In case you’ve been asleep for the last year or so, one of the most divisive issues gripping the country has been whether hot dogs should be considered sandwiches. The argument has divided families, friends, even television personalities. Last week, the argument came full circle back to the two podcast hosts that arguably started this whole thing. That debate and more are part of last week’s podcast highlights!
The great hot dog debate finally came to a head last week with the much anticipated showdown between Sporkful host Dan Pashman and writer, actor and podcast host in his own right, John Hodgman. The debate was moderated by WNYC’s Brooke Gladstone and pitted the pro-sandwich Pashman against the anti-sandwich Hodgman. There was very little name-calling or mudslinging (except in the direction of the Earl of Sandwich) and plenty of laughs as you would expect from the debaters. Each side drew support from outside sources like the New York tax code and the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, but in the end it was the New York audience in front of which the debate took place that decided the fate of the hot dog.
Adam McKay brought a message of anarchy wrapped in a cute package to last week’s Surprisingly Awesome. McKay offered up the late ‘90s pop song “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba as the surprisingly awesome topic. For casual fans or even non-fans of the song, the history behind the band and their biggest hit could come as a surprise, like it did for McKay’s co-host Adam Davidson. The band started as a punk rock collective in Northern England. Over time, their sound morphed as their message coalesced around the struggles of the English working class. McKay clearly identified with the band and their effort to make change using pop music as a tool, and while Davidson was impressed by Chumbawamba’s story, the story also highlighted some of the differences between the two hosts.
If you love sci-fi dramas, and there’ve been a few of them recently with shows like The Message and Limetown, then you’ll want to listen to last week’s episode of The Blacklist Table Reads. The show devoted to bringing to life screenplays that have not yet found a proper home released the second reading of its new season with a sci-fi drama, Celeritas. Without revealing too much of the plot, the show focuses on the relationship of twin brothers and their involvement in a secret government space program left tarped-over for 50 years. Think of the movie The Right Stuff (if you’ve seen it) with the added element of time travel. If you love the story, I’d also suggest listening to Black List host Franklin Leonard’s interview with the writer of Celeritas, Kimberly Barrante, which was released last week as a companion episode.
In last week’s episode of Improv4Humans, playwright and poet Dan O’Brien joined host Matt Besser and improvisers Jessica St. Clair, Danielle Schneider, Lennon Parham, and Jason Mantzoukas for an improv comedy/poetry reading podcast that will have you laughing and crying all in the span of one episode. O’Brien read some of his poetry during the show, mostly reflections on family, frailty and war, and after each reading, the group improvised a scene as funny as the poem was melancholic. It was a show of contrasts, but if you can deal with the push-pull of O’Brien’s poetry and hysterically funny improv, it’s well worth your time.
Hrishikesh Hirway spoke with Wilco’s lead singer Jeff Tweedy about the song “Magnetized” in last week’s episode of Song Exploder. If, like me, you love music but don’t have much experience creating it, Song Exploder always offers what seems like a stolen peak inside the music-making process. Tweedy’s description of Wilco’s process seemed particularly intimate as he talked about how he tries to come at songwriting without preconceived notions of what he wants to say and how his lyrics often evolve from an almost stream-of-consciousness beginning.