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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Chion Wolf / WNPR

Solo is the tenth feature-length, live-action Star Wars film. It is the fifth Star Wars prequel. It is the second Star Wars anthology film (following 2016's Rogue One), and it's the second Star Wars movie to come out in just the last six months (along with The Last Jedi).

It is, though, a number of Star Wars firsts too: It's the first Star Wars picture to have its director(s) fired midway through production. It's the first to star Woody Harrelson. It's the first Star Wars movie that may well lose money.

mslavick / flickr creative commons

We've been trying to push this show out for quite a while now. It's been a bit of a strain, and we got kind of backed up.

But, this hour, we let loose a long look at... constipation.

It should be a big relief for everyone involved.

zenilorac / flickr creative commons

Numbers are so fundamental to our understanding of the world around us that we maybe tend to think of them as an intrinsic part of the world around us. But they aren't. Humans invented numbers just as much as we invented all of language.

Dan McKay / flickr creative commons

When I hear the word "diorama," the first thing I think of is Mr. Mack’s fifth grade class and painting hills and grass and clouds and a fence into a shoebox and making little cardboard cut outs of Lassie and the boy she loved. God, I hated that stuff.

The second thing I think of is a place like the Peabody Museum in New Haven and their incredibly, obsessively, over-the-toply detailed dioramas of the plant and wildlife of Connecticut.

YouTube Red Originals

You remember the dress, right? In case you don't: Three years ago, a poorly-lit photograph of a dress pretty much tore the internet to pieces. Some people saw a black-and-blue dress; some people saw a white-and-gold dress. The black-and-blue-dress people couldn't understand how the white-and-gold-dress people were living their lives; the white-and-gold-dress people called the black-and-blue-dress people "fake news" (no they didn't).

Well, this week there's a new the dress. Except it's a the dress for your ears, not your eyes. It's an audio file. Some people hear the word "laurel." Some people hear the non-word "yanny." And the dispute over which word is right and which word is wrong is very important (no it isn't).

Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public Radio

Donald Glover can do anything. He's an actor and a comedian, he's a singer and a songwriter, he's a rapper and a DJ. Mainstream audiences know him from Community and maybe the FX series he created, Atlanta. Nerdy audiences know him as the voice of Spider-Man, and they're about to know him as a young Lando Calrissian.

But Glover's music -- he sings and raps as Childish Gambino and DJs as mcDJ -- has never quite punched through into the wider popular consciousness, despite some chart success. Until this week, maybe. The new Childish Gambino video, "This Is America," which dropped last Saturday in concert with Glover's hosting Saturday Night Live, has just about 75 million views on YouTube. It is "a milestone" and "a media phenomenon," and it has finally made Glover "a superstar."

Adam Tiner / flickr creative commons

Lauren Bacall probably does have the most famous line about smoking in all of cinema. But there are other good ones too. "What are you gonna do? Charge me with smoking?" "Smoke if ya got 'em." And many more.

Cigarettes have been such an integral part of movies for so long that one big concern in the lead up to Disney and Fox's planned merger is -- seriously -- all the smoking in Fox movies.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This week's Nose tackles Kanye's bromance with President Trump. And we've got an update on monkey selfies!

Plus: Courtney Balaker's Little Pink House, which opens today at Real Art Ways in Hartford, tells the story of Kelo v. City of New London. Catherine Keener plays Susette Kelo. There's an unnamed version of Governor John Rowland. Keith Kountz makes an appearance. The movie is kind of Erin Brockovich, but on the Connecticut Shoreline in the Late '90s/Early 2000s. The Nose has seen it.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Matt Taibbi is an American journalist, author, and iconoclast. He is a contributor to Rolling Stone and the author of nine books, the most recent of which are Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus and I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The original Lost in Space, an Irwin Allen series that aired on CBS for three seasons in the 1960s, was a marginal ratings success with seemingly outsized cultural impact. The show is still remembered for its campy humor, its catchphrases, and its not-possibly-designed-in-any-decade-but-the-1960s robot.

Netflix's new Lost in Space, on the other hand, tells the Swiss-family-Robinson-in-space story as a relatively serious family drama with super high production values and the mostly serialized narrative that's become the custom on prestige TV. The Nose has thoughts.

Brandon Giesbrecht / flickr creative commons

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

Over the last few weeks, though -- and in typical Colin McEnroe Shovian fashion -- we've decided that this non-problem is a big problem. And so, in order to try and hopefully finally fix this non-problem big problem, we're doing a whole show about theme songs -- ours and other people's.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Wes Anderson is a... particular sort of filmmaker. With his typewriters and his pipe smoking. With his monochrome sets and props and costumes. With his perfectly symmetrical compositions. The one place where Anderson's tweeness is maybe softened a bit is in his old-school, stop-motion, animal-centric animated films. There was Fantastic Mr. Fox. And now there's Isle of Dogs. Dogs isn't without its own problems, though. The Nose weighs in.

Jellaluna / flickr creative commons

In 2016, a Swedish brewery offered for sale artisanally-prepared potato chips. $59 for five chips in what looks like a jeweler's box. They sold out. Crazy, right?

But be honest: Have you gone to more than one place looking for just the right coffee bean or golden beet or ...something? Meanwhile, behind all this posturing, what do Americans really cook and eat?

Warner Bros. Ent.

Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One is a futuristic nostalgia bomb that lovingly apes Spielbergian 1970s and '80s pop culture. Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of Ready Player One could have been a self-aware, winking paean to the current Urban Outfitters kitsch for which Spielberg's somewhat responsible. Instead -- and perhaps not surprisingly -- it's a bigger, nostalgia bombier futuristic adventure filled with more decades' worth of pop culture references even than the book is. For better or worse. The Nose has thoughts.

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.

IFC Films

Armando Iannucci is the creator of Veep and The Thick of It and the writer and director of In the Loop. Those, you'll note, are all contemporary political satires. Iannucci's new movie, The Death of Stalin, is set in 1953 Moscow and tells a true-to-some-degree version of the story of, logically, Joseph Stalin's death. Historical period piece or no, The Death of Stalin is still utterly recognizable Iannucci: it's funny, it's filthy -- it's mostly about the incompetence of the powerful. And, at the same time, stories about Russian authoritarianism have a certain contemporary vibe too, ya know?

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings.

But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Every year at this time, we invite an improv comic and an ex-politician-turned-political-pundit on to break down the NCAA tournament brackets and battle for sports analyst supremacy. Logically.

Netflix

In this week's Ridiculous Moments in Late-Stage Capitalism: Pizza Hut's new shoes -- because there are Pizza Hut shoes, apparently; they're, of course, called "Pie Tops" -- will pause live TV when your pizza delivery arrives. Amazon's Echo devices have started spontaneously laughing at people, which might really be scarier than it is funny. And, to celebrate International Women's Day, KFC is introducing the world to Colonel Sanders's wife, Mrs. Claudia Sanders.

And: Netflix's Seven Seconds is not, it turns out, the prequel to a Luke Perry vehicle, rodeo movie it sounds like. It is instead "the contrived, misery-riddled show" that you maybe won't be able to stop watching. And it is also maybe the coldest Netflix show.

Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher

The Times of London has said that Martin Amis "is as talented a journalist as he is a novelist." His latest collection of essays and reportage covers 1994 through 2017, Travolta through Trump.

Amis joins us for the hour.

John Eckman / flickr creative commons

It's The Nose's annual Academy Awards special, and this year we're doing it live at night.

The Nose has covered 15 of this year's Oscar-nominated movies. The only Best Picture nom we missed was Darkest Hour, so we're doing this show at the, uh, darkest hour of the day that we're on.

Or... something.

Green Fuse Films Inc.

On the one hand, obituaries are an amalgam of a bunch of different kinds of journalism: they're feature stories, they're profile pieces, they cover history, and they're hard news too.

On the other hand, the subject is always... dead.

Roman Vanur / flickr creative commons

Consciousness has been an elusive enigma for philosophers and scientists alike for about as long as there've been philosophers and scientists.

And, while it's long been thought that artificial intelligence would bring us the next big breakthroughs in our understanding of consciousness, A.I. authority David Gelernter has a different idea entirely.

He looks for answers to these fundamental questions in, instead... literature.

Lorie Shaull (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Grading on the post-2016 scale, it was a relatively earth shattering revelation-free weekend. And so we have some time to regroup and take a look at more iterative developments in Mueller investigation- and Parkland-adjacent news.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Ryan Coogler's Black Panther is the eighteenth feature film entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the sixth movie in Phase Three, and it's most directly a sequel to Captain America: Civil War, the first film of the phase.

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?

...Parkland?

Netflix

During last week's Super Bowl, Netflix announced the surprise release of the third installment in the already-super-unconvential Cloverfield film franchise... that night. Was it a genius, disruptive publicity stunt? Or was it an unceremonious, direct-to-streaming dumping of a subpar sequel? Or maybe it was both?

And speaking of unconventional: The official presidential portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama were unveiled this week. The likenesses are being heralded as a milestone in black portraiture. But, predictably, not everyone agrees.

Sony Pictures Classics

There are nine movies nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards. And, as of this week, The Nose has seen eight of them. We saw Get Out way back in last March. We saw Dunkirk over the summer. We went to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at night. And this awards season, we've gone to Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird and Steven Spielberg's The Post and Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Who's afraid of the Bix bad Beiderbecke?

Hartford has an amazing jazz history, and Colin has a lot of jazz musician friends. This hour, a little onstage jazz party.

Colin and the panel look to make jazz accessible to mere mortals. They talk about what makes jazz jazz, invite the audience to sing, and teach the audience to scat.

NEON Rated

I, Tonya is a big, brash, brightly-colored, quirky comedy that happens to be telling a story that's ultimately kind of super sad. It's that mixture of tones -- a cinematic style seemingly at odds with the film's content -- and its Oscar-nominated performances by Margot Robbie and Allison Janney that have earned the movie a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Nose picks it apart.

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