52 minutes | May 31, 2023
The Elements of Singer-Songwriter Arlo Parks
Today, we sit with singer-songwriter Arlo Parks! At the top, we discuss the arrival of her new record My Soft Machine (4:26), how performing with Harry Styles and Billie Eilish transformed her work in the studio (7:08), and the vivid memory behind her new song “Devotion” (9:50). Then, we talk about her intuitive writing process (11:26), fueled by an affinity for poetry (13:39), and the influences behind her earliest pieces of music (20:05). On the back-half, Parks describes the winding path to her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams (30:12), this profound chapter turn from the first to second record (39:07), returning to her “fifteen minutes of presence” as a writer (41:40), her striking new song “Puppy” (42:17), and her ever-evolving relationship to capturing the past (44:12). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
47 minutes | May 28, 2023
Director Nicole Holofcener’s Art Imitates Life
Today, we sit with filmmaker Nicole Holofcener! We discuss the making of her new A24 film You Hurt My Feelings (5:44), her creative upbringing in the ‘70s (15:00), and the Jim Jarmusch film that made her want to become a director (17:25). On the back-half, Holofcener reflects on her early apprenticeship on Hannah and Her Sisters (23:54), her intensely personal collaborations with actors Catherine Keener and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (26:20), and a defining scene from her latest film (32:05). To close, she talks about the importance of supporting writers (36:57), her first day on the set of Walking and Talking (37:33), and why, after three decades, she continues to stay on the “seesaw of art and life” (40:02). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
54 minutes | May 24, 2023
Bill Hader Says Goodbye to ‘Barry’
As we approach the series finale of Barry, we return to our talk with actor and director Bill Hader. We discuss the thematic evolution of his hit HBO series (7:02), and how it draws from films like Taxi Driver and Goodfellas (10:36). Then, Bill reflects on growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma (13:16), the influence of his late grandfather (17:04), his path from community college to his early PA jobs in Hollywood (18:25), landing on Saturday Night Live (21:36), the weekly pressure of the show (26:07), and how he made it through by collaborating with John Mulaney (29:51). On the back-half, Bill shares a piece of advice from Jeff Bridges (35:14), how Barry came to be (37:27), the personal connection he has with the show (40:07), the enduring power of movies (47:52), and how, after some detours, he’s finally where he’s supposed to be (49:57). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
48 minutes | May 21, 2023
Actor Alan Ruck’s Road to ‘Succession’
Today, we’re joined by actor Alan Ruck! At the top, we dive into the Election Day episode of Succession (4:00), the ensemble’s first table read during the 2016 presidential race (7:23), and how that fateful night shaped the arc of the series (8:59). Then, we walk through Ruck’s iconic role of Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (9:54), memories on set with Matthew Broderick (12:05), and his winding path that followed (17:19). On the back-half, he describes a mid-90s stretch of performances in Speed, Twister, and Spin City (24:37), a serious medical emergency he endured (26:22), and how it shaped his new perspective on art-making, leading him to Succession (29:48). To close, we discuss Ruck's process crafting the character of Connor Roy (32:27), a pivotal scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (37:50), and his hopes for the years to come (43:04). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
61 minutes | May 14, 2023
Mother’s Day with ‘Top Chef’ Padma Lakshmi
Today, we sit with writer and television host Padma Lakshmi! At the top, we discuss the return of her Hulu docuseries Taste the Nation (6:40), a formative episode in El Paso, Texas (10:14), and how the show connects to Padma’s personal history (13:59). Then, she reflects on her childhood in New York City (16:07), a heartbreaking event at seven (19:05*), and her unexpected entry to the modeling industry (27:14). On the back-half, we walk through the early years of her trailblazing career (35:52), the patriarchal systems she fought back against (40:58), and her painful essay in The Times in response to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (43:16*). To close, Padma talks about her powerful work through EndoFound (48:30), the activist underpinnings of Taste the Nation (51:21), and the stories she hopes to tell in years to come (54:44). *At this time-code, there is a discussion about sexual assault. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
14 minutes | May 10, 2023
Introducing So Many Steves: Afternoons with Steve Martin
Today, we're sharing a preview of an original new audiobook produced by our colleagues at Pushkin Industries. It’s entitled So Many Steves: Afternoons with Steve Martin. The book is an engrossing audio-biography centered around a series of conversations recorded at Martin’s home with his long-time friend and neighbor, New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik. To hear the full audiobook, So Many Steves, visit pushkin.fm/. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
92 minutes | May 7, 2023
Jay Jordan Was Incarcerated At 18. Now, He’s Transforming the Criminal Justice System.
Today, CEO and activist Jay Jordan tells his story. We begin in Stockton, California (13:31), where he came of age on the heels of the 1994 Clinton Crime Bill (16:33) before being arrested at eighteen (19:47). In stark contrast to former President Trump’s arraignment (3:17), Jordan then details his experiences navigating the judicial system (24:15), his years in prison (28:30), and stints in solitary confinement (31:55). On the back-half, Jordan reflects on the end of his seven-year sentence (38:28), the limitations of living with a criminal record (47:22), and how he found purpose in advocating for people like himself (54:52). To close, he shares his groundbreaking work with Alliance for Safety and Justice (1:07:46), including a new, transformative California law (1:13:04), and a philosophy by Maya Angelou that guides him today (1:18:24). To learn more and support, visit https://asj.allianceforsafetyandjustice.org/. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
58 minutes | Apr 30, 2023
All the Women in Actor Betty Gilpin’s Brain
Today, we sit with actor Betty Gilpin! We talk about her role in the prescient new Peacock series Mrs. Davis (6:35), her relationship to technology and social media (8:54), and growing up around actor parents (17:25). Then, we discuss her early years studying acting (20:51), under the legendary Dianne Wiest (22:10), and her path from college to off-Broadway theater (26:30). In the back half, we walk through her rapid ascent from Nurse Jackie to GLOW (35:28), the ‘seesaw of acting’ she experienced (39:20), and the weight of her work (41:15). To close, Betty honors the next generation of performers (46:07) and shares a formative passage from her book, All the Women in My Brain (47:48). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
63 minutes | Apr 26, 2023
Carol Burnett Turns 90
Today, on her 90th birthday, a celebration of Carol Burnett! After seven decades in the industry, Burnett sat down with Sam to discuss her upbringing in the Hollywood Arms Apartments (4:25), a mysterious envelope of money that allowed her to study at UCLA (8:00), a generous loan that catapulted her to New York City (13:06), and her “big break” in 1957 (23:30). Then, we walk through how Julie & Carol at Carnegie Hall came to be (31:40), finding her place in “a man’s game” on network television (40:15), and her fond memories of The Carol Burnett Show and everyone who made it possible (43:56). Finally, before we leave, a conversation on divine intervention (52:00) and what she's grateful for today (56:37). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
67 minutes | Apr 23, 2023
Alison Roman’s Imperfect Approach to Cooking
Today, we’re joined by cook and food writer Alison Roman! We discuss her new dessert cookbook Sweet Enough (4:55), her early years as a restaurant pastry chef (12:24), and the chaotic conditions of working in the service industry (14:50). Then, Roman describes working at the experimental bakery Milk Bar in New York City (18:09), hosting cooking videos at Bon Appétit (22:40), and eventually working as a food columnist at The New York Times (25:18). On the back-half, we talk about the criticism she faced in 2020 (32:20), the subsequent fallout from her remarks (38:52), the personal newsletter that emerged (47:12), the connective power of cooking (55:08), the time capsule of writing (58:30), and what she hopes for in the years to come (1:01:45). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
58 minutes | Apr 16, 2023
A Portrait of Actor Michelle Williams
Today, we sit with brilliant actor Michelle Williams! At the top, we walk through the making of Showing Up (6:05), Williams’ fifteen-year partnership with director Kelly Reichardt (8:10), and her upbringing in Montana and San Diego (10:42). Then, she describes coming of age on the set of Dawson’s Creek (14:50), her pivotal turn in Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe (20:00), and her path to Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (26:10). On the back-half, we discuss a healing passage from Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost (29:37), Williams’ memorable performances in Blue Valentine (32:12) and My Week with Marilyn (37:47), and her final day shooting The Fabelmans (40:50). To close, she shares how she remains present as a mother (45:40), a formative Walt Whitman quote (47:22), and how—at age 42—she’s begun to create from “a place of peace.” (50:36). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
79 minutes | Apr 9, 2023
Actor Steven Yeun Tells a New Story
Today, we sit with actor Steven Yeun! At the top, we discuss his new Netflix series Beef (3:40), a powerful church scene from the show (12:10), and his personal experience immigrating to the US from Seoul as a child (18:44). Then, we walk through Steven’s coming of age in Michigan (21:35), his memorable audition for The Second City Touring Company (25:56), and his pursuit of on-screen work in Los Angeles (34:22). On the back-half, Steven reflects on his portrayal of Glenn on The Walking Dead (36:54), the films that followed, including Okja (45:54), Burning (49:42), and Sorry to Bother You (50:58), his transformative experience making and premiering Minari (55:17), and to close, a poem that guided him on set by the great Wendell Berry (1:08:02). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
58 minutes | Apr 2, 2023
How Author Jenny Odell Discovered a Life Beyond the Clock
Today, we’re joined by writer and artist Jenny Odell! At the top, we discuss the recent legislation regulating social media in Utah (4:02), how these platforms affect our perception of daily life (5:20), and the relationship between time and power Odell unpacks in her first book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (6:41). Then, we talk about ‘productivity bros’ (13:05), our culture of self-optimization (16:35), and the social inequities that shape our relationships to time (20:31). On the back-half, we walk through Odell’s tools to help experience time (34:47), a historic picture of today’s home office (38:22), the systemic reform she hopes to see in the US (42:15), and to close, the ways she’s grown since completing hew new book Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock (49:30). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
72 minutes | Mar 26, 2023
Actor Bob Odenkirk: The King of (Dark) Comedy
Today, we sit with legendary actor and comedian Bob Odenkirk! At the top, we discuss his new AMC series Lucky Hank (6:10), the parallels between his character Hank Devereaux and Saul Goodman of Better Call Saul (8:15), and how Monty Python shaped his early ideas of comedy (9:40). Then, Odenkirk reflects on his coming of age in Naperville, Illinois (10:43), the influence of cult comedy legend Del Close (19:21), his years writing at SNL (22:56), and performing at The Second City (27:50). On the back-half, we talk about his singular collaboration with David Cross that created Mr. Show (32:20), a memorable sketch from season 3 (41:30), his entry to Breaking Bad (49:02), becoming a dramatic actor late in life (51:31), and how he hopes to live in years to come (59:23). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
54 minutes | Mar 22, 2023
The Stories of Writer Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is the author of over 50 books of poetry, critical essays, graphic novels, and fiction. Her latest short story collection, Old Babes in the Wood, was recently published this March. Today, we revisit our 2022 conversation, beginning with essay collection Burning Questions (4:47), which wrestles with catastrophe (5:28), Atwood's upbringing in the wilderness (7:36) under egalitarian parents (10:30), and how she circumvented the traditional roles for women of the 1950s (12:55). She also shares some personal stories: her first book signing event (16:05), the day she met her late husband Graeme Gibson (17:35), and the innumerable ways in which he'd shape her life (20:29). On the back-half we discuss the historical antecedents behind The Handmaid’s Tale (23:34), its renewed relevance amid threats to reproductive justice (25:04), the debate around ‘the writer as political agent’ (31:24), patriarchal gatekeeping inside the publishing industry (34:12), the limits of art-making (35:08), and why she continues to write at age 82 (38:57). To close, Margaret reads from both her elegiac poem Dearly (41:05) and her essay “Polonia” (47:10). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
59 minutes | Mar 19, 2023
Live from New York with Author Min Jin Lee
Live from On Air Fest in Brooklyn, our talk with award-winning author Min Jin Lee! At the top, we discuss the roadmap to her upcoming third novel, American Hagwon (4:25), immigrating from Seoul to Queens in the 1970s (7:10), and the violence her family endured working in America (15:50). Then, Lee reflects on her years at Yale (19:15), a life-changing diagnosis in college (21:37), and the criticism she overcame as a young writer (25:26). On the back-half, Lee reads a personal passage from her New Yorker piece “Stonehenge” (33:05) and talks about finding community through her work (36:14), her path to publication in Free Food for Millionaires (38:32), how she learned to embrace the ephemeral moment (42:06), and the reform in education she hopes to see in years to come (45:12). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
56 minutes | Mar 12, 2023
Oscar Sunday with Actor Ke Huy Quan
To celebrate Oscar Sunday, we return to our talk with actor Ke Huy Quan! At the top, he reflects on the making of A24’s Everything Everywhere All At Once (3:35), growing up in Vietnam (6:36), and his family’s perilous journey to Los Angeles in the late seventies (7:33). Then, we walk through Ke’s breakout role in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (13:45), his pivot from acting to stunt choreography (24:20), and working under the tutelage of director Wong Kar-wai (25:38). On the back half, Ke describes how Crazy Rich Asians reawakened a childhood dream (33:16) leading to both his momentous return to the screen (36:05) and a full circle moment on the set of Everything Everywhere All At Once (38:27). To close, we discuss Ke’s remarkable second act and what’s to come (48:03). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
56 minutes | Mar 8, 2023
Actor Ram Charan and the RRRevolution
Ahead of this year’s Academy Awards, we sit with “RRR” actor Ram Charan! At the top, he reflects on his experience observing Ayyappa Deeksha (3:09 and what it meant to join forces with actor NTR Jr. (7:05) on the Oscar-nominated Indian epic (7:50), guided by the singular vision of director S.S. Rajamouli (12:18). Then, Charan shares how the viral ‘Naatu Naatu’ dance number came to be (16:25), the privilege of filming in pre-war Ukraine (18:03), and the influence of his father, actor Chiranjeevi (23:05). On the back-half, we talk about his upbringing in Hyderabad (30:57), how Charan carved out his own path to acting (36:05), and how “RRR” blurs the lines of Tollywood and Bollywood (40:33). To close, Charan wrestles with the historic nature of this Oscar nomination (46:03) and what he hopes it portends for the Indian film industry (47:47). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
66 minutes | Mar 5, 2023
Actor and Director Natasha Lyonne Plays Her Hand
Today, we sit with brilliant actor, director, writer, and producer, Natasha Lyonne. At the top, we walk through the inspiration behind her hit Peacock series Poker Face (6:30), including shows and films like Columbo, Night Moves, and California Split (7:40), and a deeply personal scene with Nick Nolte, directed by Lyonne herself (10:50). Then, she reflects on her childhood acting in New York City (14:44), the new creative path she forged for herself at sixteen (22:40), and her healing road to the theatre alongside playwrights Mike Leigh (40:40) and the late Nora Ephron (42:25). To close, we sit with her seven-year journey to creating Russian Doll (44:16), a memorable evening directing the show (50:42), and a lifelong philosophy by Nora Ephron (56:28). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
59 minutes | Feb 26, 2023
Mr. Frost Goes to Washington
Today, we sit with Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10). At the top, we discuss the five-year aftermath of the horrific shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida (2:29), his first two months in Congress (4:10), and the legislature he’s fighting for to reduce gun violence (9:14). Then, we walk through the Congressman’s response to the Sandy Hook shooting at fifteen (11:40), how it solidified his early commitment to politics (18:17), and how, as a child of adoption, he began to embrace his Afro-Cuban identity (22:15). On the back half, the Congressman reflects on his campaign for Congress (25:58), how it inspired him to connect with his biological mother (29:00), the blend of grassroots organizing and policy-making he strives for today (37:22), and the progress he hopes to see in the next three years (49:30). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.