Comedy

Word of Mouth
4:30 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

3.15.15: Maz Jobrani, Office Fridge Politics, & Icicles

Before Maz Jobrani was a panelist on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, he was an actor trying to get a break. On today’s show, we’ll talk to the Iranian-born comedian about being typecast as a terrorist.

Then, we investigate a problem facing many American workers: food theft. What motivates some people to steal another person’s lunch from the office fridge? We’ll talk about the ethics of office food theft, and answer the age old question: is it ok to use someone else’s salad dressing?

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
4:04 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Maz Jobrani Is Not A Terrorist, But He's Played One On T.V.

You may know Maz Jobrani as a panelist on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! but his early acting career included roles in television and film, often playing parts fashioned from Middle Eastern stereotypes. 

Listen to Virginia's full interview with Maz below.

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Word of Mouth
3:23 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

3.9.15: Hollywood's Richest Extras, TV Needs A Makeover, & Maz Jobrani

Credit MazJobrani.com

Before Maz Jobrani was a panelist on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, he was an actor trying to get a break. On today’s show we’ll talk to the Iranian-born comedian about being typecast as a terrorist.

And like Maz, many Hollywood hopefuls get their start as extras, making less than minimum wage, hoping to be noticed. We’ll hear about an elite group who have made blending into the background an incredibly lucrative career.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
12:39 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

From Mr. Show To Better Call Saul: Bob Odenkirk

Credit Sharon Alagna

  Before Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Bob Odenkirk was a cult favorite on Mr. Show, a show he co-created with comedian David Cross. And before that he wrote for Saturday Night LiveDennis Miller, and Ben Stiller. His comedic style definitely veers towards the absurd which is evident in one of the shows he produced for Comedy Central: Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! 

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Word of Mouth
4:12 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

The Onion's Former Editor: Satire Is A Careful Craft

Credit Steve Rhodes via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/epYJk

In the wake of Wednesday's attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the former editor of America's Fake News Source The Onion, Joe Randazzo wrote an op-ed piece for MSNBC in which he states, "Satire must always accompany any free society. It is an absolute necessity." Virginia spoke to Joe about his experiences while at The Onion and why satire, in its many forms should always have a place at the table.

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Word of Mouth
9:19 am
Wed December 31, 2014

The Bad Impressions Show

We’ve all fumbled a first impression at some point or another. Look no further than Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Before it was published in 1814, its working title was First Impressions which probably referred to protagonist Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s very first encounter – which as initial impressions go, was pretty abysmal.

But who knew getting off on the wrong foot was so easy?

This show is all about bad impressions. From bungling a business meeting, to what not to wear on a first date.

Plus, a comic tells us what happens when his go-to impression loses its appeal.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:34 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Researching Funny: The University Of Colorado's Humor Lab

Are puns funny? Only when told by a cute Husky dog.

The University of Colorado's Humor Lab even has a catchy nickname: HuRL. The director of the lab, Peter McGraw, spoke with us about his work studying the reasons we laugh and why we think certain things are funny, while others are decidedely not. Staffed by the Humor Research Team which is also known as HuRT--we're noticing a trend here--the lab's theoretical foundation is the "Benign Violation Theory."

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Word of Mouth
2:34 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

9.10.14: Researching What Makes Something Funny & Designing Technology To Deceive

This cat, is not amused.
Credit myri_bonni via flickr Creative Commons

At her funeral on Sunday, fellow comedians applauded Joan Rivers for her sharp wit, biting humor, and irreverent routines. What really made Joan Rivers so funny? On today’s show, the director of the Humor Research Lab offers some theories into what makes us laugh. Plus, from walk sign buttons that don’t reflect reality to digital signs over-estimating wait times at amusement parks; we’ll consider why technology is sometimes designed to give us the illusion of control.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments. 


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Word of Mouth
2:41 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

6.14.14: To Twee Or Not To Twee

Credit Zachary Nugent

First there was rock & roll, then punk, then hip-hop. Today, we’re living in the age of “twee”.  And boy is it precious. We'll explore the gentle revolution that is “twee” from artisanal pickles to Wes Anderson films and why this nostalgia for home-spun innocence is thriving.  And, New Hampshire guitarist Michael Blum talks about making a name for himself in the world of Jazz, and plays some music live in Studio D. Plus, a conversation with comedian Todd glass. He’s been performing stand-up for decades, but made his boldest move a year and a half ago when he came out as gay on the WTF podcast.


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Word of Mouth
12:15 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Writers On A New England Stage - B.J. Novak

B.J. Novak reads from his book, "One More Thing"
Photo by David J. Murray ClearEyePhoto.com

NHPR and The Music Hall present Writers on a New England Stage with B.J. Novak, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Best known for his role as “Ryan the Temp” on The Office, Novak talks with us about his debut collection of short stories One More Thing which he thinks is even more revealing than a memoir.

We’ll also get his take on his rising fame, and the not-so-heavy burden of being a celebrity author.

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Word of Mouth
3:24 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis, Of Comedy Fame, Has Died

Credit Justin Hoch via flickr Creative Commons

It's a sad day in the Word of Mouth cube as we remember an actor and filmmaker who brought so much joy and so many laughs through his decades-long work. Beloved comedy actor and filmmaker Harold Ramis has died, but his comedy is timeless. Ramis' influence endures both on and off screen. His comedic repertoire is classic, having co-written Animal House, directed Groundhog Day, and starred in Ghost Busters.        

Thank you, Harold Ramis, for giving us all of the laughs and leaving us with all of the feels. You will be missed.

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Word of Mouth
1:35 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Colin Quinn Will Make You Laugh At The Constitution

Credit Mike Lavoie, copyright 2013

Here’s a topic guaranteed to get a big laugh…the Constitution.

The national tour of comedian Colin Quinn Unconstitutional, is stopping at The Colonial Theater in Keene this Friday. Quinn, after all, made the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal funny as anchor of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, and has now condensed the Constitution’s history into a witty 75-minute one-man play. His new show finds the humor in how the right and the left argue over the meanings and interpretations of the Constitution.

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Word of Mouth
2:49 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

"Furious Cool: Richard Pryor And The World That Made Him"

Credit via indiebound.org

Richard Pryor changed stand-up. He created comedy with no jokes. Instead, he unleashed a parade of street characters rarely glimpsed by white people and mortifying to middle class African Americans. Pryor wrote that the neighbors, whores and winos he saw growing up around his family’s bars and brothels inspired a lifetime of comedic material.

Pryor’s stand-up was outrageously blunt, fearlessly black and openly angry. His talent ran in tandem with episodes of self-destructive, violent, behavior -- often triggered by drug use – which jeopardized his career and endangered his life. Yet, in movies, Grammy-winning albums, and even a short-lived TV special, Richard Pryor’s unapologetically irreverent comedy crossed over to capture a huge American audience; Brothers Dave and Joe Henry among them. Dave is a screenwriter, Joe is a singer and songwriter and together they’ve written Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him.

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Word of Mouth
6:14 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Word Of Mouth 09.28.13

Credit Brandon Burris via flickr Creative Commons

We like to think of the Word of Mouth Saturday show as a convenient, one-hour public radio field trip. So pack a special picnic lunch and grab a buddy, here's what's on the itinerary this week:

  • Bill Maher Love him or hate him, it really doesn't matter, Bill Maher is a great interview.
  • Field Trips Jay Phillip Greene explains his recent study on the power of the school field trip. Turns out they have real and powerful educational value.

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Word of Mouth
12:43 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

A Conversation With Bill Maher

Credit via Capital Center for the Arts

Long before he was pushing the boundaries on television’s Politically Incorrect or hosting Real Time on HBO, Bill Maher was a stand-up comedian. He still does about 50 shows a year, in venues all over the country, and he’s coming to the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord next Saturday, October 5th. Some love him, some hate him, but his biting wit has made him one of the leading satirists in America today.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
12:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Paula Poundstone Hates Sex...

(Photo courtesy Paula Poundstone)

For many public radio listeners, the weekend begins with NPR’s oddly informative, extremely funny program Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Comedian Paula Poundstone is a frequent panelist on Wait Wait, and she’ll be performing  at the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, New Hampshire this Thursday.  Paula spoke with Virginia Prescott last year about what it’s like to be in the business of comedy.

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Word of Mouth
9:16 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Sam Kinison: Comedy Genius Turned Comic Book Star

Sam Kinison, the comedian known for screaming politically incorrect rants with the passion of a preacher, became on of the biggest comedy acts of the 1980's. He died in 1992, just shy of his 40th birthday.

Chris Canibano has helped turn the life of Kinison, whom many regard as a comedic genius, into a comic book called, simply, "Sam Kinison."

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Word of Mouth
12:44 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Reggie Watts: Beatboxer, Comedian, Musician

Credit Hopkins Center TEST

We spoke with beatboxer, comedian, musician, and kinda TV talk show host Reggie Watts about his music and other ongoing projects. Reggie takes suggestions submitted via Youtube and turns them into original songs which have never before been performed, and may never be performed again. It’s all part of his online comedy collective called Jash with comedians Sarah Silverman, Tim and Eric, and actor Michael Cera. In addition to his online performances, Reggie has also been playing shows and festivals around the country. He’ll be at the Portsmouth Music Hall in the fall.

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Word of Mouth
10:30 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Best-Selling Trend: The Funny Female Memoir

Credit drinksmachine via Flickr Creative Commons

Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO hit series Girls, recently signed 3.5 million dollar book contact for a memoir. When published, Dunham’s book will share shelf space with bestsellers like Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened:  A Mostly True Memoir and Heather McDonald’s My Inapropriate Life: Some Material Not Suitable For Small Children, Nuns Or Mature Adults.  Part humor, part memoir, books in this category are almost always written by women and openly explore sex, drinking and even mental illness in a brazen and unrepentant manner.  And readers, especially those that are not offended easily, are snapping them up. 

Jean Railla, a writer and cultural observer is here to tell us more.  

Related: Gawker's viral blog about Lena Dunham's book deal.

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Word of Mouth
10:31 am
Tue January 29, 2013

The Best Used Mini Cooper Ad In History

This 2002 Mini Cooper is not as awesome as Tim's.

Back in November, “The Best Used Car Ad in Craigslist History” was brought to my attention through a Facebook post. I hit the "contact" button and got in touch with its author, New Hampshire’s own Tim McLaughlin. It's kind hard to describe…so I'll bring it to life for you. First, you'll hear Tim tell you what he's trying to sell. (A note to listeners: the Craigslist ad was a tad saucy…so I’ve added plenty of bleeps.)

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Word of Mouth
1:38 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

The Queens of Comedy Podcasts

Credit Sonia Blanco via Flickr Creative Commons

2012 has been a fantastic year for funny ladies on television. Comedians Chelsea Handler, Whitney Cummings, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler and Joan Rivers all star in their own shows. A number of lesser known laugh-out-loud women are reaching new audiences with self-produced podcasts, and networks are paying attention. 

Jean Railla, a writer and cultural observer based in New York City tells us more.

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Word of Mouth
11:41 am
Thu November 1, 2012

A New Hampshire Comic's Quest For Laughs

Credit Pickersgill Reef via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is better known for a tradition of community theater than for comedy.  Still, there is something of a comedy scene here…if you’re willing to look for it. Producer Adam McCune happens to be a regular at one of Manchester’s regular open-mic events, and brings us along in search of a laugh.

And check out Jay Chanoine's website here.

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Word of Mouth
11:37 am
Thu August 30, 2012

The Rise of the Gay Male Comic...Finally

According to New York Times Comedy Reviewer Jason Zinoman, comedian James Adomian could very well be the first openly gay male comedy star. One question comes to mind...why hasn't there been one before?

North Country
5:00 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

A Story Of Love, Death And A Boost To Music In The North Country

Fritz and Eleonore Kramer's ashes were blended and then buried in Sugar Hill.
Chris Jensen for NHPR

This story began 70 years ago with an Austrian musician fleeing the Nazis.

A Polish woman fleeing the Russian soldiers towards the close of World War II.

And their love affair.

Now it has ended with a surprise, $1 million donation to bring more music to the North Country.

For decades Fritz Kramer was a professional piano player in Europe.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
12:18 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Nerdy Comedians Rejoice: Comic-book adaptation of SNL

Photo by istoletv, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Saturday Night Live... You may love it, you may love to hate it, you may even hate to admit you love it. Either way, the 35 year old comedy institution is now turning into a comedy illustration.

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