History-meets-weird news
in this comedy podcast series for kids!

10 minute version

20 minute version

Laughing Historically takes clippings from historic newspaper archives and turns them on their head, presenting them with irreverent host commentary and “interpretive” reenactments performed by voice actors.

These are not national headlines — they’re mostly human interest and weird-news stories whose details seem pretty wacky through the lens of the modern day. But their comedic analysis encourages kids to think critically about media and the history that has been passed down to them, while the referential humor sharpens their listening comprehension skills. Underlying it all is the subtext that the majority of history basically consisted of regular people doing dumb things.

Episode Format

Each episode of Laughing Historically begins with hosts Nate Begle (Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Crow T. Robot) and Dan Becker (YouTube star “Disney Dan”) reading a short news clipping, before breaking it down detail-by-detail with MST3K-style riffing. Anything is fair game for their commentary, and they have fun with antiquated language and unusual details while speculating and theorizing about the untold story behind the story.

They also work in references that address historic facts, vocabulary or geography that may need clarifying for our kid audience.

Following the commentary, things get ridiculous with a radio play-style interpretation of the story. It might imagine what led up to or followed the event, or expand on some minor, curious detail, but it’s always rooted in elements from the news story and the riffing. The humor is heavily rooted in callbacks, testing the listening comprehension of our 8- to 12-year-old demographic who loves being smart enough to put together pieces and “get” a joke.

Show length is flexible. Each news clipping is produced into a five minute riff with a five minute accompanying sketch for a total of 10 minutes. An episode can consist of a single story (10 minutes) or two stories edited together (20 minutes).

Series Objectives

  • Our audience is growing up bombarded by media. Laughing Historically gives them permission to question facts and think deeper about how history gets passed down. Are we always given the full story?
  • The comedy in Laughing Historically relies heavily on callbacks, which sharpens listening skills and comprehension. The more details the kid absorbs from the article segment, the more jokes they’ll get in the sketch that follows.
  • The kids audio space has voids in the areas of comedy and content for 8 to 12-year olds.
  • Thousands of adult podcasts feature funny hosts out-clevering each other with witty repartee but kids, who crave their own versions of adult shows, have nothing like that. Banter and satire sharpen analytical thinking and encourage independent thought!
  • Finally, the show seeks to bring history down to earth and make it more immediate. History isn’t all (or even mostly) famous names and events, it’s people just like you who have spent thousands of years fumbling around making mistakes.

About the Creator

Emmy-nominated writer Susan M. Clarke has over 20 years experience in children’s media, most recently as co-creator/writer/executive producer of 40 episodes of musical comedy series “The FurryTones” (winner of a Parent’s Choice Award) and kid-on-the-street game show “Money on the Sidewalk” for kids podcast app Pinna. The FurryTones is also available on Apple Podcasts.

She cut her teeth writing for the iconic PBS game show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and wrote for Cartoon Network’s Mad (based on the classic humor magazine), Cash Cab (Discovery) and History Channel’s This Week in History. She had over 30 humor pieces published in Nickelodeon Magazine and was an original writer on the long-running topical sketch comedy show Big News at the iO West Theater in Los Angeles.

Production Credits

Laughing Historically is hosted by Nate Begle and Dan Becker, and features Barron Bass, Lauren Cavanagh, Dylan Jones, Cenophia Mitchell, Jenna Pinchbeck, Amanda Jill Robinson and McPaul Smith.

Created, written and produced by Susan M. Clarke.

Editing, sound design, and theme music by Peter Kavanaugh.