humor

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?

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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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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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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:09 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

The Compelling Life Of Michael Bolton

Michael Bolton.
Credit Alterna2, Flickr Creative Commons

Michael Bolton has reinvented himself many times. A few years ago, he cut off his trademark hair.  He put out an album of opera arias and another of American Songbook Standards. But probably his biggest challenge was dealing with his image as a romantic icon so permanently rooted in the dead center of the mainstream that poking fun at him became an easy way for people who really weren't all that cool to prove they were at least cool enough to reject Michael Bolton.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:05 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

The Birth, Life, And Death Of Jokes

The Colin McEnroe Show
4:05 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

The Birth, Life, and Death of Jokes

Chion Wolf

Some time in the late 1980s, when my main job was writing allegedly funny newspapers and magazine pieces and books  I was visiting a friend who worked in the offices of "Late Night with David Letterman." I think she was an assistant to Dave's assistant or something. Anyway, she introduced me to the show's head writer Steve O'Donnell and she must have mentioned me before because he said, "Oh yes. The humorist."

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Where We Live
12:03 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Baratunde Thurston On Comedy In The Digital Age

Bill Wadman

Tomorrow, is the final Connecticut Forum of the season. It’s called Funny, Smart People and it’s being moderated by our very own Colin McEnroe. The panelists are The Daily Show’s John Hodgman, Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein and our next guest, Baratunde Thurston.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:12 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

The Nose: Welcome To The 'Land Of Steady Habits'

Flickr Creative Commons, taberandrew

Is Connecticut funny? Is Connecticut anything?

In 1992, film-maker Ken Simon made a documentary attempting to probe the identity of the state. He interviewed a range of "experts," including me. The title of this documentary? "Between Boston and New York."

That tells you something. Even a painstaking attempt to pin down what Connecticut is winds up bowing to all the things Connecticut ain't.  There's a somewhat rude anatomical term for this. I'm not going to use it.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:38 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Steve Almond's America

"Never be deceived by a humorist, for if he is any good he is a deeply serious man moved by a quirk of temperament to speak a certain kind of truth in the form of jokes. Everybody can laugh at the jokes; the real trick is to understand them."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:35 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

The Nose: In Pursuit Of Authenticity

Mykl Roventine, Flickr Creative Commons

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:44 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

The First Annual Summer Humor Show!

takomabibelot, Flickr Creative Commons

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