Episodes
Guest host Jordan Klepper (The Daily Show) presents a colorful and diverse collection of works that look at Presidential elections, warts and all.  Roy Wood Jr. performs Mark Twain’s outrageous confessional “A Presidential Candidate.”  Samantha Bee reads from Molly Ivins’ “Our Boy George.”  Crystal Dickinson performs an excerpt from Unbought and Unbossed, the memoir of America’s first Black Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.   Washington columnist Alexandra Petri offers a Samuel Beckett...
Published 01/14/21
Guest host Jane Curtin presents provocative stories by T.C. Boyle and A.M. Homes, who comment on their craft as part of the show.  In Boyle’s “Top of the Food Chain,” a government program wreaks havoc with Mother Nature.  It’s performed by Zach Grenier.  In “A Prize for Every Player,” Homes locates a charming family fantasy in a big box store.  Jane Curtin is the reader.   Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage See omnystudio.com/listener for...
Published 01/07/21
Host Aparna Nancherla introduces two stories: "Joan of Arc Sits Naked on Her Dorm Room Floor,” by Rachel Engelman, performed by actor Adina Verson, and the satirical “Casual Sexism Fridays” by Peter McCleery performed by our host at a SketchFest performance in San Francisco. Later in the episode, Aparna chats with Chris Monks, the editor for the humor site McSweeney's, about why he published the McCleery story and what goes into their selection process. Join and give!:...
Published 01/04/21
Guest host Hope Davis presents two stories about rituals.  A young author takes a glamorous older woman to lunch and all does not go well in “The Luncheon” by Jeffrey Archer, performed by Jefferson Mays.  And host Davis performs Amy Bloom’s touching story “Love is Not a Pie,” in which family secrets, and family bonds, are shared after a funeral.         Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 12/31/20
Guest host David Sedaris presents stories that reimagine holiday rituals.  In Tobias Wolff’s “Powder” a pre-Christmas snowstorm provides an adventure for a father and son.  SELECTED SHORTS’ late host and founder Isaiah Sheffer is the reader.   A long-established couple turn out to be able to surprise one another in Allegra Goodman’s gentle borrowing from an O’Henry classic.  Dana Ivey and Michael Cerveris read her “Gifts of the Jewish Magi.”  And David Sedaris says English writer Jeanette...
Published 12/24/20
Guest host Kirsten Vangsness presents four works about fame, celebrity, show biz, and what it takes to survive them. First, actor Cole Escola channels the legendary Joan Crawford in an excerpt from her autobiography, My Way of Life. Author Zadie Smith channels the dauntless spirit of Billie Holiday in “Crazy They Call Me,” performed by Karen Pittman. Will Eno’s “Interview" is a freewheeling monologue which offers both sides of an extensive and confessional outpouring performed by the author....
Published 12/17/20
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents stories from the legendary literary magazine The Paris Review.  Umberto Eco has a really big fish in “How to Travel with a Salmon,” read by Jin Ha.  A mother mourns her son with his difficult friends in “Marabou,” by Joy Williams, read by Michael Emerson.  In George Fox’s “The Twenty-Sixth Second” a WWII veteran has a secret.  It’s read by Linda Lavin.  And host Leonard finishes up with a story set on the day of the Nazi occupation of Paris, “The Hat,”...
Published 12/10/20
Guest host David Sedaris offers three stories that question social rites.  “Cultural Relativity” is Charles Johnson’s witty retelling of a classic fairy tale; it’s read by Regina King.  Zadie Smith reads her own “Lazy River”—ostensibly about a failed holiday in Spain, but also a deft satire about Brexit, class, and exploitation.   And the cantankerous spinster In Jean Stafford’s “The Hope Chest” has a Dickensian moment of grace.  Dana Ivey is the reader. Join and give!:...
Published 12/03/20
Actor Robin Lord Taylor (You, Gotham) performs a story about a single mom with two unruly sons. And later in the podcast, host Aparna Nancherla talks to Sarah Thyre about how she chose this story for a night at Selected Shorts.  Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 12/01/20
Guest host Kirsten Vangsness presents two contemporary fables. First, Michael Cunningham reimagines the Hans Christian Andersen class “A Wild Swan,” in a reading by Valorie Curry. Next, an excerpt from George Saunders’ touching and hilarious novella, Fox 8, read by John Cameron Mitchell.   Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/26/20
Guest host Jane Curtin presents two stories featuring unconventional families.    A young girl is raised by a group of warm-hearted “mamas” in Shay Youngblood’s touching coming-of-age story, “They Tell Me, Now I Know,” read by Viola Davis.   In Jai Chakrabarti’s “A Small Sacrifice for An Enormous Happiness,” a forbidden love affair and a marriage of convenience promise two different futures.  The reader is Bhavesh Patel.    Join and give!:...
Published 11/19/20
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents two stories in which young protagonists have their lives altered by acts of perception.  A ten-year old girl takes a care-free walk in the woods in Alice Walker’s  “The Flowers,” but the blossoms she finds conceal something darker.  The reader is Crystal Dickinson.  Ethan Canin’s “Star Food,” read by David Strathairn, is a coming-of-age story involving a boy at the edge of manhood, his parents, the family store--and the cosmos.  Join and give!:...
Published 11/12/20
Guest host Jane Curtin presents works by Anton Chekhov that were part of a celebration sponsored by Columbia University and hosted by Chekhov scholar Laura Strausfeld.  We’ll hear “A Drama,” performed by Cynthia Nixon—an ambitious writer overwhelms her idol; “Rapture,” performed by Robin Miles, Sam Underwood, Rainn Wilson, and Di Zhu—a young man enjoys his 15 minutes of fame; “Which is Better?,” performed by Rainn Wilson—Chekhov debates the merits of schools vs. pubs; and “Verotchka,”...
Published 11/05/20
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents two stories in which unexpected encounters and visitations result in new love.  In Ana Menéndez’s “Story of a Parrot,” a colorful bird revives a grey marriage.  The reader is Jacqueline Kim.  Russian Nobel Laureate Ivan Bunin penned a delicate story of an unexpected romance between a man with a wound in his soul and a waitress.  “In Paris” is read by the late Rene Auberjonois. Join and give!:...
Published 10/29/20
Guest host David Sedaris presents three stories about recollection and redemption.  In “Sibyl,” by Carys Davies, read by Jane Kaczmarek, two lonely vacationers are brought together.  Andre Braugher performs an excerpt from Toni Morrison’s master work,  Beloved.  And a daughter returns home to help her aging father in an excerpt from Rachel Khong’s bittersweet novel Goodbye, Vitamin, performed by Jennifer Ikeda. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 10/22/20
Guest host Hope Davis presents three improbable stories: in “The Orange,” by Benjamin Rosenbaum, a citrus fruit rules the world.  The read is John Cameron Mitchell.  In “The Man, The Restaurant, and the Eiffel Tower,” by Ben Loory, performed by Stana Katic, a father’s children conspire to make him happy.  In “I, Gentile,” by David Gordon, performed by Michael Urie, a reluctant Jew falls in love with the wrong girl.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 10/15/20
Guest host Kirsten Vangsness presents three stories about hard choices.  In Jac Jemc’s “Trivial Pursuit,” a husband and wife run the gamut of odd couples while trying to construct a social life.  Jordan Klepper kills it.  Renee Jessica Tan offers a thought-provoking response to racial stereotyping, and a great father/daughter story, in “Baghead,” performed by Karen Chee.  And a recent divorcee has nothing to lose in her “Spanish Winter.” But what does she have to gain? Melora Hardin performs...
Published 10/08/20
Guest host Hope Davis presents three shows about food, cooking, and company, curated with the online foodie destination Food52:  "Feeding the Fussy," by Laurie Colwin, performed by Tracee Chimo; "Home Turf," by Kiran Desai, performed by Angel Desai; and "Watkyn, Comma," by Joan Aiken, performed by Sonia Manzano. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 10/01/20
Humor writer Simon Rich reimagines a classic joke for The New Yorker. After the reading by actor Michael Urie, Rich talks to host Aparna Nancherla about how this hilarious, and somewhat dirty piece, made it to print and went viral. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 09/29/20
Guest host David Sedaris presents three stories about love and constraints.  Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” conjures up a tough but loving mother in a humorous laundry list of dos and don’ts.  She’s brought to life by Hattie Winston.  George Saunders’ story title says it all:  “Lars Farf, Excessively Fearful Husband and Father” takes protectiveness to hilarious extremes.  The reader is James Naughton.  And in Carson McCullers’ “A Domestic Dilemma,” read by Joanna Gleason, a Southern family has a...
Published 09/24/20
Guest host Denis O’Hare introduces two stories about outsiders.  A tutor finds her privileged teenage client mystifying in Kyle McCarthy’s “Ancient Rome,” read by Tavi Gevinson.  In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Thing Around Your Neck,” a young Nigerian woman comes to America for the first time, and it’s not what she imagined.   The story is read by Condola Rashad.   See omnystudio.com/policies/listener for privacy information.
Published 09/17/20
Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories from New York Magazine’s online portal “The Cut,” which combines art, journalism, and the kind of fresh contemporary fiction that speaks to us.  On this show, a woman tries on different identities, as well as clothes, in a dress shop fitting room, in “Fully Zipped” by Shelly Oria, performed by Katja Blichfeld.   A new mother can’t seem to get the hang of breastfeeding in Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Bad Latch,” performed by Justine Lupe.  And Parker Posey...
Published 09/10/20
Guest host Tayari Jones presents stories about rites of passage between childhood and adulthood.  In Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector’s lyrical “The First Kiss,” a young boy has his first brush with the sensual.  Pepe Nufrio is the reader.  A fiery country girl shows a cool city boy the ropes—and a gator—in “Hellion,” written by Julia Elliott, and read by Donna Lynne Champlin. 51 See omnystudio.com/policies/listener for privacy information.
Published 09/03/20
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents two works about how we look at things.  An independent woman, an IRS auditor, and a dog share a moment—and a poem--in “Yancey,” by Ann Beattie, read by Mia Dillon.  In “The Mappist,” by Barry Lopez, a geographer is on the trail of a mysterious map maker.  Joe Spano reads. See omnystudio.com/policies/listener for privacy information.
Published 08/27/20
Funny and true, this satire first published in 1971 was a bold, early critique of the treatment of LGBT people in the psychiatric profession.
Published 08/24/20