January 9, 2018
Fantasy writer Neil Gaiman hosts a program featuring two of his own stories and a classic by John Collier. The title says it all in “When We Went to See the End of the World by Dawnie Morningside, Age 11¼,” read by “Criminal Minds” star Kirsten Vangness. Gaiman himself reads John Collier’s eerie “Evening Primrose,” about a secret society that inhabits a large department store. And we finish with another Gaiman, “July Tale,” in which a lovesick husband builds an igloo out of books. Gaiman reads.
January 3, 2018
Guest host Denis O’Hare presents three stories that take things to extremes. In Simon Rich’s “Distractions,” we learn about a global conspiracy. Errin Hayes reads. The misanthrope in Douglas Lawson’s “Love in a Kitchen Garden” is cruel to his garden gnomes. Richard Kind reads. And Maulik Pancholy performs Emily Buckler’s “Brand Values,” a reality-bending tale about high-end leather.
December 27, 2017
Guest host Jane Curtin presents two stories about marriage. In “Any Number of Little Old Ladies,” by Bruce Jay Friedman, a playwright uses his wife as a character and she’s not thrilled. Blythe Danner and Maulik Pancholy read. Another marriage is at risk in Roxanna Robinson’s “In Naples,” a trip that forces one woman to confront her feelings about her husband. Betty Buckley performs this delicate story.
December 20, 2017
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents three stories for the holidays. In “One Christmas,” Truman Capote visits the father he hardly knew. John Shea is the reader. Grace Paley imagines what happens when a Jewish schoolgirl with “The Loudest Voice” is cast in the Christmas play; Linda Lavin reads. And Isaiah Sheffer reads James Thurber’s re-imagining of a famous poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” in the style of Ernest Hemingway.
December 13, 2017
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents works about living, and not living, in New York City. A passenger and a taxi driver connect in John McNulty’s “The Television Helps, But Not Very Much,” read by Jason Biggs. Mia Dillon reads Joan Didion’s essay about leaving the city, “Goodbye to All That.” And we hear from some "Humans of New York" in selections from Brandon Stanton’s popular book and blog.
December 6, 2017
Guest host Jane Curtin presents works about questions and answers. From a program at the Southampton Writers Conference, Michael Tucker reads from Roger Rosenblatt's memoir The Boy Detective, and Billy Collins reads four of his poems. Then, a dangerous flirtation, in Bernard Malamud's “Notes from a Lady at a Dinner Party,” read by David Margulies.
November 28, 2017
Guest host Michael Cerveris presents stories in which trusting your senses is important. In Jeanne Dixon’s “Blue Waltz with Coyotes,” a rebellious farm girl flirts with danger. It’s read by Mia Dillon. And Aimee Bender creates a fairytale for our time in “The Color Master,” whose crafts is creating clothes that mirror nature. Denis O’Hare is the reader.
November 26, 2017
Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories inspired by Brandon Stanton's blog and book Humans of New York. In Nelson Eubanks' "Malta Sheffer" a summer baseball team is a dream come true for a young boy. Brandon J. Dierdan reads. Tom Wolfe is also dreaming, in "A Sunday Kind of Love," read by Tracee Chimoo. The program concludes with selections from Humans of New York, in which colorful characters have confided their own dreams, and fears.
November 15, 2017
Guest host Josh Radnor presents two stories about marriage and its challenges. In Helen Phillips’ “The Knowers,” a wife wants the answer to an ultimate question, but her husband does not. It’s performed by Stockard Channing. The “Three Little Maids” of Alix Ohlin’s story are a middle-aged man’s ex-wife, current wife, and daughter. The story is performed by Mia Dillon.
September 18, 2017
Bruce Jay Friedman has been hailed by critics as a comic genius, a writer whose vision confronts the malaise of contemporary life with a liberating deadpan humor. Friedman has published several novels, multiple collections of short stories, four plays, and several works of nonfiction. His short story “A Change of Plan” was adapted by Neil Simon and Elaine May into the movie The Heartbreak Kid. He wrote the movie scripts for Doctor Detroit, Stir Crazy, and Splash, for which he received an Oscar nomination and the Steve Martin film The Lonely Guy was based on Friedman’s book. Our reader is celebrated actress Sigourney Weaver.
July 25, 2017
A poignant, funny, melancholy story about a man whose wife leaves him for a ping pong player. It was written by the fiction writer and playwright, Joe Meno, who has contributed several great stories to Shorts over the years. The reader is actor, comedian and writer Michael Ian Black (Wet, Hot, American Summer, and The State). Later in the show, Aparna gets Joe on the phone to talk about this story, writing, and driving a delivery truck.
June 25, 2017
Our story today addresses, or should I say undresses - why snacking on your underwear might not be all that’s promised on the box. In this hilarious story written by Tony Tulathimutte, the narrator, played by actor Maulik Pancholy, is taking on the edible underpants industry. Later host Aparna Nancherla talks to the author about where he got his inspiration from...