A Review of “Are We Still Talking About This”

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Jessica Pilot and Adam Kaplan’s new podcast, “Are We Still Talking About This”, needs to be in your rotation. They bring on artists to talk about some of life’s heavier topics, but their charm makes it an easy listen. It’s in the “Fashion & Beauty” section on iTunes, which adds an exciting cultural cachet (I don’t listen to any other Fashion & Beauty podcasts, which is weird because it’s been like 5 months since I wore uggs on a date). I listened to episodes with comedians Gary Gulman and Artie Lange.

Gary Gulman gets deep into his depression within the first five minutes. He tells us about coping mechanisms he’s used, including reading books and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). He also describes his depression setting in at age six and not getting a diagnosis until age 19. As a comedian, I particularly loved when he spoke about using his comedy to make other sufferers feel less alone. I often question the value of stand-up (I’m allowed to say that, because I’m a stand-up and also I can say whatever I want!!), but Gulman makes clear the critical role humor plays in helping us cope. Part of their podcast includes asking about the guest’s obsessions, and, in Gulman’s case, we get a unique glimpse into his mind. It’s obvious that he trusts the hosts and is willing to open up to them, and this rapport makes it possible to dive into dark subjects in a short period of time.

Artie Lange comes on to discuss jail, cocaine, losing close friends, gambling, his nose, and more. They start off on the stress of Twitter (while this is a relatively light topic, I have felt personally victimized by Twitter many times, so I appreciated it). Lange tells the story of what happened to his nose for the first time on the record (no spoilers, listen to the episode!!). Lange also reveals that he’s in perfect health, which supports my long-held theory that we don’t even need noses. Lange has a history of drug abuse, and he opens up about this as well as his recent run-in with law enforcement. The conversation is undeniably dark, but Lange is a fascinating person, and his sense of humor combined with the wit of Pilot and Kaplan drive the conversation.

I wonder if it’s insensitive to call this podcast ‘addictive’ when they talk frequently about drug addiction, but I find the term appropriate. They interview all types of entertainers, not just comedians. I just started listening to writer Melissa Febos’ episode on her stories of trauma, and I’m loving learning about how she’s able to bring those stories to a live audience. I also greatly appreciate the length. Too often, funny podcast hosts assume they’re entertaining enough to justify recording a 3-hour conversation. Here, Pilot and Kaplan cover scintillating subjects with humor and grace in under an hour. In fact, the Artie Lange podcast is the longest at 48 minutes, but others are as short as 12. “Are We Still Talking About This” is a great time investment, and, to answer their question, yes, it’s a podcast we’re going to keep talking about.

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