Summary: A safe space for nerding out about all the things you're watching, reading, listening to and encountering IRL.
In a conversation with Nerdette host and known Whovian Tricia Bobeda, Alex Kingston discusses her role on ‘Doctor Who’ as fan-favorite River Song, which helped pave the way for the show’s first female Doctor.
Nadia Sirota is Juilliard-trained violist who hosts Meet The Composer, a podcast that shifts the conversation around classical music by featuring interviews with modern-day composers. She’s also worked with artists ranging from Kesha to Paul Simon. Plus, she explains how being on tour led to a love of aquariums, and Nerdette connects her with the Senior Curator of Fishes at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.
It might seem increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction these days, but Studio 360 host and author Kurt Andersen says the dilemma is old — and one that’s exacerbated by unique characteristics of America. Oh, and cosplay and the Internet. Andersen sat down with Nerdette to discuss his new book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History. He's also obsessed with maps, so we put him on the phone with geographical expert Anne Knowles, who told us all to get lost — in the literal sense.
As the 22nd United States Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith wants to make poetry more accessible to people across the country. So WBEZ’s Greta Johnsen put Smith to the ultimate test by having her analyze this summer’s hottest hit, “Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber.
Everest climber, guide and mountaineer Melissa Arnot Reid is the first American woman to ever summit Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen — a feat only 7 women worldwide have accomplished. Arnot Reid joins Nerdette host Tricia Bobeda to talk about the mindset of a high-altitude climber, what happens when you have snot frozen to your face, and how to train your body to reach Everest’s peak. Plus, Arnot Reid reveals her secret obsession with true crime stories, so we bring in former FBI Profiler and Real Crime Profile host Jim Clemente to talk about what it takes to crack unsolved cases.
Nerdette host Greta Johnsen reveals that she has a secret nerdery: she used to play the bassoon. So this week, in one, grand, bassoon-filled extravaganza, Johnsen and co-host Tricia Bobeda bring back the bassoon. First, they talk with culture writer and bassoonist Eileen Reynolds about the history of the bassoon. Then, they call up the self-proclaimed “Bassoon King” Rainn Wilson. Plus, Chicago Philharmonic Principal Bassoonist John Gaudette plays a familiar tune.
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.