Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is live journalism wrapped in a game-show package and hosted by Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books and host of Freakonomics Radio. Stephen has always had a mission: to tell you the things you thought you knew but didn’t; and things you never thought you wanted to know, but do. Now, he has a new way of doing just that. TMSIDK is still journalism, still factual — but disguised in the most entertaining, unexpected, and occasionally ridiculous conversation you’re likely to hear.

Guests presenters come on stage before a live audience and try to wow Stephen and his co-host(s) with a fascinating fact, a historical wrinkle, a new line of research — anything, really, as long as it’s interesting, useful and true (or at least true-ish). There’s a real-time human fact-checker on hand to sort fact from fiction.

EPISODE

DATE

LENGTH

35
Farming Without Sun or Soil and Eating Manna From Heaven: TMSIDK Episode 35

This week, we work on our survival skills: in the desert, on the tundra, and growing food in abandoned warehouses. Actress Sas Goldberg is co-host; A.J. Jacobs (author of It’s All Relative) is live fact-checker.

11/12/2017
40:15
34
Mind Games: TMSIDK Episode 34

How to make people like you, why you should lick rocks, and what an awkward person is really thinking. Angela Duckworth (Grit author) is co-host; Mike Maughan (Qualtrics) is live fact-checker.

11/5/2017
48:59
33
Jon Batiste, Gail Simmons, and Strange Smells: TMSIDK Episode 33

Things we learn this week: dogs aren’t so great at sniffing, men aren’t so lazy, and New York doesn’t smell so bad (anymore). Gail Simmons (Top Chef) is co-host; Jon Batiste plays his melodica for us; the live fact-checker is Mike Maughan.

10/29/2017
57:13
32
All About Bugs (of the Animal and Computer Varieties): TMSIDK Episode 32

Musical crickets, crop-saving wasps — and why you should pre-bug your software. John McWhorter is co-host; the live fact-checker is Bari Weiss.

10/22/2017
58:19
31
School Start Times, Brand Names, and Too Much Ground Beef: TMSIDK Episode 31

We filled this episode with insights about the true value of ground beef, sleeping in, company names, and more. Alex Wagner (CBS This Morning Saturday, The Atlantic) is our special guest co-host, with AJ Jacobs (author of It’s All Relative) as real-time fact-checker.

10/15/2017
43:43
30
How to Count to Infinity: TMSIDK Episode 30

Mary Roach (author of Stiff, Spook, Bonk, Gulp, and Grunt) is our special guest co-host, with AJ Jacobs (author of It’s All Relative) as real-time fact-checker. If the promise of tractor beams doesn’t pull you in, our guests also explore robotic fish, counting to infinity, and more.

10/8/2017
48:44
29
The Perfect Potato Chip, the Origin of Seltzer, and Why We Eat “Beef” and Not “Cow”: TMSIDK Episode 29

Alex Guarnaschelli (Iron Chef America and Chopped) is our special guest co-host, with Sean Rameswaram (Radiolab Presents: More Perfect) as real-time fact-checker. Tell Me Something I Don’t Know explores the origins of food words, children’s menus, and seltzer.

10/1/2017
58:06
28
You Say “eye-RACK,” I Say “ear-ROCK”: TMSIDK Episode 28

Hari Kondabolu (comedian and host of Politically ReActive) is our special guest co-host, with Sean Rameswaram (Radiolab Presents: More Perfect) as real-time fact-checker. Tell Me Something I Don’t Know reaches into our “grab bag” for fascinating facts on the downside of keeping secrets, the origin of fantasy sports, what pronunciations say about our politics, and more.

9/24/2017
48:27
27
Womb to Tomb: TMSIDK Episode 27

Alexandra Petri (Washington Post columnist) is our special guest co-host, with AJ Jacobs (author of It’s All Relative) as real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK covers everything from birth to earth, including pregnancy tests, parenting, monogamy, aging better, and, finally, embalming.

9/17/2017
52:52
0
Sneak Peek of TMSIDK Season 4

Alex Guarnaschelli, Alexandra Petri, Hari Kondabolu, Mary Roach, and Jemele Hill are some of the brilliant co-hosts joining us during Season 4. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll learn in 10 new episodes beginning September 17th.

9/10/2017
26
Urinetown: TMSIDK Episode 26

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is on the weird side of the tracks in Philadelphia with everything you’ve ever wanted to know about graffiti, cockroaches, tattoos, pee, and more. James Altucher (host of The James Altucher Show) is our special guest co-host, with Mike Maughan (head of global insights at Qualtrics) as real-time fact-checker.

8/6/2017
56:17
25
Creature Comforts: TMSIDK Episode 25

Relax with a TMSIDK episode filled with facts on quiet rooms, pillows, comfort food, and …Spam? Krista Tippett (host of On Being) is our special guest co-host, with Maggie Ryan Sandford (science writer, researcher and producer) as real-time fact-checker.

7/30/2017
54:22
24
Behavior Change (Ultra Egghead Edition): TMSIDK Episode 24

Angela Duckworth (psychologist and author of Grit) is our special guest co-host, with Mike Maughan (head of global insights at Qualtrics) as real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK is in Philadelphia with a cornucopia of the world’s most renowned behavior change experts presenting original research.

7/23/2017
55:55
23
Three Sheets to the Wind: TMSIDK Episode 23

John Moe (The Hilarious World of Depression) is our special guest co-host, with Maggie Ryan Sandford (science writer, researcher and producer) as our real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK is in Minneapolis for a show exploring the environment, morning drinking, skyways, hidden figures and more.

7/16/2017
49:41
22
Medicine: TMSIDK Episode 22

Bapu Jena, Christine Hurley and Evan Allen are panelists. The physician-professor-economist, the comedian and the New England Revolution head athletic trainer join us in Boston for a show on Medicine. Side effects include extra kidneys, Lyme disease, hairlessness, cardiac arrest and magical mucus. WBUR’s Carey Goldberg is fact-checker.

7/9/2017
56:11
21
Getting There: TMSIDK Episode 21

Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Ginger Evans and Mary Catherine Curran are panelists. The rapper/political organizer, the commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Aviation and the comedian join us in the City of Big Shoulders for a show on transitions — from here to there, from low to high and from fish to humans. Jesse Dukes is fact-checker.

7/2/2017
60:13
20
Family Matters: TMSIDK Episode 20

Amy Chua, Liza Donnelly and Gary Gulman are panelists. The “Tiger Mom,” the New Yorker cartoonist and the comedian join our dysfunctional family for this show on parenting, cousins, genealogy and medical divorce. AJ Jacobs is fact-checker.

6/25/2017
53:39
19
Cities: TMSIDK Episode 19

Eugene Mirman, Ed Glaeser and Amy Glasmeier are panelists. The comedian, the Harvard economist and the MIT professor join us in one of America’s oldest urban centers for a show about cities, including ruins, sewage and ghost towns. Mike Maughan is our fact-checker.

6/18/2017
60:44
18
Politickling: TMSIDK Episode 18

Major Garrett, Alexandra Petri and Robby Mook are panelists in Washington, D.C. The CBS Chief White House Correspondent, the Washington Post humor columnist and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager step out of the swamp for some more light-hearted politics: from foreign cars to the last state in the union. Femi Oke is fact-checker.

6/11/2017
56:45
17
Rivalry: TMSIDK Episode 17

We kick-off the third season of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know with a show on competition of all kinds: athletic, sexual, geopolitical, and the little-known battle between butter and margarine that landed in the Supreme Court.

6/4/2017
58:51
0
Sneak Peek of TMSIDK Season 3

Season 3 of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is coming to your ears! Prepare yourself for 10 shiny new episodes — full of fresh knowledge — starting June 4.

5/28/2017
16
Music: TMSIDK Episode 16

Danny Goldberg, Faith Salie and David Hajdu are panelists. The record executive, the comedian/journalist and the music critic face the music, including industrial instruments, female composers and the all-important bridge. Our real-time fact-checker is Dan Zanes, accompanied by his live band.

4/23/2017
65:21
15
Wannabes: TMSIDK Episode 15

Tim Harford, Carla Hayden and Rahmein Mostafavi are panelists. The “Undercover Economist,” the Librarian of Congress and the comedian join TMSIDK in Washington, D.C. — the city that wants to be a state — to learn about wannabes, from international spies to new human organs. Femi Oke is fact-checker.

4/16/2017
59:16
14
Oh, My God: TMSIDK Episode 14

John Fugelsang, Tami Sagher and Aman Ali are panelists. Who better to help us talk through religion than these three comedians? We look into unholy fruit, religion in banking and the politics of reincarnation. A.J. Jacobs is fact-checker.

4/9/2017
57:41
13
Money Money Money: TMSIDK Episode 13

Brian Koppelman, Cheryl Dorsey and Hari Kondabolu are panelists. The TV/movie producer, the social entrepreneur and the comedian/podcast host follow the money, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Ethiopia. A.J. Jacobs is fact-checker.

4/2/2017
53:24
12
Stupid Stuff: TMSIDK Episode 12

This episode of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is all about “Stupid Stuff” — things that seem stupid but aren’t and things don’t but are.

3/26/2017
53:42
11
Under the Hood: TMSIDK Episode 11

This week, we go “Under the Hood,” unearthing the secrets behind concealed ovulation, kosher food, cheesy dreams, pneumatic felines and negotiating.

3/19/2017
57:46
10
Collections: TMSIDK Episode 10

We’ve gathered amazing and surprising facts from the world of Collections. We’re not talking baseball cards and Beanie Babies—we’ve got: glucose, gamma rays, brainwaves, fake art and some very blue Russian.

3/12/2017
51:37
9
Wordz: TMSIDK Episode 9

This episode of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is all about the written — or spoken, or programmed, or texted — word. Let’s start with the letter “A”: abbreviations, absenteeism, AI, advertisements and …a rising tide.

3/5/2017
54:22
8
Athletes’ Feats: TMSIDK Episode 8

For our sports-themed episode, we left out all the tired cliches and instead jammed it full of odd trophies, hidden advantages, surprising innovations and… Trouble with a capital T.

2/26/2017
57:34
7
Perfection: TMSIDK Episode 7

Lizz Winstead, Mike Pesca and Melanie Whelan are panelists. The “Daily Show” creator, host of “The Gist” podcast, and CEO of Soul Cycle ponder the pursuit of perfection — in cityscapes and on farms, in how we keep time and how we remember. Our fact-checker is A.J. Jacobs, host of the “Twice Removed” podcast.

2/19/2017
53:09
6
Fool Me Once: TMSIDK Episode 6

Hannibal Buress, Annie Duke and Fr. James Martin, S.J. are panelists. A comedian, a poker player and a priest walk into a bar… and have to deal with missing hands, missing bodies and missing scientific evidence. Fact-checker: Sean Rameswaram, podcast producer for WNYC Studios.

12/11/2016
60:27
5
Passion Plays: TMSIDK Episode 5

This week’s panel: Grit­-y author and psychology professor Angela Duckworth, former White House economist Austan Goolsbee and comedian Keisha Zollar. Our theme: “Passion Plays.” All of the things we’re passionate about, good and bad, from sports to sounds to experimenting on students.

12/4/2016
57:27
4
Things That Come Out of Your Mouth: TMSIDK Episode 4

This episode, which we’re calling “Things That Come Out of Your Mouth,” includes stories of marine regurgitation and a group of opera singers that no longer exists. The panelists are novelest Frank Delaney, Columbia University linguist John McWhorter and Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz.

11/27/2016
52:54
3
Things That Go In Your Mouth: TMSIDK Episode 3

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ate a meal that cost less than eight cents. Join medical doctor Zeke Emanuel, former White House chef Sam Kass and author Gretchen Rubin for more facts about food, eating and a surprisingly versatile musical instrument.

11/20/2016
53:22
2
It’s Alive! TMSIDK Episode 2

Did you know the army once tried to replace its mules with camels? Join author Simon Winchester, social-media scholar danah boyd and comedian Chris Gethard for more tales from the natural world, including marine animals that will either live forever or kill you (or both), as well as the wonders of poop soup.

11/13/2016
53:22
1
Strange Danger: TMSIDK Episode 1

Did you know there is one particularly dangerous time of day to vote? If not, you’re not alone. Neither did the celebrity panelists on the first episode of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know: Debora Spar, president of Barnard College; Anthony Marx, president of the New York Public Library; and Andy Zaltzman, comedian.

11/6/2016
53:59