Jono Zalay

Jono Zalay grew up in beautiful San Diego, where upon becoming a stand-up comic, he quickly grew tired of good weather and happy times. So he packed all his belongings and boarded a plane to Boston. His belongings boarded a plane to Philadelphia and were never seen again. Once adequately miserable, Jono pursued comedy while earning his PhD in Neuroscience. In 2010-11, he became a staple at comedy festivals around the country, winning all of them in the “most fun” category that he made up. His unique and informed background brings a perspective to stand-up comedy unequaled by almost any PhD in Neuroscience.

Guest Appearances

April 4, 2018

Cam talks tour bus, naked minutes and tape. Sets from Megan Gailey, Jonah Ray, Jono Zalay, Joyelle Johnson and Zach Sims.

This episode is brought to you by Tom Boy X (

August 29, 2016

Are you ever so overwhelmed by the thought of going out to socialize that you just stay home instead? And then once you stay home, you’re bummed out at yourself for not leaving the house in the first place? Is your typical party maneuver to hang out in the corner pretending to text someone? Is the slow march of time a crippling experience that can only be made bearable by drinking alcohol and seeking out progressively more dangerous experiences?

Oh. Whew. Us too!

Seems that anxiety and depression are taking a bigger stranglehold of our culture and there are actually some statistics to back that up. Suicides are at a 30 year high, drinking is at a 25 year high, rates of depression are up 800 percent over 70 years and prescriptions for antidepressants were up 400 percent between 1988 and 2011. That’s some grim shit. But we have a theory as to why this may be happening.

Around some 200,000ish years ago, the human brain stopped evolving, but our culture hasn’t. Rigorous jobs, ever-expanding social networks, complex societal problems have all made our lives more convoluted, but our brains were only designed to handle things like, “where’s the fire?” and, “hey, there are some deer over there.” Evolution has left us hanging and we don’t know how to cope. 

For a multi-tiered deep-dive into this subject, Jack O’Brien is first joined by Cracked executive editor Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) to discuss the increasing role of anxiety in our population. Later, Jono Zalay, the world’s foremost comedian with a PhD in neuroscience, joins the conversation to talk about the role of drugs in this equation and some of the scientific reasons for why our brain needs anxiety.

Also, make sure to come to our next live podcast taping on Saturday, September 10th at the UCB Sunset Theatre in Los Angeles, where Jack and the Cracked staff will flip-off movies like ‘Sully’ and ‘Deepwater Horizon’ and pitch some insane true stories that should be made into big Hollywood movies instead. Tickets are only $5 and are available here:


Cracked: Why Anxiety is the Plague of the Modern World:

Cracked: 5 Brain Disorders That Started As Evolutionary Advantages:

Cracked: 5 Ways Your Brain Is Tricking You Into Being Miserable:

Cracked: 6 Logical Fallacies That Cost You Money Every Day:

Cracked: 6 Human Character Flaws (That Saved The Species):

Cracked: 5 Logical Fallacies That Make You Wrong More Than You Think:

Slate: Why Do American Schizophrenics Hear Threatening Voices?:

Quartz: Giving Up Alcohol Opened My Eyes to the Infuriating Truth About Why Women Drink:

‘Rat Park’ Comic by Stuart McMillen:

Jono Zalay:

Jono’s Podcast ‘Universe City’:

Come see us at the Now Hear This podcast festival:

This episode is sponsored by Magoosh, Yoga Hosers, and Loot Crate.

September 2, 2014

The gang starts off with a discussion about hecklers and lollyfarting before delving into the subject of consciousness. Guest neuroscientist and comedian Jono Zalay is back in the Professor Blastoff hatch to talk about self-realization, dreams, sex robots, and so much more!

September 24, 2013

It’s David Huntsberger’s time for a solo episode in the hatch! After answering some listener questions, David gets into the topic of dreams and why we have them. He’ll call up a Blastronaut, his neuroscientist buddy Jono Zalay, and even his mother to discuss lucid dreaming, recurring themes in dreams, and how dreams are sometimes prophetic. Can David battle his cold and make it to the end of the show? Tune in to find out!

December 4, 2012

Ever wondered how that ol’ noggin of yours works? You have? That’s great because we have an expert on brains, comedian Jono Zalay! He will guide us as we examine all the parts of the brain, explore the myth that women have smaller brains, and talk about cocaine rats.