OK — so I love this podcast. Like I really dig it. It’s called “Stuff You Should Know“. It’s just two dudes — Josh and Chuck. They are both from Georgia (I think). In America’s South.
I’ve listened to over 300 of their episodes. And it took me just a few weeks — which is quite a feat seeing as their episodes regularly touch the 1 hour mark.
It’s not perfect. It does seem like you are being read a wikipedia page (or a long-form journal story) sometimes — but just in a casual way with 100% more jokes. Admittedly I have abandoned a few episodes when they just didn’t click. But having a brand new one to instantly try meant that didn’t seem such a impost.
The topics are pretty bedded in the universe that is the United States. Sometimes I am 10 minutes into a podcast and still expecting them to please, please, please define what they are talking about to anyone who does not come from the States. But inevitably I have to pause and do a bunch of independent research. (And sometimes I am still a bit mystified).
Politics-wise I think they try a whole lot to be super-impartial — always qualifying opinions. It seems like their heart of hearts gets more and more diluted. But if you listen enough you might suspect where their real opinions may lie. They are small “l” liberals at least. But where they sit on big ticket issues I am not sure. I think that may be a thing in the States.
But in saying that the latest podcast (about Vocal Fry) is refreshingly-strident in opinions. And I think it was precipitated by the “listener-mail” episode where they dealt extensively with misogynism in podcasting. Fantastic episode followed by an epic and equally fantastic “listener-mail” segment. Listen to it.
So my favourite episodes tend to be about nostalgia — like topics you don’t realise had a super complexity about them. Here are a few examples:
The Muppets (and Jim Henson)
But then I also really dig stuff like:
Anaesthesia (they didn’t spell it like that btw)
The Berlin Wall
How the Nazis invaded Florida
And the Halloween stories.
So if you dig this stuff — here is a drinking game you can try. But just quietly…it is guaranteed to get you super, super MUNTED. (Just like that person — which looks a bit like me — in the photo above).
Just saying. Enjoy.
1) Anytime Chuck suggests a term they just encountered would “make a great band name”.
2) If Jerry gets an extra mention during the episode (apart from her shout-out in the intro).
3) Anytime someone suggests a topic would make a great future podcast. Double shot if they are then unsure if in fact they have already covered said topic.
4) And of course if they reference a past podcast. Double shot if it is that episode about “The Sun”.
5) Josh says, “So Chuck…”
6) Anytime they reference a movie and another shot if they argue about whether a movie was good or not. (You can also have a shot if there’s a Simpson’s reference.)
7) Anytime either Josh or Chuck is absolutely astounded that the other party has not heard/seen/watched or listened to something that is seemingly seminal.
8) If Josh mentions that 1491 or 1493 book.
9) Similarly if that revisionist version of the migration into the Americas is referenced.
10) Anytime an article they are referencing is super-gushed over. Like it was “well written” or “great” or “excellent” etc. It doesn’t count if it is the “Grabster” or “Strickland” (cause that would end this game pretty quickly).
11) If Chuck mentions his college days. (Extra shot if he alludes to the fact that he smoked weed during that time).
12) Similarly anytime Chuck talks about his time in LA or his foray into the film-industry. [A free drink (if you need it) if a band is mentioned. “Pavement” is a double]
13) If either Josh or Chuck try to work out what football team comes from a certain locality.
14) Anytime you (even suspect) they are fudging a pronunciation. (Double shot if they get it right but admit they had to look up the correctness).
15) If Josh says “Huh…” Like he is a bit confused but impressed at the same time.
17) If they decide to covert something to metric — or conversely — have to convert something into imperial.
18) Similarly if Josh says “A LOTTTT” in a rather enthusiastic way.
19) If it’s a “Guest Producer Noel” episode — have a drink for him. Maybe two. Just cause the poor guy must feel like such a fill-in. They always gush over Jerry and then when Noel gets the gig it seems like he’s just making up the numbers.
20) Anytime Homeostasis is mentioned or the “Flight or fight” reflex.
21) If Josh mentions how Chuck has that ritual before any podcast where he does this “blerreaaaarghhhh” thing. Double-shot if Chuck actually performs this live.
22) If Chuck does a particularly good chuckle at one of Josh’s jokes. (Like it has to be a big one).
23) Anytime in the “way-back-machine” is free-drinking. Similarly anytime they go “tangential” (way,way off topic) is also free-drinking. (This is not compulsory drinking btw — just suggested).
24) If Josh asks Chuck if he has “anything else?”
Now it’s time to drink some water. Turn your phone off, maybe have a snack that will soak up some of that shit in your belly — and go to bed. Recovery position might be advised.