Stephen Tobolowsky
Stephen Tobolosky - Actor/Writer/Director

(Many of the Apple / iTunes links to the songs that we had before no longer work, so we have removed the dead links.  For the later podcasts, we have just referenced the artists, song and album. Please let us know if you find any inaccuracies or problems! - Ann)

Latest Episode:

Episode 99: My Possible Future

  • Albert Collins, Robert Cray, and Johnny Copeland perform Black Cat Bone from their album Showdown
  • Franz Schubert’s Ständchen, D. 889 performed by the Trevigi Guitar Trio and Ragnhild Kristina Motzfeldt on the album European Songs

All Episodes in Order of Release

Episode 1: Sex, Death and Halloween

Episode 2: Local Hero

Episode 3: Land of Enchantment

Episode 4: The Alchemist

Episode 5: The Middle Chapters

Episode 6: The Price of Nothing

Episode 7: Once in a Lifetime

Episode 8: A Wager With Freddie

Episode 9: A Christmas Memory

Episode 10: Miss Hard-to-Get

Episode 11: Chaos Theory

Episode 12: The Sound of Surprise

Episode 13: Conference Hour

Episode 14: Lost in Act 1

Episode 15: The Politics of Romance

Episode 16: Dating Tips for Actors

Episode 17: The Uncertainty Principle

Episode 18: Without a Handle

Episode 19: Season of Misdirection

Episode 20: The World’s Not What It Used To Be

Episode 21: Heart. Broken.

Episode 22: The Dangerous Animals Club

Episode 23: It’s Not My Dog

Episode 24: Don’t Argue with the Road

Episode 25: F.A.Q.

Episode 26: Dark Matter

Episode 27: Three Honeymoons

Episode 28: The Afflictions of Love

Episode 29: The Classic

Episode 30: Plan B

Episode 31: City of Illusion

Episode 32: Nighttime on Mars

Episode 33: The X Factor

Episode 34: A Good Day At Auschwitz

Episode 35: Playing It As It Lays

Episode 36: Virtual Reality

Episode 37: Chasing the Laugh

Episode 38: Escaping the Shadow

Episode 39: Contagion

Episode 40: Man in the Closet

Episode 41: Everyday Weather and How It Works

Episode 42: The Moment Before Zero

Episode 43: The Stranger

  • Chopin Waltz for Piano in E flat, B 46, Claudio Arrau
  • Chopin Waltz in E Flat C 223, Claudio Arrau
  • Chopin Waltz in A Minor CT 224, Claudio Arrau

All found on: Chopin: Préludes, Impromptus, Waltzes, Ballades, Etc / Arrau

Episode 44: The Voice From Another Room

Episode 45: The Things I Never Learned in School

Episode 46: The Time Machine Deconstructed

Episode 47: The Metamorphic Man

Episode 48: The Zen Story

Episode 49: View From The Mountain

Episode 50: The Primary Source

Episode 51: The Light of the First Day

Episode 52: The Rubicon

Episode 53: The Return of Mr. Huge

Episode 54: The Long Road to Somewhere Else

Episode 55: The True Arena

Episode 56: What Does the First Day of a Dream Look Like?

Episode 57: The Long Distance Relationship

Episode 58: Gone

Episode 59: The End / An Introduction

Episode 60: Another Second Chance

Episode 61: Prehistoric Britain

Episode 62: Notes From the Frontier

Episode 63: The Return

Episode 64: The Days of Rat Funerals Are Over

Episode 65: All In

Episode 66: The Benefit of Doubt

Episode 67: Tomorrow Comes

Episode 68: Circle of Causation

Episode 69: The Two Kinds of Nothing

Episode 70: Maps of the Ancient World

Episode 71: If I Know Now What I Knew Then

Episode 72: Boys Life

Episode 73: The Uncomfortable Balance of Lost and Found

Episode 74: What is Hidden

Episode 75: Three Questions

Episode 76: The Soldiers of Empathy

Episode 77: The Road Trip

Episode 78: The Holy Places

Episode 79: An Actor Prepares

Episode 80: Building A Character

Episode 81: The Legacy

Episode 82: Greetings from the Great Destruction

Episode 83: The Things that Move in the Dark

Episode 84: The Untold Story

  • Till I Gain Control Again by Rodney Crowell performed by Willie Nelson and Kimmie Rhodes on the album Picture in a Frame, with Kimmie Rhodes & Willie Nelson

Episode 85: The Resume

  • four songs by The Artie Shaw Orchestra from the album The Essential Artie Shaw: Deep Purple, Blues in the Night, Stardust, These Foolish Things.
  • David Bowie: Always Crashing in the Same Car (2017 Remaster) from the album Low

Episode 86: Ghost Writer

  • Chopin Waltz #7 in C# Minor Op.64/2 performed by Garrick Ohlsson (three cuts) a joyous version
  • Final song is Chopin Waltz #7 in C# Minor Op.64/2 performed by Claudio Arrau, a mysterious version

Episode 87: New Literature for the 21st Century

  • Chopin Nocturne #8 in D Flat Op.27/2, CT 115 played by Maurizio Pollini (three cuts)
  • Final song: Love and Happiness written and performed by Kimmie Rhodes from her album Love Me Like a Song.

Episode 88: The Recurring Character

  • David Bowie, Sound and Vision from the album Low
  • Bruce Springsteen, Thunder Road from the album Born to Run
  • State Trooper, written by Bruce Springsteen, performed by Jen Cloher, on her album Permanent Marker

Episode 89: Mayhem Day

  • Bruce Springsteen State Trooper from his album Nebraska
  • Bruce Springsteen’s I Wanna Marry You, The River, Stolen Car, Wreck on the Highway from his album The River

Episode 90: Working Man

  • Working in the Coal Mine performed by Allan Toussaint from his album Allan Toussaint: The Lost Sessions (two cuts)
  • Workin’ in a Coal Mine performed by Hetty Kate and the Twenty 20’s (hep jazz version)
  • Workin’ in a Coal Mine performed by Acadiana (insane Cajun)

Episode 91: The Creature of Impulse

  • Maybe We’ll Just Disappear by Kimmie Rhodes performed by Kimmie Rhodes and Waylon Jennings from her album West Texas Heaven
  • Here We Are and Chase the Feeling - written by Rodney Crowell, performed by Rodney Crowell and Emmy Lou Harris from the album Old Yellow Moon
  • Live Wire by Jeff Trott and Sheryl Crow, from her album Threads, performed by Shery Crow, Bonny Raitt, and Mavis Staples.

Episode 92: The Fifth Dimension Revisited

  • Mary Chapin Carpenter I Feel Lucky and The Bug from her album Come On Come On
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter I Was a Bird and Iceland from her album The Age of Miracles

Episode 93: Persistence of Vision 1 - My Top Ten

  • Franz Schubert Impromptu in E Flat Op.90/2 D899/2 performed by Alfred Brendel on the album Schubert Impromptus (1989)

Episode 94: Persistence of Vision 2 - Two Dreams

  • Islands in the Stream written by Barry Gibb performed by JC Lodge (featuring Don Campbell) From the album Reggae Country 2
  • Islands in the Stream performed by Feist & Constantines from the album The Reminder (Deluxe Version)

Episode 95: The Last Cat

  • The three selections are from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti as recorded on Decca Records at the Royal Opera House at Covent Gardens conducted by Richard Bonynge; sung by Dame Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti: 1. "Chi mi frena in tal momento"; 2. "Orrida e questa note"; and 3. "Ancor non Giuse"

Episode 96: The Creature Returns

  • Jamaica Farewell sung by Harry Belafonte on his album Calypso
  • Jamaica Farewell sung by Larry and the Mento Boys on their album Jamaica Farewell
  • Jamaica Farewell sung by The Brothers Four on their album The Beautiful World of the Brothers Four

Episode 97: The Show Does Not Have to Go On

  • The Hills of Athenry performed by Foster & Allen on their album, by special request The Very Best of Foster & Allen
  • Dirty Old Town performed by The High Kings on their album The High Kings Live in Ireland
  • Chopin’s Etude op. 25 #11, "Winter Wind" as played by Maurizio Pollini on his album Maurizio Pollini edition Chopin: 12 Etudes, Op. 25- Sonata in B-Flat Minor, Op. 35

Episode 98: The Creature’s New York Adventure

  • George Gershwin’s There’s a Boat Dat’s Leaving Soon for New York on Christine Ebersol and Billy Stritch's album In Your Dreams
  • Harry Warren’s We’re in the Money on Christine Ebersol and Billy Stritch's album In Your Dreams
  • Harry Warren’s Lullaby of Broadway on Christine Ebersol and Billy Stritch's album In Your Dreams
  • Harry Warren’s You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me on Christine Ebersol and Billy Stritch's album In Your Dreams
  • Chopin’s Etude Op: 25. XI. No.23 in A minor, "Winter Wind" (This time performed by Murray Perahia from his album Chopin: 24 Etudes by Murray Perahia)

Episode 99: My Possible Future

  • Albert Collins, Robert Cray, and Johnny Copeland perform Black Cat Bone from their album Showdown
  • Franz Schubert’s Ständchen, D. 889 performed by the Trevigi Guitar Trio and Ragnhild Kristina Motzfeldt on the album European Songs


  1. Karen McNally on February 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Today on The Tobolowsky Files, you referred to people with Down Syndrome as patients. Really? Were they sick?
    Down Syndrome is not a disease. It is a genetic condition with a wide range of symptoms, mild to severe. Many may have physical or mental limitations, but people with Down Symdrome now live long lives and may be independent and productive citizens.

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on April 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Dear Karen
      I thought I had replied but the website has this listed that I didn’t. Forgive me. I know that people with down syndrome are not “ill”. Technically, the people who came to the Bob Darnell Fan club were patients. They came from a “home” with a nurse. Between you and me, I am not sure they were sick with anything but neglect. They had been sent to this facility by family members. They seemed healthy to me. But they were patients. It was a poor choice of words on my part even though it was technically correct.

      Stephen Tobolowsky

  2. Nick on May 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Wow, Karen. Why can’t you just let the story take your mind to another persons point of view and walk away with a different perspective.

    Stephen, I think your stories are humbling, funny, happy, and sad. Your stories reflect human emotions and experiences in a masterfull way. Keep doing this. Thank you.

    I apologize to everyone I offend, but not to people who are offended.

  3. Rebecca on June 20, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Thank you so much for posting this playlist! I am mainlining your podcasts after getting them recommended to me by a friend and am finding so much interesting new (to me) music as well as enjoying your stories immensely.

    The song that really blew me away is not listed, though! What is the fantastic jazz number at the beginning of the special episode of Oct 14 2011 (between eps 51 and 52)? It sounds so familiar, yet I can’t place it…

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on July 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      Rebecca, do you remember what that episode was about? I’m a bit mystified which one you could be referring to.


      • Rebecca on July 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm

        You sounded like you had a cold in this episode, which started out with David introducing you as the man who played yourself in STBP. It wasn’t a full episode – announcements about coming to Boston in Nov 2011 and Seattle Jan 2012 and you shared a story you were currently writing that was going to be in a textbook. The story was about you being stuck in a long line of parked cars outside a basketball game, being attacked by a moth, and yelling at both them and it. 🙂

  4. Jim Hart on July 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I would love to know which episode number is the one where you’re in the convenience store and the guy looking for mangoes decides to hold you hostage. It was the first one I heard and now I’m hooked.
    You’re a wonderful story-teller and I tell everyone I know. Thanks so much.

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on July 28, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Dear Jim
      That episode is Light of the First Day – Episode 51. It is downloadable on Itunes and at

  5. RickyF on October 5, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Best story telling since William Shakespeare. Love your podcast. Thanks.

  6. stephen b. on October 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Stephen! hey… found about about the files a few weeks late… i listen to KTCK in dallas, but from southern new jersey, so, the is a slight lag and i started listening in between when episode 58 was put up and the first 50 were vanished.

    how could someone get their ears on the first 50 episodes?


    • Stephen Tobolowsky on October 20, 2012 at 7:12 am

      Stephen I am posting info on the first 50 podcasts soon. David Chen and I have taken them down temporarily. They hopefully will be remade as a national radio show…also free. more to come.

      • rickyfr on October 20, 2012 at 7:17 am

        That is great to read. I have listened to all the podcasts that are available. I find it interesting to hear you tell the same story, like your hostage ordeal, in different ways. Looking forward to podcasts 2-49. I was able to find number 1 online somewhere.

  7. stephen b. on October 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    ps… shame about big tex today.

  8. Skip Hunt on November 13, 2012 at 7:10 am

    I just got hooked on your excellent podcast & have never spent so much time looking for remnants of your first 50. Please put them back up! They are perfect as is… No need to remake. Sad I discovered them too late. 🙁

    Why can’t you leave them up at least until the remade ones are finished?

    Also, are the stories in your new book Dangerous Animals Club taken from the Tobolowsky Files? Or, completely different?

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on November 13, 2012 at 8:59 am

      Dear Skip,

      So happy you liked the podcasts. The reason they are being remade is not because we felt they needed to be redone. It is a matter of the audience. The podcast reached several thousand listeners. Through PRI the stories can potentially reach hundreds of thousands of listeners. To do that the podcasts have to be redone in PRI format. This has risks and benefits. The PRI format requires the shows be an hour long. That means there has to be new material. Hopefully the new material will be enjoyable. The first four we have done are very good. Hopefully, if we are successful, the quality will remain high. The book Dangerous Animals Club centers around the material in the first 25 podcasts. The stories have been shaped so they work in written form. There is also new material in the stories that are not in the podcasts. So roughly, the first 25 podcasts ARE available in the audio book form as well, with the new material included.

      For now, both Simon & Schuster and PRI have invested their time and money to produce, so in agreement with them, the old podcasts are not available in deference to their efforts. This may change in the future, and we expect all the podcasts to be available again in one form or another.

      Hope this helps!


  9. Skip Hunt on November 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    All makes sense. You’re an excellent storyteller and beyond that… your subtle lessons embedded are nothing short of sagely. Just what I need right now. I normally wouldn’t have gone to so much trouble scouring Google for perhaps some links to the first 50 that slipped through the cracks before the plug was pulled, but they’re just that good.

    Thanks for the explanation and I’ll have to just be patient for the PRI versions. Will check out the book in the interim. Any estimate on when PRI will be releasing the new stuff?

    You have a new fan 🙂

  10. chuckitb on December 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I sometimes catch glimpses of a story on the radio, then I can’t seem to remember where I heard it, but I know it was a Tobolowsky story. I just heard part of a story while driving to work the other day, about a fruitcake which travelled around the world, only to come back to the recipient who steamed it and served it to a very skeptical dinner crowd. It was hilarious and now I can’t find this podcast anywhere! Please help. Was this a podcast? Was it an interview? If it’s online I’d love to send this story to a friend. Always funny, funny stuff. Thank you for these stories.

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on December 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Dear Chuck
      I don’t believe the fruit cake story was mine. Sounds hilarious though.

  11. Joseph on January 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    This really is disappointing, as I was happily going through the podcast and enjoying it very much, and now I am stuck at episode 35 with no way to get from there to episode 50 except the vague promise that the missing 14 episodes will be available in some form some day.

    Oh well, I guess I’ll just let this podcast go and move on to ones that aren’t restricting access to their own archives. Thanks for 36 enjoyable episodes.

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on January 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      Dear Joseph I understand your frustration. It is contractual on our part…both with Simon and Schuster and PRI. Next podcasts will start coming out in a couple of weeks.

      • rickyfr on January 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm

        Please sign a more fan-friendly contract next time.

        • Stephen Tobolowsky on January 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm

          Dear Ricky, I have talked to several of the powers that be and it appears to be an industry-wide effort to deal with the problems of new media running into old media. I am talking over options for the future with all sorts of folks who are more informed than myself to keep their being problems like this in the future.

      • Joseph on January 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm

        It’s your work so you can do what you want with it, and I’m glad you’ve found a way to make some money off them, but:

        Other podcasts have managed to enter into commercial expansions without blocking access to the listeners who helped build the momentum that got you there.

        You’re a great storyteller and I wish you much success with this new phase in your career. I hope you go far with it. But this decision still seems to me (I’m sorry, I don’t know how else to say it) a dick move.

  12. Stephen Tobolowsky on January 23, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Dear Joseph, the joke is that I am not making any money off of it – nor was that the intention of the contracts. The contracts were to be insure that I would do the audio version of my book – not someone else (which I did for scale – which means no money!) I think the difficulty I have had will either go away or will be the sign of the times. Marc Maron may run into the same problem. We shall see. At any rate I am writing new stories that will be out soon.

  13. Joe K on February 11, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Stephen- great stuff here, keep up the good work. Radio will live on with great programming like this.

    Can you help me locate an episode- i only caught part of it and am dying to hear the rest. Its the one about your vocal chord surgery/accident in Iceland.

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on February 11, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Dear Joe. The way I understand that the story is streaming on demand right now. Google”the Afflictions of Love” and see where you can listen.

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  15. Tim on May 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I’m an architect recently moved away from dear NYC, and I love reading to my kids, so many of your stories touch the right nerves. Have you written up somewhere your method for turning your interesting life’s events into compelling stories? How do you identify what and when to foreshadow – you do that wonderfully. Can you feel when you’re writing whats going to work? I’ve always wondered how a good storyteller figures that out.
    Keep Podcasting!

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on May 23, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Dear Tim
      I usually know what story I want to tell. I work other stories into it sort of using my right brain. Before I finish I have to consider how I want to tie it together. There are usually several ways I can do this. I sort of sleep on it and see what comes to the surface. It is very much a tug of war between planning and instinct. Keeping my fingers crossed also helps.

  16. Tommy on July 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Dear Mr. Tobolowsky,

    Long time fan, thank you for all the entertainment you have given us over the years. I have recently started re-watching Deadwood and recall a “Tobolowsky Files” episode that discuss that including David Milch. I can’t for the life of me remember what episode that was….

    Anyway, thank you again and have a wonderful day.


  17. Stephen Tobolowsky on April 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Tommy,

    Sorry to be so late answering, but the episode about David and Deadwood is The Sound of Surprise, episode 12.


    • John T. Baker on April 19, 2014 at 3:49 am

      Hi Stephen,

      No worries at all and thank you.  It’s cued up in my ipod for my commute to work in Tokyo!

      Thanks for all the joy and entertainment you provide to everyone.  We really do appreciate it.



  18. Paul Smith on August 30, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Stephen,

    At the Fringe (Sat 29th August), you spoke outside of a date possibly in London in November. Hopefully it would be on a Saturday evening so we can plan to come down and see you again – and can I be cheeky enough to ask if I can claim some travel and B&B expenses from you this time! Expensive going up to Edinburgh, but more bloody expensive coming down to London!
    Love the podcasts (at normal speed ofcourse), you make a small memorial stonemason in Yorkshire very happy with your stories – hopefully a Podcast section on some Edinburgh stories will come later?

    Paul & Helen

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  20. David Keneipp on April 26, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Love the podcast (and the books). As a contemporary of yours in the Theater Department, the stories about the SMU years resonate the most strongly. Could be a story about Hob, or Beth, or Greg Grove–doesn’t matter. The vividness of the storytelling puts me right back in Dallas. Now, with episode 73, I learn of another way our experiences have crossed. I went to high school with Colleen Dodson! We knew each other fairly well; I think we were even in a couple of shows together.

    Sidebar (to borrow a technique of yours): Colleen’s mother was a fantastic seamstress. While the rest of the cast was wearing the typical rented costumes that all high school performers have to endure, Colleen was wearing incredible outfits designed and produced by her mother. The rest of us were just floored when we first saw them at dress rehearsal.

    BTW, still waiting for a Dick Ayers story…

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on April 29, 2017 at 10:24 am

      David, I had a happy Dick Ayers sighting in Hot Springs Arkansas!! I was there for the film fest which was screening the film David Chen and I made, The Primary instinct. Dick was there with his daughter. It was wonderful. We adjourned to an empty room in the festival area and relived some old times. Dick was still very handsome. Had all of his hair and his sense of humor.

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