Adam Conover’s Mind Parasites Live is a wonderful blend of well-researched information, long-form storytelling, and hilarious stand-up. It’s as educational as the best college lecture you attended, but far more creative. Also, it’s as funny as the best standup you’ve seen, but much more informative. And for a moment on July 12 in Nashville, Conover almost broke into one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard.
If you’re a fan of Adam Ruins Everything or his podcast Factually!, you already know about Conover’s remarkable ability to creatively share complex information. Through the years, he has ruined what we think about everything from mattresses to the housing crisis. It is amazing that he can destroy so many of our “sacred cows” then have us come back for more. And this time he got us to buy tickets!
Of course, Adam doesn’t make us buy tickets. Or does he?
In Mind Parasites Live, Conover questions our free will in the age of advertising, algorithms, and social media bots designed to get us to buy, consume or vote in a particular way.
He teaches about some parasites from nature. Each makes their insect host do things that are dangerous or deadly, but benefit the parasite. Not unlike how advertisers use shapes, sounds and scenery to burn their company into our brains. This increases the likelihood we’ll buy what they’re selling, whether it’s good for us or not.
During the show, Conover reveals that he stopped drinking about a year ago. This helped him see behind the curtain of the lies we tell ourselves about alcoholism. Drinking didn’t help him sleep, make him funnier, or help him fit in, as he previously thought. It was a courageous thing to say in a comedy club. A casual glance at the tables around me, revealed that a large percentage of their receipts must come from the bar.
At different times informative, troubling and encouraging, Mind Parasites Live is always entertaining. It’s the show you would expect from the man behind Adam Ruins Everything, but with amazing standup we don’t get to see on TruTV.
I attended the July 12 show at Zanies in Nashville.