REVIEW: Everything you need to know about ‘Stuff You Should Know’

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(Graphic by Catherine Eldridge | Collegian Media Group)

A few months ago, a close friend suggested I look into a podcast called “Stuff You Should Know” by iHeartRadio. I turned my nose up at the thought — I was NOT a podcast person.

That was until I listened to a SYSK episode called “Salem Witchcraft Trials: More Bonkers Than You Know.” 

“Stuff You Should Know,” hosted by Charles “Chuck” W. Bryant and Josh Clark, is the perfect one-size-fits-all podcast. True to its name, the podcast covers all kinds of stuff. If you’re a true crime junkie, look no further. Interested in learning about how emotions work? This podcast can teach you that, too. Quite honestly, I’m convinced SYSK covers just about every random topic you could possibly think of. The crazy thing is, every episode is good. Did I think I’d be the type of person interested in the history of absinthe? Absolutely not. Did I thoroughly enjoy those 50 minutes of my life? Absolutely (See: “The Myth of Absinthe”).

The two hosts of the show are affectionately known to religious SYSK listeners as Josh and Chuck. Each week, the dynamic duo choose topics to cover based on their own interests, or topics suggested to them by fans. The topics are very diverse, ranging from coverage of the Tylenol Murders (See: “The Tylenol Murders Part I” and “The Tylenol Murders Part II”) to discussions of cats (See: “Cats: Invasive Species?”). You’ll never get bored of the subject matter.

Josh and Chuck often find themselves going off on tangents. Once derailed, they will catch themselves, and Josh will crack a joke in a deadpan voice while Chuck makes a comment like, “You know, we should do a show on that.” Your mind wanders with them. SYSK encourages you to be curious and inquisitive about the world in a non-judgemental space.

“Stuff You Should Know” episodes are split into two types: regular episodes and mini-episodes, called “Short Stuff.” Whoever came up with the “Short Stuff” idea is a genius. 15-minute shorts? Brilliant. It only takes 15 minutes for the drive to work or walk to class. Plus, the episodes, though bite-sized, are always culturally relevant and interesting, my favorites being “Short Stuff: Black Cowboys” and “Short Stuff: Cleveland’s Infamous 10-Cent Beer Night.” The regular-length episodes are just as compelling and a lot more detailed. 

If you’re looking for a podcast, check out “Stuff You Should Know.” There’s sure to be at least one episode that is interesting to you. If you’re not sure which of their many episodes to pick, I suggest you start with “SYSK Live: Koko, the Gorilla Who Talked,” which is my favorite full-length episode.

Listen to Stuff You Should Know through the iHeart website, on Spotify or through Apple Podcasts.

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