WNPR

Jonathan McNicol

Producer, The Colin McEnroe Show / Host, The Second First Season

Jonathan started at WNPR as an intern in 2010 and was hired later that year. In his work, Jonathan is always just trying to figure out a little bit of how the world works, while paying special attention to the absurd and the just plain goofy. He is as likely to produce a show on America’s jury system as he is a story on all the grossest parts of the human body. His work has been heard nationally on Here & Now and locally on WNPR’s talk shows, on Morning Edition, and on All Things Considered.

Jonathan comes to radio from a background in, of all things, graphic design. He lives in the greater New Haven area.

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We now have no fewer than four big screen versions of A Star Is Born.

There's the 1937 original, the Judy Garland/James Mason remake, the Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson remake... and now's there's the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper remake, which is directed by Cooper, and which might just take the fall movie season by storm.

This hour: a Noseish (but not quite actually The Nose) look at the phenomenon of A Star Is Born.

Brandon Giesbrecht / flickr creative commons

So, when Prince died (which was two-and-a-half years ago), we announced that we were finally going to retire our theme song (which was a Prince song). And then we promptly did... nothing at all.

Earlier this year, though -- and in typical Colin McEnroe Shovian fashion -- we decided that this non-problem was a big problem. And so, in order to try and hopefully finally fix this non-problem big problem, we did a whole show about theme songs -- ours and other people's.

Serial Productions / This American Life / WBEZ Chicago

So we did a Nose last week. It was good. It was about the second season of Slow Burn and the third season of Serial, and it was kind of also about how both of those shows tie into our present moment in interesting ways and that that's kind of interesting and suchlike.

We thought it went well.

You probably would've thought so too.

Except you didn't hear it, so how would you know? That present moment that I was just talking about got in the way: We were preempted by some Senate Judiciary Committee vote or something.

So we brought the show back for this week. We hope you'll like it now too.

Daniel Hartwig / Flickr

The postseason proper is upon us!

Baseball has already played four winner-take-all games in three days. The Dodgers and the Brewers won their divisions in a pair of extra, tie-breaking game number 163s. And then the Cubs and the A's saw their seasons end in the two Wild Card Games.

And now we're onto a round of real, full-length, five-game series. The two National League Division Series start today, and the American League's DSes start tomorrow.

Slate

It's been... quite a week. It kinda seems like nothing happened in pop culture at all this week, doesn't it? Regardless, The Nose has a mandate to satisfy.

Slow Burn is Slate's scripted, narrative impeachment podcast. The first season covered Watergate and President Nixon. The second (and current) season is covering Monica Lewinsky and President Clinton. It has a strong, willful woman at its center. It has some sexual malfeasance. It has some questionable testimony.

Serial is This American Life's scripted, narrative true crime podcast. The first and second seasons covered Adnan Syed and Bowe Bergdahl. The third (and current) season covers the court system in Cleveland. It has some justice and plenty of injustice. It has some lawyerly delays and obfuscation. It has at least one questionable judge.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The celebrity profile is dead. Or dying, at least, according to The New York Times. Case in point: the Times's own terrible profile of the great Maya Rudolph. Counterpoint: The Washington Post's fascinating, and self-eviscerating, profile of the formerly great Chevy Chase.

And: Nicole Holofcener's new movie is a Netflix adaptation of Ted Thompson's novel of the same name, The Land of Steady Habits. You'll never guess where it's set. (Actually, you might not. I'm pretty sure it's never said in the movie, and they shot it in Tarrytown, New York. But it's meant to be Westport, Conn., which is why The Nose is covering it.)

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Actress Cynthia Nixon lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary in New York yesterday. Did she lose because of the kind of bagel she eats? Probably not. But from the Nose's point of view, what could really matter more than that?

And Vulture, last week -- "as the discourse rages on about whether or not political correctness is destroying comedy (spoiler alert: it isn't)" -- ran a piece on the jokes comedians regret. But here's the real question: Do we want comedians regretting their jokes, tasteless or not?

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

You may have heard that Bob Woodward has a new book out.

It was number one on Amazon... before it came out. It was into its seventh printing -- a million copies... before it came out. The president Twittered about it at least a dozen times... before it came out.

Well, now it's out.

This hour: a look at the phenomenon of Fear.

Mike Mozart / flickr creative commons

Here's the money quote from a recent Washington Post story on entertainment in the Trump era: "People look at politics when deciding how they feel about a host or actor. Pop culture has now become one more thing that divides us, just like cable news and social media." The Nose couldn't pass that up, and this not-quite-The-Nose show can't pass it up either.

hobvias sudoneighm / flickr creative commons

Semiotics is the study of sign process, which is to say: it's the science of the search for meaning.

And then, part of the underlying premise of semiotics -- which just happens to be part of the underlying premise of The Colin McEnroe Show, itself -- is that there's meaning... everywhere.

RMI Records, a division of Resonant Motion, Inc.

The Noah Baerman Resonance Ensemble's The Rock & the Redemption is a jazz concept album of sorts that recasts the Sisyphus myth around the heroism of perseverance and persistence.

Keyboardist and composer Noah Baerman joins us for the hour.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Nose is off this week, but we bring you some pop culture topics anyway:

Jon M. Chu's Crazy Rich Asians is the number-one movie in the country, and it's expected to hold onto the top spot on the charts through this weekend. It's on the cover of Time magazine, and it's seen as "a major step forward for representation -- and the industry."

And: Hits are down, and strikeouts are up. Pitching changes and replays are at an all-time high, and take-out slides and home-plate collisions have been banned. As such, baseball greats find the game "very difficult to watch." Is baseball in trouble? (Spoiler alert: Probably not.)

Christel Øverland Preteni / flickr creative commons

humor = tragedy + time

Okay, but then the logical next question is: How much time?

If it's okay, at this point, to joke about, say, The Spanish Inquisition... what about, for instance, the Holocaust? Or AIDS? September 11th? The #MeToo movement?

Focus Features

August 16 -- yesterday -- is kind of an oddly busy day in the history of popular culture. In 1954, the first issue of Sports Illustrated was published. In 1962, Pete Best was fired from The Beatles. In 1948, Babe Ruth died. In 1958, Madonna was born (and so she turned 60 yesterday). In 1977, Elvis Presley died. And yesterday, a new August 16th-shaped dot was added to the timeline of pop culture: the death of Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul was 76 years old.

And: The new Spike Lee joint, BlacKkKlansman, is set in 1970s Colorado Springs, Colo., and it tells a story that's about race relations in all of America right now, today. It's "a slapstick comedy, a blaxploitation throwback, and an incendiary Molotov cocktail thrown into the foray of the modern multiplex," and it's being called Lee's "hardest-hitting work in decades."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week announced changes to the annual Oscar awards, including a new category recognizing "outstanding achievement in popular film." Eligibility requirements and other details haven't been announced, but that hasn't stopped the film world from having strong opinions.

And: Bo Burnham is a comedian, musician, and actor who was a teen YouTube star. He’s directed a few comedy specials -- including Chris Rock's Tamborine -- and as of this week, his feature film directorial debut, Eighth Grade, is in wide release. Its "queasy verisimilitude" has earned it a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

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