What’s In My Hear Hole Today?: Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Hello, and welcome to the second installment of “What’s In My Hear Hole Today?”. This week I am very proud to feature what has quickly become an absolute favorite podcast of mine… NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour (PCHH)… where the conversation is real, but the drinks are fake (their tagline… not mine).

Hosted by blogger extraordinaire Linda Holmes of NPR’s pop culture and entertainment blog, Monkey See and joined by Tre Graham, Glen Weldon and Stephen Thompson all various editors or writers at NPR. This podcast takes the form of four friends getting together, and with Linda at the helm introducing new topics, hanging out and chatting about what is going on in movies, TV, music and any other bit of pop culture flotsam that happens past. From the first episode of PCHH back in July of 2010 the chemistry between these four (and occasional stand in Barrie Hardymon as well as producer Mike Katzif) was evident. They riff off of one another and play up each others quirks in a way that quite frankly makes me want to be in the room.

I must admit to being inspired by the show as well as by Linda Holmes’ personal story of how she came to NPR. She was an attorney at one time and decided she wanted a change… so she began to write her own blog and eventually was given the job at Monkey See. And when I’m listening to the show, I realize exactly what I want for myself in life. They are funny, dorky, witty and insightful. One of my favorite features on the show is how Linda tends to end the weekly podcast, with “What’s Making Me Happy This Week?” At the end of one of the early shows what was making her happy was “ironic happiness” as evidenced by such shows as Glee and some other example that currently escapes my mind. It was simply so adorable and I agreed so heartily (with the concept, not with Glee… I’ve never seen it) that I couldn’t help but smile… and if the show does anything, it makes me smile.

Originally I had subscribed to NPR’s movie podcast, which then became NPR’s Culturetopia… incorporating all aspects of entertainment (and sadly, a bit of NPR’s wonkiness… which is great when you are in that mood… but I wanted movies, not cuban jazz), and one day, PCHH arrived. Similar in tone to The A.V. Club’s podcast, A.V. Talk, PCHH strips away the seriousness and these four simply seem to have a bit of fun for an hour. Whether discussing who would win in a gay-off… Glen or Tre?… or Stephen Thompson’s geek-in-training son (sound familiar?) coming up with “chicktopus”… or Linda’s past life as an a cappella singer… I am always interested and always having a great time while listening. And if that is not explicit enough of an endorsement for you, bear in mind I usually listen to this while cleaning my house on a Saturday morning… and I’m smiling and laughing!

So get in on the party… you can find PCHH in iTunes under NPR’s Culturetopia or you can find it at NPR.org under Monkey See… or just go here. Whether discussing comic books, film, music or bad TV (another great feature [which happens to have it’s own catchy theme song] is “Regrettable Television… Pop Quiz”… so funny), you will want to have a drink and enjoy the company.

PCHH is what’s making me happy,
Cornelius J. Blahg

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