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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: May, 2019
May 30, 2019

Neil Gaiman talks about adapting his book Good Omens for television, the book’s long journey to the screen, and how he took the reins as show-runner in a promise to his late co-author Terry Pratchett.  Neil recalls the origins of their book as a fable about nature vs nurture and opens up about the on screen cameo that was just too painful for him to film.  He discusses his writing process, how he manages to avoid distractions, and why he chooses to write across many different mediums.  Plus Neil shares the story of the time he and Michael Sheen accidentally dined on an endangered species and got a front row seat for a federal raid.

Neil Gaiman's six-part limited series Good Omens stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant and is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning Friday, May 31st.  Keep up with Neil at www.neilgaiman.com and follow him on Twitter at @neilhimself.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Udacity.

May 27, 2019

Liam Cunningham discusses his 7 epic seasons as Sir Davos Seaworth on Game of Thrones and going from fighting "White Walkers" to fighting Ebola in National Geographic Channel's limited series The Hot Zone.  We also talk about his original audition for Game of Thrones, why he first thought he got the polite brush off from the series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and what it's like when he encounters hard-core GoT fans in person.  Then Liam discusses the true story of America’s close call with Ebola in 1989, the very real threat of a new outbreak in the U.S. today, the danger of the modern anti-vaxxer movement, and the importance of striking the right balance between rational and irrational fears.  He talks about filming The Hot Zone in the South African bush, his early years working as an electrician in neighboring Zimbabwe, and how the experience directly led to his pursuing a career in acting.  Plus he reveals the secret to not getting killed off by Game of Thrones producers Benioff and Weiss, we debate whether a knight can really create another knight, and we attempt to figure out who was responsible for that infamous Starbucks cup!

The six-night television event The Hot Zone premieres on Memorial Day, May 27, at 9/8C on National Geographic Channel.  Visit www.nationalgeographic.com for more info and behind-the-scenes extras, and follow Liam on Twitter at @liamcunningham1.  Today's episode was sponsored by Hackable podcast.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.

May 23, 2019

Jared Cohen talks about the eight men who succeeded to the presidency without being elected to it and how they changed our history for better or worse.  He reveals that presidential succession wasn’t clearly defined for most of America’s history and that most Vice-Presidents come to the Oval Office with great reluctance and a serious inferiority complex.  We talk about the best and worst accidental presidents, the one who assumed the office with the heaviest burden and the least preparation, and the one who was actually accused of conspiring to murder his predecessor.  Plus Jared suggests a better way to choose a running mate, he talks about his childhood fascination with the JFK conspiracy, and shares unusual hobby - collecting presidential hair.  

Order Jared Cohen's new book Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America on Amazon and follow Jared on Twitter at @JaredCohen.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.

May 20, 2019

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough discusses his latest book The Pioneers, how it fulfilled his lifelong dream to write a nonfiction version of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, and why he wants his book to serve as reminder of fundamental American values.  He tells the story of the New England minister who played an instrumental role in the creation of the Ohio Settlement, how he fought to outlaw slavery in the territory, and how his son carried on his fight for abolition a few years later.  He talks about the wealthy Irish couple who built a paradise on an island in the Ohio River and how they lost everything when they became embroiled in the Aaron Burr treason scandal. McCullough reveals what he’s learned in his 50 plus years of studying history, the importance of hindsight, and why historical figures feel like old friends.

Order The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  This podcast was sponsored by Ancestry.com.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.

May 16, 2019

Bill Hader (SNL, Trainwreck, Barry) talks about his childhood love of film, his early days as a struggling production assistant in Hollywood, and how he's finally getting back to his cinematic roots with his dark comedy series Barry.  He discusses directing the much talked about episode 5 this season, how he staged an epic 30 minute fight scene, and why he had to hire a construction crew to build him the perfect tree.  Hader recalls his original audition for Saturday Night Live, his first meeting with Lorne Michaels, and a few of his favorite obscure impressions from SNL.  He shares what he learned about story from his time in the writers room on South Park and how his love of cheesy true crime shows like Forensic Files and Snapped inform the grittier aspects of Barry.

Watch the season finale of Barry this Sunday May 19 on HBO.  For more on Barry including out-takes and behind the scenes extras, Visit www.hbo.com/barry for more on Barry including outtakes and behind-the-scenes extras.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kronos HR Solutions and BetterHelp.com.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.

May 13, 2019

Jordan Klepper returns to the podcast to talk about getting out of the studio and getting out in the real world again for his new Comedy Central docu-series Klepper.  He tells the story of a wrestling club in Texas that is helping veterans body slam their way through PTSD, what it says about how vets get treated by the VA and by their fellow Americans, and how Jordan faired when he donned a cape and got in the ring with them.  Then Jordan recalls sleeping in the swamp for two nights and capsizing his boat in the Louisiana bayou as part of a direct action protest.  He discusses how Georgia is making life difficult for children of undocumented workers and how they are looking to the civil rights movement of the 60’s for inspiration.  Plus Jordan opens up about the incident that got him arrested and his memorable stay in the Fulton County Jail.

Jordan Klepper's new series Klepper airs Thursdays at 10:30PM ET on Comedy Central.  Visit www.comedycentral.com for more information and follow Jordon on Twitter at @jordanklepper.  Today's episode was sponsored by SiriusXM radio.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our short listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.

May 10, 2019

Oscar nominated actor and director Sir Kenneth Branagh is the greatest living interpreter of the works of William Shakespeare, and today he talks about his life long love of Shakespeare and stepping into the shoes of his hero for his new film All Is True.  Branagh discusses why he chose to focus on the three years following Shakespeare’s retirement and why he wasn’t afraid to deviate from the accepted biography and embrace the mystery around the man.  He talks about teaming up with writer Ben Elton, forgoing digital graphics in favor traditional matte painting techniques, and the makeup that transformed Kenneth Branagh into the bard himself.  Plus he weighs in on the rumors that the mysterious "dark lady" in Shakespeare’s love sonnets might not have been a lady at all, the sex scandals that embroiled Shakespeare's family in his final years, and speculation that William Shakespeare wasn't the real author of his famous plays.

Kenneth Branagh's film All Is True opens in New York and LA on Friday, May 10 followed by a wide release.  Check your local listings for showtimes.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our short listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.

May 6, 2019

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, scientist, and renowned polymath Jared Diamond reveals that many of the factors in how individuals cope with personal crises can also predict how countries survive national crises.  He profiles six nations in transition in his new book Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, and shares his personal experiences and observations about those countries including why one should never utter the word "Finlandization" in Finland, how Chileans in the 1960’s never thought that their democracy would fall to a bloody dictator, and he says this doesn’t bode well for the U.S.  He discusses why some countries like Germany choose to acknowledge their violent past while others like Indonesia choose to bury it.  Then he warns of two nations currently facing crises Japan, who suffers from crippling national debt and an aging/shrinking population, and the United States, where he says the decline of political compromise and voting rights is eroding our democracy.

Order Jared Diamond's terrific book Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold beginning Tuesday May 7.  Today's episode was sponsored by So, Bob podcast, SiriusXM radio, and Zebit.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our short listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.

May 2, 2019

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich talks about his new political thriller Collusion: A Novel and how writing fiction has given him a chance to let his imagination run wild about the darker side of Washington.  He discusses why it’s almost impossible to make up a fictional super-villain like Vladimir Putin, his fascination Putin’s deadly penchant for high profile poisonings, and why he believes that Putin doesn’t mind taking the blame for those murders.  Plus he weighs in on President Trump’s Russia policy, the Mueller Report, what issues will drive the next election, and which Democrat could conceivably beat Donald Trump in 2020.

Order his book Collusion: A Novel on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with Newt at www.gingrich360.com, subscribe to his podcast Newt's World, and follow him on twitter at @newtgingrich.  Today's episode was sponsored by BetterHelp.com.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our short listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.

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