I’ve been a longtime podcast listener. Like, I started listening to podcasts almost 15 years ago. Yes, there were podcasts then. Mostly I just listened to sports podcasts, but these days I listen to a bunch of comedy podcasts, plus the occasional pop culture podcast. One of the podcasts that people first got into was WTF with Marc Maron. Maron basically built a career off of podcasting, though he had been a comedian for years prior. WTF just took his career to the next level. It was one of the first interview shows people really got into. I started listening to it about a decade ago. I used to listen to almost every episode. Now, though, I very rarely listen to WTF, and honestly there is a podcast now that does the same thing but way better.
I’m not merely talking about skipping those first 15 minutes of every WTF, which is both a common joke on the show but also a true thing. I definitely skip to the interview. These days, though, I really don’t listen to the interviews either. Here’s the thing: Maron is not a good interviewer. This was always true, I imagine, but it took more and more podcasts popping up to make me realize. He does seemingly no prep work and seems to only be half listening a lot of the time. However, I am not writing this to slag Maron, because I do listen occasionally. I just want to inform you of the existence of The Three Questions with Andy Richter.
Like WTF, The Three Questions is an interview show. The host is Andy Richter, obviously, who is best known for his years as Conan O’Brien’s sidekick and a couple cult sitcoms. He talks to a celebrity of some strain and builds his interview around three questions: Where have you been?, Where are you going?, and What have you learned?. However, those questions are really only there to build an introspective conversation.
This is the best interview podcast I’ve ever listened to. Richter is a great interviewer. Maybe it’s because of all the years he’s sat alongside Conan doing interviews. Of course, Conan has a podcast as well, though that’s more a conversational podcast than an interview podcast, and yes there is a difference. Conan’s podcast is funnier, but Richter’s podcast may be even better in its own way. He can be funny in his interviews, but he’s also insightful and engaging. Richter isn’t afraid to go deep, to be honest, and to cultivate honesty in others. The conversations are just so rich, and I really can’t express how strong Richter is as an interviewer.
If you listen to WTF, I highly recommend The Three Questions. You don’t have to choose between them, but I definitely have been preferring the latter since it debuted, and that’s a real credit to Richter.