The Cracked Podcast tracks on Soundclound

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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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How One Epic Twitter Thread Exposed Nationwide Lunch Theft
The Cracked Podcast

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/979448251546927104


Additional footnotes: https://goo.gl/tskeUi

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

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

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

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

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13 Beloved Movies That Are Secretly Terrifying
The Cracked Podcast

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

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

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

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Musical Supergroups And Collaborations That Almost Happened
The Cracked Podcast

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

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

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

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Why Justin Timberlake AND White Survivalists Are Moving West
The Cracked Podcast

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

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The 15 Funniest True Stories Left Out Of History Class
The Cracked Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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How Predictive Text Gave Us A New Harry Potter Chapter
The Cracked Podcast

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

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All The Ways Your Microbes Make You YOU
The Cracked Podcast

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

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