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Weird Work

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Join host Sam Balter each week as he talks with people who make a living in really, really weird ways. Because we’re not all fit for the 9-5. But we all are a bit weird at heart.

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“I write obituaries for The Economist.”

29:46 | Apr 5th, 2018

Ann Wroe writes obituaries for The Economist. And she knows what you’re thinking: Writing about death must be terribly depressing, right? Maybe, but not for Ann. Sam gets Ann’s take on how she deals with death, and Ann shares her unique approach t...Show More

“I make ramen that helps people find their dreams.”

29:02 | May 24th, 2018

You’ve been listening all season long to how people turned their passions into professions. And want to make the jump, too. But what if you don’t know what your passion is? How do you pursue your dream if you don’t know what your dream is? Well, t...Show More

“I created The Museum of Selfies.”

27:34 | May 10th, 2018

Tommy Honton has a familiar story. Aspiring screenwriter who sets out to make it big in Hollywood. But eight years later, he found himself disillusioned and unhappy with his job. Rather than let the fear of complacency settle in, Tommy pursued anothe...Show More

“I’m a professional hand model.”

30:28 | Apr 26th, 2018

You can spot Ashly Covington out in public or on the subway pretty easily. She’s the one wearing long black gloves, a sunproof hoodie, and playing an invisible horn. Such is the life of a professional hand model. In today’s episode, Sam and Ashly ...Show More

“I’m The New York Times crossword puzzle editor.”

48:07 | Jan 18th, 2018

Will Shortz is the crossword puzzle editor at The New York Times. But he’s also the only person in history to receive a degree in Enigmatology -- the study of puzzles. And he’s been creating and publishing his own puzzles since he was 14 years old. ...Show More

“I’m a comic book inker.”

27:54 | May 17th, 2018

Mark Morales has probably worked on all of your favorite comic book characters. But the job of comic book inker is not only one of the most ambiguous in the industry, it’s an increasingly rare position. Mark takes Sam through the comic book produc...Show More

“I perform with cats and rats for Cirque Du Sewer.”

27:42 | May 3rd, 2018

Melissa Arleth always loved rats. But she was also fond of her feline pets, too. So she took them both onstage with her and created Cirque Du Sewer, the world’s only cat and rat circus. Sam talks with this acrobat about working with acro-rats… and...Show More

“I’m a dungeon master for Dungeons & Dragons.”

28:14 | Apr 19th, 2018

You’re stranded on a desert island. What do you do? If you’re Timm Woods, you find the nearest rock and start carving away at your latest Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Timm is a dungeon master, the game wizard who meticulously crafts each game. He ...Show More

“I’m a professional mom.”

29:50 | Apr 12th, 2018

Nina Keneally is the founder of NeedaMomNYC, where for $40 an hour she’ll give you the full mom experience. Nina offers sage advice, helps you battle your landlord over security deposits, and weighs-in on big life decisions. But how do other moms ...Show More

“I turn accidental fur into high fashion.”

24:56 | Mar 29th, 2018

Pamela Paquin may have grown up on a farm, but she never thought her life would forever be linked with animals. She was living in Denmark with a high-paying job when her life was completely upended. That’s when Pamela began to notice inefficienci...Show More

“I’m a professional gamer.”

30:04 | Mar 22nd, 2018

Peter “PPD” Dager is one of the winningest professional gamers in history. But we’re not just talking about trophies. Peter has made millions (and millions) of dollars as a professional gamer. Sam talks with Peter about his journey from being on t...Show More

“I make money off of Lizard People.”

32:32 | Mar 15th, 2018

Katelyn Hempstead is a comedian and the host of Lizard People: Comedy & Conspiracy Theories, a podcast where her brilliant friends try to convince her to believe different conspiracy theories. You can even find Sam on there talking about the rogue ar...Show More

“I’m a professional wingman.”

29:40 | Mar 8th, 2018

Thomas Edwards is a real life Hitch. And after nearly a decade of work, he’s helped over 150 people find love and get married. But this self-proclaimed hopeless romantic wasn’t always the ideal wingman. Thomas’ journey starts with Gary Vaynerchuck...Show More

“I’m a professional garbage picker.”

23:32 | Mar 1st, 2018

Martin Gregory scours the streets looking through people’s trash and sells his garbage finds on eBay. He writes about them on his website, Things I Find in The Garbage. Sam talks with Martin about teacups, the growing trend of minimalism, and just...Show More

“I’m a professional cosplayer.”

29:17 | Feb 22nd, 2018

Cosplay is a world of transformation, where art meets performance. And no one knows that better than Riki LeCotey. You might’ve seen her on SyFy’s reality tv show Heroes of Cosplay, or maybe you’ve seen her judging costumes at your local convention. ...Show More

“I make props for Hollywood.”

27:24 | Feb 15th, 2018

Em Schulz is the co-host of And That’s Why We Drink podcast. But Em’s resume runs the gamut: Clown school graduate, professional Segway tour guide, and the list goes on. These days, Em makes props for Hollywood, famously making Eggo waffle boxes o...Show More

“I repair vintage arcade games.”

42:31 | Feb 8th, 2018

Gary Vincent is a vintage arcade game technician at Funspot, the world’s largest arcade. He’s also the president of the American Classic Arcade Museum where he works to preserve and promote the history of arcade games. On today’s episode, Sam lear...Show More

“I’m a weed nun.”

30:15 | Feb 1st, 2018

Sister Kate isn’t your average nun. She’s a self-declared nun who owns Sisters of the Valley, a cannabis-based healing products company. But after her early days in the Occupy movement, she now answers to a higher calling. Sam talks with Sister Ka...Show More

“I’m the listeners’ favorite episode of 2017.”

36:32 | Jan 25th, 2018

We asked you to tell us your favorite Weird Work episode of 2017 and man did you guys deliver. You mentioned Jen Glantz, the professional bridesmaid, Steven Kutcher, the Hollywood bug wrangler, and Kassandra Brown, the professional cuddler. But on...Show More

“I’m a Vodou priestess.”

32:59 | Jan 11th, 2018

Voodoo conjures up pin-pricked dolls and black magic spells. But it’s all just a product of Hollywood, not an actual religion. Everything down to the spelling of its name is bogus. Vodou, however, is a religion. And today, Sam speaks with Sallie A...Show More

“I’m a professional scent maker.”

27:44 | Jan 4th, 2018

Kevin Elkins is a scent maker. He’s crafted custom scents for luxury hotels like The W Hotels and Hotel Emma. For Kevin, the perfect scent is all about the romance. Today, Sam talks with Kevin about what it takes to be a scent maker, the science b...Show More

“I’m a space psychologist.”

30:46 | Dec 28th, 2017

Iya Whiteley always dreamt of becoming an astronaut. Only, there was a slight hitch. Iya grew up in the USSR where women were not allowed to become pilots. So she pursued her other passion of studying human behaviors and decision making skills und...Show More

“I’m the Saturday Night Live bandleader.”

27:48 | Dec 21st, 2017

It’s an iconic sound. Lenny Pickett’s saxophone solo during Saturday Night Live’s opening credits has become a hallmark of the show. Lenny talks with Sam about his responsibilities as bandleader, how he overcame his initial fears of performing on ...Show More

“I’m an intimacy choreographer.”

28:58 | Dec 14th, 2017

For some actors, finding the line between intimacy on stage and in real life can be a bit murky. It takes strong direction and training in a safe environment. But like any good fight scene, it can’t be left up to the actors to choreograph themselves....Show More

“I’m an LSD microdosing coach.”

33:14 | Dec 7th, 2017

When Paul Austin looks back on the first time he dropped LSD, he remembers the shame and fear associated with it. So when he created Third Wave, a company devoted to coaching the benefits of microdosing LSD, he knew he had to change an entire culture...Show More

“I’m the head knight at Medieval Times.”

35:33 | Nov 30th, 2017

Chivalry. Strength. Romance. There’s quite a few things knights are world renowned for. Only, knights died out centuries ago, right? If you’ve ever heard of Medieval Times, then you know the knightly tradition is alive and well. Today, we head dow...Show More

“I’m a nude model.”

31:50 | Nov 23rd, 2017

For some, the nude body is taboo. But for artists, it’s been a constant source of training and inspiration. Ruby Magic has travelled around the world as a nude model. She tells Sam how she’s become more empowered in her own skin, and even gets Sa...Show More

“I’m Hollywood’s resident bug wrangler.”

30:10 | Nov 16th, 2017

Let’s say you’re a director, and you need to film thousands of locusts descending upon a group of people. It’s a major production, but CGI just won’t cut it. What do you do? Well, there’s really only one person to call. Steven Kutcher built his li...Show More

“I’m a professional mystery shopper.”

27:55 | Nov 9th, 2017

It’s likely that at some point in your life, while you were out shopping at your favorite store, you were standing next to a fake customer. An imposter. These people are called mystery shoppers, and they act as quality control for many stores by ...Show More

“I’m the Bachelor in Paradise bartender.”

56:06 | Nov 2nd, 2017

What’s life really like behind the bar of a reality dating show? Wells Adams made the jump from radio show host to The Bachelorette contestant a few years ago. But it’s his recent gig as the bartender on ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise that cemented him i...Show More

“I’m a professional cuddler.”

29:06 | Oct 26th, 2017

In a previous life, Kassandra Brown was a parenting coach. Then one day, about six years ago, she was cuddling with a friend of hers when she had a personal breakthrough. So when she was searching for what to do next in her career, she landed on a co...Show More

“I’m a mermaid.”

26:49 | Oct 19th, 2017

When you’re a kid, you can be anything. You can be a firefighter, a police officer, hell even a robot. The thing is, we rarely get to grow up and live that childhood dream. Unless you’re Maria Russo. Then you’re exactly who you always wanted to be. ...Show More

“I’ve written 18,728 songs and counting.”

30:40 | Oct 12th, 2017

Go on Spotify right now. Type your name, or the name of someone you know. Chances are a strange band has a song about that name. And chances are the man who wrote that song is actually named Matt Farley. Matt’s written more than 18,700 songs, and ...Show More

“I press human ashes into vinyl records.”

26:32 | Oct 5th, 2017

Jason Leach founded Andvinyly as a way to face his own mortality. He heard Hunter S. Thompson had his own ashes set off in fireworks, and Jason wondered how he could be best remembered. Then it hit him: Vinyl records. What Jason didn’t expect was ...Show More

“I’m a professional bridesmaid.”

24:09 | Sep 28th, 2017

If you’ve ever been to a wedding where the bride is considering grabbing an Uber and leaving, the ring bearer is missing, and the groomsmen are blackout drunk, you’ve seen what Jen Glantz calls a “normal weekend.” Jen is a professional bridesmaid,...Show More

"I make ASMR videos."

32:46 | Sep 28th, 2017

Heather Feather first realized the slight tingling sensations long ago. Years later, she realized the feeling was called ASMR. Today, there’s an entire ASMR subculture of online videos that trigger these feelings, to help people relax or even fall...Show More

“I write dinosaur (and monster) erotica.”

22:14 | Sep 28th, 2017

Alara Branwen’s author page on Amazon says that she’s a “typical college student by day, but by night she is a crafter of sexy, hot, sensuous, ‘monster’ fantasy erotic fiction.” The reality is Alara, and frequent co-writer Christie Sims, are the same...Show More

"I host a podcast about people with weird jobs.”

2:09 | Sep 11th, 2017

Starting September 28, Weird Work fills your ear holes with stories from the creative and inspiring people who work some of the weirdest jobs out there. Hosted by Sam Balter.