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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Graduation season is upon us. Your niece is finishing high school. Your neighbor's son is graduating from Tulane. Your boss just got her second Master's. How did it get to be that the obvious gift for all of these people is... a Dr. Seuss book?

And then: Vulture, this week, published a click-bait listicle ranking all the HBO shows ever. The Nose took the bait and clicked. And... Six Feet Under didn't make the top ten? Girls isn't in the top 25? John from Cincinnati made the top 30? Did anybody even understand that show?

And speaking of shows, George Clooney and Grant Heslov's new Hulu miniseries is a four-and-a-half-hour, six-episode adaption of Joseph Heller's Catch-22. Is that what the world needed right now?

EwS / Flickr Creative Commons

For the past few months, Nose regular Jacques Lamarre has been posting debate-starting, head-to-head style Facebook posts.

Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry. Ketchup vs. mustard vs. mayonnaise. When Harry Met Sally vs. Sleepless in Seattle. That kind of thing.

And so now, we've decided to try to turn the concept into a radio show. This hour, YOU MUST CHOOSE.

thierry ehrmann / Flickr Creative Commons

From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. Dave Itzkoff's new biography is Robin.

And 10 years after his death, a look back at the work of George Carlin.

Netflix

No Country for Old Men. Fargo. The Big Lebowski. Raising Arizona. O Brother, Where Art Thou? Miller's Crossing.

Over the past 35 years, Joel and Ethan Coen have reliably been among the most recognizable voices in moviemaking.

Their latest, the anthology western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, hit Netflix last fall.

This hour: a Noseish look at the work of the Coen brothers.

Marco Verch / flickr creative commons

Seriously: a show about towels.

There's the history of towels, towels in Christianity, Terrible Towels, Towel Day.

Oh, and there are actual towels too.

HBO

It's been a rough week for the famous. Last Saturday, Peggy Lipton died at age 72. On Monday, Doris Day died at 97. Then on Tuesday, it was Tim Conway at 85. And yesterday, I. M. Pei died aged 102.

And the week's gone kind of the same way for TV shows too. On Sunday, Veep finished its seven-year run on HBO. Last night, The Big Bang Theory aired its 279th and final episode. And Game of Thrones's series finale is set to air this coming Sunday.

Garrett Ziegler / flickr creative commons

Father of the Bride is Vampire Weekend's fourth studio album, their first in nearly six years, and their first for a major label. It has been called a "masterpiece" and a "multi-layered dissertation on the world's ills." It's also been called "mild" and "some of the worst ideas the band has ever put to tape." The real question is, though: Is Vampire Weekend still cool?

And then: Gorman Bechard's Pizza, A Love Story has its New Haven premiere in a few weeks at this year's NHdocs documentary film festival. The Nose talks Pizza, specifically, and pizza, more generally, from the pizza capital of the world.

Sharon Mollerus / flickr creative commons

Hartford native Sol LeWitt was one of the giants of conceptualist and minimalist art.

As an artist, he abandoned the long histories of painting and drawing and sculpture in favor of his Wall Drawings and Structures.

And as an art figure, he abandoned the conventions of celebrity and resisted ever even having his picture taken.

This hour, a look at Connecticut's own Sol LeWitt.

Jonathan McNicol

Elvis left two legacies. Musically, he pulled several American musical traditions out of the shadows, braided them together, and made them mainstream. Personally, he created a far darker template for the way a musical celebrity could be devoured by the very fame he avidly sought.

Recorded live in front of an audience -- and with a band! -- as part of Colin's Freshly Squeezed series at Watkinson School, an hour about the artist who defined the birth of rock and roll and was the genre's first superstar.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Avengers: Endgame is the 22nd feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the fourth Avengers movie and the fourth MCU entry directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. It is the 10th film in the MCU's Phase Three and the last part of its Infinity Saga. I didn't understand very much of that stuff I just wrote, but I totally get this last bit: Avengers: Endgame may well be on its way to becoming the highest-grossing movie ever made.

And then: Taylor Swift's new single/video, "Me," is setting records of its own. Never mind that the duet with Panic! at the Disco's Brendon Urie is maybe kinda... terrible?

Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

For an American Sign Language-interpreted version click here.

Since 1989, more than 2,000 people have been identified as victims of wrongful convictions in the U.S. In 2015 and 2016, the wrongfully convicted were exonerated at a rate of about three per week.

This hour, a look at the reality of, psychology behind, and institutionalized pressures toward wrongful convictions in America.

Apex Photo Company / Wikimedia Commons

During his remarkable career with the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams earned many nicknames: The Kid, The Splendid Splinter, Teddy Ballgame... but the only nickname that he ever wanted was "the greatest hitter who ever lived."

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

For a period of about fifty years, many of America's top cartoonists and illustrators lived within a stone's throw of one another in the southwestern corner of Connecticut.

This week, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp suffered major worldwide outages, and Twitter previewed some possible new changes. And people took to (what else?) social media to (what else?) complain.

And: The Ringer asks the age-old question, if a TV show falls in the woods, and no one talks about it, can it be certified fresh? Or something like that.

And finally: Captain Marvel is the 21st feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the ninth movie in the MCU's Phase Three. It is, chronologically, a sequel to 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger and a prequel to 2008's Iron Man. I didn't follow much of that, but I get this part: After 11 years and all those previous movies, it's the first one with a female lead.

jessicaharper.com

Jessica Harper has starred in movies like Suspiria, Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise, Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, and Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. And now she's publishing a memoir as a podcast.

Winnetka tells the story of growing up in a big family -- six kids, including two sets of twins -- in the 1950s and '60s in the midwest -- in Winnetka, Ill., you see -- and later in Connecticut.

Plus: An update on the podcast industry more generally. The "Netflix of podcasts" is here. A big new study on podcasting has just come out. And... is "podcaster burnout" becoming a thing?

AMC

You know all the reasons Trump won, right?

Economic anxiety. Racial anxiety. The forgotten working class. The forgotten rustbelt...

But what if the real cause were something much simpler and much more pervasive: our popular culture.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's been rough going here for the famous for a little while. This week, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek announced his stage four cancer diagnosis. Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver retired from public life because of his dementia diagnosis. And then there are the deaths: Actor Luke Perry at 52. The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint at 49. Actress Katherine Helmond at 89.

Also this hour: a look at Netflix's new not-exactly-the-X-Men, but-still-adapted-from-a-comic-book series, The Umbrella Academy.

EwS / flickr creative commons

For the past few months, Nose regular Jacques Lamarre has been posting debate-starting, head-to-head style Facebook posts.

Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry. Ketchup vs. mustard vs. mayonnaise. When Harry Met Sally vs. Sleepless in Seattle. That kind of thing.

And so now, we've decided to try to turn the concept into a radio show. This hour, YOU MUST CHOOSE.

John Eckman / flickr creative commons

It's been a year of aborted missteps for the Academy Awards. There was going to be a new Best Popular Picture category. But now there won't be. Kevin Hart was going to host. But now there's nobody. They were going to present four awards -- including Film Editing and Cinematography -- during the commercial breaks. But now they aren't.

Oh and there're the actual movies. Roma and The Favourite lead the field with 10 nominations each. A Star Is Born was once the favorite (no "u") to win in a bunch of categories. But now bettors' odds seem to favor Roma. Or maybe Green Book? And A Star Is Born? Its Best Picture hopes have fallen all the way to 40-1 against.

Joanthan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Elvis left two legacies. Musically, he pulled several American musical traditions out of the shadows, braided them together, and made them mainstream. Personally, he created a far darker template for the way a musical celebrity could be devoured by the very fame he avidly sought.

Recorded live in front of an audience -- and with a band! -- as part of Colin's Freshly Squeezed series at Watkinson School, an hour about the artist who defined the birth of rock and roll and was the genre's first superstar.

Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public Radio

To do a show about local stand-up comedy, we figured we should probably do a show of local stand-up comedy.

So we went to a comedy club, put on a comedy show, and then did a talk show about the comedy show we'd just done.

This hour: some of said comedy show plus most of said talk show -- and we're fairly confident it'll make more sense when you hear it than it probably just did reading about it.

Loren Javier / flickr creative commons

Without even really realizing it, The Nose has been covering the 91st Oscars field since early last year, and we still don't know that much of what to expect.

We do know that, for the first time since 1989, the Oscar ceremony won't have a host. And we also know that, for literally the 91st consecutive time, there won't be a Best Popular Picture award awarded.

But of the actual awards that will actually be awarded, who'll win what? That's much harder to tell even though The Nose, and its cousin that we clumsily call "Not Necessarily the Nose," has covered 14 nominated films encompassing 64 Oscar nominations.

These're them and those conversations neatly embedded in fancy Soundcloud format or hyperlinked for your browsing convenience.

Mercy Quaye

Colin's away this week, but The Nose must go on! Or maybe "must" isn't quite right, but in this particular case, The Nose is going on -- with excellent guest hosts: The Arts Paper's Lucy Gellman and the New Haven Independent's Tom Breen.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Darko Tresnjak has been artistic director at Hartford Stage Company since 2011. During his tenure here, he's won a Tony. He's had multiple productions make the leap to Broadway. His Anastasia has multiple tours touring internationally.

And this season is his last season in Hartford.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The long list of luminaries who have played the Super Bowl Halftime Show includes Michael Jackson, Prince, Beyoncé, Madonna, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, The Who, U2, Tom Petty, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springsteen... and as of Sunday: Maroon 5.

Whatever artist finally agreed to perform, it was going to be seen as controversial. Maroon 5 is defending their decision, even in the face of petitions asking them to drop out.

And: Alfonso Cuarón's Roma is nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including plenty of big ones -- Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay. Its 10 nominations tie it with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the most ever by a foreign-language film. And this hour Roma becomes the 12th Oscar-nominated movie The Nose has covered.

NBC

Where We Live producer Carmen Baskauf had been badgering us to do a show about The Good Place for months on end. (It had gotten kind of weird, to be honest. We were a little worried about Carmen, to be honest.)

Partly to get her off our back, partly because The Good Place really is "a sitcom that's also a profound work of philosophy," and partly because its Season Three season finale aired last Thursday night, last Friday afternoon we finally did a show about The Good Place.

...And then we got preempted by the president halfway through the forkin' show!

So this hour, we try again.

NBC

Where We Live producer Carmen Baskauf has been badgering us to do a show about The Good Place for months on end at this point. (It's gotten kind of weird, to be honest. We're a little worried about Carmen, to be honest.)

Partly to get her off our back, partly because The Good Place really is "a sitcom that's also a profound work of philosophy," and partly because its Season Three season finale aired last night, this hour we're finally doing a show about The Good Place.

cellarfullofsoul / flickr creative commons

When Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band had its 50th anniversary, we put together a show with famed Beatles lecturer Scott Freiman and famed Hartford music genius Steve Metcalf.

And now that The White Album has had its 50th anniversary, we've gotten the band back together, and we're doing it again.

This hour: a look at the best-selling album of the 1960s, The Beatles.

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.

Netflix

On Monday, Imagine Dragons played the Halftime Show at the College Football National Championship Game. The reviews were... not great. In fact, the performance has raised the question: Is Imagine Dragons the worst band ever?

And: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure-style, science fiction, psychological thriller film. It's streaming on Netflix, on some devices, as a standalone movie in the Black Mirror television series. The Nose has seen... a number of different versions of it.

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