Happy Holidays!

Below, some great year-end wrap-ups and holiday episodes, on the latest podcast summaries.

I’ve been thinking about the “Satire & Activism” episode of  Before You Leap with Harry Shearer, talking about Le Show. I taped my conversation with Harry just after xmas in 2013. The episode also features Paul Krassner talking about co-founding the Yippies, his friendship with Abbie Hoffman, and much more. Also with comedian Negin Farsad and The Onion writer Brian Janosch.

On Judge John Hodgman, why doesn’t Julian like the built-in grill in his outdoor kitchen (and why are he and Simone so cagey about their robot-human experiments)? Sometimes cooler embers burn in a person’s heart, even if he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But is it functional, or madness? The Judge schools Julian on barbecue vs grilling, gives him a pop quiz, and orders him to buy Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto.

On the Savage Lovecast, why Dan was wrong when he fretted about Black Lives Matter protesters targeting Bernie and Hillary, and why some Chicago cops (and higher ups) need to lose their jobs. And Dan says remember Saul Alinksy and a shitty airport protest. A 29 year-old loves her new webcam job – should she tell her parents? Finally, a woman can driver was sexually assaulted by a drunk passenger, and after pressing charges, finds out the guy got a slap on the wrist – what can she do?( I’m surprised by Dan’s response, and hope to hear more (maybe from other listeners) next week). A woman’s Dad fucked a 26 year-old, and now she’s 26 – does that mean he’s an incest-craving perv? On “What You Got,” Dr. Justin Lehmiller asks, does monogamy mean you’re less likely to get an STD? Then Robby Soeve from Reason.com gives a shocking update on the case of the teen who was arrested for sexting his girlfriend. And more calls.

In the movie-mini of Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, Gilbert recommends the Peter Sellers flick After the Fox. Gilbert sings the theme song – will he star in the remake? Frank suggests the original Miracle on 34th Street, which he says is a perfect movie. On GGACP, it’s a look back on some of the greats we lost this year: Allan Asherman, author of many StarTrek books, talks about the late great Leonard Nimoy. Also, Frank plugs Shatner’s upcoming book on his 50-year friendship with Nimoy. The boys sadly just missed talking with comedian Jack Carter. The late and very sexy Laura Antonelli. The guys wish they’d have had the chance to talk with Laugh In announcer Gary Owens, who was also the voice of Roger Ramjet (the guys sing the theme song, not to be missed). The late horror actor Christopher Lee – he knew what stabbing someone really sounds like! Theodore Bickel who played Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof was also a great character actor in many films and TV.  The late Wes Craven, horror maven and nature lover? Yes, it’s true. A hilarious recap of the guys’ day with the late Joe Franklin, and lots more.

On Bullseye, it’s the hilarious Best Comedy Albums of 2015 episode! Get links to all the albums on the Bullseye website. Kyle Kinane – pistachios are already an old man’s snack. Why was Emily Heller wearing an oregano necklace? Ron Funches seems calm, but he’s actually a volcano that could murder us all! Sara Schaefer tells how girls learn to change clothes in gym class without showing any skin. She is not changing names, because he is not innocent. Hampton Yount – I wanted to hurt something you loved. Drennon Davis and Karen Gilgariff have a song about Goths! Mike O’Brien from SNL, with SNL buddies Bill Hader and Jason Sudekis, do hilarious basketball play-by-play. Eddie Pepitone says this wine tastes like a car full of clowns. Sheng Wang wonders why people like cornucopias – stuff is always falling out of them. Guy Branum on the advantages of being a gay man in America. Aziz Ansari says we’re all laughing because you’ll probably get divorced. Eugene Mirman wonders if comedy is tragedy plus timing. Eliza Skinner – babies are like heroin, but they don’t fold like cats. Matt Braunger on taking chances, like guys who hit on women from across a room-they’re like a unicorn with a tiny brain. “The whole bus laughed so hard we met each other.” Wayne Federman tried snow skiing for the first time. The ski lift – who invented this death machine? Beth Stelling’s Mom needs a new phone, but how much time does she have left (on her plan, you monsters!)

On Le Show, It’s the Year in Rebuke! With Karzai Talk, Brian Williams Misremembers, Clinton Something: The Pre-Candidacy Years, Harry’s duet with Hillary, it’s “Two Devices.” And more original music, including Harry’s offer to write Trump’s campaign theme song.

On Unfictional, a new neighbor moves in to an already sketchy neighborhood. Just google “meth, drugs and ice.” Then, stories of the deep, from a world-record free-diver. Then, the gangster Mickey Cohen had a lot in common with Monk, the TV detective. Who knew?

Neil Strauss, author of The Game, an investigation into pick-up artists, and the new book The Truth, talks to Marc on WTF. Marc knew Neil when he was a nebbish Jewish writer hanging around the comedy scene. Neil does a little blow, but keep the psychedelics away from him! Neil talks about working with Marilyn Manson on The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, and with Jenna Jameson on How to Make Love Like a Porn Star. Marc is ok with sex – but it’s a slippery slope, right? How Neil got into the pick-up scene and turned it into a book – he was like Donny Brasco, or a reality show. The guys have a deep talk about parents, childhood and relationships. Check it out.

On Risk!, a woman’s boyfriend is good on paper – just lousy in real life. Then, a homeless Santa on the bus gives a weird puppet show. Then, on the island, no one is living an ambitious dream – everyone is just working to live. And you don’t really ever miss Red Bank, NJ. Last, a holiday story or a graphic sex story – you decide.

On The Moth, holiday stories! What happens when your buttoned-up, hyper-organized Dad goes bankrupt? A curse is lifted and a woman seeks her mate for Hannukah. At Sing Sing prison, a correctional officer learns the difference between the house slave and the field slave. And xmas in the emergency room – where you find out who your real family is.

Doug Loves Movies has guests Noel Wells, Thomas Middleditch and Zack Perlman. Noel thinks she’s doing a good job on Master of None – and people love it! Thomas has a hoodie in his prize bag, and a life-lesson spoiler alert. Doug Loves Musicals, Whose Tagline Is It, and more.

Snap Judgment looks back on some of their best stories. James Judd was an outcast nerd – would winning the 5th grade book report challenge change all that? And what does watching soaps for his Mom have to do with it? You can learn a lot of stuff from the Young and the Restless that you’ll never learn in elementary school. Then Joshua Walters gets a lesson in porn, from his Nana! Joyce Lee has a love poem, sort of, Glynn tells about taking refuge, until it’s time to chase thunderstorms,  and one of my all-time favorite Snap stories from the amazing Shannon Cason. Check out his website and hear more of Shannon’s Homemade Stories.

On Story Collider, science writer Tom Levenson has a touching story of adoption, uncertainty, and irrevocable choices.

On Only a Game, it’s the best of 2015. Bill’s poem for his idol, Willy Mays. Skiing a historic trail. Baseball in San Quentin, a half-century old tradition. Chris Herron gets sober, after leaving the NBA. Mike Tollin talks about his terrific new documentary for HBO, Kareem: Minority of One, and his previous sports documentaries on Hank Aaron and one featuring a young Donald Trump (Bill knew he was a jerk even way back then!). A former NHL enforcer says hockey is better off without players who drop the gloves at the drop of a glove, and a couple find a sweater at the thrift store that Packers’ fans might die for.

Plus, Radio Lab has two year-end episodes with samplings of some of the best, most-downloaded episodes, and On the Media uncovers the way the media covers bogus health studies.

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Trump, Reagan or Bush?

It’s hard to keep up with the many dumb comments made by Donald Trump, so I haven’t tried. But The Donald’s tendency for spouting off has led me to reflect on the wisdom spouted by previous Presidents Reagan and G.W. Bush, both of whom had a penchant for the mangled remark.

Looking back, I wondered if some of their comments might be almost Trump-like in their inanity. Sure, in some cases it’s easy to tell whether a certain comment was made by Trump or one of these other two. For example, if I asked, who said

“The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

You’d probably guess that was Trump, and you’d be right. But can you guess who said:

“A tree is a tree. How many more do you have to look at?”

“Consider a sequoia tree that has been growing for several hundred years. Just because a television crew one day decides to do a story about that tree doesn’t mean it didn’t exist before.”

“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”

Scroll down to the end of this post for the answer.

On occasion I’ll take to Twitter to play another round of #TrumpReaganOrBush. Luckily there’s plenty of material from each one to keep this up for awhile!

Now, the latest podcast summaries.

I’ll mention one more time,  Before You Leap has a holiday food episode, with Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen,  and Judith Redmond, an organic farmer who talks about the contribution that farming can make to fend off climate change.

On the Savage Lovecast, don’t mix xmas and sex, please! A woman has two little kids – how can she get her husband to stop doing creepy, sexual stuff in front of the children (he’s “otherwise an excellent father,” she says!) Then, can you be the cool Aunt to your nephew without his parent’s consent? Dan’s Mom had a great tactic to deal with her kids’ sex questions. A straight girl is GGG, but her new guys has a puke fantasy. Dan reminds her of the GGG “within reason” caveat. Cass King of The Wet Spots talks about their new burlesque musical, Shine!, and we hear one of the songs from the show! Time Out New York says Shine! has “Hands down more goosebumps per minute than any other show! It’s ‘RENT’ for our generation.” Next, the dramatic story of the gay softball World Series (will that be the story for the next Wet Spots musical?). Plus, Mark Stern from Slate on men in the locker room, lawyer Roberta Kaplan on workplace discrimination, and even more.

On Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, with guest comedian Jim Gaffigan – don’t call him “clean” (you’ll never guess his latest product endorsement deal). Gilbert and Jim talk about “good fan, bad fan.” Gilbert schools Jim on strip clubs. Jim recalls playing a cab driver in a movie, and why it’s hard to be a New Yorker when you watch TV and movies. Is Jim a pale Sikh? Jim’s days of selling soap, as the ad agency’s token goy. Gilbert does a jeans commercial! Jim works with Brian Cox, Eartha Kitt, Cloris Leachman, and crosses paths with his doppelganger, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. And why Jim is the best son-in-law ever.

On Bullseye, former Congressman Barney Frank on his new memoir, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage. He’s retired from Congress but he’ll always be Honorable. How the Pope impelled his first election to Congress, what he missed by being a public figure, and how he worked with colleagues in Congress to get affordable housing, financial regulations, gay rights and many other good things done. Plus, comedian Lamont Price – he gets bored easily, leading to….you’ll never guess. Ever seen White Men Can’t Jump? Lamont’s favorite part is the theme song. And the post-punk band Mission of Burma. They had 19 years between albums, so what changed in between? You’ll be surprised.

Returning guest Abby Shumka joins the guys on Stop Podcasting Yourself. Abby loved to dance, but Dave plays fancy sports (with Bob Marley?). A James Garner sighting – but why have the hands and teeth been removed?Dave does a corporate gig – will he be moving to the suburbs? Some not so holiday-themed overheards. Car shopping? Don’t forget shoppy the shopping cart! And check out Abby’s new podcast  Fashion Hags.

On The Smartest Man in the World, Greg does xmas in Germany, has a theory about what happens when Miami sinks, and drinks vodka with Dan Harmon. Then, xmas gift-giving guidance for the guys. As Santa Claus said, this is a marathon.

On Le Show, news of the Olympic movement, some University-based Apologies of the Week, News of the Warm, Addi the Atom and a lot of Christmas music you won’t hear anywhere else, including a couple of Harry’s original songs.

On Unfictional, an “audio daydream” with a paraglider who shares what happens when you fly into a cloud, and a prisoner who describes the power of a blue sky day.

On 99% Invisible, with censorship and privation, how did people get Western music in the 1950’s Soviet Union? The Kitchen Sisters join host Roman Mars to explain the odd use made from medical waste. It’s Bone Music. Check out the Sisters’ podcast Fugitive Waves.

On WTF Marc talks to comedian Horatio Sanz, from SNL and his Earwolf podcast, The Hooray Show. Marc is getting xmas cards from people he doesn’t know – he thinks. Why Horatio can’t be President, and is he disappointed (and will this be Marc’s quickest podcast ever)? Horatio is torn – take a class, or tag the yoga studio? Why he had to “Latino it up” for his landlord. He also talks about his time at Second City with Adam McKay, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, Amy Pohler and others, and helping to start Cerebral Strip Mine and co-founding UCB. And look out for Horatio’s upcoming project with Fred Armisen, Mas Mejor.

On Risk!, it’s a xmas memories show! Joel Kim Booster hasn’t gone home for xmas in awhile, but he does call home. He was a pretty gay kid, so asking for presents was a minefield. Joe Mulligan is tending a lonely bar for xmas – is there any other kind? Monte Lamonte has a year without Santa – his Mom’s family were old-school Italians so you don’t mess with religion (also check out his food blog), and Susan Kent’s Mom let the kids know how much xmas was costing her. As an adult, her relationship with her mom remains complicated.

On Criminal, an interview with Sgt. David Mascarenas, Dive Supervisor for the LAPD. In 2013, the unit got an unreasonable call about a 2011 cold case: evidence might be in the La Brea Tar Pits. Is diving into the pits even possible? Dave finds out.

Snap Judgment has a story of an Afghani boy and the unexpected request he gets from the Taliban; then, Peter Aguero’s Dad teaches him how to stand up to a bully, and Peter makes his Dad proud. Plus, Glynn’s two bosses remind him of a 1960’s sitcom.

The psychology of giving on Hidden Brain.  Is donating to charity from generosity or guilt? Just tell the voice recorder you’re not giving to the hungry kids. How much does social pressure contribute to altruism? A recent experiment has some surprising data. Plus, stopwatch science, re-gifting, and how to give better gifts.

On Story Collider, researcher Adam Foote has a sea urchin problem. After they spawn, they die – so how to get a new batch for research? And how can you even tell if they’re dead? It’s the awful smell of invertebrate death.

On Only a Game, Pete Rose – is anyone else sick of him. Bill has a solution. Serena is Sportswoman of the Year, and she never sacrificed a goat at center court. Abby Wambach retires – is she “the greatest of all time”? A Brown University athlete comes back from a brain injury. Charlie Pierce on Darth Tater. And an interview with Peter Landesman, director of the movie Concussion.

Plus, Quentin Tarantino visits The Nerdist podcast. He loves Chris on After Midnight! He talks about comic-con, Ralph Bakshi, and his new movie The Hateful Eight! Why he trusts in “Oh my God what am I going to do now?” Also, John Hodgman is on the 300th episode of LiveWire! Host Luke Burbank gives John a grammar lesson!

ANSWER: That would be, in order, Reagan, Trump and Bush (and no, I don’t know what Bush meant either).

Remembering Shep

When I was a kid, my parents took us to Temple every Friday night, and we were always among the last to leave. We’d drive home and on the way, my Dad would turn on the New York radio station WOR and we’d listen to Jean Shepherd. By the time we’d get home, I’d be hooked. My Mom would take my brother and sister inside to bed, and my old man and I would stay on the car listening. When the break would come the old man would turn the show off and make me go inside, but sometimes if I was lucky Shep would be in the middle of one of his impossibly long stories and I’d get to stay up really late, often well past midnight (how did he do it? They must have had station breaks or ads or whatever, yet in my memory the stories could go on and on without stopping for hours).

This week on Risk!, Kevin Allison ends the show with an old Jean Shepherd story. Don’t miss it. There’s also a great tribute to Shep narrated by Harry Shearer that the show Hearing Voices did a few years back. And you can hear the archives of many his old WOR and other shows. Check it out!

Here are the latest podcast summaries.

Did I mention that  Before You Leap has a holiday food episode? With Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen,  and Judith Redmond, an organic farmer who talks about the contribution that farming can make to fend off climate change.

You can celebrate the holidays with the many holiday-themed episodes of Judge John Hodgman.  This week, the judge clears the docket, and lifte his own prohibition on buzz marketing by naming brands – but is he allowed to name non-Apple products? Is a new MaxFun podcast coming – Wikipediaisms? Wikipedantry? To dine on holiday-themed plates or not. Toothpaste in the shower, or not. And if you haven’t seen it, go right now and watch Mitchell and Webb’s Numberwang.

On the Savage Lovecast, Dan revisits Obama’s first inaugural speech because…science! Despite the President’s words (and its proven failures), abstinence education still reigns supreme.  The campsite rule – how to implement it with a younger guy (Dan says he’s never had intercourse but is not a virgin). Her guy isn’t hot – is she being shallow, or does she just have shitty friends? A feminist is having great sex with a chauvinist pig – Dan is conflicted. She wants to break up, but her visa doesn’t expire for 9 months. Catching up with a past caller who needed to get out after coming out to her parents. We’re rooting for you! Can you tell your friend who you hooked up with that he’s a bad kisser? A kinky feminist pastor has a great guy – can her relationship be socially valued without a marriage? Peter Staley (from the Treatment Action Group and ActUp!, he was profiled in How to Stop a Plague, check it out on Netflix) and Dan argue about Truvada. Peter says the CDC report did not mention PreP and you can’t correlate PreP use with anything because for now, not enough people are on it. Dan plays a scary call that represents the kinds of calls he’s getting about PreP. Then there’s PeP, get it right. And listeners want to hear more from Nancy!

On the movie mini of Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, Frank saw a new movie in 2015! He recommends the Brian Wilson bio-pic Love and Mercy. Gilbert slurs Italians and Jews and recommends Dr. Butcher MD (Medical Deviant), apparently also known as Zombie Holocaust. See it if you like schlock.

Comedian Kathleen McGee joins Graham and Dave on Stop Podcasting Yourself. The boys try to come up with a pseudonym Kathleen can use to keep weirdoes from knocking on her hotel room door. How does Napoleon Dynamite sound? Kids on Chopped – who had the funniest sob story? Puking in the pool — who brought it up? Escaping cults, and more vomiting. Get out, satan! Check out Kathleen’s column, Been There Done That: Questionable advice from a comedian.

Don’t miss the David Steinberg Podcast with 92-year old comedy legend Carl Reiner. Carl talks about directing Steve Martin in The Jerk, working with Alan Arkin, his son Rob’s friendship with Albert Brooks, and how he handled the FBI’s questions about his communist connections. And of course, working with Mel Brooks, and how the Queen liked the 2,000 Year-old Man.

On The Smartest Man in the World, Greg is reading the Burt Reynolds bio. Burt stars in a 70’s TV cop drama with Norman Fell, goes on about Charles (Chuck to Burt) Nelson Reilly, and Lee Marvin. Then, the Star Trek cast, who would you want in a fight? Greg ranks the crew of the Enterprise. The songs of Alan Sherman, and more.

“Tube Benders” on 99% Invisible tells how neon went from a symbol of luxury to a sign of seediness and decay. Neon is blown, like glass, but don’t call neon makers glassblowers. This episode reminded me of one of my favorite conceptual art pieces.

Marc talks to author, monologist, playwright, performer and now non-fiction author Eric Bogosian on WTF.  His new book, Operation Nemesis tells the story of Armenians who took on the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide. Marc tells the story of his foray into making a one-man show, The Jerusalem Syndrome. Eric talks about starting out in NYC, working with Woody Allen on Deconstructing Harry, and much more. You can check out 100 Monologues to hear Eric’s friends (including actors Jennifer Tilly, Vincent D’Onofrio, Sam Rockwell and many others) doing Eric’s early monologues. Just call it “performance,” not performance art!

On Risk!, Margot Leitman tells how diarrhea became a god omen. For Jefferson, sex after divorce, with the ex. Mara Wilson has a theological dispute with her sister, and Julie Threlkeld has a medical mystery. Matteson Perry’s roommate had a pre-Christmas breakup. Will the holiday party cheer him up? And a bonus story from the archives of stories from the late, great Jean Shephard!  It’s a bleakness sandwich –at least the bread is light and funny!

The Moth with a story from Eve Plumb, who played Jan on The Brady Bunch. On the eve of her wedding, she gets some bad news. And Jesse emails her boyfriend some special pictures, and learns a valuable lesson about computer file systems.

Doug Loves Movies has the 12 guests of Christmas – with a special 13th guest! (No, it’s not Tig Notaro, though Tig does love some Star Wars). A game of K-9, movies that start with K and have 9 letters. Leonard Maltin comes by, but has to leave before his game starts. Doug loves every character Samm Levine plays. Michael Sheen goes minus 6 – or does he? He has a new robots movie – Doug hates robots. At the end, it’s between Sarah Silverman and Scott Aukerman, who will win?

On Studio360, Adam McKay talks about The Big Short, his movie from the Michael Lewis book of the same name about the guys who anticipated the housing crisis and financial collapse when everyone else was ignoring the signs of the housing bubble. You may know Adam better as Will Ferrell’s writing partner on the Anchorman and other movies they’ve made together, but Adam has a very serious side as well (check out his new podcast Surprisingly Awesome, especially episode #4 “Tuthumping”). Plus, creative resolutions for the New Year. An interview with City on Fire author Garth Hallberg. Jenny Slate’s choice for best “It’s a Wonderful Short” holiday story – a surprising number of entries included murder!

Hidden Brain explores some surprising science behind why people join ISIS.

A Bullshit Ambush

Hearing Gilbert Gottfried’s podcast today, I was recalling the time that I was ambushed by Penn Jillette, Gilbert’s guest on the show.

Let me first say that Penn was very funny on the podcast, and that I’m a big fan of Penn and Teller, going back to when I first saw them live in 1982 in San Francisco. I was in cooking school at the time, and had I been in any other kind of school I would have been a starving student (most important perk of cooking school: free food!), so I’m sure someone gave me the tickets. They did a great show, in a theater across from a soup restaurant called Salmagundi, and they did a long bit that involved Teller going across the street to Salmagundi and doing…something amazing, like picking an audience member’s card from over there or whatever. But the best part was that every time during this long piece that he said the name of the restaurant Penn did an entire promo for the “World famous Salmagundi, where theater goers tonight can get a two for one soup, salad and sandwich combo.”

So, as I said, I’m a fan. But about 15 years ago, when I was working for Greenpeace on the campaign to stop GMO foods, I got a call asking me to do an interview for a new Showtime show. Sure, I said, and a few days later a crew shows up and we film in the Greenpeace office for about 2 hours, during which time they’re asking me the same few questions over and over, with different backgrounds and lighting and whatever. After awhile I ask one of the guys on the crew what this show is about, and he hems and haws and says it’s a show about science and different perspectives or whatever. The interview finally ends, the crew leaves, and I forget all about it.

Some months later a friend says he saw me on TV. On what, I ask, not recalling any recent interviews. He says, it’s a new Penn and Teller show on Showtime. It’s called Bullshit!

Turns out that opposition to GMO foods is bulllshit, but not bullshit enough to have an open debate about. I’ve never seen the show, but people who have tell me they have me saying….the same things I’d said in dozens of other media interviews I’d been doing on the campaign.

Anyway, like I said, I’m still a fan. No hard feelings Penn! On to the comedy and stuff! Here are the latest podcast summaries.

On Before You Leap, it’s a holiday food episode, if you think that food history and climate change are appropriate topics for the holidays. We speak to the author of Combat-Ready Kitchen about the military’s influence on our food. If you ever eat granola bars or energy bars, fresh packaged fruit smoothies, freeze dried food, canned food, or any pre-cut meat, you have the military to thank. Then, organic farmer Judith Redmond talks about the contribution that farming can make to fend off climate change.

Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast with returning guest illusionist, filmmaker and comedian Penn Jillette. Penn moves in with a stripper, and learns that he should stick with magic and not be a comedian. Penn asks Frank to touch his nipple. Penn has not seen The Day the Clown Cried, but he did audition for Ishtar. Why “talking to the dead” and fortune-telling scams are a feminist issue. Penn digs on Kreskin and opens for Richie Havens. Because everything’s better in New Jersey.

Unfictional has stories from Barcelona, from a formerly homeless tour guide, who explores the lives of the city’s homeless, drug dealers, and others who live on the edges where most tourists never go.

On WTF Marc talks to uber-producer Brian Grazer. Brian talks about working with Michael Keaton, Rosanna Arquette, and how his character has been shaped by his partnership with Ron Howard. Also, how American Gangster was almost shut down permanently (don’t ever say American and don’t ever say gangster), and working on the hit TV show 24. Brian has a date with Princess Di, meets CIA Directors, and negotiates with Condi Rice. But don’t try to feed him venison!

Doug Loves Movies has guests from the FX comedy “You’re the Worst,” Stephen Falk, Aya Cash, Kether Donahue, Todd Robert Anderson and Janet Varney. You can’t see Waiting for Guffman too often. Todd is an Amazon Prime member, he gets 2-day free shipping! The gang plays “Tell the Truth” on their favorite Will Smith movie, and play Doug Loves Musicals – Janet guesses the musical! A round of Last Man Stanton on the movies of Russell Crowe, and Doug gets mean! And a few rounds of Reverse Maltin.

Criminal has the story of a man near Ferguson, Missouri who decides to go to his first protest. But what will he wear? Hear how his wardrobe choice helped create the iconic photo of the protests – and also got him into a heap of trouble with the law.

On Studio360, Kurt Anderson ponders multiple universes. The last episode of the 1980’s TV hospital drama St. Elsewhere either annoyed or amazed viewers, but even more, it launched a series of crossover characters who appeared in multiple shows, sometimes even across TV networks. If you ever wondered how Homicide detective John Munch ended up on Law & Order, the X Files and even an episode of Arrested Development, tune in. Also, singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett from the band Eels talks about his father Hugh Everett, a theoretical physicist who was the first to suggest the possibility of multiple universes. And much more.

Snap Judgment has an amazing story of a man who falls in love with a woman who has multiple personalities. Lots of personalities. Then the story of Miracle Mike, the Headless Chicken. He may not have a head, but he did get to “see” the country. And a radio drama about a couple who get closer after their breakup – but not in a good way.

On Story Collider, a student survives milk-related trauma. Using science, he stops a milk-stealing maniac. After trying physics (which worked but only briefly) and chemistry (not so much), biology did the trick.

Plus, Sam Jones talks to TV writer Bill Lawrence on Off Camera. Getting fired after year-one of Friends was a bummer, but Bill figured he’d do ok, and he was right! Later he created Spin City and worked on Scrubs, Couger Town, and now on Undateable.

Coming up later in the week: David Steinberg sits down with legendary writer and comedian Carl Reiner. Holiday stories from Risk! Why people join ISIS on Hidden Brain, new episodes of Stop Podcasting Yourself, the Savage Lovecast and more.

Beyond Bourne

By now, you know that the Serial podcast is back. I’m not going to be following it here, as the revelations from the Bowe Bergdahl interviews are already making the mainstream news and I’m sure there are already many commentaries on the podcast. I’ll just say I found it sad when Bergdahl said he left his unit to prove he was “the real thing,” a real soldier like Jason Bourne. It’s tragic he had no better role models than a Hollywood fantasy. Not that I blame Matt Damon — it’s probably a not uncommon example of how impressionable and stupid young men can be (I can attest, having been an impressionable and stupid young man myself).

If Bergdahl needed ways to bring attention to the safety concerns he says had been ignored, wouldn’t it be great if he could have thought about some more realistic (and less dangerous) examples to follow. Everyone knows the story of the civil rights lunch counter sit-ins, but do our schools teach the value (and skills) of creative nonviolence? What if instead of action movie nonsense kids were exposed to the real-life story of the Otpur! Movement that used nonviolence and humor to topple a dictator, or learned about The Yes Men and their disarming approach to corrupt institutions, or were introduced to any of the dozens of organizations working for nonviolent social change.

Anyway, on to the comedy and stuff! Here are this week’s podcast summaries.

With a bunch of recent news about opioid abuse, it’s worth checking out the recent addiction episode of Before You Leap. For an upcoming episode, I also spoke this week to Anastacia Marx De Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen, an amazing look at the military’s influence on our food. And farmer Judith Redmond and I talk about the connection between climate change and agriculture. What happened when the waiters did not know how to restaurant.

Judge John Hodgman just barely eludes a summary judgment for Molly, who awesomely guessed the extremely obscure cultural reference (although she did not say it in Russian – hint!). Molly says her friend Hector texts her too much for professional and personal advice. If a robot sends you an email saying an application is due in a week, is it due in a week? The Judge thinks the robot may be broken. Jesse thinks this would have made for a good Oliver Sacks case. Is vocal fry real? Hector really wants to know (in his own defense, he was trying to be annoying). In the verdict, a new piece of settled law! Check it out.

On the Savage Lovecast, Dan talks gun nuts and Planned Parenthood and takes one-minute questions. Can he keep his answers to one minute?  Is road-head safe? The CDC says no, but Dan has a tip for safe driving sex. Do racist/homophobic old people get a pass? What’s the going rate for a bj? And can you haggle over it? Is his cum spritzy, or is it champagne? Dan uses physics for a (completely whacked) theory on guys who last and those who don’t. Nancy rants about what she terms the “women are idiots” callers (her words, not Dan’s!). Dr. Barak joins Dan to answer a couple of questions. And lots more.

Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast: this week’s show is just for the guys. Maybe just for guys who were teenagers in the 80’s and 90’s. Maybe just guys who were teens in the 80’s and 90’s and who haven’t matured any since then. Gilbert and Frank interview Jim “Mr. Skin” McBride, who’s website is the go-to spot for nudity in film. Hilarity ensues. If you can handle the mature (read: immature) content, Jim’s recall for nude scenes in many awful movies (and some good ones) is truly remarkable, and the story of how the site got its start is worth hearing, especially for those old enough to remember the early days of the internet. On the movie-mini, Gilbert recommends the 1950’s film The Big Knife, with Jack Palance, Ida Lupino and Rod Steiger (from a Clifford Odets story). It ends horribly with everyone unhappy — what’s not to like? Frank suggests The Rocketeer, the 1991 movie with Alan Arkin, Paul Sorvino and Jennifer Connelly. Everybody’s trying to get their hands on the jetpack!

I’m catching up on Roderick on the Line! Here’s episode 181: John is on his first RV Odyssey –and Jesse Thorne of the MaxFun network saves the day! Will John move into the MaxFun offices and have facing desks with Jesse? John goes to a psychiatrist, and starts making some exciting decisions! Is he on Lipitor – or is that Dick Cheney? John is Mr. Hawaiian shirt in November. And on 182: the first-ever episode with John and Merlin talking together, from an undisclosed location in San Francisco. She’s the most powerful superhero in the universe, why does she need any hair?  John’s old mattress leads to the longest Casper mattress promo read ever. Why was Merlin yelling “No video!” at John. Trigger warning: unknown caller asking for a video call.

On Bullseye, it’s a live episode! David Cross from Mr. Show (his new Netflix show with Bob Odenkirk, harking back to his old show with Bob) comes by. Why the new show needs more chap stick, and why Dave had shoulder surgery. They have the best audience whistlers. Jesse gives Dave a heartfelt thanks for being a guest in the early days of the show. Then, a stand up set from Aparna Nancherla, a writer for Late Night with Seth Myers (or you may know her from Totally Biased). Actor and fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson comes by, Jesse calls her one of the most impressive guests ever! And her Mom did not tell her that she sucks. Finally, music from legendary rapper Pharoahe Monch and DJ Boogie Blind.

Stop Podcasting Yourself – Paul Bae from The Black Tapes podcast comes by. What does Dave shirk? Paul becomes a dog guy! Stories from Paul’s days as a sub – the names and genders have been changed. Pop-up shop experiences, “we didn’t start the fire” parodies, Dave is a pieman, but what’s a bundt cake?

The David Steinberg Podcast will post David’s interview with comedy legend Carl Reiner next week. You can check out the teaser now.

On Le Show, Harry speaks with the always insightful Yves Smith of the Naked Capitalism blog about private equity and public employee unions. As Jack Nicholson said, “You can’t handle the truth!”

Unfictional has stories on the theme, “Thought I was Dead.” A writer comes down with a rare psychological disorder so she actually thinks she’s dead. Hear how it’s made her more grateful and more compassionate, even while living with the fear that the feeling may come back. Then, a scientist and former hacker tells of the time when his online status was changed from “alive” to “dead.” Finally, a man hits rock bottom, when unexpected help comes just in time.

On 99% Invisible, the faux Chinese architecture of San Francisco’s Chinatown explained. Surprisingly, it has a lot to do with how the Chinese community successfully fought the rising racism following the 1906 earthquake.

On WTF, Marc talks to comedy writer Adam Resnick (from Letterman and more) about Jews (the Germans hate the Russians), growing up in Harrisburg PA (where there were no psychologists), and Adam’s new memoir Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation. It’s not about show business, but it’s funny (yet not a humor book). Computers – now we don’t need to be masturbate all day because we can shop online! Are we circling the drain? Is Adam’s Cabin Boy movie a synonym for shlock? Then on Thursday’s show, director Danny Boyle comes by and talks about his movies, including the new Steve Jobs biopic. Is it more important to be happy, or sanctified? Find out how Danny was as an actor, and how animal cunning is an important tool for a director.

On Risk!, a story of seasickness on a Lake Michigan boat trip. Then, a young man finds his Dad lying in a pool of blood. And, flirting in history class leads to a troubled relationship. And Kevin reads his erotic fiction.

The Moth has two travel stories. Amir Baghdadchi wants to know, is that Amish women wearing a bonnet, or is that a terror headdress? And Dameon Wilburn brings a bit of Detroit along on her trip to Paris.

Doug Loves Movies from Portland, comedian Amy Miller saw Creed, her underwear says she really liked it. Was comic Sean Jordan wearing finishing pants when he saw Fifty Shades? And Jake Johannsen saw Southpaw, but Doug may be done with boxing movies. The gang plays “Tell the Truth-favorite Will Smith movie edition.” Is Jake playing Getting Doug with High? Then they play “Whose Tag line Is It Anyway” (or is that “Whose Slag Line?”). The movies of Keanu Reeves on Last Man Stanton.

Hidden Brain asks, are responses to jokes clues to our true biases and preferences? And why do we laugh at stuff anyway? With clips from Louis C.K. and a chat with Bill Burr. Is Bill’s joke going in a Greenpeace direction, or a Klan direction? Also Shankar mentions the benign violation theory from Peter McGraw, author of The Humor Code, who we spoke to for our episode on creativity, humor and activism.

On Story Collider, writer and science communicator Rachel Pendergrass had childhood dreams of several perfect jobs. So how did she end up in a dead-end food service job? Then she gets a dream job at the aquarium – and gets to hang out with penguins! But jobs are jobs, right?

Plus Alec Baldwin talks with Jimmy Fallon on Here’s the Thing. Is Jimmy auditioning for SNL, or Cirque de Soleil? Why are Jimmy’s grandparents locked in the backyard?

TWIP Launches Today!

Recently folks from ReadThisThing decided to put down their books (whatever those are) and post their list of the top 200 podcasts. It’s a great list, but as large as it is, there are still a few that I enjoy that they missed. Sure they have Judge John Hodgman (my all-time favorite) on their list, but where’s that other MaxFun comic riot Stop Podcasting Yourself? Sure, they have the very funny podcasts from comedians Greg Proops and Doug Benson, but the new podcast from the legendary David Steinberg launched too late for their list, and where’s Gilbert Gottfried? (ok, that might not be an oversight). They have some great story-podcasts, but not the wonderful Unfictional, and they have sports, but not the weekly Only a Game podcast.

Also, while the list is great, it doesn’t tell you anything about what’s on the recent episodes of each podcast. So since I’m listening anyway, I decided to share. I hope to update weekly, though I won’t promise I’ll listen to each episode of every podcast on my list. Also, as I’m posting after a week of listening, this could more accurately be called “last week” in podcasts, but you get the idea. Finally, I’m also behind by a week or so on some podcasts, so check the episode descriptions on the podcasts’ web pages if you want to be sure you’re looking at the same ones I describe.

The links on the right go to the podcasts’ episode page and/or RSS feed, so I won’t link to each podcast in the text (other than for podcasts that are not on my regular listening link). You can see general descriptions of each podcast on the TWIP Notes page.

I’ll also give a rundown on our occasional (monthly or so) podcast Before You Leap, from the Center for Environmental Health, including back episodes you may have missed. This week, check out our Satire and Activism episode from 2014, with the legendary Harry Shearer and Yippie co-founder Paul Krassner, along with comedian Negin Farsad and former The Onion writer Bryan Janosch.

And now, here are this week’s summaries from This Week In Podcasting.

Judge John Hodgman and Bailiff Jesse Thorne clear the docket this week. Wedding photos: before, or after the wedding? Also, why “other people” are the most underrated part of weddings. Then, peeing in the shower, ok or not? How about peeing in a water fountain? Marital sharing is the crux of “the pillow case” – should Kay’s husband give up his pillow to prove his love? Hear the Judge’s shocking literary fiction-ish finding. And finally, just when you thought it was safe to say a hot dog is not a sandwich: if we have ice cream sandwiches, is a hot dog a sandwich?

On the Savage Lovecast, Dan speaks with a unicorn – a woman who loves gangbangs. Dan has a few tips for safer group sex. Is a partner’s slutty hookup with another guy a deal breaker at 3 months? Can a women learn to come without touching herself – because it’s become a kink in her bondage scenes. Then, threesomes and oral sex – are condoms mandatory? Then Trans writer Parker Molloy talks about transitioning and relationships.

Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast features Steve Stoliar, author of Raised Eyebrows. Steve lived with Groucho Marx as his assistant and archivist. Hear Steve dig on Erin Fleming, hear dueling Groucho impressions (including Groucho sings!), lunch with George Burns, Mae West, and Gallagher & Sheen go to court, to prove they have no talent! And on the Amazing Colossal Obsession (Gilbert and Frank’s movie shorts show), for the first time two movies I have not seen: the 1980’s horror film Alone in the Dark, and the 70’s crime flick Charley Varrick.

I’m a week behind in my Roderick on the Line listening, so these are my episode 180 notes: John is editor of his High School paper – or is he? He has a laminated press pass, so he must be. The recent movies of Robert Di Nero – Analyze This, That and the Other. Musicals make John uncomfortable, but Merlin’s ok with them. The guys agree, Amy Adams is luminescent, and Jennifer Lawrence killed it in American Hustle, but Bradley Cooper seemed out of place. Then, what is Snapchat? What’s the Internet, exactly? And where is it? And more. Check it out.

Stop Podcasting Yourself with guest comedian D.J. Demers. Hear about DJ’s job as a motivational speaker – and why he hated it! Also, did his dad need penile implant surgery? Plus, a baby Margot update and too long wedding speeches.

On the David Steinberg Podcast, David speaks with comedian Kathy Griffin about how she tricked her parents into moving to LA – but when she got there, she found out you don’t just sign up to be a guest star on the Mary Tyler Moore show! And David and Kathy are both proud accident babies! David tours with Robin Williams, and Kathy is more than just her mother’s daughter!

On Le Show, Harry speaks with the always insightful Yves Smith of the Naked Capitalism blog about private equity and public employee unions. As Jack Nicholson said, “You can’t handle the truth!”

Unfictional has stories on the theme, “Thought I was Dead.” A writer comes down with a rare psychological disorder so she actually thinks she’s dead. Hear how it’s made her more grateful and more compassionate, even while living with the fear that the feeling may come back. Then, a scientist and former hacker tells of the time when his online status was changed from “alive” to “dead.” Finally, a man hits rock bottom, when unexpected help comes just in time.

On 99% Invisible, host Roman Mars is joined by Amy Standen of the new podcast The Leap. Warning: they get smelly!

On Risk!, Speed Levitch with stories from driving a double-decker NYC tour bus. Then Lily Be’s Mom speaks Spanish, and Karen Finneyfrock finds that it’s really fun to go out with a self-destructive alcoholic – but not for long.

The Moth has live story slam stories from John Debuc, who is a 300-pound purring cat. Really! Leah Benson gets a love poem – or not. Kathi Kinnear Hill has a story from the summer of 1965, when she was 8 and her best friend invites her to swim. Next, Tom Herndon’s Mom was an airport entrepreneur – what could go wrong? When she was 16, Caitlin Myer was a really bad Mormon. Really bad.

On Snap Judgment, a coal miner’s coal mining dad goes on strike. Should he cross the picket line? Then, running with the bulls becomes one man’s life work – if he survives. Finally, Glynn reveals “The Secret Book of Job.”

Doug Loves Movies with guests Jim Norton, Ron Bennington, Sam Roberts and Esther Ku. Why would Doug ever do a podcast without Esther? The gang plays Doug Loves Musicals, and a round of Last Man Stanton with the movies of John Goodman.

On Studio360, Kurt goes to Stanford’s Virtual Reality lab and says stuff you can’t say on the radio. Plus Director Ron Howard on his new whaling movie “In the Heart of the Sea.” Hear an amazing revelation about Ron’s High School years, and how show business kept him out of Vietnam. Why artists and scientists collide, and Aaron “Son Little” Livingtson joins Kurt in the studio.

Hidden Brain has fakery in art, with a famed art forger and a brief detour on wine snobbery.

On WTF, Brian Posehn comes by for a quick talk with Marc about his new movie Uncle Nick. Is he a creepy Uncle, or just misunderstood? Then Brian Kiley does the usual long form talk. He’s been writing for Conan for 20+ years and has a new novel out. He and Marc talk about the old days in their early Boston comedy years, including when Brian was an under-age kid making the local comedy club rounds. Conan wants to know how Brian feels when the monologue Brian wrote is dying. The stressful, short tenure on the Tonight Show, and why it’s more enjoyable now being off network TV.

Plus a Radio Lab piece on what happens when a fleet of ice cream trucks goes to war with a competing ice cream vender. Because there’s no room for hate in ice cream…or is there? And on Off Camera, Sam Jones talks with Joseph Gordon-Levitt about Don John and why it’s a “one-way street” movie, working with Robert Redford on A River Runs Through It, and Joe and Sam upload their live music to HitRecord in real time!