Jonathan McNicol | Connecticut Public Radio
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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Listen live Friday at 1pm.

Sam Mendes's World War I drama, 1917, is currently the #1 movie in America. It won Golden Globe Awards for Best Director and Best Picture -- Drama, and it's nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, and Cinematography. The cinematography nomination is probably the least surprising one, as the entire movie is shot to look as though it was one long, unbroken take.

This hour, we air an updated version of the most recent episode of our weekly impeachment show, Pardon Me, which normally airs Saturdays at noon.

Law professor Bruce Ackerman argues that President Trump's order to kill Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a far graver offense than his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. Think about it: He's bragging about his decision to kill a high-ranking official of another country. Will Chief Justice John Roberts save us?

And that's the positive view on the show this week.

Law professor Bruce Ackerman argues that President Trump's order to kill Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a far graver offense than his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. Think about it: He's bragging about his decision to kill a high-ranking official of another country. Will Chief Justice John Roberts save us?

And that's the positive view on our show this week.

Sarah Kendzior studies autocratic governments. She thinks we'd be foolish to believe there are limits to what the Trump administration would do -- whether jailing witnesses and whistleblowers, threatening protesters, or using nuclear weapons.

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The Rise of Skywalker is the third and final movie in the third (and final?) trilogy -- the sequel trilogy in the trilogy of trilogies -- in the main, so-called "Skywalker Saga" of the Star Wars narrative. It's the eleventh Star Wars movie overall, the fifth since Disney bought Lucasfilm and took over the franchise, and the second directed by JJ Abrams (after The Force Awakens, the first of the Disney Star Wars films and the highest-grossing movie in the history of the United States). It is... somewhat divisive. The Nose weighs in.

And: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced that they're backing away from their role as royals.

Plus: Winter. You either hate it, or you love it.

Last month, we launched a whole other show. It's a weekly show airing on Saturdays at noon and hitting your podcast feeds on Fridays most weeks hopefully. It's called Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?). It's about all the latest trends and tech in the world of industrial welding. Wait, no. That's not right. It's about the impeachment, silly.

Professor Michael Gerhardt argues that the impeachment process is legitimate, despite efforts by President Trump and his defenders to deny it. It is the president's conduct that is not normal.

Gerhardt was one of four law professors summoned by the House Judiciary Committee in December, to share their legal expertise on whether President Trump's conduct met the legal threshold for impeachment. Three out of four of them believe it did.

Also this hour: State Department witness George Kent's bow tie and Rep. Jim Jordan's jacket have their own Twitter accounts. Nancy Pelosi's dagger-like gold pin turned heads on the day she opened up House debate on the president's impeachment. We talk about the fashion semiotics of impeachment.

Peter Sokolowski, lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, fears we're currently having a crisis of meaning in our cultural understanding and use of words.

How do we understand phrases like "fake news"? Does it mean news that has no relationship to reality or is it how President Trump refers to truth-based news he doesn't like? What is an "alternative fact"?

There's a good chance that President Trump knows that the stain of impeachment will be part of his legacy. And as damning details about the president's behavior trickle out, we're realizing how much we still don't know. This may explain why impeachment may be more popular than we realize.

Universal Pictures

Cats -- the new feature film based on the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and starring James Cordon, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, and others -- opened last weekend and grossed $6.6 million in the U.S. It is the 19th-worst opening for any movie in very wide release in history. The 18 movies that opened to less money on a similar number of screens are mostly a bunch of stuff that you don't remember ever existed: Hoot, The Seeker: Dark Rising, Fun Size, Hardcore Henry, Keeping Up with the Joneses, The Wild Thornberrys Movie, etc.

Oh, and I forgot to say: In addition to being a financial disaster, Cats is also... terrible. It earned a C+ CinemaScore from audiences (which is really bad). And it's at 18% on the Tomatometer (which is really rotten). It's so bad that Universal released an updated version to theaters early this week that has hopefully slightly less bad special effects.

Chion Wolf (file photo) / Connecticut Public Radio

Don't miss -- for what might just be the seventh year we've done this (though it might also be some other number too) -- a very badly planned Christmas Eve special featuring chaos muppet and music legend , the great Jim Chapdelaine, and State Troubadour Nekita Waller!

There's actually some question whether President Trump has officially been impeached, it turns out.

In any case, on Wednesday, December 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two Articles of Impeachment charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of congress.

On our third full episode, we talk to the founder of Politico about the huge difference a tiny bit of self-control would make to the Trump presidency and a Yale historian about what those crazy founders were thinking when they put impeachment in the Constitution in the first place.

Plus: Our first AccuFrankie report from the Target parking lot in New Britain, Conn., and a song performed live in our studios by Nekita Waller, "Big Al" Anderson, Jim Chapdelaine, and The Shinolas.

On Friday, December 13, the House Committee on the Judiciary voted 23 to 17 to send two Articles of Impeachment to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

On Episode 2 of Pardon Me, Yale Law School's Emily Bazelon joins us to look at the legal ins and outs of the articles, the House vote, and a future Senate trial; The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik tells us to "Stop Saying That Impeachment Is Political"; and our friends from Sea Tea Improv in Hartford stop by to perform a holiday-themed, Scrooge/Trump mashup sketch.

Sony Pictures

The Nose is off this week (because, on any given day, it's entirely possible that our whole show will be off with all this impeachment nonsense going on), so David Edelstein joins Colin for the hour to talk about some of the best (and some of the worst) movies of the year.

We're preempted (again) today as the House Judiciary Committee debates its Articles of Impeachment. So, in lieu of a new episode of The Colin McEnroe Show, we thought you might enjoy this interview we did with Dave Eggers for our new, other show, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?). Pardon Me airs on Saturdays at noon on Connecticut Public Radio, and it's available wherever you get your podcasts.

Adam Gopnik is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism. We talked to Gopnik late last week about his New Yorker piece on the impeachment called, "Stop Saying That Impeachment Is Political."

This interview will run, likely in a form very similar to this one, in this week's Episode 2 of Pardon Me. But we're making it available to you now because... well, because why not, really.

Blogtrepreneur / flickr creative commons

We had intended to run the debut episode of our new other show, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), in our hour today. But then the Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Trump. And so suddenly airing a show from last weekend seemed like a bad idea.

So instead, we take to the airwaves with you as our only guest. Call in and let Colin know what you're thinking: 888-720-WNPR (888-720-9677).

Dave Eggers is the author of six books for young readers, including The Wild Things; three works of nonfiction, including Zeitoun; twelve novels, including What Is the What, A Hologram for the King, and The Circle; and the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. He has written three screenplays, including Where the Wild Things Are with Spike Jonze. And he is the founder of McSweeney’s.

Are you having trouble keeping up with the nonstop impeachment information coming your way? If you're starting to confuse Gordon Sondland with Rudy Giuliani, then you should start listening to Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), our weekly answer to your confusion. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Last Thursday, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's Cybertruck and Sacha Baron Cohen gave the keynote address at an Anti-Defamation League summit. Both performances have drawn mixed reactions.

And: The Mandalorian is the big, new, original, launch title for Disney's new streaming service, Disney+. It's a half(ish)-hour western set in the Star Wars universe, and three episodes have dropped so far.

Netflix, Inc.

The Irishman is Martin Scorsese's first gangster movie in thirteen years. It's his first feature-length film with Robert De Niro in 24 years and his first with Harvey Keitel in 31 years. It's Joe Pesci's first onscreen performance since 2010 and just his third since 1998. It's the first time any combination of Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and/or Harvey Keitel has ever worked together, and it's the first time Scorsese has ever directed Pacino.

Gage Skidmore / flickr creative commons

President Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton is a pretty interesting figure in the whole impeachment inquiry, right? On the one hand, he's a pretty high-level official who is said to have characterized the whole Ukraine affair as a "drug deal." On the other hand, he's so far refused to testify at the same time as he's making it clear he's got lots of relevant information. On the other other hand, 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The news comes fast in the world of the canceled these days. Louis CK is back out on tour. President Obama has a "very boomer view" of the whole thing. The New York Times reports on teens' takes.

Meanwhile, some celebrities, rather than getting themselves canceled, are getting themselves arrested. Jane Fonda, for instance. And Sam Waterston. And Ted Danson.

And: Bong Joon Ho's genre-defying new movie, Parasite, won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and it's being called "a nearly perfect film" and "the best movie of the year."

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Watchmen is a limited series of comic books that became a graphic novel in 1987 and a feature film in 2009. And now it's an HBO series from Damon Lindelof that acts as a kind of sequel to the original comics, set 34 years later.

And: Today is John Dankosky's last day at Connecticut Public after 25 years. There is just no denying that WNPR wouldn't be what it is -- and The Colin McEnroe Show wouldn't be at all -- if it weren't for Mr. Dankosky. The Nose tries to begin to come to terms.

A24

Every year around this time, we like to take a look at just what's frightening us in the present moment. This year, we start with our present take on a past horror classic, Ridley Scott's Alien, which has its 40th anniversary this year.

Plus: Ari Aster's Hereditary follow-up, Midsommar, is set at a pagan retreat in rural Sweden. As such, it's seen as a bit of a reinvigoration of the folk horror genre, which includes classics like The Wicker Man and more contemporary titles like The VVitch.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

This week, The Washington Post published "The 20 defining comedy sketches of the past 20 years" covering television sketch comedy of the 2000s. It includes a lot of what you'd expect it to include: SNL's "More Cowbell" and "Black Jeopardy with Tom Hanks," Inside Amy Schumer's "Last F---able Day," Chappelle's Show's "Frontline -- Clayton Bigsby."

Netflix

That headline is just a direct quote from James Poniewozik's Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America. I was torn between that line from the book and this one:

Donald Trump is not a person.

Poniewozik's take is that "Donald Trump" is really a character that Donald Trump has been playing on television since at least the early 1980s.

Netflix

Martin Scorsese is a grump. He doesn't like Marvel movies. He says they aren't "cinema." He says they aren't even narrative films, and "we shouldn't be invaded by it." The internet, as you can imagine, has takes.

And: The Eddie Murphy comeback is on. He appeared on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee this summer. He's hosting Saturday Night Live in December. He's got multiple standup comedy specials in the works. And right now he's starring in the briefly-in-theaters-but-hitting-Netflix-next-weekend biopic Dolemite Is My Name.

miss_millions / flickr creative commons

"Hate" is the imprecise word we use to describe a group of ideas that have moved out of the shadows of American public life and into its center ring.

At the core of these movements sits one common idea: that all people are not equal.

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