May 14, 1999


A program taped before live audiences in Seattle (thanks to public radio station KUOW) and at HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. A taxonomy of different kinds of advice—and stories that illustrate why advice is so rarely taken.


When Adam and Jamie were kids, Jamie would always ask for Adam's advice, but he didn't want to hear what Adam would say himself. Instead, he wanted Adam to pretend to be an Israeli commando he once knew, named Yakov. Yakov seemed to know things that Adam didn't. But still Jamie wouldn't take the advice. Which raises the question: What would it take? When we give advice, we witness the the puniness of reason when compared with the vastness of human inertia and emotion. (6 minutes)
Act One

Sleepless In Seattle

What if you asked people for advice and actually took all the advice that everyone gave you? As an experiment, writer Sarah Vowell tried exactly that, when she recently solicited advice from many different people about insomnia. (15 minutes)
Act Two

Advise And Consent

Host Ira Glass talks with his mom—a clinical psychologist—about why people seem to rarely take the advice others give. Then advice columnist Dan Savage, author of the syndicated column and book Savage Love, gives the audience some advice that hopefully might save lives. (24 minutes)


“Recorded live in Seattle” by Black Cat Orchestra
Act Three

Guided Meditation

Forget all the self-help seminars you've ever heard of or attended. Writer Cheryl Trykv leads the audience in Seattle in a guided meditation, to end our program with epiphany, epiphany, epiphany. (10 minutes)