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July 17, 2017 | by  | in Podcasts |
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Maeve in America

Moving has never been easy. For thousands of years people have packed their bags and begun a journey for a better home. And by “people” I specifically mean YOUR ancestors. These journeys are often hindered by war, politics, geography, wealth (or lack thereof), family, and bureaucracy — yet the prospect of safety and prosperity is too enticing.

The stories of immigrants are valuable. The obstacles faced by those searching for a better life remind those with settled lives to be grateful for the opportunities we have had, and should compel us to improve the experiences of immigrants.

In Maeve in America, comedian Maeve Higgins candidly explores the immigrant experience with her guests. The podcast features two or three interviews each episode which are edited around a theme, like the intersection of migration and creativity, or growing up in an immigrant family. Higgins is joined by a different co-host each week, usually another comedian, to discuss the big things (Trump’s border wall) and the little things (quirks of Irish customs officers).

Higgins is very funny and direct. She is also excellent at making fun of herself, and very aware of her own privilege while discussing her immigration background (born in Ireland, Higgins now lives in New York). The range of guests are incredible — some are established names like Chris O’Dowd or Neil deGrasse Tyson, but there are also lesser known gems you’ll love hearing from, like Aparna Nancherla, or Majid Naficy.

The podcast isn’t shy to delve into stories of tragedy or injustice. That’s important, as xenophobic and racist rhetoric gains traction in New Zealand and abroad despite there being 65 million people who are currently forcibly displaced from their homes due to war or persecution. However, the show tries to balance the grim reality of immigration stories in 2017 by ending each episode with a “Cheer Up Charlie” segment, where stand-up comedians, poets, or musicians from immigrant backgrounds perform.  

Maeve in America is a superb podcast that marries humour and pathos to share powerful stories. Start with “Children of Immigrants: Listen to Your Parents.”

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