94 episodes

Prefer your books in comedy form, but still want to sound smart at parties? We got you. Discover the hilarity hidden in the classics with new episodes every Thursday.

Fire the Canon Jackie, Rachel, Theo

    • Comedy
    • 4.9 • 34 Ratings

Prefer your books in comedy form, but still want to sound smart at parties? We got you. Discover the hilarity hidden in the classics with new episodes every Thursday.

    Talking to Author Sarah Gailey About Horror, Compulsory Girl Bossing, and Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

    Talking to Author Sarah Gailey About Horror, Compulsory Girl Bossing, and Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

    Sarah Gailey, author of the upcoming book Just Like Home, joins us to talk about one of the most famous American short stories of all time: Shirley Jackson’s 1948 classic, The Lottery. Jackie reveals her long, sordid history with technology. Rachel reads a book review from an alternate reality. Theo discusses an affordable delicacy. Topics include: old houses, cottagecore, rollerblading accidents, park raters, trusting your editor, killing off Chuck, mom texts, Muppet Treasure Island, cicada pizza, and cricket flour.
    Media mentioned: Saint Death’s Daughter by CSE Cooney, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst, Let Me Hear You Whisper by Paul Zindel, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula LeGuin, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, and Jordan Peele’s Us.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    How to Scam the French Lottery for Fun and Profit, by Voltaire (Patreon Preview)

    How to Scam the French Lottery for Fun and Profit, by Voltaire (Patreon Preview)

    You may recall that a few weeks back we briefly discussed how the writer and philosopher Voltaire became a (relative) millionaire. Although we knew it had something to do with scamming the official French government lottery, at the time we believed the answer was, “he bought every lottery ticket.” Rachel has since realized it was a little more complicated than that! Join Jackie and Theo as they learn what to do, and perhaps more importantly what NOT to do, when running a grand scheme back in the 1700s.

    • 9 min
    A (Near) Father’s Day Fiasco!

    A (Near) Father’s Day Fiasco!

    Ah, June. The time of year when dads near and far are honored for their contributions to our personhood. We interviewed our dads about our childhoods, and theirs, and some book talk made it in here and there. Technological mishaps abounded, but somehow, fiasco turned fiesta, and the party continues. Henry enjoyed being interviewed by Rachel so much that he insisted upon a second interview. Frank questions the veracity of Theo’s dinosaur facts. Dan buys Jackie a $305 hamster and blows up a doll.

    Books mentioned: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Winnie the Pooh, The Rainbow Fish, Goodnight Moon, Little House on the Prairie, the Narnia series, Stuart Little, Gulliver’s Travels, Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Junie B. Jones, Peters Rabbit and Cottontail, The Hobbit, Black Beauty, National Velvet, Eloise, Madeline, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Carl the Dog series, Goosebumps, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Wild Chimpanzees, Fatal Shore, The Pokey Little Puppy, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, Outlaws of the Marsh, Dinosaurs: Fact and Fiction, H*rry P*tter, Mary Poppins, Full Moon: The Keith Moon Story, The Cat in the Hat, The Berenstain Bears, the Help Me Be Good series, Hammer of the Gods

    • 1 hr 52 min
    Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias: Talking Poetry with Professor Ross White

    Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias: Talking Poetry with Professor Ross White

    Well, well, well, look who we have here - Jackie’s previous poetry professor (and poet), Ross White. We discuss Ross’s favorite poem: Shelley’s badass masterpiece (badassterpiece?), Ozymandias. Rachel insults all poets. Theo therapizes/becomes the executive, legislative, and judicial producer. Jackie continues to have singularly unique experiences. Topics include: Downsizing (2017), tiny things, Breaking Bad, badassery, The Little Prince, Star Wars, really good salads, the eternal American empire, Charlie Friendship, Luca, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Lost, objective sonic value, ska, long flowing skirts, Leprechaun 2: Back 2 the Hood, and A Ghost Story (the Kesha film).
    Poets & poems mentioned: Matthew Olzmann, Dorothy Wordsworth from Some Say the Lark by Jennifer Chang, Song by Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orange by Wendy Cope
    Check out Ross’ podcasts, The Chap Book and Trivia Escape Pod!

    • 1 hr 3 min
    The Life and Times of Percy Bysshe Shelley: Life’s a Bysshe and Then You Die in a Mysterious Boating Accident

    The Life and Times of Percy Bysshe Shelley: Life’s a Bysshe and Then You Die in a Mysterious Boating Accident

    Here's our episode about the life of Percy Bysshe Shelley! A great writer, a terrible husband, and arguably an even worse father. Although he died at the age of 29, he got an unbelievable amount of living done. Listen in to hear about all the shenanigans he got up to! Jackie breaks the news about her disorder. Rachel tells everyone why the episode is about. Theo wishes he’d said “Get a tomb” instead. Topics include: Shelle’s Belles, Shellow’s Fellows, Shelle’s Angels, Tootsie Pops, Chupa Chups, the SCUM Manifesto, A Modest Proposal, Sir Timothey Shellemet, secret birds, roommate stories, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, irresponsible penile usage, Lord Byron's hotness, and Allegra’s Village.
    Content warning: suicide, infant death, death by misfortune

    • 1 hr 24 min
    Voltaire’s Candide, or Optimism Finale: Impossible Feets

    Voltaire’s Candide, or Optimism Finale: Impossible Feets

    We finally made it to the second/last episode in our Candide miniseries, and what a long strange trip it’s been. Our hero visits El Dorado, England, and Turkey, gaining and losing money and companions along the way. Will he be reunited with his true love (?) Cunégonde? Will he be reunited with basically everyone he’s met throughout the book? Will he continue to believe that he lives in the best of all possible worlds? Listen in to find out! Jackie brags about her great-great-great grandma Lucy. Theo morphs into the Reptile Lover (no comment). Rachel revels in her recently-acquired ability to say “butt.” Topics include: killing reflexes, country clubs, houses made of bitcoin, kingly roleplay, anti-Paris propaganda, didgeridoos, Yngvie Malmsteen, the Reptile Lover, wise dervishes, #girlboss feminism, hopepunk, fakenews.edu, and musically battling the devil over one’s buttcheek.
    Content warning: violence, sexual assault, anti-semitism, slavery

    • 1 hr 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
34 Ratings

34 Ratings

Edward Loveall ,

SO,

You know that one group of friends that everyone thinks is funny and they let that go to their heads and say to themselves, they say, "obviously, everyone else will think we are also hilarious" and then they hear about "podcasts" and how much money is made by exploiting some rural town murder or whatever that J. R. cockalorum is doing and consider stepping over the low, low bar of "yeah we can be classier than that"?

Well, that's Fire the Canon. And you know what? They pull it off. They take that bar, put it in their titular can(n)on, and fire it into space.

They examine books only a literature nerd would love and treat them simultaneously with the reverence and facetiousness they deserve. Everything from Odysseus to Dune comes with jokes, historical context, and personal anecdotes. They even make the human centipede (not a classic work of literature covered on the pod) fun.

I want these three to be my friends because they're my friends in my ears. They're my ear friends. Who wouldn't want that? I started listening to learn about books I'm "supposed to know about" but am "too lazy to read". I stayed because these are three long-time companions, with obvious, real-life chemistry doing something they enjoy. Today and everyday, that's something everyone can enjoy.

Cjohara ,

Oily Boys, ragged claws, and shrubberies… oh my.

Jackie, Rachel, and Theo, the hosts (and producer) do such a good job of finding a way to laugh, analyze, and explain the fantastic books in the western canon. I was tipped to this show by one of my good friends and I’m so glad they introduced me. The hosts provide a much needed breath of fresh air in relation to the (sometimes) stuffy conversation that tends to surround “classic” literature. It’s ok to laugh, it’s ok to question, and it’s ok to ask taxi drivers where the ducks go. Honestly. Those wily ducks. Thanks to all three of you. This show has really made my work-day go by a little faster.

Uncle J. Feather ,

You had me at Elpenor!

Ditto to all other reviews. Delightfully playful and unpretentious. A great blend of sophisticated close reading, silliness and expertly recited quotes.

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