Comedy

A podcast of fascinating facts! What do extraterrestrial radio signals and a mushroom from Texas have in common? What is a “number station“ and why is it so spine-tinglingly creepy? Join comedians Shane Rogers and Duncan MacEwan for an entertaining and hilarious deep-dive into obscure facts from science, history and pop culture. A new topic each week!

Episodes

'Tis the season to debate the greatest holiday songs of all time...or, in Duncan's case, to argue over whether a "great" holiday song even exists.

What's in your top 5? Tell us in the Discord...

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Which countries have abolished the death penalty, and which countries execute the largest number of convicts? What are the most popular methods of dispensing capital punishment? Who was the last person executed publicly in Europe, and America? Has anyone survived a public execution? Find out the answers to all of these disturbing questions and more in this week's punitive, vengeful, and relentlessly morbid episode of MFFI. 

**Note: this episode includes all of the graphic details you'd expect based on the topic. If dark humor isn't your jam, there's no shame in skipping this one.**

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In this episode:  

  • The Most Popular Methods of Execution: Guillotine, Firing Squad, Gallows, Gas Chamber, Lethal Injection, Electrocution
  • Jamestown and The First American Execution: Captain George Kendall
  • The Current State of the Death Penalty in the States
  • Virginia and Texas Vie for Capital Punishment Supremacy
  • Furman v. Georgia and the 4-Year Pause (1972-1976)
  • Unitary Trials
  • Capital Punishment Resumes
  • The Supreme Court Chips Away at the Death Penalty
  • Federal Versus State Charges
  • TFG Reinstitutes Executions
  • Federal Executions: The Worst of the Worst
  • Lethal Injection and Julius Mount Bleyer
  • Death-Cocktail Shortages
  • Current State of Capital Punishment Worldwide
  • The Rationale for Public Executions
  • The Last Public Executions: Rainey Bethea (Kentucky 1936) and Hamida Djandoubi (France 1977)
  • The Death Penalty as a Deterrent
  • Capital Punishment for Lesser Offenses (Drug Dealing, Blasphemy, Apostasy) 
  • Failed and Botched Executions
  • Antonio Franks, 1872, Fiji
  • Arguments for and Against the Death Penalty
  • Exonerated Death-Row Inmates
  • Conclusions

 

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Few characters from pop culture are as divisive as clowns. Simultaneously endearing and terrifying, the archetype of the clown has persevered throughout the ages despite being reviled by a significant portion of the world’s population. There’s even a word for the fear of clowns: coulrophobia.

So how did ancient jesters and tricksters evolve into the unsettling, white-faced, crazy-haired clowns of today? And what makes the figure of the clown so durable? Find out in this week’s buffoonish, pratfalling, skin-crawling episode of MFFI.

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In this episode:  

  • Ancient Egypt and the "Dangas"
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome and the “Stupidus” 
  • Court Jesters and Fools
  • Loki
  • The Hayuka
  • Carl Jung's "Trickster" Archetype
  • Commedia dell'arte
  • The Pierrot
  • The Harlequin
  • Joseph Grimaldi ("Joey")
  • Philip Astley and the Circus
  • The Whiteface, the Auguste, the Character and the Hobo
  • Emmett Kelly’s “Weary Willie”
  • Charlie Chaplin (Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr.)
  • Music Hall and Vaudeville
  • Marcel Marceau, Michael Jackson, and the Art of Mime
  • Bozo the Clown
  • Fear of Clowns: Coulrophobia
  • The Joker
  • Stephen King's It
  • The Clown Panic of 2016
  • Insane Clown Posse and the Jugallos 
  • Terrifier 2 and "Art the Clown"

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November 3, 2022

Animals with Superpowers

Super strength, super hearing, the ability to fly; many of the standard superpowers from comic books are commonplace in the animal kingdom. But those abilities barely scratch the surface when it comes to the awesome potential of evolutionary adaptation. In this latest episode, Shane schools Duncan on the most unique and powerful critters in the animal kingdom.

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In this episode:  

  • The Ninja Slug (Ibycus rachelae)
  • Wood Frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus)
  • Mimic Octopus and Wunderpus photogenicus
  • Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)
  • Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)
  • Flea (Siphonaptera)
  • Frog Hopper (Cercopoidea)
  • Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
  • Immortal Jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii)
  • Electric Eel (Electrophorus Electricus)

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October 20, 2022

Mummies and Death Rituals

Every society faces an inevitable dilemma: what to do with dead bodies? Join Shane and Duncan as they travel across the globe and throughout history to explore Sky Burial, plastination, "Dancing with the Dead," and the most famous death ritual of all: mummification. 

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In this episode:  

  • The World's Oldest Known Burial Site: Qafzeh
  • Death Rituals Around the World
  • Famidihana: Dancing With the Dead (Turning of the Bones)
  • Buddhism and "Sky Burial"
  • Viking Funerals
  • South Korean "Death Beads"
  • Western Funerals
  • Mummification
  • Autolysis and Decomposition
  • Putrefaction
  • Intentional vs Unintentional Mummies
  • Otzi the Iceman
  • Juanita, the Peruvian Sacrifice
  • Egyptian Mummies
  • The Book of the Dead
  • The Ka, the Ba, and the Akh
  • The Journey Through Duat
  • The Hall of Maat
  • The Judgment of Anubis
  • Heart-Weighing
  • Ammit
  • The "Most Perfect Method" 
  • King Tut (Tutankhamun) 
  • Howard Carter and the Discovery of King Tut's Tomb
  • The Death Mask
  • The Legacy of Mummification
  • Plastination
  • Vladimir Ilyach Ulyanov Lenin
  • Summum: The Mummy Cult

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Which famous foursome is considered the first punk band? What did CBGB stand for? In what city did punk originate? What was the wild television moment that made The Sex Pistols a household name? 

From the first on-stage snarls to punk's final wheezing gasps, follow along with Shane and Duncan as they trace the rise and fall of punk music.

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In this episode:  

  • Redefining Rebellion
  • The Evolution of Punk
  • 60s Garage Rock: MC5 and the Kinks
  • Iggy Pop and the Stooges, The New York Dolls
  • 1970s Socioeconomics
  • Hilly Kristal and CBGB
  • Hillbilly Poetry
  • Wayne County/Wayne Richards/Jane County
  • The Revalons, Television, Patti Smith
  • PUNK Magazine 
  • The Ramones
  • Danny Fields and His Mom
  • Malcolm McLaren, Vivian Westwood and SEX
  • The Sex Pistols are Assembled
  • Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious
  • The Infamous Bill Grundy Show Meltdown
  • The Sex Pistols Tour the American South
  • The Demise of the Pistols
  • Sid and Nancy
  • Punk Factions: Hardcore, Political, Pop
  • Political: The Dead Kennedys
  • Hardcore: The Bad Brains, Black Flag, Minor Threat, the Germs
  • Horror Punk: The Misfits
  • Pop Punk: The Stiff Little Fingers, The Descendants, Bad Religion
  • The Rise of Skate/Surf Punk: Offspring, NOFX, Green Day, Rancid
  • Riot Grrrls: Bikini Kill, Buggy Bear, Slant 6, Bratmobile
  • The Warped Tour and the Death of Rebellion
  • Punk Goes Full Pop: Blink 182, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance etc 

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Join two lifelong skeptics as they attempt to set aside their cynicism and immerse themselves in the mystical universe of Astrology and the Zodiac. (“Attempt” being the operative word. If you're a huge fan of Astrology, please take note: there will be some respectful debunking.)

Whether you're a fixed feminine water sign or a masculine cardinal air sign, whether your 8th house is in Pluto or Mars, you'll find something to enjoy in this week's cosmic, celestial, prognosticating installment of MFFI. 

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In this episode:  

  • Mesopotamia and the Babylonians
  • The "How" Problem
  • Constellations and the Zodiac
  • Mayan Astrology
  • Chinese Astrology
  • Sun Sign
  • The Elements: Earth, Wind, Air, and Fire
  • Fixed, Cardinal, and Mutable Signs
  • Rising Sign
  • Moon Sign 
  • Planets
  • Houses
  • The Infamous NASA blog
  • Ophiuchus: The 13th Sign
  • Joan Quigley and Nancy Reagan
  • Mercury in Retrograde

Join the Midnight Masses!

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Did gladiators always battle to the death? Who was the most famous gladiator of all time, and why did he never step foot in the Colosseum? Were any gladiators women? What would a day at the Colosseum look and sound like? (Spoiler alert: music accompanied the fights). Were all gladiators slaves, or could free citizens compete in the arena? 

Join Shane and Duncan as they explore the history and legacy of human combat in this week’s hacking and slashing, rough-and-tumble episode of MFFI.

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In this episode:  

  • How Combat Became Entertainment
  • Cultural Universals: Wrestling, Boxing, etc
  • The Etruscans and Campanians
  • Ludus/Ludi
  • The Gladius (Sword)
  • Funeral Ceremonies (Munus/Munera)
  • Female Fighters
  • Brutus Pera and Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva
  • Caesar's Munus
  • Venatio (Beast Shows/Animal Hunts)
  • Augustus Regulates the Munera
  • Trajan's Games
  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Commodus
  • Russel Crowe's Maximus
  • Myth Busting
  • Lucius Cassius Dio
  • The Colosseum
  • Gladiator Pairs
  • Gladiator Types: Retiaruus, Murmillo, Andabata, Thraex
  • Mimus (Horn-Blowing Chickens and Flute-Playing Bears)
  • Spartacus and the Third Servile War
  • Honorius and the End of the Games

 

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What are the most consistently misused words and phrases in the English language? Find out in this week's nitpicking, pedantic, gloriously sesquipedalian episode of MFFI. 

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In this episode:  

  • Terrific
  • Queer
  • Ironic
  • Literally
  • Meretricious 
  • Irregardless
  • Disinterested
  • Electrocute
  • Refute
  • Fewer vs Less
  • Nauseous 
  • Nonplussed
  • Eggcorns
  • I Could Care Less
  • Shoo-In
  • For All Intents and Purposes
  • Piqued
  • Hunger Pangs
  • You've Got Another Think Coming
  • Dog Eat Dog World
  • Coleslaw
  • Buck Naked

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What’s the world’s most dangerous plant? Which notorious stinging nettle is capable of an aerial attack? And what the heck is a hemicryptophyte? 

Join Shane and Duncan as they explore the wild world of toxic foliage in this week’s lush, leafy, and lethal episode of MFFI. 

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In this episode:  

  • Atropa Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade)
  • Herbaceous, Perennial, Rhizomatous, Hemicryptophyte
  • Augustus and Livia
  • Atropine
  • Daffodil (Narcissus Poeticus)
  • Lycorine
  • Castor Bean (Ricinus Communis) 
  • 1978 Umbrella Murder (Georgi Markov)
  • Ricin Poison
  • Gympie-Gympie (Dendrocnide Moroides)
  • Gubbi-Gubbi
  • Phototoxic Giant Hogweed (Heracleum Mantegazzianum)
  • Tangent: Corpse Bloom (Amorphophallus Titanium)
  • Hemlock (Conium Maculatum)
  • Socrates
  • Nerium-Oleander
  • The Deadliest Plant on Earth

Join the Midnight Masses!

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