Stuff You Should Know

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Stuff You Should Know
StuffYouShouldKnow.jpg
The logo for Stuff You Should Know.
Presentation
Hosted by Josh Clark and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant
Language English
Updates Biweekly
Length 20-60 minutes
Production
Audio format Stereophonic/MP3
No. of episodes 700+
Publication
Debut April 17th, 2008
Provider

HowStuffWorks

Blucora (2014-present)
Website http://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com

Stuff You Should Know, often abbreviated as SYSK, is a free podcast and video series published by the HowStuffWorks website and hosted by Josh Clark and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant, both writers at HowStuffWorks. The podcast is consistently ranked in the Top 10 on iTunes.

The podcast, released every Tuesday and Thursday, educates listeners on a wide variety of topics, often using popular culture as a reference giving the podcast comedic value.[1] Episodes are normally around 30 minutes in length, although for more in-depth topics the show has run as long as an hour. Initial episodes were much shorter in duration, often less than 10 minutes. The podcast is available for free on the iTunes Store[2] and Zune Marketplace and is one of the top downloaded podcasts in both stores.[3] On January 19, 2013, a full-length SYSK TV show aired on Science Channel and ran for one season.

Josh & Chuck[edit]

Stuff You Should Know is hosted by two senior editors at HowStuffWorks.com, Josh Clark[4] and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant. Their producer is Jeri "Jerome" Rowland.[5][6][7]

Clark was a host of the show since the beginning, and before Bryant took over the co-hosting duties Clark was joined by several other editors.[1][6] The chemistry between the two, who met after both wore homemade jean jackets around the office with Van Halen logos drawn on the back in marker on the same day,[8] was immediately apparent, and they became fixtures on the show.[9]

Podcast[edit]

Launched on April 17, 2008, with Bryant making his debut on July 15, 2008, the podcast covers a variety of odd questions and topics, like how Twinkies work, do Zombies exist?, how Tickling works, and how Albert Einstein's brain worked. These unique subjects earned them a place in Podcast Awards's Education category.[1] Their "biggest hits" include episodes on Spam, hangovers, tipping in restaurants, cheese, Barbie, and pinball.[10] The topics that get the greatest response from listeners include death and grieving.[10] It was the second podcast on HowStuffWorks.[6]

The podcast, which was named by Clark,[6] began as an attempt to re-purpose some of the written content on HowStuffWorks.com.[11] Clark had never listened to a podcast before he recorded his first episode in 2008.[10] One of the reasons the hosts believe the show has been so successful is that they are "definitely not experts" in the myriad subjects they explore, but are instead "just guys who enjoy research and we’re very curious.”[10] Their formula "is part self-deprecating humour, part infectious wonder and part self-discipline to go their separate ways and do all their own research and reflection before they get to the studio."[10] They do not have a script or a time limit before they sit down to record.[10][6]

The podcast, described as the "heart and soul of the operation,"[10] has steadily grown in popularity since its introduction in 2008 and has made appearances at events including South by Southwest and Comic-Con. As of 19 September 2014, the Stuff You Should Know podcast has released over 700 episodes.[10] Several episodes have been recorded during live events, including two during their World Tour of Canada in September and October of 2014,[12] at SXSW in 2011 and 2012,[13] and New York Comic Con in 2012.[14]

Each episodes ends with listener mail, and in 2011 the podcast added "Bonus Videos" to the podcast feed. These consist of humorous 60 second videos where Clark and Bryant converse about subjects they covered on previous podcasts while doing a variety of random activities (playing checkers, getting fitted for a suit, going to a doctor, driving through a car wash). As they speak, the scene changes repeatedly to something completely different, though their conversation continues uninterrupted as though nothing had happened. These clips have also aired during commercial slots on Science and appear on their YouTube channel.

The Stuff You Should Know staff includes Rebecca, the web producer, Matt and Noel, the occasional guest producers, as well as Sherry and Joe.[15] Their 420th episode was on medical marijuana, although this was a coincidence.[16]

YouTube[edit]

Stuff You Should Know also has a YouTube channel. Animated shorts are released on Mondays, This Day in History videos are released on Tuesdays, and Clark's series Don't Be Dumb airs a new episode on Thursdays.[17] In addition, the pair also offers live shorts and movie reviews.[18]

In "Don't Be Dumb," Clark explains a topic while wearing a tweed jacket and bow tie. His posture, gestures, and stilted language are intentionally uncomfortable and awkward. Each episode ends with Clark saying: "So, next time someone tells you [subject of video], you set them straight! And tell them Josh sent you."

TV show[edit]

A full-length Stuff You Should Know TV show premiered on January 19, 2013 on the Science Channel, which was owned by Discovery Network, the parent company of HowStuffWorks. The show included a pilot and 10 episodes each 30 minutes in length.[3][19]

Described as the "love child of the British version of The Office and an overheard conversation about science between two reasonably informed guys,"[20] the show was about a real podcast that is set in a fictional world. Each episode followed Josh and Chuck inside and outside the recording booth, combining the factual information of their podcast with humorous, fictional story lines that align with each podcast topic.[21] The show had "the attention span of a teenaged boy" and "bounces from scene to scene without explanation or sense."[20]

The shows were directed by L.C. Crowley[22] with a theme song and score composed by The Henry Clay People,[13] the "unofficial house band" of Stuff You Should Know.[23] Guests on the show included John Hodgman, Sarah Silverman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Rufus Wainwright, and Michio Kaku.[24] The show was canceled after the first season "due to poor ratings",[25] although each episode is made available for purchase on iTunes and Google Play.

Outside activities[edit]

As with the other podcasts offered by HowStuffWorks, Stuff You Should Know has its own blog updated daily by its hosts and often featuring the same type of material found in the podcasts, often with show followups. There is also both a Twitter account and Facebook page for SYSK. Clark and Bryant were the co-hosts for the Science of Cyborgs event hosted by the Science and Entertainment Exchange.[9]

Microlending[edit]

Starting in 2009, after doing an episode on how microlending works, the show began encouraging listeners to make loans on the online microlending site Kiva.[1] A Stuff You Should Know team had raised $150,000 by the middle of 2010,[1] and more than $2.75 million by November 2015.[26] In 2009 they challenged Stephen Colbert to see whose team could raise $100,000 first[27] and they "beat the pants off off" him, reaching that goal in three months.[28]

The lending team is now run by fan volunteers,[1] has since consistently ranked among the top five teams in terms of both donations and users. As of November 2014 the team ranked #7 for new users among new Kiva users, and in the "Friends" category of teams, ranked #2 for new users and amount loaned.[26]

Audiobooks[edit]

Clark and Bryant also present two longer and more in-depth audio programs featuring interviews and portions recorded on location available for purchase as audiobooks, which are entitled The Super Stuffed Guide to the Economy and The Super Stuffed Guide to Happiness.

Cooperative for Education[edit]

In February 2010,[29] Clark, Bryant, and Rowland traveled to Guatemala to promote Cooperative for Education, an organization which gives textbooks to schools in Guatemala to be rented by students for a small fee that is then deposited into an account that will be used to replace old textbooks in the future.[30] They produced a pair of podcast on the topic.[29]

Reception[edit]

The show is downloaded more than 1 million times per week and is consistently on iTunes’ Top 10 podcast rankings.[3] Bryant and Clark receive over 350 pieces of fan mail a week.[1][9] After two months, their Facebook page had over 10,000 likes,[1] and as of November 2014 it had more than 500,000.

Entertainment Weekly chose the TV show in early February 2013 as #7 for their "The Must List: The Top 10 Things We Love This Week," writing, "Whether you're curious about bee colonies or weather control, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant have the scoop."[31]

Stuff You Should Know's "beautifully, beautifully done" production has set "the audio standard," according to podcast reviewers Pod on Pod. They added that the audio quality "could not be improved" on the NPR-level production.[32] One reviewer said of it: "It is never not fun to listen to."[32]

The podcast "Catholic Stuff You Should Know" is modeled after Clark and Bryant's podcast.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Glaser, Mark (June 11, 2010). "How Josh & Chuck Made ‘Stuff You Should Know’ a Hit Podcast". PBS. Retrieved 2014-11-14. 
  2. ^ "iTunes - Podcasts - Stuff You Should Know by HowStuffWorks". Retrieved 2014-11-14. 
  3. ^ a b c Kafka, Peter (May 21, 2012). "Discovery Plans Science TV Show for "Stuff You Should Know" Podcast". AllThingsD. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  4. ^ "About Josh". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 2014-11-14. 
  5. ^ Josh Clark and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant (September 30, 2014). "How Rogue Waves Work". Stuff You Should Know (Podcast). Blucora. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Rankin, Bill (December 27, 2010). "Atlanta duo's podcast in top 10 on iTunes". Atlanta Constitution-Journal. Retrieved 2014-12-24. 
  7. ^ "The Ultimate Stuff You Should Know Quiz". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 2014-12-24. 
  8. ^ Josh Clark (March 19, 2013). Interview with Josh - Stuff You Should Know (YouTube). Retrieved 2014-12-24. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Gordon, Andrea (September 19, 2014). "‘Stuff You Should Know’ podcasters host two sold-out shows in Toronto". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-12-24. 
  10. ^ "Q&A with Josh and Chuck". Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  11. ^ "SYSK LIVE! World Tour of Canada". How Stuff Works. August 29, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  12. ^ a b "Stuff You Should Know at SXSW". How Stuff Works. February 28, 2012. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  13. ^ "Science Invades New York Comic Con With Firefly, Oddities And Stuff You Should Know" (Press release). New York Comic Con. September 17, 2012. Retrieved 2014-12-24. 
  14. ^ Josh Clark and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant (June 10, 2014). "How the Placebo Effect Works". Stuff You Should Know (Podcast). Blucora. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  15. ^ Josh Clark and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant (April 22, 2014). "How Mars Works". Stuff You Should Know (Podcast). Blucora. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  16. ^ "Welcome to Stuff You Should Know". How Stuff Works. May 3, 2013. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  17. ^ Josh Clark and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant (May 3, 2013). Welcome to Stuff You Should Know (YouTube). How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  18. ^ Foster, Lindsey. "Shooting a Pilot: Stuff You Should Know!". Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  19. ^ a b Meadows, LaRae (January 28, 2013). "Stuff You Should Know TV". Center for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved 2014-12-25. 
  20. ^ "Stuff You Should Know: The TV Show". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  21. ^ "Stuff You Should Know (2013– ) Full Cast & Crew". Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  22. ^ Josh Clark and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant (July 27, 2010). "Why Ticks Suck". Stuff You Should Know (Podcast). Blucora. Retrieved 2014-12-31. 
  23. ^ "About the TV Show". Stuff You Should Know. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  24. ^ Josh Clark and Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant (September 4, 2014). "How TV Ratings Work". Stuff You Should Know (Podcast). Blucora. Retrieved 2014-12-25. 
  25. ^ a b "Kiva Lending Team: Stuff You Should Know from HowStuffWorks.com". Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  26. ^ Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant (2009). Josh and Chuck of 'Stuff You Should Know' challenge Stephen Colbert to a Kiva Smackdown (YouTube). Retrieved 2014-11-17. 
  27. ^ Clark, Josh (August 11, 2010). "Why We Microlend at Team SYSK (Part I)". Retrieved 2014-11-14. 
  28. ^ a b "Podcasts Featuring CoEd". Cooperative for Education. Retrieved 2014-12-25. 
  29. ^ Wynn, Ivana (February 7, 2011). "Podcast “Stuff You Should Know” teaches with sound bites of knowledge". The Daily Bruin. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 
  30. ^ Entertainment Weekly Staff (February 8, 2013). "The Must List". Entertainment Weekly (New York: Time Inc.): 8. 
  31. ^ a b Josh and Joel (September 30, 2014). "Pod on Pod on Stuff You Should Know". ProCreate (Podcast). Retrieved 2014-12-20. 
  32. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2014-12-20. 

External links[edit]