Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich

  • Aired:  07/14/14
  •  | Views: 56,207

Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich describe their experimental approach to storytelling in their Peabody Award-winning radio program, "Radiolab." (6:36)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUESTS TONIGHT ARE THECOHOST OF PUBLIC RADIO'S

RADIOLAB. WHICH I BELIEVE ISWHERE THEY TEST NPR ON ANIMALS

PLEASEWELCOME ROBERT KRULWICH AND

JAD ABUMRAD.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

JAD, ROBERT, THANKS SO MUCH FORCOMING ON.

ALL RIGHT, GUYS, FOR THE FEWPEOPLE OUT THERE WHO DON'T

KNOW, JAD, ROBERT, YOU ARETHE COHOST OF WNYC HERE IN

NEW YORK THAT PRODUCES THEPEABODY AWARD-WINNING

RADIOLAB, ONE OF THE MOSTPOPULAR SHOWS ON PUBLIC

RADIO, 478 STATIONS AROUNDTHE COUNTRY, DOWNLOADED POD

CASTS MORE THAN 4 MILLIONTIMES EVERY MONTH.

WHAT IS-- WHAT IS RADIOLAB?

(LAUGHTER)AND WHAT ARE YOU EXPERIMENTING

ON?

(LAUGHTER)>> ON THE RADIO I GUESS YOU

COULD SAY, I MEAN IT'S-- .

>> Stephen: EXPERIMENTING ONTHE MEDIUM ITSELF.

>> YEAH, NEW WAYS OF TELLINGSTORIES.

THE LAB IS IN A SENSE TOEXPERIMENT TRYING ALL THE

USUAL WAYS OF TELLINGSTORIES BUT JUST DOING

IT DIFFERENTLY.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

YEAH, SURE, SURE.

FOR THE PURPOSE OF OURDISCUSSION I WILL SAY I

FOLLOWED THAT, ALL RIGHT?

BUT WHY DO YOU NEED TO TELLSTORIES IN A NEW WAY.

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TELLINGSTORIES SINCE, YOU KNOW,

CAVEMAN SAID UG KILL BEAR.

>> WE JUST LIKE TO PLAY, IGUESS.

WE JUST-- THERE'S ANADVENTURE TO THIS.

SO WE JUST-- WE ENJOY MAKINGUP-- WE CHOOSE COMPLICATED

SUBJECTS.

WE DON'T COMPLETELYUNDERSTAND THEM ALL THE TIME

AND THEN WE TRY TO MAKESENSE OF THEM.

AND TO DO THAT YOU'VE GOT TOHAVE FUN AND EXPERIMENT AND

YOU GOT TO DO MISCHIEF.

>> Stephen: SO YOU DON'TALWAYS UNDERSTAND THE THINGS

YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT ON THESHOW.

>> NO, I WITHOUT SAY IT IS APREREQUISITE.

WE START IN A PLAY CALLEDABSOLUTE UNKNOWING.

>> Stephen: DOW EVER END INA PLACE OF ABSOLUTE

UNKNOWING.

>> PRETTY MUCH EVERY SINGLETIME.

>> Stephen: REALLY.

>> SO OUR ARC IS A LITTLEHARD.

WE GO FROM NONKNOWLEDGE TO ALITTLE BIT OF KNOWLEDGE TO

AH, KIND OF.

>> Stephen: SO IF YOU AREYOUR FANS COME UP TO YOU AND

SAY I GOT TO SAY I LISTENEDTO THE SHOW THIS WEEKEND, I

DIDN'T KNOW WHAT YOU WERETALKING ABOUT.

YOU SAY SUCCESS.

>> EXACTLY.

AS LONG AS THEY REMEMBERSOME OF THE THINGS YOU SAID.

YOU WANT TO GIVE THEM ALITTLE SOMETHING THAT STICKS

TO THEM.

>> Stephen: OKAY, ISYOUR-- YOU'RE LIBERALS,

OBVIOUSLY-- (LAUGHTER)

BECAUSE YOU WORK FOR PUBLICRADIO.

YOU WORK FOR PUBLIC RADIO.

>> YOU DON'T KNOW THAT.

>> Stephen: I KNOW YOU WORKFOR PUBLIC RADIO AND THAT'S

ALL I NEED TO KNOW.

OKAY, THERE'S TWOCONSERVATIVES ON PUBLIC

RADIO AND THEIR NAMES ARECLICK AND CLACK.

THE TAPPET BROTHERS.

IS CURIOSITY ITSELF ALIBERAL VALUE?

BECAUSE I'M A CONSERVATIVE,AND I BELIEVE THAT IT IS

SOMETIMES BETTER NOT TO KNOWTHAN TO KNOW.

(LAUGHTER)KNOWLEDGE IS NOT ALWAYS A GOOD

>> WELL, TO NOT KNOW CAN BEKIND OF SCARY, THAT IS TRUE.

BUT THEN-- .

>> Stephen: AND FEAR CAN BEA GOOD THING.

>> THERE WAS ACTUALLY AREALLY LONG PERIOD IN

HISTORY OF THE WORLD WHEREPEOPLE WERE TOLD NOT TO BE

CURIOUS THAT IT WAS SINFULAND SO ON.

>> Stephen: WELL, SOMETIMESIT IS.

>> SOMETIMES IT CAN GET YOU INTROUBLE.

>> Stephen: IT DID NOT WORKOUT WELL FOR OEDIPUS

>> NO IT DIDN'T.

>> Stephen: OR FOR ADAM ANDEVE,.

>> SO THERE IS A LESSON TOBE LEARNED THERE I SUPPOSE.

BUT FOR US WE JUST CAN'THELP OURSELVES.

I THINK THERE IS SOMETHINGIN HUMANS, CONSERVATIVE AND

LIBERALS THAT SAYS HMMMM, IWOULD LIKE-- LIKE A CLOUD,

YOU FIND OUT IT WEIGHS 500TONS AND YET IT'S IN THE

SKY.

>> Stephen: IT DOESN'T WEIGH500 TONS.

CLOUDS DON'T WEIGH.

NEWS FLASH CLOUDS DON'TWEIGH ANYTHING, OKAY.

THAT IS HOW THEY FLOAT.

OKAY, -->> WHAT DOES A BALLOON

WEIGH.

>> Stephen: LESS THANNOTHING.

>> IF YOU TOOK A TEASPOONYOU COULD WEIGH A LITTLE BIT

OF CLOUD, YOU MULTIPLY THATTEASPOON TOWARD A CLOUD YOU

HAVE A LOT-- .

>> Stephen: SO PARTS OF ACLOUD WEIGH SOMETHING BUT

THE ENTIRE CLOUD WEIGHSNOTHING.

>> NO.

(LAUGHTER)>> NO, I WAS THINKING-- .

>> Stephen: YOU DO MOST OFTHE WORK, RIGHT?

YOU DO-- BECAUSE YOU-- (APPLAUSE)

YOU GOT ONE OF THEM McARTHURGENIUS GRANTS BACK IN 2011.

DID YOU EVER LORD THAT OVERHIM AND GO ONE OF US HAS A

GENIUS GRANT.

>> NO, 'CAUSE THE WHOLE GENIUSTHING IS A LITTLE TRIPPY.

>> Stephen: WHAT DOES THATMEAN, WHAT DOES TRIPPY MEAN.

>> DEEPLY CONFUSING.

>> Stephen: LIKE YOUR SHOW.

>> AND ALSO -->> YES.

>> PEOPLE SUDDENLY THOUGHTHE WAS REALLY SMART BECAUSE

HE WAS A GENIUS.

THAT IS ODD.

>> Stephen: YOU ASK BIGQUESTIONS, LIKE WHAT IS TIME.

DOES EVIL REALLY EXIST.

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT DOINGA SHOW CALLED DO THESE

QUESTIONS MAKE US SEEM HIGH?

(LAUGHTER)>> I TELL YOU WHAT, I THINK

THERE IS AN ASPECT OF THESHOW THAT IS SORT OF THAT

POT SMOKING IN YOUR DORMROOM WHOA SORT OF THING.

I THINK THAT IS WHERE ITBEGINS.

>> Stephen: IT SOUNDS THATWAY BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALL THE

SOUND EFFECTS, YOU HAVETHIS-- ROBERT-- KRULWICH

RADIO-- YOU KNOW.

>> I MEAN I THINK YOU WANTTO START WITH THAT PLACE OF

DISORIENTING, BUT THEN YOUREALLY DO TRY TO FIGURE IT

OUT.

YOU TRY AND KNOW AND WALKTHROUGH STEP-BY-STEP INTO

ALL THE DIFFERENT LAYERS OFTHESE QUESTIONS.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS NEXT.

WHERE IS YOUR CURIOSITYLEADING YOU NEXT.

DO YOU HAVE A SEASON OR JUSTGRIND IN AND OUT.

>> DOING IT-- WE JUST MAKEIT, WE ARE ALWAYS ON.

>> Stephen: HOW ABOUT THISONE.

HOW MUCH DOES CANADA WEIGH?

>> THAT'S AN INTERESTINGQUESTION.

>> THAT'S A HARD ONE BECAUSEIN THE WINTER WHEN IT IS

SNOWING IT MIGHT BE HEAVIER.

ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEREWOULD YOU STOP WHEN ARE YOU

WEIGHING IT.

YOU HAVE TO GO DOWN.

>> Stephen: ALL THE WAY TOTHE CORE.

YOU A LITTLE WEDGE.

>> THE TOP OF IT IS MELTINGSO THAT MIGHT GET IT

LIGHTER OR HEAVIER.

SEE THAT IS THE KIND OFTHING WE DO, EXACTLY.

>> YOU START WITH AN OPENQUESTION AND START THINKING

DEEPER AND DEEPER.

>> Stephen: CAN I GET ALITTLE TASTE OF THE BACK END

ON THAT ONE?

>> PUBLIC RADIO, DON'TFORGET.

>> Stephen: OH, OKAY, JUSTGIVE ME A TOTE BAG.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FORJOINING ME, ROBERT, JAD, JAD

ABUMRAD, ROBERT KRULWICH,RADIOLAB, IT'S ON ALL THE

TIME. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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