The celebrity podcast is the new and improved celebrity memoir

I could listen to a famous person ramble on for hours

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Olivia Tilson is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily.

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

I’ve dabbled in the podcast world casually, but none of the murder mysteries, history lessons or politically relevant musings have ever held my attention for more than a couple installments. However, this all changed once I discovered a new type of podcast — the celebrity podcast.

A celebrity podcast is basically an audio talk show in which a celebrity acts as the host. Celebrity podcasts vary in topic as much as non-celebrity podcasts, but I now have a face to pair with the voice and a reason to be interested. Finally, I can hear rambling interviews between famous people without the tired talk show format. Podcasts are the new celebrity memoir — but way better. Instead of reading about about a celebrity’s rise to fame and their personal life philosophies in a memoir, I can now listen to celebrities explore topics and conversations that vary each week. Celebrity podcasts also give me a better sense of their personality than I could get in books. 

I love listening to celebrities conduct their own interviews — basically, the celebrity podcast is the ultimate role reversal. Through Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert,” I now know Dax Shepard’s interests as well as his demeanor with others. It’s honestly everything I could’ve ever hoped for and more. 

Shepard explains the origins of the name “Armchair Expert” in his Spotify introduction. The name is a reference to 16th-century scientists who formed opinions and theories without any formal data or the use of the scientific method. Similarly, Shepard is searching for human realities through personal stories rather than objective fact-hunting, and granted, this would seem entirely too cheesy for me if it were anyone other than Dax Shepard. His sobriety partially inspires the podcast and remains a key theme throughout his interviews.

Shepard’s interviews operate almost entirely in tangents, and, personally, I think the Kristen Bell cameos always elevate the episodes. Rather than feeling bombarded by “educational” facts, stories and philosophies, I can treat celebrity podcasts as entirely shallow. I don’t feel the pressure to engage or learn because I place celebrity podcasts only a few levels above “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” in terms of intellectual stimulation — excuse my insults. I always feel like I have to approach non-celebrity podcasts with a “self-improvement” mindset, so celebrity podcasts are relieving because I can just listen for the sake of listening.

Furthermore, the tangential discussions and jokes humanize celebrities and give me a glimpse into their personality and life. I know it is wrong to overly glorify fame, but I can’t help being more interested in Dax Shepard’s life than most other strangers’ lives. 

In addition to the “Armchair Expert,” I’m a fan of Ashley Graham’s “Pretty Big Deal” and Anna Faris’ “Unqualified.” Graham’s podcast centers on interviewing other celebrities with the goal of initiating conversations about “culture, beauty, business and owning who you are.” In her first podcast, Graham interviews Kim Kardashian West who, despite being consistently problematic, I can’t help but be entertained by.

Ashley Graham and Kim K casually chat without any clear point, but I’m engaged for all 58 minutes of it. They’re into body positivity, celebrity gossip and discussing their own lives, which is what I’m most interested in. 

Anna Faris’ podcast focuses specifically on relationship advice, even though sometimes she strays far from this topic. She also admits that she’s entirely unqualified to give relationship advice, which is refreshing. In a world where celebrities are treated like talented gods, it’s nice to listen to Anna Faris navigate a novice interest.

If you want to witness a celebrity at their most “real,” listen to a podcast. Granted, celebrity podcasts aren’t especially educational — they’re often shallow and based on sensationalism, but that is part of what makes celebrity podcasts more enjoyable for me than non-celebrity podcasts. At the end of the day, it’s simply fun to sit back, relax and listen to the lives of celebrities — to hear about people who live dreamlike lives but somehow still communicate “just like us.” 

Olivia Tilson is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com. 

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