Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Ep. 183)
A few years ago, I developed a habit. If the person sitting next to me on an airplane seemed like they wanted to have a conversation, I’d ask them a bit about themselves — let’s say they worked in civil engineering — and I’d say “Tell me something I don’t know about civil engineering.” The habit became an addiction. I loved learning stuff I didn’t know, and most people loved to talk about their passions, work-related or otherwise.
Soon this addiction fueled a dream: I imagined turning it into some kind of a live game show/talk show. It would be called “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.” There’d be a host (me), some smart judges, and we’d invite the audience members to come onstage and tell us something we didn’t know. We’d learn a bit, laugh a lot, and take advantage of all the amazing information that’s floating around in the world.
It took a while to make this dream happen but finally it did, a few weeks, ago, at WNYC’s Greene Space. You can hear it for yourself in our latest Freakonomics Radio episode, called (of course) “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) It was, in a word, a blast (at least for me!). The contestants were great, as was the entire audience, and the judges — Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson — were sublime.
The whole thing went off way better than I feared it might. If we keep doing it in some form — regular podcast, live tour, maybe even TV — I’m sure it’ll morph and evolve in a million directions. I’d love to hear any feedback you may have: pro, con, or tangential. The topics we covered were diverse: the Civil War, tax law, art theft, bread, Eleanor Roosevelt, astronomy, and more. I’m sure that some of you, as you listen, will be saying, “Well, I knew that already.” Like the evils of pinball, or losing weight through your nose. If so, that means you’re ready to be a contestant next time we throw a TMSIDK party.
As a bonus, each of the judges told us something about themselves we didn’t know, and that was one of the very best parts of the show. You’ll learn how Malcolm Gladwell got fired from an internship with a prominent judge; how Ana Gasteyer watched Star Wars with a prominent family; and why Governor Paterson was desperate for O.J. Simpson‘s famous Bronco chase to be cut short.
Huge thanks to everyone who helped produce the show (it took roughly 1.5 villages), especially superstar Joel Meyer; Suzie Lechtenberg, David Herman, and Caroline English of the Freakonomics Radio staff; fact-checker extraordinaire Jody Avirgan; Diana Miller and Bailey Constas; Greene Space crew Jennifer Sendrow, Ricardo Fernandez, Chase Culpon, David McLean, Bill Moss, and Gaines Legare; and WNYC’s Chris Bannon and Dean Cappello. Hope you enjoy!