Guest host Alan Cumming interviews Cyndi Lauper, whose career has taken unforeseeable twists since she exploded into the pop firmament in 1983 with She’s So Unusual. While pop cognoscenti thought she’d burn out fast, 30 years later she’s just won a Tony Award. And the photographer John Dugdale tells Cumming why blindness hasn’t overcome his drive to create indelible images.
An epidemiologist explains how life is like World of Warcraft when a deadly plague breaks out online. Rabies experts connect the dots between The Iliad, Twilight, and Louis Pasteur. Plus, an apocalyptic world where children should be seen and not heard — the sound they make can be deadly.
(Originally aired March 8, 2013)
Most comedians have just a few memorable bits; Howard Kremer has just one. Good thing he managed to build a comedy empire on it. A few years ago, Kremer had an epiphany while on the beach in Los Angeles: there was nothing more important in life than making the most of the summer -- which Kremer calls “summah” in honor of his native New Jersey. “There it is! That’s the crux of the debate!” he said. If you have to choose between work and adult responsibilities and enjoying a summer day, “I’m going to choose summah, and I’m going to tell people about it!”
But how does a joke turn into a brand? Kremer spun his revelation into a few funny minutes of comedy (being bitten by a shark in the ocean is better than not having been to the ocean, he thinks). That turned into merchandise, summer songs (three albums worth), and Summahfest, a party in Los Angeles with water slides, food trucks, and live music.
"You always want to do something that catches the public’s imagination. It’s hard with stand-up to convey raw emotion and still be funny, but with ‘Have a Summah’ it’s a meaningful thing.”
If the mileage Kremer has taken out of the bit doesn’t make it clear, he’s serious about summer. “It goes so fast, and people don’t start it on time,” he laments. “The government has moved in and chopped it up — school starts now on August 15th. You have to remind yourself” to enjoy life while you have it. Actually, Kremer’s taken it upon himself to remind you. He was recently at the beach with a friend who had forgotten the pleasures of summer. “This is great,” the friend reflected, “I should have been doing this all summer.” Incredulous, Kremer responded, “If only there was a guy that reminded everybody to have a summah!”