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Adrian Lopez is a high school kid from East Vale, California. He had planned a high school kid's birthday party at some fire pits for last weekend. But then the TikTok flyer for the party went viral, thousands of people showed up to two different locations, and the whole thing has been described as a "zombie apocalypse" of "17 to 19 year olds."

And: Hacks is a half-hour sitcom from HBO Max. It stars Jean Smart as a late-career Vegas comedian, and it's written and created by three people who wrote for Broad City on Comedy Central.

Kyle Kaplan / Amazon Studios

After a long absence from Twitter, Donald Glover last week, in a series of since-deleted tweets, blamed boring culture on cancel culture.

After a long absence from the popular culture, Sinéad O'Connor has a memoir coming out.

And: The Underground Railroad is a 10-part limited series on Amazon Prime. It's Barry Jenkins's adaptation of Colson Whitehead's 2016 novel.

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.

Why do people smoke cigarettes even though everyone knows they're terribly harmful? Why do women wear terribly uncomfortable high-heeled shoes? Could it simply be because those things are... interesting?

Netflix, Inc.

Elon Musk will host tomorrow night's Saturday Night Live. It is, if nothing else, an odd choice.

Speaking of choices, Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Sitcoms of All Time is out this week.

Finally, This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist is a four-part Netflix docuseries about the 1990 robbery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The burglary was the largest museum heist in history in terms of value (thought to be as much as $600 million) until 2019.

Trevor / flickr creative commons

As we were preparing for our show on underdogs, I kept saying that we shouldn't overlook the fact that, often, to be an underdog in the first place, you have to be relatively bad at the thing you’re an underdog about.

The more we talked about it, the more I found myself making the case that losers and losing are fascinating.

And they are. There's a whole podcast about political candidates who lost. We romanticize losers in movies and TV and songs and stories.

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.

Because when has a bad idea ever stopped us before?

Jemastock/Harryarts from vecteezy.com

What if, in order to do your job, you had to change your voice? 

Meet an actress who’s an accent expert, a man who is the dubbed-over voice of Peter Griffin and Will Smith in Germany, and a news anchor who went viral when she brought her anchor voice home.

TOONMAN_blchin / Wikipedia

The art of tattooing has been traced back 7,000 years. While the significance or reason behind the oldest-known tattoos are total speculation, we do know that often, they were applied as sacred rites, and awarded as a signifier of adulthood. In Ancient Egypt, it’s likely they were used as a means of safeguarding women during pregnancy and birth.

THIERRY EHRMANN / flickr creative commons

Popeye. The World According to Garp. Good Morning, Vietnam. Dead Poets Society. Awakenings. The Fisher King. Aladdin. Mrs. Doubtfire. Jumanji. The Birdcage. Good Will Hunting. What Dreams May Come. One Hour Photo. Death to Smoochy. Insomnia. Night at the Museum.

And that's just a super-abbreviated version of Robin Williams's filmography. And it completely ignores his career as one of the all-time great standup comedians. And it ignores Mork & Mindy. And Comic Relief. And so much more.

This hour: A look at Robin Williams, who would've turned 70 this year.

Ajay Suresh / Creative Commons

Fox News broadcast the first episode of Greg Gutfeld's new late-night show, Gutfeld!, earlier this month. They're betting that Gutfeld can turn his talk show format into a successful late-night comedy show for conservatives. The problem is that conservatives don't do political satire any better than liberals do opinion talk radio.

Dannagal Young believes that opinion talk is political satire for the right and political satire is opinion programming for the left. They serve the same purpose; both formats are responses to a lack of trust in mainstream media. Which one appeals to each of us depends less on how "smart" we are and more on how we process information.

CHRISTEL ØVERLAND PRETENI / flickr creative commons

humor = tragedy + time

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

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

...Derek Chauvin?

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

For a period of about 50 years, many of America's top cartoonists and illustrators lived within a stone's throw of one another in the southwestern corner of Connecticut.

Comic strips and gag cartoons read by hundreds of millions were created in this tight-knit group -- Prince Valiant, Superman, Beetle Bailey, Hägar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, Nancy, The Wizard of Id, Family Circus... I could keep going.

This hour, a look at the funny pages, and at Connecticut's cartoon county.

Alan Light / Creative Commons

Colin interviewed Hal Holbrook on February 3, 2015, in advance of Holbrook's performance of Mark Twain Tonight in Hartford on his 90th birthday on February 17, 2015. Colin wrote at the time that Holbrook was one of the most remarkable people he's encountered of all the remarkable people he's interviewed over the years.

Holbrook was so passionate and fun to speak with that Colin never got to ask him all the many questions about the love of his life, his difficult childhood, or his time spent at Suffield Academy. He hoped for a second interview.

Holbrook died on January 23. This hour, we reair our 2015 interview with him.

Vevo

Olivia Rodrigo's "drivers license" is in its second week as the No. 1 song in the country, having debuted there last week. It is the first debut single by any artist to hit the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 1 in history.

And: Pretend It's a City is Martin Scorsese's seven-part Netflix documentary series about Fran Liebowitz that's actually also kind of about New York City.

And finally: How To with John Wilson is John Wilson's six-part HBO documentary series of advice and tutorials that's actually also kind of about New York City.

Netflix, Inc.

Tom Cruise's seventh Mission: Impossible installment has been one of the few huge Hollywood productions trying to to figure out how to film during the pandemic. Cruise has been in the news lately for blowing up at his crew for breaking COVID protocols, and now he's back in the news for… buying COVID enforcement robots?

And: Could front porches be just the right "magical intermediate zone" to keep communities connecting during a time of social distancing?

And finally: Nicolas Cage is hosting a documentary series on Netflix called History of Swear Words. Normally I'd try to give you a little more context here, but I feel like that first sentence pretty much covers it.

Marc Tavernier / flickr creative commons

2020 was ... not great.

But, from a pop culture point of view, it wasn't so bad either. I mean, we got the Hamilton movie, The Queen's Gambit, the final season of Schitt's Creek, David Byrne's American Utopia, the Borat sequel, "WAP," I May Destroy You, Tiger King, two new Taylor Swift albums, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom...

The list goes on.

This hour, The Nose looks back at the year in pop culture that was 2020.

Chion Wolf (file photo) / Connecticut Public Radio

Toward the end of every year since 2014, we've picked a day and put "Big Al" Anderson, Jim Chapdelaine, and Colin in a room together, sung some songs, told some stories, and wound up with some sort of a holiday special.

The "in a room together" part of that is essential… and just not going to happen in 2020.

So, in lieu of doing a new show with Al and Jim, this year we've gone through all six of the previous shows we've done and pulled out some of the best songs -- 11 of them, no less -- and some of the best guest appearances and some of the other best bits and bobs and we've added a brand-new version of an age-old Big Al song that Al and Jim sent along special. And we've wound up with this sort of best-of edition of our annual holiday spectacular.

Netflix, Inc.

Last week, President Obama twittered a list of "memorable songs" from his administration. The list was, let's just say, not necessarily well received.

Vaguely relatedly: Incoming secretary of state nominee Antony Blinken… has his own "wonk rock" tunes up on Spotify?

And: The Liberator is a sort of animated, four-part Netflix miniseries that tells the story of the 157th Infantry in World War II.

Trevor / flickr creative commons

As we were preparing for our show on underdogs, I kept saying that we shouldn’t overlook the fact that, often, to be an underdog in the first place, you have to be relatively bad at the thing you’re an underdog about.

The more we talked about it, the more I found myself making the case that losers and losing are fascinating.

And they are. There’s a whole podcast about political candidates who lost. We romanticize losers in movies and TV and songs and stories.

Andry Fridman / Creative Commons

In the 1990s, the Southport Sockmen, otherwise known as Steven Bain and Steven Gawthrop, paid drunk people in Liverpool bars and clubs to give them the socks they were wearing. The Sockmen took photos of each “donor,” before placing each sock and its matching donor photo in a plastic bag. The police found 4,000 pairs of socks piled 18 inches deep when they arrived to arrest the pair for “acts of gross indecency.” The socks were also hanging from the furniture and lampshades -- and some were in the microwave. 

HBO Max

Bill Burr hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend, and his monologue -- which included bits about wearing masks, cancel culture, white women in the "woke" movement, Pride Month, and more -- has drawn some criticism. It has The Nose thinking about "How President Trump Ruined Political Comedy."

And: The West Wing ran for seven seasons and 156 episodes and ended more than 14 years ago. A new reunion special debuted yesterday, and it's got The Nose wondering how the classic show -- with its Capraesque, idealized vision of American politics -- plays against our present reality.

Netflix, Inc.

It's been over 100 years since the first cartoons were drawn by hand. Since then, the form has delved into everything from sex and drugs to racial inequality and war crimes. Even the tamest, G-rated cartoons have often found ways of slipping in adult humor past the eyes of younger viewers.

Cartoons have been the vehicle for government propaganda, social change, and political satire. Some have been boycotted and even banned for their content while others have been deemed masterpieces and praised by critics for their bold message and style.

Pop TV

The Nose has been contemplating covering the controversy around the The Ellen DeGeneres Show literally for months now. The show returned with a new season of new episodes this week, and Ellen addressed allegations of a toxic work environment in her monologue.

And: The CBC series Schitt's Creek has been endorsed on any number of Noses over the years, but we've never actually covered it. But then, after it won literally ever Emmy in the comedy category on Sunday (a feat no show has ever before achieved), we decided that this week had to be the week.

Gage Skidmore / flickr creative commons

Bill Murray has starred in some of our favorite movies of the last few decades: Caddyshack, Stripes, Tootsie, Ghostbusters, Scrooged, What About Bob?, Groundhog Day, Ed Wood, Space Jam, Lost in Translation, all the Wes Anderson films, and so many more.

He doesn't like managers or agents, and, rumor has it, he once agreed to play Garfield because he thought it was a Coen brothers film. (It wasn't.)

And now, Bill Murray is 70 (!) years old.

Image courtesy of Laina Morris

This hour, we’re talking with people who have become memes. Like, “Hide the Pain Harold”, who is actually András Arató - a stock photo model who  is smiling wide but his eyes, well, there’s a real sadness there.

And “Overly Attached Girlfriend”, who is Laina Morris. She entered a Justin Beiber song parody competition and just a few moments of her wide-eyed face from the video launched her into supermemedom.

And we’ll talk with two Karens - one who is Black and one who’s white - about what it’s like having their name become a meme that means “white woman who calls 911 on Black and brown people who aren’t doing anything illegal.”

Plus, hear from Zach Sweat from KnowYourMeme.com about how memes infiltrate every little corner of our lives - for better and worse.

a hole
Mike Burns / flickr creative commons

In November, 2016, we did a show about all the problems presented by, well, a-holes. And so it seems only logical to expand our scope a bit and do a show about all the problems presented by, well, a hole.

For instance: How many holes are there in a straw? Did you say one? Okay, cool. Then how many holes are there in a sock? (A relatively new sock, I mean.) You said one again, right? But how can both of those things be true at the same time?

Or, put another way: What happens to the hole in the donut as you eat the donut around it? This gets into mereology, the theory of parthood relations -- for our purposes, the parts and wholes of holes and the wholes the holes are parts of.

Your head hurts a little, right?

Netflix, Inc.

This week, the NBA, the WBNA, MLB, MLS, tennis, and eventually the NHL all postponed games and matches in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

And: A Tweet listing the "Top 7 Warning Signs In a Man's Bookshelf" -- including "Too Much Hemingway," you see -- caused a bit of a fuss on the Twitter.

TOONMAN_blchin / Wikipedia

The art of tattooing has been traced back 7,000 years. While the significance or reason behind the oldest-known tattoos are total speculation, we do know that often, they were applied as sacred rites, and awarded as a signifier of adulthood. In Ancient Egypt, it’s likely they were used as a means of safeguarding women during pregnancy and birth. And in the ancient Greco-Roman world, they were applied on enslaved people who got caught trying to escape.

But today, the reasons for getting a tattoo are as distinct as the person getting them. Sometimes, it’s a memorial to a person or an experience or an idea. Sometimes, it’s nothing more than something that just looks really cool!

Now and then, though, the meaning changes, and the artwork needs to be covered up. So today, you’ll hear stories about how people have used tattoos to allow their skin to, shall we say, evolve.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

My son, Simon, is a year old. His mother and his grandmother are both librarians. His father is, well, me. Simon is, predictably, obsessed with books.

Back before everything changed, we'd gotten into a pretty good reading routine. Every morning before Simon went to his grandparents', we'd read a big pile of books. Every evening when I got home from work, we'd read a big pile of books.

We'd read Goodnight Moon. We'd read Little Blue Truck. We'd read Peek-a Who? and Peek-a Moo! and Peek-a Zoo! We'd read Who Hoots? and Who Hops? We'd read Dear Zoo and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? and Each Peach Pear Plum and Spooky, Spooky, Little Bat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? And then we'd probably read them all again.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, John Belushi, John Candy, Rick Moranis.

Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Beverly Hills Cop, Caddyshack, The Jerk, Ghost Busters, ¡Three Amigos!, Funny Farm, Spaceballs, Stripes.

We maybe didn't properly appreciate it at the time, but the 1980s were one of the most fertile periods ever for screen comedies and screen comedians.

This hour, a look at the mavericks who shaped a whole comedy aesthetic and at some of the most popular movie comedies ever made.

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