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.
November 9, 2017
Guest host David Strathairn presents two stories about hard times. In Daniel Alarcon’s “Republica Y Grau,” read by Strathairn, a young boy is trained as a beggar. In M.T. Sharif’s “The Letter Writer,” an eccentric is caught up in a Kafkaesque farce in post-revolution Iran. The reader is Joe Morton.
November 2, 2017
Guest host Sonia Manzano presents two stories about identity, appearance, and longing. In Elizabeth Crane’s “Blue Girl,” a young woman learns how to embrace difference. The reader is Valorie Curry. “Different” is certainly how you’d describe the folktale character Rumplestiltskin, but in Michael Cunningham’s remix, that doesn’t keep him from wanting a normal life. Zach Grenier reads “Little Man.”
October 18, 2017
Guest host Hope Davis presents three works by the Southern master Carson McCullers. In “Correspondence” a self-important young woman is disappointed in her choice of pen-pal. Emily Skeggs is the reader. McCullers draws on her own childhood in “The Discovery of Christmas,” read by Amanda Quaid. And “Sucker” explores the troubled and complicated relationship between two teen boys. Michael Cerveris performs.
October 11, 2017
Guest host Josh Radnor presents three stories drawn from the world of fables and fairytales, but with a modern twist. Maulik Pancholy reads Somerset Maugham’s “Appointment in Samarra”; when your time is up, it’s up. Ben Loory gives us a kinder, gentler take on the old “monster in the closet” idea in “The Monster,” read by John Cameron Mitchell. Kelly Link’s “The Faery Handbag” is part folk tale, part love story, part coming-of-age story. It’s read by Kirsten Vangsness.
October 4, 2017
"Death, Sex, and Money" host Anna Sale joins us for stories about all these subjects. Lydia Davis contemplates the right words for death in "Grammar Questions," read by David Costabile. An unfaithful husband is in crisis in Anne Enright's "Until the Girl Died," read by Kathleen Chalfant. A game of make-believe gets out of hand in Joe Meno's "Animal Hospital," ready by Becky Anne Baker. Amir Arison reads "The Silk Handkerchief," by Sait Faik Abasiyanik, in which a young thief risks everything for the perfect gift.
September 27, 2017
Guest host Hope Davis presents stories about family ties. A mixed-race college student has a comic encounter in "My Brother at the Canadian Border," by Sholeh Wolpe, read by Maulik Pancholy. Marriage is so for better or worse in Lauren Schenkman's "A Guide to Fooling Yourself,” read by Kaneza Schaal. A young man meets his boozy dad in "Reunion," by John Cheever, read by Bruce Altman. And Viet Thanh Nguyen tells a heartbreaking and mystical tale of Vietnamese immigrants in "Black-Eyed Women," read by Jennifer Ikeda.
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...