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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: December, 2018
Dec 31, 2018

Today's episode is a rerun of my interview with journalist Bob Woodward that originally aired 11/04/15.  Bob talks about his book "THE LAST OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEN" which chronicles the White House career of Alexander Butterfield, who served as deputy assistant to President Nixon.  Through countless documents and hours of interviews, Butterfield gave Bob Woodward a revealing glimpse into the disfunction, paranoia, and corruption in the Nixon White House.  Woodward talks about how Alex Butterfield oversaw the installation of the infamous taping machine in the Oval Office and served as the right-hand man to Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.  We'll talk about the isolated world of Richard Nixon, Nixon's relationship with his wife and with Henry Kissinger, Nixon's awkward though likely unconsummated flirtations with White House secretaries, and the chip on Nixon's shoulder that haunted him his entire life.  Plus we'll talk about the man known as "Deep Throat."

If you enjoy this episode, then go to Amazon to order Bob Woodward's fascinating new book "THE LAST OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEN."

Dec 27, 2018

Today's episode is a rerun of an interview with Anthony Bourdain that originally aired 10/12/17.  Anthony speaks candidly about the problem of food waste, who is to blame, and who is working on solutions.  He discusses how he and his fellow chefs have been fighting this battle for years in their own kitchens, including embracing the "snout to tail" movement, renaming so called "trash fish," and even turning table scraps into delicious pork.  He also shares how he manages to juggle his a hectic travel schedule, waxes about his love of Vietnam, and reveals some of his most cherished comfort foods.  Plus, Tony and I gripe about California's newly revived foie gras ban and the term "foodie."

Anthony Bourdain's new documentary Wasted: The Story of Food Waste is available in the theatres, on demand, on Amazon, and on iTunes beginning this Friday, October 13.  Visit www.wastedfilm.com for more information.  Keep up with Anthony Bourdain on his website www.explorepartsunknown.com or on Twitter at @Bourdain.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Nadex Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our annual listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/KICK.  Visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.

Dec 24, 2018

John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan discuss their childhood love of the Laurel & Hardy movies, stepping into the shoes of the legendary comedy duo for their new film Stan & Ollie, and the transformation that allowed John to step in the famously large pants of Oliver Hardy.  They share how Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's 35 year showbiz partnership was a lot like a marriage, what it was like for Steve and John to find that same chemistry (having never worked together before), and how their director's emergency apendactomy gave them an opportunity to bond during an impromptu pilgrimage to Stan Laurel's hometown in England.  Plus John C. Reilly talks about being part of another famous comedy duo with Will Ferrell, Steve and John reveal how they recreated some of Laurel and Hardy's most iconic routines, and we debate the pros and cons of the old Hollywood studio system and the controversy over Oliver Hardy’s most memorable line.

Stan & Ollie which opens in theatres in New York and Los Angeles this Friday December 28.  Visit www.sonyclassics.com/stanandollie for showtimes and more information.  Today's podcast was sponsored by BetDSI.com.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Dec 20, 2018

Leon Panetta talks about hard decisions, worthy fights, and "governing by leadership instead of by crisis."  He recalls growing up in Monterey, California as the first generation of Italian immigrants and warns the Trump Administration’s harsh immigration policies could mean fewer immigrant success stories like his own.  He reveals how he started out his political career as a Republican until President Richard Nixon fired him for daring to enforce civil rights.  He shares some early lessons in political civility and bipartisanship from his mentor Senator Thomas Kuchel and how those lessons served him well as a Congressman and President Bill Clinton’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget.  He discusses stepping in as Clinton’s Chief of Staff during a particularly chaotic time in his Presidency, how his early military training helped him get the White House in shape, and some words of advice he recently shared with President Trump’s outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly.  Panetta admits to his surprise when years later President Obama tapped him for Director of the CIA, opens up about what went through his mind as he watched the Bin Laden raid go down, and says that Obama’s failure to enforce his own red line on Syria’s chemical weapons may have embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Learn more about the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at www.panettainstitute.org.  Thank you to the Ronald Reagan National Defense Forum and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for hosting this interview.  Today's podcast was sponsored by the new Wondery podcast Safe for Work and Ben Sasse's audiobook Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Dec 17, 2018

Paul Lieberstein (THE OFFICE) talks about his 20 year struggle with crippling back pain inspired his funny and moving directorial debut film SONG OF BACK AND NECK.  He shares how the king of indie filmmaking Mark Duplass convinced him to make the movie himself rather than selling it to a Hollywood studio, how he made something as seemingly mundane as back pain visually interesting on the screen, and the complications that arise when you're directing yourself.  We talk about his nine seasons playing Toby on THE OFFICE and what it was like to do double duty as actor and show runner.  He reveals that NBC initially didn’t think the show would last more than a few episodes and weighs in recent talk of an OFFICE revival.  Plus, he addresses how THE OFFICE’s Michael Scott might fare in the age of Me Too, whether there was more to Michael Scott’s visceral hatred for Toby, and some favorite fan theories including one that suggests that Toby was secretly the "Scranton killer."

Watch Paul Lieberstein's wonderful film SONG OF BACK AND NECK available on Video on Demand, and follow Paul on twitter at @PaulLieberstein.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Espresso Monster, BetDSI.com, Zeel, and Ben Sasse's audiobook Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Dec 14, 2018

Comedian Pete Holmes talks about his new HBO comedy special PETE HOLMES: DIRTY CLEAN, paying his dues as a comic, and all of life’s weird and wonderful questions.  Pete says standup is still his first love, but podcasting is how he makes friends these days, and he believes everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, should start of podcast of their own.  He talks about being a brand new father, why his audiences always want him to complain about his baby, and why he’s determined not to be that parent who indoctrinates his daughter with his own beliefs.  He discusses growing up evangelical, his spiritual evolution, how he learned that comedians aren’t all sinful scumbags...and even if they are, they can still be pretty good people.  He reveals what’s autobiographical on his series CRASHING, the real life comedians behind some of the words of wisdom that he receives on the show, and how he’s addressing the Me Too movement in Season 3.  Plus, Pete Holmes offers some sage advice like "tell a pregnant woman she looks small," "tell twins they’re nothing alike," "be better than a grouper," and "don’t be a slave to an iWatch."

PETE HOLMES: DIRTY CLEAN debuts Saturday (12/15) at 10:00 PM E/P on HBO.  Mark your calendars for Season 3 of CRASHING which begins January 20 on HBO, and subscribe to Pete's podcast YOU MADE IT WEIRD on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you like to listen.  Follow Pete on twitter at @peteholmes.

Dec 10, 2018

The legendary Tina Brown returns to talk about growing up in an entertainment family, how she got expelled from 3 different boarding schools for being a “subversive influence,” and how that same subversiveness served her well as editor of Vanity Fair.  Tina talks about her 37 year marriage to the former editor of The Sunday Times - Harry Evans, and their morning ritual of having a “news buffet.”  She talks about turning around The New Yorker after her successful run at Vanity Fair, how she adapted from magazines to the immediacy of digital news when she founded The Daily Beast, and what is was like working with media mogul Barry Diller.  She recalls her torturous years running Talk Magazine with the infamous Harvey Weinstein, finding some peculiar open-ended book contracts with young women when she ran Talk Books, and leading the charge of the Me Too era with her Women in the World Summit.  She reveals what recently attracted her to enter the world of podcasting, how her new show TBD with Tina Brown is a return to her roots as a journalist, and why “the mix” still matters whether you’re running a magazine or a podcast.  Plus, the author of The Diana Chronicles has some advice for Meghan Markle on how to navigate palace intrigues.

Subscribe to Tina's new podcast TBD with Tina Brown on Apple Podcasts or wherever you like to listen, learn more about her Women in the World Summit at www.womenintheworld.com, and follow her on twitter at @TinaBrownLM.  Today's episode was sponsored by Human Rights Watch, Espresso Monster, and The Flatiron School.  Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Dec 6, 2018

Historian H.W. Brands discusses his new book Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants.  Professor Brands talks about how these three political giants crafted the Compromise of 1850 which barely held the Union together, why none of these three men was ever elected President, and how compromise went from being politics at its finest to a dirty word in today’s Washington.  He discusses John Calhoun’s beliefs that slavery was a moral virtue and that states had the right to nullify any federal law, and he says that the moralizing of abolitionists like Daniel Webster actually drove Calhoun to take an increasingly more extreme position on slavery.  He recalls Webster's legendary oratory skills in the days when eloquence was a ticket to political fame, and how one of Webster’s speeches once brought the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to tears.  Then he shares how Henry Clay earned the nickname "the great compromiser" by playing referee between Webster and Calhoun, and why Clay believed that the South would eventually outgrow slavery if he could just postpone a civil war long enough.

Order his new book Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold and follow him on twitter at @hwbrands.  Today's episode was sponsored by The Flatiron School.  Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

Dec 3, 2018

Trevor Noah talks about his new standup special TREVOR NOAH: SON OF PATRICIA and why he dedicated it to his mom whom he calls “the first comedian that he ever saw” and “most gangster human being you’ll ever meet in your life.”  He discusses growing up in South Africa during Apartheid, the power of humor to fight oppression, and why he believes that hateful words aren’t nearly as important as addressing with the hate itself.  He shares how the 2016 election affected his own vision for THE DAILY SHOW, why the current President reminds him of certain African dictators,
and how he deciphers what’s news and what’s nonsense in the age of Trump.  Plus Trevor talks about interviewing President Barak Obama, whether he would be down to do the same with Donald Trump, and the question that he would most like ask the 45th President.

Watch Trevor Noah's new standup special TREVOR NOAH: SON OF PATRICIA now available on Netflix, order his memoir BORN A CRIME on Amazon, and watch THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH every weeknight at 11PM ET on Comedy Central.  Visit www.trevornoah.com for more on Trevor including upcoming tour dates, and follow him on twitter at @TrevorNoah.  Today's episode was sponsored by Human Rights Watch, Espresso Monster, Zeel, and Bombas.  Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

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