You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?

Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?

Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...

Monty Python's Michael Palin on laughter, human contact, and adventure on the high seas

The friendly side of North Korea. Men at sea, dancing! Monty Python, of course, and more!

Think Again Podcasts
  • Hear! Michael Palin's Michael Palin impression
  • Consider! His thoughts on John Cleese's thoughts on Political Correctness
  • Learn! Stuff you never knew about North Korea, Polar exploration, and more!


Michael Palin and Jason Gots who, after recording this episode, is as happy as a mad pumpkin that has swallowed the moon

Jason: I recently spent several hours on a transatlantic flight zooming in and out of the interactive map of the Earth on my seat's personal entertainment unit. Exploring tiny islands in the polar North…impossible inland seas in the middle of Central Asian deserts…Places so remote and strange that they fire the imagination.

In 2018, It's not easy to wrap your mind around the fact that not all that long ago no human and no satellite had ever set eye on many of these places. For all anybody knew, much of the Earth was probably populated by Cyclopses and sea monsters. In the mid-1800s, the icy poles, north and south, were the final frontiers. And the brave men—and, even a bit braver perhaps, women disguised as men—who set off to explore them were quite literally heading into the unknown.

My guest today is writer, actor, comedian, and explorer Michael Palin. He studied history at Oxford, then transformed comedy forever as a writer and performer in Monty Python's Flying Circus. Since then he's been traveling the world, writing books and hosting travel documentaries. His latest book, EREBUS, resurrects one of the greatest nautical mysteries of all time, and takes us deep into the icy heart of polar exploration in the mid-19th century.

Surprise conversation starter clips in this episode:

Nadya Tolokonnikova (of Pussy Riot) on women's rights in Russia

John Cleese on political correctness and comedy

Related Articles

Helen Riess, M.D. – Empathy in the brain and the world

Empathy makes us human. Humans make structures that rob us of empathy when we need it most. Helen Riess is trying to reverse that trend.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Heart – mind = emotional quicksand. Mind – heart = greeting card sympathy
  • The doctor burnout epidemic and how to fix it
Keep reading Show less

Ruth Whippman—a mindful, productive, super-positive nation of nervous wrecks

With the help of positive psychology and the happiness industry, many of us seem to be running in the exact opposite direction of happiness.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "It's almost like the only way we can understand leisure is as a productivity hack."
  • "If we think of happiness as an individual responsibility, that stands in the way of building a society in which the conditions are there for everybody to thrive."
Keep reading Show less

Wesley Yang - The Souls of Yellow Folk

What do the "seduction movement," the Virginia Tech shooter, and the Asian-American experience have in common? Wesley Yang thinks and writes with devastating clarity about loneliness, invisibility, and the incoherence of American life.

Think Again Podcasts
  • What if Asian American cultural "invisibility" is the key to saving America?
  • Are liberalism and democracy too tame to survive identity politics?
  • "One risks being a pariah...just by saying the things that need to be said."
Keep reading Show less

Connect with us

How to listen

You can listen to Think Again right here on site, or select your podcast app:

Apple Podcast Spotify Stitcher RSS feed