August 7, 2020

Made to Be Broken

From the moment we wake up in the morning there are a trillion rules — big and little — governing our lives. But sometimes, we encounter one we just can't abide by. In a pitched moment of rule-questioning, a show about rules and the people who break them. 

Jerome Ellis performing at the Poetry Project's New Year’s Day Marathon.

Ted Roeder

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.



Benjamen Walker of the podcast Theory of Everything tells guest host Sean Cole about an Uber drivers strike he came across in Kenya. The guys who didn’t join the strike and kept driving for Uber made extra money since there were fewer cars on the road. The strikers felt like it was impossible to beat Uber. But some of them knew a way. (10 minutes)

Act One

Time Bandit

Jerome Ellis is a composer and musician. But this year, at an annual New Year's Day performance event, he got on stage with no instrument, or anything else, and broke a small rule in a monumental way. (24 minutes)

Act Two

It’s All About the Jeffersons

As a kid, comedian Tone Bell was a rule follower. But there was one time he got into big trouble when he broke the rules in a serious way. There’s a Polaroid commemorating the event that’s become part of family lore. Tone tells producer Elna Baker what happened. (21  minutes)


“Movin' on Up” by Ja'net Dubois & “Rules” by Anita Baker