Oprah to Dax Shepard: 8 Podcasts With Stars as Hosts

6:15 AM 8/25/2018

by Omar Sanchez

Actors like Shepard and Anna Faris — plus Oprah — are stepping outside the set and into the world of podcasting.

Seeing stars talk candidly about their lives — without having to stalk their social media accounts — is a luxury in 2018, thanks to more and more Hollywood names talking for hours on end to their fanbase through another medium.

With the rise of podcasts, famous faces are bypassing publicists and doing away with lengthy Instagram posts in favor of opening up on their own audio shows, which often sees them inviting some of their wellk nown friends to join them at the mic.

The Hollywood Reporter has compiled a list of eight podcasts where the hosts are stars themselves. These must-listens see actors from Dax Shepard and Anna Faris to Oprah herself tackling topics that range from their childhood to how to date in a big city and more. 

  • Anna Faris' 'Unqualified'

    Hosted by the Mom and Scary Movie star, Anna Faris’ podcast doesn’t try to take itself seriously — and that’s a good thing. Faris has interviewed stars like Billy Eichner and Jimmy Kimmel where, through the use of fan phone calls and voice characters from Faris herself, she brings out insightful advice on dating from the most unlikely of places.

    Approximate length of episodes: 90 minutes

    Number of podcasts: 135+

  • Dax Shepard's 'Armchair Expert'

    Actor Dax Shepard has only come onto the podcast scene this year, but his Armchair Expert has connected with listeners and currently sits in the Top 15 on the Apple Podcasts charts. Along with fact-checker Monica Padman, Shepard delivers insightful conversations with stars and experts by peeling back the superficial layers of the entertainment industry. Shepard does so by relating to the interviewer and speaking honestly about his own struggles, among them with his sobriety and self-image.

    An episode can at times clock in at more two hours, but don’t let that deter you. During interviews with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres or Seth Rogen, Shepard goes into what went behind their career milestones, shedding light on the intimate struggles they overcame to reach the place they are now. Even if a star starts the podcast answering questions like a typical press interview, by the end, Shepard's subject has opened up and offered new insight into his or success that isn’t as clean as a daily Instagram feed.

    Approximate time of episodes: 2 hours

    Number of podcasts: 30+

  • Gwyneth Paltrow's 'The goop Podcast'

    The goop Podcast from the lifestyle website goop brings in founder Gwyneth Paltrow and CCO Elise Loehnen to talk to life and style experts on how to improve on things like diet, sex and self-acceptance. Guests of the weekly podcast that started earlier this year have included the likes of Stanford clinical assistant Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, psychic medium Laura Lynne Jackson and fellow actress-producer Olivia Wilde.

    Approximate length of episodes: 45 minutes

    Number of podcasts: 25+

  • Hannibal Buress' 'Handsome Rambler'

    If you’ve ever relaxed with a college roommate for a few hours before a football tailgate or late-night library session, you know the vibe of comedian/actor Hannibal Buress’ podcast The Handsome Rambler. Buress will often talk with guests about what is going on in their everyday lives, like when Tag co-star Jon Hamm spoke about his time playing for the local softball team. Along with Buress' co-host DJ Tony Trimm, the show intermixes music and voice modifiers throughout, adding a sense of spontaneity to every conversation.

    Approximate length of episodes: 60 minutes

    Number of podcasts: 55+

  • Jonathan Van Ness' 'Getting Curious'

    Getting Curious has been going on since 2015, long before Jonathan Van Ness' Queer Eye fame. But nothing has changed about his search to uncover more topics that both he and the general public might not know about.

    During the weekly pod, Van Ness will bring on someone outside of his social circle, like Vanity Fair staff reporter Tina Nguyen, and spark a lively discussion about, for example, how the GOP plans to beat the Democrats in the midterm elections. Other episodes include titles like "Does social media make artists need to be business people too?" and, most recently, “Why is abstinence still being used to treat addiction?” 

    Approximate time of episodes: 40 minutes

    Number of podcasts: 60+

  • Kevin Smith's 'SModcast'

    Podcasts have found ways to touch audiences with retellings of real-life events, whether through true crime or otherwise. But when Clerks and Tusk director Kevin Smith recently went through a near-death experience after a major heart attack earlier this year, the actor-director talked listeners through his recovery, along with Clerks and Good Will Hunting producer Scott Mosier. The result was two episodes that keenly put into perspective the value of one’s life and journey in a light-hearted but brutally honest way: “Premo Kev, Pt. 1” and “Premo Kev, Pt. 2.” Smith even started the podcast by including his 20-minute Facebook Live video at the hospital after his heart attack, where he shares step by step what happens to your body when you very nearly pass away.

    This level of blunt conversation is a theme of the SModcast, even though it’s usually more humor than anything else.

    Approximate time of episodes: 90 minutes

    Number of podcasts: 400+

  • Oprah's 'Master Class'

    Oprah's Master Class has a simple concept: Hear from the stars themselves on their rise to fame and lessons they learned along the way. Hosted by Oprah Winfrey herself, Master Class delivers on this promise by lending the microphone to stars like Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys as they speak freely about their childhoods and life as a parent, husband or wife. Episodes are an easily digestible 30 to 40 minutes, so the listener doesn't feel like the star is veering toward rambling rather than honest storytelling.

    Approximate length of episodes: 35 minutes

    Number of podcasts: 5+

  • RuPauls' 'What's the Tee?"

    There’s very few things Drag Race creator RuPaul won’t talk about when it comes to pop culture, so it’s no surprise What’s The Tee? currently has a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts. Recently, RuPaul and co-host Michelle Visage have gone in on their thoughts on Cher having an ABBA cover album, the Netflix series Grace & Frankie and the long career of Jennifer Lopez.

    Approximate time of episodes: 60 minutes

    Number of podcasts: 165+