New to This American Life?
“When I’m trying to explain our program to someone who doesn’t know it, I stammer a bunch of words like ‘entertaining,’ ‘funny,’ ‘surprising plot twists,’ ‘true stories but not boring I swear’ … and then I just give them this list.” — Ira Glass
One of those stories whose details are so amazing, it’s hard to believe it’s true. I love how the mom seems like the bad guy in the story and then in the last act, you finally hear her and it turns everything upside down.
This one drops you in a place and immerses you there so quickly and happily. Just a deeply cheerful trip into childhood summertime.
This starts off as a story about two high schools and a girl who freaks out on a class trip, but it ends up being about something so much bigger and more disturbing.
When we decided to record a bunch of car salesmen for a month as they tried to make their monthly quota, we had no idea the mayhem and drama we’d capture on tape.
Drenched in feeling, really funny, and – if you’re going through a break-up right now – weirdly comforting. Also: Phil Collins, as you’ve never ever heard him.
There’s video of this one! One of the live shows we’ve done onstage, with an original 14-minute musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda (who hadn’t quite finished writing Hamilton at the time), comedy from Mike Birbiglia and Sasheer Zamata, and more.
Of all the spectacular reporting Zoe Chace has done charting the seismic political shifts in our country, this is my favorite: Some white people in a Minnesota town decide – against all evidence – that their neighbors want to impose Sharia law and ask their Republican congressman for something that shocks even him.
A great example of our early shows, when we ran a lot of personal essays, including this one by David Sedaris, who was on the show a lot back then. This also has one of the most memorable short stories we’ve ever run, and this truly fascinating teaching tactic from MacArthur “genius” grant winner Vivian Paley.
The host of Serial, Sarah Koenig, takes on a murder case that doesn’t make any sense and wraps it up in just an hour.
The third act is my favorite interview of all I’ve ever done. Full of surprises, my interviewee shows such bemused and impressive grace toward a parent who did him wrong. The rest is great too.
People said so many new and eye-opening things about a subject I thought it was impossible to say anything new about! Especially mind-blowing: Elna Baker explains how losing 110 pounds made her realize things she’d rather not know about people and admits some things even her friends don’t know.