EP 272: Cinco de Funny w/ Comedian Paul Rodriguez

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 H

EP 271: Michael Isikoff and David Corn on Trump's Russian Roulette

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 Insi

EP 270: Steven Pinker Makes the Case for Science, Reason, Humanism, and Progress

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

EP 269: Louie Anderson Says Be Nicer to Your Mom

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

EP 268: Jennifer Palmieri Empowers Women w/ Lessons from the Clinton Campaign

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

EP 267: Director Barry Levinson on Paterno, Pacino & Our "Wag the Dog" Reality

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 storie

EP 266: Ed Helms on Re-examining Ted Kennedy and Embracing Your Inner-Fool

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 th

EP 265: Tim Robbins Is Humanizing Immigration & Healing Prisoners w/ Theatre

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

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