Poop on the air and on the road
This weekend I made a cameo appearance as a poop expert on NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me". For those of you who aren't NPR fanboys like me, WWDTM is a hilarious comedy show news quiz. I listen every week; so it was a huge honor for me to actually be part of it. You can listen to it here; I'm on the end of the "Bluff the Listener" segment.
The WWDTM appearance had a huge effect on my Amazon ranking; but on Monday morning, just as I resigned myself to watching the downward slide, Poop Culture got a great review in Publisher's Weekly, an industry publication whose praise means a lot.
The mastermind behind poopreport.com, first-time author Praeger takes a scatological and sociological look at what we so thoughtlessly leave behind. As the title might suggest, Praeger isn't one to mince words (his tone is captured well in the opening line, "With enviable ease, poop slid out of the mechanical anus and onto the conveyor belt below"), but neither does he let the subject matter devolve to sophomoric humor. Instead, Praeger meticulously excavates the politics of poop, societal attitudes toward it and how both affect our culture and everyday lives. Propelled by a keen nose for trivia, Praeger chronicles everything from the rise in epidemics that led to better sanitation practices, culminating in the widespread adoption of the toilet, to the use of feces in art. Readers will also learn about the history of toilet paper, why toilets weren't commonplace in England until World War I and how to use a bidet properly. Happily, Praeger keeps things light but respectful throughout, even in a discussion of scatological satire; as such, his enlightening guide may very well represent the ultimate in bathroom reading material."
In other news, a few weeks ago I was interviewed by a French TV production company for the upcoming French/German Arte-TV show called The Fabulous History of Men and Roses. While the topic of the show is poop and toilets and such, the misleading title has been deliberately chosen, according to their site, to directly illustrate the power of the poop taboo in culture. However, a few viewers expecting to learn more about flowers will surely be in for a shock.
For the interview, as you can see, my living room was briefly turned into a television studio:
And finally, you may remember that I had a poop culture/poop comedy gig in Philadelphia a few weeks ago -- me and four other comedians and storytellers, with me discussing history and culture and they telling their funny stories. It was a lot of fun and a great success. The biggest surprise of the evening was the venue: an old church, with paintings and marble floors and all manner of naves and pews and pulpits and other churchy accessories. Not visible in this picture: the giant cross towering over us as we talked about poop.
Coming in August: Poop Culture hits the comedy circuit.