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Master storytellers: Ira Glass and Etgar Keret share secrets of their craft

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“This American Life” host Ira Glass and celebrated Israeli author Etgar Keret met on Wednesday night for “Stories, Podcasts & Other Animals,” an hour-and-a-half conversation that delved into their work as consummate storytellers, Glass’s Hebrew skills and what makes a story.

The two men, one Israeli, the other American, and nine years apart in age, are deeply comfortable with one another, close enough to tease one another onstage as they drew closer to their topic of storytelling and how they each accomplish that task.

They laugh a lot, and the audience is often laughing along with them.

“We recognized that we both need the stories,” said Keret. “And we both tell stories differently. It’s a good starting point for a friendship.”

That was their premise on Wednesday night, and they were off, for the next hour-plus, using different stories, some told on “This American Life” or in Keret’s books, to illustrate how differently they define storytelling.

The sold-out auditorium of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art was filled with local celebrities and podcasters, including Channel 12 anchor and Unholy podcast co-host Yonit Levi and vocalist Shai Tsabari.

“Half of the audience are people who work in news and TV and radio,” said Keret at one point.

But everyone’s attention was focused on stage, where Keret was comfortably slouched in his gray chair, while Glass, elegantly attired in suit and oxfords, was busy throughout, shuffling notes, using his laptop and tablet to show photos and playing clips from “This American Life,” a weekly podcast on US National Public Radio.

“It took 2,000 years for Ira to get here,” quipped Keret, ordering Glass to say something in........

© The Times of Israel

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