Mary's Midlife Podcast Playlist

Mary’s Podcast Playlist

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Mary Rogers

Experience 50 listeners regularly ask me which podcasts I listen to when I’m not recording my own.

Okay. Sharing my podcast playlist feels a bit like telling you to look in my purse. I can’t explain how everything got in there and I may feel some shame. Loser lottery tickets, my rock star prescription drugs, a half-eaten Snickers bar and a few Euros from a trip to Ireland in 2018.

These podcasts give me my sanity. Some, I listen to every episode, beginning to end. Others I will let accumulate in my feed and then binge on when they strike my fancy. And then there are those that I can’t really explain.

UPDATED April 1st, 2020:

– Doze off to classic stories.

– ‘nuf said.

– a meditation skeptic who came around after suffering a panic attack on live TV.

– the original producers share personal faves

– you can’t make this s*** up. True story told in a limited series.

– great way to fill the embarrassing gaps in your education

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

No one is more surprised than me. Conan O’Brien’s new podcast is the most recent addition to my playlist and has become my newest podcast addiction. I don’t watch his late night TV show. The reasons I love this podcast don’t exist in the tv show.

The guests he interviews are his middle-aged friends from tv comedy, whom we’ve all known for most of our adult lives. The long-form conversation format creates an intimacy that is impossible on late night tv.

Early in his career, Conan was a writer on Saturday Night Live and then The Simpsons before moving on to hosting duties on Late Night and the Tonight Show. He knows every funny person that got us through our 20s, 30s, 40s, and well, now. His guests to date include Dana Carvey, Will Farrell, Stephen Colbert, Adam Sandler, and my favorite married couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mulally. All over 50, all funny.

With satirist David Sedaris, 62, a solid 10 minutes is devoted to the dreaminess of colonoscopy twilight drugs. You won’t hear this gold from 20-year-olds. Dana Carvey, 63, does a bit about Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburn. In other words, this is for us.

Making Sense with Sam Harris

I feel very smart that I listen to Sam Harris, 51. I can feel very less-smart when I listen to Sam Harris. He is what we call A Great Thinker. You don’t have to agree with him on his conclusions, but when he takes you on a ride of how he arrives at his beliefs, you are in for an intellectual treat.

My first introduction to his podcast came from listening to his current audiobook, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. He also teaches mindfulness and meditation on the accompanying app Waking Up.

This is not a woo woo, new age podcast. Sam Harris takes long deep dives into science, technology, commerce, culture, politics and more. His guests include today’s decision-makers and the day’s most sought after thought leaders.

You know that question, “If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?” Hands down: Sam Harris

Chris Gethard’s Beautiful Anonymous

1 phone call. 1 hour. No names. No holds barred and host Chris Gethard, 38, cannot hang up first. This is podcast art. From guilt-ridden confessions to heart-wrenching stories of loss, this is eavesdropping on the human soul. I love the fact that I have no idea what I’m getting into when I give it a listen.

Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin

Yet another midlifer, 60 year-old Alec Baldwin, shows up in my playlist. Like Conan O’Brien, this guys knows everybody from the last thirty years in the entertainment business, the arts and politics and he allows us sit in. Honestly, I find myself uncomfortable with how much I enjoy this podcast.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

Comedian Paul Gilmartin, 56, makes mental illness acceptable table talk. I believe the world needs more of this. He is a sufferer, not a doctor. Guests include creative types who have experience with this dark topic.

Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu

Entrepreneur Tom Bilyeu’s podcast and accompanying YouTube show feature in-depth conversations with guests making a difference in our world expanding human potential. At 42, he makes the cut for midlife white guy. His interview with modern elder Chip Conley is spot-on in discussing midlife.

The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, 56, from Dirty Jobs. It is simply a bonus that his stories are so good because frankly, I could listen to this guy’s voice all day. He could recite the phone book from A to Z and I’d be there.

The Commonwealth Club

The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum. Since 1924, speakers of the day have shared insights in speeches then shared on public radio to hungry ears around the world.

The History Chicks

Deep dives into women in history by two smart chicks. Love!

Pod Save America

Former Obama staffers discuss politics

How Do We Fix It

Positive fixes for disturbing times. Fixes over fears. Host Richard Davies makes an appearance on The Experience 50 Podcast here.

The Fizzle Show

Digital marketing advice from hipsters I enjoy.


Advice on better blogging.

Marie Forleo TV

Starting and growing online businesses. Female-focused wisdom from B-School entrepreneur Marie Forleo, 43.


The podcast by women for female podcasters. I don’t love this podcast, but I check in from time to time.

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn

The big Kahuna of eCommerce for creators. If not for Pat Flynn, Experience 50 would not exist. Three years ago he was in my ear 24/7 as I gathered my guts to start podcasting. I happened to meet Pat in Dallas just before launching and he was so gracious.

News in Slow Spanish

I’m still kidding myself that I will learn to speak spanish. I crack myself up.

That’s a lot of middle-aged white guys!

Hmmm? I didn’t see that coming. Not until I compiled this list did I realise that I spend 95% of my time listening to white guys over the age of 40. Interesting.

But that is the beauty of podcasts, there is something for everyone.

Please share a podcast you enjoy and your Why This in the comments.

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