Wits was a weekly national public radio broadcast produced and distributed by American Public Media. As of September 2015, the broadcast ended. The stage shows that provided material for the broadcast are on hiatus, as is the podcast version of Wits. It is our intention to take a little time away from Wits and then look for ways to bring it back on stage and in podcast in a different form. On Wits, some of the top names in comedy and music have joined host John Moe for sketch comedy, improv, conversation, songs and genuine beauty in a program praised as "one of the rare public radio comedy shows that's actually funny" (Huffington Post) and "one of the most unique, entertaining and diverse shows on radio" (The Growler). You can listen to all of our archives online and follow host John Moe on Twitter (@johnmoe) for more information on Wits and other projects. If you have a question or comment about the program, contact us.

EPISODES


Episode #61: Maria Bamford with Jeremy Messersmith (Part One)

April 2, 2015 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

This week on Wits, comedian and actor Maria Bamford as a very creepy Tooth Fairy and a possibly zombified Laura Ingalls Wilder promoting her new books. We also get music from singer/songwriter Jeremy Messersmith. Plus, Maria and Jeremy try to sort out which patron saints are for real in the Wits game show.


Episode #59: Jim Gaffigan with Reggie Watts and Thao Nguyen

March 19, 2015 · Duration: 56:49 · Play

On this week’s show, comedian, author and actor Jim Gaffigan talks about his upcoming book Food: A Love Story, the food he loves, and the food he just doesn’t really understand. Comedian, actor and musician Reggie Watts improvises a song about a beaver who is no good at building dams and singer/songwriter Thao Nguyen wows the audience with her Appalachian-infused rock and roll. Plus, Tom Waits, President Chester Alan Arthur and an immortal stegosaurus want to sell you bubbled gum.


Episode #82: George Takei with Serengeti

March 12, 2015 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

This week on Wits, rappers George Takei and Serengeti. Wait, is that right? Well, sort of. Famed Star Trek officer, social media star, and activist George Takei tells stories about the early days of the iconic science fiction franchise, his new Broadway musical, and how he, along with his Gang from Sugar Hill, started rap music. That last part might be more of a comedy sketch. We also get to know rapper Serengeti and his alter ego Kenny Dennis. Plus, a game of OBSCURE RAPPER, ANCILLARY STAR TREK CHARACTER, or NFL LINEMAN; and great music from Serengeti.


Episode #81: Eric Stonestreet with Brandi Carlile (Part One)

March 5, 2015 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

This week on Wits, actor Eric Stonestreet as a Bigfoot who specializes in marriage counseling. Singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile reveals her secret obsession (not to reveal too much but it involves tomatoes). We also get useful lessons on how to cross piranha-infested waters and hear a clip from the new PBS remake of House of Cards. Plus brand new music from Brandi Carlile.


Episode #57: Kumail Nanjiani with Valerie June (Part Two)

February 26, 2015 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

On this week’s show, comedian Kumail Nanjiani talks about his first time in America, his HBO show Silicon Valley, and his love for video games. He also gets pretty freaked out about a potato in a conference room. And we hear music from singer/songwriter Valerie June, who tells us how sometimes songs come to her in different voices. Plus, an installment of Cop Squadron!


Episode #80: Keegan-Michael Key with Bhi Bhiman

February 19, 2015 · Duration: 56:02 · Play

On this week’s show, actor/writer Keegan-Michael Key as Rex, a powerful, 2-ton police force of nature who gets all the confessions. Because he is an actual Tyrannosaurus Rex. We also get the back story on Keegan’s iconic substitute teacher role from his hit show Key & Peele and play a Wits Game Show that reveals our guests might be criminal masterminds. Might! Plus, brand new installments of Amazon Review Theater take on one-star reviews of classics like Of Mice and Men and Hop on Pop, and the beautiful music of singer/songwriter Bhi Bhiman.


Episode #79: Wits Extra: Hail to the Chief(s)!

February 17, 2015 · Duration: 26:52 · Play

On the Wits podcast extra: Hail To the Chief(s)! Chieves? America celebrated its presidents this week. Wits celebrates those same presidents with a look back at the Commanders-in-Chief, Founding Fathers, and First Ladies that we have had on the show over the years. Or at least guests we made pretend that they were those people. And there have been a lot: James K. Polk, others. With special guests Andy Richter, Neil Gaiman, Paul F. Tompkins, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Paget Brewster, Joseph Scrimshaw, Josh Ritter, Chris Koza, Amy Sedaris, Eugene Mirman, Nellie McKay and Margaret Cho.


Episode #78: Hari Kondabolu with OK Go (Part Two)

February 12, 2015 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

This week on Wits, the band OK Go debuts a brand new, previously unreleased video that you have to see to believe. Yep, video on the radio. Comedian Hari Kondabolu talks colonialism, weird word tricks and having his high school mascot named after him. We play a new Game Show featuring less-than-famous quotes from very famous people. Plus, special guest W. Kamau Bell as a Smurf and we get advice on how to understand the TV show Falcon Crest and/or sneak up on people.


Episode #77: Wits Extra: Neil Gaiman, Friend of Wits

February 10, 2015 · Duration: 21:03 · Play

On the podcast extra this week: Extra bonus Neil Gaiman, Friend of Wits! Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman is a long-time pal of our show. He’s been a full-on guest twice, and has made special appearances countless times. Because we have so much fun with Neil every time he’s on, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of his more memorable moments on Wits. So we tuned up the Wits time-turn-backer machine to turn back time, where it’s time to turn toward timeless Neil Gaiman turns on our show.


Episode #76: Neil Gaiman with My Brightest Diamond (Part Two)

February 4, 2015 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

This week on Wits, acclaimed best-selling author Neil Gaiman tells tales of his time in a teenage punk band, reveals the conversations he’s had while owning multiple talking animals, and tackles the role of a smooth jazz trumpeter tasked with saving the world from Murder Cat. Singer/songwriter Shara Worden joins us for a Wits Game Show about some of the most obscure comic books ever made, and we get beautiful eclectic music from My Brightest Diamond.


Episode #75: The Great Wits/Thrilling Adventure Hour Crossover with ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Paul F. Tompkins, Paget Brewster and Rhett Miller: Too Much For Radio

February 3, 2015 · Duration: 21:14 · Play

We had such a great time taping our show with Paul F. Tompkins, Paget Brewster, Weird Al Yankovic, and Rhett Miller that we lost track of ourselves and made way too much material for the radio. So we are sharing this bonus material as an extra TOO MUCH FOR RADIO episode. Hear Paul F. Tompkins and Paget Brewster battle Rhett Miller for “Weird Al” Yankovic’s affection. Check out the new #1 single, Guacamole Heart. And swoon to Rhett’s croons.


Episode #74: The Great Wits/Thrilling Adventure Hour Crossover with ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Paul F. Tompkins, Paget Brewster and Rhett Miller (Part Two)

January 29, 2015 · Duration: 55:37 · Play

This week: the triumphant return of the terrific Wits/Thrilling Adventure Hour Crossover. Enjoy an all-new feature featuring married mediums Frank & Sadie Doyle and their quest to figure out just who is filling all these martini glasses with booze while they sleep. The one and only “Weird Al” Yankovic reveals the true stories behind some of his most iconic songs and projects, while actress Paget Brewster stuns the audience with her allegiance to the most hated of all insects. Plus, Paul F. Tompkins reveals that you’ve been singing Bowie wrong all this time, and we get a blast of pure rock energy from singer/songwriter Rhett Miller.


Episode #56: Peter Sagal and Paul F. Tompkins with Open Mike Eagle (Part Two)

January 22, 2015 · Duration: 55:46 · Play

On this week’s episode, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! host Peter Sagal sings, comedian Paul F. Tompkins reads one-star Amazon reviews (and also sings), and art-rapper Open Mike Eagle offers chilling insight on the Happy Birthday song. He sings as well. Plus, a peek at what probably happened in movies like Christine and Steel Magnolias, cocktail recipes from Don Draper, and a Wits game show.


Episode #73: Maria Bamford with Jeremy Messersmith (Part Two)

January 15, 2015 · Duration: 54:47 · Play

This week on Wits, you will be shocked by what you learn about our guest, comedian Maria Bamford, and the things she’s eaten that belong to other people. We also meet Buttonwillow, the world’s best salesperson, and get incredibly valuable advice on how to appreciate the band ABBA. Plus, behind-the-scenes with the Doobie Brother mother, and lots of great music from Jeremy Messersmith.


Episode #72: Colin Hanks with Father John Misty (Part Two)

January 8, 2015 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

This week on Wits, Emmy-nominated actor Colin Hanks takes us to the new M. Night Shyamalan restaurant, and he and singer/songwriter Father John Misty travel back in time to the Great Depression and the first moments of the game Monopoly. Plus, advice on how to enjoy life when you stand nowhere, a tour through American slang, and music from Father John Misty.


Episode #71: Extra: Aparna Nancherla

January 6, 2015 · Duration: 20:59 · Play

Comedian and writer Aparna Nancherla stopped by the Wits studios recently. John Moe got the chance to talk with her about almost attending West Point, working on late-night television, the process of writing funny things on sad subjects, and the current wave of comedians who are also first-generation Americans.


Episode #54: Jen Kirkman with Bob Mould

January 2, 2015 · Duration: 57:04 · Play

On this week’s show, comedian, author and actor Jen Kirkman tells us what it’s like to make an episode of Drunk History, punk rock godfather Bob Mould performs tracks from his latest album, and we hear why dead author Franz Kafka is so upset with Pharrell Williams about the song, “Happy.”


Episode #70: Extra: Year in Review

December 30, 2014 · Duration: 17:59 · Play

2014 was a crazy year. On this special episode, we take a look at the top stories from the year that was, and how they affected the everyday for all of us, including the rugged. And the feline. We also take some time to ask some of our past guests what they’re excited about in 2015. Featuring Patton Oswalt, Open Mike Eagle, Thao Nguyen, Hari Kondabolu, Kelly Hogan, Mike Doughty, Paget Brewster and Rhett Miller, it’s our Year In Review episode of Wits.


Episode #55: Kumail Nanjiani with Valerie June (Part One)

December 26, 2014 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

On this week’s episode, comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani tells us what happens when you Google a smell, singer/songwriter Valerie June explains how she’s able to smile when she sings the blues, and the premiere installment of Wikihow Theater teaches how to behave around Grandpa and how to befriend a squirrel (the key is not to kiss it).


Episode #68: Extra: Maz Jobrani

December 16, 2014 · Duration: 23:40 · Play

Comedian and actor Maz Jobrani stopped by our studio to talk with John Moe. Maz shares what is was like moving from Iran to America as a child, why it took him so long to start doing comedy, and his upcoming book, “I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One On TV.”


Episode #67: Weird Wits

December 11, 2014 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

This week on Wits … a special episode of the moments on the show that are just a little off. Sketches and songs that are funny, surprising, moving and weird, where Mr. Rogers turns into a werewolf, letters from Civil War soldiers who are animals, an office trainee who doesn’t understand idioms, a spa filled with insects. Featuring Colin Hanks, Amy Sedaris, Andy Richter, Tig Notaro, Kristen Schaal, Patton Oswalt, Keegan-Michael Key, Loudon Wainwright III, Robyn Hitchcock and more.


Episode #65: Keegan-Michael Key with Bhi Bhiman (Part One)

December 4, 2014 · Duration: 57:41 · Play

This week, the deeply hilarious, Peabody Award-winning comedian Keegan-Michael Key channels Michael Jackson, sings like Radiohead, and busts some myths about love and commitment. Plus, singer/songwriter Bhi Bhiman wows us with his powerful voice, and a Shakespearean take on how the Fresh Prince’s life got flipped, turned upside down.


Episode #53: Peter Sagal and Paul F. Tompkins with Open Mike Eagle (Part One)

November 26, 2014 · Duration: 53:52 · Play

On this week’s episode, Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! host Peter Sagal plays a Wits game show, comedian Paul F. Tompkins performs Amazon.com one-star reviews of great literature, and Open Mike Eagle performs from his album Dark Comedy. Plus, Leonard Cohen texts Leonard Cohen in this week’s Pop Song Correspondence.


Episode #64: Hari Kondabolu with OK Go (Part One)

November 20, 2014 · Duration: 54:29 · Play

On this week’s show, comedian Hari Kondabolu is horrible at playing the game Two Truths and a Lie. He also becomes J.R. Toot McGoots and helps people find meaning in their lives. Plus, a special acoustic set from OK Go, and we hear about the teaching assistant who inspired the band’s name.