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 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 Thanks for listening!
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Now displaying: 2018
Mar 19, 2018

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 he went from living on the streets to globe trotting on The Travel Channel, he explains why his newest show The Zimmern List is his most personal one yet, and why he finally decided to share the one special restaurant that he swore he’d never reveal to the public.  Plus, Andrew discusses why freshness matters when eating testicles, the best bird fetus he ever ate, and two words...snake wine.

The Zimmern List airs Tuesdays 9 p.m. ET/PT on The Travel Channel.  To learn more, visit  You can also check out lots of other cool stuff at and follow Andrew on twitter at @AndrewZimmern.
This podcast was sponsored by Grasshopper, ZQuiet, Google Cloud Platform Weekly Podcast, and VMWare Executive Perspective Podcast.

Mar 15, 2018

Robert Malley, president of the International Crisis Group, discusses ICG's annual list of the 10 Conflicts to Watch in 2018.  He cautions against Donald Trump’s bluster about decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal, warns that the stakes in North Korea are too high to be ignored, and speculates on what will happen in Syria once ISIS has been defeated militarily.  He reveals why he thinks a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unlikely and how his childhood practically destined him for a life in crisis resolution.

Visit to learn more about the International Crisis Group, and follow Robert Malley and ICG on twitter at @Rob_Malley and @CrisisGroup.  This podcast was sponsored by Grasshopper, Squarespace, and Google Cloud Platform.

Mar 12, 2018

Comedian Nikki Glaser talks about the worst week of her life, why she’s steering clear of politics for a while, and why she decided to move to NYC rather than get up early. She reveals why she likes long distance relationships, why she prefers to follow really good comedians, and why she’s banned from Urban Outfitters. Plus, how Nikki sorta saved my relationship.

Her new radio show YOU UP WITH NIKKI GLASER airs Monday through Thursday from 10:00 A.M to Noon ET and 7-9A.M. PT to 9:00 A.M. PT on SiriusXM’s Comedy Central Radio Channel 95. Keep up with Nikki at and follow her on twitter at @NikkiGlaser.  This podcast was sponsored by AppRiver, Linked In Jobs, Just for Men Hair Regrowth and Google Cloud Platform.

Mar 8, 2018

The cast and creator of THE DEATH OF STALIN talk about mining one of Russia’s darkest chapters for comedy and some of absurd but true stories that make into THE DEATH OF STALIN. Writer/director Armando Ianucci (VEEP, THE THICK OF IT) talks about how fighting ruthless authoritarians is a family tradition for him, why Russian officials think his movie is part of a western plot destabilize that country, and why the creator of VEEP is finally ready to give politics a break for a while.

Steve Buscemi (BOARDWALK EMPIRERESERVOIR DOGS, FARGO) discusses playing Nikita Kruschev in THE DEATH OF STALIN, his early career in standup comedy, how he says Stalin’s inner circle was more like The Three Stooges, and why his old AOL account is the best insurance against Russia hackers. Andrea Riseborough (BIRDMAN, OBLIVION)who portrays Svetlana Stalina talks about the illusive relationship between the ruthless dictator and his daughter and some of her favorite British comedies.

THE DEATH OF STALIN opens in theaters on Friday, March 9. For more information, visit or Today’s podcast was sponsored by Grasshopper, ZQuiet, Hulu's The Looming TowerGoogle Cloud Platform Podcast, and the VMWare Executive Perspective Podcast.

Mar 5, 2018

Cass Sunstein attempts to answer the question "Can authoritarianism happen in America?"  He discusses a few of America’s past flirtations with authoritarianism, some of the weaknesses in our system that could be exploited by an aspiring strongman, and why if it did happen, it would likely be a very gradual process instead of a bold power-grab.  He talks about the ways that tribalism, nationalism and conspiracy theories create a fertile breeding ground for authoritarianism, he reveals whether he thinks President Trump secretly aspires to that sort of power, and America's most cited legal scholar weighs in on the Trump-Russia investigation.

Order Cass Sunstein's book Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America on Amazon and follow him on Twitter at @CassSunstein. Today's podcast is sponsored by The Big Question with Cal FussmanQuip, AppRiver, and Google Cloud AI.

Mar 1, 2018

Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman, the stars and co-creators of the new Comedy Central series CORPORATE talk about their own experiences in corporate America and the irony doing their new show for corporate conglomerate Viacom.  They discuss why they wanted a darker tone than typical workplace comedies, how they convinced Lance Reddick to play their tyranical boss, and why they took on the one holiday you that can’t make fun of in their season finale.  Plus Matt and Jake talk about development hell, marvel at the modern wonder of a simple banana, and reveal why everyone’s a number at Amazon.

CORPORATE airs Wednesdays at 10/9Central on Comedy Central.  For more information, go to  Follow Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman on Twitter at @mattingebretson and @weismanjake.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Google Cloud AI, The Looming Tower on Hulu, and Grasshopper.

Feb 26, 2018

Attorney Gloria Allred was fighting for women long before anyone ever hashtagged Me Too or Time's Up, and she's the subject of a new Netflix documentary Seeing Allred.  She reveals how her own personal experience inspired to fight for victims assault, harassment, and discrimination.  She addresses critics who say she just does it all for the publicity, and explains that for many of her clients such as the Cosby accusers, a "trial" in the court of public opinion may be the only justice they can get.  She talks about how that's changing with a new California law that extends the statute of limitations for sexual assault, she discusses why she decided to represent the family of Nicole Brown Simpson during the O.J. trial, and she gives an update on her client Summer Zervos’s pending defamation suit against President Donald Trump.  Plus she talks about her surprisingly cordial relationship with defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, the battle of the Friar’s Club steam room, and why so many people call her "Senator."

Watch Seeing Allred on Netflix now, and keep up with Gloria Allred at or on Twitter at @GloriaAllred.  Today's podcast was sponsored by App RiverGrasshopperJust for Men Hair Regrowth, ZQuiet, and Google Cloud Platform podcast.

Feb 22, 2018

20 years ago comedian Ali Siddiq served six years in the Texas state penitentiary, and now he’s returning to the cellblock for his new Comedy Central standup special Ali Siddiq: It’s Bigger Than These Bars.  On today’s podcast, Ali talks about the incident that landed behind bars, and why he says “mental prison” is far worse than physical prison.  He discusses how he started his comedy career by telling funny stories to his fellow prisoners, how he convinced the Bell County Jail to let him back in for his new standup special, and some of the surprising changes he saw in both the inmates and their guards. He recalls starting out in showbusiness on the modern day equivalent of the “chitlin' circuit,” reveals why his favorite comics are all old white guys, and answers which is the tougher audience…comedy club-goers or hardened criminals.

Ali Siddiq: It’s Bigger Than These Bars premieres on Friday, February 23 at 11:00 p.m. Eastern on Comedy Central. Check out Ali's upcoming live dates at and follow him on Twitter at @Ali_Speaks.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Google Cloud PlatformGrasshopper, SeatGeek, and

Feb 20, 2018

Malcolm McDowell has starred in over 260 films and television shows from classics like Clockwork Orange to his latest role as an egotistical conductor on Mozart in the Jungle.  He shares stories about "mostly drunken gambling and whoring" at the Royal Shakespeare Company, how he came up with the infamous Singin' in the Rain scene for Clockwork Orange, and how he got stiffed by the film’s notoriously cheap director Stanley Kubrick.  The maestro discusses his strategy for conducting the symphony on Mozart in the Jungle and how the show bravely rebels against agism and Hollywood's conventional idea's about romance.  Plus he recalls working with greats like Peter O’Toole, Laurence Olivier, and John Gielgud, he reveals why he turned down a chance to be knighted, and he talks about the role that made him public enemy number one for trekkies.

Season 4 of Mozart in the Jungle is now available with a subscription to Amazon Prime. Today's episode was sponsored by Squarespace,  Google Cloud Platform Weekly Podcast, and Grasshopper.  

Feb 16, 2018

Comedians Randy and Jason Sklar talk about how they got into comedy and why they don’t just want to be known as the "twin comics." They talk about their podcast Dumb People Town that riffs on the dumbing down of America, talk about a few of the DPT characters who’ve become folk heroes to their fans, and what it says about life in the age of Donald Trump.  Plus they talk about their new docu-comedy Poop Talk that uses humor to address one the biggest social taboos of all.

The Sklar Brothers' new film Poop Talk is available On Demand, on iTunes, on Amazon, and in theaters starting Friday, February 16.  Subscribe to the Sklar bros podcasts Dumb People Town
and View from the Cheap Seats. Visit their website at and follow them on twitter at @SklarBrothers.  Today's episode was sponsored by Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver, Google Cloud Platform Weekly Podcast, and Grasshopper.  

Feb 12, 2018

Elan Gale, executive-producer of The Bachelor, says if you want to improve your life, be your own worst critic, not your own best cheerleader, and get to know your new best friends...shame, anxiety, and desperation.  He takes on some of the most popular and meaningless inspirational phrases explaining why only narcissists believe "everything happens for a reason and "living without regrets" is a recipe for complacency.  Plus Elan Gale on why Trump never learns anything, the best question to ask in an interview, and the stupidest hashtags on instagram.

Order Elan Gale's book You’re Not That Great (But Neither Is Anyone Else) on Amazon or Audible and follow him on twitter and instagram at @TheYearOfElan.  Today's episode was sponsored by Squarespace, LinkedIn Jobs, and Hair Regrowth from Just for Men.

Feb 8, 2018

Comedian Whitney Cummings talks about the humbling experience of being a first time director on her film The Female Brain, how she learned that every moment doesn’t have to be a joke, and why she says The Female Brain isn’t just for the ladies.  She shares how she broke free of a cycle of co-depency once she started understanding the neurochemistry behind her bad choices and why she says it’s a lot harder to come up with jokes when you don’t have all that none-stop drama.  Whitney weighs in on the Me Too movement and hints that the new Roseanne reboot (which she's executive-producing) might just help us understand how middle-America went for Trump.  Plus, Whitney talks about being a lady comedian in the Middle East, those women who see Marilyn Monroe as a feminist role model, and how she almost accidentally killed Sofia Vergara.

The Female Brain opens in theaters Friday, February 9.  For more information, visit  Order Whitney’s very funny book I’m Fine…And Other Lies on Amazon, and you can keep up with her at or on twitter at @WhitneyCummings.  Today's episode was sponsored by Google Cloud AI.

Feb 5, 2018

David Frum, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, discusses his new book TRUMPOCRACY: THE CORRUPTION OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC.  He documents how Trump and his administration is steadily damaging the tenets of American democracy, warns that Trump’s military generals could become a liability to the President, and how the Trump Administration’s buffoonery may be incompetence by design with an end game of subverting the rule of law and undermining our Democratic institutions. Plus, Frum throws cold water on the idea that Trump might be a useful idiot for Congressional Republicans, explains why a Democrat win in the 2018 midterms could drive Republicans even closer to Trump, and discusses Trump’s bizarre habit of picking fights with allies in his own party.

Order TRUMPOCRACY: THE CORRUPTION OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC on Amazon or Audible.  Read David’s writing in The Atlantic, visit his website at, and follow him on twitter at @DavidFrum.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kubernetes Engine on Google Cloud Platform.

Feb 1, 2018

David Cay Johnston, bestselling author of The Making of Donald Trump, returns to the podcast to say "I told you so" and discuss his new book It’s Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.  The Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist says the President who promised to "drain the swamp" has become the biggest swamp monster of all.  He describes how Trump is packing government agencies with "political termites" who are eating away at the very institutions they’re supposed to protect.  He gives lie to the myth of Donald Trump as the champion of the American worker, explains the President’s two very different standards of justice, and reveals how Trump is enriching his family and giving away valuable government property to a new class of American oligarchs.  Plus David Cay Johnston says he knows what the Mueller investigation has on Trump, he weighs in on the Stormy Daniels scandal, and makes a prediction for the 2018 midterms.

Order It's Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America on Amazon or Audible.  Visit and follow David on twitter at @DavidCayJ.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kubernetes Engine on Google Cloud Platform.

Jan 29, 2018

Dr. Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic Magazine, talks about his new book Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality & Utopia.  He reveals the surprising history of our concept of heaven, he proves that out-of-body experiences are nothing more than hallucinations, and he questions why reincarnated souls only seem to hang around India.  He discusses why it’s unlikely that you or anyone else will ever live past 125, why utopian societies always end badly, and why scientists still have some major kinks to work out in their quest to cheat death.  Plus, skeptic Michael Shermer talks about his unlikely friendship with Deepak Chopra, he weighs on Trump’s ongoing battle with the truth, and settles whether Walt Disney is cryonically frozen.

Order Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality & Utopia on Amazon or Audible.  Visit and, and follow Michael on twitter at @MichaelShermer.  Today's episode was sponsored by Squarespace and SeatGeek.

Jan 25, 2018

Phil Rosenthal, creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, reveals how the idea for his new travel show Somebody Feed Phil came from a trip he and Ray Romano took to Italy, he recalls some of the cultural roadblocks he encountered when he later produced the Russian version of Everybody Loves Raymond, and talks about the places he likes to call the "world’s greatest hits."  He praises TelAviv as a perfect example of food’s power to overcome all differences, says Portugal is way more than just Spain’s little stepbrother, and suggests a city where you can experience all kinds of international cultures and flavors right here in America.  Plus talks about an encounter with the notorious durian fruit, how to eat on camera without looking like a slob, and why the best meal of your life may only cost you a buck!

Watch all six episodes of Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix
and follow Phil on twitter at @PhilRosenthal. Today's episode was sponsored by Squarespace and SeatGeek.

Jan 22, 2018

Former Secretary of State George Shultz recalls his close friendship with President Ronald Reagan, the moment he realized that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was someone the U.S. could do business with, and Reagan's Pershing missile moment as a masterclass in peace through strength.  He suggests that President Trump may soon need to have a "Pershing moment" of his own, reveals what he learned in a meeting years ago with a young Vladimir Putin, and weighs in as an economist on the Trump tax reform act.  Plus George Shultz discusses why Ronald Reagan never bluffed, why foreign policy is a lot like gardening, and why the prospect of nuclear war still keeps him up at night.

George Shultz is a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and you can read some of his articles at  Today's episode was sponsored by Credit Karma and The Art of Charm podcast.

Jan 18, 2018

Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Greg Barker (Ghosts of Rwanda, Manhunt, Homegrown) talks about following President Barack Obama and other senior White House officials during the final 12 months of the Obama Administration for his new film THE FINAL YEAR. He reveals some of the heartbreaking humanitarian nightmares faced by UN Ambassador Samantha Power, what it was like for Secretary of State John Kerry to return to Vietnam 45 years after fought in the war there, and why President Obama chose Greece for his last overseas stop.  He explains John Kerry's version of diplomatic speed dating, gives a fly on the wall perspective on the Syrian peace deal that never was, and discusses the Obama Administration’s fundamental miscalculation about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

THE FINAL YEAR opens in theatres and on demand this Friday, January 19.  For more information visit and follow Greg Barker on twitter at @GJBarker.  Today's episode was sponsored by Control GX

Jan 15, 2018

General David Petraeus talks about implementing the successful "Surge" strategy in Iraq, and some of the unique complexities he encountered when translating that plan to the war in Afghanistan.  He discusses the fundamentals of counterinsurgency, his personal disdain for yes men, the paradox of nation building, and how a grad school dissertation on the Vietnam War helped shape his world view.  Plus General Petraeus weighs in on President Trump and the return of large geopolitical rivalries.  Today's episode was sponsored by LinkedIn Jobs and The Art of Charm podcast. 

Jan 11, 2018

ABC Nightline's Dan Harris has become a self-professed meditation evangelist ever since his infamous on-air panic attack in 2004 and today he tries to win over the ultimate skeptic...ME.  He reveals how daily meditation has improved life at home and at work, he dispels some of the myths surrounding meditation, and he discusses the  science behind the physical, mental and emotional health benefits of meditation.  He gives a crash course in how you can begin meditating with as little as one minute of free time, and he tells stories from his 23 state meditation bus tour including encounters with some surprising meditation fans like an Ohio Congressman and the cadets and professors of VMI.

Order Dan's book MEDITATION FOR FIDGETY SKEPTICS on Amazon or download the audio book on Audible.  Subscribe to Dan's 10% Happier Podcast and download the 10% Happier App.  Follow him on twitter at @danbharris and at  Watch him weeknights on ABC’s Nightline and on the weekend edition of Good Morning America.  Today's episode was sponsored by Squarespace and The Post.  Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our listener survey at

Jan 8, 2018

Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, reveals how helped design America's top secret nuclear war plan and why he has since dedicated his life to dismantling it.  He explains why the movie Dr. Strangelove is not far from the truth, discloses that the President isn’t the only one with his finger on the nuclear button, and explains just how far down the chain of command that authority may reverberate.  He reveals the potentially staggering human cost of America’s first strike strategy,
the logic behind the Joint Chiefs’ apparent peace with that risk, and their calculated willingness to obliterate US allies in the process.  Plus Daniel Ellsberg weighs in on the nuclear game of chicken between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, he lends some credence to the idea that’s there’s a so called “deep state” operating beyond the President’s authority, and America’s most famous whistleblower shatters the myth that all secrets in Washington eventually get leaked.

Order Daniel Ellsberg's book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner on Amazon or download the audio book at  Daniel Ellsberg is on Twitter at @Daniel Ellsberg, and you can keep up with him and view lots of supplementary documents about the Pentagon Papers and America’s nuclear war plan at Today's episode was sponsored by The Art of Charm podcast.  Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our listener survey at

Jan 4, 2018

Mike Duncan, host of The History of Rome podcast and Revolutions, constantly gets asked "Is America doomed to the same fate as the Roman Empire?"  Today he points to some startling parallels to US current events including populist demagoguery, economic inequality, the erosion of societal norms, and debate over who deserves to be a citizen.  He also offers ideas on how the American Republic can avoid the same fate as the Roman Republic before it's too late.

Order Mike Duncan's book The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic on Amazon or download the audio book at  Subscribe to Revolutions and The History of Rome wherever you listen to podcasts or visit and  Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeDuncan.  Today's episode is sponsored by  Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our listener survey at

Jan 1, 2018

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert cartoons, talks about his new book Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter.  He reveals why facts and ideology no longer matter, why Donald Trump makes what he says are intentional misstatements, and how Trump uses what he calls “linguistic kill shots” to flatten his opponents.  He also weighs in why Trump’s "persuasion skills" haven’t been very effective on Congress and whether or not Trump supporters should be insulted at being manipulated by their President.  Plus, how to hypnotize anyone, how Scott’s endorsement of Trump impacted his Dilbert readership, and an early prediction for 2020.

Order Scott's book Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter on Amazon or download the audiobook on Audible.  Visit Scott’s website at and follow him on Twitter at @ScottAdamsSays.  Today's episode is sponsored by Credit Karma.  Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our listener survey at