Wyatt Cenac Comedy Central taping in NYC - Free!

Jan 13, 2011

Ira writes:

Wyatt Cenac, who was so funny in our Christmas show, is taping a special for Comedy Central. There are still tickets... and it's free! January 22nd in New York, 7:30 and 9:30 at the Skirball Center. It's sure to be a great show. One sadness of producing the Christmas Show was that to fit everything into an hour, we had to trim some of the astonishingly funny digressions Wyatt made during his story. His day job is as a writer and correspondent on The Daily Show. Get the tix while they last.

Wyatt Cenac performing at our holiday comedy show.

Tonight on Current TV: "Reality Check"

Jan 10, 2011

Tonight is the premiere of our television show on Current TV! The series kicks of with our original pilot episode, "Reality Check".

Channel guide:

Comcast: 107 (125 Dallas and Seattle)
Time Warner: 103 NY and 142 LA
Dish Network: 196
AT&T U-Verse: 189
Verizon FiOS: 192

Here's a video promo for tonight's episode:

If you haven't seen the TV show yet, we hope you'll tune in.


Jan 7, 2011

Attention everyone who never got to see our TV show on Showtime (or wants to see it again). Good news: Current TV is re-airing the entire series!

The show ran for two seasons, winning several Emmy awards including best nonfiction series. We're thrilled that more people will get to see it. Episodes will air Mondays at 10PM/9C, from January 10th through April 4th. If you have digital cable, chances are you have Current TV. Here's a cheat sheet:

Comcast: 107 (125 Dallas and Seattle)
Time Warner: 103 NY and 142 LA
Dish Network: 196
AT&T U-Verse: 189
Verizon FiOS: 192

And here's a video from the Current TV site, of Ira Glass talking about an experience he had during the editing of our first TV episode "Reality Check":

You can read lots more background about the show, or check out descriptions and promos for each episode. We're very proud of the TV show and hope you enjoy it.

This American Life on Canada's CBC Radio!

Jan 7, 2011

We're pleased to announce that starting this Sunday, January 9th, This American Life will be broadcast weekly across Canada on CBC Radio One.

We already have thousands of Canadian listeners on the podcast, but this will be the first time that Canucks can listen to the show on their own airwaves. We'll be on Sundays at 11PM, heading up an overnight lineup of international programming. CBC Radio One will air a mixture of favorite episodes from our archive and newly produced shows.

Check out this article to read about Ira Glass's thoughts on airing in Canada.

This American Life actually has some strong Canadian roots. Toronto native Paul Tough, an early producer, helped come up with the concept for the show. Regular contributor David Rakoff hails from Montreal. And former producer/frequent contributor Jonathan Goldstein hosts his own CBC show, Wiretap. Don't feel bad if you're surprised these guys are Canadians. We've documented that phenomenon in our 1998 episode "Who's Canadian?".

In 2009, we tested our popularity up North by beaming our stage show "Return to the Scene of the Crime" via satellite into movie theaters in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. 650 fans showed up.

Top Ten Apps of 2010

Jan 5, 2011
Technology review and news site Ars Technica lists the This American Life iPhone app as one of the best in 2010. "Because $3 for on-demand access to an archive of over 400 excellent shows is a damn steal." Check out the full list here.

Holiday Cheer

Jan 4, 2011
In our Comedians of Comedy Christmas Special that aired a couple of weeks ago, we posited that "there aren't that many holiday jokes." We stand corrected. (Have a good one to add to the collection? Email us!)

From Chuck W:
Here's one from my Catholic Grammar School:

Q: What are Santa's helpers called?
A: Subordinate Clauses!

From Melissa B:
Rudolph the Red was a Viking. One day he was sitting with his wife, eating lunch, and he looked out the window. "Looks like it’s going to rain," he said. His wife looked out. "No way," she replied. Rudolph the Red stood and insisted, "Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear."

From Michael M:
When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure. Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more. When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where. Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered. Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom. Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?' And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

From Megan B:
Q: Where do gingerbread men sleep?
A: On cookie sheets!

Q: Why does Rudolph have an umbrella?
A: Because he's a rain-deer!

From anonymous:
Here is one I remember from my kidhood (told by a minister):

Did you hear they canceled Christmas?
Joseph confessed.

And then there's the song from the Smothers' Brothers:
You better not shout
you better not cry
you better not pout
I'm tellin' you why
Santa Claus is dead.

From Dan L:
Here's my favorite Christmas joke:

Q: What did one snowman say to the other snowman?
A: Do you smell carrots?

From Whitney A:
A man in Scotland calls his son in London the day before Christmas Eve and says, "I hate to ruin your day but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is long enough".

"Dad, what are you talking about?'" the son screams.

"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer", the father says.  "We're sick of each other and I'm sick of talking about this, so you can call your sister in Leeds and tell her".

Frantically, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone, "Like hell they're getting divorced", she shouts, "I'll take care of this".

She calls Scotland immediately and screams at her father, "You are NOT getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back and we'll both be there tomorrow.  Until then, don't do a thing,  DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife.
"Done! They're coming for Christmas—and they're paying their own way."

Kenneth W. adds:
During the Christmas show, the child asked why the reindeer crossed the road and answered "to get to the antler station." I have some insight into this joke. Once I told my four-year-old daughter a joke I had heard on the joke episode of A Prairie Home Companion. Possibly it was told by Paula Poundstone: Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the Shell station.

Whenever I ask this riddle to my daughter, she laughs, but I don't think she understands that Shell is a gasoline company that sells its products at Shell stations.. She simply thinks it funny for a turtle to go to a shell station.

Then she starts to ask her own riddles that she invents based on the animal station motif: Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the egg station. Why did the dog cross the road? Do get to the puppy station.  It goes on and on.

So when I heard that boy answer "to get to the antler station," I thought that the Shell station joke must have taken hold among children everywhere, and thus, he invented one of his own.

Well, It Is A Pretty Good Title

Jan 3, 2011
From Movie City News: "Was looking for examples of great poster art from 2010, and found THIS not-so-subtle Italian retitling of the Dave Eggers-Vendela Vida-Sam Mendes Away We Go."

The Talent Show: Next Wednesday at Littlefield

Dec 24, 2010
The Talent Show has another show coming up—on December 29th at Littlefield in Gowanus, Brooklyn—featuring This American Life producers Ira Glass and Jane Feltes, and regular contributor Dave Hill.

Show theme: "The Talent Show Presents: Presents." They're trying something that seems like it could be kind of amazing: A massive regifting gift swap involving the entire audience. BRING AN UNWANTED GIFT TO THE SHOW to swap for something you want a little more.

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

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