The Cracked Podcast

The Cracked Podcast

By Earwolf & Alex Schmidt

The Cracked Podcast is facts, jokes, and more from the Internet’s leading comedy website. Every week, host Alex Schmidt brings together comedians, authors, scientists, and Cracked staffers, to celebrate the awesome truth that being alive is more interesting than people think it is. Fill your week and your brain with hilarious, mind-blowing revelations that’ll make you the most interesting person in every room you’re in.

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Episodes

10 Creepy Unsolved Mysteries From History

We’re only a few centuries into the era of detective work. 19th century criminologists like Eugene Vidocq invented modern forensic techniques, standardized criminal databases, and the basic approach that underpins police investigations to this day. You would think this revolutionary shift would make our lives less spooky. But what if we told you history is full of mysteries that received diligent investigations, only to turn up stranger scarier questions?On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by writers/comedians/history mystery superfans Jenny Jaffe and Carey O’Donnell to rediscover history’s strangest disappearances, murders, and more. They’ll explore all kinds of baffling tales that confounded professional investigators from the past through today. And stick around for some plain ol' fun new theories on these old cases.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/10-creepy-unsolved-mysteries-from-history/
11/03/19·1h 4m

What Would Happen If The Oscars Went Away?

We’re fresh off ‘Green Book’ achieving its dream Oscar night (CONGRATULATIONS you made-up Hero Dad Story you!!!). But this week’s episode is about EVERY Oscars ceremony. Why? Because the Oscars dictate most of your movie-watching year: October-December = “good movies”, January-February = “failed attempts at good movies”, summertime = “movies seeking the big green Oscar better known as MONEY.” So we asked ourselves a question. We asked what might happen if the Oscars stopped dictating that schedule? And what if they stopped dictating it because the Oscars stopped happening at all, freeing up all of pop culture to function differently (and maybe function better)?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, please enjoy the oracular brilliance and Hollywood wisdom of comedians/podcasters Caitlin Gill, Dan Hopper, Amy Nicholson, and Danielle Radford, who joined Alex Schmidt for this LIVE episode from the UCB Sunset Theatre in Los Angeles. They’ll dig into the biggest possible pop culture thought experiment: what would happen if the Oscars went away.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/what-would-happen-if-oscars-went-away/
04/03/19·59m 37s

5 Mainstream Health Habits That Trick You Into Feeling Lousy

The most successful people in the world are SO EXCITED to call themselves that. Hard-charging, in-leaning, unstoppable titans of industry want everyone to know it. One of their favorite brags: never sleeping more than a few hours a night. Is that actually a cool thing? Should all of us let ourselves get talked into that lifestyle? And are a bunch of our daily habits that kind of smart-seeming bad health trap?On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jason Pargin (who writes for the site as David Wong). They want you to hang in there, friend. If there’s one takeaway from today’s episode (and there are so many more than just one!) it’s that you oughta receive all the healthy support you can get from others and from yourself. Other takeaways: an immense range of fascinating facts about our bodies, our culture, and the war they’re in at all times if we’re not careful.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/5-mainstream-health-habits-that-trick-you-into-feeling-lousy/
25/02/19·1h 32m

7 Incredible Biopics Hollywood Should've Made By Now

History is the most prolific screenwriter of all time. Thanks to the magic of Events Happening In Real Life, pop culture has graced us with everything from ‘Braveheart’ to ‘On The Basis Of Sex'. Those hit biopics about real people form a sort of Humanity Hall Of Fame. What if we told you there are an endless number of incredible real people who belong in that hall, and could make Hollywood fat stacks of cash in the process, if somebody would only put them on screen?On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by writers/podcasters/all-around hilarious people Dave Schilling and Andrew Ti. They’ll take a trip down historical memory lane, and look into the most fascinating stories of right now, to find every amazing biopic Hollywood should have already made (and still can make). Get to know the most incredible war hero and U.S. Senator nobody talks about, the first female Presidential candidate, the Forrest Gump of relationships with modern terrible men, and more epic real people with Oscar potential.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/7-incredible-biopics-hollywood-shouldve-made-by-now/
18/02/19·1h 9m

9 Movies That Improved On The Book (According To The Author)

“The book is better than the movie.” It’s a belief as old as...well, not as old as time, because books are centuries old and movies hit their stride when ‘Star Wars’ came out. Still, lots of people think movies ruin books. Many people also think there are one or two times when the movie outdid the book, in a weird exception-to-the-rule type situation. But what if we told you a better movie happens often? And what if there are cases where it was so obvious, to everyone involved, the book’s author said so? In public and everything?On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by working writers Zack Bornstein (Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The New Yorker) and Hallie Cantor (Lady Dynamite, Arrested Development, The New Yorker) for a trip through the heads of novelists who saw their work torn apart on screen and realized it was for the best. Get excited to see Stephen King, Anne Rice, Philip K. Dick, and more great writers experience the joy of collaboration with Hollywood, in spite of the conventional wisdom we’re all told in English class.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/9-movies-that-improved-book-according-to-author/
11/02/19·57m 8s

How A Loneliness Epidemic Snuck Up On Us (with Jason Pargin)

“Social atomization” is a term that sounds like science fiction. It could be the title of a 1950s B-movie where a mad scientist vaporizes a dance party. But when sociologists use that term, “social atomization” is a complementary set of shifts you might have noticed lately: more loneliness, less societal trust, and an increasing feeling that nobody’s got your back. What does it mean if that’s happening to all of us? How can that happen without anybody intending it? And can that impact everything from your personal health to your national government?On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jason Pargin (who writes for the site as David Wong). They’ll explore why prior generations with rampant crime (!), Richard Nixon (!!), and the music of disco (!!!) feel better off and more cohesive than we do today. We’ll also take one step back and look at the awful reasons why some people are talking about this in the first place. And if we all stick together and trust each other, we might see a few ways out of this predicament.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/how-loneliness-epidemic-snuck-up-us-with-jason-pargin/
04/02/19·1h 32m

How To Be Less Confused About The Economy (with Kai Ryssdal)

We are fresh off the longest government shutdown in American history (with another around the corner, maybe!). We are also riding almost a decade of of sustained stock market growth, almost a decade of sustained job growth, and all kinds of other business-y news you heard about. And when those stories crossed your cable TV screen or Twitter feed, did you have any idea what they meant? And if so...c’mon, are you sure you’ve got all the context?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Kai Ryssdal, the host of ‘Marketplace’ and the world heavyweight champion of that exact economic context you need. They’ll dig into how just one missed federal worker paycheck (let alone two!) ripples through the global economy for a long time. They’ll examine ways you can better understand what a stock market swing or jobs number actually means. Also stick around for valuable heads-ups on which chairpersons, directors, and CEOs tend to be extremely important indicators of our economic future, even though most people pay them no attention.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/how-to-be-less-confused-about-economy-with-kai-ryssdal[TIMELY UPDATE: on Friday afternoon the U.S. government re-opened temporarily. Details here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/25/us/politics/trump-shutdown-deal.html We will describe the shutdown as a present-tense thing in this episode because, as we’ll say early on, we taped this episode right before the government re-opened. Also we taped with that possibility in mind, so all our facts about the shutdown are accurate and are long-term focused.]
28/01/19·59m 51s

Why A Terrible U.S. Supreme Court Is The Historical Norm

You’ve probably heard jokes about lawyers before. Here’s a more advanced version, coming from future Chief Justice Of The U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts in April of 1983: “The generally accepted notion that the court can only hear roughly 150 cases each term gives the same sense of reassurance as the adjournment of the court in July, when we know the Constitution is safe for the summer.” We know, we know, it’s not exactly a kickass one-liner. But what if it is getting at something true about the U.S. Supreme Court’s overwhelming power? What if our whole Constitution can vanish because five out of nine Justices get a little too active? And what if Chief Justice Roberts is a perfect example of the inconsistent, insensitive, inscrutable jurists who’ve hamstrung American democracy for centuries...all without most people noticing?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Ian Millhiser, author of the book ‘Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted’. They’ll re-discover the forgotten SCOTUS decisions that endorsed everything from racism to sexism to wildly villainous child labor. They’ll explore the complicated make-up of today’s Court, with a view to how its faults could destroy it. And great news: they’ll celebrate the rare past SCOTUS that got a whole lot of things right, and look at how that golden era could happen all over again.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/why-terrible-u.s.-supreme-court-historical-norm
21/01/19·1h 36m

12 Sci-Fi Movie Technologies That Went Stupidly Backwards

The name “science fiction” is a pretty good descriptor of the genre, if you want to think of it as two big buckets for a writer to fill. Bucket 1: science! Fun tech and gizmos to entertain and inspire. Bucket 2: fiction! Narrative and story and other engaging ideas that make us laugh, cry, and consider what it means to be human. It’s amazing that one genre can bring us all that. But have you ever noticed some sci-fi does an incredible job of the “fi” part -- and thanks to that brilliant “fi”, we let a lot of weird “sci” whoosh right past us?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Dan Hopper (Cracked) and Moujan Zolfaghari (Mission To Zyxx) for a trip down memory lane, into the future, where everybody WISHES they had tech half as great as WiFi. They’ll examine everything from ‘Minority Report’ to ‘Blade Runner’ to all generations of ‘Star Trek’, finding gizmo after gizmo that’s lower-tech than what we have in real life, and dig into why sci-fi stories where things are supposed to be more advanced than today ignore the actual ways technology advances.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/12-sci-fi-movie-technologies-that-went-stupidly-backwards/
14/01/19·52m 39s

Overrated Myths (And Underrated Facts) About Ancient Rome

How well do you read Latin? Because if you’re not all that good at reading Latin or other dead languages, good news: you could have still had a job as an 1800s historian. Fun example: there’s a story claiming the Roman emperor Caligula was SO CRAZY, he sent a whole army to a beach to pick up seashells for him. However, the Latin word ‘musculi’ means both “shells” and “military huts”, so he likely actually told his troops to pack up their campsite. Which is normal. That’s a completely different kind of emperor, right? And here’s a fun thing: your pop cultural understanding of the Roman Empire is approximately that far off of the truth, in a lot of fascinating ways.On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Siobhan Thompson (CollegeHumor, BBC America) and Patrick Wyman (Tides Of History, ‘Jeopardy!’) for a trip through the inaccurate lies you’ve been fed about the ancient Romans, and also the much more interesting true things you never knew about them. Get your head straight about everything from mighty gladiators to ancient fast food to the stunning economic benefits of living near a former Roman road.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/overrated-myths-and-underrated-facts-about-ancient-rome/
07/01/19·1h 8m

Happy New Year (And Thank You!)

Enormous gratitude this week! New episode next week. And in the meantime, here are some of our recent favorite episodes of the show: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/happy-new-year-and-thank-you21-from-cracked-podcast/Also did you know we’re going on tour in 2019? It’s true! See us LIVE in Chicago, Illinois on Thursday April 11th and in St. Paul, Minnesota on Friday April 12th.CHICAGO TICKETS: http://bit.ly/crackedchicagoST. PAUL TICKETS: http://bit.ly/crackedstpaul
31/12/18·3m 56s

12 Great Ideas America Should Steal From Other Countries

“No bad ideas in a brainstorm.” That’s a common saying that implies a darker truth: as soon as an idea leaves a brainstorm’s cocoon, and gets put into practice, it can metamorphose into a living, breathing disaster. After all, who knows how your theoretical idea would actually work? How can we put any idea into practice without testing it on millions of people first? And surprise -- sudden mental left turn here -- what if we already had a way to test all kinds of ideas, see how great they really are, and then easily make your life better by implementing them?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Adam Tod Brown (Unpopular Opinion) and Nick Wiger (Doughboys) for a worldwide brainstorming session. They’ll consider all kinds of real ideas, tested by real countries, that could upgrade life in America if we just had the courage to borrow them. The year’s almost over, so throw on some headphones and find out how copying the best laws from Sweden, Cuba, Taiwan and more places could be our first and best decision of 2019.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/12-great-ideas-america-should-steal-from-other-countries/
24/12/18·54m 50s

How A Few Precision Engineers Invented Your Entire Life

You’re holding a couple hundred billion transistors right now. Yes, you. You with the smartphone in your hand. That’s possible because -- surprise -- transistors are only a few nanometers in size now. A size so small, that description means nothing to you, right? Well here’s something: what if transistors and all other things we engineer are only going to get smaller from here? And what if that entire process began a shockingly short time ago, in a specific place, and changed the entire world faster than anybody realized it was happening?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by author Simon Winchester. His latest book is ‘The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created The Modern World’, and he & Alex will explore exactly that. They’ll also get into why 1776 should be famous for more than the American Revolution, why Eli Whitney should be famous for being a con man, how the Hubble Space Telescope got itself contact lenses, and more shocking tales of precision changing the entire world overnight.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/how-few-precision-engineers-invented-your-entire-life/
17/12/18·1h 9m

13 Badass Astronaut & Cosmonaut Stories Everyone Should Hear

Space: it’s the final frontier AND somehow the least popular frontier. A couple decades of successful shuttle launches passed unnoticed. A slew of orbital science experiments didn’t excite anybody. Even the Space Race wasn’t the nation-gripping drama we decided it was retroactively. Why isn’t space travel capturing more imaginations? Why aren’t people more stoked about it? And would it help if we did a rad podcast episode about the most kickass exploits in all of space history?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by ‘American Dad’ writer, Cracked legend, and prince of all our hearts Soren Bowie for a celebration of outer space heroics. They’ll dig into the death-defying (and sometimes, death-receiving) bravery that’s driven decades of space exploration, even though only a few of those bold explorers became famous in the aftermath. Plus, enjoy a special bonus story of how the very best of us went out into the universe in the form of a space probe.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/13-badass-astronaut-cosmonaut-stories-everyone-should-hear/
10/12/18·1h 6m

11 Pop Culture Alternate Histories That Almost Happened

Here’s some common sense: the more complicated a machine gets, the more ways it can break down and fall apart. That applies to everything from cars to kids’ toys to Hollywood, and that last thing (Hollywood) is this principle’s most fun application. Because what happens to your favorite movie if any step of the process goes differently? Is it even still that thing you like if it has different writing/casting/directing/editing/releasing/endless continuing list of these things?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by podcasting titan Matt Gourley for a deep dive into all the ways our favorite franchises could’ve come together completely differently. From James Bond to Star Wars to even bigger pop cultural touchstones than those (!), they’ll discover how close we came to not even recognizing the movies, TV shows, and other entertainments closest to our hearts.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/11-pop-culture-alternate-histories-that-almost-happened
03/12/18·1h 4m

11 Historical Facts That Were Way Too Stupid For The Movies

History: it’s the number one topic for filmmakers who want to win an Oscar. From serious movies about American history to serious movies about British history, no subject wins more votes and locks down more statues. Of course the people making those movies would tell you they’re super serious because history was that way, so what else can they do. But what if every period drama could be funnier AND realer if it got over itself? And what if eras from ancient Rome to the twentieth century Cold War featured real hijinks that are so hilarious, so wild, so straight-up funny, Hollywood refused to show them to you?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and Dan Hopper explore that exact phenomenon. They’ll pick apart some of the greatest historical dramas and biopics of all time, take you behind the production curtain, and pick out the hilarious elements filmmakers just didn’t have the guts to put in. And they’ll dig into the biggest historical events of all time, illuminating funny real things no moviemaker would show you unless they’re making a comedy, and willing to forgo Oscar riches.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/11-historical-facts-that-were-way-too-stupid-movies/
26/11/18·55m 45s

12 Ridiculously Obvious Lies & Cons (That Fooled The World)

Our brains have a few sets of guardrails...theoretically. One set should prevent us from claiming wild nonsense about ourselves, in particular if we know we can’t back it up. Another set ought to prevent us from falling for that garbage if other people pull it. But what if certain people don’t have that first limitation? What if they have the ability to lie beyond all reason, all the time? And what if the rest of us are liable to fall for it in spite of ourselves?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Danielle Radford and Jenny Jaffe for a trip through ridiculous lies and cons that never should have worked...and somehow fooled everybody anyway. They’ll explore historical and modern-day examples of utter shenanigans happening everywhere from Brazil to Paris to the Dominion of Melchizedek (don’t ask). And they’ll mull why people love perpetrating -- and falling for -- the dumbest tricks imaginable.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/12-ridiculously-obvious-lies-cons-that-fooled-world/
19/11/18·51m 21s

9 Movies That Forgot To Prove The Villain Wrong

Imagine a genie gave you one million dollars to make a movie. You’d immediately go into Working Your Ass Off Mode, right? After all, if you’re spending one whole million U.S. dollars, you’d want to make sure the script and production were as perfect as they could be. Now here’s the next version of that thought experiment: what if you got to spend FOUR HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS? What if you got to spend it making an Avengers story that tied together ten years of filmmaking? And here’s the scary part: what if your story forgot to make it clear that the villain was, ya know, on the wrong side of the conflict? On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedy writers Chase Mitchell and Ben Joseph for a look at how some of the biggest movies of all time forgot to prove that their villain was in the wrong. And if they’re lucky they’ll find a way to explain how films from ‘The Little Mermaid’ to ‘Mission: Impossible - Fallout’ to ‘Avengers Thanos-stravaganza’ screwed up the basic building block of "good versus evil" without audiences noticing.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/9-movies-that-forgot-to-prove-villain-wrong/
12/11/18·1h 2m

How One Forgotten War Created Modern America

If you took an advanced high school history class, you might remember that The Spanish-American War happened. You might even remember a few details: a ship sinking in Cuba, the U.S. taking over Puerto Rico, Teddy Roosevelt riding a horse...and once you answered a couple test questions about that, you moved on forever. To most people, the wars that define America involve George Washington winning, Adolf Hitler losing, and the Russians pointing nukes at us and frowning. But what if a brief American conflict in the year 1898 did just as much to shape the entire world’s destiny? And what if people of that time knew their votes in a few key elections would make all the difference?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Stephen Kinzer, author of ‘The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire’. Alex and Stephen dig into The Spanish-American War, and why it’s the most important American war nobody in America ever thinks about. They’ll look at how a little-known U.S. Senator, an even lesser-known populist silver freak, and the legacy of the Spanish Inquisition shape all our lives today. And they’ll consider how modern voters could finally answer the question of what America is supposed to be in the world, and answer it in a way where everybody benefits.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/how-one-forgotten-war-created-modern-america/
05/11/18·1h 2m

The Creepiest Hidden Truths Behind The Origins Of Monsters

Thought experiment: imagine an alien. Great, experiment complete. Now examine what you came up with. It’s almost definitely one of two things: 1) a specific extraterrestrial from a movie or show, who you can point to as from that movie/show. 2) what’s known as a “Grey” -- a small humanoid with a large teardrop head and two face-dominating eyes. That second kind of Grey Alien dominates our cultural conception of life from other planets. But where did it come from? And what does it say about our larger belief in everything from dragons to werewolves to the scariest monsters ever invented?On this spooktacular episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jason Pargin (who writes for the site as David Wong). They’ll dig into the creepiest “true” story Jason’s ever encountered. They’ll also explore monster lore from the Salem Witch Trials to Slenderman creepypasta to the myth of The Deep State. And they’ll consider whether all monsters, human and otherwise, come from a cultural & psychological source that’s scarier than anything you could dress as for Halloween.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/the-creepiest-hidden-truths-behind-origins-monsters/
29/10/18·1h 15m

Theories And Headcanons That Make Movies 1000x Better

What do you do when a piece of entertainment lets you down? Maybe you complain about it to your friends. Maybe you nail its flaws with a sly tweet, or share a damning critical review. If you use any of those forms of outrage, it's probably because failed art can feel like it's happening TO us, not for us. But what if we told you anybody can take ownership of their viewing experience? What if holding one fun idea in your mind throughout an okay movie can change it into unforgettable entertainment? And most amazing of all: what if that could make ‘Star Wars’ prequels kind of watchable?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedian writer & memoir-master Guy Branum for a celebration of fan theories, head canons, and other ways to read a movie better. They’ll re-discover everything from Julia Roberts’ heyday to Disney’s darkest hour. They’ll turn football movies into the Shakespearean tragedies they’ve always been. And if they can find the strength to do it, they’ll make ‘Entourage’ into something miraculously watchable.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/theories-headcanons-that-make-movies-1000x-better
22/10/18·1h 8m

LeVar Burton On Reading & Sci-Fi & Where We’re Headed Next

Books: they’re almost definitely supposed to do something besides decorate wall space. After all, there’s a whole class about them every year in school. Also various scientific studies say our brains get concrete benefits from reading the written word. But what do we gain when that word is read to us? What do we gain when we let a writer’s meaning reach us like never before? And what happens to society itself when literature takes on the role of prototyping our future?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with the one and only LeVar Burton, host of the incredible ‘LeVar Burton Reads’ podcast. If you’ve watched TV in the last 40 years, LeVar’s gotten you excited about books directly (‘Reading Rainbow’), indirectly (the original ‘Roots’ TV adaptation), and science fictionally (decades of ‘Star Trek’ acting and directing). Today he and Alex explore how the world’s reacted to LeVar's unique literary mission. They’ll also walk through a history of science fiction prototyping, the near future of ‘Trek’ storytelling, and what literacy can do for all our futures if we let it.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/levar-burton-reading-sci-fi-where-weE28099re-headed-next/
15/10/18·51m 8s

15 Emmy Awards We Wish Existed

Television: it’s the most important art form that’s ever been shot with a gun by Elvis. And don’t let that jokey reference to a real thing (seriously -- check the footNOTES) distract you from our current Golden Age Of Television. We have more shows, and more great shows, than ever before. But has the system for rewarding those shows kept pace? Do we have the right set of Emmy Awards for celebrating TV’s new best stuff? And if a panel of comedians put their mind to it, could we get a new set of awards that are the silliness America needs right now?On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is LIVE at UCB Sunset with an all-star panel of comedians & TV writing pros. Join Demi Adejuyigbe (The Late Late Show, The Good Place), Haley Mancini (The Powerpuff Girls), and Dana Gould (Stan Against Evil, The Simpsons) for a celebration of everything TV can be...and everything funny about TV that The Official Emmys are too staid to have a laugh about.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/15-emmy-awards-we-wish-existed/
08/10/18·56m 7s

11 Amazing Fans Who Belong In The Pop Culture Hall Of Fame

Fandom: it feels like it’s gotten hard lately. For example, ‘Ready Player One’ began its life as a bestselling novel by Ernest Cline. In their “A”-graded write-up in 2011, The AV Club said "for readers in line with Cline's obsessions, this is a guaranteed pleasure." Yet by 2018, when ‘RPO’ got a Steven Spielberg film adaptation, that same review site gave the movie a “B” grade with a side of savage criticism: "Like Ernest Cline’s divisive geek-courting novel, the film doesn’t offer much of a story or characters, instead spreading out an endless buffet of pop-culture references, flattering the preoccupations and encyclopedic recall of its target audience.” Does that make any sense? Was aggressive fandom better a few years back? Or has the dark side of really liking a thing turned too dark, too often?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians Caitlin Gill and Riley Silverman for a range of stories about how to be the absolute best pop culture fan you can be. They’ll focus on tales of fans connecting with creators, changing the shape of their favorite art, and putting themselves into it. They’ll also mull the dark side of intense fandom. And with everything from ‘Doctor Who’ to ‘Spider-Man’ about to premiere new installments, they’ll point to how you can be somebody who makes the world of fandom brighter.Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/11-amazing-fans-who-belong-in-pop-culture-hall-fame
01/10/18·1h 1m

9 Supposedly Important Words (That Don’t Mean Anything)

Have you visited America’s heartland? And if you have...why are you so sure? “The heartland” is not a defined thing, with borders or flags or land made of literal hearts. The term actually comes from a British geographer named Halford Mackinder (a fantastic name), who coined “heartland” in 1904 to describe one central part of pre-WWI Europe. So why do we use “heartland” in the present day, to describe an aspect of the U.S.? Is it to imply ideas about it, without letting you consider those ideas on their merits? And are there other words in our language that get used the same way?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jason Pargin (better known as David Wong) to explore the most celebrated words in the English language that also trick us constantly. They’ll examine how throwing around the term “real” messes with everything from our gender roles to our dinner plate to our politics. They’ll uncover the creepy way certain words throw entire generations under the bus. And they’ll explore why philosophies like socialism and fascism are making a comeback in places like America’s Heartland (whatever that is).Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/9-supposedly-important-words-that-donE28099t-mean-anything/
24/09/18·1h 40m

The Weirdest Ways Music Pranks The Human Brain

Adele and Kermit The Frog have a lot in common. Sure, they’re from different countries and they’re different species and one of them is a puppet. But in terms of taking your brain over by manipulating it with song, they’re the world’s foremost masters of a little trick called the appoggiatura. What is that magic Italian-derived word? How does it work? And how many other ways does the world prank your brain with music every day?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Jamie Brew (Botnik, Clickhole) for tales of tuneful brain trickery. They’ll dig through the latest brain science, the biggest pop songs of today, and the history of opera for ways your noggin hears music and messes with you as a result. Also, this one has some fun musical examples! So how about that!Footnotes: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/the-weirdest-ways-music-pranks-human-brain/
17/09/18·57m 47s

14 Movies That Are Weirdly Casual About Character Deaths

Movies have a weird double standard when it comes to character deaths. Some characters get swelling music and emotional final speeches; others get blown to bits in some background CGI effect intended to slightly increase the stakes of the second act. Strangely, this is even true in movies specifically about the sanctity of life, like <i>The Shape of Water</i>. Why is this? And is it getting worse?Today Alex is joined by Cracked contributor Dan Hopper and writer/performer Kandice Martellaro to dissect a bunch of famous movies (even some good ones!) that are weirdly callous about people dying horrible, gruesome deaths.Footnotes link: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/14-movies-that-are-weirdly-casual-about-character-deaths/
10/09/18·1h 1m

13 Bizarre Jobs You Never Knew Existed

Did you know you can get paid to be a fake mourner at a funeral, for families who fear a low turnout? Or to pretend to be a fan of a celebrity, to make them seem more popular at appearances? If you have the right look, you could even get a job as a fake businessperson in China, for companies who want "Americans" in the background of their press conferences. These are just a few of the bizarre but very real jobs covered in the Personal Experiences section of Cracked, along with things like "Spice Merchant", "Professional Drug Test Subject" and "Human Hair Collector." Today, we're talking to Cracked contributors Evan Symon and Isaac Cabe, who've spent years tracking down and talking to people who work jobs that are weird, fascinating and almost totally overlooked.Footnotes link:http://www.cracked.com/podcast/13-bizarre-jobs-you-never-knew-existed
03/09/18·1h 6m

The Bizarre Way Marketers Boil You Down And See Your Future

When you fire up Netflix, you’re looking at it...and it’s looking back at you. Which is weird, right? Even though you already paid for Netflix’s entire service, and even though it shouldn’t matter to Netflix how you spend your time there, every image you see is calibrated to sell you what they’ve decided you want. Did you know that process is going on? And did you know they might know some things about you that’d surprise you?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jason Pargin (better known as David Wong) to explore Jason’s latest column, their shared Netflix histories, and what that system means for every one of us. They’ll examine the burgeoning new-ish field of data science, its laughable limitations, and its about-to-explode future. They’ll dig into businesses that already stick entire segments of the population with lousy choices, just because the businesses decided those people are A Specific Segment. And they’ll consider the inevitable world of number-crunched choices we could all get stuck with if companies don’t treat us like actual people.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/ZdxLqo
27/08/18·1h 29m

How To Separate Good Internet Outrage From The Evil Kind

You need to arm yourself against weaponized old tweets. Not your own tweets, hopefully (though who knows). We’re talking about how every time you open social media, someone’s outrageous words are being used against them. Maybe the frequency of that scares you; after all, every one of us is lucky certain things we’ve said weren’t timestamped for eternity. Or maybe that pile of outrage excites you; justice relies on evidence, so maybe the more evidence there is the better the world will get. But take a look past all these maybes and semicolons (we know we used a lot; we feel fancy today, deal with it). Look at what's actually going on with Internet outrage right now. Is all that handwringing the same across the board? Or is some of it intended to ruin lives just to win a political game?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Amy Nicholson (Unspooled) and Andrew Ti (Yo, Is This Racist?) for an always-timely look at how you can tell worthwhile online activism apart from digital harassment. They’ll examine recent cases from James Gunn to Sarah Jeong to Roseanne Barr. They’ll lay out basic rules of thumb to help you handle the next hashtag that comes along. And they’ll find a fuller answer to all this than Twitter users usually can, thanks to the magic of being human toward each other in more than 280 characters.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/izjyN7
20/08/18·1h 22m

7 Real People Who Singlehandedly Screwed Entire Economies

The stock market is even more powerful than you realize. Which is saying something, right? Much like Han Solo is pretty sure he can imagine infinite money, you believe you know the world’s combined wealth is mighty. But did you know a lot of Traditional Upstanding Stock Market Business is simply rich people gambling? And did you know individual rich people, regular people, and even children have steered the entire world economy into a ditch more times than your history teacher can count?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Gaby Dunn for an adventure through modern risk-takers, historical bet-losers, and the creepy way wealthier people are keeping you unaware of the whole thing. They’ll rediscover Scotland’s canal through Panama. They’ll watch entire stock exchanges and currencies collapse because of one guy. And they’ll leave you with ways you can be just as powerful as those mysterious masters of the universe if you think a little bit more about where your money lives.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/pgN5eg
13/08/18·58m 12s

12 Pop Culture Franchises That Went Insanely Off The Rails

We live in an era of permanent reboots. Everything from ‘Superman’ to ‘Archie Comics’ comes roaring back in one form or another, because we entered a handshake agreement with capitalism that we would pay to see it. You may know a few things you like had a weird sequel or two. But did you know almost every franchise has experimented with going completely off the rails, in public, often with added talking animal friends?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Kristi Harrison and Cyriaque Lamar for a trip through the world’s favorite pop culture, and the bizarre mutations it went through without most people noticing. Discover the truly weird true ambitions of the artist behind ‘Garfield’, the movie studio behind ‘Casablanca’, and every cartoonist who tried to make ‘James Bond’ and ‘The Flinstones’ work for modern kids.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/Fp23hJ
06/08/18·56m 6s

15 Ridiculous Myths (And Insane Facts) About U.S. Presidents

Believe it or not, Abe Lincoln was a real person. Oh sure sure, he SEEMS like a kindly freedom-giant of the mythic past, who strode out of the fog and into kicking Robert E. Lee’s butt. But isn’t it more interesting if he was a real guy? Heck, isn’t it more interesting if EVERY past President was an actual human being, with dreams and sicknesses and fixations like anybody else? And strangest of all, what if the elaborate myths we build around POTUSes are both untrue AND the least interesting thing about them? On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Elliott Kalan (MST3K, The Daily Show) for a deep dive into the fake facts you’ve been told about Presidents, and the more incredible real facts you deserve to know. Find out why James K. Polk was like Pinhead from the ‘Hellraiser’ movies. Find out how Calvin Coolidge (a very talkative person) revolutionized Presidential communication. And stick around to discover which POTUS wanted to capture a living woolly mammoth, haul it to D.C., and show it off to the Europeans.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/NJDAJA
30/07/18·1h 10m

Surprise! America Already Built The Wall

The US-Mexico border is many things: a line on a map, a setting for ‘Sicario’ movies, a heinous crime scene. North America’s most famous border is so prominent in our minds and our hearts, it’s easy to forget it’s also a place most of us have never been. Do we really understand what it’s like down there, or has it been misrepresented by every anti-immigration “tough guy” we see on TV? Is it really the unique migration crisis we think it is, or are other countries’ borders even deadlier flashpoints? And most surprising of all: what if that potential wall that dominated the 2016 election ALREADY EXISTS, and has existed for over a decade?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Dr. Reece Jones, a scholar who literally wrote the book on our modern violent borders. They’ll draw on Dr. Jones’s experiences at walled borders from Arizona to Morocco to Bangladesh (fun fact: some “fences” sure are wall-shaped!). They’ll explore 230-plus years of predatory & inconsistent American migration policies. And you know those Executive Branch photo ops where Fearless Leaders examine Strong Border Walls that Make Us Stronger? Turns out they’re even more full of crap than you think they are (and we say that knowing you can imagine a lot of crap).Footnotes: https://goo.gl/pdbHzZ
23/07/18·1h 7m

Why Everyone Is Wrong About Violent Video Games & Your Brain

As long as real-life gun rampages go unchecked, first person shooter video games will be a major battlefront of The Culture War. After all, today’s new hyper-realistic gun games must be causing today’s hideous violence! But what if twenty years of perfecting virtual headshot tech dovetails with a drop in American violent crime? What if games don't actually trick anyone into being violent, or sexist, or an Italian plumber? And most chilling for you gamers out there: what if games DO trick you into becoming a less ideal person, in a way nobody’s ever warned you about?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Jason Pargin (better known as David Wong) to explore a surprising truth nobody else is covering. They’ll combine decades of gaming experience with a range of studies and reporting. They’ll debunk a lot of the panic about Those Darned Violent Video Games, while also picking out some truths hidden in it. And they’ll explore how gaming DOES change the brains of even the most blood-averse n00bs.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/Ftg8HC
16/07/18·1h 28m

15 Insane Mistakes That Never Should’ve Been Televised

We live in exciting times, other than all the reasons we don’t. Why’s that? We live when TV shows got good. Over the last 15-20 years, high quality television became a normal thing there’s almost too much of, instead of a rare jewel hiding in a sea of cranked-out, time-constrained filler. But how did we reach this pinnacle? What failed experiments laid the groundwork for our present nirvana? And did Kanye West really get to create and film TWO entire TV show ideas in 2007?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Dan Hopper (Cracked) and Chase Mitchell (The Tonight Show) for a look back on the most bizarre decisions in TV history. They’ll uncover pilot episodes that boggle the mind, baffling ideas that ran for multiple episodes, and entire plotlines on massive hit TV shows that happened for idiotic reasons. They’ll also break down the process that turns one idea into 24 episodes. And if you’re patient, they’ll share with you the wonder that is BAYWATCH NIGHTS.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/Uw6viH
09/07/18·1h 8m

2 Groups Of Americans Who Want To Abandon The Rest Of Us

Freedom: it can be the noblest-sounding justification for bailing on stuff. And it’s as American as the Pilgrims, who escaped persecution in England by going to the New World (so they could persecute themselves for a change). Of course, life today is much different: the oceans are mapped, the First Amendment protects all our religions, and Thanksgiving is a minor holiday setting the stage for Black Friday. But what if we told you that the impulse to Mayflower away from the rest of us is stronger than ever, and weirder than ever, with a dark secret most people don’t notice?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Cracked’s Kristi Harrison for a look at two broad movements that want to move the hell away from the rest of us. They’ll dig into why a floating libertarian paradise and an ahistorical “Western” culture obsession can spring from the same impulse. They’ll uncover how both groups are built on hopes that practices like voting, women’s suffrage, and gay rights might go away. And they’ll affirm why you don’t need to build your own survival bunker or boat just because all the other kids are doing it. And Alex & Kristi will affirm why you don’t need to build your own survival bunker slash boat just because all the other kids are doing it.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/A7uPXo
02/07/18·1h 12m

17 Amazing Performances by Actors Who Weren't Acting

Acting: it’s almost definitely an art form, we’re pretty sure. After all, there are so many incredible performances on screen and stage every year. But what if we told you that some of Hollywood’s most celebrated characters were the product of actors goofing off, performers being themselves, and/or directors tormenting people into insanity? And what if we told you ONLY SOME of the examples of bizarrely real acting involve Adam Sandler???On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is LIVE at UCB Sunset with Dan Hopper (Cracked, CollegeHumor), Molly Lambert (Night Call, NYT Magazine), and Dani Fernandez (Nerdificent, Geek & Sundry) for a look back on amazing performances by actors who weren't acting. Find out how Oscar-winning directors, world-famous thespians, and sneakily-aimed vomit cannons combined to make the biggest movies of all time more real than you ever imagined.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/xrwxYB
25/06/18·54m 28s

9 Bizarre Mistakes That Keep Screwing Up Your Science News

Are you 100% sure you exist? Good news: we’re sure. But here’s a few TERRIFYING headlines saying otherwise: “The universe shouldn’t exist, according to science.” (New York Post) “The universe shouldn't exist, scientists say after finding bizarre behaviour of anti-matter” (The Independent) “Universe shouldn’t exist, CERN physicists conclude.” (Cosmos Magazine) You might see those statements and think they sound increasingly convincing. First it was scientists saying stuff, then they brought anti-matter into it, and then holy cow here comes CERN. What a big official-looking acronym! All those stories spring from one study, which Physics Today and Gizmodo covered in a professional way. The study explained a huge leap forward in how we measure antiproton magnetic movement. One press release about it contained a borderline joke about the universe. And from there, all hell broke loose. Specifically, the same hell that keeps happening with discovery after discovery.On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Matt Kirshen (The Jim Jefferies Show) and Andy Wood (Bridgetown Comedy Festival) of “Probably Science” to plumb the depths of Internet science reporting. They’ll explore the food chain of scientists, universities, PR people, clickbait farms, and straight-up liars who turn good science into confusing Facebook junk. They’ll rolodex tales of alien octopuses, brown pandas, new Earths, and other actually-awesome things you’ve been lied to about. And they’ll send you out into the world with science literacy tools that will make your brain happier and your life a whole lot easier.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/aBwRkg
18/06/18·1h 7m

How Global Sporting Events Run On Bribes & Help Dictators

Soccer: it’s the sport the rest of the world calls “football”, despite how loud America yells otherwise. It’s also the global obsession that peaks every 4 years with a World Cup. This year’s Cup is about to start in Russia. 2026’s Cup is about to get awarded to the United States and Canada and Mexico, maybe. And everyone is abuzz about which of the perennial contenders (minus Italy, minus the Netherlands) will win it all. That passion for the game means big crowds, big glory, and big money. But did you know it also created the world's most brazen white collar criminal organization? And helps past and present autocrats keep their stranglehold on power?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Dr. Natalie Koch (Maxwell School at Syracuse University) and by DeMorge Brown (Harmontown, Channel 101) to explore how soccer’s governing body became a secret Swiss crime family without most fans noticing. They’ll find insanely bold sports corruption everywhere from Qatar to Trump Tower. And you’ll discover how soccer, the Olympics, cycling, falconry, and more global sports take our planet’s politics in a weirdly dark direction while also bringing joy to our planet’s people.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/jZFKs6
11/06/18·1h 7m

What The Alt-Right’s Alt-Internet Means For Your Free Speech

The 1st Amendment: it’s America’s most cherished and well-defended constitutional freedom that's not that gun one. Either way, we’re used to living in a country where free speech has few limits, and only really runs into trouble when it can get people killed. But what happens when that free speech lobbies for white supremacist ideas that have historically caused violence and death? What happens when that speech comes in the form of text on websites, days after an awful tragedy? And what happens when a couple of random tech bros hold the power to boot that speech off the Internet on a (morally defensible) whim?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by NPR’s Sam Sanders for a fun look at the strangest phenomenon of the past few months. Drawing on legal experts, tech thinkers, and one hard-to-stomach interview, they’ll explore how a few people now hold the keys to our entire public square. And even though you’re (probably) not a creepy jerk hiding out on EvilFrogTwitter.biz, get ready to consider whether the Internet freedom you love has ever existed at all.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/cbGvra
04/06/18·1h

13 Of Your Favorite Foods (And Their Bizarre Secret Origins)

Food: you gotta eat it. No matter how you organize your diet, habits, and beliefs, you’re going to devour something that other people helped put in front of you, every day. And don’t get us wrong: eating is awesome. But did you know it’s also a lot more fascinating than you ever realized? Did you know you’re in a world where cheese is a conspiracy, fish are a lie, and every bit of the world’s honey WILL NEVER DIE?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is LIVE at UCB Sunset with Hallie Cantor (Arrested Development, Lady Dynamite), Brodie Reed (Channel 101) and Ian Abramson (Oddball Comedy Tour), exploring bizarre secrets of the foods we eat every day. Find out how wood found its way into...everything. Discover which common nut explodes without warning. And sit down to your next meal with a heady appreciation for the phenomenally weird process that puts those nutrients in front of us every day.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/TzLTNS
28/05/18·47m 45s

How America Gets WWII History Wrong (And Why That Matters)

How much do you know offhand about World War II? If you’re an American, you probably know a lot. After all, everything from our education system to our popular culture hammers home the key facts of The War To End All Wars For Real This Time. And congratulations: a lot of what you know is factually accurate (e.g. “Hitler was bad”). A lot of what you know is worth knowing (seriously, Hitler was VERY BAD). But have you ever wondered why certain historical specifics get so much emphasis, while other facts get left by the wayside? Or why the name “Hitler” pops up in modern debates about everything from immigration to environmentalism to upsetting blog posts?On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and Jason Pargin (better known as David Wong) look back on the defining war of The American Century, and examine the bizarre ways it gets reinterpreted through the years. They’ll get into the geopolitical reasons why movies like ‘Patton’ and ’Saving Private Ryan’ celebrate some men and not others. They’ll consider the legions of historical monsters we ignore (or even laud!) in the process of cartoon-ifying World War II’s struggle. And maybe, just maybe, if enough people hear this show, not every random modern thing will get called “Hitler” without deserving it.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/ahrHiZ
21/05/18·1h 35m

21 Comic Books That Turned Insane Out Of The Blue

“Avengers: Infinity War” is like the Super Bowl: either you saw it, or you consciously opted to miss America’s latest biggest cultural event. But football is niche compared to MARVEL MOVIES. They’re the biggest pillar of global entertainment, made by skilled professionals doing their very best work, and here’s the weird fun thing about all that: the comic books themselves started weird, got weirder, and stayed baffling throughout our modern day.On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Cracked editor Cyriaque Lamar for a journey through decades of comic book insanity. Find out how Marvel, DC, and independent publishers have cranked out almost a century of baffling storylines and irresponsible canon changes, even as those same characters have conquered TV and film. And go out into your world knowing you live on a planet that once featured Werewolf Captain America, Badminton Champion Batman, and a friendly neighborhood Planned Parenthood Spider-Man.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/sw8FKs
14/05/18·1h 18m

17 Overlooked Artists Who Deserve To Be Pop Culture Icons

“Hollywood” might be the most nebulous entity in America. It’s somehow a location and an industry and a big goofy hill-sign. It’s the source of all entertainment without entertaining us very often. And it’s where budding young artists flock to make it “big” (in Schwarzenegger’s case, literally). In popular consciousness, Hollywood is a sea of countless artists making our culture. But what if we told you the music world, movie world, and more pillars of American fun are driving by a shockingly tiny number of artists? And even weirder, the key artists are people you’ve never even heard of?On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jensen Karp (Get Up On This) celebrate rappers, writers, filmmakers, and wrestlers who remade our entire culture without the wider public knowing it. They’ll rediscover a comic book artist who resurrected Princess Di. They’ll champion the mid-1990s bodybuilder who reinvented rap. And because everybody needs a little care right now, they’ll grief-counsel themselves AND you through the end of Kanye West.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/Erv19d
07/05/18·1h 1m

23 World-Famous Celebrities (With Mind-Blowing Backstories)

For centuries, glossy checkout stand magazines told us “stars: they’re just like us!” But did you know Cameron Diaz went to high school with Snoop Dogg? Did you know Mr. T had a pre-fame life as Muhammad Ali’s bodyguard? And did you know Andre the Giant spent his childhood getting driven to school by Samuel Beckett (yes, THAT playwright/poet/Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett)? Magazines are FAILING to tell us how awesomely weird famous peoples’ lives are. Who can save us from that boring lie? ...maybe with a podcast episode???On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is LIVE at UCB Sunset, saving the day with Jenny Jaffe (Big Hero 6, IFC), Matt Lieb (The Star Wars Show, AJ+), Carey O’Donnell (Heathers, Billy On The Street), and their audience. Get ready for a no-holds-barred deep dive into the most bizarre celebrity origins and backstories of all-time, AND a surprisingly strong focus on the wild world of grain dealing.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/3h15Zm
30/04/18·1h 3m

All The Baffling Ways America Misunderstands The Middle East

Here’s a mental experiment: think about “The Middle East”. What just popped into your head? It’s probably one or two kinds of places, tops. It might be a dangerous war zone, or a community that’s somehow hundreds of years behind modern life. And it definitely didn’t include skiers, on an indoor hill, in one of the world’s largest malls. No judgments here, friend: we all have misconceptions about the world. And some of your Middle Eastern mental picture may be accurate. But what if we told you there’s an entire world of big box stores, Lionel Richie fandom, and intricate cultural diversity out there just waiting for you to discover it?On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt joins Anna Hossnieh & Shereen Younes for a revealing trip through the modern Middle East. They’ll dig into how how two rival Muslim-majority nations manipulate the entire region, why there’s all kinds of Middle Eastern modernity the American media misses, how a World Cup bid caused an international blockade, and so much more.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/ncTVkU
23/04/18·1h 8m

Creepy Propaganda Hidden In Your Favorite Modern Pop Culture

If you look back at old Westerns, you might see “Indians” portrayed like senseless alien villains. If you go back through O.G. ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes, you’ll find a lot more Christianity than today’s pop culture fans are used to. And if you watch ANYTHING from the 1940s that involves marijuana, get ready for hilariously over-the-top scaremongering about the lethal horrors of jazz cigarettes. Now consider this: all that past pop culture seems strange now because it drew on the most forceful beliefs of its time. So what the heck is going to happen when OUR grandkids watch, stream, and play through the biggest hit pop culture of 2018?On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, we’re predicting that exact thing. Alex Schmidt is joined by Jason Pargin (better known as David Wong) for a future’s-eye view of the movies, TV, video games and other fun we all love today. Discover the blind spots that lead modern America to root for secret police, demand the sloppiest possible leadership, live in eternal terror of somebody breeding plants better, and hold even more baffling beliefs beyond those.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/s4BtvY
16/04/18·1h 34m

19 Everyday Heroes Who Deserve To Be World Famous

Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai often tells a story about a hummingbird. In the story, the hummingbird’s forest catches fire. It’s burning out of control. And while the larger stronger animals cower, the hummingbird flies back and forth, putting drop after drop of water on the blaze. The big animals ask the hummingbird why it’s trying to put the fire out, since it seems too little and small-beaked to accomplish anything. The hummingbird’s simple reply: “I am doing what I can.”On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, we’re turning a listener suggestion into a joyful hummingbird hour. On the heels of our latest episode indexing little-known badasses of history, Alex Schmidt and Kristi Harrison are celebrating little-known badasses of life right now. Find out how Los Angeles priests, Turkish garbagemen, Japanese scuba enthusiasts and more regular folks are spreading their little wings, picking up their water drop, and finding out just how big of a fire one hummingbird can fight.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/gmP5Ui
09/04/18·1h 12m

How One Epic Twitter Thread Exposed Nationwide Lunch Theft

Zak Toscani went to his office job last week, thinking it’d be like any other week. By Monday, he was international news. In this special bonus episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt dives into the recent Twitter thread that captivated the world, with its L.A. comedian author. Zak breaks down the entire chain of events, revealing new details about the shrimp fried rice caper’s victim & perpetrator. And he & Alex explore the bizarre worldwide phenomenon of intra-office lunch theft that somehow no one was talking about till now.Zak's website: http://www.zaktoscani.com/The famed Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/zaktoscani/status/979448251546927104Additional footnotes: https://goo.gl/tskeUi
06/04/18·42m 25s

4 Mind-Blowing Truths About America (Made Clear By Baseball)

Spring is upon us. And spring is like a starter pistol for the annual sale of 72 million major league baseball tickets all across America Plus (“America Plus” is our fun brand name idea for The United States + Toronto). Whether or not you like baseball, you know it’s been the United States’s national obsession for over a century. But what if we told you baseball is ALSO a fascinating Rosetta Stone-like guide to a slew of bizarre truths about America? And what if we told you those truths might blow your mind EVEN MORE if you DON’T follow the game?On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedian/writer/TV show creator Rhea Butcher and Cracked editor Dan Hopper for a deep dive into American culture, economics, morality, and awesomeness, all through the surprisingly revealing lens of Major League Baseball. They’ll tackle the racist 20th century cartoon that 21st century kids love. They’ll reveal how your tax dollars go into your nearest big city rich guy’s pocket, thanks to Congress’s ongoing bipartisan support. And they’ll rolodex the drugs, imperialism, sausage races, and goofy scooters that make America’s pastime as uniquely baffling as America itself.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/prxJyE
02/04/18·1h 17m

15 Historical Badasses You’ve Never Heard Of (Part 3)

Everyone has dreams of greatness. Some hope to be important leaders. Others hope to break barriers and change peoples’ lives. Still others want to be war heroes with superhuman Rambo-like invincibility. Well the cool thing about history is that it’s full of those leaders, pioneers, and supersoldiers -- all you gotta do is look closely. And the even cooler thing about it is that history is so chock full of badasses, one great American was a “leader/pioneer/supersoldier” rolled into one, and lived in our lifetime.On this week's LIVE episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians Emily Heller (Conan, Late Night with Seth Meyers), Greg Edwards (The Improv, Wisecrack) and Zack Bornstein (SNL, The New Yorker) for a sequel to one of our all-time favorite Cracked Podcast episodes. You’ll discover over a dozen incredible humans from across a thousand years of human civilization. You’ll come across women & trans people who HIS-tory should’ve celebrated sooner. And for the first time ever in our “little-known badasses” series, you’ll hear the tale of one hero who’s a panelist’s ancestor.Footnotes: https://goo.gl/WJsnTY
26/03/18·1h 5m

13 Beloved Movies That Are Secretly Terrifying

If 'The Prestige' hamfistedly taught us anything, it’s that movies are big ol’ magic tricks. Lights shine on a screen, colors dance in front of our eyes, and we feel like we went to space...even though we’re still sitting in that movie theater in Glen Ellyn, Illinois that we walked into two hours ago. And the biggest trick of all might be how much baffling universe-building washes over us as we watch. Like in ‘Liar Liar’, why is Jim Carrey’s son a god? In the ‘Indiana Jones’ franchise, how is every god real? And according to Actually Oscar-Nominated Film ‘The Boss Baby’, is human history a nightmare psy ops forever-war? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Dan Hopper (Cracked, CollegeHumor), Dave Schilling (Bleacher Report, Grantland), Amy Nicholson (Variety, Earwolf's The Canon), and a live UCB Sunset audience, for a deep dive into some of the biggest movies ever made. Find out why there are secretly terrifying characters and plotlines in everything from Star Wars to Wonder Woman to the finest film ever made (i.e. The Emoji Movie). Footnotes: https://goo.gl/7s8C3z
19/03/18·1h 3m

Why Americans Hate The Poor (with David Wong & John Cheese)

If you’ve never received a free lunch at school, you’ve avoided the most persistent and institutionalized form of bullying in American society. Because that food that doesn’t cost money DOES cost a level of shame that other kids don’t have to experience. It’s also shame that’s often coming from official school rules, doled out by authority figures, because our society has low-key written that into law. Which begs the question: why are we dunking on our own poor kids, when they never asked to be born into that jam? On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt gets to sit down with Jason Pargin (better known as David Wong) and with John Cheese, for a look at how and why America’s arranged itself to make sure poor people feel that way every day. They’ll also look back on Jason & John’s shared Midwest childhood, explore the idea that destroyed Newt Gingrich, and discover why everyone from people to monkeys freak out in a rigged system. And good news: they’ll find a way we can all make life better for every American. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/wLMgZW
12/03/18·1h 34m

Musical Supergroups And Collaborations That Almost Happened

If recent interviews with music legend Quincy Jones are any indication, every famous musician hangs out with every other famous musician (and yes, we know Quincy Jones also said......other stuff). Which kind of makes sense, right? Once you’re in that upper echelon of winning Grammys and living in the Hollywood Hills, you’d probably at least run into each other at whatever the rich people equivalent of 7-Eleven is (8-Twelve?). But here’s the amazing thing: a lot of those hangouts almost led to bands and team-ups that would’ve changed the course of music history. On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Jack O’Brien and Miles Gray (The Daily Zeitgeist) for a reunion of sorts, as they mentally reunite music legends who almost built mind-blowing awesomeness together. And we’re not just talking “the Beatles do more stuff” awesomeness. We’re talking “Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis BECOME A BAND” AWESOMENESS. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/yUq29X
05/03/18·1h 2m

Why 2018 Is Gonna Be A Long Year If You Hate Donald Trump

If your politics lean left, your trusted pundits are telling you THIS. IS. THE. YEAR. when our disastrous political situation will turn itself around. “Robert Mueller’s closing in on Trump! The American people are starting to wise up! A midterm election Blue Wave(TM) will #Resist the #NotMyPresident into #DrumpfDefeat!” Well what if we told you none of that will happen without a herculean effort on the part of America’s decent people? What if we told you none of this will get fixed soon? And what if we reminded you those same pundits who think everything’s about to be fine LITERALLY LAUGHED at the prospect of a Trump presidency not that long ago? On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedian/soothsayer Adam Tod Brown (Unpopular Opinion Podcast Network) for a deep dive into the history, technology, and basic math that proves we are nowhere near getting out of the woods yet. They’ll look ahead to what might actually happen by the end of this midterm-riffic year of politics. And they’ll help us all preserve our mental health by setting reasonable expectations, instead of assuming we’ll be saved by the total nonsense hopes of pundits on TV. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/CCNKvT
26/02/18·1h 13m

Why Justin Timberlake AND White Survivalists Are Moving West

If you tuned into The Super Bowl, The Tonight Show, or mainstream radio this month, you experienced America’s most bizarrely fascinating celebrity. That celebrity is Justin Timberlake. He’s spent the past year or so carefully turning himself into “Justin Timberlake, Montana Cowboy”, and that seemingly random choice WOULD be fine, if not for these three things:  1) The transformation’s only Instagram-deep.  2) White men across America are doing the same thing.  3) The reasons behind these white fellas running west aren’t as simple as musical taste/cheap land. On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt interviews Montanan slash culture writer Anne Helen Petersen about her pioneering examination of The West, our celebrities, and why they’re hiding there. They also break down the myths of the Old West, the realities of why modern white people are flooding it, and why being a “Man Of The Woods” is no substitute for engaging with reality. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/EhdvWi
19/02/18·1h 5m

The 15 Funniest True Stories Left Out Of History Class

They say the past is a foreign country. (Trust us, it’s a saying!) What they leave off in that aphorism is the fact that the foreign land of Past-zakhstan is a foreign country of constant pranks and goofs. From 1950s America to Renaissance Italy to the Norman conquest of England, our ancestors were all about changing the world AND yoink-ing each other every step of the way. On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is LIVE at UCB Sunset with comedians Caitlin Gill, Christine Medrano, and Blake Wexler. They’ll run down the all-time silliest nonsense of actual human history. And the audience joins in at the end with some historical pranks and goofs of their own, because our live shows are interactive and fun like that. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/SKp2qk
12/02/18·1h 6m

Why We’re Terrible At Taking Care Of Our Mental Health

Monty Python once taught us the following neuroscience: “The human brain is like an enormous fish. It is flat, and slimy, and has gills through which it can see.” That obvious bullshit is obvious bullshit. It’s also not much sillier than our own daily treatment of our brains. We know the human brain needs calm, care, and interaction with other humans. So why don’t we give that to our gilled head-fish? On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) to rediscover brains and the humans carrying them around. They’ll get into why this is the era of bombarding our minds with Snapchats, sleeplessness, and incomplete friendships. They’ll explore the fundamental feedback loops that make us seek out bad habits. And they’ll pick out how you can be aware of your own mental health needs, even if our wider culture wants to trick you into forgetting all about them. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/nmGrMf
05/02/18·1h 30m

How 2 Scientists You’ve Never Heard Of Redesigned Our Planet

In the year 2050, there will be 10 billion people on Earth. Or at least that’s the scientific estimate. Sounds like a giant human milestone, right? Well IT TOTALLY IS…assuming we harvest 50% more food than we are now, to feed those people. Oh and 4.5 billion people will be short on fresh drinking water by 2025, 1.2 billion people are short on electricity right now, and global temperatures are about to rise a degree Fahrenheit or two (or 8.1, turning most of the world into a desert). So…where do we go from here, Earth? Well on this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with science/history/everything about life on Earth writer Charles C. Mann. They’ll explore the lives of Norman Borlaug & William Vogt, the title “characters” of Mr. Mann’s new book The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World. We’ll also uncover photosynthesis’s stupidity, nail down climate change’s branding, and look back on hundreds of years of human self-improvement that suggest we might just make it to 10 billion if we pull it together. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/p4sxHy
29/01/18·1h 13m

How Predictive Text Gave Us A New Harry Potter Chapter

If there’s one book the entire planet wants to read right this second, it’s ‘Harry Potter and the Eighth Novel That’s As Good As The First Seven’. So far J.K. Rowling hasn’t given it to us, because she’s been TOO LAZY (and when we say “too lazy”, we mean she’s written a play and a movie franchise and adult novels and good tweets). So what if someone else could replicate her work, and write us more Potter? Also what if that writer was a machine? And what if that machine delivered utterly brilliant scene descriptions like “Ron was going to be spiders. He just was.” that made us realize how funny Harry Potter oughta be? On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jamie Brew, Elle O’Brien, & Mike Frederickson, a team of comedians & tech wizards from Botnik. They’ll dig into how Botnik’s predictive text technology combines with actual living breathing humans, to find fun jokes within the relentless advance of automation. They’ll also discover a digital future that might actually be worth looking forward to. And they’ll even deliver The Cracked Podcast’s first ever dramatic literary reading. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/79Y8wT
22/01/18·1h 3m

All The Ways Your Microbes Make You YOU

You are a human being. Which means "you" are actually one human plus the trillions of microscopic life forms living in you. And "you" are living in a civilization that's only had microscopes since the 1670s, and only begun to understand what microscopes reveal. And "you" are living on a planet that was dominated by microbial life for about half its natural history, with more complex species only showing up in the last quarter, like a Miami Heat fan in between South Beach clubs. Which all begs the question: is this the microbes' world, and we're just living in it? And what does that mean for us as a species? On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with science journalist Ed Yong (The Atlantic) for a look at the incredible world of microbes we've been living in this whole time, covered brilliantly in Ed's book I Contain Multitudes. Find out how trillions of tiny bacteria & germs guide everything from your nutrition, to our psychology, to the evolution of life on earth itself. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/FmPZnz
15/01/18·45m 7s

12 Movies With A Hero-Villain Dynamic That's Now Insane

Bill Murray is an asshole. Or at least his “Ghostbusters” character is, if you consider the environmental ramifications of keeping a box of evil ghosts in America’s densest square mile of humans. That d***less EPA guy was right. Times changed. You know that. But did you know actors from Tom Hanks to Jimmy Stewart ran into that same Murray Problem? And played villains who seem nice, or heroes who seem like garbage people, just because the whole world changed a few decades (or years (or seconds)) after the movie wrapped? On this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Cracked editor Dan Hopper for a journey into the dark underbelly of almost all your favorite movies. From the Christmas classics you love to the superhero movies you plunk down $17.50 to see, get ready for the history, economics, societal shifts, and scams the President of the United States got away with, that turned your DVD collection into a set of ridiculous movie premises. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/PRxCYE
08/01/18·1h 8m

23 Awesome Beginnings To Start Your New Year Right

BEGINNINGS: they are important. So important, we put that first word in all caps. On this week’s episode, Alex Schmidt is joined by Cracked editors Kristi Harrison and Cyriaque Lamar for a look at the all-time best beginnings of...basically everything. From first lines of books to first shots of movies to historical firsts that everyone oughta know about, this episode’s like a smoothie made of starts, mixed to start your new year just right. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/Xbg2EX
01/01/18·58m 53s

11 Everyday Heroes Who Beat Racism With Fun Pranks

As you look back on 2017, maybe you think the forces of evil had a banner year. Maybe you think decency took loss after loss, while cruelty went to the playoffs. Well what if we told you that while that was often true, there were squads of highly-motivated nice people standing up to the Nazis marching in the streets? And what if we also told you they stood up to those Nazis with the funniest, pinkest, fundraising-est pranks imaginable? On this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedian, Southerner, and friend of the show Billy Wayne Davis, for a happy stroll down recent memory lane. They’ll discover magic t-shirts, “Swiss Coffee”, alien beings, and more fun ways the forces of good are kicking ass, taking names, and playing a little sousaphone along the way. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/TkiQ1g
25/12/17·39m 30s

How THE ROOM Changed The Way The World Watches Movies

On June 27th, 2003, a $6 million movie premiered at two theaters in Los Angeles, earning a reported box office gross of less than $2000. That movie was called THE ROOM, and against all odds it became a midnight screening sensation, changed the way the entire world watches movies, and made an enigmatic fake New Orleans native into the most successful unsuccessful director in Hollywood history. On this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, screenwriters of the new (and high quality!) movie THE DISASTER ARTIST. Find out how a movie based on a book based on a film production slash friendship became a universally meaningful piece of drama, while keeping in every open door, ass shot, and demented line reading that makes THE ROOM a legend. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/REWy27
18/12/17·41m 45s

Why Conservative Comedy Is Almost Impossible In Trump Times

Thought experiment: if you made a list of the biggest 10 comedy institutions in your life, what would be on it? Probably stuff like ‘Saturday Night Live’, ‘The Daily Show’, John Oliver, network late night shows? Well if you look back over that list, you probably won’t find anybody who’s not openly lefty liberal (hi Stephen Colbert!) or wonky liberal (hey Seth Meyers!) or dead-center apolitical (hello Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader!). Why is that? How is there a total lack of high-profile comedy platforms that cater to the Mitt Romney supporters of the world, let alone the Trump zombies? On this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Jason Pargin (Cracked) and Zack Bornstein (SNL, Jimmy Kimmel Live) for a look at how comedy works, who’s allowed to be our leading joke-tellers, where today’s comedy comes from historically, and why Jimmy Fallon lost a third of his audience by treating Donald Trump like a regular guy one time. [Footnotes on Cracked.com page]
11/12/17·1h 28m

9 Secretly Necessary Life Lessons For Modern America

Growing up: it used to be as easy as drinking your milk, preparing to work 1 job for 40 years, and not misusing the height of telecommunications (a landline phone). Now that all of that has changed (side note: turns out milk isn’t all that good for you), what should we be teaching the new generation of kids about life on Earth? Also, hold on, we’ve all seen the Internet. Maybe the adult generation is the one that actually needs the advice. On this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Kristi Harrison (Cracked) and Andrew Ti (“Yo Is This Racist”) to explore every lesson that ought to join the pantheon of Things We Tell Kids About Life. Find out why you might not be apologizing very well, why your retirement plan might be a mirage from the 80s, and most astonishingly, why Kim Kardashian and Guy Fieri are f***ing awesome. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/naZgWK
04/12/17·1h 18m

Best Episode Ever: 30 Rock

Thought experiment time: what's the best episode of your favorite TV show? No matter what the series, from Mad Men to Seinfeld to Battlestar Galactica, it's a surprisingly hard question to find an agreeable answer. But that's what we've assigned Cracked's resident TV nerds, Carmen Angelica and Brett Rader, with doing: each week they're going to look at a different popular TV series and try to determine its best episode ever. In the past two weeks they've discussed Friends and Adventure Time, and this week, as a special bonus for Cracked Podcast listeners, we're posting their discussion about 30 Rock.  Best Episode Ever releases new episodes every Tuesday and is back next week on their own feed to talk about Arrested Development. Click here to find links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher: https://goo.gl/CxWzkj
28/11/17·48m 26s

All The Insane News Donald Trump Stopped You From Noticing

The news: if you’ve read it since the fall of 2015, it’s been nothing but Donald Trump stories, and Opponent Of Donald Trump stories, and the sports section (which is also kind of Trump news). That’s insane, right? Isn’t there an entire rest of the world out there, full of local governments legislating, scientists discovering, rich people hiding money on tropical islands, and woolly mammoths dying in slapstick ways? Ya know, the fun stuff? On this week's episode of The Cracked Podcast, we're LIVE from UCB Sunset in Los Angeles, with guests Cody Johnston, Katie Goldin, Rivers Langley, and Siobhan Thompson. And we're bringing you all the amazing, terrifying, and strange news the media hasn't had the bandwidth to tell you about. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/ou72Xm
27/11/17·1h 29m

17 Hit Songs That Are Secretly (Or Openly) Insane

Top 40 radio: it’s like if a robot became obsessed with our collective subconscious. And it’s always been dominated by fun, sunshine-y pop songs. Stuff like “Respect” (Aretha Franklin) and “Hey Ya!” (OutKast) and “Maniac” (that dancing movie). But are those songs all that they seem to be? Or do they have hidden, fascinating meanings that nobody ever stops and thinks about? On this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack, the hosts of Earwolf’s “Who Charted”, to ask the questions nobody’s asking about the biggest hit songs of all time. Get ready for a whole new perspective on all your favorite artists, from Van Halen to Marvin Gaye to Francis Scott Key. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/5sPe7A
20/11/17·1h 13m

10 Revolutionary TV Shows That Almost Happened

Remember the LOST pilot? It was basically an incredible JJ Abrams movie with plane crashes, polar bears, and dreamy Matthew Fox. If only that first episode aired-- it would've been a cult phenomenon-- an all-time pop-culture "what-if?" But instead we got LOST-- the time-traveling, island-hopping sci-fi adventure of diminishing returns. On this week's podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Carmen Angelica and Brett Rader, the two hosts of Cracked's newest podcast series Best Episode Ever, to talk about 10 innovative TV pilots that almost made it to series but will forever be "what-ifs." And make sure to subscribe to Cracked's newest podcast Best Episode Ever, where Carmen and Brett will dissect your favorite TV series and try to find each show's best episode ever. Tomorrow they'll discuss Friends with Cracked favorite Katie Willert. Search for "Best Episode Ever" in your podcast app of choice or click on the footnotes below to find links to it on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/G8GfYZ​
13/11/17·1h 23m

How Your Germs Control Your Politics (with David Wong)

Stop me if you've heard this one before: a charismatic populist leader rises to power by warning of immigrants who are are "filthy" and "bring disease." It's no coincidence the greatest deplorable leaders through the ages use the same coded language to talk about people who are "other." It's psychology. Quite understandably, it's human nature to fear disease. It's why rats are icky to us and I ceremonially burn my clothes after I go to Disneyland. But if you know what you're looking for, you'll see how diseases are are framed as exotic and foreign as an excuse to gang up on different nationalities: SARS, ban Chinese people; Ebola, ban everybody from Africa; sickness in general, build that wall. On this week's podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Cracked executive editor Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) to talk about how this weird germ theory controls how you think about everything. Footnotes: https://goo.gl/zSd56T
06/11/17·1h 46m

What is The Cracked Podcast?

Listen to The Cracked Podcast every Monday on Earwolf.
19/08/13·38s

Find Full Archive of The Cracked Podcast on Stitcher Premium

Find Full Archive of The Cracked Podcast on Stitcher Premium
18/08/13·29s
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