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7 Real People Who Singlehandedly Screwed Entire Economies
The Cracked Podcast

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

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12 Pop Culture Franchises That Went Insanely Off The Rails
The Cracked Podcast

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

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

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

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Surprise! America Already Built The Wall
The Cracked Podcast

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

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Why Everyone Is Wrong About Violent Video Games & Your Brain
The Cracked Podcast

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

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15 Insane Mistakes That Never Should’ve Been Televised
The Cracked Podcast

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

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

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

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17 Amazing Performances by Actors Who Weren't Acting
The Cracked Podcast

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

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9 Bizarre Mistakes That Keep Screwing Up Your Science News
The Cracked Podcast

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

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What is The Cracked Podcast?
The Cracked Podcast

Listen to The Cracked Podcast every Monday on Earwolf.

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How Global Sporting Events Run On Bribes & Help Dictators
The Cracked Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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21 Comic Books That Turned Insane Out Of The Blue
The Cracked Podcast

“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

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17 Overlooked Artists Who Deserve To Be Pop Culture Icons
The Cracked Podcast

“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

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23 World-Famous Celebrities (With Mind-Blowing Backstories)
The Cracked Podcast

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

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All The Baffling Ways America Misunderstands The Middle East
The Cracked Podcast

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

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Creepy Propaganda Hidden In Your Favorite Modern Pop Culture
The Cracked Podcast

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

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19 Everyday Heroes Who Deserve To Be World Famous
The Cracked Podcast

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

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