humor

Word of Mouth
11:46 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Josh Ruben On Impersonating Celebrities Who Have Died

For Gilda Radner, it hinged on a slight speech disorder. “I’m Baba Wawa.” For Eddie Murphy it began when he was a child and would imitate what he saw on the screen: Buckwheat.

For Josh Ruben, it all starts with a breath.

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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
2:20 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

8.26.14: The Unhealthy Secret Of Brown Bag Lunches & Vocal Fry's Professional Impact

Credit anotherlunch.com via Flickr CC

  While me may not remember classmates’ names, or the books we read, there’s something about school lunch that stays with us long after graduation. Today, Word of Mouth investigates the content of children’s brown bag lunches, and discovers they’re not always healthier than cafeteria fare.  Then: a growing number of young Americans are lowering their vocal registers. We’ll look at the speech pattern known as vocal fry, and find out why women who speak with a creak have worse job prospects than their higher-register peers.

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


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Word of Mouth
8:00 am
Sun August 24, 2014

8.24.14: The New Retirement, Korean Cool, & The Future Of Clowns

Credit cogdogblog via Flickr CC

  Last week, the Federal Reserve released a startling statistic: one in five people nearing retirement age have no money saved for it. On today’s show we pose the question: have we reached the end of retirement? Plus, forget the fashion of New York City, London’s music scene, and the bright lights of Tokyo. Why South Korea may become the coolest place on the planet. 

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


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Word of Mouth
1:10 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Robin Williams: The Most Iconic American Clown

Robin Williams as Patch Adams

In the wake of Robin Williams' death, we spoke to freelance writer Leigh Cowart about her recent experience at a clown convention. After the interview she shared her perspective on Robin Williams, a man whose humor and compassion had the power to bring so many people out of the depths. 

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Word of Mouth
1:07 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

8.20.14: NASCAR's Concussion Problem, Artificial Wombs & The History And Future Of Clowns

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

NASCAR drivers can reach speeds of 200 plus miles per hour. Remarkably, when wrecks occur, drivers overwhelmingly survive the accidents, but they don’t always walk away unscathed. On today’s show: concussions in NASCAR, and the challenges drivers face after the smoke clears. We'll also talk to a futurist about ectogenesis, or artificial wombs. Often referenced in science fiction, the idea of children being grown outside of a mother's body is inching closer to reality. Plus, earlier this year, the New York Daily News reported that the U.S. is in grave danger of a clown shortage. We head to a clown convention to find out why membership is down, but why clowns are unlikely to completely disappear. 

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


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Word of Mouth
1:20 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

The Found Footage Festival: A Strange Journey Down Memory Lane

Credit Timo Kuusela via Flickr Creative Commons

On today’s episode we talked to Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher of The Found Footage Festival. The Found Footage Festival began in 2004 out of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Pickett and Prueher, childhood friends from Wisconsin, began their collection in high school by picking up unintentionally funny VHS videos from various sources (a lot of garage sales).  The festival tour where they showcase their collection originated out of the need to fund their full-length documentary, Dirty Country (2007), which follows a raunchy country singer and small-town family man, Larry Pierce. 

The Found Footage Festival has now completed their seventh volume. They tour across the US and will be completing a UK tour this summer. On Thursday, June 19 the FF Festival will be in Bethlehem, New Hampshire at the Colonial Theatre at 7:3o PM, 18 years of age and up. If you’re nearby, tickets are for sale here. If not, we have made a short list of some of the many hilarious videos that Pickett and Prueher have curated. Check out more on their website.

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Word of Mouth
2:21 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Word of Mouth 4.19.14

Avoiding awkward conversation on our lunch date - The "W" is startlingly good conversationalist.
Credit Sarah Thomas

Life can be awkward.  Dinner conversation even more so.  Elevator encounters?  AWWWK-WAAARD. We at Word of Mouth work hard not to be awkward, but hey... even the best radio interviews can get a little weird sometimes.  On today's program, the conversation is flowing just great... but the topic?  It's awkward.


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Word of Mouth
12:41 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

4.17.14: Cringe Humor, An Ex-Conspiracy Theorist & Poetry

Credit lareviewofbooks.org, wamu.org, vice.com & willieperdomo.com

We've all felt it before, that cringe when you witness something awkward that you have absolutely no control over. Let's admit it, though, we don't ever actually look away. We might cover our mouth and contort our face when watching the king of awkward bosses Michael Scott up the awkward ante, but without the Michael-isms, The Office just wouldn't be the same campy success that it was. Today's Word of Mouth delves into those cringe-tastic moments to reveal why it is now the pervasive comedy style.

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

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Word of Mouth
2:07 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

4.10.14: Science Of Laughing, NH's Psychic Community, Neurocomic & Listener Submissions

Credit @Doug88888, Gerry Balding, Sarah0s, Adam Cohn, Mark Evans, Ross Pollock, Don LaVange, Giorgio Raffaelli & hey tiffany! via flickr Creative Commons

Today on Word of Mouth - laughing! And why we do it. We're getting science-y with the giggles before moving on to a less-than-scientific community: psychics. Then, the art of the brain takes over with a look at graphic novel that takes place inside the brain. Finally, what happens to digital art, and how do we restore it?

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

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Word of Mouth
11:31 am
Tue November 12, 2013

The Art of Procrastination

The Art of Procrastination by John Perry

Feeling guilty about putting off something important?  Can’t seem to finish that daunting task at the top of the to-do-list?  Here’s a philosophy book for you: “The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing John Perry is an emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University, and an admitted chronic procrastinator.  He wrote the book as a way of avoiding doing something else – a principle he calls “structured procrastination".

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Word of Mouth
10:51 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Nicholson Baker On Paul Chowder And 'Traveling Sprinkler'

Credit Photo of Nicholson Baker courtesy the Poetry Foundation

Author Nicholson Baker joins us to talk about his recurring character Paul Chowder. The procrastinating poet first tuned up in Baker's novel The Anthologist, and is now the center of his latest book, Traveling Sprinkler.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:29 am
Mon April 16, 2012

The Healthiest Man in the World?

Photo of A.J. Jacobs by Michael Cogliantry

A.J. Jacobs is serious about self improvement.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
12:00 pm
Sat November 26, 2011

11/26/11 PART 2

Photo by Marsmet523, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Jay Wexler's new book and blog focus on the odd Constitutional clauses we should, maybe, focus on a little less... and those we should, perhaps, turn into awesome t-shirts.

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