Bonus Review: Take A Long Listen to Life Is Short With Justin Long
A Review of Life Is Short With Justin Long for Great Pods!
Welp, still in quarantine so you’re getting a 2nd review this week. And as I said last time, my loss is your gain.
Anyway, because I’m doing a bonus review this week, I decided to branch out a bit and get away from doing independent, under-listened to shows and review Life is Short with Justin Long.
If you recognize that name but can’t quite put a face with it, Justin Long has had an illustrious career in Hollywood. From Galaxy Quest to Dodgeball to Accepted to the Mac Vs PC commercials, Justin is one of those actors you seemingly see in everything. And he’s always playing the pleasant, nerdy boy-next-door character. Which is EXACTLY the tenor of this show.
I’ll say this as a way of explanation; I don’t listen to celebrity shows. If you scanned through my subscribed shows, you won’t recognize many big names. Besides Life is Short, the only celebrity shows I listen to are Fake Doctors, Real Friends (and that’s more because I’ve been a long-time Scrubs fan) and The Problem With Jon Stewart. And neither of those are traditional celebrity shows. So it says something that this is my chosen ‘pop culture’ outlet.
Justin has worked with pretty much everyone in Hollywood and thanks to that he is able to land pretty much anyone for his podcast. A Wondery show (so you know the production is top notch), past guests have included everyone from Ben Stiller (his co-star in Dodgeball and their reminiscing is wonderful) to Kal Penn, from Darius Rucker (Hootie himself!) to Paris Hilton. And because Justin knows most of these people, the show is usually more two friends catching up than your typical Hollywood stars podcast.
The layout of the show is always the same. Justin and his brother Christian banter and tell stories from their lives for a few minutes before briefly discussing their guest of the week. Then Justin chats with the guest for roughly an hour in what can only be described as a casual, enjoyable conversation. Finally, Justin and his brother close out the show.
Besides Justin’s ability to help his guests relax and tell stories you probably can’t hear other places, the positives of this show include his clear desire to avoid the typical “tell me about your methods” acting questions. Also, I love the way that Justin usually gets caught up in the convo and suddenly at the end of their time together remembers they need to talk about the project the guest is there to promote. It’s charming how Justin clearly came to this later in life and isn’t your typical Late Night-style celebrity host. It’s impossible to fake that level of sincerity.
One of the few downsides to the show is also this point, however. Justin is still learning how to be a host. And in early episodes, you wanted to scream at whatever device you’re listening on “let the guest talk!!” Which is a bit refreshing to be honest because I think the same thing about my early episodes and pretty much every new podcast host I work with I tell the same thing: the show is about the guest, not you! We all struggle with this problem. See, celebrities: just like us!
Justin is getting a lot better at this and now, when he gets carried away, it’s clearly from a place of excitement. He truly enjoys doing this show. But if I could give him one tip on hosting it would be try not to cut your guests off so much. As a guy who listens to most of his episodes, that gets old after a while and keeps me from listening to shows back-to-back.
One of the other downsides is the show is very reliant on the guests. And on the few occasions where they are not susceptible to Justin’s charm and don’t come out of their shell, the show plods along and becomes downright unlistenable. I’ve turned a couple episodes off for this reason but that’s a rare problem.
If you enjoy celebrity shows, this is one you’re going to want to listen to for a different perspective. And if you don’t enjoy celebrity shows, I still think you should give this one a try. It’s a solid podcast overall and easily one of the top celebrity shows out there. I give it a solid 8.5 out of 10!