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Podcasters’ Picks: A Vibe Check Listening Guide

Watch & Listen
Hosts Zach Stafford, Sam Sanders, and Saeed Jones

Whether they’re discussing the hottest entertainment news, breaking down current political affairs, or just checking in on how everyone’s doing, Vibe Check’s three culture experts are making sense of the world and everything in it from a Black, queer perspective.

Ahead of their live podcast taping at The Ford, acclaimed writer Saeed Jones (How We Fight For Our Lives), former NPR host Sam Sanders, and Tony Award-winning producer Zach Stafford (A Strange Loop) reveal a few of their favorite episodes and highlights from Vibe Check—named one of the 10 Best Podcasts of 2022 by The New York Times.

Who's been your most memorable guest to interview so far, and why?

Getting to have a conversation with Ada Limón, the current US Poet Laureate, about how she came to love poetry on her own terms was an absolute joy! She's warm, funny and welcoming which is especially helpful when so many listeners have shared that they find poetry a bit intimidating but want to learn more. – Saeed

Can you recall an impactful conversation on the show that really shifted your perspective?

It's more than one episode! But there have been several instances on episodes of Vibe Check, especially when we are checking in with each other or giving advice, when Zach will use the phrase, "when I think about how I want to move through the world." It's such a simple statement, but for me it's been remarkably profound. Taking that sentiment to heart and internalizing it is changing my life in so many positive ways. I always thought of myself as goal-oriented. I want to move through the world in pursuit of my goals and rest when I need to. And that's it. But what Zach's statement is teaching me is that we can achieve and pursue our goals while also exhibiting a certain type of intentionality, grace, and poise -- throughout the entire pursuit! Doing so keeps us grounded and kind, and it leads with love, which is something I am trying to do more of. That's really one of the greatest blessings of Vibe Check—learning new ways to interact with the entire world with two of my favorite people, every week.  Sam

Which episode comes to mind first when you need a good laugh?

The one where we take stabs at which candy is the gayest! I chose Snickers bars, obviously, lol. But the discussion and debate and chatter from our fans still lives on! I feel like there will be t-shirts built around this question sometime soon. The people can't seem to get enough of the debate!  Sam

In which episode do you think you gave your hottest take or an unpopular opinion?

I laugh every time I think about the look of absolute shock on Sam's face when I suggested that strategically placed glitter or even a shipment of live bees are great ways to get back at a terrible ex-boyfriend. I stand by my petty advice! Saeed

Is there an episode that you think is underrated? What makes it special to you?

I think, for me, it’s our chat with Oscar-winner Regina King. The whole backstory of how it happened is quite wild: She had listened to our grief episode after going through her own major event that she discusses on the show involving her son. So we got an inbound from her team and were just FLOORED that she’d even consider coming on our show. When she arrived that day to the studio, it was like seeing an old friend and I think the conversation on the show really exemplifies that type of intimacy you get from relationships like that. Zach

If you could recommend one episode to someone who has never listened to Vibe Check before, which one would it be and why?

I would say our grief episode that we taped after Sam lost his mother. It remains one of the most emotional tapings I’ve ever been a part of in my life, and I think that episode really shows what makes our show so special. Also, it was a big moment for our friend group to let the world into how we hold space for each other–through it all. Zach