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Clever Creature

A creative leap of faith from Jason Gots, producer and host of Think Again – a Big Think Podcast. For anyone who’s ever made something strange and beautiful that never saw the light of day, Clever Creature is the end to all our good excuses. Each episode starts with a random word. And Jason has just one day to write short story and a song inspired by it. Could that word be "buttock?" Absolutely it could. Whatever it is, Jason has to roll with it. There's nowhere to hide. About the host: From 2015-2020, Jason hosted Think Again – a Big Think Podcast, spontaneous, down-to-earth conversations on surprise topics with thinkers and creatives including Neil Gaiman, Jaqueline Woodson, Terry Gilliam, Margaret Atwood, David Sedaris, Marlon James, and over 200 more. The show was an iTunes Best of 2015 pick and won praise from Salon, Inc. and The Huffington Post. Jason’s also the author of a memoir coming in 2021 from Hanover Square Press.

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THAW (w/Neil Gaiman)

“I never saw a sun so bright as on that day…” Season Two opens with a word of power, this spring especially, as the world anxiously, hopefully starts to open back up again. SANDMAN and AMERICAN GODS author Neil Gaiman on the comfort of scary (fictional) places and the long arc of a writer’s life (“have I got it?…have I lost it?”). Also a reading (by Neil) of a terrifyingly funny, very short story. Speculative fiction by Jason about finding Joy on the map. And a father-son musical collaboration. Special thanks to Jenny Doh for the word of the episode, to my son Emre Gots for the song of the episode (the main guitar part is all him) and for the theme song. And to Nathan Gelgud for the episode art. Help support Clever Creature on Patreon: www.patreon.com/clevercreature


12 May 2021

Rank #1

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Trailer: Coming 5/12/21 — Clever Creature, Season Two

The show Indiewire called "a case study in artistic drive" is back with nine wild, open new episodes featuring short fiction, conversation, and original songs. Each is an "experimental variety show" based on a single world having something to do with the natural world. Writer and podcaster Jason Gots talks with fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, poet and essayist Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Cambridge Mycologist Merlin Sheldrake, somatic therapist Resmaa Menakem, singer-songwriter Tim Minchin, Buddhist monk of 45 years Ajahn Amaro, anthropologist Bia Labate—founder of Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicine, theater director Andre Gregory, and poet and essayist Ross Gay.  Every two weeks on Wednesdays, from 5/12/21 to 9/1/21


7 Apr 2021

Rank #2

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SIEGE (w/Jerry Craft)

Season 1 finale. A father besieged in his videogame-obsessed son's bedroom. Graphic novelist Jerry Craft on race, class, and middle school. And a genre-defying barn-burner of a rock tune.

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18 Aug 2020

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FAIL (w/Mary-Louise Parker)

Could this be the most uplifting episode yet? A dung beetle risks everything for a life beyond drudgery. Actress and writer Mary-Louise Parker on risking failure and ignoring ridicule for those perfect moments when everything works. And a pop-rock tune to get you through tough times.


4 Aug 2020

Rank #4

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PRECEDENT (w/David Sedaris)

David Sedaris joins Jason from lockdown to talk about creative risks that might get him cancelled. In this week's fiction story, a tuba zealot begs his brother not to go electric. And an acoustic tune about brunch inside the neutral zone, with ennui and avocado toast.


21 Jul 2020

Rank #5

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CONVICT (w/Etgar Keret)

Mushrooms, love, and anarchy on an alien prison colony. Etgar Keret on taking your art too seriously. And a beat-driven tribal-futurist tune about life in the substrate.

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7 Jul 2020

Rank #6

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LACE (w/Françoise Bourzat)

The word of the episode—"Lace"—plants a seed that grows into a trip-hop tune about cognitive biases, an existential weird-fiction detective story, and a deep dive with Consciousness Medicine author Françoise Bourzat on psychedelics and psychological healing.

1hr 7mins

23 Jun 2020

Rank #7

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RALLY (w/Shima Oliaee)

An imaginary city with a feral pig problem. Radiolab's Shima Oliaee on rallying yourself through the twists and turns of a creative career.


9 Jun 2020

Rank #8

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CHURCH (w/Gish Jen)

Deeper and darker. A Northwestern Gothic coming-of-age tale. An elemental steampunk blues. Novelist and thinker Gish Jen on losing religion, finding art, and taking creative risks.


26 May 2020

Rank #9

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DESERT (w/Emre Gots)

A lost man converses with his gut flora. A song about deserts real and imaginary. Jason and his son discuss the Ice Cream Desert and its denizens.


12 May 2020

Rank #10