Live Wire with Luke Burbank
Summary: Like late-night for radio, hosted by Luke Burbank (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me), the show artfully blends an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, comedians and cultural observers. Music, comedy, and conversation, live and packed with surprises.
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share stories of fictional and nonfictional dissertations; writer Chuck Klosterman explains why a puma in an airplane bathroom appears in his newest collection "Raised in Captivity;" humorist Tiffany Midge pokes holes in the notion of the “contemporary” Native writer; and indie pop group Tacocat performs “Grains of Salt” from their latest album "This Mess Is a Place."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share the superpowers they would most like to possess; comedian Rhys Darby schools us on the secret underwater continent of Zealandia; comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick explains how she uncovers the humanity in her superhero characters; theater artist Ahamefule Oluo admits that performing a one-man show about his mother is sometimes awkward… especially when she’s in the audience; and indie rocker Cataldo teams up with Oluo to perform “When You First See the Waves” from the new album "Literally Main Street."
Host Luke Burbank recounts how a garter snake got “The Last Laugh” when it refused to leave his dining room; comedian Josh Gondelman attempts to be a nice guy in the competitive world of comedy; author Clyde W. Ford reflects on his father’s career as the first black software engineer in the nation; endurance athletes Alex Borsuk and Kaytlyn Gerbin discuss how they broke a record by conquering Mount Rainier’s Infinity Loop; and Americana duo The Lowest Pair perform “Rosie” from their album “The Sacred Heart Sessions.”
In this special Live Wire episode, host Luke Burbank catches up with comedian Pete Holmes on his "Comedy Sex God" book tour, where he explains how TV success took him in a new spiritual direction; poet Franny Choi discusses how she incorporated Google Translate and the Turing Test into her latest collection "Soft Science;" and powerhouse vocalist Jimmie Herrod, with Pink Martini, performs a rendition of the classic ballad “The Exodus Song.”
Humorist and former Live Wire host Courtenay Hameister reads from her recent nonfiction book "Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went from Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things," which is a semi-finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Courtenay shared this essay on stage during Live Wire's 15th anniversary show in June 2019 at Revolution Hall in Portland, Oregon.
Celebrating Live Wire’s 15th anniversary, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello give advice to their 15-year-old selves; writer and TV creator Lindy West explains why she is not the lead character in her Hulu series "Shrill;" comedian Dave Hill demonstrates how making mother jokes will get you kicked off of Twitter; and genre-crossing musical group Pink Martini perform the first song they ever wrote, the French language “Sympathique.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello contemplate a life on Mars; acclaimed author Karen Russell explains why she creates fantastical worlds in her stories to get at truth; comedian and television host W. Kamau Bell describes how his CNN show "United Shades of America" is really about gentrification; and multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi performs “Summer of ’42” from his latest album "Omoiyari."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share their personal catchphrases; comedian Paul F. Tompkins impersonates iconic German filmmaker Werner Herzog to review his local Trader Joe’s; author and activist Anuradha Bhagwati discusses the challenges women face for equal treatment in the Marines; and singer-songwriter Patterson Hood performs “21st Century USA.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal their wild sides; podcasters Eula Scott Bynoe and Jeannie Yandel discuss why their show “Battle Tactics For Your Sexist Workplace” is always relevant; comedian Kurt Braunohler admits that becoming a new father finally put his “dad looks” to good use; Mongol derby winner Lara Prior-Palmer explains how she became the first woman to win the longest horse race on earth; and the world's first gay country band Lavender Country perform, “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello discuss the pop songs they think really “get to the point" of life; actor and comedian Michael Ian Black proves the low barrier into podcasting with his show Obscure; writer Melissa Febos calculates the personal risks of writing confessional memoirs; fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad explains how her childhood ambition carried her all the way to the Olympic podium; and soul-rock group Dirty Revival perform “Pipe Dreams.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share their favorite words, both literally and figuratively; actor and television writer Ryan O’Connell explains how keeping his cerebral palsy a secret inspired his book and Netflix series "Special;" grammar expert Mary Norris recounts her early days at The New Yorker and her foray into all things Greek; comedian Jackie Kashian isn’t buying the “empathic” abilities of her fellow comics; and soul-rock group The Get Ahead perform “Deepest Light.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello discuss doing away with minor annoyances in the “Not Too Distant Future;” U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon describes how partisan politics have gotten personal; poet Anis Mojgani laments his love-hate relationship with the possum; Sharon Ross, aka Afrovivalist, tells us how she prepares for eminent disaster; comedian Joe Zimmerman explains why his credit card purchases are the perfect alibi; and Hawaiian soul group Ron Artis II & The Truth perform “Carry Me Along” from their album from "Soul Street."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal their personal “Balancing Acts;” author Pam Houston reconciles her great love of the natural world and the challenges of living within it, as outlined in her latest book "Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country;" comedian Naomi Ekperigin talks couples therapy for comedians; entrepreneur and social activist Nadya Okamoto explains why she ignited the “menstrual movement;” and Shook Twins perform “Safe” from their album "Some Good Lives."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello get down to some “Real Talk;” writer Mitchell S. Jackson discusses how – in his latest book “Survival Math” – he uses men of history to frame his own painful relationships with women of his past; author and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb explains the importance of delivering a “compassionate truth bomb” to loved ones in need; comedian Mohanad Elshieky recounts how his confrontation with the border control on a Greyhound bus went viral; and blues-rock group Revel in Dimes perform “Tough City for Love.”
This podcast short features the original interview with award-winning writer Elena Passarello who, after this appearance, became Live Wire's announcer. Elena is the author of two books of nonfiction, "Let Me Clear My Throat" (2012) and "Animals Strike Curious Poses" (2017). She is also the first female winner of the annual "Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest" held in New Orleans. Listen to this podcast to hear Elena's winning scream! And stay tuned for a song by folk rock singer This is The Kit, who performed on Live Wire in 2017.