Tea & Review: ‘Fish’ Podcast is the Ultimate Edutainment Experience

{All images used courtesy the No Such Thing as a Fish Facebook page.}

No Such Thing as a Fish
produced by BBC Two / QI
Hosted by James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber.
Released weekly, with an approximate running time of 60 minutes.
Started March 2014.

Did you know that there is an American cricket team in Compton (as in ‘Straight Outta….’)? How about that symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller coaster ride? And Leonardo da Vinci made sculptures out of marzipan and got angry when people ate them. These are just some of the fun facts you will learn when you start listening to the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish.

Started three years ago this month, the podcast is a byproduct of the British quiz show QI. Hosted by the researchers of said show, who are cheekily titled the QI Elves, the podcast combines the best of British humor and the fun parts of research and education.

Each week, the approximately hour long podcast is hosted by four of the Elves (mostly James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber, although they occasionally have someone else come in for one of them). They each present their favorite fact they came across that week, and then discuss it. The topics range from somewhat serious to outright hilarious, and are always fascinating.

The title, as is noted on the Wikipedia page for the podcast, comes from one of the facts from QI where biologist Stephen Jay Gould concluded that there was no such thing as a fish, as the different species classified as such had so little in common with each other.

The hosts, with a fact each.

The podcast has garnered quite the kudos, including being named by Apple as the “Best New Podcast” for 2014. I had heard about it through a recommendation on the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s podcast, and have been hooked ever since. More than one conversation now starts, “According to No Such Thing as a Fish, ….”

In fact, the podcast has become popular enough to where they do occasional live shows, have the first year of the podcast only available via purchase, various merch (including that first year to buy on LP), and last May the team started the television show No Such Thing as the News (with the two series available via YouTube, and has its own website).

It’s funny and just the right amount of silly edutainment to keep things interesting in a way that’s reminiscent of Mythbusters. There have been more than one occasion when I’ve laughed hard enough to start crying. It’s not just smart, it’s clever, the hosts lobbing facts and comments on the facts back in forth in a way that’s almost scripted. And the chemistry between the various ‘Elves’ sparkles, as they tease each other like they’ve known each other all their lives.

So, open your ears, and download No Such Thing as a Fish through one of the many options available (or listen to it via SoundCloud on their website). For more information about the podcast, visit the QI website.

Angie also posted this on her website, Contents May Vary.

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