By Kevin Heffernan
Exploring the Mental Health Effects of Hard Work with Your Favorite Celebrities
I haven’t seen much of Dax Shepard since Without a Paddle (2004) with his frosted tips! Kristen Bell married who?
Needless to say, I started hearing buzz about Armchair Expert in the podcast realm, and thought ehhh Dax Shepard… Turn on an episode and he may speak directly to you when speaking about himself, “Oh you probably think I’m a hack. You probably hate me” he said about other comedian’s opinion of him.
But now, I can’t get it out of my rotation. There’s so many podcasts out there that simply sit down with an interviewee, Howard Stern-style, and I was at first adverse to them, thinking this is just an extension of late night TV’s game of interviewing celebrities about fluff. But this style has grown on me in the podcasts like this and Conan O’Brien needs a friend where it’s anything but fluff. Unlike casts where the same people sit around trying to talk about new topics (ie My Brother, My Brother and Me, Pod Save America etc), Armchair Expert and others that rotate their guests can see conversations go in a new direction every episode.
It’s interesting to find the lessons you’ll learn from hearing a celebrity’s story. Freelancers, business owners may find they have so much in common with actors and actresses living in LA than they thought. A show like this, where Shepard pushes guests to tell deeper stories about their background, reminds the listener that so many actors grew up in the midwest under the same circumstances as you and I and have only know this new successful life for a couple years. That new life often has guests admitting they don’t mind the money, but are uncomfortable with everything else about celebrity.
Shepard drives the conversation to anxiety, physical and mental and health and how they all relate to work and career. An episode with Conan O’Brien talked about the fear of taking medication for anxiety, worrying that the anxiety was what made O’Brien funny, he waited years before receiving some sage advice that changed his life. Jake Johnson talks about realizing his father was a human and not just a dad only after he had kids of his own. Stories about work sneak in and out, but the deep shares about psychology and motivation make the show what it is. Check it out: