The Science of Superman's Gas and More Highlights From Recent Podcasts
Fallen behind on podcasts lately? This week, I round up a few facts gleaned from recent shows. Feel free to listen to the full episodes or just memorize the highlights:
JUDD APATOW AND BEN STILLER ONCE PITCHED A MOVIE TO THE ROLLING STONES.
On this excellent ep, Apatow talks about how he was obsessed with comedy as a kid—he scored autographed photos from Andy Kaufman, Paul Lynde, Mel Blanc, Steve Martin, and others—and how that fascination grew into a career. In a particularly funny anecdote, he recalls pitching a part-concert, part-scripted film with Ben Stiller to the Rolling Stones. (Afterward, Stiller put his ear to the door to hear the band members’ reactions.)
THAT NOVEL YOU LOVED 30 YEARS AGO MAY BORE YOU NOW.
This show’s report on reading in the 21st century fascinated and frightened me. In it, a cognitive scientist explains how our habit of skimming Internet text has essentially rewired our brains, making it more difficult for some people to become immersed in a book.
SOMEONE INVENTED A LANGUAGE CONSISTING OF JUST 123 WORDS.
Hosts Jeff Cannata and Anthony Carboni discuss the merits and drawbacks of designing a functional language where a car is called a “movement space.”
JON STEWART DEMANDS A BALANCED BREAKFAST SANDWICH.
On the latest—and what may be the last—episode of The Daily Show Podcast without Jon Stewart, the hosts conduct a special “exit interview” with none other than Stewart himself. Fans hoping for a bittersweet look back won’t exactly get what they came for: The gang spends the entire 27 minutes discussing Stewart’s love of egg sandwiches, Fudgie the Whale cakes, and other delicacies.
THEORETICALLY, SUPERMAN SHOULD BE ABLE TO LIGHT HIS OWN, UM …
In this fun episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s show, the astrophysicist answers fans’ questions about the science of superheroes. While I loved hearing his thoughts on Batman and the Hulk—he deems the former the most scientifically plausible superhero and the latter the most implausible—it’s his Superman theory that sticks with me. Delicately put, it involves how the Man of Steel could potentially turn his gas into a flamethrower.
PHIL SPECTOR ONCE PRODUCED AN INTENSE VERSION OF ‘ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH.’
Along with Brian Eno and Kate Bush, guest DJ Greta Gerwig's playlist includes a mesmerizing rendition of the Disney classic performed by Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans. “It’s the most haunting, mournful version of this song that you can think of,” she says. “It’s definitely a song I would like to use in a movie.”
THE LIVE-ACTION BARBIE MOVIE WON’T BE WHAT YOU EXPECT.
I enjoyed Chris Hardwick’s conversation with Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody. The duo discusses Cody’s early blogging days, why she left Twitter, and her upcoming projects, which include a live-action Barbie movie. She says too many folks misunderstand how girls really play with Barbie; the fun is in putting the dolls in crazy situations (and drawing on them with markers), not just dressing them in tiny heels.
HARMONY KORINE ONCE PERSUADED STRANGERS TO BEAT HIM UP ON CAMERA.
Korine is pretty forthcoming in this interview, in which he talks about the 20th anniversary of Kids and how his filmmaking has evolved. He says one of his early projects involved shooting fights he provoked with real people. That movie didn’t pan out for several reasons; for one thing, the fights didn’t last nearly as long as he thought they would.
THE B-52S WERE ALMOST CALLED FELLINI’S CHILDREN.
On this ep, singer Kate Pierson talks about her new solo record and the colorful history of the B-52s. Among her revelations: Band members almost dubbed themselves Fellini’s Children because of their obsession with the director.
YOU CAN STILL LEARN SOMETHING AFTER SEEING A MOVIE 22 TIMES.
In 2014, two New Zealand pals decided to start a podcast where they watched Grown Ups 2 every week for a year. After achieving their goal, they decided to do it again … with Sex and the City 2. As time goes on, their observations get progressively sillier, to the point where they’re now comparing the movie to Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. If only all actors and filmmakers were as dedicated as these guys, Hollywood would be in pretty decent shape.