Summary: A safe space for nerding out about all the things you're watching, reading, listening to and encountering IRL.
Jessica Pimentel, known for her role as Maria Ruiz on Orange Is The New Black, isn’t just an actress. She’s also in a band ... a death metal band. Nerdette’s Tricia Bobeda sat down with Pimentel to talk about what it’s like to lead an alternate life as a death metal frontwoman and how her music, which is heavy and hardcore, is inspired by her Buddhist faith. Pimentel also talks about what it’s like working with one of the most diverse, majority women casts on what she originally referred to as, “that computer show about jail,” and what’s cooking for Maria’s character next season.
Actress and comedian Jenny Slate has played many memorable characters on shows like Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show, Girls, and Brooklyn 99. She also wrote and voiced her web series Marcel The Shell. Her most recent role is alongside Edie Falco and John Turturro in the film Landline. But from all of her work on TV and film, few people know about Slate’s one true love: houseplants. Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen talked with Slate about why she loves houseplants, what she names them and how they play into her future goals. Then, a plant expert answers all of Slate’s most pressing questions.
Samantha Irby released her third book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, this year, but it’s her first collection of essays that is being turned into a TV show. Last year, FX bought the rights to Meaty, Irby’s first collection of essays. Now Irby, who grew up in Evanston and lived in Chicago, is working with Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Inside Amy Schumer’s Jessi Klein to write for television for the first time. For Irby, almost everything is on the table when it comes to her work — whether it’s body image, digestive issues, or applying for The Bachelorette.
The best part about the summer? Plenty of extra time to do homework! Guests on Nerdette always assign listeners homework, and we’ve compiled the BEST OF THE BEST into this hour-long Nerdette summer homework special. Tom Hanks talks typewriters, Jane the Virgin actor Jaime Camil recommends a show about aliens, and Jessamyn Stanley explains why yoga is meant for all body types. We’ll also hear from Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!’s Peter Sagal, space doctor Sheyna Gifford, astronomer Jill Tarter, and many more. Do your homework!
Astronomer and former SETI director Jill Tarter talks about the future of our planet and why she ate so many ice cream cones when she worked at NASA. Tarter’s career was the basis for Carl Sagan’s 1985 science-fiction novel, Contact, which was later made into a film starring Jodie Foster. She talks about what it’s like to have Sagan fictionalize her life, why we need to listen more than we talk, and why it’s important for us to think of ourselves as Earthlings.
TV director Lesli Linka Glatter started her career as a choreographer, but after a serendipitous series of events, Glatter found her way to film and television directing. Since then, Glatter has directed a spate of well-loved shows, including Homeland, The Walking Dead, Justified, Mad Men, True Blood, Weeds, ER, The West Wing, and Gilmore Girls. Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen sat down with Glatter to talk about the differences between directing film and TV, working on shows with strong, complex women leads, and why some days she thinks about opening a 24-hour coffee/poetry/shoe/book store.
Stand-up comedian W. Kamau Bell is the host of CNN’s United Shades of America. He’s also the author of a new book, The Awkward Thoughts Of W. Kamau Bell. Nerdette’s Tricia Bobeda talked with Bell about why awkwardness and comedy go hand in hand, what it’s like to be a blerd (black nerd), and why the TV show Blackish is so great.
This week is all about looking for pieces of space, whether they’re in orbit or in Antarctic ice. First, asteroid hunter Carrie Nugent talks about chasing down elusive celestial bodies and why she doesn’t like talking about what it’s like to be a woman in science. And then we talk about meteorite hunting with the hosts of Undiscovered, a new podcast from NPR’s Science Friday team.
Sean Gunn is known for playing the ever-eccentric Kirk on Gilmore Girls and space-pirate Kraglin in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. On Nerdette, he talks about what it’s like to be in a movie directed by his big brother, and how intense Gilmore Girls fans are. Plus, Sean shares his little-known obsessions with math, cats, and rap.
Jaime Camil plays the dramatic, charismatic, slightly self-absorbed yet extra-endearing Rogelio De La Vega on the CW’s telenovela-style comedy, Jane The Virgin. Camil, who has starred in many Mexican sitcoms, films and telenovelas, tells Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen why Jane the Virgin is so relatable and how it’s changing the game for people of color on American television.
Yoga enthusiast, expert and internationally recognized teacher Jessamyn Stanley breaks all the stereotypes of a yogi. Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda sat down with Stanley to talk about her new book, Every Body Yoga; how yoga is for everyone (and not just the models drinking coconut water in the Lululemon ads); and why yoga is more than just a way to burn calories.
Rebecca Skloot talks about the long journey of turning her book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, into an HBO film starring Oprah. She also discusses the importance of storytelling in science and why, even after 18 years, she’s still traveling the world to talk about the life of Henrietta Lacks.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell talk about the importance of failure, the future of innovation, and when we’ll get to Mars.
Author Roxane Gay talks about writing her most recent book, a collection of short stories called Difficult Women, and why Beyoncé, Law and Order SVU and Channing Tatum’s neck are mentioned in the book’s acknowledgements. Then, “reformed librarian” Kelly Jensen on why feminism isn’t always fun — but should be accessible — and how her new book is helping girls (and boys!) everywhere.
Orthodox Jewish sex therapist Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus founded one of the largest women’s sexual health clinics in the country. From taboos to vibrators, Bat Sheva talks about how she helps women embrace their sexuality. She also discusses her approach to solving specific challenges for women in the Orthodox Jewish community.