Stranger Things, right guys! That sure was a television show! If The Goonies 2.0 had you breaking coolboy cover and inviting the lads round for a #MadOne of Dungeons and Dragons, then this will have you positively praying at the alter of nerdism. Bolting from the incredible Cave Comedy Radio stable, three funnymen hold a magnifying glass to the secret origins of nerd, with a psychotropic journey to the beginnings of geeklords such as Stan Lee, Naughty Dog and, obvs, D&D.
Slap your forehead hammily as you “FFS I wish I’d thought of that!” your way through the next sentence. Host Davy Rothbart picks up lost items and mementos, such as shopping receipts or intriguing letters, and aims to locate the owners, spinning genuinely evocative origin stories along the way. Yeah, that’s right, he got there first. Probably drives a big tiger’s fur speedboat to work now. Probably brushes his teeth with caviar. Don’t hate him, though. Listen up.
Oh it could’ve gone sooo wrong. But hell’s teeth, did they get it right. By “they” we mean a slew of guest comedians, and by “it” we mean dealing with the stigma-riddled subjects of clinical depression and mental health that they’ve experienced. Don’t expect dismissiveness with its humour, but ready yourself for frank and, in places, moving stories that even the happiest of b*stards will enjoy. Episode three of this barely-one-month-old cast, Sam Grittner Finds A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Suicide, is as good an introduction as any.
We almost went with Crimetown – a look at corruption in different cities, made by the creators of The Jinx. Instead, we dropped a claw into the arcade-grabber game that is the crime podcast genre and came up clutching Stranglers. It’s a 12-parter about the bizarre, grim and violent 19-month murder spree of the infamous Boston Strangler in the mid-Sixties. Intense research, archive interviews and talks with victims’ families really hammer home the macabre weirdness of the case.
Look at them, more celebrity rats jumping off the Hollywood ship! Nah, just joking lads. You’re alright. Instead of scheming their way into Netflixland, Oscar Isaac, David Cross, Ross From Friends and more are kick-starting a trend of big film stars making fictional podcasts. This thriller has Isaac spitting down the mic as a troubled military serviceman, with Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich) his therapist.