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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: November, 2020
Nov 30, 2020

Matthew McConaughey is an Academy Award-winning actor, but he is also a poet, philosopher, husband and father of three, global traveler, writer, occasional orchestra conductor, and passionate student of life.  Today he shares some of things he's learned about himself, others, and the world around him.  He discusses what he calls the "wild rodeo marriage" of his mom and dad, the moment when he became a man in his father’s eyes, and the long line of cattle rustlers, hustlers, and river boat gamblers in the McConaughey family tree.  He talks about landing his first role in Richard Linklatter’s Dazed and Confused, the "launchpad line" that opened up the character of Wooderson for him, and how an improvised line in a scene that wasn’t even supposed to take place became the catchphrase that has followed him ever since.  He recalls going from total anonymity to a celebrity in the span of just 48 hours, stepping away from Hollywood for 20 months at the peek of his success in order to land the kind of serious roles that he really wanted, and the long road to his Academy Award-winning performance in The Dallas Buyers Club.  Plus Matthew talks about healing our nation’s divisions, finding our tribe in our shared values, and whether he just might want to run for office one day.  Order Matthew McConaughey's new book Greenlights on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.

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Nov 26, 2020

This is a rerun of my interview with astronaut Captain Scott Kelly.  He 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 www.ScottKelly.com and follow him on twitter at @StationCDRKelly.

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Nov 24, 2020

We’re doing something a little different today.  Instead of a regular episode of KickAss News, we wanted to share a clip from our friends over at the Get Wired podcast.  Get Wired is produced by Wired and hosted by senior writer Lauren Goode. It’s all about how the future is realized.  It’s the news of tomorrow, delivered to you today.  The show is nerdy, innovated, and heavy on research.  They’re stories you can trust on everything from the rise of virtual beings and the science of fire tornadoes, to heavy-hitting reporting on the racist history of surveillance tech.  New episodes drop every Monday.  Enjoy this preview of Get Wired, and if you like what you hear, listen and subscribe to Get Wired, wherever you get your podcasts. 

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Nov 24, 2020

I talk with Joe Scarborough, host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, about our mutual affection for the politician dismissed as the “strange little man” from Missouri, why Harry Truman couldn’t even get respect from his own wife and mother-in-law, and how historians have gradually rehabilitated the legacy of our 33rd President.  Joe tells the story of the twin crises that kicked off the Cold War and the speech redefined US foreign policy.  We discuss how Truman pulled America out of its isolationist past, the Republican Senator who helped him do it, and how they forged a bipartisan coalition that held for more than 70 years
and eventually defeated communism.  He discusses Donald Trump’s efforts to reject the Truman Doctrine and undermine longstanding alliances such as NATO, the degree to which President-elect Biden can undo Trump’s disastrous foreign policy, and whether Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman, thinks that he will ever return the GOP. 

Order Joe Scarborough's book Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Watch him on Morning Joe weekday mornings from 6-9 eastern on MSNBC, and follow him on twitter at @JoeNBC.

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Nov 19, 2020

Director Steve McQueen won an Academy Award for Best Picture for telling the dramatic true story of a free African-American who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in his film Twelve Years a Slave.  Now he’s addressing a form of racial oppression that hits a lot closer to home for him in a new anthology of films called Small Axe, which collectively captures the lives of London’s West Indian community in the 1970s and ’80s and their force of will against systemic racism and discrimination.  Steve McQueen talks about the process of creating five thematically connected but totally different stand-alone movies - each with their own distinct looks, styles, and time periods.  He reveals how his own upbringing in London’s West Indian community and the stories he was told by family members laid the groundwork for Small Axe, and he shares how he based one of the films on his own personal experience with racial injustice as a boy in school.  He also tells the inspiring tale of the Mangrove 9 who stood up to police harassment in a British court, the true story of the West Indian police officer who tried to change things from within, and why he says that the London Metropolitan Police is still plagued with systemic racism to this day.

Watch Steve McQueen's five-part anthology Small Axe on Amazon Prime TV beginning November 20.

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Nov 17, 2020

Legendary FBI criminal profiler John Douglas talks about some of the 5000 cases with which he has been involved and his chilling face to face encounters with the worst monsters in recent memory from Edmund Kemper to Ted Bundy.  He reveals why he first began interviewing serial killers without the FBI’s knowledge or permission, how he prepared for these deeply disturbing meetings, and he and his colleagues found commonalities that would help the FBI catch the most horrific of murderers of our time.  Then he shares how his very first attempt at profiling a wanted fugitive was instrumental to the capture of the white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin and how the Franklin case marked a significant turning point in his own career.  He discusses what Joseph Paul Franklin had in common with Charles Manson, why he shot and paralyzed Hustler founder Larry Flynt, and why Douglas fears that social media has become a fertile breeding ground for killers just like him.  Plus John talks about the one murderer that continues to haunt him to this day and offers a psychological profile of the most famous serial killer of all...Jack the Ripper!

Order John Douglas's new book The Killer's Shadow: The FBI's Hunt for a White Supremacist Serial Killer on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Learn more about John Douglas at www.mindhuntersinc.com and find out about The Cold Case Foundation at www.coldcasefoundation.org.

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Nov 12, 2020

David Sedaris returns to the podcast to talk about his pre-election anxiety, his lifelong blackout of all social media, and the time he got bullied while testifying before the British House of Commons.  He discusses what it was like the comb through 25 years of material for his new collection of essays The Best of Me, the strangeness of putting out a book without the traditional book tour, and the essay that got him in hot water with bear activists.

Order David's latest book The Best of Me on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold, and learn more about him at www.davidsedaris.com.

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Nov 9, 2020

New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel shares his thoughts on Broadway's uncertain future, what New York theatre may look like whenever it emerges from the pandemic, and some hopeful lessons from Broadway’s dramatic recovery in the wake of the attacks on 9/11.  He says he didn't intend for the title of his new book Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway to be ironic, but a tribute to boom in American theatre in the 90s and the enduring influence of one of America's greatest cultural exports.  He recalls the disastrous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that put an end the so called British Invasion of the 80s and how a little musical called Rent took the world by storm and changed our idea of what a Broadway musical could be.  We talk about how the musical Chicago went from a flop in the 70s to a massive hit in the 90s, how revivals of classic musical comedies like Guys and Dolls paved the way for Mel Brooks’ The Producers, and the real life story of the flashy Broadway showman who turned out to be a conman!

Order Michael Riedel's book Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Listen to The Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning show on W.O.R. radio in New York City, look for his column in the New York Post, and follow him on Twitter at @MichaelRiedelNY.

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Nov 6, 2020

With Joe Biden taking a razor thin lead in George and a run-off election expected to decide who controls the Senate, many credit Stacey Abrams with making sure that every vote gets counted and likely delivering Georgia for the Democrats.  Today's episode is a re-release of my 2019 interview with Stacey Abrams in which she discusses why she refused to concede defeat in the 2018 gubernatorial race, why she believes widespread voter suppression tipped that election to her opponent, and how she's continuing the fight for voting rights and fair elections through her organization Fair Fight Action.  She explains the careful balancing act of being a woman of color in a position of power, why minority politicians undergo way more financial scrutiny than their white colleagues, and how the Republican Governors Association mocked her for daring to seek higher office as a woman.  

Order Stacey Abrams' new book Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Learn more about Stacey’s voting rights group Fair Fight Action at www.fairfightaction.com, and follow her on twitter at @staceyabrams.  Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our short listeners survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.

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Nov 5, 2020

Tim Heidecker talks about his new comedy series Moonbase 8, collaborating with fellow comedy geniuses John C. Reilly, Fred Armisen, and Jonathan Krisel on the show, and what it was like to visit NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and SpaceX headquarters as part of their research.  He discusses how Bob Odenkirk gave him his first big break, the cult following for his Adult Swim series The Time and Eric Awesome Show, and how one Tim and Eric sketch got the attention of QAnon conspiracists.  Plus Tim weighs in on the moon vs mars debate, his tongue-in-cheek run for San Bernadino District Attorney, and what his other show On Cinema has to say about influencer culture.

Moonbase 8 debuts Sunday, November 8, at 11PM Eastern and Pacific only on Showtime.  Keep up with Tim at timheidecker.com and on Twitter at @TimHeidecker.

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Nov 3, 2020

Harry Shearer is the voice behind some of the most famous characters on The Simpsons, and now he's giving voice to the wild whims of Donald Trump in a new pre-election parody album.  He talks about how writing songs from the the perspective of Donald Trump gave him a window into the President’s dark psyche, how he managed to record with a full band during quarantine, and the amazing technology that helped him physically transform into the man himself.  He also recalls his days a childhood actor working with legends like Jack Benny and Mel Blanc, what he calls the “living hell” of being on Saturday Night Live in the early 80s, and the origins of his legendary mock rock band Spinal Tap.  We also talk about his 32 years in the cast of The Simpsons, how he comes up with the voices for so many characters, and how he manages when he has perform those characters talking to each other in the same scene.  Plus Harry says never trust a man who doesn’t like music and doesn't like dogs!

Order Harry Shearer's hilarious new album THE MANY MOODS OF DONALD TRUMP wherever you get you music or visit www.harryshearer.com.  I also recommend his weekly radio program LE SHOW and follow him on Twitter at @TheHarryShearer.

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