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This Job is History


Where the oddest jobs from the past meet a comedian from the present… and it’s awkward! On this weekly show, Chris Parnell (SNL, Rick and Morty) welcomes guests who have held some of human history’s most unexpected and downright bizarre jobs: funeral clowns, garden hermits, VHS clerks, and everything in between. With the help of his tireless producer, Chris hears from the essential workers from decades and centuries past. Because before there were actual medical doctors, there were barber surgeons. And before there was Instacart, there were milkmen. Wondery’s This Job Is History is a funny, absurd, and informative look into how time can change the way we live and work.

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Our Editor's Take

This Job is History is a funny podcast about real but obsolete professions. Host Chris Parnell made his name in TV comedy. Listeners may know his voice from roles on Family Guy and Archer. He has also acted in movies like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

On This Job is History, Chris "interviews" those who previously held such jobs. Some of them may be understandable and familiar to modern listeners. Being a video store VHS clerk isn't that far in the ancient past, after all. The same goes for being a milkman. Those jobs are understandable, even if they involve a lot of rewinding and carrying bottles. Even the obsolete role of a telegraph operator can make sense to a podcast listener.

But what about a factory lector? Back when Cuban cigars had to be hand-rolled, a factory lector told stories to entertain the workers. Such a job was like being an early podcaster in a way. The This Job is History podcast host asks the lector what his job was like. Other bizarre professions include alchemists, sin-eaters, and funeral clowns. Chris asks a funeral clown how it feels to make jokes at a memorial service.

Sometimes, the comedy podcast discusses a more modern career. Linda, the podcast producer, interviews a real person for this. It's former MTV VJ Dave Holmes. The two look back at Total Request Live and what it was like to introduce music videos.

This Job is History is funny, of course. But it's also educational and thoughtful. It tells viewers about past professions and lives they may not have heard of before. Chris has a great voice and is an excellent storyteller. Listeners may laugh and learn with this weekly podcast.

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