Podcast roundup: The best this week, from Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend to Villains and The Axe Files

When there is a podcast on nearly every subject under the sun, finding one to suit your interests may seem daunting. To help you tune into one that's really worth your while, here is our weekly list of curated podcasts.

Harsh Pareek November 25, 2018 09:57:44 IST
Podcast roundup: The best this week, from Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend to Villains and The Axe Files

Podcasts have seen a rapid upsurge in popularity in recent years. From true crime to design, popular culture and modern relationships, fiction to in-depth reportage, podcasts have proliferated to the point where no matter how esoteric the subject, there’s bound to be a show that deals with it. Amid this cornucopia of audio delights, however, how do you pick the podcast that’s most worth your while? This is where our weekly curated playlist steps in; it’s a lowdown on the best episodes from a selection of podcasts that deserve a listen. Ready to tune in?

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— Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend
Will Ferrell

About the podcast:
After 25 years at the Late Night desk, Conan O’Brien ventures into the world of podcasting, looking for a friend. As the podcast puts it, "Over the years and despite thousands of interviews, Conan has never made a real and lasting friendship with any of his celebrity guests. So, he started a podcast to do just that... Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is a weekly opportunity for Conan to hang out with the people he enjoys most and perhaps find some real friendship along the way."

About the episode:
Will Ferrell joins O'Brien along with assistant Sona Movsesian and producer Matt Gourley to reflect on his commitment to comedy, sharing humble roots with Conan at The Groundlings, feeling good about bad reviews, and remembering the comedy bit Will performed on Late Night that got them both in trouble with Lorne Michaels.

Runtime: 53 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


— Villains
Ep. 1: Hannibal Lecter from ‘The Silence of the Lambs’

About the podcast:
In season one of The Ringer's new podcast Villains, author Shea Serrano (The Rap Year Book, Basketball (and Other Things))explores eight of the most interesting, intimidating, undeniable movie villains in history.

About the episode:
Serrano is joined by Sean Fennessey and Jason Concepcion in this inaugural episode to discuss one of the greatest movie villains of all time: Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

Runtime: 45 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


Bookworm
Brian Phillips: Impossible Owls

About the podcast:
Bookworm showcases writers of fiction and poetry — the established, new or emerging — all interviewed with insight and precision by the show's host and guiding spirit, Michael Silverblatt.

About the episode:
Author Brian Phillips discusses his debut book, Impossible Owls, finding a topic that captivates him, researching it to a point approaching the unknowable, and more.

Runtime: 29 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


The Documentary
The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle

About the podcast:
Documentaries investigating global developments, issues and affairs from the BBC World Service.

About the episode:
According to the World Instant Noodles Association, 270 million servings of instant noodles are eaten around the world every day. Journalist Celia Hatton explores the story behind instant noodles. A journey that starts in Japan, at the nation's instant noodle museum, and then takes her to China, still the world's number one market for "convenient noodles", and ends with Hatton being shown how to make a "prison burrito" by an ex-prisoner from Riker's Island prison in New Jersey, in the United States.

Runtime: 51 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


— The Axe Files with David Axelrod
Ep. 288 - Barack Obama (Live)

About the podcast:
David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, hosts The Axe Files, a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world.

About the episode:
Former President of the United States Barack Obama sits down with Axelrod in Hyde Park for a special live taping of the Axe Files. Their conversation touches on the Obamas' life in the Hyde Park community, the sacrifices his family made for his political career, his biggest regret from his time in the presidency, the politics of race in America, increasing political polarisation, and much more.

Runtime: 76 minutes

Listen to the episode here.

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