When Apple first added a podcast library to the iTunes catalog in 2005, the impending boom of the format was not yet clear. But Fausto Fernós and Marc Felion were ahead of the curve, and their variety podcast “Feast of Fun” (née “Feast of Fools”) was the first to be hosted by an openly gay couple and landed on the first iTunes Top 50 list in 2006. Since then, audiobooks, film analysis, news programs, talk shows, true crime and history lessons have all found their place in the crowded market, but a queer presence can still be spotted anywhere you look in the world of podcasting.
For Pride Month, Variety is taking a look at some of the best LGBTQ podcasts available today, the topics of which include “Drag Race,” financial literacy, comedy, the news and, of course, pop culture. From soundtracking your morning commute to acting as an aural companion in the kitchen, the robust world of podcasts offers opportunities to learn, laugh, cry, ponder, or anything in between. Some are funny, some are insightful, some are a mix of both, but all of them are unapologetically queer.
In 2016, before Bowen Yang was on SNL, he created a podcast alongside best friend and fellow NYU alumnus Matt Rogers. In the six intervening years — as they’ve ranted about everything from Bennifer to toenails and invited every guest from Padma Lakshmi to Trixie Mattel — their podcast has become less a commentary on pop culture and more a cultural touchstone in and of itself. For the aficionados and oblivious alike, there’s always something to learn from Yang and Rogers, even if you may disagree with their piping hot takes.
Produced by the New York Times and hosted by film critic Wesley Morris (co-host Jenna Wortham is on book leave), this wide-ranging series breaks down trends in popular culture and the internet. With topics ranging from “Sex, Death and Bunnies” — a look back at “Fatal Attraction” — to examining icons like Tina Turner and Ella Fitzgerald and dissecting the fine art of the celebrity apology, from Lil Nax X to Justin Timberlake, “Still Processing” brings a queer sensibility to a wide range of cultural subjects.
Making Gay History
This podcast is a deep dive into all the corners of LGBTQ history, with multi-part series on topics like “Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis” and the Stonewall uprising. From historic interviews with figures like Christopher Isherwood, Larry Kramer, Lorraine Hansberry, Quentin Crisp and Meg Christian to the visionary activists who started the gay rights movement, “Making Gay History” uses the subject’s own voices to illuminate the stops along the road to equality.
Like a Virgin
Self-described “godless heathens” Rose Dommu and Fran Tirado bring a new perspective to the world of comedic cultural criticism with their strong rapport, knowledge of gay history and a strong affinity for gay icons. Each episode begins with a recap of the week’s gayest moments in pop culture news before diving into a singular topic, which could be anything from Hercules to smizing. Occasional guests keep the vibe fresh, and their irreverent sense of humor is one-of-a-kind.
The Bright Sessions
The long-running fiction sci-fi cast revolves around Dr. Bright, a therapist who has a specialty in treating “the strange and unusual.” A stellar cast of voice actors plays people who have supernatural abilities including a confused teen, a time traveler, an empath and a telepath. One listener said, “Another wonderful bonus is the LGBTQ+ representation.”
This Had Oscar Buzz
Entertainment writers and Oscar obsessives Joe Reid and Chris Feil talk about movies that had Oscar aspirations, but something didn’t quite work out. From “Notting Hill” to “The Da Vinci Code” and “Margot at the Wedding,” their deep knowledge of movies combines with a dose of humor and a great rapport with each other for an engaging listen. Plus, as one listener said, It’s “a blessed reprieve from the glut of Straight Movie Culture podcasts.”
From the studio that brought you “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” World of Wonder’s WOW Report, which exists alongside 10 other queer-centered podcasts, is an essential breakdown of the week’s news with intelligent commentary and tidbits of queer history. WOW co-founder Fenton Bailey, chief creative officer Tom Campbell and WOW report editor (and original club kid) James St. James host, with decades of knowledge and insider experience from the world of LGBTQ media.
Hosted by Monét X Change and Bob The Drag Queen — two best friends who are both “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners — this podcast refuses to stick to any topic or tone, but is consistent in the hilarious chemistry of its co-hosts and an off-the-cuff style that never gets boring. From Elon Musk to drag to DILFs to ancient Mesopotamia, no subject is off the table. Come for the endless barrage of insults that Monét and Bob throw at one another, stay for surprisingly touching insights into the world we live in.
Horror films have a long relationship with queer culture, starting as far back as the 1936 queer-coded “Dracula’s Daughter.” On this long-running show, co-hosts Joe Lipsett and Trace Thurman cover films with both subtle and over LGBTQ themes. Recent episodes include a bonus episode on Alex Garland’s “Men,” an examination of the nearly-lost 1971 “Wake in Fright” and a look at the experimental “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair.”
David and John are husbands who started out just like a lot of us — completely clueless about where their money was going and why there was never enough to live fabulously. They came up with their own method for paying off debt more effectively and now tackle everything from how changes in Social Security could benefit same sex couples to how LGBTQ travelers can save money, how to find your purpose and how to talk about money with your partner.
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