To be honest, I’ve had a long-running on-again, off-again affair with the Armchair Expert podcast. But it’s not due to the quality or direction of the show changing much since its debut in 2018. It’s simply that the show’s blunt honesty and penetrating questions have, at times during the last five years, felt entirely necessary for me and, at other times, felt far too intrusive for my brain to ask myself.
That said, I’ve recently started listening to the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard again, and I have to say, I’m glad I made that choice again. The show is incredibly engaging, with Dax and his younger co-host Monica Padman bringing out personal stories from mostly famous guests that often discuss unique perspectives on life, relationships, and everything in between.
While the format of long-form interviews isn’t ground-breaking, there’s something charming and honest about how most episodes unspool that leave the listener wanting more. And I suppose that’s a bit part of the equation of what makes this podcast the massive success that it’s been. It’s not just the celebrity guests willing to open up to Dax; it’s also the ability of the host to reciprocate vulnerability and openness like he did when discussing his sobriety and relapse after sixteen years of sobriety.
While there are far too many to list here, here’s just a sampling of the guest that Dax has had on the podcast:
- Elizabeth Banks
- Michael Shannon
- Robert Downey Jr.
- Natalie Portman
- Jake Gyllenhaal
- Sam Harris
- Matthew McConaughey
- David Letterman
- Jenna Ortega
- Paul Rudd
- Pamela Anderson
- Scott Galloway
- Edward Norton
- Jerry Seinfeld
One of the standout episodes for me was when Anna Kendrick appeared on the show to discuss her career and personal life. Of course, the conversation inevitably turned to her ex-boyfriend, and it was fascinating to hear Anna’s candid thoughts on the relationship and its eventual end. While she doesn’t mention the ex-boyfriend by name, a minimal amount of internet sleuthing will let you figure out who it is pretty quickly.
Another episode that has also stood out to me was the one featuring Monica Lewinsky. It’s maybe the most candid interview with Lewinsky you’ll ever hear. Post-interview, even she doubted her candidness and how much she shared on the Armchair Expert podcast.
The Spotify Deal
Following in the footsteps of Joe Rogan, the Armchair Expert Podcast made a permanent move to Spotify in 2021, becoming exclusive to that streaming service. While many fans were unhappy about the move, myself included, the podcast has continued growing its audience and thriving with Spotify.
I loathe when podcasts do this. It’s antithetical to the very-open standard of RSS that podcasts were built on and is often a slap in the face for long-time fans. But hey, even if I was a celebrity, and someone dangled a reportedly $50-100 million in my face, perhaps I would change my mind about being exclusive to a podcast network. As they say, money talks. That said, it doesn’t look like Spotify’s spending spree on podcasts has paid off, which might make other buyers think twice before trying to turn highly successful podcasts into exclusives not available anywhere else.
The Armchair Expert Podcast Merchandise
Like many podcasts that boast the number of listeners in the millions, the Armchair Expert podcast has opened up new revenue-generating opportunities, including creating a line of merchandise that appeals to listeners. This has helped further strengthen the community on the platform and encourages viewers to show their support for Dax’s ongoing work.
Should You Listen to the Armchair Expert Podcast?
If you’re already a Spotify user, I highly recommend having a listen to this show, especially if you want a more comprehensive look into the lives of some of your favourite celebrities.