You’re Michelle Obama, one of the most famous people in the world. What do you call your podcast? The Michelle Obama Podcast, that’s what.
After an announcement vignette earlier this month (Introducing The Michelle Obama Podcast), a trailer (The Michelle Obama Podcast Trailer) and a prologue on Tuesday (Hi, I’m Michelle Obama), the former first lady premiered her namesake show on Wednesday.
“Hello everybody, I’m Michelle Obama,” she began her maiden 49-minute effort, ”and this is The Michelle Obama Podcast.” When it comes to ear-grabbing openings, it wasn’t exactly, “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America, from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea.” But there’s something to be said for directness.
And there’s something to be said for being able to pull in former president Barack Obama as your first guest. The pair spoke easily about family, community, their earliest days together and the “uncertainty” and “anxiety” of today. Often, Michelle Obama followed her husband’s remarks with a murmured “mmm-hmm.” Though it wasn’t rehearsed, they’ve had these conversations before. They agree with each other – two peas in a pod, one might say.
A nine-episode topical lifestyle show, The Michelle Obama Podcast focuses on how relationships shape people. Future guests include talk-show host Conan O’Brien and Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to Barack Obama.
The immersive conversation between the Obamas is one of three recommended podcasts this week, along with a history lesson by former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant on a famous Canadian song and a look back at the riot-hot summer of 1967.
Something historical: “The federal government should not interfere except in the most extraordinary circumstances.” That was president Lyndon Johnson, speaking as Detroit burned in July of 1967. The circumstances, as presented in a recent episode of National Public Radio’s Throughline, were indeed extraordinary, necessitating the sending in of federal troops to deal with rioting and racial strife. But that’s not all LBJ did. The Long Hot Summer, one of Throughline’s recent topically relevant history documentaries, is devoted to the Kerner Commission, appointed by the former president to diagnose the root causes of the problem and to suggest solutions.
Something musical: There’s a promotional aspect to the podcast Digging Deep with Robert Plant, as Digging Deep is also the name of a box set he’s flogging. The third season premiered this week with an episode recorded in front of a live audience, and featured the former Zep frontman mentioning his current band’s tour. Clearly the show was taped some time ago. Plant chats about Morning Dew, an oft-covered apocalyptic folk song written by Canada’s Bonnie Dobson. The lyrics depict the dialogue between the last man and woman alive after a catastrophe, unable to walk outside because of the after-effects. Imagine that.
Something Obama: More than once in the first episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast, husband-guest Barack Obama turns the conversation away from himself and toward his host-wife. Could you imagine President Donald Trump doing that? The Obamas reflect on their community activism, which the former first lady turned to after beginning a career as a Saab-driving, wine-club-joining corporate lawyer with a 47th-floor office that overlooked the Chicago stomping grounds of her youth: “I never felt further from that neighbourhood when I was sitting in that office working on briefs and cases that had nothing to do with anything that helped a broader group of people outside of myself.”
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