humor

The Faith Middleton Show
12:26 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

The Science of When We Laugh and Why

Credit Chris Huggins/flickr creative commons

Humor, like pornography, is famously difficult to define. We know it when we see it, but is there a way to figure out what we really find funny—and why?

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A Radio Legend Passes
9:02 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Why Everyone Who Loves Public Radio Should Thank Tom Magliozzi

Tom Magliozzi of Car Talk
Richard Howard

Car Talk is the most important program in the history of public radio.

There, I said it.

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Humor
2:41 pm
Sat November 1, 2014

'Comedy Is Extraordinarily Difficult': John Cleese On Being Funny

John Cleese got his first big break in London's West End and as a script writer and performer on The Frost Report.
Andy Gotts Courtesy of Crown Publishing

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 5:40 pm

John Cleese is a big, tall, stiff-upper-lipped international symbol of British wit. He's made us laugh in Fawlty Towers and movies including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Time Bandits, A Fish Called Wanda, and, recently, as the exasperated master of spycraft — Q — who gives James Bond some of his best toys to break.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:36 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Warning: The Scramble Will Automatically Download to Your iTunes

Credit David Goehring / Creative Commons

We're back today after a one-week hiatus. 

Ben Nadaff-Hafrey is also back, this time as our Scramble SuperGuest.

We start today with a conversation about the embrace of U2 by Apple, and end with a chat about embraces in general.

So, leading off earlier this month, Apple had one of its special events. When people stop what they're doing to watch a big company roll out a new product, in this case the iPhone 6, Don Draper would be drooling in envy, right?

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:18 am
Thu August 21, 2014

New Yorker Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff

Credit For Inspiration Only/flickr creative commons

He wrote one of the greatest cartoon lines ever, a sentence that rocketed through the country like a speeding train: How about never—is never good for you?

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The "Apparently" Kid
9:39 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

'Apparently' This Is The Funniest 5-Year-Old In America

"I don't watch the news because I'm a kid," Noah Ritter, 5, said in an interview at the Wayne County Fair in Pennsylvania. He went on to show that he belongs on TV.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 10:43 am

We can't resist passing along the phenomenon that is Noah Ritter, a young man who's taking the Internet by storm. The 5-year-old's interview at Pennsylvania's Wayne County Fair is a wonder of stream-of-consciousness, sprinkled heavily with one word: "apparently."

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:26 am
Tue August 5, 2014

The Science of When We Laugh and Why

Credit Chris Huggins/flickr creative commons

Humor, like pornography, is famously difficult to define. We know it when we see it, but is there a way to figure out what we really find funny—and why?

Read more
Podcasting
9:45 am
Thu July 24, 2014

A Listener's Guide to Podcasts

arinahabich/iStock Thinkstock

If you're interested in podcasts, but aren't sure what to listen to, have no fear. We're here to help.  

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King of Parody
10:45 am
Mon July 14, 2014

'Weird Al' Yankovic On Parody In The Age Of YouTube

"Weird Al" Yankovic's latest album, Mandatory Fun, comes out July 15.
Robert Trachtenberg Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 12:12 pm

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Everyday Football Fouls
1:44 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Flop Life: What If We All Acted Like We Were In The World Cup?

In a new video, people casually bump into one another in cafes and groceries, sparking histrionics like those seen in the World Cup.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 8:13 am

The flailing about, the protests, the sheer agony — what if everyone behaved like international soccer stars who can evidently be slammed to the ground by a fingertip?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:25 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Oh, Canada! How'd You Get So Funny?

Credit Muhammad Ali / Flickr Creative Commons

David Steinberg, Martin Short, Mort Sahl, Rick Moranis, Lorne Michaels, Jim Carrey, John Candy, Kids in the Hall, Samantha Bee, Jason Jones, Howie Mandel, Rich Little, Norm Macdonald, Katherine O'Hara, Russell Peters, Leslie Nielsen - They are all Canadians.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:58 am
Tue May 13, 2014

New Yorker Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff

Credit For Inspiration Only/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton:  He wrote one of the greatest cartoon lines ever, a sentence that rocketed through the country like a speeding train: How about never—is never good for you?

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Political Humor
2:45 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Obama Cracks Wise At White House Correspondents Dinner

Obama has two ferns brought to the podium as a spoof of his appearance on "Between Two Ferns" for his standup at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 8:14 pm

President Obama made fun of himself at the White House Correspondents Association dinner on Saturday, the annual nerd-ball schmooze fest where Washington's media stars get comfy with a mix of political bigwigs and Hollywood beautiful people to celebrate a year of journalism.

Obama, known for his comic timing and delivery, didn't disappoint.

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Sound Effects
4:14 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Teaming Up to Explain the Internet's Future

Credit Woodley Wonderworks / Flickr Creative Commons

We did a Colin McEnroe Show about the current state of the internet, and what it could become in the future. Turns out, Chattanooga, Tennessee is way ahead of the curve, having taking it upon themselves to create a superfast Internet system. Colin's vision for the introduction was me stepping into the futuristic starship that is Chattanooga, guided by Greg Hill, learning the ways of the people and meeting some of their school children.

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Sound effects
4:12 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Songwriting With Colin: "Truckin' Bees"

Chion Wolf's Gibson Hummingbird.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's not too often I get to write a song with Colin, but I love when it happens. We had about two hours until showtime when Colin dropped off the lyrics to the song we wanted to use as an intro to our show about bees -- specifically about how bees are trucked to different locations throughout the country. I could hear the tune in my head right away.

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Sound Effects
10:15 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Creating the Sounds of a Wedding Reception

The multitrack for the intro about being a wedding guest at a reception.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Having Colin McEnroe write the introduction for every day's show is always a surprise. I never know what kind of sound effects I'll need, or who else will be voicing it with me. This introduction was no exception.

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Where We Misspell
10:35 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Who's Tucekr?

Where We Live host John Dankosky.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Every now and then, Where We Live airs a rerun. In order to make shows broadcast-ready a second time around, host John Dankosky needs to record a few things.

On this particular day, John needed to record credits. I spelled my own name, "Tucekr Ives." It was close enough, so I didn't go back and edit it.

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April Fools
4:54 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Anatomy of a Prank: Is the Show Host Fair Game?

Credit viZZZual / Creative Commons

Every April 1, I think, "Why didn't we do a Colin McEnroe Show on pranks?! Next year, it's gonna happen." A few weeks ago, I put it on the calendar, and started researching.

When I searched "professional prankster," I found Joey Skaggs, Tom Mabe, and Jeff Pinsker, who was mentioned in a People magazine article from 1987. He was, at the time, paid to prank CEOs. 

Now Pinsker is the president of Klutz, a much-loved kid's book and toy maker. I emailed and asked if he'd be interested in coming on our show to talk about his process of pranking. He agreed. I exhaled. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:51 am
Tue April 1, 2014

April Fool's! Exploring Pranks and Practical Jokes

A screenshot from a broadcast of the spaghetti harvest BBC April Fool's Day joke.
Credit BBC

I'll be honest: I hate April Fools' Day, and I'm not a big fan of practical jokes. I hate it the way that some people hate Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve. I think merriment and foolishness should be spread across the year. That's why most of our shows, even pretty serious ones, start with a comedy sketch, because life is so much better when you think of it as a comedy.

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:46 am
Tue April 1, 2014

The Science of When We Laugh and Why

Credit Chris Huggins/flickr creative commons

Humor, like pornography, is famously difficult to define. We know it when we see it, but is there a way to figure out what we really find funny—and why?

Read more
Culinary Delights
3:15 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Waffle Taco From Taco Bell

Taco and waffle go together even better than Terry Gross and Gene Simmons.
NPR

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 2:05 pm

For most people, the morning goes like this: Wake up, take a shower and wait six hours in painful agony until it's an appropriate time to eat Taco Bell.

But, finally, times have changed: Taco Bell has introduced a breakfast menu. The centerpiece is unquestionably The Waffle Taco.

Peter: I was driving in after picking them up, and I was terrified of getting in a fatal car crash. "Local radio host found dead next to bag of four Taco Bell Waffle Tacos."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:00 am
Fri March 28, 2014

The Nose Travels to the Grand Budapest Hotel

Gorman Bechard is a film director, screenwriter, and novelist.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A hilariously fussy hotel manager with a taste for the high life is wrenched from his gay surroundings by the specter of war and a false murder charge. That doesn't sound terribly funny, but it's the premise for "The Grand Budapest Hotel," the latest Wes Anderson movie. Our Nose panelists all went to see it, and it will be one of our topics on this show.

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Cartoonists
2:36 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

New Yorker Cartoon Editor Explores What Makes Us Get It

Bob Mankoff/The New Yorker Collection/Condé Nast

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:43 pm

Bob Mankoff has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker ever since 1977 and now, as cartoon editor, he evaluates more than 500 cartoons submitted to the magazine each week.

Mankoff is proud of the many cartoons that have been published under his aegis. "Sometimes I take my aegis out of my drawer just to admire it," he writes.

His most well-known cartoon shows an executive looking at his desk calendar, saying to someone on the phone: "No, Thursday's out. How about never — is never good for you?"

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:00 am
Fri March 14, 2014

The Nose Lurks Behind the Backdrop of "Between Two Ferns"

Matthew Warshauer is a Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, and board member of Connecticut Humanities.
Chion Wolf WNPR

President Obama has consistently refused to be a panelist on The Nose, but his appearance this week on "Between Two Ferns" with Zach Galifianakis has given us new hope!

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:34 am
Mon March 3, 2014

The Scramble: Are A.J. Jacobs, Lupita Nyong'o, and John Rowland Related?

Credit Rick / Creative Commons

Today on The Scramble, one of our favorite writers, A.J. Jacobs takes us deep inside the world of modern ancestry research where websites are all  too happy to tell you that you're distantly related to Gwynyth Paltrow, Michael Bloomberg, Quincy Jones, and King David.  Those are all actual examples of people A.J. was told are his relatives. 

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Dim Bulbs
11:16 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Let Radio Hosts Take Care of Your Plants

Dwight Sipler Creative Commons

Do you love Amaryllis bulbs? So do we. Just make sure you don't let John or Colin take care of yours.

The Faith Middleton Show
10:34 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Does High Unemployment Mean the Humanities Should Be Dumped?

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

From Faith Middleton: More institutions of higher learning have shuttle busses to the nearest corporate high rises.

While it is understandable in a time of high unemployment to think about practical careers, it appears more people, including some entrepreneurial university administrators, think it's time to leave the “fluffy stuff” for hobby hour. That fluffy stuff would include literature, philosophy, languages, the arts and history—what we call the humanities. (Or, the stuff that hangs around long after we're dead.) Possibly the new rules of the road go something like this: read Michener before bed, and call it a day.

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the worst haircut ever
2:06 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Rob Ford, Gawker, and My Kids

Rob Ford (r) and my kids (l).
Credit Gawker

We normally write about other people -- because other people are the news. Not us.

And then, sometimes, really strange things happen.

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It Could Be Worse
12:19 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

8 Great 'Shutdown Pickup Lines'

The fun has begun.
Twitter

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:32 pm

When a government shutdown loomed in 2011, the Twitterverse had some fun with #govtshutdownpickuplines.

They're back!

Here are some of the better, slightly naughty ones we're seeing (we also also checked #shutdownpicklines):

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Comedy Cellar
5:41 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Five Comedians You Need to Check Out

Hannibal Buress is only 29, but he's quickly rising to the top of the American standup comedy scene.
Credit http://hannibalburess.com/

Standup is not an easy thing to do. You might think you're funny, but funny takes on a new definition when you're stranded on stage with just a microphone, a spotlight, and a judgmental audience. Today we talked comedy with Jason Zinoman, first-ever comedy critic for The New York Times. While researching the show, I watched a lot of comedy (what a job I have!) so I thought it would be fun to provide you with a sampling of a few of my favorite performers. Caution: some of these sketches may contain NSFW language so, you know, don't blast it at your desk.

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