Guest host Andy Borowitz relishes transgression. As he says in his introduction to this program, “Even though I write about politics in The Borowitz Report, I’m not interested in politics. I’m interested in people. Specifically, horrible people. Because they’re more fun to write about.”
To prove his point, Borowitz presents three stories featuring people going off the rails from an evening of SELECTED SHORTS that he hosted. First, Padgett Powell imagines the post-presidential life of Boris Yeltsin in “Yeltsin Dancing,” read by Arian Moayed.
Powell is often referred to as a “writer in the Southern tradition,” but there’s no bayou melancholy in this spritely tale. Powell has published six novels and three collections of short stories, his latest Cries for Help, Various. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Paris Review, Best American Short Stories, and other publications. Powell has won the Prix de Rome, the Whiting Writers Award, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He is on the faculty of the English Department at the University of Florida.
Arian Moayed is an Iranian-born actor. His stage work includes “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” and “The Guards at the Taj.” As a filmmaker and screenwriter his work includes “Overdue” and “This Island Made Me,” and he is the co-founder of the experimental theatre company Waterwell.
Next on this show, a middle school geography teacher loses her way in Amy Sauber’s “State Facts for the New Age,” read by Amy Ryan. The story was included in the PEN America Best Debut Short Stories collection of 2017. Other stories include “The Rumpus,” “Icebreaker,” and “Crazyhorse.” Reader Amy Ryan has appeared on film in “Gone Baby Gone,” “Birdman,” “Capote,” and most recently “Abundant Acreage Available.” Her theatre work includes “Uncle Vanya” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Her television credits include “In Treatment,” “The Wire,” and “The Office.”
Finally, a classic by Donald Barthelme, “Some of Us Have Been Threatening Our Friend Colby,” read by Joe Grifasi. Barthelme was a pillar of post-modernist American fiction, and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker for which he penned a host of elegantly quirky stories. He has influenced many contemporary writers, including Padgett Powell, who was a student of his. Reader Joe Grifasi has had a long career in film and television, including roles in “Presumed Innocent,” “Batman Forever,” and “Natural Born Killers.” On television he’s had a recurring role on “Law & Order: SVU.”