September 26, 2016

EP. 143 — Stupid Lies From Pop Culture That Everybody Believes

We all know Rome wasn’t built in a day. But in the fake Hollywood adaptation, “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day,” it’s probably built over the course of a short montage set to peppy music, where it feels like it’s built in 20 minutes.

That’s one of the subtle lies movies and TV imprint on our minds- that monumental things can be achieved in relatively short periods of time or with relatively little effort. Doc Brown hits his head and comes up with the idea for a time machine, and the hardest part is sourcing plutonium from a crew of gullible Libyan terrorists. This myth of invention affects how we look at history too. In our minds, Thomas Edison is a guy who just pulled the idea for the light bulb out of thin air (or from about 3 inches above his head, right after he thought of it), but he’s just the guy who happened to invent the best one.

These recurring myths are what we’re talking about today. Jack O’Brien is joined by Cracked’s Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) and Alex Schmidt to talk about this invention myth, why we mistakenly think the President controls the economy, how we assume that there are real-life criminals like movie criminals and why a bomb with a timer on it is the stupidest idea in the world.

Also, make sure to come see our THREE live shows this October!

First, at 9pm on Thursday, October 6th at the UCB Sunset Inner Sanctum, Jack O’Brien and Daniel O’Brien take a behind-the-scenes look at America’s most underappreciated profession: teachers. Along with the cast of TruTV’s ‘Those Who Can’t’ and some real-life teachers who would like to remain anonymous, they’ll take a look at the secret and alcohol-fueled lives of the people who we entrust to mold the minds of our nation’s youth. Tickets are FREE, but it’s first come, first serve, so make sure to arrive early. More info is available here:

Next, at 7pm on Saturday, October 8th at the UCB Sunset Theatre, Jack O’Brien and Nick Mundy co-host a sequel to last year’s Halloween episode. Cracked’s Tom Reimann and comedians Eric Lampaert, Anna Seregina and Ryan Singer guest to share more real-life stories of death, disappearance and potentially the great beyond. Tickets are $5 and available here:

Finally, you can see us on Saturday, October 29th at the Now Hear This podcast festival in Anaheim, California. The time is still TBA, but we’re on an amazing lineup with other podcasts like WTF with Marc Maron, Doug Loves Movies, I Was There Too and Superego. Tickets and information available here:


Cracked: 4 Recurring Myths We Apparently Really Want to Believe:

The Atlantic: The President of the United States Does Not Control the Economy:

FiveThirtyEight: A President’s Economic Decisions Matter…Eventually:

Slate: Do Freelance Assassins Really Exist?:

NYT: Profile of notorious art thief Stephane Breitwiesser:

This episode is brought to you by Squarespace and Audible.

Recent Episodes

January 26, 2020

Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.


January 19, 2020

How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!


January 12, 2020

Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.