Podcast You Should Be Listening To If You Aren’t Already: 36 Questions

Going to a theater to see a musical? That is SO old school.

With 36 Questions, it’s taking musicals to the next level – an audio only story that you can listen to anywhere at anytime. CRAZY, I KNOW. Yes, the idea of musical podcast is novel in and of itself, however 36 Questions is the perfect piece of art to be the first of its kind in this platform, because it’s… actually good.

What’s It All About

In this three-part podcast musical starring Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton, a couple attempts to bring their marriage back from the brink of divorce using 36 revealing questions designed to make strangers fall in love.

Still not convinced? Here are a few more reasons that hooked me into the pod, and I hope they do for you too!


Sure, he has the singing voice of an angel, but Jonathan Groff has the type of speaking voice that will make you wonder why you’ve ever listened to anyone else’ dumb voice all these years. The way Groff talks is like a silky blanket gliding over your person in a way that makes you feel fuzzy and warm inside yet slightly aroused. Sure if you’re a Broadway nerd, you’re used to hearing him in your ears on soundtracks like Hamilton and Spring Awakening, but this seems different. It’s more personal. And you can *hear* him acting in a way I’ve never felt before with Groff or any other musical theater soundtracks before. Every breath, every sigh, every silent pause is loud and clear, and it only elevates his performance even more. Also, as a friendly reminder, it’s JONATHAN FREAKING GROFF.

Jessie Shelton

The other half of this 3 hour couple fight is played by Jessie Shelton, who is a relative unknown outside of those who attend a lot of Off-Broadway shows (Hadestown, anyone?). Although you may not know her name, you’ll never forget her voice once you listen to this. At first, you think she has this child-like innocence to her, but there’s a worn-in feeling to her tone that makes you think she’s lived a lot of lives – which is perfect for this role. There’s so much pure and unforced emotion that comes out of Jessie that makes you feel for her with every word. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jessie finally makes it onto Broadway as a breakout star one of these days.

The Score Is Fantastic

There are two masterminds behind 36 Questions: Ellen Winter – a composer and playwright, and Christopher Littler – writer, director and composer. Together, they’ve created music and lyrics that fit perfectly in the contemporary genre along with Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, Edges), Jonathan Larson (Rent, Tick Tick Boom), Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Songs For a New World), and Kerrigan-Lowdermilk (The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown). Groffsauce even has a few jazz-infused numbers that area a great complement to his character.

The Book is Fantastic

36 Questions has a The Last Five Years feel in that there are only two (human) characters throughout the entire musical – and it’s the conversation between two people who know each other so well. This history between them gives the podcast an even more intimate feel, not to mention there are heartbreaking moments, as well as scenes of pure hilarity that really just hit the sweet spot of the dramedy variety that I love so much. Not to mention, this musical was MADE to be a podcast, so it was written with audio only in mind, making each word even more important than the last.

The Play Is Happening In Your Ears

I’ve only really listened to talk show-type podcasts – your Pod Save Americas, your Gilmore Guys, your Serials. None of these have ever had foley artists working on the sound of creaking doors and furniture falling over from a room downstairs. Each individual sound is placed in the podcast for a reason, and it’s so vivid and clear that it actually makes you feel like you’re in a rural house (no spoilies). Podcasts already give a level of intimacy that other entertainment platforms like TV or movies can’t give, but when each sound you hear is intentional, it’s hard not to be drawn into this world.

A Happy Ending?

One of the great things I loved about this story is that I never actually knew how it was going to end. Obviously it’s a will they won’t they situation, but which way would the writers actually go? A three part, three hour musical that keeps you guessing is quite the feat, and one revolving romance? Well you’ll just have to find out if they get their happy ending or not.

Listen to 36 Questions  [subscribe on apple podcasts here or elsewhere]

Podcast You Should Be Listening To: Pod Save America

Four former Obama staffers walk into a podcast recording studio. Then Donald Trump wins the presidential election. That’s it. That’s the joke.

We live in an era in which podcasting is in a golden age – ever since Serial, it seems like the cool thing to do now is either start a podcast (LOL I HAVE ONE LISTEN TO IT PLS) or have a never ending queue of podcasts you listen to on the regular. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite pods that get top priority in my app – here’s the DL on literal chart topper Pod Save America.

What’s It All About

A no-bullshit conversation about politics. This is a podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane.

If you’re a person who is frustrated with the way this current administration is handling the state of our nation, this podcast is for you. Twice a week, these White House alums discuss U.S. politics through a progressive, liberal lens, so if you have a problem with that, this podcast is probably not for you.

The Hosts

Jon Favreau (no, not that one) is the lead host/moderator of the pod. He was the Director of Speechwriting during President Obama’s first term, and worked for Barry dating back to his days in the Senate. Unrelatedly, he dated Rashida Jones back in the day, and that’s how I first heard of him. The hot Obama speechwriter who once dated Rashida Jones.

Jon Lovett also worked alongside Favreau as a speechwriter during the Obama era, and prior to that, wrote for John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. After he left the White House, he pursued a career as a screenwriter, and together with Josh Gad and Jason Winer, they created and wrote short-lived sitcom 1600 Penn, which was truly the best show you weren’t watching and got cancelled way before it should have been. He also wrote and served as an advisor on The Newsroom, and just kicked off his own spin-off podcast, Lovett or Leave It.

Tommy Vietor worked with Obama since the Senate, and in the White House, Tommy was his spokesperson, as well as the spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council. Like Lovett, he also has a spin-off pod called Pod Save the World, which focuses on global issues and policymaking decisions.

Dan Pfeiffer was a Senior Advisor to Obama for Strategy and Communications, rounding out this fraternity of Obama bros. Dan also worked on Gore’s presidential campaign, as well as various senators throughout the years.

They’re Not N00bs

Pod Save America is actually the result of the foursome’s very successful podcast, Keepin’ it 1600, which focused on the 2016 presidential election. It was praised as one of the best podcasts of 2016, and garnered a huge fan following. Because of their success, Favs, Lovett and Tommy started their own podcast network, Crooked Media, and Pod Save America became the first podcast under their new network. Needless to say, they’re not amateur podcasters.

And They’re Not Political N00bs, Either

Because these guys have had years of experience in Washington, it’s not like they’re randos who are just giving their POVs on the week’s current events after only having read one article on Vox.com. The know their shit. In fact, it’s what makes their podcast a bit better than the rest. They’re experts who are giving us insider information on how an administration worked, how it should work, and what the current one is doing “wrong”. As someone who follows politics, but not enough to know all the intricacies of it, it’s extremely informative, but not condescending or pretentious. They’re also funny, so don’t expect a straight up news podcast, either.

The Guests Are No Joke

Keepin’ It 1600 had been on my queue for months, but I just never got around to it. So when Barack Obama sat down for his final interview as president with these guys, I obviously had to tune in. BTW, that ep is a good starting point if you need a gateway drug! Every episode features a special guest in the second half (after the hosts talk about the overall current events in the first half), and every single person so far has been impressive and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. For example, when DT first laid down a whole bunch of Executive Orders (like the travel ban), former White House lawyer Danielle Gray came on the pod to discuss the legalities of his EOs, while Obama’s former Deputy Chief of Staff and Health Care Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle discussed Trumpcare. Other guests include former chief strategist David Axelrod, another chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, and A Closer Look’s Seth Meyers.

They Promote Activism

Sure you can listen to the podcast and feel like you’re helping to fight the cause. And you are, just by learning about what’s happening in the WH shitshow, but obviously there’s more work to be done. The hosts of the pod make it a point to share resources and encourage listeners to be active in politics and local government, whether it be which Congressman/woman to call for the Issue of the Week, or when to attend town halls to give your reps a piece of your mind. They have a list of resources on their website but you should probably just listen to the pod to get all the details.

Listen to new episodes of Pod Save America every Monday and Thursday [subscribe here]


And Now For A Shameless Plug

I’d like to indulge in a little cross-promotion here – partly because I’m an only child who needs attention and partly because I can.

Guys, I started a podcast!

What’s that? A podcast, you say? You mean that audio thing every other person on the planet* has about every possible subject available? Yes, reader. That kind of podcast.

It’s called That’s Our Jam and I’m doing it with my friend and another fellow blogger, Jennie from Garlic, My Soul. It’s a mix of all the pop culture stuff I talk about here, what Jennie talks about over on her blog (food), plus anything and everything else like history and current events and music, etc. Our first episode – our pilot episode, if you will – premieres today so check it out and subscribe here: That’s Our Jam Podcast!

We’re also posting links and stuff of all the things we talk about on the episode on our website, ThatsOurJamPodcast.com – and to make it easier for you, I’ve also posted it below!

I promise I won’t post about it annoyingly on the blog, but if you like what we do here, give the pilot a try! We’d loved to be picked up to series. Thanks, friends!

*Not a real stat

Episode 1: We Started The Podcast Movement

Podcasting Revolution

Emerson newsrooms go portable with podcasts, October 19th, 2005 (written by NOT Jennie)

History With Jennie

(Tony Winner) ANGELICA!


The Video Traci Took In The Bathroom At A Wedding

Traci’s iPod Roulette

That’s Our Jam

Traci’s Jam: Gilmore Guys Podcast

Jennie’s Jam: First Bite by Bee Wilson

Give It Up For The Gilmore Guys!

If you’ve arrived to our blog for the first time, it’s important you know that you will see multiple posts under tags like, “Amy Poehler”, “90s” and “Gilmore Girls”, among others. The latter of which, we dedicated an entire week to in June in preparation for our visit to the ATX Television Festival for the Gilmore Girls Reunion. Yeah, we’re those kind of bloggers.

Naturally, anything concerning the show would make us interested, including a little podcast called the Gilmore Guys. I first heard of it last December, since my friends know I’m a crazy Gilly (GG fan), they asked if I had listened to this podcast yet. The conceit is simple – a longtime fan (Kevin) and someone who had never seen the show before (Demi) discuss every episode in the show’s seven-season run. Ok y’all, full disclosure – I started listening to the first episode and I just couldn’t get through it. I felt like they were trying too hard to prove they were funny and entertaining, and I went in hoping for insightful criticism on GG’s pilot ep.

Fast forward to a few months later when they had Scott Patterson (#LUKEDANESDREAMMAN) on the show, and obviously I needed to tune in. Although this particular episode was an interview (Gilmore Gab, if you will) instead of the usual discussion of an episode, I noticed that they were much more interesting to listen to, and felt like they were finally comfortable behind the mic. That led me to download random episodes, which led me to stalking Kevin on Twitter and seeing his suggestion to follower about which eps to listen to as a first-timer… and I quickly became obsessed. All I would do was listen to the podcast, and at a rapid pace, might I add, because I wanted to get caught up. This lead me to start rewatching GG on Netflix from the beginning so I could following along at home while listening to the podcast. I’ve been even more obsessed with GG lately (if that’s even possible), and started telling anyone who’s ever watched an episode of the show about the podcast. And that’s what I’m going to do today for this post.


Where can I find the episodes?

Click here! Or ya know, use that Podcast app on your phone that you can’t delete.

Who is this podcast really for?

Gilmore Girls fans (both gals and guys) who like hearing a different perspective on the show with a comedy twist. This isn’t a serious in-depth podcast. You will legit LOL.

What’s the deal with these dudes?

Kevin is a freelance editor by time, longtime fan by night, and Demi works on social media/interactive components for @midnight, and first-time fan by night. They met through UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade, you n00bs), and exactly a year ago, Kevin sent out a tweet half joking about doing a podcast about the show, since it was about to launch on Netflix. Demi responded and the rest is history.

Photo Sep 14, 10 41 14 PM

Where did you take that picture? Who is that man in the middle?

Because I’ve reached the height of by obsession, I recently attended one of their live shows (AKA Town Meetings) in LA. They’ve already been to New York, Austin, Philadelphia and D.C., but since Kevin and Demi are based in LA, most of their shows are here. The guy in the middle is comedian Paul F. Tompkins, who was the guest for Episode 507, You Jump, I Jump Jack, which you Gillys might know as the Life & Death Brigade episode. Hence the tuxedos, umbrellas, and Out of Africa outfit.

There are guests?

Yes! Kevin & Demi rarely do an episode solo bolo, and often have one other person in the studio discussing the episode. The guests, usually comedians or in that world, either are fans of the show or, like Demi, have never seen it before.

Intriguing. So which episodes should I listen to as a first-timer?

Again, because folks know I’m hardcore, they’ve asked me about my thoughts on the podcast, or if I know my friends are Gillys, I’ll bug them to listen to episodes. In saying that, I created a Gilmore Guys Podcast Starter Kit, and now I’m sharing it with y’all! They’re currently at the beginning of season five, so there is plenty of time to catch up, and I’m sure many more great eps to come!

  • 207 Like Mother Like Daughter w/ Jeff Hiller
  • 208 The Inns & Outs of Inns w/ Jamie Woodham
  • 219 Teach Me Tonight w/ Sean Clements
  • 221 Lorelai’s Graduation Day w/ Aisha Muharrar
  • 222 I Can’t Get Started w/ DC Pierson
  • 307 They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They? w/ Jason Mantzoukas
  • 309 A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving w/ Sarah Heyward
  • 316 The Big One w/ Aisha Muharrar
  • 401 Ballrooms and Biscotti w/ Jeff Hiller
  • 404 Chicken or Beef? w/ Anthony Troli
  • 413 Nag Hammadi Is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels w/ Keiko Agena & Sarah Ramos
  • 414 The Incredible Shrinking Lorelais w/ Keiko Agena, Stacey Oristano, and Sarah Ramos
  • 421 Last Week’s Fights, This Week’s Tights w/ Aisha Muharrar, Mike DiCenzo and Mara Wilson
  • 422 Raincoats & Recipes w/ Jason Mantzoukas
  • 501 Say Goodbye To Daisy Miller w/ Todd Buonopane
Looks like some pretty awesome guests. Have they ever talked to any other members of the cast?

Why yes, yes they have! As previously mentioned, they had a Gilmore Gab with Scott Patterson, and recently interviewed Sean Gunn (Kirk) and Liza Weil (Paris). They’ve surprised fans at a NYC show by inviting Wayne Wilcox (Marty) to read some “lost scripts” – the full vid of which you can watch here -, and at the ATX Festival, Kevin had a chance to sit down with the Queen, Emily Gilmore aka Kelly Bishop. Also, they’ve interviewed executive producer Helen Pai and composer Sam Phillips (the ‘La Las’ singer), and maybe my fave gab, with casting directors Jami Rudofsky and Mara Casey, who are fantastically enthusiastic and give great insight on behind-the-scenes stuff.

Do I need to know anything before I dive into these?

My rule with any new TV show is to watch three episodes. If I still don’t like it after the third one, I quit. I’d say apply that rule to this podcast (even though I think you’ll only need one to get into them). Also, it helps if you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, new or old.

Ok, bottom line – why should I spend my time listening to this? And please be as thorough as possible with your answer, maybe even longer than you have to.

There’s probably no one more surprised to see the huge success of the podcast than Kevin and Demi themselves, but my theory is simple – it’s the perfect storm (the good kind, of course).

Gilmore Girls ended in 2007, wrapping with a seventh season many fans consider as its worst, since creator Amy Sherman-Palladino left due to failed contract negotiations at the end of season six. Moreover, they didn’t know if season seven was going to be its last or not, so what turned out to be the series finale was left open ended, leaving fans wanting more, and wanting closure.

I like to classify Gillys into three different groups – the OGs who watched it from the beginning and during its actual run (2000-2007), The Middle Sisters who started watching in the past few years thanks to ABC Family reruns and DVDs, and The Netflix Generation, who began to binge the entire series when it went up last fall.

Group all those together and you get a bunch of fans (most of whom are nostalgic-craving millennials) currently (re)watching Gilmore Girls, a show that ended eight years ago.  So when Kevin started this podcast last fall (around the time everyone was obsessed with Adnan Syed) because the show was going up on Netflix, he unknowningly had a huge fan base already.

Adding to the ‘perfect storm’ is Demi, someone who is popular on the Internet (just don’t call him a Vine star), funny, and up for anything, including agreeing to do a podcast for a seven-season show he’s never seen before and doesn’t even know if he’ll like. But that’s what makes the podcast interesting – no matter where you are in your Gilmore Girls ‘journey’, you can relate to either Kevin or Demi. Together, they make a great team and bounce off each other really well, with not only off-the-cuff jokes, but insights – by GUYS – that most female fans of the show haven’t heard that much of.

As mentioned, they frequently invite guests on the show, which makes the listener want to keep coming back each episode to hear a new perspective. Also, because of their connections to UCB and the comedy world, they’ve managed to score impressive guest stars like Jason Mantzoukas, Jessica St. Clair, Paul Scheer, and Paul F. Tompkins, and of course having Luke Danes hint that there could be a future for the show then getting picked up by hundreds of news outlets doesn’t hurt either.

In addition, it was a real blessing that the Gilmore Girls cast reunited at the ATX Television Festival in June, something that hasn’t happened since the show ended, adding even more attention to their podcast (and again, Scott mentioned it during the ATX panel). The resurgence of interest also rings true among the millenial fans of the show, who now work at places Rory would die for like The New York Times Magazine and The Washington Post, and can write articles about their favorite podcast.

In summation, this podcast is coming in hot at the right time, with a podcast by two insightful and hilarious hosts who *get* the show and treat it reverently, not like some extra-curricular hobby they have to take part in. Gilmore Guys is listed in the Comedy/Entertainment section for a reason, and you’ll soon see why.