Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Comedy, The News And A Bat Quiz

A drawing of two clinking martini glasses.
NPR

All Things Considered host Audie Cornish joins us this week for an episode full of tough questions, comedy theory, and some really surprising information about all the ways that Batman has gotten weird over the last 75 years.

We begin by noting the premiere this weekend of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight, which has sold itself in part by embracing what could be its biggest hurdle: getting around to news jokes several days after the news breaks. We chat about how a different news cycle — not to mention the galloping pace of Twitter comedy — affects the ability to cover the news on a comedy show even once a day, let alone once a week. Audie admits to her deep fondness for an incarnation of The Daily Show not always recalled quite so fondly, and we briefly trace the reasons why all of this may, in fact, go back to sports.

In our second segment, the tables are turned. Normally, I give the quizzes, but this week, Glen makes a chewy, glorious meal out of mercilessly grilling the rest of us about the history of Batman. Do you know about Robin's broken arm? Can you tell when Glen is lying about an acronym? How many of Batman's enemies can you name? It's going down to the wire — and Audie is getting very, very serious — in this (yes I'm going to say it) super competition.

As always, we close the show with what's making us happy this week. Stephen is happy about the possibility that fancy jewelry might become obsolete, although he confidently frames it as what appears to be genuine enjoyment of a newspaper commentary about science and the economy. Audie is happy because her long Lent nightmare has finally come to an end. (Not a nightmare. Her Lent observance.) Glen is happy about an entertaining Twitter feed he's been enjoying. And I am happy about a terrific book that I will bug you about more in the coming months.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: me, Stephen, Glen, Audie, producers Lauren and Nick, and our dear pal Mike.

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