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Radiolab Live

Radiolab Live: Apocalyptical

Thanks to everybody who came out to see us on our 21-city tour! We had a blast, and we're so proud of how this show turned out. It's the best thing we've ever done on stage, which is why we're so excited to share a bunch of Apocalyptical video with you! If you didn't get a chance to catch the show in person -- or if you did and want to relive the cataclysmic glory and share it with your friends! -- feast your eyes on these live performances recorded in Seattle. You'll find incontrovertible proof that Robert Krulwich can shake it, that Jad Abumrad is a live-scoring, storytelling super-freak, and that a guitar, drum kit, and upright bass can summon the apocalypse. Plus: dinosaurs, death, destruction, and comedic mayhem. Enjoy!

Audio of the full performance is here:


We teamed up with some amazing collaborators for Apocalyptical, find out more about these wildly talented folks: comedians Reggie Watts, Patton Oswalt, Simon Amstell, Ophira Eisenberg and Kurt Braunohler; musicians On Fillmore and Noveller, and Erth Visual & Physical Inc.


Reggie Watts,internationally renowned vocalist/ beatboxer/ musician/ comedian/ improviser, amazes audiences with his unpredictable performances, which are created on-the-spot using only his formidable voice and looping pedals. Blending and blurring the lines between comedy and music with his unique lyrical style, LA Weekly calls Reggie ”the most wildly inventive new talent of the past five years.” As a solo performer, Reggie was handpicked by Conan O’Brien to open nightly on Conan’s sold out North American “Prohibited From Being Funny on Television” tour. Reggie was crowned “Hot Comedian” by Rolling Stone, named SPIN Magazine’s “Best New Comedian” and “Best of CMJ” 2010, and a featured profile in GQ’s Man Of The Year issue 2010. Reggie released his debut comedy cd/dvd ‘Why $#!+ So Crazy?’ on Comedy Central Records in May 2010. He also released ‘Reggie Watts Live at Third Man Records’ in limited edition vinyl on Jack White’s Third Man Records label. Reggie’s most recent release ‘A Live at Central Park’ is currently available on CD/DVD through Comedy Central Records and on iTunes. As a musician, Reggie was invited to join LCD Soundsystem as guest onstage at the final NY shows Spring 2011. He also sang on Regina Spektor’s "Dance Anthem of the 80s" and contributed two tracks to DFA Records’ Spaghetti Circus. As the frontman for Seattle rock outfit Maktub, Reggie and his band released five albums. Reggie recorded original music featured on FX’s Louie and performed the theme song for Kristin Schaal’s Penelope Princess of Pets. In the Spring of 2011 he recorded an original session for the hugely popular Daytrotter series. On screen, Reggie has appeared on Conan, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s The Yes Men Save The World, Comedy Central’s Michael and Michael Have Issues, Iceland TV, UK’s Funny Or Die, PBS’ Electric Company, and currently stars as house band leader on the IFC original series Comedy Bang Bang with Scott Aukerman. Reggie will be at the following performances: Nashville, Atlanta, Oakland, Cupertino, Portland and Seattle.


Patton Oswalt was just nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for his brilliant performance in Jason Reitman’s film Young Adult, starring opposite Charlize Theron, released nationwide on Friday, December 16th by Paramount Pictures.  In 2009 Patton received critical acclaim for his performance in Robert Siegel’s Big Fan, which made its debut at Sundance in January ’09 and distributed by First Independent Pictures.  Big Fan was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and Patton earned a Gotham Award nomination for his performance.   Patton is also back on the small screening as the lead in a new live-action comedy The Heart, She Holler on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. As a comedian, Patton has shot four TV specials and four critically acclaimed albums, including his latest Finest Hour on September 20th, 2011 which just received a Grammy nomination for “Best Comedy Album,” as well as a Showtime one-hour special of the same name. In 2009, Patton received his first Grammy nomination for his album My Weakness Is Strong which was distributed through Warner Brothers Records. In addition to being a series regular on Showtime’s United States of Tara, Patton has also appeared as a guest star on Bored To Death and Flight of the Conchords on HBO and The Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central. He is also recurring on SyFy’s new series Caprica.  Patton is a regular contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Real Time with Bill Maher and Lewis Black’s Root Of All Evil. Patton appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s feature film The Informant, and Observe and Report with Seth Rogen. Patton provided the voice for Remy, the rat, in Pixar’s Oscar winning Ratatouille.  He also voiced characters on Word Girl and Neighbors from Hell. Patton has also appeared in more then 20 films, including Magnolia, Starsky and Hutch and Reno 911!: Miami. Patton starred in The Comedians of Comedy, which was shot as an independent feature film, a TV series and a long running tour. He tours regularly and extensively, headlining both in the United States and UK, and is a regular at music festivals like Bumbershoot, Bonnaroo, Comic-Con and Coachella.  Patton also has a regular, bi-monthly show at the new Largo at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles. On TV, he played ‘Spence’ on The King of Queens on CBS for nine seasons, as well as appearing on Seinfeld, Reaper, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job! Patton’s first published book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland was released in January ’11 and is a New York Times Best Seller, and was just released on paperback on November 8th, 2011, featuring bonus material. Patton will be at the following performances: Los Angeles (11/14).


Simon Amstell is an award-winning British comedian, writer and actor whose dark humor and acerbic wit have made him a household name in the UK. His self-revelatory style of stand-up comedy, glimmering with intelligence and angst, has been described by The (London) Sunday Times as "as close as you can get to a man emotionally and philosophically disemboweling himself on stage"; while his recent shows in New York led to The New York Times comparing him to "a young Woody Allen." Simon premiered his new stand up show, Numb, as an intimate live special on the BBC on December 31, 2012.  Following a successful UK theater tour and appearances at the Edinburgh Festival, and the Sydney and Melbourne Comedy Festivals, Simon’s US premiere of Numb played to rave reviews in a sold-out five week run in New York City.  In November Simon returned to the US touring Numb to theaters in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City. His previous stand up show, Do Nothing, played to audiences throughout the UK and at the Montreal Comedy Festival in 2010, was recorded in Dublin and later broadcast by the BBC.  Do Nothing premiered on BBC America on October 6, 2012, giving US audiences the chance to discover Simon's unique style, which delves deep into the discomfort zone of romantic and family difficulties. Simon's award-winning comedy series, Grandma's House, co-written with long-term collaborator Dan Swimer, returned to BBC2 for a second season in spring 2012, garnering ecstatic reviews.  In the series, Simon plays a version of himself - the host of a massively popular entertainment show who has given it all up to pursue a more serious acting career, only to  find himself living at home in the suburbs with his dysfunctional family. Simon himself made a similar career move when he gave up his role as host of the BBC's enduring popular comedy panel show, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, in 2009 after four seasons, during which time he graduated from cult hero to mainstream success. Simon currently lives in North London. He was born and raised in Essex, and began performing stand-up in his teens, going on to become the youngest ever finalist of the BBC New Comedy Awards. He started his TV career on Nickelodeon in 1998, until he was fired for making pop stars uncomfortable. He soon found his niche as the co-host of the Channel 4 show, Popworld, where ironically he gained a huge following for his groundbreaking work in making pop stars uncomfortable. Simon has won an RTS Award as well as a Broadcast Award, two British Comedy Awards and has been nominated for a BAFTA. Simon will be at the following performances: Dallas, Austin, Houston and Los Angeles (11/15).


Ophira Eisenberg is the host of NPR's Ask Me Another. A familiar face in the comedy world, Eisenberg moved to New York in 2001 from Canada and performs stand-up regularly at comedy clubs in the city as well as headlines across the United States, Canada and Europe. She tours as a host and storyteller with The Moth and is featured on The Moth Radio Hour and podcast. Selected as one of New York Magazine's "Top 10 Comics that Funny People Find Funny," and featured in the New York Times as a skilled comedian and storyteller with a "bleakly stylish" sense of humor, Ophira has appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, The Today Show, VH-1 and more. Her debut memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, was recently optioned by Zucker Productions. Ophira will be at the following performances: Columbus, Cleveland, Toronto, New York, Boston and Denver.            




Kurt Braunohler is an “adult” male comedian. In the spring of 2013, he was measured at 6’4”, weighed at 204 lbs, and tagged with a radio transmitter. He was recently named one of Time Out New York’s “50 Funniest New Yorkers,” as well as a “Comic to Watch” by Comedy Central and the New York Comedy Festival. He was even named “Best Male Stand-Up” by the ECNY and “Best Unscripted Host” by the New York Television Festival, but those are probably made-up organizations anyway. Kurt has been seen (or heard) on TV in Bob’s Burgers (FOX), Chelsea Lately (E!), the Adult Swim shows Delocated, The Heart She Holler, and Assy McGee, Comedy Central’s Comedy Central Presents, John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show, and Jon Benjamin Has a Van, and MTV’s Human Giant. He hosted the anti­–game show BUNK! on IFC and also contributed one of the most popular stories ever to air on NPR’s This American Life.  Kurt and his comedy partner, Kristen Schaal, have co-hosted a weekly variety show, Hot Tub, for the past eight years, first in New York and now in Los Angeles. In March 2013, Kurt completed a successful $4,000 Kickstarter campaign by hiring a professional skywriter to write “How Do I Land?” over Los Angeles. His debut comedy album is forthcoming on Kill Rock Stars. Kurt will be at the following performances: Hartford, Ann Arbort, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago.



 On Fillmore, the acoustic upright bass and percussion duo featuring bassist Darin Gray and drummer Glenn Kotche (of Wilco), was formed after performing together with experimental rock musician and producer Jim O’Rourke in the summer of 2000. On Fillmore has released 4 full-length albums, including its most recent release Extended Vacation on Austin-based label Dead Oceans. The pair’s earlier recordings include a self-titled LP that explores a highly disciplined song structure reflecting a new breed of elastic minimalism, and Sleeps with Fishes (Drag City, 2004), which layers a string and tuned-metal combination on beds of field recordings from the environments surrounding the members’ respective homes in Chicago and St. Louis. The result is a pixilated paean to lullabies, location, and liberation. The experimental duo have a close working relationship with the Brazilian trio +2 and have scored two film works: a soundtrack to NYC filmmaker J.T. Petty’s disturbing and haunting documentary “S&Man” (screened at both the SXSW and Toronto Film Festivals) and the soundtrack to his film “Blood Red Earth,” a prequel to the Film “The Borrowers” (Lions Gate). On Fillmore are recording their 5th album, which will release on Dead Oceans. 


Noveller is the solo electric guitar project of Brooklyn-based composer and filmmaker Sarah Lipstate. Handling the guitar as her muse, Lipstate summons a sonic palette so rich as to challenge the listener to conceive of how it’s housed in a single instrument manipulated by a solitary performer. Her one-woman guitar soundscapes have captured the attention of NPR, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, and The Wall Street Journal. She has written original music in collaboration with composer Nathan Larson for several feature film scores. In 2012, The D.C. based ensemble, Low End String Quartet, premiered her commissioned piece for quartet, “Into the Midnight Sun,” at the Reston Community Center in Reston, VA. Noveller has toured the U.S. and internationally, at times supporting acts such as Xiu Xiu, the Jesus Lizard, U.S. Girls, Aidan Baker, and Emeralds. Lipstate has collaborated with several renowned musicians, including live improvised duo performances with Carla Bozulich (Evangelista, The Geraldine Fibbers), David Wm. Sims (the Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid), and Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth). She has previously performed as a member of Cold Cave, Parts & Labor, and One Umbrella. Lipstate has also participated in Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Army, Ben Frost’s “Music for 6 Guitars” Ensemble, and Glenn Branca’s 100 guitar ensemble. Photo by Alexis Fleisig


Erth Visual & Physical Inc. ERTH brings the impossible to life. Over 21 years, the company has developed a truly fantastic aesthetic and an extraordinary box of tricks, the foundations of its unique visual theatre works. The company regularly tours internationally throughout the UK, USA/Canada and Asia as well as the major Australian festivals. Its works range from large-scale interactive environments and creatures including prehistoric landscapes inhabited by giant insects to more intimate in-theatre works and roving spectaculars. The company's international touring works include I, Bunyip, and The Nargun and the Stars, an adaptation of Patricia Wrightson’s novel commissioned by Sydney and Perth Festivals in 2009. Recent new work Murder, inspired by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ album Murder Ballads, was assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative and was performed to national festivals in 2013. The company has also been commissioned by major museums including The Australian Museum, Auckland War Memorial Museum (New Zealand), Powerhouse Museum (Sydney), The Field Museum in Chicago, Science Museum Minnesota, Natural Museums Liverpool (UK), Naturalis (Leiden), National Museums Northern Ireland, Montreal Science Museum and the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. Erth’s design studio has built for a huge range of cultural institutions and commercial clients from Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Sydney Opera House and City of Sydney. Erth was founded in 1990 in Ballarat, Victoria and is now based at Sydney’s CarriageWorks contemporary arts centre. Don’t miss Erth’s DINOSAUR ZOO™ Live touring throughout North American beginning January, 2014. For tour information go to