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PS Picks: The 'Night Call' Podcast

PS Picks is a selection of the best things that the magazine's staff and contributors are reading, watching, or otherwise paying attention to in the worlds of art, politics, and culture.

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Night Calls: All I've ever wanted from a podcast was a series of listener call-ins sharing creepy anecdotes about haunted dolls. This month the universe heard my call—my night call, you might say—and delivered. The podcast Night Call, which launched in February, released a May 20th episode featuring a solid 40 minutes of discussion on doll stories and New England's scariest places. It's as good as any introduction to the ethos of the show, in which Vulture film critic Emily Yoshida, New York Times Magazine contributor Molly Lambert, and writer Tess Lynch (who has also starred in Comedy Central's Drunk History) gather to unpack their cultural obsessions. Their interests are strange, their humor sharp, their insights alternatively bold and insane—and the result is great company. It feels like an hour-long variety show where any fringe topic is game, complete with intensely detailed questions from listeners—what anime should I watch if I hate sci-fi, for example—and a theme song that sounds like it was written for a David Lynch-themed disco.

Night Call has taught me, among other things, that Las Vegas is a miserable place to be a woman during March Madness, and that the IKEA founder had ties to the Nazis. It's also hosted the only public discussion I've heard of the film Phantom Thread—which director Paul Thomas Anderson said was loosely inspired by his wife, comedian Maya Rudolph—that recognized Rudolph as a "genius," a moniker so frequently bestowed on her husband. To borrow a phase spoken by the genius herself in Bridesmaids: Yoshida, Lambert, and Lynch make for a "stone-cold pack of weirdos." Night Call is a weekly dive into that weirdo-dom, now gracing my podcast app each Monday. And thank goodness for it.