Rank #1: Tom Hanks And Typewriters: A Love Story
Tom Hanks is a little obsessed with typewriters. So when we put the Academy Award-winning actor in front of a pre-WWII Underwood Champion, he gave Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen an impromptu master class on the machines he calls “self-contained printing presses with which you can change the world.”
Want to support this show and get a sweet Nerdette mug and/or notebook as a thank you gift? Go to https://wbez.org/nerdalert
Jan 27 2017
Rank #2: Felicia Day On Being Weird, Hard Work And Women In Hollywood
In this recording of a live event in Chicago, actress, gamer and internet royalty Felicia Day talks about being a weird kid, the importance of hard work, and how women can take over Hollywood. She's the author of a new memoir called You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).
Like Game of Thrones? Check out our other podcast: Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal.
May 20 2016
Rank #3: Roxane Gay on being a 'Bad Feminist'
Roxane Gay is the author of the fantastic book of essays 'Bad Feminist' and many of our favorite tweets. We discuss what it takes to keep fighting the good fight on social media when there is so much turmoil 24/7.
Dec 10 2014
Rank #4: Power Up: Amy Schumer And Aidy Bryant
Let’s be real: life can be hectic sometimes. You don’t need to tell that to Amy Schumer and Aidy Bryant, two of the nation’s top female comedians.
Who better to kick off our new project, Power Up? For the next few months, we're asking fascinating people how they set themselves up for success in an exhausting world.
Knitting? Bowling? Researching the presence of alternate dimensions? “I literally will say to myself out loud in the mirror, like, ‘You got this, bitch,’” Schumer tells Nerdette host Greta Johnsen.
Schumer and Bryant also talk about what drew them to their new film, I Feel Pretty, which is now in theaters.
We also want to know how YOU power up. Record yourself on your phone and email the audio file to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apr 27 2018
Rank #5: Forget Cats: Jenny Slate Is A Plant Lady
Actress and comedian Jenny Slate has played many memorable characters on shows like Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show, Girls, and Brooklyn 99. She also wrote and voiced her web series Marcel The Shell. Her most recent role is alongside Edie Falco and John Turturro in the film Landline. But from all of her work on TV and film, few people know about Slate’s one true love: houseplants. Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen talked with Slate about why she loves houseplants, what she names them and how they play into her future goals. Then, a plant expert answers all of Slate’s most pressing questions.
Jul 28 2017
Rank #6: Margaret Atwood on feminism, science fiction and the future of books
Author Margaret Atwood is the queen of speculative fiction. We discuss feminism, the future of books and her latest collection of stories: Stone Mattress. Also: Why she loves duct tape. All that plus your nerd confessions.
Nov 19 2014
Rank #7: Neil DeGrasse Tyson! Andy Weir! Space, pop culture and physics!
Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains how pop culture fits into his plan to inundate us with a love of science. Andy Weir, author of The Martian, talks about his nerdy origin and what makes good sci fi believable. We remember the first professional female astronomer Maria Mitchell, and there's a nerd confession from BJ Leiderman.
May 29 2015
Rank #8: Sex from Scratch, the history of birth control, and homework from Dan Savage
Sarah Mirk couldn't find a helpful relationship how-to, so she wrote her own. We highlight two women who helped make oral birth control a reality, and there's homework from Dan Savage.
Jun 18 2015
Rank #9: Miranda July on writing books, living clumsily, and meditation
Miranda July talks about her new book, what it was like to make the Somebody App, and the overarching theme of her work: coming together clumsily. Plus, remembering Great Lady Nerd of History Bessie Coleman and a Shakespearean nerd confession.
Jan 27 2015
Rank #10: Tig Notaro And Gillian Flynn 'Just' People
Comedian Tig Notaro talks about how she turned a string of personal tragedies into comedy. Then Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, discusses her nerdy obsessions.
Jun 16 2016
Rank #12: The History of Wonder Woman, author Lev Grossman and a tearful nerd confession
Author Lev Grossman on his new book The Magician's Land, reviewing books for Time and raising nerdy kids. Then we get to know the story of Wonder Woman with comic historian Tim Hanley. And a tearful nerd confession about Chance the Rapper.
Aug 15 2014
Rank #13: An Introvert’s Guide To The Good Life
September is right around the corner, which means fall is coming.
To celebrate, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talks with Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks, author and illustrator of the new graphic novel Pumpkinheads. It’s about Deja and Josiah, two high schoolers who love working at an amazing pumpkin patch every autumn. But the story starts on their last day of work as they try to enjoy everything the patch has to offer one last time.
We also check in with an atmospheric scientist who’s about to head north — way north — for the world’s biggest climate study.
Aug 30 2019
Rank #14: Happiness 101
... Well, technically it's Pysc 157.
This week Nerdette host Greta Johnsen speaks with the professor responsible for the most popular class in Yale University's 316-year history. Laurie Santos created a course called "Psychology and the Good Life” and about 1,200 students quickly enrolled in it.
Put simply, the course teaches students how they can be happier.
“The good news is that we can do it,” Santos tells Greta. “The bad news is that like all good things in life, it takes a lot of work.”
First, listen in as Santos gives us three main recommendations (1. Socialize; 2. Prioritize time over money; and 3. Remember you're too blessed to be stressed). Then, take the course yourself! It's free online via Coursera.
Aug 24 2018
Rank #15: Kate Mulgrew, from Star Trek captain to kitchen overlord
Kate Mulgrew, also known as Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager, talks about her new memoir, life behind the big screen and what it's like to be Red in the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black.
May 07 2015
Rank #16: Jessi Klein on her nerd origin story, Inside Amy Schumer and horses
Emmy nominee Jessi Klein, a stand up comedian and head writer for Inside Amy Schumer, nerds out with Tricia and Greta about the Marx Brothers, Black Stallion and the fearlessly funny feminism of her sketch show.
Jul 16 2014
Rank #17: Gillian Anderson, Shakespeare with lightsabers and mad kitchen science
Gillian Anderson, aka Agent Scully of X-Files, nerds out about the ocean's health and talks about playing smart characters. Plus a behind-the-scenes look at a Shakespeare/Star Wars mashup play and we finally crack open the homemade Nerdette soda with Meghan Murphy-Gill.
Dec 11 2013
Rank #18: Comedian Maz Jobrani and when Helen Keller met her 'Miracle Worker'
Maz Jobrani explains why he stopped taking terrorist TV parts but agreed to play Jafar, then shares insights on everything from telling jokes in Middle East to getting his kids to sleep. We travel back in time to the moment when Helen Keller met 'Miracle Worker' Anne Sullivan. Oh, and there's a faaaaabulous X-Files nerd confession.
Mar 04 2015
Rank #19: Author Samantha Irby Wants To Put Normal On TV
Samantha Irby released her third book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, this year, but it’s her first collection of essays that is being turned into a TV show. Last year, FX bought the rights to Meaty, Irby’s first collection of essays. Now Irby, who grew up in Evanston and lived in Chicago, is working with Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Inside Amy Schumer’s Jessi Klein to write for television for the first time. For Irby, almost everything is on the table when it comes to her work — whether it’s body image, digestive issues, or applying for The Bachelorette.
Jul 07 2017
Rank #20: The race to build a super battery, Broad City's musical mind and Girl Scouts' origin story
Author Steve LeVine tells us about the motley crew of scientists on a quest to build a world-changing super battery. Get to know Hot Sugar, the musical maverick from Comedy Central's Broad City. And hear the origin story of Girl Scouts.
Mar 10 2015