“Stuff You Should Know” Should Be Next Up On Your Podcast Queue


“Stuff You Should Know” is available for free on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Winnie Einhorn, Staff Writer

From a complete rundown of how hot dogs work, to the mysterious cause of the New England Vampire Panics, “Stuff You Should Know” covers a delightful assortment of random topics that you should know all about. 

“Stuff You Should Know” is a podcast that dives deep into truly random and always fascinating topics. The iconic podcasting duo Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant provide histories, stories, opinions, and thorough rundowns on a vast range of subjects. Sometimes, an episode is spent answering a question, such as, “Why Do Lefties Exist?” or “Will We Ever Find Evidence Of Aliens By Their Engineering Projects?” Episodes can also cover specific inventions or historical events, truly diving as deep into the subject as they can. Listeners enjoy multiple weekly installments that include a “Short Stuff” episode, which measures at 10-20 minutes in time. They also release an “SYSK Selects,” which reruns an archived episode, and a new episode, which covers a fresh topic and ranges from 50 to 70 minutes. In each episode, Josh and Chuck research a topic and discuss their findings.

Beginning in 2008, “Stuff You Should Know” (often shortened to “SYSK”) was originally released to accompany it’s founding website, howstuffworks.com. The website is often used as a main source or reference in their research. The two hosts, Josh and Chuck, run every episode along with their elusive producer Jeri, who the hosts often mention, though we have yet to hear her voice on the show. In the podcast’s success, they attempted to release a TV series in 2013 by the same name, though it was cancelled after only 10 episodes after receiving poor reviews. IN 2020, taking another shot at expanding the SYSK name, Josh and Chuck released book, which was reviewed much more positively. 

This podcast never fails to draw me in, make me laugh, and teach me something new. With such a wide range of topics, anyone can find something to spark their curiosity. Their discussions are always genuine and thoughtful: while many podcasts struggle with balancing deep conversations and lighter tangents, SYSK dances between the two seamlessly, keeping the podcast informative but far from boring. 

In order to cover such a dense amount of information in an hour, the podcast can occasionally come off as slightly formulaic. The structure varies with the topic, but history episodes, invention episodes, and science episodes don’t always have enough variation between each other. This rarely makes the podcast boring or repetitive, though I do keep this in mind when I choose which episode to tune in to. The formulaic nature of the show can begin to reveal itself if I listen to too many similar episodes in a row. Nevertheless, this hardly gets in the way of a great episode, and most episodes can be fully appreciated regardless of formula. 

At the end of the day, “Stuff You Should Know” is always my go-to podcast whenever I’m in the mood to unwind or learn something new. After years of listening, I’m still just as excited to dive into a random subject and become an expert in a new topic.