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Kickass News

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!
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Now displaying: 2018
Sep 20, 2018

Sir Richard Branson talks about The Virgin Group philosophy, why he likes to act fast when launching a new business, and how many of his best ideas came from his own desires and frustrations as a consumer.  He gives advice to young entrepreneurs and shares what he’s learned from his mistakes.  He reveals his reasons for selling Virgin America to Alaska Air, and he outlines his vision of the future with Virgin Galactic and his latest venture Virgin Hyperloop One.  Plus he talks about his strange lunch with Donald Trump, his most harrowing adventures, and his habit of chopping off people’s neckties.

Order Sir Richard Branson's new book FINDING MY VIRGINITY on Amazon or download the audio book at Audible.  Keep up with Richard Branson at www.virgin.com or on Twitter at @richardbranson.  Today’s episode is sponsored by Heineken and I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics podcast  

Sep 17, 2018

Fox News' politics editor Chris Stirewalt discusses the history of American populism, how economic resentment fuels populism even in times of huge prosperity, and why the will of the people doesn’t always make for great policy.  He discusses why populist leaders are so prone to hucksterism and easy answers including one politician who literally started out as snake oil salesman, and why it’s a good thing that most populist leaders never actually get to govern.  He talks about how the least likely populist President Teddy Roosevelt's progressive Bull Moose Party impacted the GOP for over a century and how George Wallace shifted the focus from economic populism to cultural populism.  He explains why Pat Buchanan is the grandfather of Trumpism and how Ross Perot invented the trope of the businessman who can fix Washington.  Plus we talk about the time America flirted with electing a self-professed socialist and radical, why the election of 1864 still gives Chris hope, and why modern aspiring populists would do well to study Andrew Jackson's appeal to immigrants.

Order Chris Stirewalt's book Every Man a King: A Short, Colorful History of American Populist on Amazon, subscribe to his podcast Perino and Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What wherever you like to listen, and follow him on twitter at @Chris Stirewalt.  Today’s episode was sponsored by Heineken, Emma Email Marketing, NFL Podcasts, and Espresso Monster.

Sep 13, 2018

Comedian Sam Morrill talks about getting his start as an intern on the Colbert Report and breaking into the New York comedy scene.  He reveals why dating and standup don't always mix and why his therapist misses him when he's on the road.  He talks about some of the jokes that have gotten him in trouble with social justice warriors on the internet and how he handles the moral outrage machine on social media. Plus borscht belt comedy, the worst gigs ever, #MeToo, and more. 

Don't miss Sam's new standup special Sam Morrill: Positive Influence on Friday 9/14 at 11PM ET/PT on Comedy Central. Visit Sam online at www.sammorrill.com and follow him on twitter at @SamMorrill.  Today’s episode was sponsored by Heineken and the Move the Sticks Podcast.

Sep 8, 2018

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson returns to discuss the mutually beneficial relationship between war-makers and star-gazers. He says the military often serves as a source of creative inspiration for astrophysicists and shares some of the unexpected breakthroughs that emerged from government funded defense projects. Then Neil weighs in on President Trump’s proposed Space Force. He cautions that just because Donald Trump suggested it doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad idea, and in fact, he suggested just such an idea during the George W. Bush Administration. He recommends that a Space Force shouldn’t just protect America and our Space assets from enemies but from asteroids and space junk as well. Neil describes what a full-blown space war might look like, and it’s probably not what you’re imagining. Plus we talk about a crazy scheme to weaponize asteroids, the power of the words “I don’t know,” and Neil suggests that America needs a “Truth Force” in addition to a Space Force.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military is available Tuesday (9/11/18) on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold. For more fun stuff visit www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson, subscribe to his podcast StarTalk Radio wherever you like to listen, and follow Neil Degrasse Tyson on twitter at @NeilTyson. Today’s episode was sponsored by Heineken, Emma Email Marketing, Bombas, and NFL Podcasts.

Sep 6, 2018

Mark Leibovich, Chief National Correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, follows up his #1 bestseller THIS TOWN with a probing examination of pro-football at a moment of peak success and high anxiety BIG GAME: THE NFL IN DANGEROUS TIMES.  This native Bostonian apologizes for those famously annoying Patriots fans, and discusses the Patriots superfan in the White House and Trump’s weird obsession with Tom Brady.  He offers an unprecedented glimpse inside the one club that Donald Trump could never join…the exclusive group of 32 billionaire NFL owners known as “The Membership.”   He reveals how Patriots owner Robert Kraft whines about not getting credit for the team’s success and some comments about Kraft’s love of New York that that have riled fans in Beantown.  We talk about the rivalry between Kraft and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Mark recalls losing a drinking contest with Jones on the famously raucous Cowboys bus.  He discusses fans hatred of Roger Goodell’s astronomical salary and why the “Membership” still protects the much maligned NFL Commissioner.  He reveals just how worried owners were about the national anthem controversy and how it shined a light on the startling racial disparities in pro-football.  Plus we talk about deflategate, Superbowl excess, concussions, and ask “has America has reached peak football?”

Order Mark Leibovich's book BIG GAME: THE NFL IN DANGEROUS TIMES on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with Mark at www.markleibovich.com or on twitter at @MarkLeibovich.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Heineken, GooglePlay Audiobooks, The Dave Dameshek Football Program, and Espresso Monster.

Sep 3, 2018

Ambassador Wendy Sherman was the lead negotiator on the Iran Nuclear Agreement, and she writes about it in her new book titled
Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence.  Today she recalls working with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to halt North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in the 90’s, and how they came close to an agreement only to see their efforts derailed by the chaos of the 2000 election.  She explains why negotiating with North Korea is always "one part diplomacy and one part absurdity," she recalls her personal interactions with Kim Jung Il, and weighs in on how his successor Kim Jung Un measures up.  Ambassador Sherman talks about the many months of diplomacy (both covert and overt) that went into the nuclear agreement with Iran, how much was lost when President Trump decertified the deal,
and what her colleagues from across the negotiating table are saying about it.  She explains why the negotiation was a lot like solving a Rubik’s Cube, just how heated things got in the behind closed doors, and why sometimes tactics are no substitute for pure raw human emotion.

Order Ambassador Wendy Sherman's book Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence is available on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Follow Ambassador Sherman on Twitter at @WendyRSherman.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Heineken, NFL Podcasts, and ZipRecruiter.

Aug 30, 2018

Republican strategist Rick Wilson was one of the very first conservatives to oppose Donald Trump and a co-founder of the Never Trump movement.  Today he enumerate the many reasons why Trump is so abhorrent to him, how his opposition to Trump has caused him to feel like a pariah in his own party, and how he gets far more death threats from crazed Trump-supporters than he ever got from Democrats.  He calls out the “vichy Republicans” in Washington who sold out out to Trump, and singles out former GOP Chairman Reince Priebus for special condemnation as the one person who could have stopped Trump from running away with his party’s nomination.  He talks about the island of misfit toys that make up the President’s inner circle, how any person with experience and integrity the inevitably leaves the Trump White House with his reputation in tatters, and we try to make sense of what has happened to Rick’s former boss Rudy Giuliani.  Rick picks apart what he calls the “But Gorsuch” argument, looks at the potential field of Republican challengers in 2020, and he speaks frankly about inevitable fallout of the Trump Presidency and the long road ahead as the GOP struggles to rebuild its brand.

Order Rick Wilson’s book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever on Amazon or Audible.  Follow Rick on Twitter at @TheRickWilson.  Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay Audiobooks, Emma Email Marketing, and RelentlessMV.

Aug 27, 2018

As the president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks has long worked to foster more civilized and productive discourse, and now he is exploring the art of disagreement on his new podcast The Arthur Brooks Show.  Arthur says the answer is not to stop talking with people on the opposite side of the political spectrum but to talk to each other better.  Arthur describes how social media lowers our inhibitions and makes us meaner, he discusses America’s addiction to moral outrage as a form of virtue signaling, and says contemptuous political debates can actually impact our health or even lower our immune system.  He talks about the science of persuasion and how we change our minds, why people take politics so personally, and recommends that everyone take a 2 week vacation from politics every now and then. 

Subscribe to The Arthur Brooks Show on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you like to listen.  Visit the American Enterprise Institute at www.aei.org and follow Arthur on twitter at @ArthurBrooks.  Today's podcast is sponsored by and Ladder Life Insurance.

Aug 23, 2018

Rob Riggle (The Hangover, Step Brothers) shares how a running joke spawned his latest project and what it’s like to play a "heightened version of himself" in Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy.  Rob recalls his 23 years in the Marines, what it was like handling public affairs in a country where people wanted to chop your head off, how he managed to juggle his military service with his comedy career, and his fateful decision to pass up pilot school to try his hand at standup.  He talks about studying improv at the New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade, his strange interview with Lorne Michaels when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, and why he thought he blew it during his big auditioned for The Daily Show.  

Watch Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy for free on Sony Crackle beginning August 23.  Follow Rob Riggle on twitter at @Rob Riggle, and subscribe to his podcast Riggle’s Picks on Apple Podcasts or wherever you like to listen.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Emma Email Marketing, RelentlessMV, and Ladder Life Insurance.

Aug 20, 2018

National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner has studied the the world's "blue zones" the 5 areas where people live the longest, and today he shares their secrets. He shares how calorie restriction can lengthen your life, what kind of exercises are best for longevity and mobility, and why loners rarely live to be 100.  He talks about an island in Italy where the men outlive the women, why people with daughters live longer than those with sons, and how modern conveniences are driving the world’s blue zones to extinction.  Then he discusses the science of happiness including why people actually get happier with age, how money really can buy happiness (but only to a point),
and why genetics play a bigger role than you might think.  Plus he reveals the one factor that matters most to your happiness and longevity even more than exercise and healthy eating.

Order Dan Buettner's books The Blue Zones, The Blue Zones SolutionThrive, and The Blue Zones of Happiness on Amazon or Audible.  Visit Dan's website at www.bluezones.com and follow Dan on Twitter at @BlueZones.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Hidden Truth Podcast and Ladder Life Insurance.

Aug 16, 2018

Greg Gutfeld discusses his new book The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from The Five and how it gave him a unique opportunity troll his own work.  He talks about his political evolution starting out at liberal enclave UC Berkeley, his problem with "mob thinking," and how extremism on both the left and the right led him to Libertarianism.  He recalls his early days working at the Huffington Post with his best buddy Andrew Breitbart and how a prank involving costumed dwarves got him fired as editor of Stuff Magazine.  Then he shares how his quirky little late night show Red Eye became a hit on the unlikeliest of networks by giving Fox News viewers a much needed break from 24 hour politics and stoners an alternative to infomercials.  He reveals how he’s broadening the Fox News demographic one unicorn at a time, how thrash metal helps him bridge the political divide,
and how he mostly manages to behave on The Five.  Plus Gutfeld talks about the scourge of British lad culture, cute pet videos, and Fox News’s next big hit...a talk show hosted by a dolphin.

Order The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from The Five on Amazon or Audible.  Watch Greg on Fox News weekdays on The Five and Saturdays on The Greg Gutfeld Show.  Subscribe Greg's podcast The One with Greg Gutfeld on Fox News Radio, Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Stitcher or wherever you like to listen.  Visit Greg’s website at www.ggutfeld.com and follow him on twitter at @GregGutfeld.  Special thanks to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for hosting our interview.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Emma and RelentlessMV.

Aug 13, 2018

Topher Grace discusses playing David Duke in Spike Lee's latest film Blackkklansman about Ron Stallworth, the black cop who infiltrated the KKK.  Topher talks about the agony of reading David Duke’s autobiography for the role, why Duke still denies that he was ever fooled by a black man, and how Duke was using phrases like “America First” and “Make America Great Again” long before Trump.  Topher shares how director Spike Lee helped him play the king of all racists, what it was like to screen the film to a 10 minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, and how he hopes releasing the movie on the one year anniversary of the violent protests in Charlottesville may help to spur a dialogue about race and hate in America.  Plus Topher gets a Twitter shout out from the not so "grand wizard" himself.

Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman is now showing in theaters.  Check your local listings for show times or visit www.focusfeatures.com/blackkklansman.  Follow Topher on twitter at @TopherGrace.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Purple Mattress and the Move the Sticks Podcast.

Aug 9, 2018

Jenna Elfman talks about joining the cast of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead, shares her strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse, and reveals how working on the show got her thinking about her own family's emergency preparedness.  She discusses her first experience with a "walker" on set, how doing her own stunts has made her a bit of a badass in the eyes of her two young sons, and what it was like to interact with The Walking Dead’s diehard fans at Comicon.  Plus Jenna talks about how she and her husband learned that the couple that podcasts together stays together and whether it's time to bring back her other hit TV series Dharma and Greg for the Trump-era.

Season 4 of Fear the Walking Dead returns this Sunday, August, 12 at 9/8C on AMC.  Visit www.amc.com for more information.  Check out Jenna and her husband's podcast Kicking and Screaming on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow Jenna on twitter at @JennaElfman.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Monster Espresso and GooglePlay.

Aug 6, 2018

Journalist Michael Scott Moore went to Somalia to write an article about Somali pirates only be kidnapped and held hostage for 977 days as his mother tried to come up with his ransom.  He discusses his captivity, his one daring escape attempt, and how he didn’t even believe it when he was finally released.  He discusses how pirates use the media to drive up their ransom demands, their shocking naiveté about America, and how the man known as the Somali pirate kingpin didn't even know about US policy against paying for hostages.  He shares how one of his guards rationalized being a muslim and a pirate, why the supposed ideological motives for Somali piracy are b.s., and the strange fate that befell his pirate captors after he left.

Order Michael Scott Moore's book The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast on Amazon or Audible.  Visit his website at www.radiofreemike.net and follow him on twitter at @MichaelSctMoore.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Monster Espresso and GooglePlay.

Aug 2, 2018

Newlywed comedian and "elder millennial" Iliza Shlesinger returns to talk about her new comedy special and give me a little advice for my own upcoming nuptials.  She defends a bride’s right to be a "princess" on her special day, explains why it’s never as simple as just "saying yes to the dress," and makes the case for doing away with the traditional bouquet toss.  Iliza also reveals how her walk down the aisle wasn’t exactly what she planned (and neither was the groom’s reaction!) and why she suddenly had to cut her European honeymoon short.  She talks about how this milestone has influenced her act, how she got to shoot her latest comedy special on an aircraft carrier, and weighs in on everything from online dating and who makes the first move to shamanic journeys and the most terrifying sound of all...peacocks!

Watch Iliza Shlesinger's new comedy special ILIZA SHLESINGER: ELDER MILLENNIAL on Netflix.  Follow her on Twitter at @Iliza and visit www.iliza.com for more fun stuff.  Some of her upcoming tour dates include Honolulu, HI (8/4), Calgary, CA (8/12), Edmonton, CA (8/18), and Portland, OR (8/24 & 8/25).  Today's podcast is sponsored by Purple Mattress and GooglePlay.

Jul 30, 2018

Comedian Bo Burnham discusses making his directorial debut with his critically acclaimed film EIGHTH GRADE which explores the humor and horrors of modern adolescence.  He talks about why he went to great lengths to avoid nostalgia in his portrayal of life in middle school and how casting a real 13 year old girl kept him honest.  He shares how he drew inspiration from watching hours of web videos by middle schoolers, how much the internet has changed since he made his own Youtube debut in 2006, and why he doesn’t judge millennials for their addiction to social media.  He reveals why he only allowed his lead actress to read the script once before shooting and how the comedian known for very BIG humor learned to appreciate the small moments.  Plus a few words of wisdom for kids going through those awkward years!

EIGHTH GRADE is now playing in theatres nationwide. For more information and showtimes, visit www.eighthgrade.movie.  Also check out www.boburnham.com and follow him on twitter at @BoBurnham.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Dollar Shave Club and GooglePlay.

Jul 26, 2018

Famed attorney and lifelong Democrat Alan Dershowitz says even though he make not like Donald Trump's policies, the President is entitled to the same rights as any other American and impeachment is a clearly defined Constitutional procedure not political theatre.  He explains exactly what is and is NOT an impeachable offense, why even a criminal act may not necessarily lead to impeachment, and how this applies to Presidents from Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.  According to Dershowitz, President Trump has every right to fire the FBI director, shut down investigations, and pardon anyone he wants...perhaps even including himself.  He warns against a dangerous trend of criminalizing politics on both sides, argues that the Mueller investigation runs the risk of abusing attorney client privilege, and asks where has the ACLU been throughout it all?  Plus he rates Rudy Giuliani’s performance as Trump’s attorney, weighs in on the President’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and advises that Trump should absolutely NOT agree to an interview

with the Mueller investigation.

Order Alan Dershowitz's book THE CASE AGAINST IMPEACHING TRUMP on Amazon or Audible and follow him on twitter at @AlanDershowitz.  Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay.

Jul 23, 2018

Comedian Jim Gaffigan opens up about his wife/writing partner Jeannie’s brain tumor scare and how she was the first person to suggest using it in his new comedy special JIM GAFFIGAN: NOBLE APE.  Jim reveals how trial and error led him back to his own authentic voice as a comedian, how he gets inside the head of the audience and plays his own worst critic on stage, and why he’s making fewer and fewer food jokes.  He discusses why he’s breaking free of the Netflix model for his latest comedy special and why he’s taken a number of dramatic film roles in no less than 13 films over the next year.  Plus Jim Gaffigan riffs on the mixed blessing of hot pockets, the worst part about getting a colonoscopy, and the hardest comedy gig in the world...opening for the Pope.

Comedy Dynamics presents Jim Gaffigan's newest comedy special JIM GAFFIGAN: NOBLE APE in theaters, OnDemand, iTunes, Amazon, and all of your favorite digital platforms.  There's eve an album available.  Follow Jim on Twitter at @jimgaffigan and visit Jim's website for tour dates and other fun stuff at www.jimgaffigan.com.  

Jim's upcoming live shows include Kettering, OH (7/27), Clarkson, MI (7/28), Atlantic City (8/4), Bethlehem, PA (8/5) Santa Rosa, CA (8/9), Fresno, CA (8/12), Casper, WY (8/13) the Iowa State Fair (8/14), ACharleston, SC (8.17).

Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay, Dollar Shave Club, Purple Mattressand Morning Brew.

Jul 19, 2018

In the wake of the bizarre Trump-Putin Summit, intelligence expert Malcolm Nance says Trump has gone from being an unwitting asset of Russia to a willing asset deliberately undermining NATO, the European Union, and even his own country.  Nance says Donald Trump has betrayed his oath to uphold the Constitution and is the closest thing America's seen to another Benedict Arnold.  He reveals Russia’s broader efforts to undermine US and the influential Americans enabling Russian interference including the most powerful gun-rights organization in the country, the politician known Putin’s man in Congress, and the alt-right media baron he calls “the American Goebbles.”  What’s Vladimir Putin’s end-game?  Malcolm Nance says Putin's ultimate goal is to dismantle western democracy itself!

Order Malcolm Nance's new book The Plot to Destroy Democracy:
How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West on Amazon or Audible.  Follow him on Twitter at @Malcolm Nance.  Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay.

Jul 16, 2018

Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes talks about how he survived a full 8 years in the White House, his close friendship with President Barack Obama, and what it was like to travel the world representing America.  Ben says the Arab Spring taught him that sometimes hope and change have to take a back seat to pragmatism and the big picture.  He reveals how he secretly worked with the Pope to reopen relations with Cuba, how sleeplessness led to some frayed nerves during the Iran nuclear negotiations, and how wild conspiracy theories around Benghazi continue to follow him even today.  He throws some cold water on Trump’s accusation that President Obama ordered the FBI to investigate him, discusses how he and Obama emotionally processed Trump’s 2016 victory, and talks about the somber mood on President Obama's final foreign trip as he tried to console/encourage other world leaders like Angela Merkel.  Plus the we talk about the Syrian red line, Hillary Clinton’s private server, sanctions against Russia, and Trump’s North Korean photo-op.

Order Ben's book The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House on Amazon or Audible and follow him on twitter at @BRhodes.  Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay and Morning Brew.

Jul 12, 2018

Rob Reiner returns to talk about the long road to making his latest film Shock and Awe about the journalists who "got it right" about WMD in Iraq and why he says Americans still may not be ready to deal with the mistakes of the Iraq War.  How discusses the lesser known news syndicate that uncovered the truth about WMD and why the mainstream media at the time ignored all the warning signs.  He talks about his love for classic newsroom films like All the President's Men and his urgency to make a film about great journalism at a time when the free press and the truth are under greater assault than ever.  Rob Reiner gives an update on his group the Committee to Investigate Russia, he cautions that the rhetoric on the Left treads a thin line between energizing their base and energizing the other side, and we ponder how Archie Bunker went from a punchline to a political movement.

Rob Reiner's movie Shock and Awe opens in theaters Friday, July 13.  Follow Rob Reiner on Twitter at @RobReiner and learn more about The Committee to Investigate Russia at www.investigaterussia.org.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Adiamor JewelryGooglePlay and Morning Brew.

Jul 9, 2018

Bestselling humorist David Sedaris talks about why he doesn’t do social media, how a fitbit has come to rule his life, and his irritation with the British habit of bullying Americans into drinking.  David shares how watching his father grow old has him thinking about his own mortality and how he keeps politics from coming between him and his Trump-supporting dad.  David Sedaris says his heavy travel schedule has liberated him from the watching the news and he couldn't be happier about it.  Plus he shares a few of his favorite travel tips and regional insults from around the globe.

Order David Sedaris's book Calypso on Amazon or Audible.  For more, visit www.davidsedarisbooks.com.  Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay and Morning Brew.

Jul 5, 2018

Astrophysicist Adam Frank offers an explanation for why we have yet to made contact with extraterrestrials and says it is highly likely that many of ten billion trillion planets in the universe have hosted technologically advanced alien civilizations.  He discusses three possible fates that may have befallen those civilizations and how studying other planets could help us save our own.  He says that climate science actually holds consistent truths across all planets that have atmospheres and if we can predict climate change on Mars, we are certainly able to predict climate change here on earth. Plus Adam talks about the significance of the recent discovery of methane gas on Mars, his experience as a science consultant on Marvel’s Dr Strange,
and why he doesn’t like the term "alien."

Order Adam Frank's book Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth on Amazon or Audible.  Keep up with Adam at www.adamfrankscience.com or on Twitter at @AdamFrank4.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Outside the Box podcast.

Jul 2, 2018

The Simpsons's longest-serving writer/producer Mike Reiss celebrates the 30th anniversary of the longest running show in TV history and shares stories, scandals, and gossip about working with America’s most iconic cartoon family.  He talks about his early days writing for the Harvard Lampoon and why Lampoon alums make up half the writers rooms in Hollywood.  He recalls working on The Tonight Show, how his only meeting with Johnny Carson was just like being a guest on his show, and a Carnac joke taught him that there’s just no science to comedy.  He discusses coming on board the first episode of The Simpsons, why Fox had little faith in the first primetime cartoon since The Flintstones, and why The Simpsons became a cultural phenomenon right out of the gate.  He reveals that Simpsons characters are just bad impersonations of old movie stars, how the writers add special guest roles into the script just to meet their childhood heroes, and Mike shares a few of favorite celebrity guests and some of the ones that got away.  He talks about the fans' love/hate relationship with the show, some of the crazier conspiracy theories swirling around The Simpsons, and the show's complicated relationship with Seth McFarlane's Family Guy.  Plus Mike Reiss tells me which countries have actually banned and even sued The Simpsons and how his own popular children's book got boycotted by the Texas Board of Education.

Order Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons on Amazon or Audible. Watch The Simpsons every Sunday night on Fox and follow Mike Reiss on Twitter at @MikeReissWriter.  Today's podcast is sponsored by Michelin Premiere Tires and Dollar Shave Club.

Jun 28, 2018

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recalls how tinkering with a TV set as a boy led to a career in signals intelligence, his frustration when working as an intelligence briefer to General William Westmoreland during the Vietnam War, and what it was like to be in the room when President Obama ordered the raid on Osama Bin Laden.  He discusses Russia's interference in the 2016 election, the now infamous intelligence meeting with President-elect Trump at Trump Tower, and why he believes that Russia’s efforts successfully tipped the election for Donald Trump. Plus he weighs in on the North Korean Summit, his war or words with President Trump, and much more.

Order James Clapper's book Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence on Amazon or Audible. Today's podcast is sponsored by The Jim Jefferies Show podcast and Dollar Shave Club.

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