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Wits ® – APM Podcasts

Wits was a weekly national public radio broadcast produced and distributed by American Public Media. As of September 2015, the broadcast ended. The stage shows that provided material for the broadcast are on hiatus, as is the podcast version of Wits. It is our intention to take a little time away from Wits and then look for ways to bring it back on stage and in podcast in a different form. On Wits, some of the top names in comedy and music have joined host John Moe for sketch comedy, improv, conversation, songs and genuine beauty in a program praised as "one of the rare public radio comedy shows that's actually funny" (Huffington Post) and "one of the most unique, entertaining and diverse shows on radio" (The Growler). You can listen to all of our archives online and follow host John Moe on Twitter (@johnmoe) for more information on Wits and other projects.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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45: Marc Maron with Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires

On this week’s show, podcast icon Marc Maron tells us about a very memorable encounter with Iggy Pop, singer/songwriters Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires make beautiful music together, and we come face to face with Murder Cat! Plus, in our Pop Song Correspondence, we stop the world to melt with Superman.

57mins

18 Jul 2014

Rank #1

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60: Colin Hanks with Father John Misty (Part One)

On this week’s show, Emmy-nominated actor Colin Hanks tries to get kids to believe that math is cool (it does not go well), singer/songwriter Father John Misty portrays a Fridge Raccoon, and Wikihow Theater shows how to make people respect your pet. Plus, the story of how Prince melted Minneapolis into existence and music from Father John Misty. Photos

57mins

13 Aug 2015

Rank #2

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20: Paula Poundstone with Robyn Hitchcock

As a regular panelist on Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!, comedian Paula Poundstone is perfectly positioned to compete on this week’s Wits Game Show: The Game Show Game Show. Paula explains the rules of fictitious games while one of the godfathers of alternative rock, Robyn Hitchcock, creates the pretend game show’s theme songs. Robyn also plays songs from his latest album, Love from London, and we hear an urgent plea from the big coat in the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis hit, “Thrift Shop.”

54mins

28 Jun 2013

Rank #3

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59: Jim Gaffigan with Reggie Watts and Thao Nguyen

This week’s show comes to you from the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Ore. Comedian, author and actor Jim Gaffigan talks about his upcoming book Food: A Love Story, the food he loves, and the food he just doesn’t really understand. Comedian, actor and musician Reggie Watts improvises a song about a beaver who is no good at building dams and singer/songwriter Thao Nguyen wows the audience with her Appalachian-infused rock and roll. Plus, Tom Waits, President Chester Alan Arthur and an immortal stegosaurus want to sell you bubbled gum.

56mins

19 Mar 2015

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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43: Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Anna Kendrick with Sara Watkins and Dan Wilson

On this week’s Wits, Zach Galifianakis reveals his secret ambitions, Ed Helms plays one of his original songs, Anna Kendrick becomes Beccany, co-owner of a very different kind of casino, and Sara Watkins and Dan Wilson knock out the crowd with their beautiful harmonies.

53mins

22 Aug 2014

Rank #5

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61: Maria Bamford with Jeremy Messersmith (Part One)

This week on Wits, comedian and actor Maria Bamford as a very creepy Tooth Fairy and a possibly zombified Laura Ingalls Wilder promoting her new books. We also get music from singer/songwriter Jeremy Messersmith. Plus, Maria and Jeremy try to sort out which patron saints are for real in the Wits game show.

53mins

2 Apr 2015

Rank #6

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14: Paul F. Tompkins with Aimee Mann

This week’s show features comedian and actor Paul F. Tompkins (also host of the Pod F. Tompkast) with the Oscar and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, as well as an EMU ATTACK, and a visit from President James K. Polk the time-traveling repairman. Video Photos

56mins

6 Aug 2015

Rank #7

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16: Amy Sedaris with They Might Be Giants

This week’s show features best-selling author and actor Amy Sedaris along with Grammy award-winning They Might Be Giants. We hear what went on behind the scenes when the founding fathers were writing the Declaration of Independence, we hear from the schoolmaster at the school referenced in Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and we get a little insight about what would happen if Winnie the Pooh took an office job.

53mins

15 Feb 2013

Rank #8

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89: Eric Stonestreet with Brandi Carlile (Part Two)

This week on Wits, Emmy-winning actor Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family tries to convince us all that clowns aren’t creepy, and we have a new installment of Wikihow Theater where you can learn how to annoy your dad and how to sneak a cat into work. Plus, chart-topping singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile blows us away with her singing, and shows off her killer funny bone. None of Us Can Relate to That WikiHow Theater Shocking Facts Photos

56mins

4 Jun 2015

Rank #9

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90: Cary Elwes with Kat Edmonson

On this week’s Wits, actor and author Cary Elwes. He’s perhaps best known for his role as the dashing hero Westly in the movie The Princess Bride. Elwes shares stories of the fun he had making that movie as well as the painful injuries. Plus, music from mesmerizing chanteuse Kat Edmonson. And, Bob Seger tells us what it’s been like living in a big, ferocious whale. Kat Edmonson performs ‘Rainy Day Woman’ Photos

54mins

11 Jun 2015

Rank #10

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72: Colin Hanks with Father John Misty (Part Two)

This week on Wits, Emmy-nominated actor Colin Hanks takes us to the new M. Night Shyamalan restaurant, and he and singer/songwriter Father John Misty travel back in time to the Great Depression and the first moments of the game Monopoly. Plus, advice on how to enjoy life when you stand nowhere, a tour through American slang, and music from Father John Misty.

53mins

8 Jan 2015

Rank #11

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37: Paul F. Tompkins with Rhett Miller

On this week’s episode, comedian Paul F. Tompkins tries to overcome a lifetime of servile conditioning as Mark, a newly liberated denizen of Oz, while hip-swiveling Rhett Miller of the Old 97′s educates us all about random dandelion surgery. Plus, we go fence riding with the true story of The Eagles’ Desperado. Videos Photos

53mins

30 Jul 2015

Rank #12

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48: Paul F. Tompkins, Eugene Mirman and Paget Brewster with Nellie McKay and Loudon Wainwright III

This week’s episode comes to you from San Francisco’s Sketchfest comedy festival. Hear comedian Paul F. Tompkins as Ice-T in an episode of Cop Squadron: Spoiler Alert Unit and actor Paget Brewster on Eleanor Roosevelt’s exercise cassettes. Plus, comedian Eugene Mirman shows us how wreck a party, Loudon Wainwright III fantasizes about Bill and Hillary Clinton making out to one of his songs, and songstress Nellie McKay performs music that is both timely and timeless.

54mins

30 Oct 2013

Rank #13

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51: Bobcat Goldthwait with Matt Nathanson

On this week’s episode, comedian and movie director Bobcat Goldthwait talks Bigfoot, singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson explains his love for KISS, and the feud between Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd takes an unexpected turn in Pop Song Correspondences. Murder Cat vs. Bobcat Kinks Shirt Tom Waits “Frozen” Soundtrack Earworm Obliteration System Photos This episode of Wits is sponsored by Nilan Johnson Lewis.

54mins

18 Apr 2014

Rank #14

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56: Peter Sagal and Paul F. Tompkins with Open Mike Eagle (Part Two)

On this week’s episode, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! host Peter Sagal sings, comedian Paul F. Tompkins reads one-star Amazon reviews (and also sings), and art-rapper Open Mike Eagle offers chilling insight on the Happy Birthday song. He sings as well. Plus, a peek at what probably happened in movies like Christine and Steel Magnolias, cocktail recipes from Don Draper, and a Wits game show. Open Mike Eagle performs ‘Very Much Money (Ice King Dream)’ Impossible Choices Amazon Review Theatre: Beatles, Shakespeare + Alcott Ringtones · Paul F. Tompkins: “Hello” · Paul F. Tompkins: “Hello, Shakespeare” Photos This episode of Wits is sponsored by Nilan Johnson Lewis.

55mins

22 Jan 2015

Rank #15

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81: Eric Stonestreet with Brandi Carlile (Part One)

This week on Wits, actor Eric Stonestreet as a Bigfoot who specializes in marriage counseling. Singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile reveals her secret obsession (not to reveal too much but it involves tomatoes). We also get useful lessons on how to cross piranha-infested waters and hear a clip from the new PBS remake of House of Cards. Plus brand new music from Brandi Carlile. None of Us Can Relate to That WikiHow Theater Shocking Facts Photos

53mins

5 Mar 2015

Rank #16

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86: Danny Pudi with Har Mar Superstar

On this week’s Wits, actor Danny Pudi of the beloved sitcom Community tells us what it was like to work with Chevy Chase, singer Har Mar Superstar shares what it’s like to look like Ron Jeremy when you’re at the Playboy Mansion, and we hear from severely disgruntled potential contributors to Cat Fancy magazine. Plus, the world premiere of new music from Har Mar Superstar. Doctor Hospital Cat Fancy Theater Har Mar Superstar performs ‘How Did I Get Through The Days?’ Photos

54mins

14 May 2015

Rank #17

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50: Margaret Cho and Paul F. Tompkins with Superchunk and Will Sheff

This week’s show was recorded in Los Angeles as part of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Festival After Dark. Hear comedian and actor Paul F. Tompkins read one-star reviews from Amazon.com and comedian and actor Margaret Cho talk about how her experience All American Girl has shaped her career. We also have music from punk rockers Superchunk and Will Sheff of Okkervil River. Plus, the game McConaughey or Confucius wherein guests listen to a quote and guess who said it. Videos The Festival of Books has videos from this performance and more. Photos

54mins

12 Apr 2014

Rank #18

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12: Patton Oswalt, Neil Gaiman and John Hodgman

On this week’s Wits, a look inside the brains of some of our favorite funny authors. We join writers Patton Oswalt, John Hodgman, Neil Gaiman and Julia Sweeney for discussions of grandmothers, Beatles, wine, sex, and Dungeons and Dragons. Plus, music from singer-songwriter-authors (yep, double hyphenates) Josh Ritter and John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

53mins

15 Mar 2013

Rank #19

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32: Paul F. Tompkins with Yo La Tengo

On this week’s episode of Wits, comedian Paul F. Tompkins performs one-star reviews of classic literature from Amazon.com and competes against rock band Yo La Tengo in the Wits Game Show. Plus, a cruise ship where anything goes. Anything.

54mins

31 Jan 2014

Rank #20