
by Fiona Crawford - January 6th, 2013
My thirst for podcasts is insatiable, with those auditory suckers the very things that most often propel my legs into exercising when they (and I) would rather be plopped on a couch. Which is why I get grumpy when I run out of fresh podcasts, as I have over this recent break. I totes know people need holidays, but uploading repeats to iTunes isn’t even remotely ofay. It’s worse than not uploading any podcasts at all.
This week I found two awesome new podcasts to add to my subscription stable of This American Life, Conversations with Richard Fidler, The Nerdist, and The Nerdist Writers’ Panel: Longform and Professor Blastoff.
The Longform podcast stems from the Longform website, which collates and celebrates brilliant longform journalism. I’m still wading through the dangerously deep collection of content (if I owe you a deadline and I’m AWOL, it’s fair to say I’m lost somewhere down the Longform rabbit hole), but some early gems of articles include Cocaine Incorporated (its author, Patrick Radden Keefe is interviewed in Episode 20) and The Bravest Woman in Seattle, an article for which author Eli Sanders won a Pulitzer (Sanders is interviewed in Episode 21).
In Episode 17, Wired writer Joshua Davis talks about his truth-is-stranger-than-fiction encounters with John McAfee, AKA he of the anti-virus fame who’s currently on the run after some cocaine industry-related craziness in Belize. I’ll keep you posted on this podcast as I investigate it and its website further.
Professor Blastoff is a podcast co-hosted by Tig Notaro, a comedian I’ve loved a long time, but who I had no idea had a podcast. Notaro shot to fame recently courtesy of her This American Life-told story of repeatedly running into Taylor Dayne. Then there was her horror fourth-month run, which she turned into what is reportedly one of the tragi-comedy sets of all time (if anyone can point me in the direction of a recording of it, I’ll be forever grateful). ‘In 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo,’ was how Comedic legend Louis CK described it.
The set reportedly covers how, in just a few short months, Notaro contracted pneumonia, then contracted an intestine-eating bacteria called C.diff. It covers how her mother died suddenly, how Notaro went through a break-up, and how she was then diagnosed with cancer in not one but two breasts. ‘Thank you. Thank you. I have cancer. Thank you,’ is likely to go down in the annals of history.
All of that is anathema to the fact that Notaro is funny. Completely, utterly, gut-grippingly funny. One would hope there were better ways than she’s experienced to be recognised for her talents, but either way, she’s making it work for her. And I’m not complaining—that grist for the mill enabled me to uncover Professor Blastoff. As with Longform, I’m playing catch-up on this oeuvre, so I’ll have to come back to you with highlights. And, hopefully, with a buffer body—I’ve no excuse now not to get out and exercise.