The Gist

Root for the Dummy

Simon Rich grew up watching whip-smart sitcom characters. His own protagonists are quite the opposite.

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On The Gist, the Republican tax bill and insurance premiums.

In the interview: a third-century monk, Paul Revere’s horse, and Death himself … all are characters in humorist Simon Rich’s latest book, Hits and Misses: Stories—and none are in on the joke. “I always related to the characters like Homer Simpson that knew less than they should,” Rich says. “As a child those are the ones that I found more sympathetic and more rootable.”

In the Spiel, the unemployment numbers, and the lies we’ve told ourselves about the economy.

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Twitter: @slategist

Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder and Pierre Bienaimé.