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Live Wire
Saturday from 11am - 12pm

Live Wire is a public radio variety show hosted by Luke Burbank ("Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me") and taped in front of a live audience. The show features unpredictable conversations, hilarious stand-up comedy, and unforgettable musical performances from established acts and new talent alike. Now in its nineteenth year, Live Wire cultivates joy and discovery by presenting hilarious, honest, and thought-provoking conversations from riveting and unexpected voices on stage, on the radio, and beyond.

  • Author and columnist R. Eric Thomas shares anecdotes from his memoir Congratulations, The Best Is Over, including how baking cupcakes may have saved his life; standup comedian Ian Karmel makes the case for why Arby's is a farm-to-table restaurant; and indie group NONBINARY GIRLFRIEND perform the title track off their new album Big and Kind. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal the surprising differences between our listeners and their partners.
  • Journalist and podcaster Kelsey McKinney (Defector) dishes on producing her juicy podcast Normal Gossip; poet Brenda Shaughnessy explains how her newest collection Tanya is partially an attempt to reconnect with her estranged college roommate; and Grammy-winner Madison Cunningham performs her single "Broken Harvest." Plus host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share some niche gossip from our listeners.
  • Comedian Paul F. Tompkins chats about his improv comedy podcast The Neighborhood Listen, where he and fellow comedians re-enact posts from the app Nextdoor; poet Safiya Sinclair discusses her memoir How to Say Babylon, in which she recounts growing up Rastafarian in Jamaica under the strict patriarchy of her father; and singer-songwriter Isabeau Waia'u Walker performs her song "All My Friends Think I'm Okay." Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share some unhinged behavior from the neighbors of our listeners.
  • Record-breaking runner Lauren Fleshman unpacks her New York Times bestseller Good for a Girl, a part-memoir, part-manifesto which challenges the male-built sports system; comedian and writer Joey Clift chats about his Comedy Central digital series Gone Native, which delves into the weird microaggressions Native people are up against; and Seattle-based indie supergroup Who Is She? performs a cover of a Le Tigre song... which actually got them fired from a sports arena gig. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share what records our listeners would like to break.
  • Comedian and writer Aparna Nancherla discusses her memoir Unreliable Narrator and why her mother made her order pizza to combat her shyness; stand-up comedian Gary Gulman riffs on the false notion of dangerous scissors in elementary school; singer-songwriter and historian No-No Boy performs his song "1603," featured on his latest album Empire Electric, which tells the story of the first non-Native sighting of Oregon by a multicultural crew of sailors who fell through the cracks of history. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello learn about the times our listeners suffered from impostor syndrome.
  • Celebrated author Cheryl Strayed (Wild, Dear Sugar) revisits her collection of advice columns, Tiny Beautiful Things, which celebrates its tenth anniversary and has recently been adapted as a Hulu series starring Kathryn Hahn; writer Joseph Earl Thomas unpacks his memoir Sink, in which he describes how geek culture saved him from his hazardous upbringing; and singer-songwriter Stephanie Anne Johnson performs their song "The Day That You Begin." Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share some life advice from our listeners.
  • Comedian Gary Gulman (The Great Depresh) discusses his memoir Misfit: Growing Up Awkward in the '80s, his struggles with mental health, and the awkwardness of being recognized in the psyche ward; Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani reads from his newest collection The Tigers, They Let Me and makes the case for why poetry exists all around us; singer-songwriter Olive Klug touches on the TikTok generation of songwriting, before performing her song "Raining in June." Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share the ways in which our listeners have been unexpectedly cheered up by others.
  • Poet and essayist Ross Gay (Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude) dissects privilege, pain, and skateboarding, all themes from his newest book Inciting Joy; Michelin Star chef Iliana Regan outlines her journey from farmer's markets to foraging, while creating a new dining experience in the wilds of Michigan; and singer-songwriter Baroque Betty, accompanied by Mood Area 52, performs the title track off her album Sobering Up. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share our listeners' perfect weekends.
  • Comedian and writer Scott Aukerman brings his wildly popular improv podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! to book form and reveals how a goofy name and an occupation is really how a character begins; astrophysicist Sarafina El-Badry Nance explores her own universe as a woman, a scientist, a cancer advocate, and a one-time swimsuit model in her book Starstruck: A Memoir of Astrophysics and Finding Light in the Dark; rock ensemble and faux cult Family Worship Center perform "Snake Dance" from their new album Kicked Out Of The Garden. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share the alter egos of some of our listeners.
  • Comedian Hari Kondabolu (Snack vs. Chef) unpacks his most popular tweets and dives into why Bert and Ernie need couples' therapy. Then, singer-songwriter Margo Cilker explains why she might have cow poop on her sleeve at any given time backstage, before performing "Tehachapi" from her debut album Pohorylle. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello get nostalgic for some snacks from the past.