Classy with Jonathan Menjivar


“The show came about because I grew up working-class,” says Jonathan Menjivar, creator and host of Classy with Jonathan Menjivar, Apple Podcasts' Spotlight show for September 2023. "I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about that, and I wanted to talk to people about it.”
Menjivar was a blue-collar Latino kid who started working in media and became someone who likes oysters, wears cashmere socks, and is very conflicted about all of it. A reporter and senior podcast producer for Audacy's Pineapple Street Studios, Menjivar came to podcasts through public radio where he worked at shows like This American Life and Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
The collection of stories is an honest, inquisitive, and nuanced look into how class shapes our perspectives of the world and how we belong in it. The show leaves listeners deeply moved to reflect on their own experiences or reconsider how they interact with others in their day-to-day lives. “It’s super nice to know that our vulnerable, sometimes very silly approach, is meaningful to people,” says Menjivar. “I hope people are walking away with three-dimensional portrayals of people of different classes. No matter where you are class-wise, people have complicated relationships with their class status that they’re dealing with internally.”

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Recent Reviews
  • aspenty
    A meandering, self-indulgent effort by a coastal elite to absolve himself for becoming a snob.
  • mcfmd5000
    His Dad Sounds Awesome…
    … and you’re never too old to get braces.
  • J P Dukes
    Every episode has me thinking
    I've been listening to this slowly, because I want time to digest each episode. It's really excellent. Jonathan has done strong work for years, often supporting other hosts and storytellers, and it's great to hear his voice, and hear something driven by his curiousity and experience.
  • Counting52
    It has great promise
    The first 3 episodes are slow but the premise is excellent. The host early on is too wrapped up in his own class experience for good and bad and full of success guilt. He blows a potential brilliant episode with Terri Gross but the later episodes take off with strong interviews and plenty to think about.
  • Sriracha cha cha
    Excellent show- Ep 7, fine dining scene
    This show is excellent. Currently listening to Ep 7 I’ve worked in fine dining in the past and I have to say- no one knows what half the stuff on the menu is to start out. People ask all the time about menu items or ingredients they aren’t familiar with and that is completely ok. As a server, part of our job is to learn how to explain the menu to guests. This is an excellent show. Can’t wait to listen to the rest of the episodes!
  • podrevi3wer
    Would recommend
    Interesting conversations about a taboo topic. Whole series feels a bit like a therapy session for Johnathan
  • Xobb12
    More please!
    Jonathan is a great storyteller—thoughtful, honest and fearless. Thank you for sharing your story and that of your family.
  • Gina from California
    Love these stories
    Love your new podcast! Your interview with Terry Gross in EP1 caught my interest & then I was hooked. You effortlessly weaved your own story with interesting guests from around the country. The diverse perspectives were so insightful and the stories were funny, sad & uplifting. You tackled uncomfortable topics with empathy & humor. A must listen if you like podcasts like This American Life. Looking forward to season two!
  • S.G. in AZ
    Very honest and insightful
    Loved listening to this podcast and hearing aloud Jonathan and his guests’s experience with class and it formed them. Each episode was insightful, funny, sad, and always honest. I’m not a ‘podcast person’ normally but I sure listened to each episode as soon as I could.
  • Crazy Sere
    Season 2 PLEASE
    Couldnt stop listening. Def need more people talking about this. So glad I found this podcast!
  • CMZG
    Worth your time and a listen
    Interesting and thought provoking. Will make you think about yourself and others.
  • Olskat
    I couldn’t stop listening
    I recommended this to all of my friends after listening to all the episodes straight through!
  • railrhoades
    Class feels like such a dirty secret; loooove listening to this stuff. I wish there were many more episodes.
  • GhouliaJones
    An honest, inquisitive, and kind look into how class shapes our perspectives of the world and how we belong in it.
  • heidbeuabflqyv3/-7&
    Massive Letdown— Self-Centered and Ordinary
    This could have been fascinating. But I was immediately put off by the narrator. He starts interviewing his immigrant father and ridiculing his father’s working-class efforts to enjoy his life, and makes this “okay” by getting his gentle dad to sheepishly agree. He humble-brags about his own cashmere socks, his cushy podcaster gig, his trips to Japan, where he says “I and obnoxious rich people,” sit in special baths. (Does he think using the word “obnoxious” for his fellow-travelers somehow makes us forget he wants us to know that he was there too having his bath?) His discomfort is utterly squirmy but he’s determined to keep telling us about his special life, and then squirm about it some more. He shares a lot of half-baked opinions, like telling us that people want to be seen as middle class, not as poor, “because then you’re lazy” (WHAT??) but not rich, because then you’re entitled. I don’t want to hear about his stuff or his lame opinions. I want to learn something. Why aimlessly wonder what “entitled” means, as if there’s no way to get insight beyond his own brain? There are studies on it. One shows that the wealthier people are, the more they think they deserve their money. That’s fascinating— why not look into that? Ot talk about studies that show that poor people are more likely to come to the aid of someone in trouble on the street, and to give a larger share of their money to charity than rich people, although they have so much less left over to live on than rich people? What’s the psychological driving that? Why not look into the increase in income inequality —in 1965 the average CEO made 20 times what one of the company’s workers made, but by 2021 CEO’s compensation averaged 400 times that of the worker. Does this chasm increase the sense of difference between the poor and the rich? Do people differ according to class in whether they think CEOs deserve these incomes? There’s so much fact-based ground to explore! He implies that class is just about money, but surely that’s not all: Kim Kardashian is rich, but classy? Probably not. Or how about Cardi B? Why not? Does classy imply other things such as educated, cultured,well-mannered? Does it imply behaving with honor and magnanimity? Is noblesse oblige still a thing? He does bring in experts and that’s an improvement over hearing him talk about his stuff ( they don’t talk about theirs), but in between is a great deal of inane self-centered musing which seems to come only from his own self-congratulatory brain without much factual input. This could have been great. It’s boring. Huge disappointment.
  • Faith Estelle
    Very random..
    I feel like the topics weren’t cohesive. As someone who grew up wealthy I was hoping for enlightening conversation on how the class system should be viewed. Unfortunately the first episode summed it up, this perspective shows how wealthy people look down on the middle class / poor.
  • Sean C Campbell
    A great examination of how we experience class
    I really enjoyed the topics Jonathan examines here and listening to his and his guests’ experiences from different class perspectives. Really made me think about how I experience class issues.
  • drloew77
    Made me thankful
    What a beautiful podcast. Hearing all of the discomfort and struggles that a diverse array of people have gone through have helped me understand my struggles better, and helped me cultivate gratitude for the life I have. Thanks to Jonathan and co!
  • KittiesMama
    Great podcast - love the stories
    I checked out this podcast based upon the recommendation from the We Can Do Hard Things podcast. I probably listened to the first 4 episodes in a row. The host is very likable and the stories are very interesting and will touch your heart — and make you think.
  • CymruTweed
    Last episode is the best
    I had trouble being captivated by these stories and the evaluations and themes weren’t as distinct as I’d wished. I did love the story about Queen for a Day. It was nice to go that deep. Im wondering if this maybe needed to go by a different name than class focused.
  • olivetinsley
    He crawled into my head
    I can’t love this podcast enough! All the feelings of trying to fit in and then making it this far and looking back and realizing how much you assimilated are thoughtful expressed. I can’t wait to hear more from Jonathan
  • Crosswind08
    Great- Authentic
    A down to earth and authentic view on class. A nice listen.
  • momser60
    Thank you!
    Thanks so much for making this podcast that I didn’t fully realize I needed. This hit home for me and helped me be more introspective about some of the issues I’ve had surrounding class and status throughout my life, some of which I clearly hadn’t acknowledged or faced. I think this is a great podcast for everyone whether you’ve had similar experiences or not.
  • NieshTaylor
    More Please! Such a needed perspective.
    This series was full of huge personal realizations and critical perspective on my work (higher Ed and workforce development), relationships , and just how I hope to better show up in the world. There is so much more to explore! Keep going please!!
  • rapriseup
    Thought-provoking & Poignant
    This is a terrific podcast that probes the ever-present yet unspoken questions and concerns connected to social class with honesty, curiosity, and insight.
  • NorthShoreGeneralStaff
    Surprising, smart, beautifully produced
    Come for the deep-dive into a universal subject. Stay for Jonathan’s probing and personal reporting. Keep listening because every episode takes an unexpected turn and the show sounds about three times as good as it has to. The scoring, especially, is just perfect.
  • KSeestheWorld
    Hits Home
    My new favorite podcast. The topics and themes discussed here resonate with me on so many levels. Thanks to Jonathon and his team for the thoughtful dialogue—class is complex, and it’s never just about money. In fact, I’m still waiting for the episode on class behavior (social norms, etiquette, and manners) - can’t wait for the discussion!
  • SpamControl
    Lots of interesting reflections on how class works in America today. Esp. The culture shock of going from working class to upper middle class
  • mrseddiemuscles
    Parmesan foam and Shredded Cheddar
    I have sooooooo much to say about this episode. I am what is probably now lower middle class, I make less than $50k annually. This is just my two cents and how I roll, so…regarding the fancy dinner: first of all you weren’t paying for the tab. That’s not to say it’s carte Blanche to order the most expensive item on the menu, but you do know you can order what you want. Being that I am in the income tax bracket that I am, I specifically plan for these occasions. I do have champagne tastes on a box wine budget. I took my first mommy vaca to Palm Springs in May with my BFF and we flew first class. I researched flights and saved for that luxury. We had dinner at Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurant, and in fact had his meal of choice. The bill was similar to yours. But I had planned for it because I wanted to do something that I don’t do everyday. The point is I plan for whatever the occasion be it $ or $$$$. Now! On to the shredded cheese. Most of what I took from that was the convenience factor of not having to shred cheese manually. While there are plenty of times when shredded cheese is acceptable (taco Tuesday, etc) when it comes to actually cooking and melting cheese blocks are much better as shredded has anti-caking agents . Not to mention you’re getting more with your money. I also took away that basically the WIC items are bread, cheese, dairy, eggs…I didn’t hear about vegetables or meat. If changes can potentially be made by mounting requests for said items I think that would be extremely helpful. I’ve really enjoyed this podcast and look forward to the next episode.
  • Denton 305
    Best pod I've heard in awhile
    Hoping next one isn't the last. Fantastic topic and really hits home as a 62 yo Mexican American. Great work!!
  • encantoplantlady
    Each episode has touched my heart in a different way. Find myself coming to tears… Lovely podcast.
  • ZBluseke
    Love the format
    Feels more like a relatable coming-of-age drama with conflicted characters trying to figure out what it means to be good and to be happy, rather than a dry, traditional interview-style podcast. It’s cool.
  • Floridakells
    Vulnerable and honest
    Relevant, observational, thorough perspectives on several aspects of class in our society across the spectrum. Enlightening and well-presented. Keep ‘em coming!
  • Roxanne-sci-far
    Rich and entertaining exploration of class in the U.S.
    This series is my new favorite! Jonathan’s exploration of class through personal narratives and interviews is deep and provoking.
  • LaCuata1
    I’m really enjoying how insightful and well made this show is. I haven’t heard something like this before and appreciate the various points of view shared on class and how thoughtful and honest the show is. Recommend!
  • Dairy Maven
    Thank you!
    I grew up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin, working alongside my parents and grandparents in a pretty idyllic setting, and the maximum amount of stoicism you might imagine in a German Lutheran farm family. Yet the first episode of this podcast had me in tears. Our income varied wildly depending on the milk price, and our small town culture put us on the bottom rung of the class ladder. I feel a great deal of pride and identity in hard, physical labor, being resourceful/frugal and getting by with as little as possible. Yet, through the privilege of high quality public schools and the good fortune of having access to the University of Wisconsin, I’m now living a life of relative leisure working at a state University in another state. Health insurance! Vacation time! A pension! This change in class position has been one of the hardest adjustments of my life. It puts a strain on relationships with my family and friends back home in Wisconsin. Anyway, this is a super long review to say a hearty THANK YOU for this podcast. The struggle is real. While I may not have cashmere socks, please don’t tell my parents what I spent on sauerkraut from my friends’ organic farm. I feel so lucky to be able to pay farmers what their products are worth, a thing that maybe could have saved my family’s farm, but it’s been a hard transition from producer to consumer. This podcast helps me reckon with it all.
  • Lsulinz
    Rants from the Podcast Holden Caulfield
    This is a terrifically bad podcast that whines perpetually about the desire to be middle class while simultaneously abhorring the idea of ever reaching it. The podcast host is wholly uninteresting and views themself as a cultured hipster that also treads amongst the “authentic” people of the lower class. In essence, the podcast makes the mistake of construing authenticity and goodness with class, particularly lower class. Their obsession with “not having these things as a kid” or “trying to fit in” is tiresome.
  • bastionthekillerturret
    It’s first class!
  • Roobaloo2
    More excellence from Jonathan Menjivar
    Really, really excellent. An engaging, thought-provoking, stay-with-you kind of show. Plus beautiful sound design that keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout the interviews. Great stuff!
  • caseyquandary
    Feels like a journey
    Semi autobiographical and thoughtful about our lived experience of class and classism. Funny enough to make you listen and deep enough to bring you back. Recommend
  • Cristy DLC
    Loving the topic & conversations!
    I’m so happy Jonathan is taking on this topic and bringing us nuanced conversations on many facets of class dynamics. I’ve struggled with this in my own multi-cultural and multi-class family and even in my own marriage, and I keep receiving new insights from these episodes. Thank you!! 💥
  • muskanagpal
    Love it!
    I love this podcast because everyone is so ambiguous. It captures we’re all a consequence of class and that we move through different levels, throughout life. It’s not static. You see yourself in every character.
  • brityank015
    This podcast grapples with a fundamental issue that Americans like to pretend we don’t deal with - and yet it totally shapes us. Very well done
  • combatmango
    As a sociologist who studies inequality and stratification, this podcast is immensely interesting! Thank you for sharing these insights about class.
  • sammarieg181
    I enjoy this concept, but struggle with the format
    I think the ideas presented in this podcast are really interesting to explore and learn more about. I do struggle with listening to it however. The format is a bit messy for me, the constant narration throws me off. I feel that when a guest is on a show they should not be overly edited, neither should the show itself. There is a very chopped up feeling to this podcast. I understand it’s new, so I hope that as things progress it will get more fluid, and we can actually begin to hear the guests in a more open forum, as opposed to overly edited.. It almost comes off as if they aren’t really on the show to be HEARD. I look forward to seeing if this changes in upcoming episodes.
  • bonhomiee
    Thank you for making this podcast! It feels really comforting to hear these conversations.
  • MissWeezey
    The Poor Man’s Ira Glass…
    Focused almost entirely on inequity of financial resources, not so much about class. (Class is a matter of culture IMHO). This pod really seems to miss the point of it’s own stated purpose.
  • Different_Drummer
    Wow, this guy lives in a totally different world than me! He seems overly concerned with trying to fit in instead of being himself. Signaling wealth. Signaling taste. Signaling virtue. Who cares if you like cashmere socks; if you like them and can afford them, wear them. If you like the opera, go to the theater. If you like Nascar, go to the track. But don’t wear cashmere because it’s the thing to do, or go to an event to impress other people. Dude, you are overthinking the problem.
  • Dre from Whittier
    Must listen!
    This show is a breath of fresh air especially for people who grew up working class. It’s relatable and classy! Keep up the good work.
  • mspassell
    4577556 stars!!!
    This show is a beautiful look at a sometimes uncomfortable thing we experience but don't often discuss. Jonathan is putting his whole self into it. It's superb.
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