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The Mothers of Invention Perfect Podcast Trifecta

This is the first in a new series of posts about perfect podcast trifectas. Lately I’ve been hearing podcasts in threes! Sometimes it’s three podcasts all about the same topic, sometimes they’re tangentially related, and sometimes there’s just a theme I keep hearing. From the recommendation standpoint, there’s a good chance if you like one of the shows in the trifecta, you may like another, so here we are.

Mothers of Invention is a fast-paced, smart, energetic podcast about women who are making waves in addressing climate change with actual solutions. Some have invented new products and others have tackled policy in their communities. I love that women from all over the world are profiled, because climate change is obviously a global problem and needs global solutions, which can come from anyone in any country.

Each episode is about 40-45 minutes long, broken up into three to five segments profiling different women linked by a theme (for example, episode 3 features women who are working on ways for us to reduce our dependency on single-use plastic — one of my favorite episodes that I’m still thinking about a couple months later). The show is edited so well – no guest is ever on air for too long, and the listener gets just enough knowledge to go do further research on their own, or at least think about how these solutions could impact their own community.

The genius host pairing for Mothers of Invention is the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson and comedian Maeve Higgins. The two Irishwomen are just fantastic together – the bizarre pairing of stick-straight-serious and loosey-goosey-funny adds so much to the show because it’s not overdone. Robinson isn’t void of personality in any way, but she’s usually strait-laced, at times almost admonishing Higgins’ playfulness. In one episode she scolded Higgins by saying, “I’m not bringing you to the U.N. … don’t get carried away Maeve. I could almost see the twinkle in Robinson’s eye.

On Monocle 24’s The Big Interview from October 21st, Robinson talked with host Tom Edwards about Mothers of Invention and why it’s necessary. Robinson has so much passion and energy for climate change, and it’s exhilarating and infectious. I really enjoyed hearing her reflect on the show solo in this interview because she was so authoritative and extremely well-educated on the topic. She said climate change is a man-made problem that needs a feminist solution – this is so powerful. She also mentioned being well aware of the impact social media can have on any movement, so why not climate change? A podcast is a very modern, accessible way to start that communication chain that leads to social media and hopefully to even greater awareness of the solutions that are out there that we can participate in as consumers and voters.

On Higgins’ How to Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black episode, Black grills her about being the giddy sidekick to a very serious Robinson (the very thing I love about Mothers of Invention). She told Black that Robinson is really her boss, and how she would never prank her as she did on her previous TV show, Naked Camera. I have to say, the mere suggestion of Higgins pranking Robinson is just hilarious, so thank you to both Black and Higgins for giving me that.

Higgins has been all over my podcast feed in the last six months or so, with a fantastically funny guest spot on Everything is Alive as Maeve, the lamppost, Mothers of Invention’s six episodes, the HTBA interview, and now her own show on Reese Witherspoon’s network, Hello Sunshine, called My Best Break-Up. Some listeners may remember her show Maeve in America, about immigration – I loved that she so directly addressed what happened with that show in her interview with Black.

If you like Monocle 24’s The Big Interview series, check out the interview with Robinson and then try Mothers of Invention. If you liked Maeve in America, jump right in to Mothers of Invention and then check out the HTBA interview. And if you already love Mothers of Invention, check out the two complementary interviews to get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at the show and get to know Higgins and Robinson even better.

To recap, the shows recommended in this article are:
Mothers of Invention
How to Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black
Monocle 24’s The Big Interview

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