Procrastinate Better

A Podcast for the Weirdo in All of Us

From time to time, a Slate staffer or critic offers up a favorite cultural pick for Procrastinate Better readers. Today’s endorsement is from copy editor Ellen Tarlin.

During a car trip about a year ago, while I drove, my husband manned the iPod and served as our trip DJ. He put on a podcast I’d never even heard of before, called Risk! True Tales Boldly Told . I’ve been a fan of storytelling as I’ve heard it on more well-known shows like The Moth and This American Life , but from the first story, this podcast was different: rougher around the edges and, well, riskier. The episode we listened to that day was Risk ’s first, on the theme “Strange Sex.” While some moments were jaw-dropping, others were hysterically funny, and still others just plain touching. Now, almost a year later, we still recite and laugh at hilarious lines from that particular episode.

Each biweekly podcast centers on a theme (e.g., “Why Did I Do That?,” “Secrets Revealed,” “Regrets,” “Revenge,” “Jealousy”) meant to elicit serious and humorous revelatory stories from the tellers, who are both comedians (such as Janeane Garofalo, Michael Ian Black, and Rachael Dratch) and regular folk like you and me. Full disclosure: I got to tell a story on Risk , in the episode called “Fights,” and the editor of this blog told one in Risk ’s live show in New York, which resumes in the fall.

But the Risk podcast is not merely a parade of freaks to point at and laugh. What’s truly marvelous about it is that it does what all good art should do—allow us to relate to other people, reminding us that we are not the only weirdos on the planet; in fact, it’s our weirdness that makes us just like everyone else. Also, did I mention that it’s free and available on iTunes ?