RISK! Podcast
  • Episode:#827
  • Date:April 17, 2017
  • Run Time:1:03:07
  • Download: MP3

Altered States

Under the influence, Margot Leitman, Jupiter Diego and John Murray discover the horror movie Orphan, head-over-heels adultery and clown envy.

Song: RISK! Theme by Wormburner and John Sondericker

Song: 100% by Bixiga 70

Live Story: Orphan by Margot Leitman

Interstitial: Sit On It, Potsy by Jeff Barr (with Gel Sol and Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony)

Radio Story: Helene by Jupiter Diego

Song: White Iverson by Post Malone

Live Story: The Clowns by John Murray

Song: Morning Time (feat. Nicki Bluhm) by The Brothers Comatose

43 Comments

  1. Jupiter Diego isn’t Christopher Walken’s long-lost brother, is he?!

  2. I don’t know if it’s just that Jupiter sounds totally strung out, but I just could not get through their story…

    Loved the other stories, especially Margo’s!

  3. Why does Jupiter speak that way? Does he have a speech impediment or is that just…..him?

  4. I mentioned in the hosting segment that Jupiter had a lot of experience with hard drugs. At least one of his stories is about nearly dying from taking a super-condensed version of one (I think he called it “super-meth” or something like that?) Anyway, I think that some of that affected his speech.

  5. I’ve been listening to Risk for years, sat through the stories of rape, murder, trauma, and poop play, but Jupiter’s story was absolutely the most grating, awful thing I’ve heard on any podcast. He sounds like the voice of Tree Trunks on Adventure Time and I imagined an elderly elephant narrating the whole time *shudder*

  6. Jupiter was terrible! How was that even a story! Almost as bad as Kevin’s weird-voice commercials.

  7. I really didn’t like Jupiter’s story, either. It wasn’t just the voice that bothered me. It was the kind of thing where I was sympathizing more with the person on the receiving end of his behavior. I would rather hear her tell her story about what he put her through.

    I loved Margo’s, though! Margo, Orphan is one of my faves, too! I love evil children movies! Your story was a lot of fun!

  8. Similarly to cc (above), I thought Jupiter put the women around him through A LOT, he came across as really pretty manipulative — and didn’t seem to recognise this in the slightest, unlike John Murray who at least acknowledged that his trauma made him act awfully towards his girlfriend.

  9. Yeah. I can sit through a lot and I can handle the difficult stories Risk puts out, but Jupiter’s story was really upsetting to me. Manipulative, self centered, and clearly delusional.

    As someone who has experienced delusional and psychologicallly deceptive people in her family, I heard A LOT of invention in his story. I like Risk because it tells real stories. Jupiter sounded like he was dealing with some mental illness and I’m not sure what of his story was reality and what was invented.

  10. Jupiter came up in the 80’s/90’s storytelling scene, where folks like Master Lee and Rick Patrick left leeway for creative embellishment and/or more of a focus on what might have been going on in the storyteller’s inner world (daydreams, drug trips, etc.) than literal reality. We try to feature people with different ways of expressing themselves here and there. Or just people very different personalities or backgrounds. There’s often someone on the show who isn’t a lot of peoples’ cup of tea.

  11. Skip to 40:00 to get to the end of Jupiter’s bit.

  12. Jupiter’s story sucked. Boring, trite, infuriating to listen to even without taking into consideration his slurred speech. RIP misogynist.

    I know Risk’s whole jam is supposed to be about the shock value of featuring people with “different personalities” (whatever that means), but it’s starting to feel like that’s just an excuse to spotlight objectively shitty people.

  13. Yup. Of the 1000 or so stories we’ve run, the effort we were putting in was to spotlight “objectively shitty people.”

  14. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. Jupiter was a character. His delivery might not be for everyone, but there’s no doubt he was an amazing storyteller. Risk doesn’t promise stories told the way you like to hear them, rather it asks that you keep an open mind and to accept the storyteller ‘as is’.

  15. Seriously?! Is there no one that is going to speak up on behalf of Jupiter’s story!? He’s so hilarious & honest!

    I never commented before but have been following the show for years & felt obliged to speak up.

    The cadence and lyrical delivery of his story absolutely delightful! A truly unique & sensitive voice that stopped me in my tracks as I was washing the dishes! A perfect weirdo. Yes, morally objectionable perhaps… but that has certainly never stopped me from enjoying a well delivered story.

    Thanks Kevin and folks at the show for continuing to post challenging content! Love it!

  16. If Jupiter made you uncomfortable, then RISK! is doing its job right.

  17. There are storytellers who very intentionally have unusual storytelling styles; who merge their authentic selves with a degree of theatricality, camp, character or performance art…and that in itself is sort of a “risk,” to make “truth” slightly unreal or surreal in a way that audiences might not get. I don’t know if Edgar Oliver has been on Risk!, but he’s been on the Moth several times, and he’s one of those too.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNJWHwTUvwU
    Just putting it out there that stories can be risky in that way as well.

  18. Yes, we’ve asked Edgar Oliver to do the show and he might do it someday very soon! And yes, I know people will freak out about Edgar’s style as well. I’ll have to hold everyone’s hand with an introductory trigger warning to “position” people for hearing something different. When I hear Jupiter telling his story on this episode, I laugh out loud every time in several places. He knows, and he’s assuming we know, he’s being irresponsible. He knows he’s overdoing it with the romantic angle. He knows he’s an unreliable narrator and a louse of a protagonist. He just relishes his own fucked-up life’s rich pageant and his indulgent love of scenery chewing, critics be damned. I do admit I sometimes get tired of hearing from folks who seem to feel like there can’t be any reading-between-the-lines in stories nowadays. To me, it’s fascinating to note when I’m able to relate to or to “get” what someone is saying but not necessarily to agree with it or admire it. More and more, if a storyteller does something in a story that’s iffy, people write in that we never should have posted the story because the storyteller didn’t explicitly say, “Here is my confession that I was in the wrong. Here’s my definition of precisely how and why I was wrong. Here’s what I plan to do to make up for it. And here’s me officially urging the listeners not to do what I did here.”

    Also, we’re not thinking of taking this Jupiter Diego story down, but if we did, like on the episode called “Getting to Know You,” the conversation would then shift to how RISK! is a fascist tool of PC censorship.

    Before there was This American Life, there was Joe Frank’s late night radio show in the 80s and 90s. It feels so far away now. So much was demanded of the listener that it made for a fascinating and provocative experience. The listener had to pay close attention to figure out who was speaking, whether they were being sincere or sarcastic, whether they were performing something written or speaking off the cuff, whether the producers might agree or not agree with what the speaker was saying, whether the speaker we heard a moment ago had anything to do with the one we’re hearing now, and so on. Ira Glass worked on that show and he ultimately decided it was too risky. But I’ll bet he sometimes misses stories where the listener gets to feel uneasy about what they’re hearing… and just deal.

  19. Kev.
    No need to stress over / reply to a few bad reviews. I received this episode as readily as the rest and found something human in Jupiter’s story / was reached. Therefore you did your job. If people can’t recognize the humanity in any given story it’s well within their power to leave it. Don’t fret on their ill will. Don’t take shit posters to heart. Do what you need to do to keep making. I have a hard time seeing these comment sections as constructive platforms for your work. It follows that they’re not worth your time.
    Get well soon ya’ll bored and privileged.
    Love,
    Iowa.

    P.S. It’s through the beauty of cross cultural storytelling that out here on fields some of us closeted personalities find courage. I came out this week to a single person in my life and with that I finally feel human. Know that this trove of stories (name of Risk!) allows strangers to tread common ground. Fondly, please make your (surely constructive) critiques on a more suitable platform, if not intelligible, if not constructive, you sad privileged city slicking fucks. 😉

  20. Just curious…are we only supposed to say when we like stories here? I thought this space was for discussion. If you only want compliments, let us know, so us “sad privileged city slicking fucks” will know to keep our opinions to ourselves.

  21. Nope. As I say on the podcast regularly, we encourage conversation. We promote that people come here, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and iTunes to discuss the show. (Soon Redditt too.) There are plenty of pages of comments on this site we put up that could be construed as negative or critical about the show content. People always assume that I, Kevin, am tearing my hair out and losing sleep when I engage IN the conversation. That’s why I prefer communicating with my voice in an audio format. But then, another thing I say regularly on the podcast is that I know every story and/or every storyteller is not for everybody. So, just as I know I’ll always have to be encouraging people to express the good, the bad and the ugly about the stories, and just as I know that we’ll often be accused of censorship and bullying, I also know people will often be telling me to chill out when I respond to what people are saying. It’s just the nature of online discourse. You just have to make the most of it and take it all with a grain of salt.

  22. We seem to have touched a nerve with Yvonne. Jupiter’s story came off as a married man walking over to a married woman and informing her, not ASKING HER, that she would become his lover etc. open relationships/polyamory are only such when there is consent with all parties involved, or it’s just cheating. Yes we all understand Jupiter is a human and all humans have stories about their humanity. I just wanted to listen to Risk podcast, not presumptive cheating jerk podcast.

  23. A lot of hate here. That’s a first.
    I enjoyed the show.

  24. The Risk! community surprises me sometimes in the comment sections.

    I don’t know how there can be so many Risk! listeners out there that listen regularly and miss the point of the show entirely.

    Considering the show seeks to highlight a wide range of perspectives and experiences, there is a chance you’re going to come across a story that maybe isn’t your cup of tea.

    But before you comment () I would hope you would ask yourself “Is this comment actually constructive to the show and/or storyteller?”. Honestly, a few listeners being uncomfortable or not liking a particular type of story isn’t going to change story selection for a podcast that sets out to push boundaries, and there definitely are ways to present comments that are not necessarily positive in a way that they are at least constructive. If its not constructive just skip through the story and go enjoy the rest of the show. Just tearing down/ attacking storytellers isn’t helpful and kind of goes against the whole grain of the show.

    In this instance Jupiter’s behavior was a little manipulative and insensitive, I think people sharing their experiences with this type of behavior from both sides would be interesting and go with what the show is about, but I wish we would stray away from ripping on people and complaining. Especially when it comes to Kevin, he puts so much heart and effort and time into creating something you obviously enjoy consuming.

    Just a hint: if its anything about a person’s physical VOICE, it’s never constructive.

    There is twice in Jupiter’s story that he says a line similar to “…like any mature male would…” that is dripping with sarcasm. Hes completely aware that hes not really a hero in his story, hes just relaying experiences as he had them.

    Also, Kevin’s long, slightly pointed, response to these comments on this particular episode, defending this particular storyteller, I think is more of a reflection of the fact that this a man that seems to be somewhat of a mainstay in an art form that Kevin is obviously passionate about, a man he might admire, that, as he mentioned before the story started, is now no longer with us and less reflective of him wanting to restrict commentary. But I could be wrong.

  25. Hey Risks!
    Don’t change anything, your podcasts are perfect !
    Even if I couldn’t listen to the entire Jupiter’s story, I have liked the podcast, as all the previous. You’re just doing a great job !
    Kisses from France

  26. Yeah, that’s the problem. That people didn’t understand the sarcasm.

  27. Like everyone else, I found Jupiter Diego’s story difficult to get through due to his overly theatrical delivery and bizarre pronouncements. Still, Diego lived a remarkable life. If you want to hear another story from him, I highly recommend his Snap Judgment segment. His delivery is much more restrained but his story is somehow even more outrageous than this one.
    http://snapjudgment.org/lucky-8-ball

  28. 1) UGH, please don’t create a Reddit page, Kevin. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and this web page are enough media saturation to keep everyone glued to their computers all day and night. Help us get out into the world as live, 3D people and TAKE THOSE ACTUAL RISKS instead of giving us more reason to fixate on a screen. Help us stay interactive in person, because communication is so much better that way, ya know?

    2) You mentioned Joe Frank. If people want to hear some Joe Frank stories, which are indeed full of ambiguity and unreliable narration (enough to drive some Risk! listeners batty, I’d guess), he’s a frequent contributor to the podcast UnFictional — in fact, yesterday’s episode of UnFictional is all Joe Frank. Here’s the website:
    kcrw.com/unfictional

  29. Hi Kevin (and all the RISK team!)–
    Just wanted to say that I appreciate all that you do. I know not every story is going to click with every person who listens, but I appreciate the diversity of storytellers and talent who appear on RISK; that’s what makes this show so great!
    Jupiter Diego (real name? if so, amazing!) has the most flamboyant, far-out surfer-dude-Southern-dandy voice I have ever heard, and I loved it, even though I did not find him easy to listen to. His story reminds me of the time I got alcohol poisoning, and what it is like to tell that story as a cautionary tale at parties. Because when we do something like that, we know we are being asshats. It’s not something that escapes your own notice.
    I really hope to tell my own stories on RISK one day, precisely because of the quality the “rich pageant” of experience takings risks (and not just being a hero) imparts on an otherwise ordinary life, if there even is such a thing. Again, thank you for RISK!

  30. “You just don’t seem to get it! You just don’t seem to understand!”

  31. I heard this Jupiter Diego story on another podcast This Is Actually Happening about a year ago so I was already used to his voice by the time I heard it on Risk. The first time I heard him, it took me about a minute to adjust. Soon though, my attention turned to fascination at his peculiar cadence. I did notice subtle differences in the story from the first podcast to the one featured here on Risk. Most of those differences were in performance: Jupiter added a lot more dramatic flair and exaggeration this time around. A fascinating character study and obviously one that made an impact – whether positive or negative – based on the comments above.

  32. I admit, I had a difficult time with Jupiter’s story, but only because my parents just got divorced after my dad cheated on my mom. I’m chiming in because I can’t believe how incredibly rude and cruel people are about Diego’s voice. Didn’t you hear Kevin say that he had recently passed away? If you don’t like the story, just say that, but don’t speak ill of the dead.

  33. Hey guys. This comment thread inspired me to record an 18-minute audio piece called “My Reactions to Your Reactions to Diego.” I like it! I unpack various thoughts and feelings about what it’s like to work with the storytellers, put the show out into the world, and then engage in the conversation with you, the audience, about the experience you’re having with the show. The MP3 is posted among the Bonus Content that RISK! patrons can find at Patreon.com/risk. One of the neat things about becoming a patron is that there’s an ever-growing archive of pics, videos, essays, unaired stories and other audio pieces like this one there. It’s a pretty dynamic look behind the scenes.

  34. I’m a huge fan of RISK! I listen every week as soon as the new episode pops up on my iPhone. I’ve only ever skipped one story, and that was Jupiter’s. I’ve listened to stories told by people with unusual voices. That’s not quite the point. It was just so grating, so slow, so uninteresting that I couldn’t make it through. I hate to leave a negative review for my favorite podcast, but this story missed the mark.

  35. Ironically, some the most sanctimonious commenters here seem to be the most lacking in empathy. There’s also an unfortunate “Hey, this guy’s being ‘different’! Let’s get him!” normie pitchfork-mob mentality on display in some of these comments.

    Jupiter sounded like an even Greg Proopsier version of Greg Proops. I found it gratingly flamboyant, and it irritated the hell out of me, but I still enjoyed listening to it. I’m glad that RISK! remains a “safe space” for the weirdos, and a refuge from the censorious demands of the perpetually, recreationally offended—even if the comments sections aren’t.

  36. It is only when i listened the new Podcast that people didn’t like Jupiter story. The first 5 minutes of him talking was a bit hard, i will give you that. But i kept on listening because something about the way his mind worked fascinated me so much.. and with his way of speaking I felt like the story really became a work of art, not just a story… just trying to image that a actual person lived that story and found it perfectly reasonable, for him everything he did the most natural thing. I loved the story!

  37. I enjoyed the story immensely, though I also recognized the subtle misogyny others have referred to. It was a fun ride to listen to, and I found it useful to be inside of the mind of a man who is engaging in manipulative behavior and does not know it.

    I do have one suggestion for the future, ONLY so that men (other genders as well, but particularly men) do not hear this and presume that this is acceptable/laudable behavior that they can emulate. Perhaps this can be achieved with some sort of statement at the beginning that acknowledges that the behavior is controversial, iffy, morally off…something to just point out that this is not normal. As a woman who has been on the receiving end of relationships with men who overidealized and overromanticized me (I know some of this was validated in movies, media, etc) and subtly manipulated me into their world/scheme and engaged in inappropriate attempts at grand gestures to get me back, I know the effect of media’s often unintended implicit acceptance or even encouragement of overromantic/manipulative behavior CAN lead men to repeat, thinking of themselves as heroes. So a short acknowledgement that this is not normal or even wrong before a great story where the protagonist is pretty unaware of his own bad judgment COULD help. That being said, it ain’t your job to fix the world. Just something to chew on. It’s not about making me feel better, just about making sure art is recognized as art and is not accidentally seen as a good example by someone who could do harm.

    I liked the episode, I love the show, and I appreciate you (especially including all the weird commercials) and what you do. Thanks!

  38. I have to agree with Michelle entirely. Not having a caveat or warning for Jupiter’s story is reckless. If you have the opportunity to be careful with people’s feelings why not take it? As a victim myself this story got under my skin and I couldn’t shake it. I understand the desire to provide stories from all angles and the value of an uncomfortable experience, but it’s not like this guy really had anything profound to say. I would have still listened to the story with a warning, I just would have been in the right headspace. Would the story have been ruined with a caveat? Is the story so good that it’s more important to not be ruined than to be mindful of those that listen?

  39. I will transcribe here what I said in the hosting segment prior to the story. I say Jupiter was “one of those idiosyncratic, eccentric, flamboyant people with a voice like you’ve never heard before. I know that Jupiter did a lot of drugs in his days. I think that that might have affected the extraordinary voice that he had.” Rex, I wonder how you might have scripted this trigger warning you wanted from me for this story?

    There are two places where I address this issue in more detail. One is the 18-minute monologue I made about this Jupiter Diego situation that is posted on the RISK! Patreon page at Patreon.com/risk for anyone who is a patron.

    The other is this Facebook post we made on the RISK! page there in July of 2015. I might as well cut and paste in full:

    Hey folks, this is Kevin. I want to address an issue we get emailed about a few times a week: Trigger Warnings.

    I’ve always said (including many times on the podcast) that the title of the series itself has always been meant to be a trigger warning. Not only that, but we mark the material “Explicit” everywhere it is posted and make clear that we don’t intend it for children. When I speak about the show in broader terms, I say we want it to be a place where people can share their most traumatic, or sensitive, or silly, or gross or emotional experiences. I always talk about it being a show where harsh surprises, sharp turns and unappetizing options pop up.

    Those experiences came as surprises to the people who lived through them and who are reliving them for you through storytelling. Their lives did not come with trigger warnings. At RISK!, we make a concerted effort to show what life is like, warts and all. Almost anywhere else, you can find the usual “socially acceptable” presentation of existence with lots of buffers in place and lots of “pre-positioning” from marketers before you’re exposed to a work, so that you aren’t made too uncomfortable.

    We’ve received complaints about lacking trigger warnings that made me stop, think and republish the episode with one added. We’ve also received complaints about lacking trigger warnings about stories that included no violence, sex or emotional abuse. Funny stories about poop or magic mushroom trips have managed to make some folks feel so unsafe as to have to write in to complain to us. If I stopped every ten minutes to have a serious chat with the listeners about how the next story will include the mention of poop two thirds of the way through its trajectory, and then come back on with the most calming tone I can muster to deliver “aftercare” for all who may have been made uncomfortable, each episode would be 10 minutes longer and feel more “kid-gloves” than befits the show. You might have noticed how overly-careful and spoiler-alerty it feels when Ira Glass tells the This American Life audience, “I have to warn you that the following story includes an acknowledgment of the existence of sex.” He has to do that because he’s on public radio and many listeners there feel it really is unsafe for it to be acknowledged that sex exists. RISK! defies such an approach.

    I’m aware of the trend in American colleges now where some feel that works like Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird or Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List are no longer appropriate texts for students to be exposed to, lest anyone be made to feel that the world is unsafe. I just disagree.

    However, I do not dismiss that some people suffer tremendously from PTSD. Many such folks have appeared on the show. I know that when rape, murder, abuse or other obviously emotional and traumatic issues come up, some people might have very good reason to think, “This might remind me of my emotional wounds right in the middle of a busy day. I should probably skip past this story.” And so, in most extreme cases like those, I DO warn the audience that something upsetting is coming. I may not use the actual words “trigger warning,” but I do give warning. With stories like “Slave” by Mollena Williams, “Jeremy” by Kyle Gest or “The Power” by Tori Weston, the listener is tipped off that we’re about to venture into more emotionally challenging territory. Sometimes at the very top of the episode. Sometimes right before the story begins. And oftentimes, repeatedly. I just choose to do this somewhat sparingly, so as to let the storytellers speak for themselves as much as possible, especially about more minor shocks.

    I’m also aware that, at another famous story show, the storytellers are coached to end everything like in a Hollywood movie, with a liberal, feel-good moral that resolves discomfort, along the lines of, “So everything is going to be okay now. And I’ll never forget that prejudice is bad.” I leave room for the storytellers on RISK! to end things less soothingly if they feel a less soothing ending is a more accurate reflection of their life as they see it. When I “outro” a story, I don’t often give an “aftercare” sort of speech. I try to walk the line between being an artist who helps people share the truth of their experiences, and being Dr. Phil.

    So, if you’re having trouble recommending the show to friends because we don’t include enough trigger warnings and aftercare, I’m sorry about that, but by all means, do what you feel is best. I don’t think we can alter the way we handle such issues now and retain a show of such real, raw power.

    Thanks for reading,

    Kevin

  40. The point that Michelle brought up has also been addressed in the hosting segment for the episode called Heart and Arrow. Some listeners want to be assured that RISK! runs stories in order to instruct listeners how to think and behave in their own lives. Some listeners want to be assured that RISK!’s reason for being is to endorse and promote the choices described and the attitudes exuded by each storyteller. Yes, we choose stories from a place of compassion and conscience, but no, we do not offer those assurances.

  41. I absolutely love when Jupiter says ” I did what I am sure what any of you would do. What any mature adult male under similar circumstances would do” Bahahahaha. Even though I am not a male I don’t think I ever thought I should take molly and then go to sleep ooorrrr dig a ditch and fill it with gasoline. Hahahaha. I love this podcast and all the crazy things people do – good and bad. Thanks Kevin!

  42. Kevin, I really appreciate your response. The fact that we’re talking about it and you’re willing to have a discussion is extremely admirable. I appreciate how you respond to kickback. How I would handle very specific stories, obviously not all of them, would just shortly say right before it, “hey, trigger warning for domestic abuse/rape/etc” which I think also implies that you don’t necessarily condone the behavior and kills two birds with one small easy stone. I don’t think it’s enough to have a blanket warning for the whole show. I know this is a podcast about difficult stories, but I get very into these stories and almost feel like I’m there sometimes. It’s just nice for the reminder to snap out of it, and be aware of the content. Also, how would you feel about discussing the issues yourself? Is that a tree you just would rather not climb? Thanks for what you do, thanks for listening.

  43. Actually using the words “Trigger Warning!” before a story would make me want to vomit, which would, of course, trigger those of our listeners who complain that the acknowledgment of the existence of the bodily function of vomiting on the show is a sensitive issue for them. I once read an article about trigger warnings that started with a trigger warning that the word “trigger” in the warning might trigger someone. Anyway, in the episode called “Triggers,” posted three weeks after this one, I talk about all this a little more in the first and second hosting segments. Definitely give it a listen. Those hosting segments are examples of the way I’ve usually gone about this sort of thing. In general, the way it has always worked is that if something is blatantly traumatic (physical violence, molestation, and so on) I will usually go ahead and include a spoiler in my hosting by suggesting that something violent or traumatic is coming up, but I try to keep it somewhat subtle. I try to keep it conversational and casual, like we’re having a dinner conversation and I’d like to suggest we veer into a more intense topic of conversation. In a case like this Jupiter Diego story, where some are concerned that the guy was overly romantic, I just don’t think hand-holding beforehand and an after-school special style instructional at the end are all that necessary.

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