Ridiculous History

Ridiculous History

History is beautiful, brutal and, often, ridiculous. Join Ben Bowlin and Noel Brown as they dive into some of the weirdest stories from across the span of human civilization in Ridiculous History, a podcast by iHeartRadio.

Episodes

June 25, 2024 36 mins

Nowadays Popeye the Sailor Man is a world-famous icon, represented in almost any form of media you can imagine. Yet this wasn't always the case. In part one of this special two-part episode, Ben, Noel and Max delve into the story of how Popeye started. Tune in to learn a ridiculous, one-off joke character in a comic strip called Thimble Theatre quickly became the most popular draw of the series, launching a media empire that outliv...

Mark as Played

Every city has its drawbacks -- parking, for example, or crime, or the price of a decent pizza slice -- but in the 1800s London faced a particularly unusual and disgusting problem: the city literally stank. And this wasn't an occasional whiff of urine or hot garbage from an alleyway, oh no. Instead, a pervasive stench permeated the area, an odor so strong that it disrupted Parliament, forcing the government to take action (and even...

Mark as Played

The founders of the United States knew the Constitution wasn't perfect, and so they baked in a process for revising their original document. Today, the first few amendments are collectively known as the Bill of Rights -- but, as returning guest AJ Jacobs, author of "The Year of Living Constitutionally" reveals, there have been tons of other proposed amendments that didn't make the cut. Tune in to learn more in the second part of th...

Mark as Played

Something like 60% of Americans have never fully read the US Constitution. How did such a short document become one of the most important pieces of writing in human history -- and why are some parts of it arguably ridiculous? Ben, Noel and Max welcome returning guest AJ Jacobs, author of "The Year of Living Constitutionally," to learn more about this world-changing work... and how later leaders butted heads fighting over amendments...

Mark as Played

Nowadays smartphones are an ubiquitous part of many civilizations, but not so long ago telephones of any sort were a rare commodity -- and the infrastructure was enormously expensive. When telephones hit the mass market, companies focused on densely-populated urban areas, leaving rural communities with no hope of getting a phone line. Until, that is, a group of MacGyver-esque farmers figured out an ingenious way to connect not just...

Mark as Played

Imagine grabbing a box of (at best) mid cereal, only to discover the greatest game, free withing the box. Imagine making an entire game based on an oft-maligned Olympic mascot! In the second episode of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max explore the ridiculous past, present and future of video game tie-ins. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Cast your memories back to the strange days of the 1980s and 1990s -- boy howdy, things were weird. At some point, marketing executives the world round realized that video games could be a new, powerful field of advertising. In the first part of this special two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max dive into the ridiculous evolution of video game tie-ins, from soda pop mascots to the notorious Noid of Domino's pizza (along with the tragi...

Mark as Played

True story: once upon a time, both Canada and the United States once had bizarre laws banning the production or importation of margarine -- and prohibition naturally led to crime. Today's classic episode asks: What launched the margarine bootlegging industry? Join the guys as they explore the startling, strange story of the Big Butter versus margarine.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

How did this tiny, strategically crucial archipelago change the course of World War II? Join Ben, Noel and Max as they explore the deep -- at times, ridiculous -- history of Malta in the guys' continuing exploration of microstates.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

When you think about it, credit cards are a pretty fascinating idea -- they're convenient, ubiquitous and, often, predatory. In today's episode, Ben, Noel and Max explore the strange origin story of the credit card.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
June 1, 2024 40 mins

How much would you pay for an egg? Would you kill for one? In today's classic episode, join the guys as they explore the strange story of the Gold Rush, the Common Murre and Farallon Island -- the site of California's Egg War

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Hi Ridiculous History Fans! Take a listen to the trailer of our newest show Sixteenth Minute (of Fame)

About the show: Sixteenth Minute (of Fame) is a weekly show from Jamie Loftus that takes a closer look at the internet’s main characters – one part reported, one part interviews, and one part Jamie collapsing her permanently internet-damaged brain. Whether it’s an enduring meme or a dreaded Character of the Day distinction, it’s t...

Mark as Played

Once society became convinced that you could build skyscrapers without them immediately collapsing, cities across the United States -- and, soon the world -- scrambled to build their own structures. In part two of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max explore the continuing race to build the tallest, the strongest, and the most iconic skyscrapers.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Skyscrapers are beautiful -- and utterly ridiculous. In the first part of this two-part episode, Ben, Noel and Max learn how modern skyscrapers were largely inspired by one guy who, no kidding, saw a heavy book resting on a birdcage and thought "yes, that. But bigger!"

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

If you're like most people, the phrase "Wild West" conjures images of brutal gunfights in dusty, tumbleweed-ridden streets, visions of criminals slinking into the shadows of dimly-lit saloons and the vast stretch of lawless, unforgiving frontier. But how much of that image is actually true? Join Ben and Noel as they delve into the myth of the American frontier to discover how wild -- or mild -- it actually was in this week's Classi...

Mark as Played

As Ernest Hogan reaches new heights of success, critics turn against ragtime and "coon songs," prompting a larger conversation about the cyclical nature of music and society. In the second installment of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max join Katie Mitchell and Yves Jeffcoat, the creators of the On Theme podcast, to learn more about the complex relationship of creativity, capitalism, entertainment and race -- all found in the...

Mark as Played

Today the world agrees minstrel shows were horrific, weaponized stereotypes meant to dehumanize people. But not too long ago, minstrel shows and the related "coon songs" were some of the most popular music in all of the United States. In part one of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max join Katie Mitchell and Yves Jeffcoat, the creators of the On Theme podcast, to learn more about the complex relationship of creativity, capitali...

Mark as Played

Today the Ford GT40 is one of the world's most iconic vehicles -- but this award winning automotive beast is, it turns out, the result of a serious grudge match. Join Ben, Noel and the gang as they delve into the strange, spiteful history of the Ford GT40 in today's Classic episode.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
May 16, 2024 42 mins

If you're like most folks in the West, your laptop and phone use something called the QWERTY keyboard, named for the six letters at the upper left of the board. At first glance, this layout makes no sense. It's not in alphabetical order, and most of the typing is done by the left hand. So how did we end up with this thing? Join Ben, Noel and Max as they break down the strange story of the QWERTY keyboard -- and why it remains so co...

Mark as Played

We've all heard of auction houses. Nowadays, these are often best-known as specialized institutions catering to international institutions and a small percentage of the obscenely wealthy -- but how did they get started? In today's episode, Ben, Noel and Max dive into the ridiculous (and at times disturbing) history of auction houses.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

The Latest News

Popular Podcasts

    Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

    Stuff You Should Know

    If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

    The Nikki Glaser Podcast

    Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

    White Devil

    Shootings are not unusual in Belize. Shootings of cops are. When a wealthy woman – part of one of the most powerful families in Belize – is found on a pier late at night, next to a body, it becomes the country’s biggest news story in a generation. New episodes every Monday!

    Start Here

    A straightforward look at the day's top news in 20 minutes. Powered by ABC News. Hosted by Brad Mielke.

Advertise With Us

Follow Us On

Hosts And Creators

Ben Bowlin

Ben Bowlin

Noel Brown

Noel Brown

Show Links

AboutStoreRSS
Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.