The scene: The security line at the airport. You: Dreading the hour you'll have to spend shuffling forward in three-inch increments. Us: Here to help you out with some delightfully distracting podcasts.
In each episode, co-hosts Charles (Chuck) Bryant and Josh Clark, both writers, focus on a different topic, like "What's the Deal with Staring?" and "How Police Dogs Work." Wow everyone (including your know-it-all little cousins) with the factoids you've picked up.
As you listen to the first, eerie episode, it'll sound so real you'll almost believe it's a true story. Think of it as Orson Welles' infamous War of the Worlds broadcast but for the 2016 crowd—it's a bone-chilling part-sci-fi part-mystery about the bizarre circumstances that led the people of an entire town to disappear. Warning: You'll get hooked.
Tuning in to each weekly "chapter" is like being part of the coolest book club ever, with hip, relatable, Brooklyn-based host Angela Ledgerwood discussing authors like Alex Mar (Witches of America), Sloane Crosley (The Clasp), and Margo Jefferson (Negroland: A Memoir).
The podcast that got people obsessed with podcasts has been downloaded 8 million times since it launched in October 2014 (making it the most popular podcast in the world). If you haven't experienced NPR producer Sarah Koenig's fascinating investigation into the events surrounding the 1999 murder of a Baltimore teenager, stop everything and listen now. It will suck you in, in the best way possible. (Plus, get ready for season two: We're waiting impatiently for the start date, which hasn't been announced yet.)
Journalist Stephen J. Dubner, one half of the team that wrote 2009's best-selling Freakonomics, takes listeners to "the hidden side" of politics, the economy, and more. See: "How to Save $1 Billion Without Even Trying," "How to Win a Nobel Prize," and "Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents for Raising Them?" Listening just makes you feel smarter, promise.
Packed into each hour-long episode is an ice-breaker joke, small-talk topics, a micro history lesson and related cocktail recipe, dinner-party playlist ideas, and etiquette tips, featuring guests like Olivia Wilde, Al Pacino, Gloria Steinem, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Tony Bennett. Play this to avoid bad jokes and embarrassing childhood stories at the dinner table.