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 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 Thanks for listening!
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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 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  Order Whitney’s very funny book I’m Fine…And Other Lies on Amazon, and you can keep up with her at 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, and follow him on twitter at @DavidFrum.  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 and, 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.

Jan 15, 2018

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. 

Jan 11, 2018

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  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

Dec 28, 2017

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  Today's episode is sponsored by Grasshopper.  Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our listener survey at

Dec 25, 2017

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  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

Dec 21, 2017

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 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

Dec 18, 2017

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 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

Dec 7, 2017

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  Today’s episode is sponsored by iFit Nourish.  Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at

Nov 30, 2017

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  Today’s episode is sponsored by, and iFit Nourish.  Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at

Nov 27, 2017

Tina Brown is arguably the most influential magazine editor of the past 50 years, having served as editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Tatler, and The Daily Beast.  She discusses her new book The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992, tells stories of the glamorous and cut-throat magazine trade, and dishes about some of the larger than life personalities she encountered in that world including a young Donald Trump and disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.  She discusses the importance of the "mix" of a good magazine and recounts how she completely remade Vanity Fair from front to back.  She recalls having a front row seat for the excess of New York in 1980’s, and gives the backstory behind some of her favorite Vanity Fair covers including Annie Leibovitz's now iconic portrait of a naked pregnant Demi Moore.

Order The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992 on Amazon or download the audiobook on Audible. Follow Tina Brown on twitter at @TinaBrownLM or at  Today’s episode is sponsored by  Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and take our listener survey at  

Nov 16, 2017

Paul Reiser and Jeff Sotzing discuss their new show There's...Johnny!, a funny and heartwarming coming of age series set amid the backstage antics on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  They talk about bringing Carson to a new generation of TV viewers, meticulously recreating the look of The Tonight Show for There's...Johnny!, and building each episode around some of Johnny Carson's most iconic television moments.  Paul recalls his first appearance on Carson, Johnny’s impeccable sense of comedic timing, and his generosity to young comics like himself.  Jeff shares memories of his uncle Johnny and his time working on The Tonight Show including being there for Carson’s final episode.  Plus the antics of the legendary Pat McCormick, the time Johnny Carson foiled an extortion plot, and Tony Danza as the oh so cool Tonight Show producer Freddie deCordova.

Season 1 of There’s...Johnny! is available on Hulu November 16. Keep up with Paul at or on Twitter at @PaulReiser, and visit for memorable clips and other fun stuff from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Nadex and Grasshopper.   Please take our new listener survey at  

Nov 13, 2017

Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush discuss their surprisingly normal childhood when they assumed that everyone’s grandfather got to have an inauguration, and why they initially didn't want their dad to run for President.  Barbara discusses the difficulties of having the same name as the First Lady, and the time a Yale professor offered her an A if she could convince her dad to call off the Iraq War.  Jenna talks about the infamous night they got caught drinking underage and recalls her and her husband's comical first date at the White House.  They reveal the creepy dictator who had photos of them in his palace, their experiences on election night 2000 and 9/11, and weigh in on the recent story that neither their dad nor their grandfather voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

Order Jenna and Barbara’s #1 bestseller Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life on Amazon or Audible.  To learn more, visit  Catch Jenna on The Today Show on NBC and follow her on Twitter at @jennabushhager.  Learn more about Barbara’s terrific charity Global Health Corps at  and follow them on twitter at @ghcorps.  Thank you to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for hosting our interview.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Nadex, Grasshopper, and AppRiver. Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our annual listener survey at  

Nov 2, 2017

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried talks about his fear of being "outted" as family man in his new documentary GILBERT, recalls some of the worst gigs he ever had, and reveals why he used to look down on comics who "work dirty."  He explains why nazis love him, tells traveling salesmen jokes, does his impressions Humphrey Bogart at the postoffice and Jackie Gleason as Rick in Casablanca, and tells his infamous Danny Thomas story.

His documentary GILBERT opens at the IFC Center in NYC on 11/3, Laemmle Fine Art Theatre in LA on 11/10 and then in theatres across the country.  Subscribe to Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, and you can keep up with him at or on twitter at @RealGilbert.

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

Oct 30, 2017

Aaron Mahnke, host of LORE podcast, shares the real history behind the legends of ghosts, vampires and werewolves, and how our scary folktales say a lot about our attitudes toward women, outsiders, and those who are different.  He talks about the spiritualism craze of the turn of the century, the most sadistic witch hunters throughout the ages, as well as the Jersey Devil, the Beast of Bray road, gremlins, fairies and more. 

Subscribe to LORE podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get podcasts. Don’t miss the LORE Amazon series available now,
or download the audiobook on Audible. You can learn more about LORE and Aaron Mahnke at or and follow them on Twitter at @lorepodcast or @amahnke.  

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

Oct 23, 2017

Sir Richard Branson talks about The Virgin Group philosophy, why he likes to act fast when launching a new business, and how many of his best ideas came from his own desires and frustrations as a consumer.  He gives advice to young entrepreneurs and shares what he’s learned from his mistakes.  He reveals his reasons for selling Virgin America to Alaska Air, and he outlines his vision of the future with Virgin Galactic and his latest venture Virgin Hyperloop One.  Plus he talks about his strange lunch with Donald Trump, his most harrowing adventures, and his habit of chopping off people’s neckties.

Order Sir Richard Branson's new book FINDING MY VIRGINITY on Amazon or download the audio book at Audible.  Keep up with Richard Branson at or on Twitter at @richardbranson.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Harry's Razors, SonosNadex and The Daily Zeitgeist podcast Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our annual listener survey at  Visit for more fun stuff. 

Oct 19, 2017

Richard Turner is the greatest card magician in the world and the subject of a new documentary called DEALT.  He’s virtually never seen without a deck in his hands, and today he fesses up to shuffling cards in the movies, during church and even while making love to his wife!  He shares why he doesn’t like to be called a magician or an illusionist, he discuss some of the less than ethical origins of card trickery, and talks about the man who mentored him in card manipulation.  Then after the break, Richard Turner reveals a fact about himself that will completely blow your mind and leave you wondering how he can possibly do what he does!

DEALT opens in theatres in New York as well as On Demand and on iTunes October 20, then in Los Angeles starting October 27 followed by other select cities. For showtimes and information visit You can keep up with Richard Turner at

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

Oct 16, 2017

Astronaut Captain Scott Kelly talks about his year on the International Space Station, including how it pushed his body the limit, why the hardest physical test was re-adjusting to life on earth, and how his experience could get NASA one step closer to a manned mission to Mars.  He reveals how he combatted boredom in space, what he missed most about earth, and how he got along with his Russian crew-mates amid strained US-Russia relations.  Plus Scott tells me if the "overview effect" ever wears off, what space smells like, and much more.

Order Scott Kelly's book Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery (available 10/17) on Amazon or Audible.  Keep up with him at and follow him on twitter at @StationCDRKelly.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Nadex, AppRiver, and Sonos Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our annual listener survey at  Visit for more fun stuff. 

Oct 12, 2017

Anthony Bourdain 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 for more information.  Keep up with Anthony Bourdain on his website 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  Visit for more fun stuff.

Oct 5, 2017

Mortician, author and activist Caitlin Doughty discusses her new book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death.  She reveasl how America’s funeral industrial complex overcharges and overregulates how we say goodbye to our loved ones and how funerals went from private family affairs to big business in just a century.  She shares how people around the world honor the dead including villagers in Indonesia who sleep, eat, and interact with their deceased on a daily basis, and high tech innovators are revolutionizing how the dearly departed are remembered in Japan.  She tells of a community in Colorado that forgoes the sterile funeral home cremation in favor of an old fashioned funeral pyre, and a green advocate in North Carolina who wants to compost your corpse.

Order Caitlin Doughty's book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death on Amazon or download the audio book on Audible.  To learn more about Caitlin Doughty and The Order of the Good Death, visit and  Check out her popular Ask a Mortician videos on youtube, and follow Caitlin on Twitter at @TheGoodDeath.

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

Oct 2, 2017

Actor Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Rushmore) & classical cellist Jan Vogler discuss how their album New Worlds evolved out of a chance meeting on a flight from Berlin to NYC and a mutual love of music and poetry.  Plus, Bill Murray shares his philosophy of life, his favorite American humorists, and his thoughts on being an internet folk hero.

New Worlds is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, or wherever you buy music.  Bill and Jan's concert tour begins Friday, October 6 in Santa Barbara and includes dates in Chicago (10/10), Buffalo (10/11). Toronto (10/13), New York (10/16), Portland (11/28), Seattle (11/29), San Francisco (12/8), and Denver (12/10).  For dates and tickets, visit  

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

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