Have you ever wanted to know how…. anything… works? I’m serious. Black holes, LSD, sugar, even gig economies? Josh Clark and Charles “Chuck” Bryant are the hosts of Stuff You Should Know (SYSK) and gather three times a week to dole out worldly knowledge that knows no bounds. Debuting in 2008, this behemoth has over 1400 episodes in their rear view mirror.
My admiration for this material actually predated the podcast itself as I’d frequently visit a primitive www.howstuffworks.com in highschool during the early 2000’s. I still remember that an article called “How Steam Engines Work” was particularly useful in getting me through some essay. It’s that site where SYSK grew out of as Josh and Chuck (both content contributors themselves) pull written articles and convert them to the audio medium.
It was the summer of 2009 when I caught on what exactly a podcast was. Some sort of “iPod broadcast.” They turned out to be free as well, sitting right there in a tab on iTunes. While browsing through them one day, I took notice of the content SYSK was putting out, and saw their affiliation with How Stuff Works. After loading a couple episodes onto my blue iPod Mini, I booted one up while walking my dog, and haven’t stopped listening since.
To me, longevity of a podcast boils down to two elements, the content and the hosts. My biggest reason I’ve stuck with this one for 12 years is because both of those elements have remained so incredibly strong. I’m really not sure how they drum up interesting topic after topic, especially given that they put out 3 a week. I’m lucky if I do two blog posts a month and I still sometimes have no idea what to write about! Listening to Josh and Chuck’s chemistry is such a delight as they keep the atmosphere positive, interesting, and hilarious. There’s nothing better than Chuck literally chuckling at how outlandish or difficult some of these topics can be to explain through words only.
A quick rundown of my favourite topics to date:
- How Muppets Work
- How Redheads Work (for obvious reasons)
- How Mass Hysteria Works
- How Psychopaths Work
- How Beer Works
There was also a TV show they put out, based on their podcast, in 2013 that lasted 10 episodes but I haven’t come across it yet. Although, my wife and I did actually see them live when they came to Toronto! To date, it’s still the only live performance from any podcaster I’ve attended.
I urge anyone with an unending thirst for knowledge to give them a listen. You’ll be sure to annoy no less than a dozen people at the next social gathering with your irrelevant knowledge!
In other news – I’m really excited to announce that my story, “Green Ghost of Honeypot” will be published in July. It was a tough sell, and the original ending was such a downer, but I kept revising and now couldn’t be prouder that it will see the light of day.
Keep turning the page,