Kickass News

Kickass News Podcast

Hosted by Hollywood producer and political media strategist Ben Mathis, KickAss News is a twice weekly podcast that features the most interesting personalities and thought leaders in politics, entertainment, tech, business, science, and more. Enjoy the podcast? Then please support the show and help keep us on the air by making a donation to our GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Another way you can support the show is to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review on iTunes to help keep us ranking strong on the top podcasts charts. For more information visit www.kickassnews.com. Thanks for listening!

99% Invisible's Roman Mars on How People, Politics, and Pandemics Impact Design
99% Invisible host Roman Mars discusses his new book why it’s taken him a decade to finally write a 99% Invisible book The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, all of the thought that this design fan put into the look of his first book, and some of the secret publishing considerations that determine everything from how many units get returned to whether a book gets sold by Costco.  We talk about the baseball player who became synonymous with stairs to nowhere and other a...

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H.R. McMaster Looks at America's Greatest Challenges to Come
Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster served in the US Army for 34 years and then as National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump.  He discusses what it was like to take over that job in the chaotic period following the firing of his predecessor Michael Flynn, how studying LBJ's mistakes during the War in Vietnam made him even more determined to provide the current Commander-in-Chief with straight-forward, unvarnished policy advice, and why he believes that some others in the White House might not have ha...

military nationalsecurity foreignpolicy DonaldTrump Russia China WhiteHouse HooverInstitution Army strategy

John Lithgow Takes on Trump with Rhyme and Verse
John Lithgow shares some of his favorite poems from his new book Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age and how a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous song inspired him to express his political voice through rhyme and verse.  He reveals that he originally wanted to go into fine art instead of acting, how his poetry books have returned him to his childhood love of drawing, and why the motley cast of characters around Donald Trump serve as endless sources of inspiration for his ...


Jeff Daniels and Billy Ray on Capturing the Real James Comey
Based on James Comey's memoir A Higher Loyalty, The Comey Rule is a two night television event that is written/directed by Oscar-nominee Billy Ray and stars Emmy-winner Jeff Daniels as the embattled FBI Director.  They join me on the podcast to open up about their own initial anger at James Comey over the 2016 Hillary Clinton probe and why they want to set the record straight about the man behind the two most controversial investigations of the 21st Century.  Jeff reveals what attracts him to roles that def...

Actor Richard Jenkins Discusses His Long Path to Hollywood Success
Oscar-nominated actor Richard Jenkins talks about his prolific career as one of Hollywood’s most reliable character actors and achieving fame later in life on the hit HBO series Six Feet Under.  He talks about some of his favorite films including Step Brothers and The Shape of Water, how director Guillermo del Toro gives actors a whole bible of background information on their characters, and the difference between working with the Coen Brothers and the Farrelly Brothers.  Richard discusses his role as a wor...

Actress Carrie Coon Is Riding a Hot Streak
The past 5 years have been an amazing ride for actress Carrie Coon with a near constant string of excellent performances in some of the best film and television of the past decade including The Leftovers, Fargo S3, The Sinner S2, Gone Girl, and The Post.  Now she says quarantine is the longest period of time that she has spent in her own house and it may be the first opportunity she has had to process the incredible leap that her career has taken over the past half-decade.  She tells me that the pandemic fe...

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Jack Black and Kyle Gass of Tenacious D
For more than 25 years, actors and musicians Jack Black and Kyle Gass have been performing as the rock satire band Tenacious D.  They’ve toured around the world, recorded Grammy-winning albums, started a music festival, made a tv show, made a movie, then made an animated movie, and now they’ve even put out a new graphic novel.  Today Kyle and Jack join me on the show as we get into how they’ve managed to outlast the lifespan of most bands and how satirizing rock bands has led to their playing with everyone ...

Former White House Photographer Pete Souza
As Official White House Photographer under Ronald Reagan and then Barack Obama, Pete Souza was an eyewitness to the unique and tremendous responsibilities of being the most powerful person on Earth.  Now he's the subject of a new documentary film titled The Way I See It.  Pete discusses the life of a White House photographer and what it was like to go from being a journalist on the outside looking in to being at the President’s side all day, every day.  He talks about the delicate balance between getting th...

photography journalism president history WhiteHouse Obama Reagan photographer

Chef David Chang
Chef David Chang shares that he originally wanted to be Tiger Woods not Wolfgang Puck, and he eventually got into cooking because he hated his job in finance.  He recalls learning in some of the best kitchens in New York and Tokyo, then rebelling against New York’s fine dining establishment, and how struggling to get Momofuku off the ground shaped his success.  Dave talks about his new Netflix series Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, smoking weed and touring Vancouver with Seth Rogen for the show, and exploring th...

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Neuroscientist David Eagleman on Our Ever-Changing Brain
Dr. David Eagleman is creator/host of PBS's The Brain, a professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, and CEO/founder of Neosensory, a company that builds the next generation of neuroscience hardware.  He overturns science's traditional understand of brain plasticity and explains how the mind is able to constantly adapt to suit different circumstances.  He shares how a child can still function with half his brain missing, how babies start modeling the world from the moment they are born, and what happe...

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Jon Meacham Remembers Civil Rights Hero John Lewis
Pulitzer-winning historian Jon Meacham recalls his 30 year friendship with the late Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis.  Meacham describes as an almost Biblical arc to John Lewis's life, and how Lewis’s Christian faith informed his activism.  He describes the horrible day in Selma, Alabama known as "Bloody Sunday," and how Lewis remained steadfast and at peace even as state troopers beat him within an inch of his life on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.  He discusses his final conversation with John Le...

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Erin Brockovich Is Still Fighting the Good Fight
20 years after the film Erin Brockovich raised awareness about water contamination, the real Erin Brockovich talks about how her that movie changed her life, the moment when she realized that she had to stand up for the citizens of Hinckley, California, and her outrage that dangerous levels of Chromium-6 still exist in the water of hundreds of municipalities across the U.S.  She explains why environmental regulators aren’t doing their jobs, and how she’s helped angry moms mobilize their communities to deman...


Greg Gutfeld Is Your Reluctant Self-Help Guru
Before Greg Gutfeld was a Fox News star and a New York Times bestselling author, he was a self-help writer for health magazines who had no idea what he was talking about. Now, after years of experience, he finally feels qualified to guide people on the journey of life with his new book The Plus: Self-Help for People Who Hate Self-Help.  Greg returns to the podcast to share some of the lame self-help advice he used to give in magazines like Maxim and Men’s Health and why he generally abhors self-improvement ...

Adam Carolla Takes on Cancel Culture and Hashtag Heroes
Adam Carolla takes on cancel culture and hashtag heroes.  He explains why he has given up on apologizing to people, why he’s standing by his friend Jimmy Kimmel during the late night show host’s blackface controversy, and why he believes that people who virtue signal on behalf others are really quietly racist.  He discusses his political philosophy, his impression of Donald Trump from his stint on Celebrity Apprentice, and how a segment producer on that show hoodwinked him into getting fired from the boardr...

Adam Carolla Takes on Cancel Culture and Hashtag Heroes
Adam Carolla takes on cancel culture and hashtag heroes.  He explains why he has given up on apologizing to people, why he’s standing by his friend Jimmy Kimmel during the late night show host’s blackface controversy, and why he believes that people who virtue signal on behalf others are really quietly racist.  He discusses his political philosophy, his impression of Donald Trump from his stint on Celebrity Apprentice, and how a segment producer on that show hoodwinked him into getting fired from the boardr...


Jim Belushi Wants to Heal the World
Jim Belushi is a man of many talents, actor, singer, dancer, and now legal cannabis farmer.  He shares how he’s using cannabis to combat the opioid crisis and heal vets suffering from PTSD, how high school football might have led to his brother John Belushi's tragic death, and why he believes that John would be alive today if he’d done more weed and less cocaine.  Jim discusses some of his best films and his two seasons on Saturday Night Live, how a man known as the "Smell of SNL" is helping him run Belushi...

Jim Belushi Wants to Heal the World
Jim Belushi is a man of many talents, actor, singer, dancer, and now legal cannabis farmer.  He shares how he’s using canibis to combat the opioid crisis and heal vets suffering from PTSD, how high school football might have led to his brother John Belushi's tragic death, and why he believes that John would be alive today if he’d done more weed and less cocaine.  Jim discusses some of his best films and his two seasons on Saturday Night Live, how a man known as the "Smell of SNL" is helping him run Belushi ...

Jeffrey Toobin on the Investigation of Donald Trump
CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin talks about his new book True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump.  He discusses why this was the hardest book he’s ever written, and how he managed to gain access to a number Robert Mueller’s lead investigators (including a few of those so-called "angry Democrats").  He reveals why Mueller declined to subpoena Donald Trump, why he never attempted to get ahold of Trump’s financial records, and why he ultimately stopped just short of saying that t...


CNN's Jim Sciutto on How Trump Takes on the World
CNN's chief national security correspondent and anchor of CNN NewsroomJim Sciutto discusses the Nixon-era origins of the so-called "Madman Theory" and how it applies to President Trump’s unpredictable approach to foreign policy.  He reveals that the President’s intelligence team deliberately avoids bringing up Russia for fear of upsetting him and how this has lead to a dangerous ignorance of America’s number one geopolitical foe.  Jim delves into the President’s fraught relationship with China, how Trump we...

Ambassador Susan Rice
Ambassador Susan Rice is currently at the top of Joe Biden's shortlist for Vice-President.  It's not hard to see why.  She established a good working relationship with Biden during the Obama Administration, and she has been at the table during the most pressing international crises of the past 30 years.  She talk about her family’s unique American story and how playing peacekeeper during her parents troubled marriage made her grow up fast but also prepared her for a life in international diplomacy.  She rec...

Paul Begala on How to "Fire" Donald Trump
Paul Begala, former strategist to Bill Clinton and CNN political commentator offers a game-plan for how Democrats can beat President Trump in November.  He starts be admitting what he didn’t understand about Donald Trump in 2016  and sharing which of the lessons learned in 2016 can be applied in 2020.  Paul tells the story of how the Obama White House warned the incoming Trump Administration about the threat of a global pandemic almost 4 years ago, and he outlines the best way for Joe Biden to address Trump...


The Today Show's Al Roker
Al Roker returns to the show to tell stories from The Today Show and his early days in local television including how he annoyed his way into his first gig as a TV weatherman, some of his worst on-air flubs, and what he loved about doing those quirky, feel-good segments at the end of your evening news.  He says every local news team has there own version of Ron Burgundy, recalls working with a young Maury Povich back when Maury was serious DC newsman, and how he once handled a racist comment from another ne...

The Today Show's Al Roker
Al Roker returns to the show to tell stories from The Today Show and his early days in local television including how he annoyed his way into his first gig as a TV weatherman, some of his worst on-air flubs, and what he loved about doing those quirky, feel-good segments at the end of your evening news.  He says every local news team has there own version of Ron Burgundy, recalls working with a young Maury Povich back when Maury was serious DC newsman, and how he once handled a racist comment from another ne...

Marketing Master Guy Kawasaki
Silicon Valley icon Guy Kawasaki recalls his childhood in Hawaii, his start in the jewelry business, and how his skills at jewelry sales came in surprisingly handy when he became chief evangelist for Macintosh. He talks about personally witnessing the genius and dark side of Apple founder Steve Jobs, he shares some rules that he calls "the Gospel According to Steve," and opens up about the argument that led him to quit Apple in the 90s.  He talks about honor and honesty in the tech industry, his litmus test...


Marketing Master Guy Kawasaki
Silicon Valley icon Guy Kawasaki recalls his childhood in Hawaii, his start in the jewelry business, and how his skills at jewelry sales came in surprisingly handy when he became chief evangelist for Macintosh. He talks about personally witnessing the genius and dark side of Apple founder Steve Jobs, he shares some rules that he calls "the Gospel According to Steve," and opens up about the argument that led him to quit Apple in the 90s.  He talks about honor and honesty in the tech industry, his litmus test...

Oliver Stone on Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon
Oscar-winning writer/director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Wall Street, JFK) discusses why he dropped out of Yale and volunteered to go fight in Vietnam, some of the horrors that he witnessed during that war, and how the black soldiers in his platoon opened his eyes to injustice and saved his life.  He talks about how writing a screenplay about the experience helped him process what he had been through in Vietnam, why it took him 16 years to get Platoon made, and how the ouster of Filipino strongman Ferdinand Mar...

Jennifer Palmieri Declares Independence from a Man's World
Jennifer Palmieri served as the former Communications Director to President Barack Obama and then for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.  She spent most of her career advocating for herself and for other women from "within the system," but now she says it is time from women to break from that system and rewrite the playbook in her new book She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man's World.  Jennifer looks back at the roots of the American feminist movement, the surprising historic...


Max Brooks Talks Sasquatches and Survival
Max Brooks (World War Z) discusses what a fictional Sasquatch massacre can teach us about the perils of eco-utopianism, what happens when man encroaches on nature, and those people who still refuse to wear a mask in public.  Max says people in the 21st Century are exchanging resilience and know-how for technological convenience - a trade-off that may not serve us very well when we’re put to the test in a true emergency like the COVID-19 crisis.  He talks about his childhood fascination with the legend of bi...

Ambassador John Bolton
Ambassador John Bolton reveals what he witnessed during his 17 tumultuous months as National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump.  Bolton shares how he reacted to Trump’s eagerness to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, why the second North Korea summit was so hastily put together, and what took place behind closed doors in Trump’s infamous one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.  He says the President rarely ever reads and recalls his frustrations at trying to educate a Trump ab...

Mythbusters' Adam Savage
Adam Savage (Mythbusters, MythBusters Junior) talks about building a working prototype of Marvel’s Iron Man suit for his series Savage Builds and what it was like to fly around with tiny jet engines strapped to his forearms.  He discusses how Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson helped him take to the skies in a real World War I dogfight, why Adam's attempt recreate one of World War II’s most bizarre contraptions was less than successful, and how it served as a lesson in the importance of embracing your fai...


Andrew Zimmern on Expanding Your Palate
Andrew Zimmern host of Bizarre Foods on The Travel Channel talks about how he became the man who’ll eat anything and some of the weirdest foods he’s tried over the years.  He reveals some of the strangest delicacies that turned out to be surprisingly good and whether he’s finally learned to love his old nemesis - the infamously stinky durian fruit.  He’ll discuss his broader mission to spread tolerance and understanding because as he puts it, "social change often starts with our stomachs."  He recalls how h...

Remembering Carl Reiner
This Monday June 29, the world lost comedy legend Carl Reiner at the ripe old age 98.   In his honor, we’re sharing a conversation that I had with Carl in 2017.  He talks about working with Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows, making The 2000 Year Old Man, and directing Steve Martin in The Jerk.  He also discusses his pride over his son director Rob Reiner's career, his thoughts on politics and Donald Trump, his enduring friendship with Mel Brooks, and how he stays sharp and spry well into his 90s. See omny...

Sir Michael Caine
Sir Michael Caine has starred in over 100 movies and won two Academy Awards, and today he shares stories and advice from his remarkable career.  He reveals why he never believed in taking advice from older movie stars, why he never wanted to be James Bond, and how the 1960’s made it cool to be a young cockney in the movies.  He recalls his humble working class beginnings in the projects of London known as the Elephant Castle, shares how he learned his famous discipline while serving in the Korean War, and a...


Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says that America overuses (and often MIS-uses) the military to achieve its strategic goals while neglecting other (and often better) non-military options.  He discusses how Congress and the last 5 Presidents have allowed many of those non-military instruments of power to wither and die in the three decades after the Cold War.  He suggests that the United States needs to be "less monastic and more Madison Avenue" in how we talk about the good we do around the world a...

Director Peter Medak on the Mad Genius of Peter Sellers
Director Peter Medak looks back on his filming of the famously disastrous Peter Sellers movie Ghost in the Noonday Sun for his new documentary The Ghost of Peter Sellers.  He discusses emotional toll that working with Peter Sellers took on him, why he thought that he would be the one director who could tame Sellers, and why he wanted to revisit that painful experience all these years later.  He talks about the mad genius and superstitions of Peter Sellers, and why Sellers was one only happy playing a charac...

Father's Day Special with Mike Birbiglia
Comedian Mike Birbiglia discusses his new book The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad including the seven reasons he originally never wanted to be a parent, the lies couples tell themselves when they decide to have a baby, and the scourge of parents who try to push babies on other people.  He opens up about he and his wife's initial troubles conceiving, reveals that President Barack Obama was the first person to learn that they were pregnant, and shares some pretty good parenting advice th...


Malcolm Gladwell Explores the Overlooked and Misunderstood
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, Talking to Strangers, Revisionist History podcast) talks about growing up in a Mennonite community in Ontario, Canada, his brief flirtation with conservatism in his youth, and how his father’s boundless curiosity inspired him to always ask questions.  We delve into the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the tragic George Floyd murder and some surprising parallels between African-Americans' relationship with the police and Britain’s heavy-handed approach to Irish Catholic...

history society race sociology

Fox News Sunday Host Chris Wallace
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace talks his five decades in broadcast journalism, following in the very big footsteps of his father Mike Wallace, what he’s learned from interviewing 7 different U.S. Presidents, and what it was like to date Walter Cronkite's daughter when he was a 16-year-old intern at CBS News.  Then he discusses his new book Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World.  He reveals how Harry Truman agonized over the decision to use the...

news history broadcasting politics fox journalism presidents

Michael Stuhlbarg Enters the Unsettling World of Shirley Jackson
Actor Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire, The Shape of Water) discusses his new film about the complicated marriage of horror writer Shirley Jackson and literary critic Stanley Heyman, how Heyman influenced Shirley Jackson’s work, and how the filmmakers of Shirley imbued the movie with a distinctively Jackson-esque style.  Michael also talks about his prolific career on stage and screen from training in mime with Marcel Marceau to working with directors like Guillermo del Toro and the Coen Brothers. See...

film movie horror literature acting biography shirleyjackson


Lisa Napoli Celebrates 40 Years of CNN
On the 40th Anniversary of CNN, journalist Lisa Napoli discusses the founding and "wild west" early years of the upstart network that set out to change how the news gets delivered and consumed.  Lisa reveals that few people to took Ted Turner seriously when he entered broadcasting and how Turner went from hating the news to founding the first all-news network in the basement of run-down former country club in Atlanta.  She talks about the skeptics who questioned whether there was a enough news to fill a who...

news television broadcasting journalism cnn cable

Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy
Former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says America is facing a loneliness crisis.  He discusses the many physical and mental impacts of feeling lonely and reveals that chronic loneliness is just as bad for you as smoking and obesity.  He opens up about his bouts of loneliness during his life, how he came to realize that it’s much larger problem than he ever realized, and the U.S. Congressman who confided in him about his own struggle with loneliness.  Vivek explains the difference between someone who is g...

science health medicine mentalhealth

Sian Clifford on the Million Dollar Quiz Show Heist
Actress Sian Clifford (Fleabag, Vanity Fair) talks about starring as Diana Ingram, the British woman accused of helping cheat Who Wants to Be a Millionaire out of a million bucks, in AMC's 3-part limited series Quiz.  She recalls her memories of growing up watching Who Wants to Be A Millionaire with her own family and how the game show became a national obsession across the UK (and then all across the world).  She talks about working with Michael Sheen and Matthew McFadden on Quiz, what it felt like to sit ...

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David Frum on Surviving the "Trumpocalypse"
David Frum, former speechwriter and special assistant to President George W Bush, talks about his new book Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy.  He discusses Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, how Trump is encouraging disinformation and dangerous conspiracy theories about this deadly virus, and whether Republicans may finally get on board with voting rights reforms now that it’s a literal matter of life and death.  He illuminates how President Trump’s dangerous pattern of decision making conti...

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The Who's Roger Daltrey
This is a rebroadcast of a November 5, 2018 interview with Roger Daltrey, founder/lead singer of The Who.  Roger discusses how the hardships experienced by Brits in WWII paved the way for the musical revolution of the 1960s, he recalls what it was like to be the poster-boys for the British “mod” movement (and why he never fully embraced the fad), and he remembers the “utter chaos” of performing at Woodstock. He talks about how he and Peter Townsend pushed each other’s creative boundaries during the making o...

rock music

Patton Oswalt on Comedy, Classic Films, and Turning 50
Patton Oswalt recalls coming up as a comedian at the dawn of the alt comedy scene, his first gig in Hollywood as a writer for Mad TV, and his prolific side gig as a script doctor on some of the biggest box-office hits of the past two decades.  He reminisces about his friendship with the owner of LA’s most famous revival cinema and his love of the films of Billy Wilder and Sidney Lumet.  Then Patton discusses his new Netflix special Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything, finding love again after the death of his ...

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Dr. Richard Haass Explains the World
Dr. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, returns to discuss his new book The World: A Brief Introduction. He explains the foreign relations implications of the current pandemic, his concerns that the crisis may lead to more nationalism and isolationism instead of greater cooperation, and what the pandemic might mean for US-China relations. He addresses why terms like "world order" and "globalism" are such hot buttons for many Americans and why the negatives of globalism and trade o...

diplomacy foreignpolicy internationalrelations worldaffairs

General Stanley McChrystal on Leadership
General Stanley McChrystal talks about the myths and reality of leadership.  He shares how he came to reassess the legacy of his military hero General Robert E. Lee in the aftermath of Charlottseville, how he personally learned that the man at the top often gets credit he doesn’t deserve, and why leaders aren’t always judged by their results.  He discusses a 15th century Chinese admiral who has become the symbol for that country’s global ambitions, why he didn’t realize that Coco Chanel was a real person, a...

military leadership

Peter Bogdanovich and TCM's Ben Mankiewicz
Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz talk about TCM's new podcast The Plot Thickens: I'm Still Peter Bogdanovich.  Ben reveals that he was initially nervous to meet Peter because of a longstanding controversy involving Ben’s grandfather, Orson Welles, and Citizen Kane.  Peter shares stories about his friendships with Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, John Ford, and many others, and how their advice kept him from making some rookie mistakes when he eventually got t...

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Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz
Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Rec) talk about their improv training at Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade, the fateful day they joined forces to become the improv team of Middleditch & Schwartz, and how they still get a kick out of trying to make each other crack up on stage.  They reveal what it’s like to make-up a 45 minute play as they go along, how they keep as many as 20 characters straight (and even switch characters during a performance), and what happens when ...

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Comedy Writer Alan Zweibel
Comedy writer Alan Zweibel starting his career selling jokes for seven dollars apiece to the last of the Borscht Belt standups, some of the old comedians who are still using the same material that he wrote for them 40 years ago, and his very first manager, who served as the inspiration for Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose.  He recalls his early attempt at performing, carpooling to clubs with a young Billy Crystal, and the night he bombed on stage but caught the attention of Lorne Michaels.  He his shares h...

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Wagner Moura on Diplomats and Drug Lords
Wagner Moura discusses how his first career as a journalist informs his acting, what it was like to play ruthless drug lord Pablo Escobar on Netflix’s Narcos, and how he gained (and then lost) all of that weight for the role.  He talks about his fascination with the late UN diplomat Sergio de Mello, playing him in the new film Sergio, and how Iraq might have turned out very differently if de Mello had lived to complete his mission there.  He says working with war correspondent and documentary filmmaker Greg...

entertainment film politics humanrights diplomacy unitednations


Nathan Lane Finally Gets a Stunt Double!
Nathan Lane talks about why his fans always think he’s Jewish, how his older brother inspired him to get into acting, and some of roles he’s played on Broadway in shows like from Guys and Dolls to The Producers.  He laments the that the Coronavirus could have a lasting impact on the theatre, but says that he is hoping to soon realize his lifelong dream of starring in Death of a Salesman on Broadway.  He discusses starring in the return of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, how the new season transports the show fro...

entertainment tv theater broadway

Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry
Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry talk about their new film Bad Therapy, and how the filmmaker's own nightmare experience with a couples counselor inspired the movie.  Alicia shares memories from Clueless, and stories from working with playwright David Mamet and the late Peter O’Toole.  Rob talks about his original audition for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, some of the low-budget, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants field pieces that he did in the early days of the show, and why he always gets cast as creepy ...

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Larry the Cable Guy
Comedian Dan Whitney talks about the origins of his popular character "Larry the Cable Guy," his education in southern redneck culture while going to college in Florida, and how Larry went from being a bit he did on talk radio shows to a wildly popular stage act.  He shares some of his comedic inspirations, how he tests out new jokes on Twitter, and what he does when people on social media don’t like his politics.  He also discusses what touring with his pal Jeff Foxworthy and his unlikely friendship with c...

comedy humor comedian standup


Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee on the Promise/Peril of Genetic Research
Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee is a Pulitzer Prize-winning best-selling author and a doctor at the forefront of cancer and genetic research.  He talks about a new two-part documentary that he and Ken Burns produced for PBS titled The Gene: An Intimate History.  He discusses the fascinating history of the genetic research and those scientists who have worked to understand heredity.  He shares how the eugenics movement set legitimate genetic research back in the early 20th Century and why, even today, the specter o...

genetics disease medicine genes coronavirus crispr covid19

Dr. David Kessler Talks Processed Foods and Pandemics
Former FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler discusses how his own battle to control his weight helped inspire him to write a book about the health dangers of processed foods.  He explains the difference between how our bodies digest fast carbs and slow carbs and why fad diets that cut out carbs all together might not be such a good idea.  David outlines the long list of diseases that can be traced to heavy consumption of processed foods, some of the tricks that the food industry employs to mislead consumers a...

food health medicine coronavirus

Vincent Cassel on Westworld S3's Dystopian Future
Actor Vincent Cassel (Ocean's 12, Black Swan, Jason Bourne) talks about joining the cast of one of his favorite TV series Westworld, playing a reclusive billionaire with a dark view of humanity, and how his character attempts to make order out of chaos.  Vincent discusses how Westworld Season 3 deals with the very real problem of big data (and who controls it) and says that it has inspired him to be a lot more careful about the information that he shares on his devices.  He also reminisces about the career ...

television future series acting westworld artificialintelligence bigdata


Vincent Cassel on Westworld S3's Dystopian Future
Actor Vincent Cassel (Ocean's 12, Black Swan, Jason Bourne) talks about joining the cast of one of his favorite TV series Westworld, playing a reclusive billionaire with a dark view of humanity, and how his character attempts to make order out of chaos.  Vincent discusses how Westworld Season 3 deals with the very real problem of big data (and who controls it) and says that it has inspired him to be a lot more careful about the information that he shares on his devices.  He also reminisces about the career ...

television future series acting westworld artificialintelligence bigdata

Tom Pelphrey Joins Netflix's Ozark
Actor Tom Pelphrey talks about playing Laura Linney's brother in Season 3 of Ozark and what it’s like to work with Jason Bateman as a director.  He also discusses his upcoming role as legendary Hollywood director Joseph Mankiewicz in David Fincher’s film Mank.  He recalls his early days working on the soap operas Guiding Light and As the World Turns, keeping up with the grueling production schedule of daytime television, and how it requires an actor to memorize fast and think on their feet.  He discusses th...

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Newt Gingrich Reports from Italy's COVID-19 Crisis
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich reports on the Coronavirus crisis from Italy, where his wife Callista serves as U.S. Ambassador the Vatican.  He offers some lessons for America from Italy’s early failure to stop the spread, some tips from what he say of South Korea’s successful containment of the virus, and his own theory of how COVID-19 made it’s way from China to Milan.  He also talks about how the pandemic will affect US-China relations, how he hopes it could lead to regime change in Iran, and ...

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Vice's Jesse Angelo and Isobel Yeung
Vice Media’s President of Global News and Entertainment Jesse Angelo and Vice reporter Isobel Yeung discuss the move of Vice's flagship television program VICE from HBO to Showtime.   Isobel talks about her groundbreaking coverage of the Syrian civil war and China’s forced detention of Uighur muslims.  She shares what’s it like doing serious journalism in authoritarian nations where media is tightly controlled, and Jesse discusses the complicated process of keeping his reporters safe in those places.  Jess...

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Neurotic Filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld
Director Barry Sonnenfeld (The Addams Family, Men in Black, Get Shorty) talks recalls his first gig out of film school as a cameraman for adult films, working with Joel and Ethan Coen on their debut picture Blood Simple, and why you never want to receive a cake on a Coen Bros movie.  Barry discusses his difficulties working with Penny Marshall on Big, how Rob Reiner taught him about something called “the silent schmuck,” and why he and Danny Devito had such a hard time convincing a studio to make Get Shorty...

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