Companionship From Your Speakers! My Favorite Queer Podcasts

Did you know that you can get a sun lamp for seasonal depression for $35? Why am I telling you this? Well, we’re about to enter winter during a pandemic, something we’ve never experienced in our lifetimes.

Unfortunately, as predicted, COVID cases are on the rise again. It might be wise to set yourself up for success this hibernation season. You may find yourself a bit lonely being cooped up in the house, keeping warm and safe. Instead of searching Tinder or Grindr when that feeling hits, you may want to put your finger on the Podcasts app on your phone.

I know I’m not the only one who feels a kinship with their favorite podcast hosts. These people are sharing themselves and their perspectives on various topics. You get to know them on a somewhat intimate level. You learn about their sense of humor, agreeing  with them on some things and disagreeing on others. We’ve all been guilty of talking back to them. (Don’t lie. It’s ok. You’re not alone.) So, if you go through a span of time without being able to see friends and family this winter, spend some time with those lovely people who offer themselves up in front of a microphone.

You can find a podcast about virtually anything: true crime, relationship advice, news, politics and sports. There are podcasts about your favorite TV shows,  horrible movies and Broadway shows. You may want to hear one that piques your queer interests though. There are also plenty of those and I’m going to share just a few of my favorite ones in this article. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to just a few of my BFFs(Best Fake Friends):

The Butch and the Bi

The Butch and The Bi is a podcast with some local flavor. Bob Rudenborg (they’re butch) and Jon Marek(he’s bi) are the Pittsburgh-based hosts. Unlike the other podcasts I will mention, I know the wonderful people who host this podcast. They’re not only talented at entertaining on stage, but also over the internet radio waves. The Butch and The Bi launched in August of 2019 and is now in its third season. Starting with the second season, Bob and Jon started inviting guests from the arts and media community to introduce any topic they’d like. According to Jon, “We wanted a platform to have interesting conversations with a variety of people, not defined by one aspect of our identity but by our experiences as individuals. With our name being so ’straight’forward, we have found that it has set the expectation that our conversations are held in a safe environment with good intentions and a willingness to learn from our guests.”

Topics have included voting, coming out and staying friends with your ex and they are fascinating to listen to. I was one of their latest guests discussing sitcoms. Bob and Jon bring the improv concept of “yes, and?” to their podcast. It makes their guests feel comfortable to share and relate. New episodes are released on Fridays. Give them a listen and when this pandemic madness ends, head on down to the Arcade Comedy Theater on Liberty Avenue to see them onstage!

Sloppy Seconds

In the same vein as The Butch and The Bi but on a more global level, there’s Sloppy Seconds hosted by gay rapper/comedian Big Dipper and drag queen Meatball from season 1 of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula. Sloppy Seconds is “an unapologetic look at sex, culture, dating, and food, courtesy of two bears who aren’t afraid to speak their minds” and “features interviews with artists and performers, frank sexual conversations, and lots of screaming and yelling.”

Host Big Dipper is no stranger to podcasts.  He also produces two popular drag podcasts, Race Chaser with Willam and Alaska and Very That with Raja and Delta Work. His expertise coupled with his rapport with Meatball makes for quite the show. It’s loud, brash, in-your-face and hilarious. Sloppy Seconds launched in June of 2019. Guests have included comedians Joel Kim Booster and Nicole Byer and musician Orville Peck.

Each episode starts with an infectious theme song and some recurring segments include Food Break(the hosts and guests have a snack and discuss it) and F*ck Talk(sex stories from hosts, guests and listeners who call in). The theater geek in me especially appreciates the fact that Meatball frequently speaks about her obsession with Wicked and more specifically, Shoshana Bean’s Defying Gravity riff. There’s something for everyone in this show and plenty of episodes to binge if you’re looking for a good laugh! New episodes are released every Tuesday and Friday.

So I decided to create this podcast where people of all walks of life can come out about anything

Kevin Allison


The next podcast I recommend is quite different but in a good way: RISK! hosted by queer, actor, writer and storyteller Kevin Allison. I recently reached out to Kevin and asked for his insight into his passion project. This is what he had to say: “I spent my whole childhood in a rather conservative and religious setting. I knew I was gay and grew up feeling somewhat traumatized by my desire to come out about it, and my fear of losing all my loved ones because of it. Later in life, I realized I was not just gay, but kinky too, and had to deal with worries about coming out about that to people as well.

“So I decided to create this podcast where people of all walks of life can come out about anything. Silly embarrassments or profound mistakes. Spiritual breakthroughs or rock bottom breakdowns. The kinds of things people are normally too shy to talk about in mixed company but that they might share with their therapists. As it turned out, having that theme for the podcast, that it’s ‘where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share,’ has inspired hundreds of people to come to us with extraordinarily hilarious, terrifying, beautiful, surprising, and inspiring stories that make all of us feel a little more comfortable with the messiness of being human.”

I discovered this podcast a few years ago. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it changed my life. Listening to these enthralling stories is a therapeutic experience. Life can be a bumpy road for all of us. Hearing how these storytellers navigate the twists and turns that are thrown at them can make you realize that you are not alone.  This podcast has inspired me to exit my own personal comfort zone and driven me to leap without a net, so to speak. After all, these wonderfully brave people have all lived to tell their stories so why not make my own story a bit more interesting?

 RISK! started in 2009 and has featured stories from celebrities such as Margaret Cho, Aisha Tyler and Trevor Noah as well as everyday people just like you and me. You can spend many an hour captivated by this show and if you feel the need to share a story of your own, you can submit a pitch and have your story molded by Kevin and his colleagues at The Story Studio, a story telling school that offers classes online (thestorystudio.org). Do yourself a favor and listen to RISK!

These barely scratch the surface of what’s available in podcast land. So, again, if you get a bit tired of solitude during this socially distant winter we’re facing, don’t despair. A good, safe kiki is just a tap away on your phone. Use my suggestions as a launching pad and explore to your heart’s content. You never know, you may just find some amazing people to laugh, cry and reflect with and make some  long lasting BFFs of your own!

QBurgh’s Mancake recently appeared on an episode of the “In Yo Mouth” podcast. Be sure to check them out too!

Jason Shavers is a born and raised Pittsburgh native. He is an actor that has worked extensively on stage and not so extensively on screen. Jason is also a self proclaimed expert on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Musical Theater and sitcoms that feature 4 women leads. Yeah, he’s gay AF. Follow him on Instagram. (He / Him / His)