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.

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