Top 5, 7, 10 (or any number, really) lists likely flood your feed all the time. Why? They’re easily digestible, you know exactly what you’re going to get when you open the article. Rankings perpetuate this even more. “Does this author agree with my opinion?” “I can’t believe they ranked xyz that high!” are probably thoughts going through your head as you wrap up a ranking article.
Top Ten with Micah & Ben take this concept and turned it into a tongue-in-cheek podcast. They rank anything and everything.
No topic is too random or off the wall, hosts Micah and Ben will argue and rank the top ten. Mythological creatures who’d be fun at a baseball game? You’ll never guess who’s number one. Top ten candle scents that inspire the urge to garden? Tons of snubs.
I got a chance to meet up with both Micah and Ben and talk about their podcast, the concept, their favorite lists, and what they’d ask former President Obama if he ever graced their studio. Check out our full interview below!
Discover Pods: How did your podcast get started?
MICAH: True to the ridiculous nature of our show, our origin story is of a similar vein. Let me set the stage for you. It was a very standard night. I was at home with my wife, wearing sweatpants and watching some Netflix (my guess is that we were watching New Girl…or maybe Broadchurch!). Anyway, I was texting my boy Ben. The conversation, as it usually does, quickly began to spiral out of control. Eventually, someone sent a goofy top ten list idea. To this day, nobody is quite certain who fired the first shot. Either way, the floodgates had been opened and a furious stream of top ten list ideas were fired back and forth. At the end of the night, we were proud of what had been accomplished and we moved on with our lives. It was a little while later that the question was first asked, “What if we made a podcast?”
BEN: Micah and I are the kind of dudes who always think we should start new projects. Similar to, but certainly not as cool as, Barney Stinson and Ted Mosby. So, when we randomly sent each other silly top ten ideas, each one trying to be funnier than the last, we realized naturally we should start a podcast.
DP: What are some of your favorite top 10 lists you’ve done?
MICAH: Our very first one was the Top Ten Mythological Creatures You Would Want to Bring to a Baseball Game (https://toptenwithmicahandben.podbean.com/e/podbean_best_podcast_hosting_audio_video_blog_hosting/). We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into at that point but still had a lot of fun with it. I also really liked the list with our first guest in Episode #5: Top Ten Birds You Would Want to Transform Into for the Duration of Your College Experience (https://toptenwithmicahandben.podbean.com/e/ttmb-5-bird-college-w-special-guest/). There’s nothing quite like researching interesting birds and how their unique characteristics might help you in college.
BEN: So far, my favorite list was Top Ten Mysteries Probably Hidden in Area 51, Episode #11 (https://toptenwithmicahandben.podbean.com/e/ttmb-11-area-51/). I have really enjoyed lists with guests though, especially Anna on Episode #5.
DP: Why did you choose a podcast over other mediums?
MICAH: A podcast just felt like the best way to maintain the authenticity of our conversational tone. Also, I like podcasts.
BEN: I was recently working a job that allowed me to have my headphones in all day. I couldn’t keep up with interesting music so I really dove into podcasts. I love the medium and quickly became obsessed with it.
DP: Do you take listener suggestions for future lists or how do you come up with what you’ll do next?
MICAH: It’s like this, if we are running low on potential lists, I turn off all the rational switches in my brain, close my eyes, and mentally crap my first thoughts into a list. Yeah, it sounds super weird. Is it actually how I like to do things? Pretty much.
BEN: We would love listener suggestions! So far most of the lists are the weird things we come up with, but we have had a few friends suggest some. Episode #8 was our first listener submitted topic: Top Ten Worst Letters (https://toptenwithmicahandben.podbean.com/e/ttmb-8-poor-valerie-w-special-guest-dr-winter/).
DP: What’s unique about your podcasts?
MICAH: Our show actually doesn’t matter at all. Some people turn to podcasts for specific sources of information. They say, “Man, I really like anacondas. I wish there was a convenient way to have someone research anacondas for me and whisper what they learn into my ear.” Boom. Podcast. Even some of the sillier shows have the occasional moment to talk about something deep and important. I don’t think we’ve done that yet…at all. We choose topics that don’t matter to anyone and we take them seriously and see what happens.
BEN: I don’t think there are other podcasts quite like it. It’s a podcast about nonsense that we jokingly take seriously. “Life’s far too important to take seriously.” – Raymond “Red” Reddington.
DP: Why do your listeners keep coming back?
MICAH: That’s a very good question.
BEN: Well, I feel like my mom thinks she has to.
MICAH: Okay, I feel like I should add a little bit more. My theory is that this show fits a particular niche and serves as a small distraction from the chaos of life. We’re happy to provide that!
DP: What’s next?
MICAH: Well, I’m really excited for our ideas about episode 100. So, we need to record at least 88 more shows. Seriously though, I really just enjoy doing this. It’s a fun way for me and Ben to get a little of our crazy out every week, even if nobody listens.
BEN: More episodes. More goofiness. I think this is such a fun hobby to do with a great friend, so I want to just keep doing it. Even if it’s just my mom who’s listening. Thanks mom.
DP: Where do you want to take your podcast?
MICAH: I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately. I’m sure every podcaster dreams of being at least a little successful. I think a small following could be a lot of fun and would open up a lot of doors for fun running gags and side projects.
BEN: The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon or having Barack Obama as a guest. Those are reasonable goals, right? Right?…
MICAH: Mark my words, Barack Obama will be on our show one day. This is a fact.
DP: I think after Obama’s success with past podcasts he should just do a circuit to stay busy. What would your first question be to the ex president?
MICAH: That’s really tough. I would probably stress for days about what I wanted to say to him before or after we record. However, while recording, my first question would definitely be, “What is your experience with lists?” I’d follow this up with rapid fire nonsense questions that vaguely refer to past episodes. That’s pretty much how we vet all our guests.
BEN: Hmmm… I would have to say, “Mr. President, if you could play a board game with any three celebrities who would they be and what game?” Or maybe, “What do you think of Batman?” And I agree, get on a circuit buddy and join us!
DP: Why do you think people are drawn to lists as a content form factor?
MICAH: I think it’s two things. First, we’re just lazy these days, and we want quick bullet points of information. This is probably why BuzzFeed became so popular.
BEN: All my life I have put things into lists for fun. It’s something I would do when bored either by myself or with my dad. I think people like thinking through things they enjoy and figuring out which thing is just a little bit better and why.
MICAH: Yeah, I keep a running note on my phone where I make useful top ten lists for fun. That way, if someone asks what my top ten favorite movies or video games are, I can tell them on the spot.
DP: What are your favorite 5 podcasts?
MICAH: Wow, I should really defer to Ben for this. He’s kind of my podcast sensei. I really like Unattended Consequences with my favorite author, Patrick Rothfuss, and Max Tempkin (Cards Against Humanity). Podcastle by Shut up & Sit Down is my favorite board game podcast. I know Ben will talk about these but I have to at least mention Super Skull (comics and board games) as well as My Brother, My Brother And Me. Finally, I’m currently getting really into RABBITS from the creators of The Black Tapes and TANIS, that team can tell some well-crafted stories.
BEN: Listing only 5 is so tough. We’re top ten people! I love the Weekly Planet. I wish Micah and I were as funny as those guys. My Brother, My Brother And Me, obviously. Those brothers make me laugh so hard it’s difficult to drive sometimes. Super Skull is about comics/board games and they are so much fun. The Secret Cabal is for my board game addiction. NPR Politics Podcast is for my sanity. (and…Beerist, Happy Rant, We’re Alive, Adventure Zone, Dice Tower…I couldn’t help myself).
DP: Anything else you want to add?
MICAH: Thanks for having us! We’re just two guys new to the podcasting scene, running a low-budget operation and having a ton of fun while we do it. As we go, we’re going to learn and get better with every episode. We would love to have you come along for the ride!
BEN: Anything to add? Well, besides our extreme desire for fame, cheddar (money), and overall success, we are just a couple of humble guys just having a good time. We would love to have you all listen and have a good time with us.
DP: Where can listeners find you?
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/realMicahandBen/
- Twitter: @realMicahandBen (Link: https://twitter.com/realMicahandBen)
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/top-ten-with-micah-ben/id1200052800?mt=2
- The Web: https://toptenwithmicahandben.podbean.com