This American Life

Built around the innovative vision of Ira Glass, this program documents and describes contemporary America. Using radio monologues, mini-documentaries, “found tape,” and unusual music, it is radio storytelling at its best.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015 Permalink

Except For That One Thing

Mike Anderson was 36 years old, married, a suburban father of four. He owned a contracting business and built his family’s modest, three-bedroom house in St. Louis from the ground up. He volunteered at church on the weekends and coaches his son’s football team. All pretty normal, right? Except for one thing … which surfaced one day two summers ago.

View episode on ThisAmericanLife.org

Prologue: When Mike and Sara bought their first house, they didn’t have much money for furniture. So they looked for bargains at yard sales and estate auctions and finally, Sara found the perfect piece of furniture on eBay. Great-looking at a great price, it was ideal, except for one thing.

ACT 1: Not Okay Cupid - A piece of fiction by BJ Novak called "Julie and the Warlord" that with his help, we’ve turned into a radio drama. It’s from his new book of short storiesOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories. Alison Brie plays Julie; Tunde Adebimpe plays the Warlord. Alison’s on Community and in The Lego Movie. Tunde’s new project Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band has an EP that's out now on iTunes. Details and tour schedule at hwbmb.com.

ACT 2: Hungry Hungry People - Producer Alex Blumberg interviews the writer Jon Mooallem, who just wrote a story for the Atavist about a period in the early 1900’s when meat was scarce in the United States. A group of forward-thinking men had a plan to fix that problem. It was ingenious in every way except for one. Jon’s story is also an Amazon Kindle single.

ACT 3: Start Me Up - Comedian Tig Notaro tells an audience at the club Largo in Los Angeles about the day she tried to introduce a sixth grade class to the music of The Rolling Stones. Tig’s the host of the podcast Professor Blastoff. Her comedy CDs and tour schedule are at Tignation.com.

ACT 4: Run On Sentence - Lots of us have things about us that we keep to ourselves. Mike Anderson had something like that, something he kept secret even from his wife, until the day the truth came out. Jessica Lussenhop reports. Her original story about Anderson appeared in the St. Louis newspaper Riverfront Times

ACT 5: Happy Accident - Etgar Keret always had a good relationship with his dad, except for one thing. This was read for us in English translation by actor Michael Chernus. Etgar’s most recent book is Suddenly a Knock on the Door.