New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer grew tired of his kids’ obsession with reality TV and people who were famous for being famous so he began to write children's books about real heroes from history. He talks about the newest additions to his Ordinary People Change the World series I Am Walt Disney and I Am Marie Curie, and reveals some of his own childhood heroes. He says he puts just as much historical research into his children’s books as he does into his bestselling political thrillers and explains why it was so important to show kids that even famous historical figures started out somewhere. He talks about the new PBS TV series based on his books and how it’s a dream come true for a man who grew up with Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers. Plus Brad announces his next book for his adult readers - a sequel to his best-selling novel The Escape Artist.
Order I am Marie Curie and I am Walt Disney and other books in Brad’s Ordinary People Change the World series for kids on Amazon or wherever books are sold. Visit www.bradmeltzer.com for more information, and follow Brad on Twitter at @BradMeltzer. Today’s episode was sponsored by PuroTrader, the online community for cigar lovers. Visit www.purotrader.com and use the promo code NEWS for a chance to win a day at the Porsche Racing Experience in Los Angeles or Atlanta.
Scott Aukerman is the co-creator of hilariously awkward talk show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. He talks about expanding the Ferns universe for Between Two Ferns: The Movie, how he and Zach improvised the entire film, and what it was to direct his hero David Letterman. Scott reveals how Between Two Ferns was born out of his and Zach's love of bad cable access programming, why actual ferns were so essential to the look of the show, and how they managed to snag President Barack Obama as a guest. Plus we celebrate 10 years of Scott's podcast Comedy Bang! Bang!
Between Two Ferns: The Movie comes out on Netflix beginning this Friday, September 20. Subscribe to Scott’s podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you listen and follow Scott on Twitter at @Scott Aukerman. Today's episode was sponsored by Bank of America's The Academy for Consumer and Small Business and Invitae.
Randall Munroe is the former NASA physicist turned bestselling cartoonist behind XKCD and the What If blog. He talks about his new book How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems. Randall reveals the cost of putting a lava moat around your house, how to move your house with helicopters, how to throw a coin or just about anything across a river, and how Serena Williams takes down a drone. Plus Randall explains fishing with electricity, why scientists still haven’t figured out how ice works, and why the US military once nuked a bunch of beer cans.
Order Randall Munroe's new his book How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold, and view some of his wonderful cartoons at www.xkcd.com. Today's episode was sponsored by Capella University's online doctoral program.
Caitlin Doughty is a best-selling author, funeral director, and host of the popular YouTube channel Ask a Mortician. She returns to the podcast to answer children's questions about death such as "why don’t we eat human’s after they die?" and "what if they make a mistake and bury me in coma?" She says it’s illegal to own or sell human remains, but there's a loophole that might allow you to keep human bones and you can pretty much do anything with cremated ashes. She explains how a whole person's ashes can fit into a tiny urn and what happens when a cemetery runs out of room She unravels some famous movie myths about death, takes me behind closed doors at a funeral directors convention, and opens up about a mortician's worst nightmare!
Buy Caitlin's latest book Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold. Follow her on Twitter at @TheGoodDeath, subscribe to her YouTube series Ask a Mortician, and learn more at www.caitlindoughty.com or www.orderofthegooddeath.com. This episode is sponsored by Kronos HR solutions, BetterHelp online counseling, White Castle microwavable sliders, and MyBookie.
Acclaimed author Salman Rushdie talks about drawing on Cervantes and pop culture for his new novel Quichotte. He describes having to consume a massive amount of "trash tv" in preparation for the book, how Quichotte addresses the most pressing issues of our time from opioids to immigration, and why the “the age of anything can happen” may not necessarily a good thing! Rushdie opens up about his early career as a stage actor, his secret longing to be a second rate spy novelist, and why he finally decided to make a novelist a character in one of his stories. Then we talk about the moment when a writer finds his own voice, how he developed his signature style of magical realism, and how it manifests in his latest novel with everything from mastodons to talking crickets. Plus we talk about the fatwa that was issued against him 30 years ago and what it was like to play that scary event for comedy in the latest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Order Salman Rushdie's latest book Quichotte: A Novel on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold. Follow him on Twitter at @SalmanRushdie and visit salmanrushdie.com for a list of his upcoming public appearances (unless your fanatic trying to assassinate him...in which case disregard this). This episode is sponsored by Purotrader and Invitae.
Comedian Anthony Jeselnik revels in making audiences a little uncomfortable and now he's making his fellow comedians uncomfortable as host of the hilarious new interview show Good Talk with Anthony Jeselnik. He shares how the Saturday Night Live bit "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey" inspired his uniquely off-beat style of comedy, the time he auditioned to be the anchor of SNL’s Weekend Update, and some pretty smart advice he once got from Lorne Michaels on how to write a late night monologue. Anthony recalls the Comedy Central Roast that changed his life and what makes for the perfect roast speech. We delve into how Good Talk deconstructs the late night talk show, why this famously confident comedian never does self-deprecating humor, the power of silence in standup, and the one thing that Anthony says is the most important element of good comedy. Plus talks about how to out-deadpan Tig Notaro, what it was like to roast a future President, and the comedic genius of HBO’s Deadwood.
Good Talk with Anthony Jeselnik premieres this Friday, September 6 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central. Keep up with Anthony Jeselnik at www.anthonyjeselnik.com or on twitter at @Anthony Jeselnik. This episode is sponsored by MyBookie, and White Castle.
If you’ve ever seen the Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated film
Catch Me If You Can, then you know the story of the boy con artist Frank Abagnale. Abagnale has since reformed his ways and now he is a leading expert on fraud, forgery and cybersecurity who consults for Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, and law enforcement. Frank discusses his early life of crime, how he turned it all around, and how he’s helping to protect Americans from scammers. He recalls how wearing the uniform of a pilot or a doctor played on people’s trust of authority, he reveals what kind of personalities were most susceptible to his schemes, and he warns that technology has made it much easier for crooks to pull off the same cons that he got away with in the 1960s. He discusses which demographics are most vulnerable to fraud and cautions that it actually has nothing to do with how smart you are. We talk about a range of specific scams including those spam emails from a "Nigerian Prince" and automated phone calls purporting to be the IRS. Frank also gets into how con artists are using crowd funding sites, dating apps, and even ancestry companies to rip you off. Plus Frank reveals why he doesn’t own a debit card and why he wants Americans to do away with passwords once and for all.
Order Frank Abagnale's new book Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today’s Rip-Off Artists on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold. Today's podcast was sponsored by Bank of America’s The Academy for Consumer and Small Business, Capella University's online doctoral program, and BetterHelp online counseling.