Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Is that a soundbyte plugged into your head or are you just happy to see me

The downside to poverty in this modern era  is, well, most things.  One of the few positive points not terribly effected by financial loss is the technology to tap into new resources (if you can get access to the internet). I've already covered the area of boredom and as promised, here be one more way to not go broke trying to get some distraction while you are waiting for that next paycheck opportunity to arrive.  Podcasts.  Free podcasts.

New to podcasts, possibly?  Well, okay.  Have you ever heard of Itunes?  It is where many of the kids these days purchase music that they download onto their computers.  From there they can listen to it directly on the computer, burn it onto a cd to listen to in the car or on other computers or upload onto their portable MP3 players (Ipods, etc.).  Well, it ain't just for music anymore.  There are tons of movies, tv shows and podcasts for a very small price.  And, occasionally, for free.  You do not need to buy anything to sign up for Itunes.  You only pay when you purchase a download. For free ones, you type the title in the search area, make sure that the price confirms "free" and click on the download button when the shows pop up.  That simple.  So no need to be a scaredy cat. There is a world of talk shows and music and informational podcasts just waiting to inspire, entertain and kill that big elephant of boredom in your head.  Possibly even while walking or driving (burn to cd if you don't have a MP3 player) to employment.  So, to get you started, I have asked the stand up comedy peanut gallery for suggestions and added a few of my own.

NPR has a great selection of shows that I listen to regularly.  These are my two favorites.  "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" is a game show that generally runs once a week on the radio.  I have to be careful when I listen to it on the treadmill because I have been driven into giggle fits and fallen off.  Also, "This American Life" with Ira Glass is outstanding and lasts for almost hour.  It has a three part story format on a specific topic.  Always really interesting.  You could even learn something while being entertained.  Poking around the website might even give you a few more directions of interest or just plug in "NPR" into the Itunes podcast section.  One of the great things about any radio based podcast shows is that it usually has company on the station websites.  Many many radio stations make their programs available for downloading after the show has aired, using, amongst other things, Itunes as a source. For free.  Did I mention for free?  For free.

Another show that goes along those lines is that old chestnut "A Prairie Home Companion" from the cornerstone of old fashioned entertainment, Garrison Keillor  I have had the opportunity to see Mr. Keillor speak twice live.  Don't no one do it better.

For the hipper set, a great comedy talk show that has been around for some time now is Keith and The Girl. Think of it as a pop culture "A Prairie Home Companion" with less music and more dirty words and two people that aren't Garrison Keillor. But funny.  Very funny. or just search for it in Itunes like the rest of them. 

Looking for pure good old fashioned storytelling? There is the spectacular The Moth series also found for free on Itunes.  This gathering of people trading tales has been taking place in various places throughout the country, going back to spoken word entertainment in its purest form.  Go hear it for nada.

For the geek driven, pop on over to Itunes and download The Nerdist and enjoy head nerd Chris Hardwick discussing other nerdy things with fellow nerds   Also WNYC's Radiolab is another thinking man's podcast also found on your friendly neighborhood Itunes. There's a little something for everyone folks.

You can't afford to go out? My fellow comics have also suggested their favorites bringing a little showbusiness to you.  Jon Fisch  interveiws different funny folks to see what makes them tick called In The Tank with Jon Fisch More on general showbusiness business can be found at KCRW on a show called "The Business."  Bill Burr has a great comedy podcast Marc Maron has the most popular one amongst the comics that I asked called  He has a suggested small donation on his website (man's got to eat) but it is way cheaper than paying for the in-person experience and he asks whatever you want to give.  Visit character actor Stephen Tobolowsky and hear his stories at  Love movies?  Listen to comic Doug Benson and friends give insight and opinion passionately uncensored at "I Love Movies."  Itunes free. One of the great things about podcasts is that it truly lets the freedom of speech rip and these guys are the best at voicing their unique opinions with style. 

Music heads?  TV geeks?  Gamers? Moms? Movie freaks? Sports enthusiasts? Religious nuts?  Politicos? How to seekers?  Gossip mongers? You got a taste, its out there for free.  Search Itunes in the podcast section.  Check out radio stations. Ask friends.  It's out there to stimulate your mind and give you something to think about....or not think about...until you can afford a movie again. If you don't have an MP3 player, you can always plug straight into a computer until you can get your hands on one.  It's out there.  Enjoy!

PS Thanks for the suggestions Boston comedy folks!  You really helped!

PSS If you want to add some of your favorites, please feel free...there's that word throw some in the comments section.  The more info in the world the better!