Ira Glass mentions a very silly mistake he made with a girl when he was in junior high. Then comedian Mike Birbiglia tells the story of his rocky foray into the world of making out with girls.
Jenifer Hixson tells the story of walking alone at night, and meeting a woman who was out for the very same reason. Jenifer performed the story live in front of an audience at the storytelling series The Moth.
Ira reviews some infidelity stats from his mother's book on the subject, Not Just Friends. And author James Braly tells a story of temptation at The Moth.
Jeff Simmermon tells a story from his days as a student teacher, about a time when he decided to forgo all the rules, and administer frontier justice on the fly. This story was recorded in front of an audience at the Moth storytelling series.
Mike Birbiglia explains the chain of events that resulted in him becoming the fall guy for his entire high school, and how it took him a while to catch on to what was happening. This story was recorded live in front of an audience in Cambridge, Mass.
There's a town in Florida where if you shoplift, and get caught, a judge will send you back to the scene of your crime to stand in front of the store, with a large sign that reads "I stole from this store." Ira and producer Lisa Pollak talk to one such teenager who was caught stealing from a convenience store, the supervisor overseeing her punishment, and the judge who sends her there.
Mike Birbiglia recalls being in a car accident with a hit and run drunk driver. In the weeks that follow, Mike's brush with death turns into a full blown nightmare when the police report is so poorly filled out that somehow Mike winds up owing the drunk driver 12 thousand dollars…not because it's fair, but because he can't get anyone to listen to him.
Ira invites Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon to perform a song from his Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog DVD extra commentary, which is a musical satire that pokes fun at the idea of DVD commentary.
Dan Savage points a finger at the Catholic Church for being the kind of criminal organization that drives him to atheism—despite the fact that he still wants to believe he'll see his mom in heaven someday. Dan writes the sex advice column Savage Love and is the author of several books including The Commitment.
Sketch comedy troupe Kasper Hauser performs a radio game show, where a race car driver, a guy fluent in middle English, and a teacher take turns cramming all the 21st century wisdom they can into a 30 second phone call to the 14th century.
Comedian Mike Birbiglia talks about the time he ruined a cancer charity event, by giving the worst performance of his life. (Here's a hint: He improvised.
Sara was raised in a fancy suburban neighborhood with strict parents who liked to flaunt their wealth—with his and hers Porsches, for instance. But when Sara was 12, her mother and father sat her down in the den with her siblings, and told them that their father had done a terrible thing, and their lives were about to change forever.
While riding in a patrol car to research a novel, crime writer Richard Price witnessed a misunderstanding that for many people is pretty much accepted as an upsetting fact of life. Richard Price told this story—which he describes as a tale taken from real life and dramatized—onstage at the Moth in New York.
Mike Birbiglia talks about the sleepwalking that nearly killed him. It's an excerpt of his one-man show "Sleepwalk with Me," which is now also a feature film, produced and co-written by Ira Glass.
Malcolm Gladwell is a best-selling author and famous journalist at the New Yorker magazine. But not always.
What divorce looks like from the dog's point of view. This monologue was performed by Merrill Markoe and recorded at Un-Cabaret in Los Angeles.
Joe Lockhart was press secretary for President Bill Clinton. He recently told stories from his time on the job—live onstage at a performance space in New York City called The Moth, where regular people share stories about their lives—in front of a boisterous crowd.
This American Life contributor John Hodgman was unexpectedly chosen to be in a series of high-profile Apple Computer commercials (he plays a PC). He tells the story of what happens when celebrity hunts you down and finds you...on your living room couch, pushing 40, and a couple sizes larger than you want to be.
This American Life contributor David Rakoff, who swore off TV in college, returns to it in dramatic fashion: He attempts to watch the same amount of television as the average American—29 hours in one week. David is author, most recently, of the book Don't Get Too Comfortable.
Sarah Vowell examines what happens when TV takes on a subject it really has no business exploring at all, but seems fairly obsessed with nonetheless: The Pilgrims. Sarah's most recent book is Assassination Vacation.
Ira says a few words about what he learned from working on a television show himself and about what it's like to hear your name mentioned casually by a fictional character on a prime time drama.
One Halloween, David Sedaris decided to skip all the fake monsters and ghosts and zombies and visit the real thing: dead people. In a morgue. David’s latest book is “Calypso.” (14 minutes)
Will Seymour reads letters he and his grandmother exchanged when he was in high school. He was miserable at the time—his parents had just gotten divorced and he had no friends—and so was his grandma.
Ira and playwright David Hauptschein took out advertisements in Chicago inviting people to come to a small theater with letters they've received, sent or found. People came for two nights, and read their letters onstage.