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The best podcasts for engaging with other artists and creatives and game-changers

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Who am I?

Daniel Paisner is a journalist, author and podcaster, with more than 80 books to his credit, including 17 New York Times best-sellers. He is the “voice” of Serena Williams, Steve Aoki, John Kasich, Whoopi Goldberg, Denzel Washington, Ray Lewis, Ron Darling, Gilbert Gottfried, Anthony Quinn and dozens of other name-above-the-title celebrities. He is the winner of two NAACP Image Awards for his work with Shark Tank panelist and serial entrepreneur Daymond John, and his novel “A Single Happened Thing” was named an Indies Finalist as best book of the year by the editors of Foreword Reviews. He has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, ESPN: The Magazine and on National Public Radio. New York magazine once called him “the world’s most prolific ghost,” which may or may not have been a compliment. Since 2021, he has been hosting "AS TOLD TO: The Ghostwriting Podcast," a series of deep-dive conversations with his fellow collaborators - songwriters, speechwriters, comedy writers and ghostwriters... basically anyone who puts his or her talents to work in service of someone else's voice and vision. The show is a production of the Writers Bone Podcast Network His latest novel, "Balloon Dog," the story of the bungled theft of a Jeff Koons sculpture, was published by Koehler Books in 2022. His 1992 fly-on-the-wall account of the bungled development of a CBS sitcom pilot, "Horizontal Hold," was reissued in a new edition by Cutting Edge Books in 2023. The book, now called "SHOW: The Making and Unmaking of a Network Television Pilot," features a new introduction by the author, and an afterword by television writer and pop culture journalist Phoef Sutton. When I step away from my own work, I like to listen to intelligent conversations with writers, artists and creative thinkers, sharing their inspirations, frustrations and hesitations. (Oh, and it helps if they're in their hands of a gifted interviewer and committed conversationalist.)

My Show

What is my podcast about and/or how does it relate to the playlist topic you chose?

On "AS TOLD TO," we seek to understand what it means to build and sustain a writing life, through conversations with some of publishing's top ghostwriters, as well as with artists and creatives committed to helping others share their stories.

What is my podcast playlist about?

Compelling conversations with compelling people who are interested in understanding how they've come to do what they do, why they choose to keep doing it, and how they might do it better.

The podcasts I picked and why

1. Blocks w/ Neal Brennan

Why this podcast?

I started listening after watching Neal's stand-up specials. I was struck by the way his mind works, and the refreshing ways he addresses the limiting beliefs that have held him back in his life and his career. He presses his guests to do the same on this excellent podcast.

Blocks w/ Neal Brennan
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5.0

Based on his Netflix comedy special, "Blocks." Neal Brennan interviews friends and colleagues about the things that make them feel lonely, isolated, and like something's wrong - and how they are persevering despite these blocks.

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5 Listeners

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2. Mike Birbiglia's Working It Out

Why this podcast?

It's the best show I've found for breaking down the creative process and understanding how the sausage is made - in this case, how some of our most influential contemporary comedians construct and refine their material.

Mike Birbiglia's Working It Out
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4.7

Comedian Mike Birbiglia welcomes a different comedian or creator each week and together they work out original, untested material. And, occasionally, uncomfortable topics. Join them as they work it out.

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29 Listeners

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3. Writer's Bone

Why this podcast?

For over ten years, this has been the most consistent podcast for bookish chatter with writers, conducted by my friend (and "AS TOLD TO" producer) Daniel Ford. Dan knows his stuff: he reads the books, and pushes his guests to reflect on the stuff of their writing lives with insight and great good cheer.

Writer's Bone

Writer's Bone

Daniel Ford and the Writer's Bone Crew

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5.0

Aspiring writers, best-selling scribes, and award-winning screenwriters confront existential dread and writing angst! A podcast for the conversationalist.

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4 Listeners

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4. Joy, a Podcast. Hosted by Craig Ferguson

Why this podcast?

A recent addition to my podcast playlist. Ferguson's interviewing style is relaxed, playful, disarming - and it feels perfectly suited to this medium. Plus, his guest list almost always delights and surprises.

Joy, a Podcast. Hosted by Craig Ferguson
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5.0

Storied late-night talk host Craig Ferguson brings his interview talents and singular world view to a discussion of the modern state of JOY, sitting down with notable guests from the worlds of entertainment, science, government, and more. How's our Joy doing? Bridled? On life support? Where do we find joy in a world that seems by any rational measure to be collapsing around us?

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5 Listeners

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5. On with Kara Swisher

Why this podcast?

Kara is one of the best long-form interviewers in podcasting - across all media, actually. She has an uncanny ability to push all the right buttons with her guests, and get them to open up to her. And she casts a pretty wide net here. If someone's making news/making noise in politics, technology, journalism and popular culture, there's a good chance he/she will wind up on Kara's show, and that he/she will share some new insight you won't find anyplace else.

On with Kara Swisher
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4.6

It's on. Twice a week, award-winning journalist Kara Swisher gets to the heart of the story through no-holds-barred interviews with power players across business, tech, media, politics and beyond. So why do her guests show up? “Smart people,” says Kara, “like difficult questions.” Mondays and Thursdays from New York Magazine and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

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18 Listeners

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