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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: Category: writing
Jan 16, 2020

Director/writer Greta Gerwig discusses her Oscar nominated film adaptation of the beloved classic Little Women, how she imbued her movie with even more of author Louisa May Alcott's own personality, and why it was important for her to give a nod to the author's original intended ending.  She talks about the status of female directors and writers in Hollywood, recalls a conversation she once had with a studio executive about how women talk, and how Meryll Streep inspired some of the film's most insightful dialogue about a woman’s role in 19th Century society.  Greta also reveals that she was secretly pregnant while filming Little Women and what it is like to be in competition with her husband Noah Baumbach for Best Picture this year.  Plus we talk about why actresses in the 30’s and 40’s got better roles than they do today, our mutual love of the films of George Cukor and Greta Garbo, and the wicked wit of Dorthy Parker.

See Greta Gerwig's wonderful film Little Women in theaters now.  Check your local listings for showtimes or visit www.littlewomen.movie.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kronos HR Solutions.

 

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Dec 5, 2019

Master of suspense Dean Koontz recalls the literary agent who said he'd never be a bestselling author and how he defied expectations with fourteen #1 New York Times Bestsellers.  He discusses his new collection of six short suspense stories for Amazon, why creating an antihero with no memory and no identity appealed to him, and those stories have to say about the blessing and the curse of technology in our lives.  Dean reveals the meticulous research that goes into his writing, how much of himself he puts into his books, and why his love of dogs always seems to make it into his work.

Nameless, collection of short stories by Dean Koontz is available for free to Prime and Kindle Unlimited members.  Keep up with Dean at www.deankoontz.com and on twitter at @deankoontz.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kronos HR Solutions.

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Oct 29, 2019

Actor, comedian, and humorist John Hodgman talks about the strange sense of validation he gets from his airline loyalty program, the perks and perils of hotel living, and the best way to get thrown into Disneyland Jail.  We discuss his memorable appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, how his Daily Show colleague Al Madrigal got him into standup, and his podcast where he mediates minor disputes between squabbling couples.  He recalls his early days as a fancy New York literary agent, the worst book manuscript he ever read, and the writer who became his stalker.  Plus we talk about John’s remarkable skill at gaining entry into all manner of exclusive, and sometimes sinister clubs, from Yale’s secret societies and meetings of the New World Order, to the Church of Scientology’s Flag Land Base and Mar-a-Lago.

Order John Hodgman's book Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Be sure to subscribe to the Judge John Hodgman podcast, and keep up with John at www.JohnHodgman.com or on Twitter at @Hodgman.

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Sep 23, 2019

New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer grew tired of his kids’ obsession with reality TV and people who were famous for being famous so he began to write children's books about real heroes from history.  He talks about the newest additions to his Ordinary People Change the World series I Am Walt Disney and I Am Marie Curie, and  reveals some of his own childhood heroes.  He says he puts just as much historical research into his children’s books as he does into his bestselling political thrillers and explains why it was so important to show kids that even famous historical figures started out somewhere.  He talks about the new PBS TV series based on his books and how it’s a dream come true for a man who grew up with Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers.  Plus Brad announces his next book for his adult readers - a sequel to his best-selling novel The Escape Artist.  

Order I am Marie Curie and I am Walt Disney and other books in Brad’s Ordinary People Change the World series for kids on Amazon or wherever books are sold.  Visit www.bradmeltzer.com for more information, and follow Brad on Twitter at @BradMeltzer.  Today’s episode was sponsored by PuroTrader, the online community for cigar lovers. Visit www.purotrader.com and use the promo code NEWS for a chance to win a day at the Porsche Racing Experience in Los Angeles or Atlanta.

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Sep 9, 2019

Acclaimed author Salman Rushdie talks about drawing on Cervantes and pop culture for his new novel Quichotte.  He describes having to consume a massive amount of "trash tv" in preparation for the book, how Quichotte addresses the most pressing issues of our time from opioids to immigration, and why the “the age of anything can happen” may not necessarily a good thing!  Rushdie opens up about his early career as a stage actor, his secret longing to be a second rate spy novelist, and why he finally decided to make a novelist a character in one of his stories.  Then we talk about the moment when a writer finds his own voice, how he developed his signature style of magical realism, and how it manifests in his latest novel with everything from mastodons to talking crickets.  Plus we talk about the fatwa that was issued against him 30 years ago and what it was like to play that scary event for comedy in the latest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Order Salman Rushdie's latest book Quichotte: A Novel on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Follow him on Twitter at @SalmanRushdie and visit salmanrushdie.com for a list of his upcoming public appearances (unless your fanatic trying to assassinate him...in which case disregard this).  This episode is sponsored by Purotrader and Invitae.

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Jan 10, 2019

Abbi Jacobson opens up about the frustrations of TV development hell, playing “herself” on Comedy Central’s Broad City, and being a woman in a position of power.  She discusses her ongoing struggle with work-life balance, how it took a book deal just to make her take 3 weeks off to travel the country and get over a broken heart, and how that trip taught her that “the things we’re most afraid of, are the things that will most change us.”  Abbi reveals how she and co-creator Ilana Wexler got Amy Poehler to champion Broad City for television, how they convinced Hillary Clinton to guest star in the middle of the election, and what you can learn about a TV network from the snack selection in the lobby.  Plus Abbi Jacobson talks aura readings in Sedona, feeling a little out of place at a Mormon lodge in Utah, and why a bed and breakfast is the worst place to go when you just want to be alone!

Order Abbi's new book I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff on Amazon or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with Abbi on Twitter at @AbbiJacobson, and don’t miss the final season of Broad City beginning January 24 on Comedy Central.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

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Oct 8, 2018

Mitch Albom is the author the all time best-selling memoir Tuesday's with Morrie and six #1 Bestsellers that have sold over a million copies worldwide.  He talks about his new novel The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, how losing his adopted daughter to cancer inspired his latest book, and what the book has to say about mistakes and forgiveness.  He reveals how difficult it was to get Tuesdays with Morrie published, some of the lessons from Morrie Schwartz that have come to mean more to him 20 years later, and what Morrie who preached “don’t buy into the culture" would think about our social media obsessed society.  Plus Mitch discusses how came to care for an entire orphanage in Haiti, the band he formed with Stephen King and other famous writers, and the five people he would like to meet in heaven.

Order The Next Person You Meet in Heaven available 10/9 on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  For more on Mitch, visit www.mitchalbom.com and follow him on twitter at @MitchAlbom.  Today's episode was sponsored by Heineken and BambooHR.  Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.

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Jul 23, 2018

Comedian Jim Gaffigan opens up about his wife/writing partner Jeannie’s brain tumor scare and how she was the first person to suggest using it in his new comedy special JIM GAFFIGAN: NOBLE APE.  Jim reveals how trial and error led him back to his own authentic voice as a comedian, how he gets inside the head of the audience and plays his own worst critic on stage, and why he’s making fewer and fewer food jokes.  He discusses why he’s breaking free of the Netflix model for his latest comedy special and why he’s taken a number of dramatic film roles in no less than 13 films over the next year.  Plus Jim Gaffigan riffs on the mixed blessing of hot pockets, the worst part about getting a colonoscopy, and the hardest comedy gig in the world...opening for the Pope.

Comedy Dynamics presents Jim Gaffigan's newest comedy special JIM GAFFIGAN: NOBLE APE in theaters, OnDemand, iTunes, Amazon, and all of your favorite digital platforms.  There's eve an album available.  Follow Jim on Twitter at @jimgaffigan and visit Jim's website for tour dates and other fun stuff at www.jimgaffigan.com.  

Jim's upcoming live shows include Kettering, OH (7/27), Clarkson, MI (7/28), Atlantic City (8/4), Bethlehem, PA (8/5) Santa Rosa, CA (8/9), Fresno, CA (8/12), Casper, WY (8/13) the Iowa State Fair (8/14), ACharleston, SC (8.17).

Today's podcast is sponsored by GooglePlay, Dollar Shave Club, Purple Mattress, and Morning Brew.

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Jun 4, 2018

Author Max Brooks is well known for his bestselling zombie books like World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide, and he applies the same creative thinking to military strategy as a fellow at the Modern War Institute and The Art of Future Warfare Project.  He reveals how he gets military leaders to think outside the box about complex problems, some of the threats for which he fears the US is least prepared, and why American ingenuity and self-reliance will be crucial to surviving modern disasters like an attack on the power grid.  He discusses how his mother the late Anne Bancroft helped him cope with dyslexia, how Alan Alda taught him to write, and why his dad Mel Brooks is still a bundle of energy (and laughs) at age 91.  Max weighs in on everything from President Trump's North Korea policy to the Russian cyber-attacks, plus he shares what the military can learn from the Star Wars movies, how to survive a zombie apocalypse, and why an Ewok insurgency is not so cute.

Order Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict (co-edited by Max Brooks) on Amazon.  Learn more about Max at www.maxbrooks.com and follow him on twitter at @maxbrooksauthor.  Today’s podcast was sponsored by US Markerboard, Michelin Premiere Tires, Simple Contacts, Grasshopper, and Legal Shield.

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Mar 26, 2018

David Mamet discusses how the old gangster stories he heard as a child inspired him to write CHICAGO: A NOVEL.  He talks about his love of classic noir and hot jazz, and dislike of social media, computers, and flowery prose.  He shares why famous figures are better felt than heard in historical fiction, why he says Hollywood is dead, and why he never reads his own reviews.  He teases his latest play about Harvey Weinstein, and reveals his longing to live as a reporter in the 1920’s and die as a whorehouse piano player with a whiskey and a cigarette.

Order David Mamet's new book CHICAGO: A NOVEL on Amazon. Today's podcast was sponsored by Google Cloud Platform podcast, AppRiver, Breach podcast, Quip, Google Cloud Spanner, and Hair Regrowth from Just for Men.

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Dec 11, 2017

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.

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Sep 7, 2017

Actor, writer, director Danny Strong talks about his new movie Rebel in the Rye about the life of author J.D. Salinger.  He discusses the challenges of portraying a man who spent so much of his life out of the public spotlight, the autobiographical aspects of his novel Catcher in the Rye, and why this film is probably the closest we will ever get to a Catcher in the Rye movie.  Plus, Danny reveals how a young video clerk named Quentin Tarantino stoked his early love of film, and we talk about Danny's big screen adaptation of the musical Guys & Dolls.

Rebel in the Rye opens in theatres tomorrow Friday, September 8, and his show Empire returns for a 4th season on September 27 on Fox.  Follow Danny Strong on Twitter at @DannyStrong.

Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and follow us on Facebook at Kickass News or on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod.  You can also visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.

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Sep 23, 2016

The moment Al Jean completed the first episode of The Simpsons in 1989, he knew that he wanted to work on that show for the rest of his career.  He's been doing just that as the head writer and exec producer of The Simpsons, guiding that groundbreaking series to a record-breaking 28 seasons.  

Today Al Jean talks about his early days writing for “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” including those famous letters to Santa that were supposedly from little children. Then he talks about the birth of the Simpsons, the origin of many of the characters, and the early controversies that surrounded the show including a strange rivalry between the fictional Simpsons family and the first President Bush.

We talk about the process of making the show, the challenge of keeping the show fresh after 625 episodes, and what he’d like to do with the final episode (if that day ever comes). Plus we talk about the fans and some of the crazy conspiracy theories they have about the show.

Be sure to watch the season premiere of The Simpsons this Sunday 9/25 at 8PM Eastern on Fox and watch Simpsons reruns five days a week on FXX.  For more fun Simpsons fan stuff, visit www.SimpsonsWorld.com.  Follow Al Jean on Twitter at @AlJean and you can even follow the Simpsons on Twitter at @TheSimpsons

Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and follow us on Facebook at Kickass News or on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod.  You can also visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.

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