By Kevin Heffernan

Podcasts are free. So are the laughs.

Each week, our Rise team will review a podcast we’re addicted to, and you can decide whether you want to expand your favorites list or not. Cheers.


Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

Earwolf Media

The leader of Pale Force has extended out beyond television and into the land of podcasts and I could not be happier. I discovered Conan on Late Night when I was in high school in the early 2000’s. Should have been writing papers and going to bed, I chose to watch him cut imaginary strings off his hips while dancing, running the stupidest bits out there:

Conan’s been a hero of mine since that discovery. Rising to the top, getting publicly screwed by NBC and moving on with grace, he has remained authentic for 25 years on air.

Partial to the style of our own podcast, LIFTED, where Holly goes out and records in the field, I usually shied away from Joe Rogan-style casts where a host brought a new guest in to talk in their garage for an hour, but my love of Conan had me try this out anyways.

The show loosely sticks to a theme of “Can we be friends?” Celebrities often claim they like Conan, but admit they’ve never hung out, and some admit they probably would not hang out, especially Wanda Sykes. After an intro, conversations quickly dip into life, each other’s upbringings, the philosophy of friendship, and everyone, including producer Matt Gourley and assistant Sonya Movsesian, make fun of Conan heavily throughout. It’s honestly the first podcast my wife and I have laughed out loud to together since David Sedaris read “The Santaland Diaries” on This American Life (before it was a podcast).

Whenever there’s a good chemistry guest segment on Conan’s TBS show, you’re often bummed when it’s time for a commercial and that guest says goodbye. I’ve attended two filmings at Warner Brothers Studios in LA and it’s just as much a let down in real life when 10 minutes of unscripted conversation end. This podcast puts no timer on the conversation, and gives nearly no direction on where to go. Conan and Will Ferrell’s recollections of bits and gags they did together from SNL and Late Night to Tonight Show and Conan on TBS will have you slapping your knees pretty hard.

Life is overwhelming, especially the last couple of years. Podcasts are a great place to escape the news cycle without resorting to trash television, and you can still go for a walk, run, ride, cook or clean while you listen. Check out “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.” Added bonus is the advertisers agreeing to let Conan and Sonya rip them to shreds on air.