Tell Me Something I Don't Know

Tell Me Something I Don't Know
Journalism wrapped in a game-show package. Host Stephen J. Dubner (of “Freakonomics Radio”) and a celebrity co-host invite guests on stage in front of a live audience to tell us something we don’t know. The co-hosts — a mix of leaders in science, academia, sports, media, and comedy — grill the guests, and by the end we’ve all gotten a bit smarter. Each episode has a new topic, a new co-host, and new guests. There’s also a real-time human fact-checker to keep everyone honest. Think of the most crackling dinner-party conversation you’ve ever heard. Produced in association with Stitcher.

New Episodes Coming Soon!
Oct 16, 2018 • 1 min
We are about to tape new episodes of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know. You’ll be able to hear them later this year in the Freakonomics Radio podcast feed. Details in this short announcement.
An Astronaut, a Catalan, and Two Linguists Walk Into a Bar…
Nov 19, 2017 • 54 min
Why New York has skinny skyscrapers, how to weaponize water, and what astronauts talk about in space. John McWhorter is co-host; Bari Weiss is live fact-checker.
Extra 7: Corrosive Energy Drinks and Peruvian Cat Stew
Nov 17, 2017 • 48 min
In this special call-in episode: why some Peruvians eat cats; why operas need repetiteurs; and why we should get rid of prisons. Michael Smerconish (CNN) is co-host; AJ Jacobs (It’s All Relative) checks the facts.
Farming Without Sun or Soil and Eating Manna From Heaven
Nov 12, 2017 • 39 min
This week, we work on our survival skills: in the desert, on the tundra, and growing food in abandoned warehouses. Actress Sas Goldberg is co-host; A.J. Jacobs (author of It’s All Relative) is live fact-checker.
Mind Games
Nov 5, 2017 • 48 min
How to make people like you, why you should lick rocks, and what an awkward person is really thinking. Angela Duckworth (Grit author) is co-host; Mike Maughan (Qualtrics) is live fact-checker.
Jon Batiste, Gail Simmons, and Strange Smells
Oct 29, 2017 • 56 min
Things we learn this week: dogs aren’t so great at sniffing, men aren’t so lazy, and New York doesn’t smell so bad (anymore). Gail Simmons (Top Chef) is co-host; Jon Batiste plays his melodica for us; the live fact-checker is Mike Maughan.
All About Bugs (of the Animal and Computer Varieties)
Oct 22, 2017 • 57 min
Musical crickets, crop-saving wasps — and why you should pre-bug your software. John McWhorter is co-host; the live fact-checker is Bari Weiss.
School Start Times, Brand Names, and Too Much Ground Beef
Oct 15, 2017 • 43 min
Alex Wagner (CBS This Morning Saturday, The Atlantic) is our special guest co-host, with AJ Jacobs (author of It’s All Relative) as real-time fact-checker. We filled this episode with insights about the true value of ground beef, sleeping in, company…
How to Count to Infinity
Oct 8, 2017 • 48 min
Mary Roach (author of Stiff, Spook, Bonk, Gulp, and Grunt) is our special guest co-host, with AJ Jacobs (author of It’s All Relative) as real-time fact-checker. If the promise of tractor beams doesn’t pull you in, our guests also explore robotic fish,…
The Perfect Potato Chip, the Origin of Seltzer, and Why We Eat “Beef” and Not “Cow”
Oct 1, 2017 • 57 min
Alex Guarnaschelli (Iron Chef America and Chopped) is our special guest co-host, with Sean Rameswaram (Radiolab Presents: More Perfect) as real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK explores the origins of food words, children’s menus, and seltzer.
You Say “eye-RACK,” I Say “ear-ROCK”
Sep 24, 2017 • 47 min
Hari Kondabolu (comedian and host of Politically Re-Active) is our special guest co-host, with Sean Rameswaram (Radiolab Presents: More Perfect) as real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK reaches into our “grab bag” for fascinating facts on the downside of keeping…
Womb to Tomb
Sep 17, 2017 • 52 min
Alexandra Petri (Washington Post columnist) is our special guest co-host, with AJ Jacobs (author of It’s All Relative) as real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK covers everything from birth to earth, including pregnancy tests, parenting, monogamy, aging better,…
Season 4 Preview
Sep 10, 2017 • 3 min
Alex Guarnaschelli, Alexandra Petri, Hari Kondabolu, Mary Roach, and Jemele Hill are some of the brilliant co-hosts joining us during Season 4. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll learn in 10 new episodes beginning September 17th.
Extra 6: A Better Way to End Basketball Games
Sep 5, 2017 • 16 min
Basketball fans know how boring a game’s ending can be — intentional fouls can stretch 90 seconds into 10 minutes. What if we could fix it by blowing up the last 4 minutes?
Extra 5: The Actress Who Never Takes a Sick Day
Sep 4, 2017 • 18 min
Off-Broadway actress, producer, and Guinness Record-holder Catherine Russell has played the same off-Broadway role for three decades. What’s more impressive than the play itself? She’s never called in sick.
Extra 4: The Most Renewable Energy of All
Sep 3, 2017 • 20 min
Some of our most important inventions safely remove human waste. But what if we could use that waste to generate electricity?
Extra 3: The Rise and Fall (and Rise?) of Rosé Wine
Aug 29, 2017 • 12 min
From medieval times through the French Revolution, rosé ruled the wine world — and now it’s staging a comeback. Actress (and rosé fan) Miriam Shor joins as a co-host.
Extra 2: Meet the Senator Who Wants to Start an Evidence-Based Revolution
Aug 28, 2017 • 21 min
Senator Todd Young of Indiana wants to make government-funded social programs more effective with Social Impact Partnerships, which pair private funding with proven projects.
Extra 1: How the Mafia Got Its Start
Aug 27, 2017 • 15 min
In 1803, Sicily and Malta won contracts to provide lemon juice to the entire British Royal Navy. Half a century later, the mafia was born.
Aug 6, 2017 • 55 min
James Altucher (host of The James Altucher Show) is our special guest co-host, with Mike Maughan (head of global insights at Qualtrics) as real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK is on the weird side of the tracks in Philadelphia with everything you’ve ever wanted…
Creature Comforts
Jul 30, 2017 • 53 min
Krista Tippett (host of On Being) is our special guest co-host, with Maggie Ryan Sandford (science writer, researcher and producer) as real-time fact-checker. Relax with a TMSIDK episode filled with facts on quiet rooms, pillows, comfort food, and …Spam?
Behavior Change: Ultra Egghead Edition
Jul 23, 2017 • 55 min
Angela Duckworth (psychologist and author of Grit) is our special guest co-host, with Mike Maughan (head of global insights at Qualtrics) as real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK is in Philadelphia with a cornucopia of the world’s most-renowned behavior-change…
Three Sheets to the Wind
Jul 16, 2017 • 48 min
John Moe (The Hilarious World of Depression) is our special guest co-host, with Maggie Ryan Sandford (science writer, researcher and producer) as our real-time fact-checker. TMSIDK is in Minneapolis for a show exploring the environment, morning drinking,…
Jul 9, 2017 • 55 min
Bapu Jena, Christine Hurley and Evan Allen are panelists. The physician-professor-economist, the comedian and the New England Revolution head athletic trainer join us in Boston for a show on Medicine. Side effects include extra kidneys, Lyme disease,…
Getting There
Jul 2, 2017 • 59 min
Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Ginger Evans and Mary Catherine Curran are panelists. The rapper/political organizer, the commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Aviation and the comedian join us in the City of Big Shoulders for a show on transitions — from here…
Family Matters
Jun 25, 2017 • 52 min
Amy Chua, Liza Donnelly and Gary Gulman are panelists. The “Tiger Mom,” the New Yorker cartoonist and the comedian join our dysfunctional family for this show on parenting, cousins, genealogy and medical divorce. AJ Jacobs is fact-checker.
Jun 18, 2017 • 60 min
Eugene Mirman, Ed Glaeser and Amy Glasmeier are panelists. The comedian, the Harvard economist and the MIT professor join us in one of America’s oldest urban centers for a show about cities, including ruins, sewage and ghost towns. Mike Maughan is our…
Jun 11, 2017 • 56 min
Major Garrett, Alexandra Petri and Robby Mook are panelists in Washington, D.C. The CBS Chief White House Correspondent, the Washington Post humor columnist, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager step out of the swamp for some more light-hearted…
Jun 4, 2017 • 58 min
Steve Levitt, Scott Turow and Bridget Gainer are panelists. For the “Freakonomics” co-author, the attorney and novelist, and the Cook County commissioner it’s “game on!” as they tackle competition of all kinds: athletic, sexual, geopolitical, and the…
Season 3 Preview
May 28, 2017 • 3 min
Steve Levitt, Eugene Mirman, Alexandra Petri, Che “Rhymefest” Smith and Major Garrett are among this season’s stars. Here’s a taste of what you’ll hear in our new season. We’ve got 10 new episodes — one a week — beginning June 4th.
Apr 23, 2017 • 64 min
Danny Goldberg, Faith Salie and David Hajdu are panelists. The record executive, the comedian/journalist and the music critic face the music, including industrial instruments, female composers and the all-important bridge. Our real-time fact-checker is…
Apr 16, 2017 • 58 min
Tim Harford, Carla Hayden and Rahmein Mostafavi are panelists. The “Undercover Economist,” the Librarian of Congress and the comedian join TMSIDK in Washington, D.C. — the city that wants to be a state — to learn about wannabes, from international spies…
Oh, My God
Apr 9, 2017 • 56 min
John Fugelsang, Tami Sagher and Aman Ali are panelists. Who better to help us talk through religion than these three comedians? We look into unholy fruit, religion in banking and the politics of reincarnation. A.J. Jacobs is fact-checker.
Money Money Money
Apr 2, 2017 • 52 min
Brian Koppelman, Cheryl Dorsey and Hari Kondabolu are panelists. The TV/movie producer, the social entrepreneur and the comedian/podcast host follow the money, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Ethiopia. A.J. Jacobs is fact-checker.
Stupid Stuff
Mar 26, 2017 • 53 min
James Altucher, Miki Agrawal and Aasif Mandvi are panelists. The investor/author, the controversial entrepreneur and the comedian dive deep into things that don’t work as well as they should; ideas that should have been killed off long ago; and inventions…
Under the Hood
Mar 19, 2017 • 58 min
Seth Godin, Faith Salie and Nicholas Negroponte are the panelists. The marketing guru, comedian and MIT Media Lab founder pull back the curtain on dreams, religious rules, and ovulation — among other great mysteries. Bouree Lam of “The Atlantic” is…
Mar 12, 2017 • 50 min
Tim Ferriss, Eugene Mirman and Anne Pasternak are panelists. The self-help guru, comedian and Brooklyn Museum director talk about brainwaves, sugar, stars and — thanks to fact-checker AJ Jacobs — barf bags.
Mar 5, 2017 • 53 min
Joanna Coles, Adriana Trigiani, and Maeve Higgins. The Hearst Magazines executive, novelist, and comedian delve into the written — or spoken, or programmed, or texted — word.
Athletes’ Feats
Feb 26, 2017 • 56 min
Katie Nolan, DeMaurice Smith and Tami Sagher are panelists. The Fox Sports 1 host, NFL Players Association head, and comedian keep their eyes on the ball as contestants throw fascinating facts their way — about the strategy, scoring, business and history…
Feb 19, 2017 • 52 min
Lizz Winstead, Mike Pesca and Melanie Whelan are panelists. The “Daily Show” creator, host of “The Gist” podcast, and CEO of Soul Cycle ponder the pursuit of perfection — in cityscapes and on farms, in how we keep time and how we remember. Our…
Season 2 Preview
Feb 12, 2017 • 3 min
We’re back! Here’s a preview of our second season which begins February 19th. Over the next 10 weeks you’ll hear all sorts of fascinating things you didn’t know, as our contestants try to wow captains of industry, heads of institutions and other…
Fool Me Once
Dec 11, 2016 • 59 min
Hannibal Buress, Annie Duke and Fr. James Martin, S.J. are panelists. A comedian, a poker player and a priest walk into a bar… and have to deal with missing hands, missing bodies and missing scientific evidence. Fact-checker: Sean Rameswaram, podcast…
Passion Plays
Dec 4, 2016 • 56 min
Austan Goolsbee, Angela Duckworth and Keisha Zollar are panelists. The U. of Chicago economist, “Grit” author, and comedian dig deep into things we’re passionate about — good and bad — from sports to sounds to experimenting on students. Fact-checker:…
Things That Come Out of Your Mouth
Nov 27, 2016 • 52 min
Dr. Oz, John McWhorter and Frank Delaney are panelists. The surgeon/TV host, linguist and novelist ponder marine regurgitation, texting and ugly bananas. Sean Rameswaram of WNYC Studois is fact-checker.
Things That Go In Your Mouth
Nov 20, 2016 • 57 min
Zeke Emanuel, Sam Kass and Gretchen Rubin are panelists. The bioethicist, former White House chef and “The Happiness Project” author ponder fascinating facts on our theme, “Things That Go In Your Mouth,” from the cheapest meal ever served in the White…
It’s Alive
Nov 13, 2016 • 52 min
Chris Gethard, Simon Winchester and danah boyd are panelists. The comedian, “Professor and the Madman” author, and social-media scholar hear tales from the natural world — about marine animals that will either live forever or kill you (or both), as well…
Strange Danger
Nov 6, 2016 • 53 min
Debora Spar, Anthony Marx and Andy Zaltzman are panelists. The Barnard College president, New York Public Library president, and host of The Bugle podcast confront lots of things you didn’t know are dangerous — including Election Day, a lack of sleep and…
Introducing “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”
Nov 1, 2016 • 3 min
Stephen J. Dubner of “Freakonomics Radio” has always had a mission: to tell you the things you thought you knew but didn’t; and things you never thought you wanted to know, but do. Now he has a new way of doing just that: “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know,”…