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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Learning ‘How to do Everything’

    Courtesy+of+Eric+ChanTwo+yellow+Peeps%2C+armed+with+toothpick+lances%2C+are+locked+in+a+deadly+showdown.+Peep+jousting%2C+along+with+a+variety+of+other+unique+activities%2C+are+explained+in+NPRs+podcast+How+To+Do+Everything.

    Courtesy of Eric Chan

    Two yellow Peeps, armed with toothpick lances, are locked in a deadly showdown. Peep jousting, along with a variety of other unique activities, are explained in NPR’s podcast “How To Do Everything.”

    A new podcast from NPR can teach you everything from how to outfit your truck into a cozy living space to how to be a cricket farmer.

    Inspired by survival manuals, Ian Chillag and Mike Danforth created NPR’s “How To Do Everything” three years ago. The 10-30 minute weekly podcast is centered around three to four pressing questions that range from practical, like how to travel with your baby, to the absurd, like how to bathe your T-Rex. Chillag and Danforth are producers on the popular news quiz show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” and are using their comedic talents to tackle questions submitted by fans.

    Chillag and Danforth started off last year’s Easter-themed episode, titled “Peeps, Dolphins and Video Games,” by giving their viewers advice on what to do with all of those old Easter Peeps that are cluttering their kitchen. The show introduces listeners to the honorable sport of Peep jousting, which only requires toothpicks, a microwave and Peeps ready to do battle.

    “How To Do Everything” segments usually feature Chillag and Danforth talking to an expert of some kind and making periodic jokes with the expert about their question.

    One of their guests on the show was an Ohio man named John Salter, who played an arcade video game called “Armor Attack” for over 85 hours. Chillag and Danforth talked to Salter about the logistics of playing a game for that long and the amount of entertainment he was getting for 25 cents. Salter, who took naps while the game was still running, experienced hallucinations during the marathon run but ended up breaking two world records at the same time.

    “How To Do Everything” is incredibly interactive. Fans are able to submit questions to the show using their website, and Chillag and Danforth often call these fans during the episodes to answer questions.

    The show also features breaks between segments that are dedicated to listeners who told the show when and where they listen. These 15-second bits are usually humorous and feature a song that relates to the listener, such as when the show played Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” for a law office intern scanning legal documents.

    In general, this podcast is funny and informative, but it sometimes falls short in its advertisements. Chillag and Danforth usually try to incorporate some kind of guest during their ad reads to make the sponsorship less boring for the listener. They often do this by making a play on words with the sponsored company and the guest.

    For example, they were sponsored by an email marketing service called Emma one week, and their guest was an English professor who studies Jane Austen’s novel “Emma.” They read the advertisement for the company while asking the professor if Austen’s “Emma” had anything to do with email marketing.

    Sometimes this works and the advertisement is funny, and the guest makes jokes with Chillag and Danforth. More often than not, though, the guest sounds really awkward during the questions.

    You can listen to “How To Do Everything” by streaming or downloading its episodes for free from its website.

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    Follow Patrick O’Connor on Twitter.

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