What's making us happy: A guide to your weekend viewing, reading and listening
This week, Sony announced that Bad Bunny will soon be a Marvel superhero, Dolly Parton told NPR she’d “accept gracefully” if inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and “Ozark” ended (but we won’t spoil it for you).
Here’s what NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
“Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir” by Bob Odenkirk
I am about halfway through Bob Odenkirk’s new memoir “Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama.” It was written before his heart attack, from which he has since recovered, and if you’ve heard interviews with him, that’s the Odenkirk you get in this memoir.
He’s proud of his accomplishments, rightly so, but also displays a modesty that doesn’t ring false. He is a little grumpy, a little irascible and prides himself on being a truth-teller. Odenkirk spends a lot of time on how hard it is to break into his profession and the systems that make it so difficult. He is also very opinionated about what comedy is, what it can do and what it should do — but you can’t say the guy doesn’t have the career to back that up.
This is the memoir of a very dedicated workaholic who expects a lot from himself and others. It’s not the kind of memoir to pick up if you want stories about how everybody he’s worked with is a genius, but I’d say it makes for better reading. It also lays out his reasons for wanting to perform that mid-career pivot into drama and action. I recommend the audiobook because he’s a born performer, and it can really sell it with that gravelly whispery voice of his (although you might want him to drink some tea). —Glen Weldon
“The Guy Collecting Every GAP Store Playlist Ever Made”
What do Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder and Garbage all have in common? If you were walking into a Gap store in the 90s, you probably heard them blasting through the speakers.
I recently stumbled upon an article in Mel magazine titled “The Guy Collecting Every Gap Store Playlist Ever Made.” Mike Bise, an elementary school computer teacher and former Gap employee, is trying to collect every store’s in-store playlist from 1992 to 2006. In the article, he talks about how working at the Gap really made him appreciate and listen to all this music he hadn’t heard before.
I never really thought of the Gap as the type of place that would cultivate an open-minded opinion on music, but he talks about how he wouldn’t have come across acid jazz or trip-hop if it wasn’t for the Gap. And as someone who worked in retail at one point in her life – I worked at an Urban Outfitters – I find it fascinating that he actually really loves the music, and didn’t get tired of it, which, if you work in retail, you usually do. But I respect his love for Gap playlists and highly recommend checking out his blog, “Gap In-Store Playlists,” after you’ve read the article. —Aisha Harris
April 23rd was Record Store Day. If you didn’t go to a local record store on Record Store Day, they do let you come in on days that are not Record Store Day. And if you’re not comfortable convening in indoor spaces, you can order something online and support your local record store.
Another way to celebrate a belated Record Store Day is to watch the movie “Vinyl Nation.” It is a lovely documentary by directors Christopher Boone and Kevin Smokler about the resurgence of vinyl and the connective power of music. I am among the talking heads in this film, but it’s a terrific movie that I would highly recommend, even if I weren’t in it. They also interview a bunch of other people more knowledgeable than me talking about their love of vinyl, its return and some of the difficulties that come with that. —Stephen Thompson
“An Honest Conversation With Josh Charles” by Dave Holmes
“An Honest Conversation With Josh Charles” is a piece that ran in Esquire this week, by friend of the show and great human Dave Holmes. You might know Josh Charles from “Dead Poets Society,” “Sports Night,” or a bunch of other projects, and he is now appearing in “We Own This City,” which is the new David Simon series about the corrupt Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force.
Holmes sat down to talk to him about his family, turning 50, and working post-pandemic. It’s a casual, friendly conversation that includes the most quietly devastating take on Aaron Sorkin that I have ever read. But mostly it’s just really warm, which is my favorite kind of celebrity interview. Could not recommend it more highly. —Linda Holmes
More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter
NPR intern Fi O’Reilly adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment “What’s Making Us Happy” into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week.