The Orbiting Human Circus – Podcast Review

Is this episode I have my head in the clouds as I listen to The Orbiting Human Circus (of the air). The show brings a lot of talent to the table as a co-presentation of WNYC Studios and Night Vale Presents. 

PodApplaud- The Orbiting Human Circus (Of The Air)

Welcome to PodApplaud, the Monday and Friday podcast that aims to enable your Podcast habit. I’m your host Seb, and today we are going to Paris with the podcast: The Orbiting Human Circus (Of The Air).

The Orbiting Human Circus (Of The Air) is a fictional radio drama podcast written and created by Julian Koster and published by Nightvale Presents, the folks well known for shows like Welcome to Nightvale and Alice Isn’t dead. The show has 8 full length episodes that are all about 30 minutes in length.

I found this podcast while noodling around my podcast app. I might ruin my podcast credibility by admitting this but I was never a huge fan of Welcome to Nightvale or Alice Isn’t Dead they didn’t seem to click for me, so I was a bit skeptical to jump into a show produced by Nightvale presents. The writer, Julian Koster, is a name you might recognize from his contributions towards a handful of musical groups, I won’t get too much into that, but I do want to say the music in this podcast is amazing.

Not only is the music amazing, the script is fantastic too. Our main character (who is also named Julian) is a Janitor who works in the Eiffel Tower. In This fictional imagining of our world the thought that there is a giant ballroom atop the tower is just the beginning of the whimsy and wonder. Within that ballroom is recorded the worlds most beloved and surreal radio show, The Orbiting Human Circus of the Air. The show is Julian’s obsession, he craves to be on the show alongside the singing saws, tap dancing critters, singing saws, and all other manner of surreal vaudeville acts. Meanwhile it is well known by cast and crew of the show that Julian is to be kept away from the show.

The world gets even more detached from reality as we find the narrator who brings us into the world is an actual entity inside Julian’s head. The interplay between Julian and the narrator feels very Dr.Seuss to me. Over the course of the show I became very attached to Julian’s character and also enjoyed the rest of the cast greatly. There are a lot of laughs in the show, but there are also strong emotional beats as well. I really bought into the drama of the show I can’t say enough how well written the overall story is. There are also some side stories that get told within the main show in an interesting way, these kept me entertained even though I was really craving getting back to the main plot.

I really feel like The Orbiting Human Circus Of The Air was a podcast experience I have never really had before. The audio was so phenomenal, and I really felt like there were layers upon layers in this show. I can see this possibly being the first audio drama I rewatch. When and if I do I bet I will get an even deeper insight into Julian and the show itself.

Here on PodApplaud I rate shows on a 1-5 scale, 1 is silence, 2 is a slow clap, 3 is applause, 4 is a round of applause, and 5 of course is a standing ovation!  I would give The Orbiting Human Circus Of The Air a 5/5 a standing ovation. This show did something for me that always clues me into the fact that I’ve found something special. Whenever a show inspires me to go back and rediscover something I held close, or dive deeper into something new. In this case, it was kind of both. Some of the music within the show very strongly reminded me of the work of Daniel Johnston. I have great memories of discovering this music with an old friend of mine, and it holds a special place within my heart. Hearing such similar style in this show transported me back to a whole other time in my life. I’ve also been inspired to look into more of Julian’s work. So it’s a double whammy. Speaking of double whammy, apparently a season 2 is in the works for The Orbiting Human Circus, which does make me a nervous since I believe season 1 ended perfectly, but time will tell. I’d recommend this show to anyone, although it is fun and exciting there are some touches of dark stuff that parents should probably double check before letting their young ones listen.    

That’s been the show for today, if you found it valuable be sure to subscribe for more podcast reviews. If you wish to reach out or follow me, you can find me on twitter @podapplaud or visit where you can find further contact information, and transcripts for each episode. Thank you for listening, and please tune in again.