When I moved to Los Angeles nine years ago, I had a job that made me feel a little alienated. I could barely understand most of the people who worked around me. Part of that was because they were engineers, and I had never developed that part of my brain. The other reason was because they largely spoke Chinese. I needed a way to feel less alone, that could simultaneously stimulate my bored brain during the hours I sat with little to do.
A new “friend”
A year and a half in, I was desperate to fill my earholes with words from someone I could relate to. I’d heard about podcasts, but had never listened to any. A Google search result recommended Alison Rosen‘s then-new podcast, “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend,” and with a title like that, I figured a download was in order.
Years later, I’ve listened to practically every episode and turned friends on to that podcast, as well as to her new endeavor, “Childish,” which she co-hosts with comedian Greg Fitzsimmons.
Talking about a podcast with a friend is fun and comforting, like you’re sharing a secret. Unlike water-cooler chat about the last episode of “Game of Thrones,” it feels more intimate. When you listen to a podcast, it feels almost like listening in on a conversation – one you’ve not only been given permission to eavesdrop but to which you’ve also been extended a gracious invitation. Some podcasts offer this experience to a greater extent than do others.
Real-life “Friends” friends
You know that feeling you get when you meet someone who likes the same little-known band, weird art flick, or hole-in-the-wall bistro that has the best homemade gnocchi? There’s actually a better feeling. Meeting, in real life, complete strangers who are fans of the same podcast. Or, in this case, friends of the “Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend” podcast (who are also “Childish” fans). Friends who are such huge fans that they have their own fancast. Who, like the podcast itself, are warm and welcoming, possibly quirky and definitely funny.
I was lucky enough to have this experience last week when I went with a friend to see a live taping of “Childish” at the Comedy Store. I introduced myself and my friend to three super-fans, Lisa Lawrie (co-host of the Best Friend’s Fancast), Scott Marquez, and Meghan Parkansky. Instantly I felt like these were old friends. In a way, they are. We’ve been in the same aural circle for years, with the same “friend” in common, Alison Rosen.
One of the credos of The Tangentier is that focusing your attention on what you love brings you more of the good stuff. So, imagine how that effect is magnified when the enthusiasm is mutual. Over the years, I and others I know have found friendship in places like beauty and TV fan messageboards, social media, and now podcasts. But those places shouldn’t seem like unlikely foundations for friendship. They’re just another tangent.