Podcasts are back in a huge way, entertaining commuters and moms who go on long walks with their toddlers because it is a good way to get exercise and an actual break in the day (just me?) alike. In this day and age of constant screen time, it seems that people are embracing a medium of entertainment that rests their eyes and sparks their imaginations.
Just as with television these days, there are so many excellent podcasts out there that it can be difficult to choose how to spend your precious listening time. The storytelling format can range from unedited, fascinating conversations as in Pete Holmes’ comedic and cosmic You Made It Weird, to a spliced, themed short episodic format, as in the hilarious and thoughtful The Mortified Podcast. From the heartbreaking and gut-wrenching explorations in Terrible, (Thanks For Asking), to the wildly inspiring NPR interviews focusing on work in How I Built This.
And of course, there is Serial, the captivating, unfolding journey that, arguably, caused the podcast resurgence in 2014.
So what makes Show Your Work special and different? I mean, kind of everything.
1.The co-hosts. Lainey, of Lainey Gossip and her colleague and friend, Duana, co-host and are equally whip-smart, articulate and engaging. Their obvious friendship and chemistry make for a really relatable listening experience, but that doesn’t mean they always agree or get along. In fact, it’s almost better when they don’t.
2. The purpose. The podcast’s overarching theme is a conversation between the two of them about work, in the entertainment and celebrity industries in particular. Unpacking the machinations and strategy of celebrity, the problems, the privilege, the scandal, the implications.
3. The conversation. They don’t shy away from uncomfortable topics. In one episode they covered royal engagements, lifestyle blogs, diversity, inclusivity, sexism, whitewashing in the industry, the politics of black hair, endorsements, boy bands, women directors, and sexual harassment (“Megan Markle’s Major Message, and the Solo Strategy of Harry Styles”) in the span of a little over an hour without it ever feeling rushed or tangential. Each episode is like this!
4. It’s important. I consider myself pretty well-informed and “woke” when it comes to pop culture, but Show Your Work has taught me so much about the industry that we all think we know, and has had me thinking about my own biases, assumptions and values.
What are the systemic issues in the industry that have lead to the decrease in directing opportunities for women (“Working Capital“)? Why do some actors get away with sexual harassment lawsuits and win Oscars, and others are blacklisted from the industry (“The Work of Protecting Casey Affleck“)? What kind of work goes in to a Beyoncé pregnancy announcement (“The Beyoncé Pregnancy and Other Less Relevant Things (Obviously)“)? (If you find these topics fascinating, you will love this podcast.)
5. It’s different. I mentioned How I Built This as another really interesting podcast about work. I’m sure there are countless others. But what I like about Show Your Work is that they have insider experience and knowledge, but they are still discussing the issues from an objective standpoint (or at least more objectively than someone being interviewed about their own work).
6. It won’t take long to catch up. It debuted in November, 2016 so it won’t take too long to catch up on every episode if, like me, you enjoy being a purist about those kinds of things. You also don’t have to listen to them in sequential order at all, as each episode is topical from what happened in the entertainment world that week.
Still not convinced? I haven’t even gotten to the best part.
7. It’s also inspiring as hell. Hearing how much hustle goes in to being and staying on top in the entertainment industry, not to mention the work that both Lainey and Duana do themselves in their day jobs (running a gossip blog, screenwriting, tv show hosting and book writing to name a few), has just straight up inspired me to work harder.
I started listening in March and believe that it has been a major contributing factor in my finally getting Brimming started after thinking about it for so long.
Bottom line: Show Your Work is funny, fascinating, and fresh. As my best friend who turned me on to the podcast in the first place described it, “it’s like eavesdropping on a really agreeable conversation.” What could be better than that?
Do you have any podcasts you recommend? Let me know!
EDIT: So I am unbelievably stunned that Lainey and Duana gave me a shout-out on this week’s podcast (“Rihanna, Robert Pattinson, and “that f-cking boat movie”“)! Thank you both so, so much for the podcast and the work that you do, and for encouraging me in my work as well. This made my week (life? yeah life). If you are here because of them, I hope you like what you see and come back often! Brimming is updated daily, so I’ll definitely be showing my work.