The Great Debates Podcast is in the Top 5% of Podcasts

The Great Debates Podcast is in the Top 5% of Podcasts

Podcasts Are a Homeschooler's Best Friend

There is a point each day - usually during geometry - when the children complain that “homeschooling is the worst thing ever” and is both “stupid and dumb.” I usually respond, “Oh, interesting, let’s dialogue about that.” But in my head, I am thinking, “Ugh. Right?! I could be reading The Daily Mail…

A lot of homeschool parent-teachers are so great at sitting there, watching their child color or craft or read, using that time to whisper encouragement or just soak in the beauty of the learning process. Not me. I didn’t enjoy coloring when I was a kid, and I certainly don’t enjoy watching kids color as an adult. Same goes with geometry.

As is often the case, the answer was right there at my fingertips - namely, my iPhone.

Podcasts. The glorious solution. I can tuck in one ear bud, hide it strategically behind my hair, and then semi-disappear into a world of grownups. The kids still *think* that I’m paying attention so they maintain discipline - but I don’t have to make my mental life about their use of pi in long division.

The Great Debates Podcast

This podcast is a side project of fully-employed comedy writers Steve Hely and Dave King, who you might know from their work on Letterman, The Office, or 30 Rock. The basic premise is that Hely and King deliver impromptu debates on listener-submitted topics, and it seems almost that the more absurd the premise is, the more seriously they take the debate. 

The hosts are often joined by special guests like John Mayer and BJ Novak but the real pleasure here is that listening to these two best friends happily argue over nothing is like listening to YOUR two best friends happily argue over nothing. 

Some favorite episodes:

The house posits…    

  • There are fewer than 90 gay dentists in Nebraska. 
  • William Shakespare Saw a Black Woman Naked
  • The Gin Blossoms Are in the Top 1% of Artists of All Time
  • The Stars of Friends Could Beat the Stars of Seinfeld in a Fight

and my favorite

  • It Would Help Hillary Clinton’s Campaign if her emails contained a draft of Erotic Big Bang Theory Fan Fiction


I can’t say that I’ve learned any concrete facts - I think most of the figures they cite are made up on the fly.

But in addition to simple entertainment, it really has reminded me of some of those fundamentals of debate that help make civilized discussion possible.

  1. If you don’t refute a point, that’s the same as accepting it.
  2. Begin your argument by questioning the person’s motives for asking.
  3. When it becomes clear that you are losing an argument, go ahead and willfully misinterpret the question into something you can win.
  4. Arguing semantics is always appreciated.
  5. Correcting grammar is the path toward Truth.
  6. If all else fails, attack the personal failings of your friend.

Oh wait. 

Well, it’s entertaining.

You can download the great Debates on any podcast app, or see them live at the Slipper Room in New York on May 22! 



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