There are few people in the world for whom the easiest interviewee to land is a former president of the United States. Michelle Obama is the exception to the rule, interviewing her husband for her latest Spotify series – The Michelle Obama Podcast.
The former first lady commits to the traditional style of podcast, what The Times refers to as “the time-honoured podcasting format of a simple chat between two old friends.” It is worth noting that Obama’s podcast is part of Spotify’s expansion into the realm of spoken audio, with the platform also acquiring rights to podcasts with the Kardashians and the entire DC Comics universe.
Yet for the Obamas, this foray into popular culture is by no means new. Obama’s acclaimed autobiography, Becoming, sold 1.4 million copies in its first week, while her book tour sold out. A recent Netflix documentary examined her life on the road, and the production company she co-owns with her husband has continued to produce prizewinning features.
For James Marriott, the latest string to Obama’s bow, is almost perfect. He notes: “From anyone else this inspirational stuff would make me a bit green. But I’ll take it from the Obamas.”
However, Marriott is disappointed by the fact current events are all but ignored. He says: “President Trump isn’t mentioned (although he is invoked in a long sceptical pause), the George Floyd protests are discussed only vaguely and in generalities.”
In spite of this, Marriott concludes that the pair are “so nice and self-aware and they obviously really believe it. Dammit, I’ll admit I was a little bit inspired.”