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Mr. Methane Is The World's Top Professional Flatulist

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Mr. Methane Is The World's Top Professional Flatulist

Mr. Methane Is The World's Top Professional Flatulist

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Hey, welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We are online all the darn time at I'm Alison Stewart. Joining me in the studio, our special guest Rambler, BPP editor Tricia McKinney. We call this the news you can't really use, but Tricia, I actually think you can use this.

PATRICIA MCKINNEY: I can use some of this news, for sure!

STEWART: To A, amuse yourself, B, entertain others, or C, a giggle or two.

MCKINNEY: Yeah. Yes. I agree.

STEWART: Let's hit the music.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: The first one, it will make you giggle because this subject is always funny, in my opinion.


STEWART: And most 10-year-old boys' opinions.

MCKINNEY: Oh. Hm, I must be a 10-year-old boy.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: You and me.

MCKINNEY: Because this was a story I was born to tell. So, there is a profile in the British newspaper the Guardian today of a Vaudeville-style performer called Mr. Methane. He calls himself a flatulist. I would call him a fartiste (ph).

(Soundbite of laughter)

MCKINNEY: His talent is that he can fart at will. He's actually been on "Howard Stern."

STEWART: Oh, yes, he has. Oh, yes, he has.

MCKINNEY: Yes. And the news peg is that Mr. Methane is going to be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month.

STEWART: Sometimes he calls himself Mr. Mee-thane (ph), sometimes.

MCKINNEY: Yeah. I think he's got that accent, Mr. Mee-thane. I call him Mr. Methane. Anyway, so the reason I was born to tell this story is I have, for years, I have been interested in, and at times obsessed with, his fartistic (ph) predecessor, who's a French music-hall performer from the 19th century, his name was - he was called Le Petomane. He was this middle-class guy. His name was Joseph Pujol, and he claimed that one day when he was a kid, he was out swimming and suddenly started taking quantities of seawater in his backside.


MCKINNEY: He thought he was going to die. He swam to shore. He - the water came out. He's like, what's happening to me? So, according to his biography, which, of course, I read, that is how he became aware of his "amazing sphincter."

STEWART: I like that you have that in quotes.

MCKINNEY: Well, it's from the book.

STEWART: Yeah, yeah.

MCKINNEY: So, the logical next step for this guy is a stage act. So, you know, and of course, no one's ever really seen this act because there were no motion pictures with sound. So, all you can rely on are descriptions of what these performances were like. People apparently laughed so hard they had to be escorted out by, you know, escorted out - they would faint. So, anyway, he was very classy. He wrote a white tie and tails.

STEWART: Oh, really?

MCKINNEY: And he would stand up on stage with this kind of classy facade, and then he would do things like suck water out of a bowl with his behind, and expel it back in. He always cleaned himself before every performance. He would put a tube in there and use it to play a flute. He did fart impressions of people, animals, things going on. I love this act. I once worked on a play about this act...

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Where is this going?

MCKINNEY: With the Flying Karamazov Brothers, and they recreated his act. But they had to use, like, gas canisters to do it. So, anyway, back to Mr. Methane, he is not highbrow like Le Petomane. He wears green spandex with a bright purple bottom. He lays down. He spreads his legs. He puts a microphone up to his behind, you know, Howard Stern-type stuff. But anyway, here's Mr. Methane playing "Greensleeves."

(Soundbite of song "Greensleeves")

(Soundbite of flatulence)

(Soundbite of laughter)

MCKINNEY: NPR, I'm going out with a bang, I guess.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: No kidding. This is my favorite part about it. She's the editor of the show!

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: She is the one that's supposed to keep us in line.

MCKINNEY: I'm supposed to keep us classy, but oh my goodness!


MCKINNEY: So, happy.

STEWART: I love that you said you were born to tell that story.

MCKINNEY: I was. I love this story.

STEWART: I've known you a long time. I never knew that.

MCKINNEY: Oh, really?

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: OK. The next story, hip-hop star Nas, he's going to help protest Fox News for what he calls Obama smears. He's joined a group called, also part of They're going to deliver a petition today of over half a million signatures saying that Fox has been involved, Fox News, specifically, has been involved in what Nas and the group calls race-baiting and Obama smears. Remember, when they called terrorist fist jab..?

MCKINNEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

STEWART: They described Michelle Obama and Barack Obama, when he gave his big speech...

MCKINNEY: I think that was in one lower third.

STEWART: No. She said it. E. D. Hill said it.

MCKINNEY: Oh, she said it? OK. Oh right, in a promo, right.

STEWART: There was also - Obama's wife as baby mama was the lower third graphic.

MCKINNEY: Yeah, yeah.

STEWART: Now, the reason that this group hooked up with Nas was that they caught wind of one of his songs, which actually takes a shot at Fox News. Let's take a listen.

(Soundbite of song "Sly Fox")

NAS: (Rapping) Watch what you watchin'. Fox keeps feeding us toxins. Stop sleeping, Start thinking Outside of the box and Unplug from "The Matrix" doctrine. But watch what you say. Big Brother is watchin'.

Watch what you watchin'. Fox keeps feeding us toxins...

STEWART: So, we shall see what happens when these signatures are delivered.

MCKINNEY: Do you think we'll see it on Fox?

STEWART: Look, there's a rapper at our doorstep!

(Soundbite of laughter)

MCKINNEY: All right. So, moving on, you know, penguins...


MCKINNEY: And polar bears are at opposite sides of the globe, penguins down at south, polar bears up north, but there's an Australian ecologist who says if the worst predictions of global warming come true, polar bears may have to be relocated, maybe, to the South Pole. It's an article in the journal Science. He says assisted colonization, helping them adapt to an alternate habitat, could be one of the few ways you could preserve that species. So, you know, but of course, another biologist from Duke says shipping polar bears to Antarctica is a bad idea because, you know, invasive species can wreak havoc.


MCKINNEY: You don't know what would happen if you sent the polar bears to live with the penguins. I think you might know.

STEWART: I think we might know. And you know what? I think that's going to be it for The Ramble today. You can get these stories online at our website, That was a memorable Ramble, Tricia.

MCKINNEY: Thanks, Alison.

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