Freakonomics Radio Live at Joe’s Pub

Tonight, we went to Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater to see Freaknomics Radio Live with Stephen Dubner, with the specific live journalism game show “Tell me Something I Don’t Know.” About five pre-selected contestants come on stage before a live audience and try to wow Stephen and his co-hosting guest with a fascinating fact on a specific topic. Then, a live fact-checker ensures that this is real. The audience (that’s us) gets to vote for the winner.

This was especially exciting because I’ve read three of the Freaknomics books that Dubner has cowritten, and I regularly listen to his Freakonomics podcast. I love that he has made economics something that is tangible to everyday people who are not obsessed academics or intense mathematicians, especially as I was an economics major myself.

And tonight’s theme was food! It’s as though they knew I was coming. Dubner’s co-host tonight was the Food TV personality and celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli. I had previously watched her on the food competition show Chopped, but I never actually enjoyed her as a judge. To me, she always came off as a bit snobby, stand-off-ish, as though she knew everything about food and all the possible flavor combinations that could work as though she were a food god (then again, I suppose a lot of professional chefs are like this…). But tonight during Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, I actually found her a bit more down-to-earth. She was definitely trying to be funny and charismatic and many times succeeded, but she just seemed more relaxed and natural on this show. Chris likes to make fun of me and say that my mind was really changed about her when she was asked what she believed to be the best cuisine in the world, and she responded Chinese, particularly noting that although both her parents are Italian, her parents both were highly fascinated by Chinese cooking and oftentimes made the family Cantonese and Sichuanese dishes. I screamed out “Yeah!” quite loudly, which took Dubner and Guarnaschelli off guard and they stopped to make some side comments.

If they end up not editing that out in the final podcast they will air in December, then this will be my little moment of fame when you can hear my voice in a publicly available podcast that is widely listened to by thousands, if not millions of people – moment of joy here.

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