Podcast: Ask the Optimist by George Saunders


Our most ambitious production ever -- an adaptation of George Saunders' hilarious story "Ask the Optimist," from his most recent collection, The Braindead Megaphone. Produced by me (Jesse Thorn) with video & puppetry by Brian Hogg for Hoggworks.

You can view piece in video form above, or in listen to the radio/podcast version below. We convinced George's publisher to let us run this piece by arguing that it might "go viral," so please share! And for some perspective on George's work, don't miss this interview I conducted with George and ran a few days ago, or this show, which features an older interview with George.

Featuring an all-star cast:
The Optimist - Andy Daly
Mad - Jen Kirkman
Hurt But - Jonathan Coulton
W - James Adomian
Small Penis - John Hodgman
Not Altogether Hopeful - Maria Bamford
Turkey - Jonathan Katz
Ralph, the New Optimist - Dan Klein
Judy - Xeni Jardin

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Our intersititial music is provided by Dan Wally

You might also enjoy these past interview programs:
Moustaches, Etc with Andy Daly and Richard Montoya of Culture Clash
On the Road with John Hodgman & Henry Rollins (MP3)
Analog & Digital with John Vanderslice and Xeni Jardin & Mark Frauenfelder


Well done, folks.

That was great!

Simply awesome.

Sorry, but I don't think this is very good. Most of your voice actors (as funny as I know they are) don't do a very good job of matching the tone or subtle humor of Saunders' hilarious written piece, and the puppetry is poorly synced and even more poorly lit. It's a nice try, and I understand your love of Saunders' piece, but this doesn't really work.

Nicely done

Nicely done there. Keep the good work up! Another great show. Interesting to hear Coulton talk about what he wanted for his career. I wonder what the ceiling is these days for "novelty songs." Great production Jesse! I wasn't able to listen to the podcast, but I was able to watch the video. Hoping that it will "go viral"! I am picturing you as the next big film maker of the century!