I’ve listened to enough episodes of WTF that I thought it was probably time to attempt a list of my ten favorite episodes. I should note that I haven’t listened systematically; I jump all around, listening to old ones and new ones, depending on my mood. I also haven’t listened to nearly all of them. I am probably through more than half of them, but not much more than half. I review audiobooks, so I spend most of my time listening to things I’m getting paid to listen to.
I wish I got paid to listen to WTF.
Anyway, here is my list, for now. I’d probably make a different one if I tried next week: it’s hard to pick, and I’m always listening to more.
Episodes 103 & 104: Judd Apatow
I have listened to this interview numerous times, and I am constantly quoting it and telling people to listen to it. There are a lot of reasons to listen to this interview, but the biggest one is that when Apatow was a teenager, he interviewed a bunch of comedians, telling them that it was for his high school radio station. He saved all these tapes, and on the first part of this episode, you get to hear clips from interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, and Jay Leno. They are fascinating. Apatow’s story is a great one, too, and he has a lot of valuable things to say about writing, creative work, and life. Listening to this made me understand why I like Apatow’s work so much and also just kind of helped me think about my life and work and the world.
Episode 163: Conan O’Brien
This was the first episode that I listened to, and it hooked me. It has the blend of the things I love about this podcast in general: an interesting interview subject, Marc working out his issues, a focus on creative work and how one makes a living, and a focus on writing and performance. O’Brien is inspiring, anyway. If you want to get an even better experience, I suggest listening to this episode and then watching Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop.
Episode 200: Marc Maron
Marc has Mike Birbiglia interview him, and it’s inspired.
Episode 94: Mike Birbiglia
I want to do what Mike Birbiglia does for a living, so I found this really, really interesting.
Episode 144: Patton Oswalt
Oswalt is very much a writer, so I identified with a lot of what he had to say. Over the last few years, I’ve grown to really admire his work, too. He’s involved in one interesting thing after another.
Episode 233: Anthony Bourdain
Bourdain writes and does a lot of speaking, which are two things I do, so, again, I identified with a lot here. I found it interesting that even at Bourdain’s level, he makes more from speaking than he does from his books. That’s definitely been the case for me, but I guess I wouldn’t have expected that to be true of someone who’s a bestseller. Also, he talks about food. You all know how I am about writers who can cook.
Episode 224: Chris Rock
Chris Rock is crazy-smart, and I felt like I learned a lot listening to this.
Episode 186: Jimmy Fallon
The delight Jimmy Fallon takes in his work is infectious. I think I grinned the entire time I listened to this.
Episode 117: Ira Glass
For all the times I’ve listened to his voice and This American Life, I knew next-to-nothing about Glass or how TAL got started until I listened to this episode.
Episode 67: Robin Williams
I always find Williams engaging in interviews, and this was a particularly interesting one. Marc interviewed him in his home, and he seemed as relaxed and open as I’ve ever heard him. One of the things that makes this podcast so good is how Marc disarms his guests and encourages them to talk about the types of things people don’t usually talk about in interviews.