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 Platform, Grasshopper, SeatGeek, and Adiamor.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 www.hoover.org. Today's episode was sponsored by Credit Karma and The Art of Charm podcast.
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 www.thefinalyearfilm.com and follow Greg Barker on twitter at @GJBarker. Today's episode was sponsored by Control GX.
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.
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 www.10percenthappier.com. 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 www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
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 Audible.com. 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 www.ellsberg.net. 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 www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
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 Audible.com. Subscribe to Revolutions and The History of Rome wherever you listen to podcasts or visit www.revolutionspodcast.com and www.thehistoryofrome.typepad.com. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeDuncan. Today's episode is sponsored by Tripping.com. Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
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 www.blog.dilbert.com 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 www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
Academy Award-nominated director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down, The Martian) joins me on the podcast to discuss how he saved his movie ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD from the Kevin Spacey scandal by making the unprecedented decision to recast the role with the legendary Christopher Plummer and reshoot much of the film just 6 weeks before it hits theaters. He talks about the late billionaire J. Paul Getty, why the richest man in the world refused to pay his own grandsons’ ransom, and what the oil magnate’s heirs have had to say about the film. Then actor Charlie Plummer (Boardwalk Empire, The Dinner), who plays Getty's kidnapped grandson talks about the unimaginable wealth and privilege that came with being a Getty and what it was like to re-enact the gruesome moment when the real-life John Paul Getty III got his ear chopped off.
ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD opens in theatres on Christmas day 12/25. To find out more visit www.allthemoney-movie.com. Today's episode is sponsored by Grasshopper. Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
Father Gregory Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry program in the world. He reveals what inspired him to start Homeboy Industries,
how he fosters kinship between the most unlikely of friends - rival gang members, and how more often then not it’s just a matter of getting two people in the same room. He shares how law enforcement leaders are getting involved, what he’s learned from testifying in 50 death penalty trials, and how the church can do more to reach out to “the people in the margins.”
Order Father Greg's book Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship on Amazon or download the audiobook on Audible. To donate or find out more about Homeboy Industries, visit www.homeboyindustries.com. Follow them on twitter at @HomeBoyInd and follow Father Greg at @FrGregBoyle. Today's episode is sponsored by Grasshopper. Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
David Hallberg is a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre and the first American ever to be admitted into Russia's legendary Bolshoi Ballet. David talks about the discipline and dedication needed to make to the top as a dancer, the unique chemistry of partnering with the right ballerina, and the behind the scenes coaches who have passed down ballet’s greatest roles since the very beginning. He recalls his tough adjustment to life in Moscow, some of the charming age-old traditions at the Bolshoi Ballet, and the unbelievable 2013 acid attack on his former boss Bolshoi director Sergei Fillin. Plus David opens up about the debilitating injury that required him to completely relearn how to dance and his hard-won comeback to the ballet stage.
Order his book A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back
on Amazon or download the audiobook on Audible. Visit David’s website at www.DavidHallberg.com and follow him on Twitter at @DavidHallberg. Today's episode is sponsored by Grasshopper and Orbi. Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends, talks about his new book Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America's Destiny. He describes a confrontation with a British officer that became a defining moment for a young Andrew Jackson, how Jackson lead an army with a bullet wound to his shoulder and dysentery, and how Jackson never deserted his men and threatened to shoot any man who deserted him! Brian reveals why New Orleans was so strategically important, how Jackson’s army was able to defeat the British in a mere 45 minutes, and what the consequences might have been if Jackson had lost. Plus Brian Kilmeade talks about the comparisons between Jackson and Trump and weighs in on recent calls to reavaluate Jackson’s place in the history books.
Order Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America's Destiny on Amazon or download the audio book on Audible. Catch Brian Kilmeade every weekday on Fox and Friends and his radio show The Brian Kilmeade Show. For more information visit www.briankilmeade.com and follow him on twitter at @Kilmeade. Today's episode is sponsored by Grasshopper and Orbi. Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie served as campaign manager and deputy campaign for Donald Trump's successful Presidential campaign and they write about that wild ride in their new book Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency. Today they talk about the man they still call "the boss," his seemingly limitless energy, and his obsession with leaks and loyalty. They discuss some of tense moments on the campaign from Trump's attack on Senator John McCain’s military service which Corey thought might end Trump’s candidacy to the make-or-break meeting of the campaign inner circle following the release of the Access Hollywood tape. Corey talks frankly about his falling out with the Trump kids and his opinion of Paul Manafort, and they settle whether George Papadopoulus was really a campaign insider or a glorified coffee boy.
Order Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie's new book Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency on Amazon or download the audiobook on Audible. Follow them on twitter at @CLewandowski and @David_Bossie. Today's episode is sponsored by Grasshopper and iFit Nourish Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
Director/writer/producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Funny People, Trainwreck) talks about his lifelong love of comedy and how Amy Schumer got him to return to stand-up after a 25 year absence from the stage. He shares some advice to young comedy writers, gives his take on Hollywood’s sexual harassment problem, and talks about fatherhood and his marriage to actress Leslie Mann. Plus Judd Apatow discusses the tao of Gary Shandling, "stalking" Steve Martin, and what to do when Kermit the Frog thinks you’re unlovable.
Judd Apatow's Netflix comedy special Judd Apatow: The Return is available starting Tuesday, December 12. Follow him on twitter at @JuddApatow. Today's episode is sponsored by Grasshopper. Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
Legendary newsman Dan Rather talks about his 60 year career and how his travels and conversations have given him a “wide shot” of the American experience and the values that unite us. He condemns recent attacks on some on those values (including freedom of the press), he shares his own family's experience during the Great Depression as a lesson in empathy, and he recalls how his time spent with men like Martin Luther King Jr. and Medger Evers opened his eyes to institutionalized racism in America. He talks frankly about how his own thinking has evolved on some social issues, and he weighs in on the recent rash of sexual harassment scandals that have rocked the news business. He discusses a few of the dozen Presidents he’s known in his 60 years as a journalist and reveals the one word that has always carried Dan Rather through good times and bad.
Order Dan Rather's book WHAT UNITES US: REFLECTIONS ON PATRIOTISM on Amazon or download the audio version on Audible. Follow him on twitter at @DanRather or at www.newsandguts.com. Today’s episode is sponsored by iFit Nourish. Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
For Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s The Last Word,
the 1968 U.S. Presidential election was his political awakening,
and it has remained one of his abiding fascinations. Today he talks about the war that sunk LBJ’s presidency and the wild election that followed including the indignities suffered by Senator Senator Eugene McCarthy, how the assassination of Bobby Kennedy threw the Democratic primary into chaos, and the impossible political position of the eventual Democratic nominee Humbert Humphrey. He analyzes the strategy behind the unlikely political comeback of Richard Nixon, the disturbingly familiar tone of the racist George Wallace campaign, and how 1968 has set the stage for every presidential election to follow.
Order Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics on Amazon or download the audio version on Audible. Watch The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell every week night at 10PM Eastern on MSNBC, and follow him on twitter at @Lawrence. Today’s episode is sponsored by Grasshopper and Credible.com. Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
A.J. Jacobs recounts his attempt to throw the worlds biggest family reunion, and his efforts to connect with the billions of people he calls his "cousins" via a project called the world family tree. He discusses how this crazy project all began with an email from a dairy farmer in Israel, and quickly led him down a genealogical rabbit hole as he played "six degrees of A.J. Jacobs." He says any person on the planet is no further than 70th cousins with anyone else, and every one of the 7 billion people on earth will be connected through a global family tree within the next 10-20 years. A.J. discusses the potential for this idea to bridge divides, but he warns that genealogy can also expose uncomfortable truths and upend long held family narratives. Plus A.J. earns the ultimate Mormon street cred, attends a get-together of the Hatfields and McCoys, and nearly loses his mind trying to round up thousands of his "cousins" for the world's biggest family reunion.
Order A.J. Jacobs' book IT'S ALL RELATIVE: ADVENTURES UP AND DOWN THE WORLD'S FAMILY TREE on Amazon or download the audiobook on Audible. Follow A.J. on twitter at @ajjacobs or at www.ajjacobs.com. Today’s episode is sponsored by Grasshopper, Credible.com, and iFit Nourish. Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.