NPR

Judge John Hodgman Episode 437: Stick and Move and No New Butterfinger

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Guests: 
Paula Poundstone

This week, Judge John Hodgman and Bailiff Jesse Thorn are in chambers to clear the docket with special guest Paula Poundstone! You've heard Paula as a frequent guest on NPR’s weekly comedy news quiz, Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me. She also hosts the Maximum Fun podcast Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone with co-host Adam Felber. Paula P. joins us to promote her debut rap single: Not My Butterfinger. We talk candy bars, bathroom trash cans, etiquette for packing bags for airport flights, cell phone plans, and more!

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Ep. 45: Go Fact Yourself with Peter Sagal & Rebecca Makkai

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Bob Schwartz, Helen Hong, Peter Sagal, J. Keith van Straaten, Rebecca Makkai
Guests: 
Peter Sagal & Rebecca Makkai
Guests: 
Gov. Madeleine May Kunin & Bob Schwartz

It’s another helping of Go Fact Yourself in Chicago, now more delicious and savory than ever!

Peter Sagal is the host of the NPR program "Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!" But his experience with trivia shows goes all the way back to when he was a contestant on “Jeopardy”… and quickly found himself in the negative dollars. That doesn’t mean he’s bad at trivia; he’s just bad at pressing buttons. He’ll tell us about that and why he’s so dedicated to disrupting the narrative of Chicago deep-dish pizza.

Opposite Peter is author Rebecca Makkai. Her book The Great Believers earned her the distinction of being a finalist for the Pulitzer prize. It’s a truly special accomplishment -- but she had an even bigger dream as a child: teaching dogs how to talk.

The guests will discuss the local food scene, whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich and, yes, a lot of discussion about the windy city.

What’s the Difference: The Windy City

What’s the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?

What’s the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?

Areas of Expertise

Peter Sagal: Chicago food culture, James Cameron movies and running

Rebecca Makkai: The film Clue, the state of Vermont and the furnace girl murder of Lake Bluff, Illinois

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong


Peter Sagal and Rebecca Makkai

Peter Sagal
Rebecca Makkai

With guest experts:

Gov. Madeleine May Kunin, author, ambassador and three-term governor of Vermont.


Peter Sagal and Bob Schwartz

Bob Schwartz, Senior Vice President of Vienna Beef and author of the book Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog.

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 Sleeping Village in Chicago.

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

Come to our next live tapings in Los Angeles on Sunday, October 13 -- Go to gofactyourpod.com for FREE tickets!

Ep. 44: Go Fact Yourself with Bill Kurtis & Sarah Spain

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John Ullinskey, Helen Hong, Bill Kurtis, J. Keith van Straaten, Sarah Spain
Guests: 
Bill Kurtis & Sarah Spain
Guests: 
Jill Sweeney & John Ullinskey

It’s the first episode of Go Fact Yourself from Chicago!

Two-time Peabody Award winner Bill Kurtis is a news anchor with one of the most famous voices in television and radio. You may have heard him as the scorekeeper for the program "Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!", but he’s also known for his narration in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. He’ll explain how that role changed his life forever and share other stories from his extensive career.

Bill will compete with his fellow broadcaster and fellow Peabody Award winner Sarah Spain, host and contributor for ESPN. She’s often seen on the sports debate show "Around the Horn." She’ll tell us how she crafts an effective argument on the show and how she’s battling the negativity that comes with being a woman in the sports industry. Also, doggies!

The guests will answer questions about war veterans, improv comedy characters and the windy city.

What’s the Difference: Cubs & White Sox

What’s the difference between a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout?

What’s the difference between stitching and darning?

Areas of Expertise

Bill Kurtis: Frank Sinatra’s big band music, World War II in Okinawa and the prairie

Sarah Spain: Rescue dogs, 90’s "Saturday Night Live" characters and grammar.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong


Bill Kurtis & Sarah Spain

Bill Kurtis
Sarah Spain

With guest experts:

Julia Sweeney, actor and comedian who’s appeared in four seasons of "Saturday Night Live."


John Ullinskey & Bill Kurtis

John Ullinskey, WWII veteran who served aboard the USS Arikara and participated in the D-Day Invasion and the Battle of Okinawa

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 Sleeping Village in Chicago.

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

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Linda Holmes

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Linda Holmes

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Writer Linda Holmes on her debut novel "Evvie Drake Starts Over."

If you've arrived from a far-off galaxy and need to quickly ascertain what the most worthy bits of pop culture information are to take back to your home planet, you'd do no better than following the musings of Linda Holmes. Holmes, a pop culture critic and one of the hosts of the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour is smart, witty, and very funny. She has amazing taste in TV and movies and loves to talk about it. She even recently convinced us that the entire cast of that new Sonic movie is worth pulling for and well… you saw the trailer.

But Linda's first love has always been writing. She's just released her debut novel titled Evvie Drake Starts Over. It's about a young woman dealing with the grief of losing a husband whose life intersects with a major league baseball pitcher who is experiencing a slump in his season.

Linda could have mailed it in. She could have turned in 300 pages about a great TV show or band you've never heard of, but you've probably got a million of those types of books on your bookshelves and tablets already. Instead, she decided to write a book about love, loss, and the power of starting over. It's quite good.

Evvie Drake Starts Over is out now.

Ep 27: Go Fact Yourself with Cara Santa Maria and Glen Weldon

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Brian Firkus, Glen Weldon, J. Keith van Straaten, Cara Santa Maria, Helen Hong, Christopher Marley
Guests: 
Cara Santa Maria & Glen Weldon
Guests: 
Brian Firkus & Christopher Marley
Guests: 
J. Keith van Straaten & Helen Hong

Happy National Trivia Day! Let’s celebrate with a collision of journalists who also host podcasts!

Cara Santa Maria is the host of the podcast Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria. She’s also a science communicator and there’s a chance that her proficiency in STEM will lead her to victory in this trivia battle.

Her opponent is Glen Weldon, panelist on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He’s written the book on Batman and Superman (literally) but will that knowledge be enough to guide him to victory?

In this episode, we’ll learn about fashion, drag queens and art with deceased creatures.

What’s the difference: Top and Bottom

What’s the difference between a shirt that is “button-up” and “button-down”?

What’s the difference between “below” and “under”?

Areas of Expertise

Cara Santa Maria: Hold ‘em poker, the artist Christopher Marley and the Olive Garden menu.

Glen Weldon: Wine tasting, Rupaul’s Drag Race and Catherine O’Hara.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Cara Santa Maria
Glen Weldon

With guest experts:

Christopher Marley- international artist.

Brian Firkus- actor, singer and embodiment of drag-queen Trixie Mattel.

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.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Billy Eichner and Ali Wong

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Billy Eichner
Guests: 
Ali Wong

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Billy Eichner and the Pop Culture Maniac That is Billy on the Street

[R] This week, we'll revisit our conversation with comedian Billy Eichner. He's probably best known for roaming the streets of New York with a camera crew, roping unsuspecting pedestrians into playing his game show, "Billy on the Street." While Cash Cab paved the way for street-ambush game shows, Eichner's approach has a unique twist.

The correct answers are often subjective (as in the game "Dead or Boring") and his game show persona is hyper-energetic and over-the-top. He's ready to swoon with a contestant who shares his love of Meryl Streep, or yell and stalk angrily away from a contestant who doesn't.

Eichner tells us about his screaming encounters with Madonna, the influence of Pee-wee Herman on his on-screen persona, and the role that game show laws played in the development of his show. (It turns out that "game show compliance lawyer" is a real job.)

New episodes of "Billy on the Street" are available online on Funny or Die. You can also see him on "American Horror Story," "Difficult People," and so much more.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Ali Wong talks marriage and money and what it’s like performing through her pregnancy

There are many comedians who use their family life as inspiration for their comedy, but Ali Wong took it a step further when she recorded the 2016 comedy special "Baby Cobra" while seven and a half months pregnant.

Wong’s comedy is rooted in her willingness to be incredibly frank and honest about her personal life including her relationships, her Asian heritage and the challenges of pregnancy while working as a writer on the hit television show, "Fresh Off the Boat."

When Ali Wong joined Jesse a couple years ago she talked about being a breadwinner, performing while pregnant and how it feels to talk about painful and personal things like miscarriage in front of a comedy audience.

Ali Wong has another new comedy special: "Hard Knock Wife." She did the entire special pregnant, again. It's available to stream now on Netflix.

The Outshot: João Gilberto

On the Outshot, Jesse features João Gilberto, a musician who stripped away the heat and intensity of samba to create a cool, minimalist genre: bossa nova.

Ep 23: Go Fact Yourself with Ophira Eisenberg and Charles Busch

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Eugenia Paulicelli, Charles Busch, J. Keith va Straaten, Ophira Eisenberg, Helen Hong, Marcel Simoneau
Guests: 
Ophira Eisenberg & Charles Busch
Guests: 
Marcel Simoneau & Eugenia Paulicelli
Guests: 
J. Keith van Straaten & Helen Hong

It's another episode Go Fact Yourself recorded in New York!

Ophira Eisenberg is used to being on trivia shows as the host of NPR’s Ask Me Another. But here’s the thing: she doesn’t consider herself a trivia buff. Like, at all. That said, she’s chosen topics that she thoroughly understands… and most of them involve being a proud Canadian.

Charles Busch is a Tony-nominated actor, playwright, and drag legend. He’s the creator of the film and play Die, Mommie, Die!, which will soon be produced as a radio show. Even though he’s spent most of his professional career performing in women’s clothing, he still finds some of the clothes a bit uncomfortable… but that’s one of the best parts of being an actor.

In this episode, we’ll learn about street-building materials, fashion, and the undervalued cuisine of Canada.

What’s the difference: The streets of New York

What’s the difference between “cement” and “concrete”?

What’s the difference between a “freeway” and a “highway”?

Areas of Expertise:

Ophira Eisenberg: Canadian Geography, Canadian food, and the film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Charles Bush: Women’s fashion of 1930’s, The film Rosemary’s Baby, and Bette Davis

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Ophira Eisenberg
Charles Busch

With guest experts:

Marcel Simoneau, owner of the Brooklyn-based Canadian restaurant Up North.

Eugenia Paulicelli, professor and author of the book Fashion under Fascism.

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 Caveat in New York City.

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

Ep 19: Go Fact Yourself with Alison Becker and Glynn Washington

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Theresa Iker, Alison Becker, J. Keith Van Straaten, Glynn Washington, Helen Hong and Jason E. Hill
Guests: 
Alison Becker and Glynn Washington
Guests: 
Theresa Iker
Guests: 
Jason E. Hill
Guests: 
J. Keith van Straaten
Guests: 
Helen Hong

Glynn Washington is the host and creator of the public radio show Snap Judgment. Fun fact: He actually got his radio show started by winning a radio contest. Snap Judgment is all about “storytelling with a beat,” and, with a little help from Helen Hong, Glynn will explain why.

Alison Becker is an actress who’s perhaps best known for playing Shauna Malwae-Tweep on Parks and Recreation (people still recognize her for it to this day). She’s also the star of the Max Fun Podcast Bubble.

In this episode, we’ll learn about Glynn’s attitude towards producing quality stories, why puppets are a perfect way to combat social justice issues and Alison’s amazing moment where she made out with Jon Bon Jovi, one of her musical heroes.

What’s the difference?
What’s the difference between a “lake” and a “pond”?

What’s the difference between an “arrowsmith” and a “fletcher?”

Areas of Expertise
Glynn Washington: The original Star Trek, the New King James Bible, Michael Jackson.

Alison Becker: Divorce ranches, Seinfeld episodes, Bon Jovi.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Glynn Washington
Alison Becker

With guest experts:
Jason E. Hill, Musician, puppeteer and former United Methodist Clergy.

Theresa Iker, teacher of history at Stanford University.

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

Theme Song by Jonathan Green
David McKeever is the Live Sound Engineer.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher
The show is edited by Julian Burrell.

Pop Rocket Ep. 185: “Eighth Grade” and Awkward Adolescence w/ NPR's Linda Holmes

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Linda Holmes, Karen Tongson, and Margaret Wappler
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Linda Holmes

***Warning - this episode contains spoilers***

This week, Karen Tongson and Margaret Wappler chat it up with pop culture maven and Pop Rocket's own podcast godmother Linda Holmes, the host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. The ladies revisit that wonderfully awkward time of their lives of Clearasil and body self-consciousness also known as 8th Grade while doing an in-depth exploration of Bo Burnham's debut film Eighth Grade. The movie centers around this socially awkward teen girl who tries really hard to fit it and be popular at school, but can't quite get there. Karen, Margaret, and Linda harken back to the drama of that time in their own lives, and also flesh out whether one of the scenes in the movie should--or not--be labeled a #MeToo moment.

All Abouts

Margaret is all about journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner's latest article in the NYTimes Magazine about Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand company Goop and how it went from Paltrow's Martha Stewart-like project to a 250 million dollar company. Linda is all about a new (and disappointing) study on inequality in film out of USC Annenberg that highlights the lack of progress in inclusion in film. Karen is all about Episode 7 of The Affair, specifically the scene that features “sapphic dabbling in a yurt” between Helen (Maura Tierney) and Sierra (Emily Browning).

With Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler, and Linda Holmes.

That's My Jam:

Linda- Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone.

Margaret - Nine Inch Nails - Down In It.

Karen - Debbie Gibson- Only In My Dreams.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

One Bad Mother Episode 240: Party Favors: The Garbage You Take Home! Plus Ophira Eisenberg on Change

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Show: 
One Bad Mother
Guests: 
Ophira Eisenberg

Biz and Theresa wonder, “Where do party favors go to die?” The answer? Your house. Kids love them, we hate them, and we admit to fully participating in the madness by buying them and giving them out at our own kids' parties. Maybe giving kids $1 when they leave the party is the cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to go! Plus, Biz lets go of something big, Theresa gives herself the silent treatment, and we talk with comedian and host of NPR’s Ask Me Another, Ophira Eisenberg, about having a baby later in life and letting the truths we set for ourselves be changeable.

You can catch Ophira's hilarious NPR show Ask Me Another every Friday. Don't forget to follow her on Twitter@OphiraE and definitely go watch her standup special Inside Joke.

Chicago! One Bad Mother added another LIVE show at GMan Tavern on FRIDAY, May 11th at 8:00 p.m.! Tickets on sale now!

Check out our book! You're Doing A Great Job!: 100 Ways You're Winning at Parenting!

Thank you to all our listeners who support the show as monthly members of MaximumFun.org. Our sponsors this week are Audible and Care.com. To get a free audiobook with your 30 day trial visit audible.com/badmother. And get 30% off your premium membership visit Care.com/mother.

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Show Music
Opening theme: Summon the Rawk, Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com)
Ones and Zeros, Awesome, Beehive Sessions (http://awesomeinquotes.com, also avail on iTunes)
Mom Song, Adira Amram, Hot Jams For Teens (http://adiraamram.com, avail on iTunes)
Telephone, Awesome, Beehive Sessions (http://awesomeinquotes.com, also avail on iTunes)
Closing music: Mama Blues, Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans

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