Creativity on the Brain

A few people have recently asked about podcasts on creativity, so I mentioned the “Your Brain on Activism” episodes of our podcast Before You Leap. In part 1, researcher Charles Limb talks about his work studying the brains of hip hop and jazz musicians while they are improvising. Also, Anastasia Khoo from the Human Rights Campaign describes her award-winning online campaign to highlight marriage equality. And activist Niaz Dory describes a fishy method for gaining an audience’s trust. In Part 2, a talk with author Peter McGraw of the The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny. Plus, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore on his work to expose Chevron’s polluting ways, and John Sellers, co-founder of the Ruckus Society and of Agit-Pop Communications, on creativity and nonviolent direct action.

Now, podcast summaries.

On Judge John Hodgman, it’s the holiday egg nog season, so the Judge is in his nog tank – European style! A couple have a drive-through conundrum – maybe they’re eating too much fast food? Rejecting gifts – ok or not? Parents have a dispute over ski trips and missing school –both the Judge and Jesse have conflicts of interest! Defending yourself from a shark attack – the nose or the eyes? The Judge turns to the Stuff You Should Know podcast for a precedent. Grease and 1950’s nostalgia – give props to Sha Na Na, and be sure to check out Andy Daly’s Podcast Pilot Project episode with Wolfman Hotdog. Finally, a touching email from a High School writing teacher who reached a tough-to-reach kid with his assignment to write on the topic, “Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich.” In the Bay Area this weekend? Be sure to check out the Dead Pilots Society performance on Sunday January 10 at 3pm at SF Sketchfest. The troupe in a performance of Only Child, the pilot John Hodgman wrote in 2014, and the performance will feature the Judge and a cast of actual teens in the teenager roles.

On this week’s Savage Lovecast, there’s so much for Dan to talk about at the top of the show: Cosby, Tamar Rice, Affluenza boy and his enabling Mom, and then there’s Oregon. And Obama’s executive order on guns. And Trump. But enough of that, on to the calls. A woman has been seeing a great, kinky guy – but she doesn’t like his sexting. Should she tell him? A bi-woman has a guy who doesn’t like her to hook up with a woman if he’s not there to watch. Sometimes she wants to have sex with a girl without him watching. Dan describes “observer effect” for her. Calls from two straight guys being harassed by gay friends – should they object? A gay guy has had a 2 month friendship with a 20-year old virgin. How should he proceed without pressuring the guy? Dan says good on you for going slow – now have him do some reading (and masturbating). A married woman who used to be poly has a husband with brutal trust issues – Dan says she needs to use her words (starting with DTMFA). Why sex on a weight bench can be sexy – or scary. Then, Mallory Ortberg, Slate’s new advice columnist, joins Dan for some challenging “Second Opinion” calls.

Comic Bobby Slayton joins Glibert and Frank on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. Bobby tells about his audition for the movie Ed Wood, where he worked with Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, and Director Tim Burton. Gilbert steals Bobby’s parts, but he also loses parts to large Black men, so go figure. Why Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein is the greatest American movie ever. Then Bobby talks about becoming Joey Bishop for the rat pack movie, and working with Don Cheadle – and explains why Don is an Academy Award winner and he’s still doing stupid podcasts. Will Bobby and Gilbert have dinner with Woody? And if you listen for Gilbert’s singing, you’ll have to wait until the very end (it’s worth it!).

On Roderick on the Line, the guys talk Sinatra, and Merlin explains the big musicians strike of the 1940’s, blowing John’s mind! How many fathoms in a knot, or knots in a league? Will John be getting a cavy? Or maybe a smashy-faced cat? The thing about cathedrals, and how it explains John’s RV problem. John’s EBay store – buy a story, it comes with a coat. Still time to come to the live taping the guys are doing on Friday, January 8 at SF Sketchfest, check it out!

On Bullseye, Jesse has a funny, touching talk with Neko Case. How Neko is not like the Pointer Sisters. A problem on her first albums – Canadians are polite. How to sing while drumming – it’s not easy! Being influenced by the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Finding humor in depression. And how nature makes living on a farm exciting! Then, Herb Alpert talks about his five decades as a musician and music producer. Hear about his early acting career – you’ll never guess who his acting teacher was! Writing “What a Wonderful World It Would Be” for Sam Cooke. And overcoming an existential crisis in his early 30s. Finally, Jesse recommends Danny Hoch’s Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop.

Stop Podcasting Yourself hosts very funny comedian Peter Carlone. Three ghosts came and told Dave how life would be without what? Peter does improve for kids in a High School gym – what’s up with kids today and vaping? Was it the smoking man, or the vaping man? What makes trampolines so dynamic? Peter has a bone to pick with the trailer for the new Independence Day sequel. And where are the Henchwomen, or a James Bond reboot with a woman as Bond?  Or an all-drone reboot? The show Make Me Laugh is no longer on, but in Japan you can still see Silent Library. Plus “Overheards” and more.

The David Steinberg Podcast has a quick teaser with excerpts from David’s upcoming interview with the hilarious actor/comedian Eugene Levy. Can’t wait for the full interview!

On The Smartest Man in the World, Greg covers a lot of ground in this New year’s show from San Francisco. There’s a Berkeley element in the crowd, will Greg say something wrong? Dick Tracy and other jokes from the 930s thru 50’s. The American Revolution – is Greg exonerating Benedict Arnold? Greg sings songs he supposes may come from the musical Hamilton. Omar Shariff – why did Peter O’Toole call him Fred? And your life – it’s not in your computer or your phone, but is it in books?

On Le Show, a University shares Harry’s view and bans starting sentences with the word “so.” Banning so was number one in their poll of phrases to ban — hear what other phrases people wanted banned. It was a slow news week, so a mini-Year in Rebuke with more stories from 2015. Our Freedom-Loving Friends, News of the Olympic Movement (is a new virus hitting Brazil just in time for the Olympics?), Quiffle Entrepreneur Boot Camp, News of the Atom (findings after an explosion at a nuke dump site in Nevada show rain seeped into corroded 1970’s barrels – but what did they know in the 1970s?), Obama sings “I’m sorry” (sorry to remind you, we really are the good guys) and lots more.

On WTF, with guest David Spade. David gets advice from Chris Rock. David hunts quail with his Dad – watch out for the Vietnam flashbacks. Props – how Dennis Miller talked David out of them. How he learned to stop just writing jokes and do his first “attitude bit” on SNL. His close friendship with the amazing Chris Farley, and his deep sadness on Chris’ death. A harrowing story about surviving an attack in his own home. Check out all this and more in David’s new book, Almost Interesting: The Memoir.

On Risk!, stories from the best of Risk! An engagement story of sickness and health. Then learning about things you miss that are right in front of you. And a family secret revealed, because the truth will out in “the real story.”

Two recent Doug Loves Movies: an early evening New Years Eve show from San Francisco with Greg Proops, Jacob Sirof @jacobsirof , Chad Daniels (@chaddaniels34), and Geoff Tate @geofftate96 . Is Mr. Roboto a real dude? It’s sweater day for Greg and Jacob. Chad brings Richy Rich stuff for the prize bag. Doug has not seen a movie with the Weenie King in it. The guys play How Much Did This Shit Make – The Rock edition, Whose Tagline Is It Anyway, Last Man Stanton – the movies of Richard Gere, and more. Then from L.A., with Andree Vermuelen, Patton Oswalt, Bert Kreischer and Geoff Tate (again!). The prize bag will get better soon. Bert bites his tongue (until he discloses his obsession, and admits to being the real-life Van Wilder – really!), first-timer Andree doesn’t like the map to Luke Skywalker (is it Luke or the Little Mermaid?), Patton wonders about wookies’ depth-perception, Geoff has dead Dad déjà vu, and the gang plays Last Man Stanton – the movies of JLo. Andree co-stars on Angie Tribeca with Rashida Jones, beginning January 7 on TBS.

On Story Collider, Anna Nicanarova really didn’t want to take her High School physics test. Hear the harrowing lengths she went to to get out of it.

Plus, NPR’s Planet Money has a pretty funny episode about trying to recreate a 16th century recipe for peacock. Things go south after the chef doesn’t show up. On The Gist, storyteller Matthew Dix with tips for telling better stories – how some of the most important storytelling lessons can be learned from the original Jurassic Park (really!). Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander visits the Nerdist podcast – hear why Jason did not become the next Ben Vereen, and how Garry Marshall made Pretty Woman into a movie totally different than the original script. And on Dining with Doug and Karen, the hosts eat food from chef Ngyen Tran, with guest comedian Jake Johannsen. Hear how Ngyuen makes the yummy sounding dessert “Brick Toast” (with nutella, peanut butter, crème fraiche, and more).


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