This American Life podcast

This American Life

Each week we choose a theme. Then anything can happen. This American Life is true stories that unfold like little movies for radio. Personal stories with funny moments, big feelings, and surprising plot twists. Newsy stories that try to capture what it’s like to be alive right now. It’s the most popular weekly podcast in the world, and winner of the first ever Pulitzer Prize for a radio show or podcast. Hosted by Ira Glass and produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago.

Each week we choose a theme. Then anything can happen. This American Life is true stories that unfold like little movies for radio. Personal stories with funny moments, big feelings, and surprising plot twists. Newsy stories that try to capture what it’s like to be alive right now. It’s the most popular weekly podcast in the world, and winner of the first ever Pulitzer Prize for a radio show or podcast. Hosted by Ira Glass and produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago.

 

#104

828: Minor Crimes Division

People taking it upon themselves to solve the tiny, overlooked crimes of the world. ---Prologue: Host Ira Glass bikes around Manhattan with Gersh Kuntzman, in search of illegal license plates. (11 minutes) ---Act One: Writer Michael Harriot reexamines the DIY criminal justice system his mom invented to deal with his bad behavior as a child. (20 minutes) ---Act Two: Producer Aviva DeKornfeld talks to Caveh Zahedi about a crime he may or may not have committed, depending on who you ask. (7 minutes) ---Act Three: Micaela Blei accidentally solves a crime that had been going on for a long time, right under her nose, and has to decide what to do next. She told this story onstage at The Moth. (7 minutes) ---Act Four: Editor Bethel Habte examines video evidence of two parents trying to get to the bottom of a minor crime committed in their own home. (7 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/828/transcript) ... Read more

07 Apr 2024

59 MINS

59:29

07 Apr 2024


#103

587: The Perils of Intimacy

Mysteries that exist in relationships we thought couldn't possibly surprise us. ---Prologue: Ira talks to Rachel Rosenthal, who spent years trying to figure out who had stolen her identity. She was closing bank account after bank account, getting more and more paranoid, until she realized she knew exactly who the thief was. (5 minutes) ---Act One: Ira’s conversation with Rachel Rosenthal continues. She tells the story of why it took her so long to break up with her boyfriend, even after she figured out that he had stolen from her. We heard about Rachel's story via the podcast Risk! (9 minutes) ---Act Two: Producer Neil Drumming conducts an experiment to find out: can two adults, both new in town, become friends, with the right help? (16 minutes) ---Act Three: Comedian Kyle Mizono, in a live performance, tells about the time she met her hero, spent a week working with him every day, and it went really well. And then, she emailed him. (10 minutes) ---Act Four: A short story by Lydia Davis about trying to calculate the cost of a love affair. The story is read by actor Matt Malloy. (12 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/587/transcript) ... Read more

31 Mar 2024

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:22

31 Mar 2024


#102

827: All the King's Horses

The things we break and the ones we can't fix. ---Prologue: Ira tells the stories of three things that broke–two of them in his own family. (8 minutes) ---Act One: A teenage whiz kid invents a new toy for Milton Bradley. Then the trouble starts. (28 minutes) ---Act Two: Reporter Dana Ballout sifts through a very long list—the list of journalists killed in the Israel-Hamas War—and comes back with five small fragments of the lives of the people on it. (10 minutes) ---Act Three: A skateboarding legend makes a final attempt at a high-flying trick. (6 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/827/transcript) ... Read more

24 Mar 2024

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:14

24 Mar 2024


#101

826: Unprepared for What Has Already Happened

People waking up to the fact that the world has suddenly changed. ---Prologue: Jackson Landers tells the story of a very strange decision he made one summer day. (6 minutes) ---Act One: Elena Kostyuchenko tells the story of how she was probably poisoned after reporting on Russian’s invasion of Ukraine, and how she kept not believing it was happening. Bela Shayevich translated this story from Russian and reads it for us. (21 minutes) ---Act Two: A recording of comedian Tig Notaro in the process of trying to catch up to the present and absolutely not being able to. (8 minutes) ---Act Three: Producer Zoe Chace with a political fable that she noticed playing out last week in North Carolina. (11 minutes) ---Act Four: Producer Tobin Low finds a group of people with a special relationship with the idea of catching up. (10 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/826/transcript) ... Read more

17 Mar 2024

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:49

17 Mar 2024


#100

825: Yousef

A series of phone calls to a man in Gaza named Yousef Hammash, between early December and now. He talks about what he and his family are experiencing, sometimes as they are experiencing it. ---Act One: Over the course of one week in December, Yousef tries to get his sisters to safety, in Rafah. (29 minutes) ---Act Two: Yousef is managing a camp of 60 people in Rafah, including his youngest sister, who is 8 months pregnant. Every day there’s talk that Israel will launch a ground assault in Rafah. Yousef and his sister make a plan for her to give birth safely, but it doesn’t go according to plan. And all 60 people in the family are looking to Yousef to tell them where they should go next and how to stay safe. (27 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/825/transcript) ... Read more

03 Mar 2024

1 HR 06 MINS

1:06:03

03 Mar 2024


#99

824: Family Meeting

Your mother and I have something we want to talk with you about. ---Prologue: A family sits down to discuss one thing. But then the true purpose of the meeting emerges. (9 ½ minutes) ---Act One: For one kibbutz-dwelling family in Israel, the decision of where to land after the October 7th attacks goes back and forth… and back… and forth. (28 minutes) ---Act One: For one kibbutz-dwelling family in Israel, the decision of where to land after the October 7th attacks goes back and forth… and back… and forth. (28 minutes) ---Act Two: An excerpt from “Belles Lettres," a short story by Nafissa Thompson-Spires from her book Heads of the Colored People, performed by actors Erika Alexander and Eisa Davis with a cameo from our colleague Alvin Melathe. (14 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/824/transcript) ... Read more

25 Feb 2024

58 MINS

58:52

25 Feb 2024


#98

823: The Question Trap

An investigation of when and why people ask loaded questions that are a proxy for something else. ---Prologue: Host Ira Glass talks with producer Tobin Low about the question he got asked after he and his husband moved in together, and what he thinks people were really asking. (4 minutes) ---Act One: “What do you think about Beyoncé?” and other questions that are asked a lot, raised by people on first dates. (12 minutes) ---Act Two: When a common, seemingly innocuous question goes wildly off the rails. (13 minutes) ---Act Three: Why are people asking me if my mother recognizes me, when it’s totally beside the point? (14 minutes) ---Act Four: Schools ask their students the strangest essay questions sometimes. The experience of tutoring anxious teenagers through how to answer them requires a balladier, singing their lived experience to a crowd as though it were the Middle Ages. (10 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/823/transcript) ... Read more

04 Feb 2024

57 MINS

57:29

04 Feb 2024


#97

822: The Words to Say It

What it means to have words—and to lose them. ---Prologue: Sometimes we don’t want to say what’s going on because putting it into words would make it real. At other times, words don’t seem to capture the weight of what we want to say. Susanna Fogel talks about her friend Margaret Riley, who died earlier this week. (6 minutes) ---Act One: The story of a woman from Gaza City who ran out of words. Seventy-two days into the war, Youmna stopped talking. (27 minutes) ---Act Two: For years there was a word that Val’s mother did not want to use. Val sets out to figure out why. (22 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/822/transcript) ... Read more

28 Jan 2024

58 MINS

58:01

28 Jan 2024


#96

821: Embrace the Suck

People finding themselves in situations that are worse than they thought and deciding to really go with it. ---Prologue: A Boston woman takes her dog for a walk and suddenly finds herself in a terrible situation she never anticipated. The strange thing is, it helps her. (9 minutes) ---Act One: Two college friends try to stop Donald Trump’s primary season momentum by convincing New Hampshire voters to vote against everything they care about. Producer Zoe Chace follows along. (22 minutes) ---Act Two: When producer Ike Sriskandarajah tries to sleep-train his baby, a neighbor decides to call the police. Later, Ike thinks, "I can work with that." (9 minutes) ---Act Three: A story by producer Boen Wang about how to get through a summer of bad days. (9 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/821/transcript) ... Read more

21 Jan 2024

58 MINS

58:50

21 Jan 2024


#95

820: It Wouldn’t Be Make-Believe If You’d Believe In Me

A major political party in a major swing state bets on a new leader: a total political outsider. How does that work out for them? ---Prologue: In 2022, Michigan Republicans ran anti-establishment candidates who claimed the last presidential election was stolen. And they lost big. Now, the state party regroups and must decide whether to stay the course or moderate. (7 minutes) ---Act One: The Michigan GOP’s newly elected leader, Kristina Karamo, faces her first big test: Can she organize and pull off the state party’s fabled, expensive Mackinac Island conference as a political outsider – with no fundraising experience or establishment connections? (9 minutes) ---Act Two: Two young Michigan GOP vice chairs are totally on board with Kristina Karamo’s take on politics and hate the establishment like her. So why do they feel iced out by her? (15 minutes) ---Act Three: At the start of the year, Warren Carpenter was a Kristina Karamo supporter; helped her get elected. Now he’s plotting her ouster. (13 minutes) ---Act Four: Kristina Karamo and her camp defend themselves against Warren’s attacks that they’re bad at fundraising and bad at leading the party. (13 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/820/transcript) ... Read more

24 Dec 2023

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:38

24 Dec 2023


#94

564: Too Soon?

When is too soon for that celebrity comeback, that joke that is either brilliant or full-on repugnant, that parent-child conversation? Stories about a fallen man trying to kickstart his career with a reality show and an awkward moment between a mom and a daughter. ---Prologue: When Jordan was going into his senior year of high school in small town Utah, he and his buddies all lived together in a house, daring each other into Jackass-style pranks and stunts. There's one particular thing Jordan did that he did not want to talk to Ira about. (10 minutes) ---Act One: Harmon Leon is a writer and comedian whose cocktail party story about “the-weirdest-gig-I-ever-did” is more weird—by a lot—than anyone else’s we’ve heard. He answered an ad several years ago that called for a hilarious sidekick to a celebrity on a hidden camera show. (30 minutes) ---Act Two: One of the show's producers, Zoe Chace, tells Ira about a joke she made pretty soon after something terrible had happened. Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/564/transcript) ... Read more

2 hrs Ago

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:26

2 hrs Ago


#93

304: Heretics

The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson. He was a rising star in the evangelical movement when he cast aside the idea of hell and, with it, everything he'd worked for over his entire life. ---Carlton Pearson's church, Higher Dimensions, was once one of the biggest in the city, drawing crowds of 5,000 people every Sunday. But several years ago, scandal engulfed the reverend. He didn't have an affair. He didn't embezzle lots of money. His sin was something that to a lot of people is far worse: He stopped believing in hell. (2 minutes) ---Act One: Reporter Russell Cobb takes us through the remarkable and meteoric rise of Carlton Pearson from a young man to a Pentecostal Bishop: From the moment he first cast the devil out of his 17-year-old girlfriend, to the days when he had a close, personal relationship with Oral Roberts and had appearances on TV and at the White House. Just as Reverend Pearson's career peaked, with more than 5,000 members of his congregation coming every week, he started to think about hell, wondering if a loving God would really condemn most of the human race to burn and writhe in the fire of hell for eternity. (30 minutes) ---Act Two: Once he starts preaching his own revelation, Carlton Pearson's church falls apart. After all, when there's no hell (as the logic goes), you don't really need to believe in Jesus to be saved from it. What follows are the swift departures of his pastors, and an exodus from his congregation—which quickly dwindled to a few hundred people. Donations drop off too, but just as things start looking bleakest, new kinds of people, curious about his change in beliefs, start showing up on Sunday mornings. (23 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/304/transcript) ... Read more

10 Mar 2024

59 MINS

59:22

10 Mar 2024


#92

791: Math or Magic?

When it comes to finding love, there seems to be two schools of thought on the best way to go about it. One says, wait for that lightning-strike magic. The other says, make a calculation and choose the best option available. Who has it right? ---Prologue: When guest host Tobin Low was looking for a husband, he got opposing advice from two of the most important people in his life, his mom and his best friend. (8 minutes) ---Act One: Zarna Garg had a clear plan for how she was going to find a husband. Things did not go as she expected.  (17 minutes) ---Act Two: People who fall in love at first sight often describe it as a kind of magic. One of our producers, Aviva DeKornfeld, is skeptical of these sorts of claims. And also a little envious. (10 minutes) ---Act Three: Calvin is an 11 year old who is learning what love is all about, the hard way. (7 minutes) ---Act Four: Writer Marie Phillips believes that magic is not just reserved for the beginning of a relationship. In fact, she says the real magic can be found  in the end, once you decide to finally leave. (8 minutes) ---Coda: Tobin Low tells us which camp he falls in — math or magic. (2 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/791/transcript) ... Read more

11 Feb 2024

56 MINS

56:34

11 Feb 2024


#91

205: Plan B

There's the thing you plan to do, and then there's the thing you end up doing. ---Ira summarizes the results of an informal poll of about a hundred people, about whether they were living their Plan A or Plan B and recounts a moment from a short story by author Ron Carlson. (2 minutes) ---Act One: John Hodgman first encountered Cuervo Man on a press junket to Cuervo Nation, a small island owned by Jose Cuervo Tequila. Cuervo Man was wearing nothing but a Speedo, wraparound shades, and a red cape. Occasionally he’d stick a toilet plunger on his bald head. John was fascinated and eventually got to know Cuervo Man, whose real name was Ryan. Though the Cuervo act was Ryan’s Plan B, it had a special power that John couldn't help but envy. (19 minutes) ---Act Two: Starlee Kine was becoming friends with a woman named Robin when they started to encounter an obstacle, a common obstacle people run into when the become friends as adults. So Robin invented a Plan B to solve the problem. (6 minutes) ---Act Three: Ira talks with Barry Keenan, who was living a lot of people’s plan A in the early 60’s. He was rich, he was successful. But when he lost all his money and got hooked on painkillers, he switched to a Plan B to make money.  He decided to kidnap the 19-year-old Frank Sinatra Jr.  (11 minutes) ---Act Four: Jonathan Goldstein took a telemarketing job as a kind of temporary Plan B, never suspecting that it would be a ten year chapter in his life. (10 minutes) ---Act Five: J. Robert Lennon reads an excerpt from his short story "The Accursed Items," in which he demonstrates that even objects can fulfill a fate different from the one for which they were intended. Even inanimate objects can have a plan B. (6 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/205/transcript) ... Read more

07 Jan 2024

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:03

07 Jan 2024


#90

786: It's a Game Show!

Something we’ve never done before: true stories told in the form of a game show. ---Prologue: Jiayang Fan has this theory that because she's spent so much time thinking about her own accent when she speaks English, she believes that when she hears other Chinese-Americans speak, she can tell how old they were when they immigrated to the U.S. (7 minutes) ---Act One: We test Jiayang Fan’s self-proclaimed special skill by having her listen to three Chinese-Americans speak, and then guss when they came to the U.S. (20 minutes) ---Act Two: Is it possible for the U.S. to reach the goals set by the Paris Agreement? What steps would we have to take to cut emissions by 50% by 2030? We challenge climate researcher Melissa Lott to get us to that number. (11 minutes) ---Act Three: A game of telephone played on the podcast Normal Gossip reveals how gossip spreads, and why stories change from person to person. (15 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/786/transcript) ... Read more

10 Dec 2023

1 HR 05 MINS

1:05:10

10 Dec 2023


#89

815: How I Learned to Shave

Things our dads taught us, whether they intended to or not. ---Prologue: Ira talks about the time his dad taught him to shave, and how unusual that was. (5 minutes) ---Act One: When Jackie read the obits for the man who had invented the famous Trapper Keeper notebook, she was very surprised. As far as she knew, the inventor was very much alive. It was her dad. Not the guy in the obit. (15 minutes) ---Act Two: A father and son find themselves in a very traditional relationship. Until the end. (21 minutes) ---Act Three: Simon Rich reads his short story "History Report," in which a father explains the sex robots of the future. And other things as well. (14 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/) ... Read more

19 Nov 2023

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:27

19 Nov 2023


#88

813: Is That What I Look Like?

You've been seeing yourself, getting to know what you look like, your whole life. So why does it often take an outsider to see things about you that are obvious, and set you straight? ---Prologue: Guest host Nancy Updike talks about learning something new, and unpleasant, about herself in, where else, a makeup store. She also talks with other people about moments where someone made an observation about them that was shocking. (8 minutes) ---Act One: Writer Domingo Martinez tells a story from his memoir, "The Boy Kings of Texas," about when he was forced to face how he might look in 20 years if he kept doing what he was doing. (12 minutes) ---Act Two: A man has a very clear vision of how he always stood up to his father, protected his mother and fought hard for the truth. Until one day he discovers actual raw data — secretly recorded conversations — that threaten to change his picture of everything. (12 minutes) ---Act Three: Ira Glass interviews actress Molly Ringwald about what happened when she watched one of her own movies, "The Breakfast Club" with her daughter. Ringwald talks about how for the first time, she saw the movie from the parents' point of view, not the kids'. (19 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/813/transcript) ... Read more

05 Nov 2023

56 MINS

56:56

05 Nov 2023


#87

319: And the Call Was Coming from the Basement

For the lead up to Halloween, scary stories that are all true. Zombie raccoons, haunted houses—real haunted houses!—and things that go "EEEEK!!!" in the night. Plus, a story by David Sedaris in which he walks among the dead. ---Ira and Albert Donnay read a true ghost story that appeared in a medical journal in 1921. A "Mrs. H" and her family moved into an old rambling house and strange apparitions started appearing, until her brother-in-law figured out the real cause of the ghostly presences. (6 minutes) ---Act One: Some of the scariest stories happen when fluffy, innocent creatures turn murderously evil. Producer Alex Blumberg tells one such story, about a raccoon gone bad. (13 minutes) ---Act Two: Writer Bill Eville and his brother are picked up on the side of the road late at night, and not taken to their destination. (10 minutes) ---Act Three: We set up a special 800-number for listeners to call with their true-life scary stories. More than 500 people called. The scariest stories we got all had one thing in common. (9 minutes) ---Act Four: One Halloween, David Sedaris decides to skip all the fake monsters and ghosts and zombies and visit the real thing: dead people, in a morgue. (14 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/319/transcript) ... Read more

29 Oct 2023

58 MINS

58:10

29 Oct 2023


#86

812: The Bear at the End of the Tunnel

People who have a good, long time to think about what they’re doing, look hard at what’s ahead of them, and decide to keep moving forward anyway. ---Prologue: Brothers Wes and Jeff spent a winter tagging black bears in Bryce Canyon National Park. One of the bears they needed to tag decided to hibernate at the end of an usually long tunnel. Wes and Jeff try to figure out their next move. (5  minutes) ---Act One: The story of Wes and Jeff venturing into the bear den continues. (11 minutes) ---Act 2: Miki Meek reports on the situation for pregnant women in Idaho under the state’s new, post-Roe abortion laws, which are some of the most restrictive in the country. OB-GYNs say the state is in a crisis. Miki also talks to Idaho legislators who voted for the laws, some of whom now think there should be some changes to the laws. (42 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/812/transcript) ... Read more

22 Oct 2023

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:50

22 Oct 2023


#85

477: Getting Away With It

People breaking the rules fully, completely, and with no bad consequences. Some justify this by saying they’re doing it for others, or for a greater good. Some really don’t care. And, unlike the mealy weaklings you usually hear on this program: none of these wrongdoers seems regretful about what they’ve done. ---Ira takes a flight with travel writer Ken Hegan, to witness Ken deploying a travel gadget that keeps the seat in front of him from reclining. This means more knee space for Ken — but does he get away with it, really? (6 minutes) ---Act One: A boy rides shotgun in a memorable car ride with his mother, and in the process learns how his father earns money for their family. This story appears in Domingo Martinez’s memoir, The Boy Kings of Texas, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. (17 min) ---Act Two: We asked listeners to call in with their stories of getting away with it, and got nearly 1000 messages. Here are a handful. (6 minutes) ---Act Three: Molly Shannon tells the story of when she and a friend evaded a whole lot of adults to travel half-way across the country, despite the fact that they were twelve years old and wearing tutus. Her story was recorded during a live taping of WTF with Marc Maron. (4 minutes) ---Act Four: Producer Alex Blumberg tells the story of how Oklahoma, against huge odds, came to have the first and best publicly-funded pre-school system in the country, and how one businessman joined the fight because a cardboard box full of evidence convinced him that pre-school was the smartest business decision the state could make. (21 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/477/transcript) ... Read more

15 Oct 2023

59 MINS

59:49

15 Oct 2023


#84

751: Audience of One

We bring the movies to you. ---Prologue: Host Ira Glass revisits the one movie he’s seen more than any other, about an ocean liner that gets hit by a tsunami and flips over. (9 minutes) ---Act One: Our producer, Diane Wu, spent most of her life thinking she doesn’t have a unique and personal take on The Sound of Music. She is wrong. (13 minutes) ---Act Two: To cope with the COVID pandemic, producer Sean Cole finds himself turning to a movie about a pandemic. But the virus in this movie isn’t like any you’ve ever heard of. (19 minutes) ---Act Three: Comedian Will Weldon’s ex-wife made a movie loosely based on their marriage. Producer Elna Baker watches the film with Will as he revisits his break-up. (15 minutes) ---Act Four: Jaime Amor does yoga storytelling for kids at Cosmic Kids Yoga and on YouTube. We ask her to try taking on a film for grownups. (7 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/751/transcript) ... Read more

08 Oct 2023

1 HR 11 MINS

1:11:44

08 Oct 2023


#83

811: The One Place I Can’t Go

Spots we’re avoiding in our private maps of the world. ---Prologue: Guest host Bim Adewunmi talks to her cousin Kamyl about a funny thing Kamyl did when she was small, regarding a dog named Foxy. (4 minutes) ---Act One: Comedian Atsuko Okatsuka moved suddenly from Japan to the U.S. when she was eight years old, and has long joked that it was because her grandmother kidnapped her from her dad. But she'd never talked to anyone in her family about what had actually happened. (31 minutes) ---Act Two: Producer Emmanuel Dzotsi has a tale about something he avoids at all costs, even though it seems to follow him everywhere he goes. (8 minutes) ---Act Three: Writer Tamsyn Muir spent her childhood craving a world that she could not find on earth. So as an adult, she just created it. And it was perfect. Until she became the one person who couldn't go there. (12 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/811/transcript) ... Read more

01 Oct 2023

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:16

01 Oct 2023


#82

810: Say It to My Face

Friends and ex-friends finally talk about the one thing between them they've been avoiding. ---Prologue: Host Ira Glass tells a story he’s never told anyone before, about something someone said to him. (4 minutes) ---Act One: Gabe Mollica had something important he needed to discuss with his friend  — stewed about it for eight years. But rather than go to that friend, he talked about it with everyone other than that one person. (28 minutes) ---Act Two: Jasmine and Gabbie are best friends. BFFs! But there’s something major that they’ve never been able to talk about. Something so important that it makes them wonder, who does this person even think I am? (23 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/) ... Read more

17 Sep 2023

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:25

17 Sep 2023


#81

809: The Call

One call to a very unusual hotline, and everything that followed. ---Prologue: Ira talks about a priest who set up what may have been the first hotline in the United States. It was just him, answering a phone, trying to help strangers who called. (2 minutes) ---Act One: The Never Use Alone hotline was set up so that drug users can call if they are say, using heroin by themselves. Someone will stay on the line with them in case they overdose. We hear the recording of one call, from a woman named Kimber. (13 minutes) ---Act Two: An EMT learns he was connected to the call, in more ways than he realized. (16 minutes) ---Act Three: Jessie, who took the call, explains how she discovered the hotline. She keeps in touch with Kimber. Until one day, Kimber disappears. (16 minutes) ---Act Four: We learn what happened to Kimber after she called the line. (10 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/809/transcript) ... Read more

10 Sep 2023

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:58

10 Sep 2023


#80

388: Rest Stop

Nine radio reporters. Two days. One rest stop on the New York State Thruway. Stories of people who are just passing through, and the ones who can’t leave, because this is where their jobs are. ---Act One: Host Ira Glass describes scenes from a rest stop on the New York State Thruway, the Plattekill Travel Plaza, and the kind of people you might meet if you ever stayed long enough to talk with them. These include Robert Woodhill, the general manager, who needs a good sales day so he can beat his friend Andy, who manages a rest stop in Maine, in their weekly competition. Ira hangs out with a group of foreign students who’ve landed in Plattekill on a summer work program, and reporter Lisa Pollak gets travel tips from Lenny Wheat, who works at the rest stop’s information booth. Reporter Jonathan Goldstein spends a few hours in the rest stop parking lot. (30 minutes) ---Act Two: More stories of travelers and workers at a highway rest stop. The competition between Plattekill and Maine continues. Reporter Sean Cole observes the lunch rush at the rest stop’s busiest restaurant and stumbles into a behind-the-scenes romance. Reporter Gregory Warner watches a cashier at the Travel Mart deal with an angry customer. Reporters Nancy Updike and Jay Allison hang out for the graveyard shift – midnight to 8 a.m. – and find a surprising amount of romance at the rest stop. (26  minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/388/transcript) ... Read more

03 Sep 2023

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:20

03 Sep 2023


#79

323: The Super

The mysterious hold supers have on their buildings, or that their buildings have on them. ---Host Ira Glass visits the Upper East Side building in Manhattan where Peter Roach has been the super for about ten years. Peter has a lot of keys. He doesn't know what most of them unlock. (4 minutes) ---Act One: Reporter Jack Hitt tells the story of how he helped organize tenants and threaten a rent strike in a New York City building back in the 1980s. Before long, Bob, the building super became his enemy. The situation got pretty ugly. Mobster ugly. Bob began to brag about how important he was in his native Brazil, how he could kill a person and be immune from prosecution. Only many years later did Jack find out how dangerous Bob really was. (23 minutes) ---Act Two: The super in Josh Bearman's Los Angeles building was kind of a needy character. He would sometimes ask Josh to come into his apartment and help him out -- check whether his garbage was being moved by a ghost, for example. Then one day he told Josh a story that involved these elements: a gas station, a beautiful woman, an orchid, a snowman, Indonesia, and a check he'd written for $30,000. It was so crazy, that naturally, Josh believed it. (12 minutes) ---Act Three: A man who we're calling "Dennis" inherits his father's job as a landlord of a big apartment building. His dad had warned him that bad tenants could drive even a good man to become heartless, but Dennis vowed that would never happen to him. He's tested on this point when he tries to help a couple that falls behind in their rent. He sets up a payment plan for them, teaches them how to make a budget, helps them with their personal problems. For six years, he stops himself from kicking them out. This story was co-produced by Sonari Glinton. (16 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/323/transcript) ... Read more

27 Aug 2023

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:30

27 Aug 2023


#78

808: The Rest of the Story

Legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey had a popular show called “The Rest of the Story.” Today on our show, we do just that. We hear from people who, whether they want to or not, find themselves face-to-face with the rest of their stories. ---Prologue: Legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey had one of the most popular radio shows of all time. For 35 years he served up big twists and  jaw dropping reveals all with his one-of-a-kind delivery. (7 minutes) ---Act One: Psychiatry used to be all talk. Then came a patient named Ray Osheroff. Producer Chris Benderev tells us what became of the man who changed therapy. (26 minutes) ---Act Two: Contributor Samuel James thought he knew what happened to his mother. But he was wrong. Then he was wrong again. (9 minutes) ---Act Three: A new resident in Berlin is greeted like a minor celebrity wherever she goes. The perks are nice, but does she really want to know why? Producer Bim Adewunmi has the rest of the story. (14 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/808/transcript) ... Read more

20 Aug 2023

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:24

20 Aug 2023


#77

714: Day at the Beach

It’s the last few weeks of summer, so we’re going to the beach! This week, stories from the surf and sand. ---Prologue: Host Ira Glass reflects on his feelings about going to the beach. (3 minutes) ---Act One: Producer Dana Chivvis explores the case of a 66-year-old working lifeguard who is suing New York State for age discrimination after refusing to wear a Speedo on the job. (15 minutes) ---Act Two: Alex Blumberg talks to Shane Dubow about a time decades ago, when Shane went sea kayaking and camping with his friends on the beach in Baja California, Mexico. When Shane’s neck stiffens up on him, he finds himself looking for an unlikely chiropractor, in the middle of nowhere. (11 minutes) ---Act Three: This clip is from what Ira calls “the beachiest show” public radio ever made. It’s a segment from NPR’s 1970’s show, Ocean Hour. In it we hear from a man who lives on the beach, literally. He explains how it provides him everything he needs to survive. You can hear the original hour of radio, which included The Beachcomber, courtesy of Nation Public Radio, Inc. (3 minutes) ---Act Four: David Sedaris comes from a big family, who for many years growing up, took annual vacations to the same beach house. In this story, David tells us about losing a sister, and how her death prompted a family reunion back at the beach. David is the author of many books, including Calypso. (27 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/714/transcript) ... Read more

13 Aug 2023

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:40

13 Aug 2023


#76

807: Eight Fights

Nadia's family is split between Russia and Ukraine, which is pretty common. And when Russia invaded Ukraine, it didn’t just start fighting on the battlefield. It sparked family conflict, too. An intimate story of the war from writer Masha Gessen.  ---Prologue: An extended family, and eight fights. (1 minutes) ---Fight #1: Luka’s parents – Nadia and Karen – try to figure out where to take him once war breaks out. (6 minutes) ---Fight #2: Nadia and Karen have been arguing over Russian-ness since they needed to pick a school for Luka. (10 minutes) ---Fights #3 and #4: Nadia remembers the times that Luka’s father would suggest going to Crimea for vacation, as if it wasn’t Ukrainian land occupied by Russia. And she remembers a present that Karen once gave Luka––the sort which had to be smuggled into the country. (6 minutes) ---Fight #5: Nadia tells the story of her father, Alex, who lives near Bucha, and how differently he and she view the Russian atrocities there. (10 minutes) ---Fight #6: Nadia tells the story of her mother, who lives in Russia, and how she won’t do the one thing Nadia keeps asking her to do. (2 minutes) ---Fight #7: Karen sends Nadia a photo which drives them to a final showdown. (12 minutes) ---Fight #8: Nadia’s step-father works for the Russian government. How to manage that? (4 minutes) ---Epilogue: Nadia and Karen’s son, Luka, who most of these fights are about, gets the last word. (3 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/807/transcript) ... Read more

06 Aug 2023

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:24

06 Aug 2023


#75

806: I Can't Quit You, Baby

People  on the verge of a big change, not wanting to let go. And the people who give them the final push. ---Prologue: Guest Host Sean Cole gets some scary news about his health, and decides to quit smoking. (5 minutes) ---Act One: Sean Cole attempts to kick his 35 year-long smoking habit, using a book that’s said to have helped millions of people to quit. (33 minutes) ---Act Two: Someone writes into the advice column Dear Sugar to ask whether or not they should quit a relationship, and gets a strange but very persuasive response. (9 minutes) ---Act Three: Even people who vehemently disagreed with Heider Garcia wanted him to stay in his job. But then something happened that made staying impossible. Zoe Chace reports. (9 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/806/transcript) ... Read more

30 Jul 2023

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:49

30 Jul 2023


#74

805: The Florida Experiment

Governor Ron DeSantis is running for president on the argument that he'll do for America what he's done for Florida. So what's it like in Florida? ---Prologue: Florida is now the fastest growing state, and DeSantis says people are moving there from all over because of him. We speak to people who did make the move, at least in part, for DeSantis’s policies. (6  minutes) ---Act One: Among the big items in DeSantis's run for president is medical freedom. Producer Zoe Chace wanted to understand its appeal and its growing popularity. So she spent some time in Sarasota County, where one man — at the side of former Trump appointee Mike Flynn — is creating a sort of little parallel universe for this very thing. (33 minutes) ---Act Two: DeSantis has passed law after law about what can and can’t be taught in Florida classrooms, starting as early as elementary school. And last spring, Florida Republicans introduced a bill initially proposing to ban things like critical race theory and identity politics, or students majoring in things like gender studies in Florida universities. Reporter Emmanuel Dzotsi followed how things unfolded at one of the biggest universities there, Florida State, from the bill’s introduction all the way to its passage. He explains how professors and students have been preparing. (25 minutes) ---Act Three: Among the legislation introduced by DeSantis that has passed is a ban on minors receiving transition care. The bill passed into law a few months ago. We speak with a teen whose family has since had to flee the state in order to access the care they needed. (2 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/805/transcript) ... Read more

16 Jul 2023

1 HR 15 MINS

1:15:26

16 Jul 2023


#73

804: The Retrievals

At a Yale fertility clinic, dozens of women began their I.V.F. cycles full of expectation and hope. Then a surgical procedure caused them excruciating pain. In the hours that followed, some of the women called the clinic to report their pain — but most of the staff members who fielded the patients’ reports did not know the real reason for the pain, which was that a nurse at the clinic was stealing fentanyl and replacing it with saline. What happened at that clinic? What are the stories we tell about women's pain and what happens when we minimize or dismiss it? The Retrievals, a new five-part series from Serial Productions, is hosted and reported by longtime This American Life producer and editor Susan Burton. We're excited to bring you the first episode today. ---Prologue: Ira Glass introduces the first episode of a brand new podcast from longtime This American Life producer and editor Susan Burton. (1 minute) ---Act One: Susan Burton introduces some of the many women who went to a Yale fertility clinic for IVF treatment, and charts their experience from hopeful beginning to excruciatingly painful egg retrieval. (27 minutes) ---Act Two: Often bypassing logic, the women go to great lengths to construct elaborate stories to make sense of their inexplicable pain. And then, a letter arrives. (25 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/804/transcript) ... Read more

02 Jul 2023

59 MINS

59:42

02 Jul 2023


#72

803: Greetings, People Of Earth

Humans encounter non-human intelligences of various kinds and try to make sense of them. ---Prologue: Ira has some thoughts about our country’s long history of alien invasion movies. (2 minutes) ---Act One: In this past year we’ve witnessed a revolution in A.I. since the public rollout of ChatGPT.  Our Senior Editor David Kestenbaum thinks that even though there’s been a ton of coverage, there’s one thing people haven’t talked much about: have these machines gotten to the point that they’re starting to have something like human intelligence? Where they actually understand language and concepts, and can reason? He talks with scientists at Microsoft who’ve been trying to figure that out. (30 minutes) ---Act Two: A short piece of fiction from the perspective of aliens who’ve been scouting Earth, from writer Terry Bisson. It’s called “They're Made Out of Meat.” It’s performed by actors Maeve Higgins and H Jon Benjamin. (5 minutes) ---Act Three: A species of massive, mysterious, highly intelligent beings have recently been making contact with humanity. Or our boats, anyway. Many people seem convinced they are seeking revenge for past injustices. Producer Chris Benderev wondered if that was true. (7 minutes) ---Act Four: Many of us, especially when we’re young, feel like we’re the alien, trying to understand and fit in with the humans on this planet. Producer Diane Wu spent some time recently with a teenage humanoid who feels that way. Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/803/transcript) ... Read more

25 Jun 2023

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:13

25 Jun 2023


#71

802: Father's Day

Ira's own father, Barry Glass, co-hosts this special Father's Day show. ---Prologue: Ira talks with his father and co-host for this show, Barry Glass, about his own early days working in radio. (3 minutes) ---Act One: LA writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh discovers that a local rock band has recorded a song about her own father, wildly misinterpreting who he is. They think he’s a free spirit; she believes he’s a worried, miserly grump. She invites the band and her father into the studio to discuss it. (10 minutes) ---Act Two: Ian Brown explains the lengths a normal dad will go to give his daughter a memorable birthday party, including a birthday stunt so crass that he and his wife shocked all of their friends. (12 minutes) ---Act Three: Audio artist Jay Allison and writer Dan Robb present an audio montage on the moment Robb’s parents divorced. (11 minutes) ---Act Four: Chicago playwright Beau O’Reilly talks about how he reconciled with his estranged father years ago by becoming an alcoholic just like him. (14 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/802/transcript) ... Read more

18 Jun 2023

59 MINS

59:38

18 Jun 2023


#70

692: The Show of Delights

In these dark, combative times, we attempt the most radical counterprogramming we could imagine: a show made up entirely of stories about delight. ---Prologue: Ira Glass talks to Bim Adewunmi about her understanding of delight through American pop culture and the summer she spent in the US as a 19-year-old. Ira then hands the show over to Bim as guest host. (10 minutes) ---Act One: Bim talks to poet Ross Gay, whose book inspired today’s show, about the discipline and rigor of seeking and holding onto delight. (8 minutes) ---Act Two: Producer Robyn Semien captures a special morning for her five-year-old son, Cole, who is doing something delightful for the very first time: he’s getting to ride the school bus. (4 minutes) ---Act Three: Producer Miki Meek speaks to Noriko Meek, her 72-year-old mother, about discovering delight late in life. (8 minutes) ---Act Four: Producer Dana Chivvis follows the night zookeeper at the Denver Zoo as she doles out snacks and tucks the animals in. (9 minutes) ---Act Five: What happens when a dealer of delight gets depressed? Podcast host Tracy Clayton talks to Bim Adewunmi about the road back. (17 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/692/transcript) ... Read more

04 Jun 2023

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:14

04 Jun 2023


#69

800: Jane Doe

Five years after the #MeToo explosion, what’s happened in the lives of the women who stepped forward and went public with their stories? We tell the story of a teenager who spoke out against one of the most powerful people in her state, and what happened next. ---Prologue: Some powerful and well known men lost their jobs after #MeToo. But what about the women at the center of all this who’ve been way less visible after they told what happened to them? We hear about big and small ways the aftermath of coming forward continues to pop up in their daily lives. (10 minutes) ---Act One: Back in 2021, a 19-year-old intern at the Idaho state legislature reported that a state Representative named Aaron von Ehlinger raped her. She went by the name Jane Doe. There was a public ethics hearing and Ehlinger resigned. State legislators talked about how proud they were of their ability to do the right thing so quickly. But the story that the public knows is very different from what actually happened to Jane. She talks about it in-depth for the first time. (25 minutes) ---Act Two: Jane Doe walks into a public ethics hearing at the Idaho state capitol and navigates the aftermath. (23 minutes) ---Act Three: Jane Doe sent some questions for us to ask Chanel Miller. For years, Chanel was known as Emily Doe. She wrote a victim impact statement that millions of people read. (A swimmer at Stanford University named Brock Turner sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious.) She talks about how she decided to come out with her real name and who Emily Doe is to her now. (9 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/800/transcript) ... Read more

28 May 2023

1 HR 15 MINS

1:15:37

28 May 2023


#68

508: Superpowers

We answer the following questions about superpowers: Can superheroes be real people? (No.) Can real people become superheroes? (Maybe.) And which is better: flight or invisibility? (Depends who you ask.)  ---Host Ira Glass talks to comic artist Chris Ware, who thought about superheroes a lot of the time as a kid. He invented his own character and made a superhero costume, which he wore to school under his regular clothes. Which went fine until he realized he would have to change for gym class. (6 minutes) ---Act One: John Hodgman conducts an informal survey in which he asks the age-old question: Which is better: The power of flight or the power of invisibility? (14 minutes) ---Act Two: Kelly McEvers with the story of Zora, a self-made superhero. From the time she was five years old, Zora had recurring dreams in which she was a 6'5" warrior queen, who could fly and shoot lightning from her hands. She made a list, pages and pages long, of all the things she could accomplish to actually become that superhero: martial arts, evasive driving, bomb defusing. By the time she was 30, most of her list had been checked off. She was as close to a superhero as any mortal could hope to come. But her dream had changed. (17 minutes) ---Act Three: Ira talks with Jonathan Morris, the amazingly funny and charming editor of the website "Gone and Forgotten," an internet archive of failed comic book characters. Jonathan explains what makes a new superhero succeed, and what makes him tank. (9 minutes) ---Act Four: Of course you can’t be a superhero without a supervillain trying to destroy you. And the most interesting supervillains, of course, are the ones who think that they're the real heroes, not the guys in the capes. Glynn Washington tells the story of Evil D. (9 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/508/transcript) ... Read more

21 May 2023

59 MINS

59:19

21 May 2023


#67

799: The Lives of Others

Looping thoughts about people you barely know, or don't know at all.  ---Prologue: We get a tip that an entire town is consumed by a huge, elementary-school-style crush on a local veterinarian. Guest host Lilly Sullivan goes to Utah to investigate the mystery of the hot vet. (8 minutes) ---Act One: We do the thing the people in town would rather die than do – spill the crush to the legendary Dr. Artz himself. Lilly Sullivan reports. (8 minutes) ---Act Two: Producer Alix Spiegel talks to one of her closest friends, Sarah Blust, about the time Sarah met a stranger who, unbeknownst to her, had already spent years thinking about her. (29 minutes) ---Act Three: There are certain jobs where thinking about someone else’s life is just built into it. Aviva DeKornfeld has a theory that petsitting is a job like that. She talks to a couple of pet sitters to find out. (14 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/799/transcript) ... Read more

14 May 2023

1 HR 05 MINS

1:05:10

14 May 2023


#66

797: What I Was Thinking As We Were Sinking

It's funny the things that go through your head during a disaster. ---Prologue: Host Ira Glass has fallen off his bike a number of times at this point. He reflects on what goes through his head as he’s going down. (2 minutes) ---Act One: Producer Ike Sriskandarajah revisits a maritime disaster that left an impact on a group of friends from his youth. What he learns forever changes their impressions of that day. (23 minutes) ---Act Two: When to leave Twitter is a question lots of executives faced when Elon Musk took over the company — those who weren't immediately fired, anyway. We hear an insider’s account from the man who ran Trust & Safety at the company, until he couldn’t stand it anymore. (28 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/797/transcript) ... Read more

23 Apr 2023

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:59

23 Apr 2023


#65

796: What Lies Beneath

Summoning up stuff that’s usually hidden down deep. ... Read more

16 Apr 2023

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:05

16 Apr 2023


#64

765: Off Course

Three people, and one animal, who know the path their lives will take until, suddenly, they don’t. ... Read more

02 Apr 2023

1 HR 06 MINS

1:06:19

02 Apr 2023


#63

793: The Problem with Ghosts

The ghosts that visit us, the ghosts that never do, and the ghosts that walk among us. ... Read more

12 Mar 2023

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:18

12 Mar 2023


#62

788: Half-Baked Stories About My Dead Mom

Writer Etgar Keret tries to come up with the stories that capture his late mother, Orna Keret—but it’s hard, he says, because she’s like Maria in West Side Story and she’s also like Thanos from the Avengers. He ends up with a series of very short stories — most just a few paragraphs long — that give glimpses of different sides of her. ... Read more

08 Jan 2023

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:51

08 Jan 2023


#61

787: Baby's First Christmas

People experiencing Christmas in brand new ways, giving the holiday even more meaning. ... Read more

25 Dec 2022

58 MINS

58:58

25 Dec 2022


#60

757: The Ghost in the Machine

People use machines to find people they lost. ... Read more

18 Dec 2022

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:02

18 Dec 2022


#59

785: Through the Looking Glass

People trying to coax each other across the line, from one side to the other. ... Read more

27 Nov 2022

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:45

27 Nov 2022


#58

783: Kids These Days

We hear from kids who are dealing with some of the country’s most contentious debates. Debates that are supposedly about them. ... Read more

30 Oct 2022

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:59

30 Oct 2022


#57

780: Setting the Record Straight

Getting to the facts can be difficult, but it’s always the right thing to do. Except when it isn’t. ... Read more

02 Oct 2022

59 MINS

59:02

02 Oct 2022


#56

750: The Ferryman

Getting from Point A to Point B—with expert assistance. ... Read more

25 Sep 2022

59 MINS

59:18

25 Sep 2022


#55

550: Three Miles

There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better. ... Read more

11 Sep 2022

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:58

11 Sep 2022


#54

528: The Radio Drama Episode

Our most ambitious live show ever! We pulled together a massive team of theater pros at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Opera House—nearly 50 singers, actors, dancers and musicians. The result? Journalism turned into a Broadway musical, into opera. Mike Birbiglia, Sasheer Zamata, Stephin Merritt, Josh Hamilton, Lindsay Mendez, Lin-Manuel Miranda and others. ... Read more

04 Sep 2022

1 HR 27 MINS

1:27:31

04 Sep 2022


#53

778: Me Minus Me

When a fundamental part of yourself changes dramatically, are you still who you thought you were? ... Read more

28 Aug 2022

57 MINS

57:58

28 Aug 2022


#52

102: Road Trip!

With so many songs, movies, and books about the joy of the open road, it's hard to take just a normal road trip without huge expectations. ... Read more

21 Aug 2022

59 MINS

59:55

21 Aug 2022


#51

777: Name. Age. Detail.

Ten people were killed at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY. Their stories, as you’ve never heard them. ... Read more

14 Aug 2022

1 HR 19 MINS

1:19:01

14 Aug 2022


#50

625: Essay B

In 1967, the first two Black students were enrolled at an all-white private boarding school in Virginia. The main reason they were there? To benefit the white kids. ... Read more

07 Aug 2022

59 MINS

59:57

07 Aug 2022


#49

776: I Work Better on Deadline

Stories of people racing against time to solve a huge intractable problem. Will they make it? ... Read more

31 Jul 2022

1 HR 05 MINS

1:05:27

31 Jul 2022


#48

109: Notes on Camp

People who love summer camp say that non-camp people simply don't understand what's so amazing about it. We attempt to bridge this gap of misunderstanding between camp people and non-camp people. ... Read more

24 Jul 2022

59 MINS

59:37

24 Jul 2022


#47

400: Stories Pitched by Our Parents

We try something harder than anything we've ever tried before, by taking the random ideas that members of our own families have told us would be "perfect for the show," and turning them into actual stories. ... Read more

17 Jul 2022

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:02

17 Jul 2022


#46

775: The Possum Experiment

An investigation into a very basic question about people: Are most of us bad or good? ... Read more

10 Jul 2022

59 MINS

59:59

10 Jul 2022


#45

666: The Theme That Shall Not Be Named

Satan! In his many surprising manifestations, all around us. ---Prologue: Host Ira Glass plays recordings from the Satanic Prayer Line, and speaks to the line’s creator, Chris Allert. (8 1/2 minutes) ---Act One: New Yorker staff writer Kelefa Sanneh tells the story of exorcist Bob Larson’s trip into the world of heavy metal. (20 minutes) ---Act Two: Religion professor Elaine Pagels explains the roots and evolution of Satan in religious texts. She is the author of "The Origin of Satan." (9 minutes) ---Act Three: Writer Gary Shteyngart presents a fictional diary of two Russian men — and a story of the special malevolence that can grow from an intimate situation. A portion of the story is read by actor Josh Gad. Gary Shteyngart’s most recent book is "Lake Success.” (18 minutes) Transcripts are available at [thisamericanlife.org] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/666/transcript) ... Read more

04 Jul 2022

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:56

04 Jul 2022


#44

774: The Pink House at the Center of the World

The Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade began with a lawsuit filed by a Mississippi abortion clinic. On the day Roe was overturned, we were there. Stories from the center of this moment of history, the day it happened. ... Read more

03 Jul 2022

1 HR 10 MINS

1:10:45

03 Jul 2022


#43

583: It’ll Make Sense When You’re Older

Kids do not like being told it’ll make sense when they’re older. They’re pretty sure the grown-ups are wrong. ... Read more

26 Jun 2022

58 MINS

58:42

26 Jun 2022


#42

773: The Longest Distance Between Two Points

Getting from A to B via Z. ... Read more

19 Jun 2022

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:35

19 Jun 2022


#41

672: No Fair!

Stories of very small injustices and also one very big one. ... Read more

12 Jun 2022

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:15

12 Jun 2022


#40

772: The Kids' Table

Kids navigating hairy situations all on their own, with no help from grown-ups. ... Read more

05 Jun 2022

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:13

05 Jun 2022


#39

771: The Parents Step In

Government isn’t doing much to prevent school shootings. So parents are jumping in: parents whose kids have died in mass shootings, in the wake of each shooting. They take practical, effective action — and they get results. ... Read more

29 May 2022

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:34

29 May 2022


#38

638: Rom-Com

The one thing you know for sure when you're watching a romantic comedy is that it's going to turn out okay in the end. When you're living one? Not so much. This week, stories that unfold like rom-coms. ... Read more

22 May 2022

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:07

22 May 2022


#37

605: Kid Logic

Kids using perfectly logical arguments, and arriving at perfectly wrong conclusions. ... Read more

15 May 2022

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:07

15 May 2022


#36

770: My Lying Eyes

People staring squarely at the truth, and still finding it hard to believe what they’re seeing. ... Read more

08 May 2022

1 HR 06 MINS

1:06:30

08 May 2022


#35

769: The Reluctant Explorer

A man finds himself thrust into a new world he didn’t necessarily ask to visit. He takes a look around. ... Read more

01 May 2022

58 MINS

58:53

01 May 2022


#34

768: The Other Front Lines

Four personal stories from the war in Ukraine. ... Read more

24 Apr 2022

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:54

24 Apr 2022


#33

767: Do Not Go Gentle

In this moment when autocrats and almost-autocrats are getting bolder and more powerful, we bring you two stories of resistance, from Hungary and Russia. ... Read more

10 Apr 2022

59 MINS

59:47

10 Apr 2022


#32

766: Well Someone Had to Do SOMETHING!

People trying to jump in and solve other people's problems, putting themselves directly in the gap between the problem and the solution. ... Read more

03 Apr 2022

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:06

03 Apr 2022


#31

523: Death and Taxes

It is a peculiar feeling to know with certainty that something big is about to happen to you. This week, we watch people go right up to the edge of inevitable change. ... Read more

27 Mar 2022

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:25

27 Mar 2022


#30

764: School's Out Forever

The pandemic broke school. Can we ever go back? ... Read more

13 Mar 2022

1 HR 08 MINS

1:08:35

13 Mar 2022


#29

175: Babysitting

What goes on while mom and dad are away, that mom and dad never find out about. Including the story of two teenagers who decide to invent children to babysit, as an excuse to get out of their own house. ... Read more

06 Mar 2022

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:14

06 Mar 2022


#28

763: The Other Mr. President

Stories about Vladimir Putin. Did he come to power in 1999 by killing hundreds of innocent Russians? How’s he really seen in his home country? This show is a mix of old and new stories we’ve done about him. ... Read more

27 Feb 2022

1 HR 11 MINS

1:11:58

27 Feb 2022


#27

466: Blackjack

The casino game everyone thinks they can beat. ... Read more

20 Feb 2022

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:04

20 Feb 2022


#26

762: Apocalypse Creep

A woman wakes up and discovers her backyard has disappeared, and other stories from places slowly coming apart. ... Read more

13 Feb 2022

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:00

13 Feb 2022


#25

761: The Trojan Horse Affair

A while back, one of our producers Brian Reed was in England giving a speech about the podcast he'd hosted, S-Town. A journalism student approached him, asking for advice about a story he wanted to look into – something that’d been big news in Britain, something he’d thought about for years. Brian and the student, Hamza Syed, decided to team up to try and solve the mystery at the heart of that story. The original idea was to put this on our show, but it got too big. Too many twists and turns! This week, it rolls out as a spectacularly great podcast called The Trojan Horse Affair. We’re excited to bring you their first episode today. ... Read more

06 Feb 2022

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:10

06 Feb 2022


#24

760: A City Walks Into an Investigation

Last week's story continues, about a Michigan couple who walked into a police officer's house and made a disturbing discovery. This week: the police officer suffers the consequences and so does the couple. ... Read more

30 Jan 2022

56 MINS

56:48

30 Jan 2022


#23

759: A Couple Walks Into a House

Rob and Reyna Mathis make an unsettling discovery in the home of a local police officer. Soon, their whole city is asking questions about who the officer really is and what he's been doing. ... Read more

23 Jan 2022

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:18

23 Jan 2022


#22

492: Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde

A doctor named Benjamin Gilmer gets a job at a rural clinic in North Carolina. He’s replaced another doctor named Gilmer – Dr. Vince Gilmer – who went to prison after killing his own father. But the more Benjamin’s patients tell him about the other Dr. Gilmer, the more confused he becomes. Everyone loved Vince Gilmer. So Benjamin starts digging around, trying to understand how a good man can seemingly turn bad. Sarah Koeing reports. ... Read more

16 Jan 2022

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:15

16 Jan 2022


#21

758: Talking While Black

Think back to two summers ago, the summer of 2020, when a series of violent, highly-publicized killings of Black Americans sparked outrage and a national movement to eradicate racism and its evils. That movement gave way to a newer, reactionary one, a backlash that is playing out in schools and school board meetings across America. Host Emanuele Berry shares stories about Black people who got tangled up in this current backlash in both extreme and very personal ways. ... Read more

09 Jan 2022

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:01

09 Jan 2022


#20

47: Christmas and Commerce

Stories about the intersection of Christmas and retail, originally broadcast in 1996 when our show was only a year old. Including David Sedaris's story "Santaland Diaries," which first aired on NPR's Morning Edition in a much shorter version. ... Read more

26 Dec 2021

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:21

26 Dec 2021


#19

214: Family Physics

We take the stately laws of physics—laws which mathematicians and scientists have spent centuries discovering and verifying—and apply them to the realm of human relationships, to see if they shed useful light on our daily lives. ... Read more

19 Dec 2021

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:56

19 Dec 2021


#18

756: But I Did Everything Right

People earnestly doing what they're told, and absolutely not getting what they were promised. ... Read more

12 Dec 2021

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:36

12 Dec 2021


#17

755: The Convert

In 2006, a new convert showed up at a mosque in Orange County, California. Known as Farouk al-Aziz, the convert was actually an FBI informant named Craig Monteilh. That informant’s infiltration of the mosque is at the heart of FBI v Fazaga, a case heard at the Supreme Court last month. We return to our episode from 2012, which tells the story behind it. ... Read more

05 Dec 2021

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:42

05 Dec 2021


#16

660: Hoaxing Yourself

People who tell a lie and then believe the lie more than anyone else. ... Read more

21 Nov 2021

58 MINS

58:39

21 Nov 2021


#15

753: What We’ve Got Here is Failure to Communicate

Getting the point across — or trying to, anyway. ... Read more

14 Nov 2021

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:42

14 Nov 2021


#14

628: In the Shadow of the City

Stories that take place on the edge of civilization, just out of sight.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/ADlf6iiEVKU) ... Read more

07 Nov 2021

57 MINS

57:21

07 Nov 2021


#13

203: Recordings for Someone

Personal recordings one person made for just one other person, including what some have called the greatest phone message ever.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/DrsRiVRDOe0) ... Read more

10 Oct 2021

59 MINS

59:52

10 Oct 2021


#12

749: My Bad

An hour devoted to embarrassment, the feeling that we often think of as a small one, but it can actually change you for the rest of your life.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/q8IuT3Ub28k) ... Read more

03 Oct 2021

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:19

03 Oct 2021


#11

553: Stuck in the Middle

People caught in limbo, using ingenuity and guile to try to get themselves out.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/YwoT41x0Xls) ... Read more

26 Sep 2021

59 MINS

59:34

26 Sep 2021


#10

748: The End of the World as We Know It

What happens when one family goes all in on fighting climate change.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/_KDozKOQf4s) ... Read more

19 Sep 2021

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:52

19 Sep 2021


#9

747: Suitable for Children

Who thought that would be good for a kid?![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/LPqZkwRXTAI) ... Read more

12 Sep 2021

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:43

12 Sep 2021


#8

746: This Is Just Some Songs

We made you a mixtape. Don't make a big deal out of it or anything.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/fGbHAZF0phM) ... Read more

05 Sep 2021

1 HR 03 MINS

1:03:13

05 Sep 2021


#7

745: Getting Out

People trying to escape all kinds of seemingly impossible situations.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/v4ChAcYYNOI) ... Read more

29 Aug 2021

1 HR 02 MINS

1:02:29

29 Aug 2021


#6

218: Act V

A group of inmates at a high-security prison rehearse and stage a production of the last act—Act V—of Hamlet.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/6g4pHYtlWxY) ... Read more

22 Aug 2021

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:07

22 Aug 2021


#5

744: Essential

The pandemic forced jobs to change, but then the workers changed, too.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/oY0USTfxlQg) ... Read more

15 Aug 2021

1 HR 09 MINS

1:09:34

15 Aug 2021


#4

582: When the Beasts Come Marching In

We human beings think we run the world, that we’ve got things under control. Then an animal shows up, and things don’t go as planned. This week, seals, wolves, and a moose drop in and show us who isn't boss.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/vegfTZKz960) ... Read more

08 Aug 2021

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:31

08 Aug 2021


#3

743: Don't You Be My Neighbor

Bad neighbors. What can you do about them?![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/9EAnJgdqOeU) ... Read more

01 Aug 2021

59 MINS

59:00

01 Aug 2021


#2

742: The Thing I'm Getting Over

In this summer when we're trying to recover from everything at once, stories of people trying to define what recovery means for themselves.![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/CZDZ0gcBrow) ... Read more

25 Jul 2021

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:05

25 Jul 2021


#1

436: The Psychopath Test

We heard about a test that could determine if someone was a psychopath. So, naturally, our staff decided to take it. ![image] (http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/kuV42pdzS-M) ... Read more

18 Jul 2021

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:42

18 Jul 2021