I like to ignore Valentine’s Day for all the reasons you’d expect to hear from a feminist. However, I don’t begrudge anyone his or her right to celebrate it, as I do think there are ways to try to recognize the importance and beauty of love without the commercial stank of lingerie, cards, and chocolate. I believe that one the most authentic expressions of love is to listen. Listening is a way to be a witness to someone’s humanity, and I think this is why I’ve come to be obsessed with podcasts. Certain podcasts give me a great exercise in listening. Here are a couple of my recent favorites:
- Aisha Tyler’s conversation with W. Kamau Bell. Holy shit. The have a great rapport and swap delicious stories about the comedy world, which is crack for people like me who are fascinated with the machinery of showbiz. I didn’t think it was possible to love Bell more than I do, but the honesty he reveals at the end of their talk blew me away. And Tyler’s compassion completely matches Bell’s bravery.
- Marc Maron’s conversations with Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. The WTF Podcast remains at the top of the comedy podcast heap for damn good reason; Maron has an unrivaled ability to draw deep and meaningful responses from almost everyone he talks with, and it’s clear to the listener that both parties in the conversation are often surprised by the intimacy that comes about through their talk. In the Brooks and Reiner episodes, Maron is reverent, fascinated, and so sincerely excited to be in the presence of two comedy legends that his act of listening comes across as a true act of love.