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: 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 #3: Ask a Mortician's Caitlin Doughty nerds out about death
Caitlin Doughty is host of the popular YouTube series Ask a Mortician and author of the new memoir Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons From the Crematory. We talk about the history and present of how cultures handle death. Plus a nerd confession that includes a Gollum impression.
Nov 11 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 email@example.com.
Apr 27 2018
Rank #5: 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.
Jan 28 2016
Rank #6: 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 #7: 30 Rock writer Colleen McGuinness nerds out about TV, working with Tina Fey and Bananagrams
30 Rock writer Colleen McGuinness on coming out as a nerd and all the TV, movies and board games she loves. (Bananagrams!) Plus she talks about teaming up with Tina Fey for her new NBC comedy pilot set on Fire Island. And she gives really good homework.
Sep 22 2013
Rank #8: 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 #9: 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 #10: Elizabeth Gilbert, polite botany, and Sex In Your Garden
Aug 19 2014
Rank #11: 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 #12: 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 #13: Breaking Yoga Stereotypes With Jessamyn Stanley
Yoga enthusiast, expert and internationally recognized teacher Jessamyn Stanley breaks all the stereotypes of a yogi. Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda sat down with Stanley to talk about her new book, Every Body Yoga; how yoga is for everyone (and not just the models drinking coconut water in the Lululemon ads); and why yoga is more than just a way to burn calories.
May 12 2017
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: 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 #16: An Everest Climber’s Never-Ending Quest For Adventure
Everest climber, guide and mountaineer Melissa Arnot Reid is the first American woman to ever summit Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen — a feat only 7 women worldwide have accomplished. Arnot Reid joins Nerdette host Tricia Bobeda to talk about the mindset of a high-altitude climber, what happens when you have snot frozen to your face, and how to train your body to reach Everest’s peak. Plus, Arnot Reid reveals her secret obsession with true crime stories, so we bring in former FBI Profiler and Real Crime Profile host Jim Clemente to talk about what it takes to crack unsolved cases.
Aug 18 2017
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: Let’s Talk About Sex (And Religion) With Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus
Orthodox Jewish sex therapist Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus founded one of the largest women’s sexual health clinics in the country. From taboos to vibrators, Bat Sheva talks about how she helps women embrace their sexuality. She also discusses her approach to solving specific challenges for women in the Orthodox Jewish community.
Mar 24 2017
Rank #19: W. Kamau Bell On Embracing Awkward And Loving 'Shark Tank'
Stand-up comedian W. Kamau Bell is the host of CNN’s United Shades of America. He’s also the author of a new book, The Awkward Thoughts Of W. Kamau Bell. Nerdette’s Tricia Bobeda talked with Bell about why awkwardness and comedy go hand in hand, what it’s like to be a blerd (black nerd), and why the TV show Blackish is so great.
Jun 09 2017
Rank #20: Jenny Lawson on Living a Furiously Happy Life Full of Raccoons
Author Jenny Lawson explains why she approaches mental health struggles with a sense of humility, hilarity and a surprising amount of taxidermy on the latest Nerdette.
Feb 10 2016