We weren’t the only ones locked inside last year. Celebrities too, found themselves unable to shoot film and TV, perform live music or set foot in their offices. Lucky for us, they found a way to keep their creative juices flowing – and to entertain and educate us in the process.

Tune in to these VIP-hosted podcasts, some of which are new on the scene, while others are hidden treasures that have been there all along.

Talking Sopranos Podcast

It’s been 14 years since the finale of The Sopranos left viewers in awe, in deep conversation, and feeling nostalgic for their favourite characters: The HBO drama set the tone for premiere television and remains one of the most critically acclaimed series in history, not to mention an icon of American culture. This long overdue podcast launched around the same time as many of us were heading into lockdown last spring, with plenty of time to binge-watch (and re-watch) our favourite shows. It’s hosted by actors Steve Schirripa, who played Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri, and Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti. Starting with the pilot episode, the two offer a peek behind the scenes – from the writing room to the cutting room, from stories of life in show business to interviews with fellow cast and crew members, as well with the creator, David Chase. An absolute must-see for Soprano lovers.

The Michelle Obama Podcast

Fans of her book Becoming should put Michelle Obama’s podcast at the top of their queue. The former First Lady, fashion icon and beloved author launched her eponymous podcast in July of 2020 with a conversation featuring none other than her celebrity husband, President Barack Obama. Each episode brings together friends, family members and professionals, focusing on how each of them affected the Obamas’ lives and personal growth. Get an intimate look at the joys and pitfalls of navigating life in the White House, when Michelle chats with her best girlfriends who got her through it. Tune in to hear Michelle and Conan O’Brien wax humorously and seriously on the challenges of marriage, and listen to her own mother and brother reminisce about growing up on Chicago’s South Side.

The Big Podcast with Shaq

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal – of LA Lakers and Miami Heat fame – has enjoyed quite a storied career both on and off the court. Known for his humour, candour and off-the-cuff sports commentary, Shaq makes for a fun and engaging host. His podcast offers plenty for sports fans, but also provides a glimpse inside the life and times of a man whose nicknames include “Shaq”, “the Diesel,” “Shaq Fu” and the “Big Baryshnikov.” Lend him your ear as he swaps stories with guests from the media and the music world, as well as fellow sports legends.

On with Mario Lopez

A heartthrob of ‘90s-era sitcom Saved by the Bell, Mario Lopez has come a long way. The actor, dancer and podcaster somehow hasn’t aged a day, and still manages to keep up-to-date with current pop culture. Alongside his wife, Courtney, who drops the occasional health and lifestyle tip, Lopez uses his podcast to chat with TV and Hollywood actors and artists, including singers Meghan Trainor and Michael Bolton, reality star Matt James of The Bachelor, and Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino of the notorious Jersey Shore cast.

Snoop Dogg’s GGN Podcast

Listen up ‘90s hip-hop lovers: the OG himself, Snoop Dogg serves up exactly what you would expect – with a dose of cultural commentary. Short for ‘Double G News’, the podcast debuted in 2015 on the occasion of the 200th episode of his YouTube series of the same name. A smoked-out, laid-back hour of power hosted by the man himself, Snoop Dogg brings on superstar friends and collaborators from all backgrounds to dish about current events, sports and pop culture. One of the most popular episodes to date features Seth Rogan as a guest to recap hit TV show Game of Thrones. The vibe is casual, but the conversation goes deep.

Will Ferrell, The Ron Burgundy Podcast

Now in its second season, comedian and actor Will Ferrell revives his role as 1970s-era newscaster and ladies’ man Ron Burgundy for this interview-style podcast that – in typical Ron Burgundy fashion – knows no limits and often veers comically, if somewhat awkwardly, into details the guests themselves might seem to regret. It’s all in good fun, and definitely fiction, as Burgundy considers a run for president, art directs the 2021 Academy Awards, and spars with this producer, Carolina Barlow, who does an excellent “straight man.”

Home Cooking with Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway

Samin Nosrat is a rising star on the culinary scene. The chef, educator and author of the New York Times Bestseller Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is also executive producer of the Netflix series of the same name. A beloved regular food columnist for the New York Times who focuses on the emotional and anecdotal element of cooking and eating, Nosrat has launched this podcast in partnership with Hirway – a podcaster, composer and creator of the Netflix docu-series Song Exploder, a behind-the-scenes look at how famous songs came to be. Together they bring you recipes, special guests and stories, but most importantly, good company to get you through quarantine.

Anna Faris is Unqualified

Faris is certainly a qualified actress, but she herself claims to be the absolute opposite when it comes to relationship advice – which is the loose premise of her podcast, streaming since 2015. A host of Hollywood’s finest, along with writers, chefs, musicians and comedians, join Faris to chat candidly about love, life and whatever strikes them in the moment. Faris has an uncanny ability to bring out the genuine side of her guests, making the podcast a real treat to listen to. In the end, she may prove her own title wrong.

Dirty Diana

Executive producer and star Demi Moore launched this somewhat naughty little pleasure in August of 2020. The completely fictional erotic drama recounts the tale of Diana, who amid her collapsing marriage, takes up a side project to research and record women’s sexual escapes. “Research subjects” are voiced by the likes of Melanie Griffith and Lena Dunham, and the show is a playful rebuke to the visually based erotic industry, proving sound can be just as alluring.

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