Podcast Spotlight: Sawbones

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Source: iTunes

Sawbones is a podcast from Dr. Sydnee McElroy and Justin McElroy (My Brother, My Brother and Me). The show is a “tour of misguided medicine,” in which Dr. Sydnee recounts the history of some medical topic—a famous figure, a (supposedly) medicinal substance, a disease, etc.—and Justin, essentially, makes jokes and adds other commentary.

Sawbones is my favorite podcast to listen to on long car trips. Granted, that may just be because I started listening relatively recently and so I have a huge backlog of episodes I haven’t heart yet, but still.

Dr. Sydnee’s history lessons are really interesting and informative, and Justin’s commentary is hilarious, as usual. For me, though, the main draw is just how chill (for lack of a better word) the podcast is. I guess it’s that a medical history podcast is just sort of “low-stakes?” Like, there’s no news or big issues (usually) or considerable suspense. It’s just good listening.

And even the hosts voices are relaxing—Dr. Sydnee’s has a sweet, calm feel to it, and Justin’s always seems more smooth and “bass-y” than in his other shows.

The show is just purely enjoyable to listen to. While I wouldn’t necessarily drop whatever I’m doing to listen to it like I would Outside/In or The Adventure Zone, it’s by no means any worse than those shows. It’s a perfect show to listen to while you’re doing something else that might distract you for a second, since you probably won’t miss anything vital to understanding the rest of the episode.

Some favorites of mine: “Space Medicine,” “Inside a Doctor’s Bag,” “Kombucha,” and my all-time favorite, “The Incredible Dr. James Barry.”

Edit: I talked a lot about how relaxing it is, but there are a lot of episodes that include some pretty messed-up history, some gross descriptions, and other unpleasant stuff. I listen mostly to the more “fun” episodes, but it’s still worth noting.

I’ll be back next weekend with another podcast spotlight.

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