SHARP, FUNNY AND POPTASTIC
Conor Behan and Holly Shortall’s pop-culture chat show is a pure delight
I am largely terrified of chat-show style podcasts unless the subject matter is incredibly specific. Host-to-host dynamics and chemistry, unless you’re a devout fan of what they’re discussing or the host themselves, can often feel alienating. There’s nothing I dread more than tuning in to a podcast and feeling pushed out by chat, rather than pulled in. However, hosts Conor Behan and Holly Shortall are delightful to listen to in their weekly pop-culture commentary, Popsessed. They’re warm and earnest: the conversation is focused and fast-paced.
The episode I recommend starting on is the seventh of their run, New Year, New
Neck. The conversation is topical, looking at the return of Dancing on Ice and the Golden Globes – as well as celebrity news stories, such as Britney Spears’ cancellation of 30 upcoming shows. Behan and Shortall discuss precisely what is happening in the pop-culture landscape right now, but with a healthy balance of critique and humour.
For example, when they’re chatting about the Golden Globes, there’s as much attention given to the allegations of sexual abuse around director of Bohemian Rhapsody, Bryan Singer, as there is to the viral redcarpet superstar Fiji Water Girl. Each news item gets breathing room.
The hour moves quickly. By the time we get to the story of an Instagram superstar’s plastic-surgery plot twist, I couldn’t believe there was half an hour gone. I normally get distracted after about 20 minutes.
There is something in the tone that feels as though it could have been broadcast live from a soundstage on Channel 4 in the mid-2000s – Behan and Shortall are sharp, funny, engaged commentators. Segments such as “Deserved/Not Deserved” and the “Neck of the Week” are hilarious.
It is also refreshing to have two Irish voices with insightful and intelligent opinions to listen to. This is the Irish magazine show we truly deserve in 2019 – I’ll be happily listening every week.