This American Life


Each week we choose a theme. Then anything can happen. This American Life is true stories that unfold like little movies for radio. Personal stories with funny moments, big feelings, and surprising plot twists. Newsy stories that try to capture what it’s like to be alive right now. It’s the most popular weekly podcast in the world, and winner of the first ever Pulitzer Prize for a radio show or podcast. Hosted by Ira Glass and produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago.

Recent Episodes
  • 800: Jane Doe
    May 28, 2023 – 01:15:37
  • 508: Superpowers
    May 21, 2023 – 00:59:19
  • 799: The Lives of Others
    May 14, 2023 – 01:05:10
  • 798: Leaving the Fold
    May 7, 2023 – 01:03:17
  • 797: What I Was Thinking As We Were Sinking
    Apr 23, 2023 – 01:02:59
  • 796: What Lies Beneath
    Apr 16, 2023 – 01:02:05
  • 795: Nine Months Later
    Apr 9, 2023 – 01:03:07
  • 794: So Close and Yet So Far
    Mar 26, 2023 – 01:03:43
  • 793: The Problem with Ghosts
    Mar 12, 2023 – 01:03:18
  • 792: When to Leave
    Mar 5, 2023 – 01:01:50
Recent Reviews
  • Wanda Laugh
    Scratchy Vocal Fry once again
    The Jane doe story was interesting. But the presenter has a very irritating and grating voice. I’m adding this to my comment from a few months ago. I guess you’re not going to even try to take the fingernails off the blackboard. Months ago, I posted: Interesting story on climate change family. Everyone but the presenter has a fine and normal voice. Her absurdly unprofessional delivery is grating. I had to turn it off.
  • Parker 1968
    800 Jane Doe
    One of the best and first storytelling shows of this generation. It continues to present smart, researched and interesting stories of all kinds. My only complaint; as of late, some of the reporters have made vocal fey the norm. So much so, I’m unable to listen to some of the episodes. Otherwise, one of my favorite shows.
  • Janis Merritt
    This show is so insightful. I never finish an episode without feeling as though I’ve had an enriching experience. Once, during a particularly fraught time in our nation’s history, I made a social media post to say “Some people have never listened to This American Life - and it shows”. Because it does.
  • BK-PA-LA-78
    I think that the stories are interesting and it is definitely worth listening to.
  • TiniRebellion
    HEAVYWEIGHTS sexy sister show
    Hi! Found my way here from Heavyweights and I was in love 100% from the 1st listen. It’s intriguing & unassuming yet all consuming. Yes all of those. The subjects are so unique. They sound like nothing out there right now, or ever. They transport me to the stories being told. They are so raw and intimate and I love Ira’s hosting. He feels like the cool uncle that is full of culture & knowledge. Give it a listen, ya’ll cannot go wrong, unless u voted for Trump cos u have no brain. Or soul. Xoxo T.A.L.
  • manayunk wall
    Sometimes, this show...
    I've listened for YEARS, but sometimes this show can be so grating and annoying!!! I want to grab some of these speakers by the shoulders and shake them vigerously and yell (Don Corleon like) "you can act like a man!!". Just shut up, step up, pull yourself together and take action to solve your problem!!! These dweeby, nebbish tools talking in their timid, pitifully ineffectual soft voices just drive me crazy!! On these episodes, i turn off the radio (or podcast).
  • Suzibs.
    Good reporting, but definitely skewed
    Very left leaning media, consistent throughout the years. As the media continues to polarize further, I’ve noticed this American Life has leaned more and more left of center. Annoying that they don’t take the time or effort to give another perspective a fair chance.
  • MRP47
    Genius thinking, producing, and execution.
    Sometimes even though the different acts in an episode are slightly relevant to the theme, sometimes they are about completely different things. It is interesting to observe every episode how Ira and his producers keep the transitions fluent, and keep me sucked in. I WOULD DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THIS PRODCAST
  • L Butthill
    Finally listenable…
    Over the years, dozens of my former entry-level employees have recommended this show to me, claiming it’s aww shucks approach to storytelling would pluck my salt of the earth rw
  • 💕💕💕💕❤️💕💕💕💕💕
    This is one of the best podcasts out there
    I listen to 2 podcasts, this, when the new episodes come out, and dragnet. I prefer this podcast. It’s very informative and somewhat entertaining as well. I like how LGBTQ is embraced, and this deserves more then five stars. (My favorite episode is the Bobby Dunbar one)
  • Downt an Flabby
    Ira, don’t ride your bike in the rain!
    Wisdom from Philadelphia. ‘This American Life’ is a CLASSIC. My go-to podcast, radio show, and TV show. Hail the weightlifting snowman!
  • ValentinoFreemano
    The GOAT
    See above.
  • bws7
    simply the best
    No matter how unlikely it is that I am remotely interested in the topic of the day, I am drawn in. Every episode is not just interesting, but involving. And all by the man who tried to teach Sarah Vowell how to drive.
  • PaulinaVerminski
    One of my favs
    Each episode is unique and brings a different vibe with all the guest speakers and hosts. Sometimes I forget I’m listening this American life.
  • Tiffanymadhatter
    Pick and choose
    Some episodes are a delight, and I love to listen on my long jogs. Other segments are divisive. For example, Ira saying (I’m paraphrasing) “typical white guy thing to say” to which the guest says, “actually, my dad isn’t white”. Yikes. I wish TAL would stay away from politics but I realize that’s a tall order. The non-political stories are wonderful. I do try to get a well-rounded view of politics in my day but that is not what I come to TAL for. So they get a solid 3 from me.
  • tacs in tx
    Pregnant people?
    I’ve listened for many years. they lost me at “Pregnant People” in When to Leave. It’s “pregnant women”. I’m out.
  • RM Kelly
    I hope reporting like this doesn’t disappear
    This American Life is simply the best type of reporting/storytelling - steering clear of divisive topics and instead focusing on what connects us as humans. It’s always a pleasure to listen to these well researched, compelling and often heartbreaking stories of folks living complex but never dull, AMERICAN LIFE.
  • Inginious
    Ira Glass is great, everyone else, not so much
    Used to be great show, but now you have some pessimistic people expelling negativity in their reporting. Everything is depressing when they report. Then you have others that READ their reporting; he said, she said, etc... no background noise, no production value, just someone reading an experience 🥱 …update 2 (2 years after first review): I’m done with this show, SJW nonsense! This “garden warriors” episode protest was the final coffin 🤮🤮🤮 …update 3 (3 years after first review): Yup, still horrible. Left leaning and garbage reporting that propagates debunked myths… wow, thought it had changed, but just keeps getting worse
  • Texas_Tess
    I could not love these stories more. I look forward to each episode like a kid waiting to trick or treat on Halloween!
  • DaneTech inc
    Both sides
    Generally I love the show. However, not having both sides covered for this episode, not good. You make it sound like when Musk bought Twitter nothing good happened. Don’t be propaganda. Be better
  • BlackSwan305
    Standard bearer
    This is the show all other shows or podcasts want to be. Hasn’t disappointed me yet.
  • hoogadyboofady
    I love it
    This show is absolutely incredible and I recommend it to literally every person of any age
  • Jennytowns
    My first podcast
    I’ve listened for years and years. The storytelling is so wonderful. But one of my biggest worries is the division we now see in America. Ira, doesn’t it worry you too? Is this show helping or hurting? You have a voice you can show all sides the good that exists everywhere. There is good on both sides. There is good in religion. There is good outside of religion. There is good in every race and gender. Please use your voice for good and not to further the division in our country.
  • lmtilden
    Didn’t expect to love this as much as I do.
    I didn't expect to love This American Life as much as I do. I've laughed, cried, and learned so, so much. A true testament to the power of story.
  • propup090
    5 stars
    This American life is an incredible podcast which tells story’s about people just like us, It has the best story’s that show how other people deal with life.
  • Vgibrva
    Please stop the reruns and recycling of stories!
    This is my first and has always been my favorite podcast. But in the last several months, it feels like there’s very little new material. It used to be that we were warned if the episode was a rerun. Now, they just recycle several old stories and package them together as a new show and maybe add a 30 se one follow up. Ugh! We need new content!
  • grutsb
    I hate podcasts
    But I love this American Life. It’s the only one I’ve listened to consistently since podcasts became a thing. Most of the time, my brain is pumping out it’s own content and I’m the host. This podcast talks about random things, how they’re connected (sometimes eerily), and how it impacts the listener. I feel like I walk away having learned something interesting each time.
  • ibadona
    Nine Months Later
    This episode deserves an award.
  • EllieCBR4223
    This American Life is how I stay informed about the world and what is going on in it. Without TAL, I would no little to nothing about anything. One thing I wish is that more than 10 episodes would be out at a time. I also wish that more episodes would come out every week. Thanks for listening!
  • communitynewspodcast
    Ira Glass
    You are the best there is in podcasting. Thanks for your shows. I have learned a lot from you over the years. I would love to hear you speak with Paul and Sasha from Community News with Paul and Sasha. That would be awesome!
  • Mjs1652
    Nine Months Later
    This is not a review per se, but as usual this podcast is always written in an impactful way and really had me involved in each person’s life with the stories being told. What I wanted to say about these stories, though, was if every man involved in these women’s lives had used a condom, NONE of these women would have had to make those decisions. ABORTION IS A MEN’S ISSUE!
  • Sacmd41
    Sorry folks, but when they air episodes about “pregnant people” and “people who menstruate”, you’ve lost me. Those bodily functions belong to women. I have fought long and hard to have a female identity that includes menstruation, pregnancy, breast cancer, and birth. No biological man has the right to take that from me.
  • CrazyNadine
    Shallow and Hurtful
    It was so bleak, racist, shallow and hurtful to hear the way Taylor‘s pregancy was depicted. The way abortion generally was depicted. I have never felt more angry at a show, and more disappointed at the current culture that would allow a public radio show to make something so heartless and bleak.
  • fetal life
    this NPR show is great
    doesn’t Planned Parenthood offer other services rather than abortion isn’t that their job why does it have to end up being the death of a baby this episode exposes so much of what Planned Parenthood is all about The ultimate death of a baby with abortion
  • NotYourBabaYaga
    What happened?
    As an immigrant, I loved loved loved This American Life. It helped me feel welcome in my new home and better understand the world around me. But recently, as I was nodding along to an episode, thinking about my family and how it mirrored my experience, my heart dropped as the narrator pointed out that the experience they were describing was unique to a specific marginalized community that only they could understand. It helped me put my finger on why I’ve felt disconnected from the show. Representation is important and instead it of thoughtfully weaving stories of underrepresented communities, TAL is attempting to cram them in focus on what divides Americans than what unites us. It’s regressive (and at times, misogynistic).
  • Johnjk89
    Best show
    So good and so memorable!!
  • Twhit126758
    The best storytelling podcast in existence.
    Read the title.
  • GradyThoms
    This American Left
    What happened to this show? Used to be great but now only caters to the far left and trans LGBT community. Does not represent American life, unless you have purple hair and living in a tent in Portland
  • The Dingo 69
    An American Institution
    And one of the rare ones you can trust…with your mind, heart, emotions, attention, entertainment and learning time, and so much more! Simply cannnotnsay enough about how much I have enjoyed TAM for decades! Never miss it. Truly grateful for Ira’s genius, wit, insatiable questioning, observations, and the amazing gift for story telling, as well as the incredible team of storytellers, reporters, and producers. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my “thanks as always” to the gifted and all around good sport, Torey Malatia! My one complaint…why only weekly show? We need this daily!! I by am sure the world would be much better place! Thanks!
  • Joana Belo
    Subway Ride
    I just listened to the podcast that mentions the awkward subway ride and this is the best podcast I’ve ever heard. To share your thoughts with the world like that, wow unbelievable. It was music to my ears. Thank you.
  • You suggest one!
    March 26, 2023
    Listening to the Intro to the show today (an interview between Ira Glass and a very young and new producer) I was struck by how responsive Ira is to his interviewees. The shows are always good--& the level of empathy in his queries is phenomenal. I would have loved to have worked with him and for him during my own career!
  • colt-a-matus dominatus
    Just discovered this show
    Ira Glass maybe the undisputed heavyweight champion of radio broadcasting and like Mr. glass, I wanna be up there with the Broadcasting big dogs. This show may help me get one step closer to my goal. Love it.
  • Raycrizzle
    This show lost its magic.
    This show has become just another political podcast. It used to be so good. There is so much politically driven divisiveness going on in this country and this used to be a bit of levity. I used to listen to this to hear interesting, heartwarming stories about all sorts of people in this beautiful, diverse and fascinating country but I have to go to the archives to hear these stories now. It's lost it's magic.
  • lala_from_DC
    Long time listener, first time caller
    Listening since 2006 and I’ll never stop!
  • 12/10
    My FAVORITE Podcast
    Stories that make you laugh, cry and stick with you.
  • Turtles the third
    I like turtles
  • mtyogini
    Ghost Industrial Complex
    Yet ANOTHER egregious reality of white supremacy playing out in this case in Savannah GA. it is always heart stopping and devastating to hear these episodes and how Black folks have to expose these stories of the perpetuating myth it’s ok to murder rape and abuse black people. it’s difficult to listen to and heart wrenching and a call to action again and again - thee as no you yo thr reporter and his team for letting us know about this devastating situation
  • Everything-all-of-it
    Le sigh
    I adore this show in the way that I adore when you can undress and change clothes in front of a human, whilst still continuing a conversation without any confusion of puritanical woes, given or received by either party, just a certainty that you are so very comfortable and safe while you both add to each others life through conversation and then that’s it that’s all…just existing and sharing stories and information. I hope this explains how very beautiful you all are as stories tellers, you are the tribal form of the elders in our modern world.
  • myrlelynn
    Is Mom the new bad word?
    Why Ira did the recent episode come with a warning before the show that it referenced Mothers and women? Are we suddenly bad? Shame on you for following that nonsense. And what’s wrong with saying pregnant women instead of pregnant people. So sad a once beloved podcast has become unlistenable. We get it trans people exist. But so do women.
  • FOSerr
    the more i listen to this show
    the more i realize TAL is pretentious, misguided, detached from reality, etc. the production value is there, but the content is vapid and agenda pushing.
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