Blog

Photos from our holiday comedy show

Dec 22, 2010

Here are some pics from the holiday comedy show that we recorded at a club in Brooklyn called Littlefield. Photos by Alden Ford.

The sign outside of Littlefield
The sign outside of Littlefield

Download any episode for 99 cents on Amazon MP3

Dec 12, 2010

Download This American Life on Amazon MP3

All of our episodes are now available for download from Amazon MP3. Just 99 cents each. And to celebrate, you can download one of our Christmas episodes for free!

Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Ho Ho Ho.

This American Life / X-Men Poster!

Nov 18, 2010

In early 2010, we heard that a writer working for Marvel named James Asmus was a fan of This American Life, and had included a passing mention to our show in an X-Men comic book. It ended up being Nation X #1, with panel in question drawn by Michael Allred and colored by Laura Allred. It depicts the characters Wolverine and Nightcrawler listening to This American Life while driving across the country in a pickup truck.

So we thought, why not turn the thing into a poster?

The fine folks over at Marvel agreed to collaborate with us, and we came up with this handsome 16" x 32" enlargement. The initial run is a limited edition of just 2000 posters - available now in our store.

This American Life / X-Men poster

We know, it's a tough call: are you all the right kinds of nerd? To help you determine if this item is right for you or a loved one, we hired some superscientists to devise the Venn diagram below:

nerd Venn diagram

The decision is now in your hands.

12/10 Update: Our Christmas order deadline has passed. We can no longer guarantee that store orders will arrive by 12/24.

Alec Baldwin pledge drive promos!

Nov 17, 2010

Alec Baldwin on public radio

This past Summer, Alec Baldwin told producers at WNYC that he'd be willing to do some promos for the upcoming Fall pledge drive, and suggested getting Ira Glass involved. So Ira and David Krasnow and Rex Doane wrote and produced several spots featuring Alec and a bunch of public radio hosts and announcers. Maybe you heard these spots on the radio. And in perhaps the first instance in history of people seeking out the pledge drive, listeners have been asking us if they can hear them again. Without further ado:

Alec Baldwin: "Don't give!"

Some new pledge levels

Alec re-assigns Terry Gross

Alec re-assigns Nina Totenberg

Alec re-assigns Scott Simon

Alec re-assigns Ira Glass

Glengarry Glen Pledge

Pledge lesson

Did you like them? Prove it, and donate to your local public radio station.

Screenshot: NBC.com

USB drive with 35 hours of This American Life! (+ video!)

Nov 17, 2010

TAL USB Drive Okay, seriously: this may be the best piece of merchandise we've ever offered. It's certainly the most stuff we've ever crammed into one item. You see, we've created a custom-molded 2GB USB drive, and filled it with 35 favorite episodes of the radio show, hand picked by host Ira Glass. Want more? It also includes the entire video of our 2009 stage show that went live movie theaters.

So That's 35 HOURS of This American Life radio episodes plus an hour and a half of video, all in this little 2 1/2" tall flash drive. Plug it into any computer, play the shows off of the drive, or copy them into iTunes or your media player. You can keep the shows on it or use it to carry around your files (or both: it has around 300MB of free space). The drive comes in a protective metal tin (not pictured). And we're selling these for kind of a bargain: $29. It's a solid gift for someone new to the show, or for someone who's already a fan. Available now in our store.

The drive itself is a 3D version of our logo, fashioned by industrial designer Sinclair Smith. The word "THIS" is a removable cap.

Here's what host Ira Glass has to say about it:

"35 episodes, all at once":

Live show clips:

List of shows:

And here's a complete list of all the episodes it contains:

#014: Accidental Documentaries
#027: Cruelty of Children
#038: Simulated Worlds
#046: Sissies
#047: Xmas and Commerce
#061: Fiasco!
#077: Pray
#081: Guns
#084: Harold
#090: Telephone
#104: Music Lessons
#109: Notes on Camp
#172: 24 Hours at the Golden Apple
#175 Babysitting
#181: The Friendly Man
#203: Recordings for Someone
#206: Somewhere in The Arabian Sea
#218: Act V
#220: Testosterone
#233: Starting From Scratch
#241: 20 Acts in 60 Minutes
#246: My Pen Pal
#252: Poultry Slam '03
#253: The Middle of Nowhere
#290: Godless America
#304: Heretics
#331: Habeas Schmabeas
#339: Break-Up
#352: The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar
#355: The Giant Pool of Money
#360: Switched at Birth
#379: Return to the Scene of the Crime (90 minute video!)
#388: Rest Stop
#396: #1 Party School
#403: NUMMI
#405: Inside Job

In conclusion, here's what the drive looks like with its hat on:

TAL USB Drive capped

"The Talent Show" - featuring This American Life contributors

Nov 17, 2010

The Talent Show Brand Variety Show The Talent Show has another show coming up -- on November 24th at Littlefield in Gowanus, Brooklyn -- featuring This American Life contributors Mike Birbiglia, John Hodgman, Dave Hill and Elna Baker.

Show theme: "Cranksgiving: An evening of protests, rants and letters of complaint"

$5. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8. Tickets.

"Toxie" animation

Nov 10, 2010

Check out this animation about "Toxie" the toxic asset, the life and death of which the Planet Money team chronicled in our most recent episode.

Toxie's Dead. Written by David Kestenbaum and Chana Joffe-Walt. Directed and animated by Stephen Neary. Assistant animation and backgrounds by Connie Li Chan. Sound design by Robin Arnott.

Planet Money is a collaboration between This American Life and NPR News.

This American Life Android app!

Oct 29, 2010

We're pleased to announce our new This American Life app for Android phones, which gives you on-demand access to our entire archive of more than 400 episodes of the radio show, plus exclusive audio and video extras. The fine folks over at Public Radio Exchange (PRX) built it for us.

You can also use the app to search by contributor, view staff favorites and create your own favorites list, read blog updates, and connect to the weekly live feed on Friday nights - all via cellular connection or WiFi.

You can only download the app directly to your phone. If you visit thisamericanlife.org on your Android phone, you'll be invited to purchase the app. Or click this link from your phone's browser: http://market.android.com/details?id=org.prx.talbot.

The app is designed to work on all phones running Android OS version 1.6 or higher.

It costs three bucks, just like our iPhone app. Here are a couple screenshots:


Android screenshot 1 Android screenshot 2


And for the super-nerds, here is our "QR Code." Scan it with an Android barcode scanner app, and you'll jump to the This American Life app in the Marketplace. Set phasers to stun:

Android QR code

WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Oct 26, 2010
Ira writes:

Right now, pretty much every comedian without a network TV show has his own podcast, but Marc Maron's WTF Podcast, here on the web or here on iTunes has distinguished itself as the New York Times of comedy podcasts, and by that I mean the definitive comedy podcast of record.

WTF with Marc MaronStart with the two-part expose/investigative report into how Carlos Mencia steals other comedians' material, which begins in Part One with Mencia totally denying any wrongdoing and continues in Part Two with other comedians coming forward with evidence and Mencia rushing to Marc's house from the airport, no kidding, to finally cop to his wrongdoing.

Or take the amazing two parter with Judd Apatow (one and two), where the executive producer of Freaks and Geeks and director of Knocked Up digs out recordings of the radio show he did in high school as an excuse to meet his favorite comedians and interview them about how to get started in comedy. He plays long excerpts. How did Maron beat Fresh Air and our show to this idea? Amazing. Jerry Seinfeld before he was a megastar: charming and honest. Jay Leno: sort of a dick, even talking to a high school kid.

Or the road trip Marc takes with Maria Bamford where she talks about her last relationship and what was fucked up about it, and Marc realizes that it was a lot like his failed marriage, and suddenly feels like he's hearing his ex-wife's side of everything she went through with him.

Or truly revealing, entertaining interviews with huge stars like Ben Stiller or Robin Williams, where you hear them like they usually never talk in interviews, because they've known Maron for decades and hang out with him for an hour...or two of the most interesting hours of podcast I've ever heard (though maybe because I'm such a sucker for Louis CK), the two parter with Louis where he not only talks about all kinds of weird filmmaking details but actually cries.

I'm in his podcast this week. I was excited to do it because I'm such a fan, thanks to my wife, who is my portal for all things comedy and come to think of it pretty much anything else I watch or listen to.

Being interviewed by Maron reminded me of an old axiom about interviewing: that an interview is a party you're throwing and your guest will mirror your behavior. Marc is an insanely intense guy, and stares into you as you talk—it really feels like his eyes are piercing inside you—and then when he speaks he reaches inside himself and talks in the most heartfelt way possible. In a room with that, you'd have to be made of stone not to respond in the most soulful way you can summon up. He's emotionally present and he makes you emotionally present. I don't think that's any kind of calculated move, it's who he is when he's performing. And of course it gets amazing results.

Another fun fact: he records the thing on a little digital recorder, with two handheld mics attached by long mic cords. The mics he uses are the kind a comedian uses onstage. So as the interviewee, you hold a mic like a standup comedian would the whole time. Very comfortable I'm sure, for all the standups he talks to.