A podcast about the weird things we Earthlings do and why


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Behind the Scenes, Episode 3: Nicole Richie—The Conspiracy

A Note from Sasha

Sasha Sagan

From my early childhood, my parents, astronomer Carl Sagan and writer-producer Ann Druyan, instilled in me a cosmic perspective: the Earth is but one little planet in a vast universe. Growing up in our home, the idea of how we would appear to extraterrestrials was fodder for both stimulating discussion and intense laughter. How would we explain ourselves? Not just our serious shortcomings as a species, but our idiosyncrasies, our oddities, our wonderful weirdness. How would you describe an engagement ring to someone who has no context? What about a sweet sixteen? Saying “bless you” after a sneeze, but never after a burp? Or setting off fireworks to celebrate national independence?

Why do we do things the way we do them?

As a new parent, I find that explaining our traditions and rituals to a small child is not so different from explaining them to an imaginary alien. For years I’ve dreamed of creating a podcast that reframes the familiar and explores human quirks. On Strange Customs, I talk to an array of very funny, very smart people—actors, writers, historians, and scholars, who share their fascinating insights on the personal and the planetary. Taking a step back to look at ourselves from afar has made me love our strange species even more.

Join me for all the weirdness and wonder of Strange Customs, from OnlySky Media, wherever you get your podcasts.


Latest Episode

NICOLE RICHIE talks to Sasha about her long, happy relationship with a very common, very strange custom.

We’ll also hear from experimental psychologist DR. ROHAN KAPITANY, a specialist in rituals and supernatural beliefs, about this and other lesser deities who populate the minds of our children—usually because we put them there ourselves.

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About the podcast

Strange Customs is an ongoing conversation with smart, funny, interesting people about the things we do without thinking. Host Sasha Sagan brings an earthquake of perspective, making the strange familiar and the familiar strange.

Strange Customs
host Sasha Sagan

All Episodes

Nicole Richie—The Conspiracy

NICOLE RICHIE talks to Sasha Sagan about her long, happy relationship with a very common, very strange custom. We’ll also hear from experimental psychologist DR. ROHAN KAPITANY, a specialist in rituals and supernatural beliefs, about this and other lesser deities who populate the minds of our children—usually because we put them there ourselves.

Jedidiah Jenkins—The Surface

Sasha sits down with author and adventurer JEDIDIAH JENKINS to explore a human custom that can be fun and games—or life and death. We’ll also hear from historian JORDAN GIRARDIN about the surprising origins of the custom, and the ways we’re still not getting it quite right after 500 years of trying.

Brandon Kyle Goodman: The Paper

Sasha Sagan kicks off the Strange Customs podcast with actor, author, and activist BRANDON KYLE GOODMAN in a thoughtful and hilarious conversation about an ancient custom that is a major part of Brandon’s life—but one they couldn’t have participated in just a few years ago. We’ll also hear from historian STEPHANIE COONTZ about how changeable…

Welcome to Strange Customs with Sasha Sagan

How would you explain wedding rings to an extraterrestrial? What about a birthday cake, or fireworks on New Year’s Eve? Why do we do things the way that we do them? We take on customs from our ancestors and teach them to the next generation, often without examining them. But when we take a step…