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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: April, 2018
Apr 30, 2018

Comedian Paul Rodriguez tells stories from his 40 year career in showbusiness, including his first time on The Tonight Show, why Johnny Carson banned him from the NBC studios, and the "higher power" who intervened on his behalf.  He talks about getting his start as a valet at the Comedy Store and how that led to his being a runner for Richard Pryor, he shares some advice Comedy Store owner Mitzi Shore gave him when he started out, and recalls some wild times from his days living in a comedians dormatory above the Comedy Store.  Plus Paul Rodriguez shares his worst gig ever.

Paul Rodriguez's new standup special The Here & Wow
is available May 1 via Comedy Dynamics Network
The album of The Here and Wow comes out May 4.  For Paul’s upcoming shows, visit his website at www.paulrodriguez.com
and follow him at @ThePaulRod.  Today's episode was sponsored by Intercom, Citizen Watches, Dollar Shave Club, and Policy Genius.

Apr 26, 2018

Journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn discuss Russia’s long simmering plan to undermine American democracy, and how the U.S. Intelligence Community failed to see the warning signs in 2016.  They delve into a rogue’s gallery of Russia enablers from Paul Manafort to Carter Paige and analyze why the Trump campaign and Russian cyberattackers seemed to be so suspiciously in sync.  They talk about President Donald Trump’s strange infatuation with Vladimir Putin, why President Obama didn’t do more to stop Russian interference before it was too late, and what was Donald Trump up to in that infamous Moscow hotel room in 2013.

Order Michael Isikoff and David Corn's book Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump on Amazon or Audible.  You can read more by Michael Isikoff on Yahoo News or on twitter at @Isikoff and subscribe to his podcast Skullduggery wherever you listen to podcasts.  You can read David Corn’s articles at www.mortherjones.com and frequently hear his expert political analysis on MSNBC.  Follow David on Twitter at @DavidCornDC.  Today's episode was sponsored by Grasshopper, Untuckit, and Intercom.

Apr 23, 2018

Rerun of 9/5/17 episode w/ guest Bryan Cranston. Actor Bryan Cranston recalls a difficult childhood and the two year road trip that changed his life.  He shares some of his adventures before acting including traveling as a carny, catching shoplifters as security guard, and the time he ended up a suspect in a murder investigation.  He talks about getting a crash course in comedy from Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, landing the role of a lifetime on Breaking Bad, and how he built one of the most iconic characters in the history of television.  Bryan Cranston also gives some advice for aspiring actors, reveals how his life has changed since "Walter White," and why he loves making small talk with old people.

Order Bryan Cranston's bestselling memoir A Life in Parts on Amazon or download the audiobook at www.audible.com.  Bryan Cranston stars in Last Flag Flying which opens in theatres November 3.  Follow Bryan on Twitter at @BryanCranston.

 

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

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.

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.

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