baby geniuses

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tuca and Bertie Creator Lisa Hanawalt

Lisa Hanawalt

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Photo: Kim Newmoney

Lisa Hanawalt, creator of the new Netflix animated series Tuca & Bertie

Lisa Hanawalt is a cartoonist, writer, and author of four brilliant books, including "Hot Dog Taste Test" and "My Dirty Dumb Eyes." Her latest book, "Coyote Dog Girl," is also great. She also co-hosts a podcast here at Maximum Fun called "Baby Geniuses" along with the comic Emily Heller. You may be familiar with her work on the popular animated Netflix series "BoJack Horseman" where she's a producer. Hanawalt is the creator of the new show "Tuca & Bertie." It's an animated series on Netflix and it's very funny.

Tuca & Bertie is a show about two women. Anthropomorphic bird women, to be exact. They live in Bird Town. Tuca is a toucan. She's outgoing and fun, but kind of a mess, too. She doesn't really have a solid job. Bertie, her best friend, is a songbird, kind of a homebody, a little shy and deferential. When the show starts, she's just moved in with her boyfriend.

A lot of the problems Tuca and Bertie encounter are fairly human and grounded: relationship stuff, work problems, sexual harassment. But the world they live in is anything but. The show is breathtakingly drawn and totally surreal: Phones talk. Hospital equipment talks. Plants walk. Lisa based Tuca & Bertie off of characters from her books, characters she's lived with for a long time and sees sort of as extensions of herself.

Lisa talks to us about how intuitive creating Tuca & Bertie was at times,on deciding what to ground in reality and where to take flight, and why she should be allowed to ride Martha Stewart's pony.

A quick warning about this interview you're about to hear: there's some talk about sex in it, mostly just talking about body parts. If you or someone you're listening with might be sensitive to that kind of thing, we're giving you a heads up now.

Ep. 32: Go Fact Yourself with Guy Branum & Emily Heller

Margaret Cho, J. Keith van Straaten, Guy Branum, Helen Hong, Emily Heller
Guy Branum & Emily Heller
Margaret Cho, Emily Saliers

In honor of the #MaxFunDrive, Go Fact Yourself presents a special network crossover!

Guy Branum is a comedian and host of the podcast "Pop Rocket". He's also a pop culture savant, as detailed in his book My Life as a Goddess. If you want to know more about the pop culture he loves, you'll have to read the book… but he's happy to provide a glimpse through some of his answers today.

His opponent is a fellow comedian for whom he has a lot of respect (and fear): Emily Heller! You can hear her as the host of the podcast "Baby Geniuses". Her show is all about explaining things. Today she’ll key in on a very important topic: Martha Stewart's barnyard animals.

From personal heroes to classic television to the subtleties of regional coffee pot designs, this episode has it all.

This show is directly funded by our Maximum Fun Members. As part of our annual #MaxFunDrive, you can sign up for as little as $5 a month at to help support this and other Max Fun shows you listen to AND earn great gifts in the process!

What’s the difference: Coffee/Coughy

What’s the difference between a teapot and a coffee pot?

What’s the difference between phlegm and mucus?

Guy Branum and Emily Heller

Areas of Expertise

Emily Heller: The TV show "Frasier," the musical group Indigo Girls and how to have a good time at Disneyland.

Guy Branum: Academy Award nominees for best actress, the TV show "30 Rock" and grains.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Guy Branum
Emily Heller

With guest experts:

Emily Saliers, Grammy Award winning musician and one-half of Indigo Girls.

Margaret Cho, comedian and actress.

Go Fact Yourself was devised by Jim Newman and J. Keith van Straaten, and produced in collaboration with Maximum Fun. The show was recorded at The Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles.

Theme Song by Jonathan Green.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher.
The show is edited by Julian Burrell.

Baby Geniuses Ep. 74- Pat Cassels/Eliza Skinner

Baby Geniuses
Pat Cassels
Eliza Skinner

Hey babies! This week's guest is College Humor writer and Taylor Swift enthusiast Pat Cassels! He tells us all about his love of the Shake It Off singer. Then, pasta expert Kelsey Barnes (aka Eliza Skinner) schools us on where the character of a pasta lies: the shapes. Plus! Child haters! Ghostbusters! And how to rob a bank in the worst way!

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