Episode 84: Karen Russell, Paar vs. NB(W)C and Stuck-up Employees

Karen Russell /Photo by Michael Lionstar

This week: Author Karen Russell muses about amusement parks… Jack Paar vs. NB(W)C… And Wal-Mart employees get gun-fired. Plus a joke from Tristen, and a visit to San Pedro via Mogwai.

Icebreaker: Tristen
Nashville songwriter Tristen delivers a Nashville songwriter joke. (She’s on tour now in support of her debut album “Charlatans At The Garden Gates”)

Small Talk: Wal-Mart’s Disarming Policy
Patt Morrison — Pulitzer-winning LA Times columnist and host of her own talk show on KPCC-FM — tells us how Wal-Mart deals with stuck up employees.

A History Lesson With Booze: Jack Parr Versus NB(W)C and “The Stork Club”
Right around this time back in 1960, “Tonight Show” host Jack Parr stormed off his own set in the middle of a live broadcast. He’s also remembered for torpedoing the career of red-baiting gossip columnist Walter Winchell… who held forth at a bar called The Stork Club. Hear the tale of Parr’s departure, then toast his chutzpah with the bar’s namesake cocktail.

*”THE STORK CLUB,” as mixed by Colin Davis at the (recently closed) Rainbow Room atop 30 Rock in New York, NY: *

In a shaker over ice, combine:

  • .5 oz of triple sec
  • 1.5 oz of gin
  • .25 oz of fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz fresh orange juice
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled martini glass with a garnish of orange peel. Sip quietly so as not to raise the ire of mercurial TV hosts.

Guest of Honor: Karen Russell
Author Karen Russell — one of The New Yorker’s vaunted “20 Under 40” short fiction writers — just released her eagerly-anticipated debut novel, “Swamplandia!” It’s a coming-of-age tale about a family of alligator wrestlers. Karen chats with Rico about real-life dinosaurs, decaying amusement parks, and the saddest whale ever.

(Speaking of which, UPDATE: Though we couldn’t verify the whale tale when we aired it, it turns out it’s true — read all about it on our blog)

One For The Road: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
The Scots who injected testosterone into the “post-rock” genre circa 1995 are still at it seven instrumental albums later. Mogwai’s new album is gently titled “Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will.” The featured track is “San Pedro,” a song named after the home town of another brawny rock dude.

Music On This Week’s Show:

Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Dmitri Boris Kabalevsky – “The Comedians: Intermezzo”

“The Tonight Show Theme”

Rush – “The Spirit Of Radio”

Modest Mouse – “Whale Song”

Mogwai – “San Pedro”