Rank #1: Bonus Book!: ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had’
Chicago Magazine called this novel "a Midwestern Big Little Lies — an intimate character study of a group of affluent, secretive women."
In this bonus interview, Greta talks with author Claire Lombardo about her debut novel, ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had.’
It’s the story of four radically different daughters from suburban Chicago. And it’s about love, family, forgiveness and the importance of showing up.
Rank #2: 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
Rank #3: 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.
Rank #4: Rad Girls Who Changed The World
These days there are more and more celebrations of women who might have otherwise been relegated to the footnotes of history.
As you can imagine, here at Nerdette we’re all about that. Totally into it. Zero complaints.
But what is equally as wonderful is when the spotlight also lands on accomplished young girls. And that’s what author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl have done with their book Rad Girls Can, which tells the stories of inspiring young women who have made positive impacts on the world before turning 20.
We talk with the author and illustrator about some of their favorite stories of young ladies who changed the world, and how you can be one too.
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.
Rank #6: 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.
Rank #7: Nerdette can't hardly wait for Arrested Development
Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda are nerding out hard about the return of Arrested Development. They talk hopes, fears and chicken dance in the first mini-episode of the Nerdette Podcast.
Rank #8: Masters of Sex, Ann Patchett, Halloween nerds and a zombie debate
Rank #9: 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.
Rank #10: 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.
Rank #11: Elizabeth Gilbert, polite botany, and Sex In Your Garden
Rank #12: Sarah Vowell on Hamilton, grumpy cartographers and America's favorite Frenchman
We also discuss her latest book: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.
Plus: Yes, Nerdette has been on hiatus for a suspiciously long time. So we turned to podcast hosts and super sleuths Mike Pesca, Lulu Miller and Peter Sagal for their conspiracy theories to explain why Tricia and Greta disappeared.
We're so glad to be back, nerds! We missed you.
Rank #13: 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.
Rank #14: 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.
Rank #15: Summer TV, lady podcasters, and an intern rant
Rank #16: Caitlin Moran on strident feminism, giddy optimism, and riotous laughter
This brilliant British columnist is incisive, tenacious, inspiring, and hilariously fun. Caitlin Moran talks with us about her definition of feminism, why cynicism is the worst, and how the most effective tool against patriarchal nonsense is subversive laughter. Because everyone--even Britain's filthiest feminist--is a little nerdy about something.
Rank #17: 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.
Rank #18: 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.
Rank #19: Hugging Neil Gaiman, flight vs baby animals and BBC's best sci fi
Author Victoria Schwab nerds out about hugging Neil Gaiman and explains her merit system for productive writing days. (It involves rewards of watching BBC shows). Plus your incredible responses to our superpower showdown question: Flight vs. The power to make baby animals stay baby. And homework from media inventor Robin Sloan.
Rank #20: Ada Lovelace Day, girls who code and Malcolm Gladwell gives homework
Get to know the mother of computer programming, Ada Lovelace. This great lady nerd of history inspires our conversation with women in STEM fields and teenage girls learning to code in Chicago. Plus author Malcolm Gladwell gives homework and nerds out about David and Goliath.