Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People is your opportunity to listen in on a phone conversation along with 100,000+ other strangers. The host, Chris Gethard, will tweet the phone number when he’s ready to take calls and people call in with the rule that they cannot identify themselves. The first few lines are always pretty awkward because it’s natural to identify ourselves to people we haven’t met before. After the awkward non introduction there is usually some small talk while the caller figures out what they want to discuss. The show allows them to talk about anything with the host for 1 hour and then the phone cuts off automatically. The caller can hang up sooner but the host can’t. Topics have ranged from jobs, childhood stories, poop stories, politics, and anything in between. The exciting part is you never know what will come up next. The calls will move around between topics just like any other conversation.
I first heard about Chris Gethard on an episode of Death, Sex, and Money. I was intrigued with the story (I’ll let you listen for yourself) but didn’t think much about him until I heard about Beautiful/Anonymous on an episode of This American Life. Chris is an improv actor, stand up comedian, and hosts The Chris Gethard Show on New York City public access tv. He’s recently starred in Mike Birbiglia’s movie Don’t Think Twice. He’s a funny guy and has a knack for talking with people and getting them to open up.
Beautiful/Anonymous is one of those podcasts I’m always a little tempted to skip because of the awkward beginning but I always make myself listen and I’m always rewarded with insight into someone’s life I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s a great way to learn to understand people from other walks of life that you wouldn’t normally have a conversation with. Some of the callers may be frustrating but I always get something out of listening to them.