Advice columns are one of the more well-known structures of audio, whether it be radio classic Delilah or vaguely postmodernist My Brother, My Brother and Me. When it comes to advice, advice columnists are usually seen as experts–but wouldn’t the listeners/callers/readers/etc. sometimes benefit from a second opinion? That’s where Hannah and Matt Know It All come in:
Are you addicted to advice columns? Frustrated that there aren’t more hours in the day to read and listen to even more advice columns? Terrified that you’ll be ostracized from your friends and family for falling behind on all the week’s best advice? Well, you’ve come to the right place! No, not a rehab facility—an advice podcast homepage! We’re enablers.
Each week, advice column aficionados Hannah and Matt re-answer the greatest questions from other advice columns and podcasts as well as fielding new questions (send your questions for the podcast to email@example.com or anonymously at bit.ly/hannahandmatt or to firstname.lastname@example.org for Han’s written column). Topics include: relationships, sexuality, roommates, workplace, health, culture, politics, and everything in between. These are the advice columnists who are most frequently cited on the show, including Dear Prudence, Ask Amy, Ask a Manager, Captain Awkward, and many more.
Hannah and Matt Know It All aims to curate the best questions from other advice columns and re-answer the questions. On first take, the concept here might seem like it comes with a dose of hubris; on listen, though, it’s clear that Han (formerly Hannah) and Matt can hold their own among the greats. The two deliver advice that feels a bit more down-to-earth and realistic than most advice givers while still going into depth about what the question is asking. Han and Matt have a queer lens through which they answer questions, which is something the genre could do with a lot more of. There’s always a consideration, too, for the culture surrounding the question asker, and how and why that contributes to their need to ask the specific question
There’s also a particular joy in hearing the hosts say things like, “Anyway, I hate this guy” in response to a question asker. Because Han and Matt don’t have any responsibility to the asker directly–the asker has already gotten advice from their chosen expert–they’re able to be much more frank. The type of advice given here is more akin to Kotaku‘s Dr. Nerdlove–who has also been interviewed on the podcast–than, say, Dear Sugars; it’s a bit more no-nonsense, and a lot more exasperated. Too often, askers on advice columns need something other than just an answer to what they’re asking, and Hannah and Matt use their distance to make sure they’re giving that advice as well.
While many conversational podcasts have a tendency of veering into tangents or alienating the audience, Hannah and Matt Know It All feels just as professional as its more well-known contemporaries. The conversation is well-paced, toeing the line between comfortable and energetic effortlessly. Han and Matt have an engaging dynamic; while the two often agree on the advice being given, each has specific moments of perspective to add, and the two bounce off each other to make sure they’re giving the best advice possible. The podcast is nicely edited: most stumbles, stutters, and tangents are cleaned up without the hosts sounding too manicured.
If you’re a fan of advice podcasts but want different takes on the questions being asked, you could do no better than Hannah and Matt Know It All. The queer take on questions is incredibly refreshing, and the dynamic’s energy leads to an engaging, but still professional, discussion. Conversational podcasts always make me wary, but this show was quickly become a new favorite.