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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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.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Language is an untamable beast. You can decide that infinitives aren't to be split and that "whom" is the objective form of "who" and that "literally" literally means literally. But here's the thing: Language doesn't have to care one way or the other what nonsense you've decided.

Netflix

Louis C.K. has done another thing. He did the thing a few weeks ago, it turns out. But this week the thing appeared on the internet, as things do. And so The Nose, as it does, must cover the thing.

And we've gotten to that part of the year where all the awards-season movies all come out at once. (I guess it's called... "awards season"? Huh.) But then the rest of pop culture keeps keeping on at the same time. 

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.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Don't miss -- for what might just be the sixth year we've done this -- a very badly planned New Year's Eve Eve Eve Eve special featuring chaos muppet and music legend "Big Al" Anderson and the great Jim Chapdelaine!

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

As 2018 draws to a close, The Nose makes its final appearance on our schedule this year. And so we've brought in a nine-person Nose to do a special, live, nighttime broadcast of our best ofs (and maybe worst ofs?) of the year.

Joan Marcus / Hamilton National Tour

Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton: An American Musical is, simply, a phenomenon.

The Broadway production was nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards, and it won 11. The Original Broadway Cast Recording is certified five-times Platinum and won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, and The Hamilton Mixtape debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.

BBC Studios

The first episode of Doctor Who aired on November 23, 1963. Since then, there have been 37 seasons and 849 episodes of the show. The current Doctor, the thirteenth, is portrayed by Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to take the role on.

Is a show with this much history impenetrable, at this point, for new viewers? Is Doctor Who nerd culture for nerds who think nerd culture isn't nerdy enough? Are Jodie Whittaker's Doctor and her diverse group of companions a fresh, compelling way into the series for new audiences?

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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Bernardo Bertolucci directed The Last Emperor (which won nine Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director), Last Tango in Paris, The Dreamers, 1900, and Little Buddha, among other movies. Bertolucci died on Monday. He was 77.

In the years since it was released with an X rating in 1972, the infamous Last Tango in Paris -- and its infamous "butter scene" -- have complicated Bertolucci's legacy. In the days since Bertolucci's death, our friend David Edelstein made a tasteless butter-scene joke on Facebook, retracted the joke and apologized, and was fired from NPR's Fresh Air.

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.

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 weekend.

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

Fox Searchlight

Last weekend, Saturday Night Live did a thing it rarely does: it apologized for a joke it had made in poor taste. Pete Davidson, the comedian behind the joke and the apology, is a unique figure in the history of SNL.

This week's biggest pop culture story is probably the death of Marvel Comics's Stan Lee. The Nose also wants to take a moment to acknowledge the death of the voice of HAL, Douglas Rain.

And: Academy Award-winner Melissa McCarthy? Is that a universe we're headed toward? Her turn as Lee Daniels in Can You Ever Forgive Me? just might get us there.

popo.uw23 / flickr creative commons

Mike Pesca is one of our very favorite guests -- on any number of topics. And he's got a new book out: Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.

Amazon Studios

Last week's Nose painted itself into a bit of a rhetorical corner and somehow found itself arguing that Idris Elba is too old to be James Bond. And while historically that's true, it's not an argument we're proud to have made. Thankfully, this week, the universe has been kind enough to redeem us with the announcement of your new Sexiest Man Alive: Idris Elba. Of course, that's no reason not to make a new bad argument about Elba, like that he's, say, too macho to be the sexiest man alive?

And: The Amazon Prime series Homecoming is a few firsts. It's Julia Roberts's first TV series. It's the first scripted TV drama based on a podcast. And it's Sam Esmail's first new television project since Mr. Robot.

BBC

Carly Rae Jepsen hadn't released a Carly Rae Jepsen single from a Carly Rae Jepsen album in three years... until Thursday, that is. Her new single and video is "Party for One," and it's the "perfect self-love anthem for 2018."

And: The six-part BBC miniseries Bodyguard is British television's highest-rated drama since Downton Abbey and the BBC's highest-rated drama in a decade. The only broadcasts with similar ratings this year were things like the World Cup and the royal wedding. And now Bodyguard is on Netflix.

Warner Bros. Ent.

In terms of box office, 2017 was the biggest year in the history of horror cinema. One wonders: Why? And then this year has brought us Hereditary, A Quiet Place, and now Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House.

This hour: a look at our current horror through the lens of our current horror.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Louis C.K.'s surprise return to a comedy club stage in late August was widely covered and discussed. His subsequent performances have maybe sparked less internet conversation, but they're just as confounding. This week, the owner of one club where C.K. has been performing has made a couple media appearances to explain his thinking about the whole thing.

And: Damian Chazelle is the director behind the three-time Academy Award-winner Whiplash and the six-time Academy Award-winner La La Land. His new movie, First Man, stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong.

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.

Warner Bros. Ent.

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.

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