Stephen Thompson, NPR Music

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Stephen Thompson

Writer/Editor, NPR Music

Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he writes the advice column The Good Listener, fusses over the placement of commas and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the weekly NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk.

In 1993, Thompson founded The Onion's entertainment section, The A.V. Club, which he edited until December 2004. In the years since, he has provided music-themed commentaries for the NPR programs Weekend Edition Sunday, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, on which he earned the distinction of becoming the first member of the NPR Music staff ever to sing on an NPR newsmagazine. (Later, the magic of AutoTune transformed him from a 12th-rate David Archuleta into a fourth-rate Cher.) Thompson's entertainment writing has also run in Paste magazine, The Washington Post and The London Guardian.

During his tenure at The Onion, Thompson edited the 2002 book The Tenacity of the Cockroach: Conversations with Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (Crown) and copy-edited six best-selling comedy books. While there, he also coached The Onion's softball team to a sizzling 21-42 record, and was once outscored 72-0 in a span of 10 innings. Later in life, Thompson redeemed himself by teaming up with the small gaggle of fleet-footed twentysomethings who won the 2008 NPR Relay Race, a triumph he documents in a hard-hitting essay for the book This Is NPR: The First Forty Years (Chronicle).

A 1994 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Thompson now lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his two children, four cats and a room full of vintage arcade machines. His hobbies include watching reality television without shame, eating Pringles until his hand has involuntarily twisted itself into a gnarled claw, using the size of his Twitter following to assess his self-worth, touting the immutable moral superiority of the Green Bay Packers and maintaining a fierce rivalry with all Midwestern states other than Wisconsin.

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Left to right: Pop Culture Happy Hour's Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, Linda Holmes and Audie Cornish, plus special guest Fred Armisen. Larry French/AP Images for NPR hide caption

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Russell Martin of the Toronto Blue Jays chose the Nicki Minaj song "Truffle Butter" for his walk-up music. Jason Miller and Ethan Miller/Getty Images hide caption

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Vice President Joe Biden and Stephen Colbert. Jeffrey R. Staab hide caption

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Serena Williams serves to Roberta Vinci during their Women's Singles Semifinals match of the 2015 US Open on Friday. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images hide caption

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Monkey See

If Serena Williams Loses, Is It Still The U.S. Open?

On Pop Culture Happy Hour's sports spinoff, Stephen Thompson and Gene Demby discuss this weekend's U.S. Open final between two women not named Serena.

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