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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
Apr 19, 2018

Professor Steven Pinker (Bill Gates' favorite author) discusses the irony that the news media has become measurably more negative at same time as our quality life has dramatically improved.  He outlines how the top 15 objective metrics of human progress indicate that life is getting better not worse, and he says fear of things like globalism and income inequality is greatly exaggerated and largely unfounded.  He calls for the left and the right to stop politicizing science, the embrace of humanism over tribalism, and more critical thinking and less political correctness in our universities.

Order Steven Pinker's book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress on Amazon or Audible.
Keep up with Steven Pinker at www.stevenpinker.com or on twitter at @sapinker.  Today's episode was sponsored by Grasshopper, Untuckit, and Adiamor Jewelry.

Apr 16, 2018

Comedian Louie Anderson returns to talk about mining the more poignant moments of his childhood for comedy and some of the comedic expressions he borrowed from his own parents.  He discusses how his mother Ora Zella Anderson inspired his Emmy-winning role on Baskets, he reveals the questions he’d most like to ask his mother if she were still alive, and opens up about learning to forgive his abusive father and also himself.  Plus Louie Anderson on finally learning to eat healthy after 65 years, what he says to fans who fear a skinny Louie won’t be funny anymore, and his curious connection to silent movie star Fatty Arbuckle.

Order Louie Anderson's new book HEY MOM: STORIES FOR MY MOTHER, BUT YOU CAN READ THEM TOO on Amazon or Audible.com.  Watch his new standup special BIG UNDERWEAR on Amazon, Comcast, DIRECTV, AT&T, DISH, iTunes, Charter, Google Play and many other platforms.  Visit www.louieanderson.com for his upcoming standup dates and follow him on Twitter at @LouieAnderson.  Today's episode was sponsored by Policy Genius, Grasshopper, and Adiamor.

Apr 12, 2018

Jennifer Palmieri, communications director of the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, says she wants to turn the results of the 2016 election into something empowering for future female leaders and advises the next woman who runs for President to write her own playbook not emulate her male predecessors.  She shares her insider’s perspective on the Clinton campaign, gives some insight into the candidate who she says was reluctant to run for President in 2016 and was all too aware of the slings and arrows that would come her way.  She also shares some wisdom from another famous female mentor of hers the late Elizabeth Edwards, she re-examines the role of former FBI director James Comey in the 2016 election, and explains why Hillary Clinton’s email problem was about way more than just emails.  Plus Jennifer Palmieri responds to all those armchair strategists who asked “where was THAT Hillary?” after her concession speech, she suggests that candidates for office should cry more and nod less, and she casts the Batman version of the 2016 election.

Order Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World on Amazon or download the audio version at www.audible.com.  Follow Jennifer Palmieri on twitter at @jmpalmieri.  Today's episode was sponsored by Grasshopper and AppRiver.

Apr 9, 2018

Director Barry Levinson explores the Penn State sexual abuse scandal that ended Coach Joe Paterno’s career in his new film PATERNO on HBO.  He explains why he wanted to present the straight facts of the case without actually taking sides, talks the about the student riots that broke out when Penn State fired Paterno, and reveals what the film has to say about Americans’ views on issues of loyalty, tribalism, and the truth.  Barry Levinson also recalls his early days teaming up with another "coach" Craig T. Nelson to form a nightclub comedy duo, writing sketches for THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, directing his first movie at the urging of his mentor Mel Brooks, and he shares behind-the-scenes stories from some of his classic films including DINER, TIN MEN, RAIN MAN, AVALON, and more.  Plus Barry Levinson talks about why Hollywood doesn’t make films about human beings anymore, whether he’d like to make a sequel to WAG THE DOG for the age of "fake news," and how an infamous drug kingpin got him into his first acting class.

PATERNO is available now on HBO GO, HBO NOW and HBO ON DEMAND.  Today's episode was sponsored by AppRiver, Adiamor Jewelry, and Grasshopper.

Apr 5, 2018

Actor Ed Helms (THE OFFICE, THE HANGOVER) talks about playing Ted Kennedy's best friend in CHAPPAQUIDDICK, why the Chappaquiddick incident is an often forgotten chapter in America’s modern political history, and how making the film led him to reassess his own ideas about "Camelot."  He also reveals how the Kennedy damage control team used the moon landing to distract from the scandal, ponders Chappaquidick’s place in Ted Kennedy’s larger legacy, and wonders how the scandal might have played out differently in the age of 24 hour news and social media.  Ed Helms talks about working with fellow comic Jim Gaffigan on the film,
mining the Kennedy story for moments of dark comedy, and mastering the notoriously tricky Massachusetts accent.  He also discusses his own politics, gleefully recalls exposing hypocrites and bad guys as a correspondent on The Daily Show, remembers his start in entertainment as a cocky sarcastic voiceover guy, and explains why he says it's good to be "a fool at life."

CHAPPAQUIDDICK opens in theatres tomorrow Friday April 6.  Follow Ed Helms on Twitter at @edhelms, check out his website for bluegrass lovers at www.thebluegrasssituation.com and visit his own bluegrass band the Lonesome Trio at www.thelonesometrio.com.  Today's episode was sponsored by AppRiver, Adiamor Jewelry, and Grasshopper.

Apr 2, 2018

Actor/director Tim Robbins discusses how his new HBO series HERE AND NOW is tapping into the anxiety of America in 2018 and why his classic political mockumentary BOB ROBERTS is more relevant now than ever.  He says Harvey Weinstein reminds him of the shady operators he knew growing up in New York’s Greenwich Village, he recalls studying real studio execs for his role in Robert Altman’s THE PLAYER, and he remembers Altman's mentoring Tim's leap from actor to director.  He discusses how he funded his first play while he was still a struggling actor, how his latest play THE NEW COLOSSUS is putting personal faces to the immigration issue, and why he’s using The Actors Gang to bring theatre into California prisons.  Plus Tim opens up about turning 60, weighs in on the current struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party, and recounts the time he heckled Henry Kissinger outside of a famous celebrity restaurant.

THE NEW COLOSSUS is playing now through May 12 at The Actors Gang in Culver City, CA.  Visit www.theactorsgang.com for tickets or to learn more.  See Tim in Alan Ball’s excellent new series HERE AND NOW with a subscription to HBO, HBO GO, or HBO NOW.  Keep up with Tim at www.timrobbins.net or on twitter at @TimRobbins1.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Dollar Shave Club and Policy Genius.

Apr 2, 2018

Andie MacDowell discusses why there are so few good roles for actresses over 40 and why she thinks that’s about to change.  She talks about getting thrown into the deep end on her very first movie GREYSTOKE, the hard work she had to do to get from that film to her break-out role in SEX LIES AND VIDEOTAPE, and what she learned about grief and healing on her latest movie LOVE AFTER LOVE.  She discusses why she’s chosen to live outside of Los Angeles until recently, some of the advice she gives to her two daughters who are now acting, and her perspective on Hollywood's long road to Time's Up.

LOVE AFTER LOVE opens in theaters Friday, March 30.  Follow Andie on twitter at @AndieMacDowell3.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Squarespace, AppRiver Grasshopper, Google Cloud Platform.

Mar 26, 2018

David Mamet discusses how the old gangster stories he heard as a child inspired him to write CHICAGO: A NOVEL.  He talks about his love of classic noir and hot jazz, and dislike of social media, computers, and flowery prose.  He shares why famous figures are better felt than heard in historical fiction, why he says Hollywood is dead, and why he never reads his own reviews.  He teases his latest play about Harvey Weinstein, and reveals his longing to live as a reporter in the 1920’s and die as a whorehouse piano player with a whiskey and a cigarette.

Order David Mamet's new book CHICAGO: A NOVEL on Amazon.
Today's podcast was sponsored by Google Cloud Platform podcast, AppRiver, Breach podcast, Quip, Google Cloud Spanner, and Hair Regrowth from Just for Men.

Mar 22, 2018

Futurist Michio Kaku says sooner or later humanity will face the possibility of extinction, and it’s up to scientists to come up with a plan B whether it’s another planet or even another galaxy.  He explains why it’s important for us to return to the moon, how we would go about terraforming Mars, and what he calls the new "gold rush" that could fund NASA indefinitely.  He shares his theory on why we haven’t encountered alien life and where humans fit in on his hierarchy of civilizations.  Michio Kaku describes the three ways the universe will almost certainly die, but says in the meantime immortality might be just around the corner.  Plus he gives me a progress update on what he calls his life’s work proving Einstein’s Unified Theory of Everything.


Order Michio Kaku's book The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth on Amazon.  Keep up with him at www.mkaku.org and follow him on Twitter at @michiokaku.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Grasshopper, Policy Genius, Google Cloud Platform, and Hulu's The Looming Tower.

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 www.travelchannel.com.  You can also check out lots of other cool stuff at www.AndrewZimmern.com 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 www.crisisgroup.org 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 www.NikkiGlaser.com 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 www.DeathOfStalin.co.uk or www.ifcfilms.com. 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 www.cc.com/shows/corporate.  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 www.gloriaallred.com 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 www.alisiddiq.com and follow him on Twitter at @Ali_Speaks.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Google Cloud PlatformGrasshopper, SeatGeek, and Adiamor.com.

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 www.supersklars.com 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 www.ifcfilms.com.  Order Whitney’s very funny book I’m Fine…And Other Lies on Amazon, and you can keep up with her at www.whitneycummings.com 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 www.davidfrum.com, 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 www.davidcayjohnston.com 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 www.skeptic.com and www.michaelshermer.com, 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.

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