EP 212: Obama's Funny Man David Litt

Presidential speechwriter David Litt reflects on his political coming of age in the Obama White House, fiction vs. reality on The West Wing, and his sometimes nemesis in the White House research department. He talks about President Obama's sense of humor, writing for the White House Correspondents Dinner speeches, and self-deprecation as a political tool. Plus, he shares some of the jokes that DIDN’T make it into the President’s speeches. Order David Litt's book Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years on Amazon or download the audio version on Audible. Follow David on Twitter at @DavidLitt and check out some of his more recent shenanigans at www.funnyordie.com. Please take a m

EP 211: The Improv's Budd Friedman & Entertainment Writer Tripp Whetsell

The Improv's legendary founder Budd Friedman and entertainment writer Tripp Whetsell talk about their new book The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club That Revolutionized Standup. Budd discusses how much of The Improv was a happy accident and shares memories of comics like Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Andy Kaufman, and others. Tripp discusses how The Improv invented the comedy club, the infamous LA comedy club wars between Budd and The Comedy Store's Mitzi Shore, and some of his favorite comedians who you might not have heard of yet. Order Budd and Tripp's book The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club That Revolutionized Standup on Amazon. Today’s episode is sponsored b

EP 210: Lesley Stahl Celebrates 50 Years of 60 Minutes

Lesley Stahl celebrates the 50th season of 60 Minutes and her 26th season as host/correspondent on the show. She shares stories from her 45 years at CBS including how the young reporter beat out the other networks as the first to report on Watergate scandal, the time she broke the news that Ronald Reagan had picked George H.W. Bush as his running mate (and no one believed her), and her impressions of the three U.S. Presidents she covered during her time as CBS White House correspondent. She discusses some of her more interesting interviews for 60 Minutes including the first post-election sit-down with Donald Trump, the incident when Nicolas Sarkozy stormed off in the middle of a taping, an

EP 209: Tennis Player Maria Sharapova on Serena, the 2016 Drug Test, and her American Dream

Tennis player Maria Sharapova shares the remarkable story of how her father brought the six-year-old Maria from Russia to Florida with only $700 in his pocket and an unwavering faith in his daughter’s dream. She talks about the first time she watched the Williams sisters practice as a kid, and a locker room moment that has defined the rivalry between Serena Williams and her. She reveals what went through her mind when she learned that she had failed a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open, what she did during her subsequent 15 month suspension, and how the experience changed her mind about retiring from tennis. Plus Maria Sharapova talks about her dramatic comeback at last month’s US Open

EP 208: Ken Burns & Lynn Novick Re-examine the Vietnam War

Acclaimed documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (The Civil War, Baseball, The War) discuss their epic 10-part film The Vietnam War which airs 9/17 on PBS. They discuss how the Vietnam War continues to evolve 40 years later, the ways their own perceptions have changed since they were young people growing up in the turbulent 1960’s, and how hindsight has given birth to some humbling and surprising epiphanies among those who fought on both sides. They ponder if some of the lessons of Vietnam have changed America for the better, they share what Vietnamese audiences have had to say about their film, and the man behind the acclaimed miniseries that re-examined the American Civil War w

EP 207: Astronaut Mae Jemison's Plan for a 100 Year Starship

Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison discusses her bold initiative to create a starship capable of transporting humans beyond our solar system. She talks about the cooperation that will be necessary across all scientific fields, the logistical and biological hurdles to be overcome in order to make extended human space travel feasible and safe, and why it's important for longterm "moonshot initiatives" to inspire the next generation. Plus the first astronaut to appear on Star Trek shares her childhood love of the show and the real science behind it. Special thanks to the Milken Institute for hosting this interview during the 2017 Milken Global Conference. Visit www.milkeninstitute.org to learn more a

EP 206: Danny Strong Brings Author J.D. Salinger to the Big Screen

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 D

EP 205: Bryan Cranston on Life Before Acting and Becoming Walter White

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

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