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!

Society & Culture
News
301
David Sedaris on the Lighter Side of Death, Agi...
Bestselling humorist talks about why he doesn’t do social media, how a fitbit has come to rule his life, and his irritation with the British habit of bullying Americans into drinking.  David shares how watching his father grow old...
41 min
302
Astrophysicist Adam Frank on Alien Worlds and S...
Astrophysicist offers an explanation for why we have yet to made contact with extraterrestrials and says it is highly likely that many of ten billion trillion planets in the universe have hosted technologically advanced alien civilizations.  He...
51 min
303
Mike Reiss Celebrates The Simpsons' 30th!
's longest-serving writer/producer Mike Reiss celebrates the 30th anniversary of the longest running show in TV history and shares stories, scandals, and gossip about working with America’s most iconic cartoon family.  He talks about his...
55 min
304
James Clapper on Trump, Russia, & a Life in Int...
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recalls how tinkering with a TV set as a boy led to a career in signals intelligence, his frustration when working as an intelligence briefer to General William Westmoreland during the...
43 min
305
Dave Itzkoff on Robin Williams' Comedy and Tragedy
New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff talks about the surprisingly patrician upbringing of , his time studying to be a serious actor at Julliard, and Robin's early influences as a comedian.  Dave reveals how Star Wars helped Williams...
55 min
306
Eugene Jarecki Goes Road Tripping with Elvis
Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Eugene Jarecki drove across the U.S. in Elvis Presley's 1963 Rolls Royce to talk to people about Elvis as a metaphor for the American dream in his new documentary .  He traces Elvis’s journey from his...
50 min
307
An American Ambassador in Putin's Russia
helped President Obama craft the US-Russia “reset," and he later had a front-row seat for the end of the reset with the return of the hostile, paranoid Russian President Vladimir Putin.  He recalls witnessing history unfold...
53 min
308
Billy Bob Thornton & Mark Duplass on Indie Film...
and Mark Duplass talk about Season 2 of .  Billy reveals why he’s so attracted to outsider roles, what he found particularly appealing about playing an attorney, and how the show’s creators David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro (both...
39 min
309
Bonus Episode - Akimbo
I love sharing new podcasts, and in this special bonus episode, I want to introduce you to my friend and a great new podcast called .  The first episode is about the hype around grand openings, whether it’s a summer blockbuster or a new...
52 min
310
Bob Balaban Puts the "Character" in Character A...
Bob Balaban has been a delightful part of many of the best movies and TV shows of the past 50 years including Moonrise Kingdom, A Mighty Wind, Gosford Park, Capote, and Seinfeld.  This Oscar and Emmy-nominated actor, director, and...
56 min
311
Todd Purdum on Rodgers & Hammerstein's Musical ...
Todd Purdum, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a senior writer at Politico, discusses his own life-long love of the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and why their Broadway shows like South Pacific are so timeless.  He reveals how...
43 min
312
Max Brooks on Star Wars, Real Wars and Ewok Ins...
Author is well known for his bestselling zombie books like and , and he applies the same creative thinking to military strategy as a fellow at the  and .  He reveals how he gets military leaders to think outside the box about complex...
53 min
313
CNN's Jake Tapper on Political Fiction, the Swa...
CNN'S discusses his foray into writing fiction with his new political thriller , his interest in the politics of the 1950s, and the real-life Washington powerbrokers who make up the supporting cast of his story.  He shares how his years of...
46 min
314
Sebastian Junger Talks War, Tribalism and Honor...
Journalist/documentary filmmaker (Restrepo, The Perfect Storm) talks about the new PBS Memorial Day special and his experience as an embedded reporter covering the War in Afghanistan. He recalls his first close call with an I.E.D. in the Korengal...
42 min
315
Al Roker on the Johnstown Flood, America's Gild...
's talks about his book .  He discusses the elite country club that compromised the structural integrity of the South Fork Dam causing the flood, he reveals some of the famous industrialists who belonged to that club, and how they...
38 min
316
Ethan Hawke's Spiritual Approach to Acting, Lif...
Ethan Hawke joins me on the podcast for wide ranging conversation covering art, politics, spirirtuality, the environment, and more.  He describes working with Robin Williams on Dead Poets Society, why he finds the most creative fullfillment...
46 min
317
Ehud Barak on Fighting for Israel & Searching f...
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his role in the 2000 Camp David Summit, and his tortured dealings with Yasser Arafat.  He recalls his early years growing up on a kibbutz, how his...
42 min
318
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden on Trump's A...
General Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA, talks about his concerns over President Trump's attack on the Intelligence Community and objective facts.  He refutes the President’s paranoid narrative of a so called "deep state"...
48 min
319
CNN's Sally Kohn on Hate, Humanity, and Twitter...
CNN political analyst talks about her investigation into the epidemic of hate all around us and how we can stop it. She discusses what scientists and researchers have learned about the evolutionary and cultural roots of hate, and how...
44 min
320
Jon Meacham on the Soul of America and Donald T...
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian helps us understand the present moment of crisis in American politics by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame hatred and reveals how his latest book was born in the dark days...
45 min
321
The Dark Heart of White Nationalism w/ Journali...
For six years, journalist Vegas Tenold embedded himself among the members of three of America's most ideologically extreme white nationalist groups including the KKK, neonazis, and the Traditionalist Workers Party.  He reveals how...
49 min
322
Cinco de Funny w/ Comedian Paul Rodriguez
Comedian 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...
43 min
323
Michael Isikoff & David Corn on Trump's Russian...
Journalists and  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...
49 min
324
Bryan Cranston on Life Before Acting & Becoming...
Rerun of 9/5/17 episode w/ guest Bryan Cranston. 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,...
52 min
325
Steven Pinker Makes the Case for Science, Reaso...
(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...
43 min
326
Louie Anderson Says Be Nicer to Your Mom
Comedian 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...
48 min
327
Jennifer Palmieri Empowers Women w/ Lessons fro...
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...
45 min
328
Director Barry Levinson on Paterno, Pacino, & O...
Director  explores the Penn State sexual abuse scandal that ended Coach Joe Paterno’s career in his new film on HBO.  He explains why he wanted to present the straight facts of the case without actually taking sides, talks the...
44 min
329
Ed Helms on Re-examining Ted Kennedy and Embrac...
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...
49 min
330
Andie MacDowell on Acting Over 40, Time's Up, &...
Andie MacDowell discusses why there are so few good roles for actresses over 40 and why she thinks that’s about to change.  She talks about getting thrown into the deep end on her very first movie GREYSTOKE, the hard work she had to...
51 min
331
Tim Robbins Humanizes Immigration & Heals Priso...
Actor/director  discusses how his new HBO series 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...
50 min
332
David Mamet on Jazz, Noir, and Whorehouse Piano...
David Mamet discusses how the old gangster stories he heard as a child inspired him to write .  He talks about his love of classic noir and hot jazz, and dislike of social media, computers, and flowery prose.  He shares why famous...
41 min
333
Futurist Michio Kaku on Mars, Immortality, and ...
Futurist says sooner or later humanity will face the possibility of extinction, and it’s up to scientists to come up with a plan B whether it’s another planet or even another galaxy.  He explains why it’s important for us to...
43 min
334
Bizarre Foods Host Andrew Zimmern
host of on talks about how he became the man who’ll eat anything and some of the weirdest foods he’s tried over the years.  He reveals some of the strangest delicacies that turned out to be surprisingly good and whether he’s...
50 min
335
Robert Malley Lists 10 Conflicts to Watch in 2018
Robert Malley, president of the , discusses ICG's annual list of the .  He cautions against Donald Trump’s bluster about decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal, warns that the stakes in North Korea are too high to be ignored, and speculates on...
51 min
336
Comedian Nikki Glaser Is Up and On the Radio
Comedian talks about the worst week of her life, why she’s steering clear of politics for a while, and why she decided to move to NYC rather than get up early. She reveals why she likes long distance relationships, why she prefers to follow really...
50 min
337
Steve Buscemi, Armando Ianucci, & Andrea Risebo...
The cast and creator of talk about mining one of Russia’s darkest chapters for comedy and some of absurd but true stories that make into . Writer/director Armando Ianucci (, ) talks about how fighting ruthless authoritarians is a family tradition...
48 min
338
Cass Sunstein on Authoritarianism in America
Cass Sunstein attempts to answer the question "Can authoritarianism happen in America?"  He discusses a few of America’s past flirtations with authoritarianism, some of the weaknesses in our system that could be exploited by an aspiring...
46 min
339
Matt Ingebretson & Jake Weisman Go Corporate
Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman, the stars and co-creators of the new series talk about their own experiences in corporate America and the irony doing their new show for corporate conglomerate Viacom.  They discuss why they wanted a...
42 min
340
Gloria Allred Was Saying Time's Up Long Ago
Attorney was fighting for women long before anyone ever hashtagged Me Too or Time's Up, and she's the subject of a new Netflix documentary .  She reveals how her own personal experience inspired to fight for victims assault, harassment, and...
43 min
341
Comedian Ali Siddiq Goes from Jail to Jokes
20 years ago comedian served six years in the Texas state penitentiary, and now he’s returning to the cellblock for his new  standup special .  On today’s podcast, Ali talks about the incident that landed behind bars, and why he says...
47 min
342
Malcolm McDowell on Mozart, Movies & Never Look...
Malcolm McDowell has starred in over 260 films and television shows from classics like Clockwork Orange to his latest role as an egotistical conductor on .  He shares stories about "mostly drunken gambling and whoring" at the Royal...
47 min
343
Twice the Funny w/ the Sklar Brothers
Comedians talk about how they got into comedy and why they don’t just want to be known as the "twin comics." They talk about their podcast that riffs on the dumbing down of America, talk about a few of the DPT characters who’ve...
55 min
344
An Unspirational Conversation w/ Elan Gale
Elan Gale, executive-producer of The Bachelor, says if you want to improve your life, be your own worst critic, not your own best cheerleader, and get to know your new best friends...shame, anxiety, and desperation.  He takes on some of the...
47 min
345
Whitney Cummings Hacks the Female Brain
Comedian talks about the humbling experience of being a first time director on her film , how she learned that every moment doesn’t have to be a joke, and why she says isn’t just for the ladies.  She shares how she broke free of a...
46 min
346
David Frum on How Trump Corrupts the American R...
, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, discusses his new book .  He documents how Trump and his administration is steadily damaging the tenets of American democracy, warns that Trump’s military generals could become a liability to...
38 min
347
David Cay Johnston Tried to Warn You About Trump
, bestselling author of , returns to the podcast to say "I told you so" and discuss his new book .  The Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist says the President who promised to "drain the swamp" has become the biggest swamp monster...
44 min
348
A Skeptic's Guide to the Afterlife, Immortality...
, editor of , talks about his new book .  He reveals the surprising history of our concept of heaven, he proves that out-of-body experiences are nothing more than hallucinations, and he questions why reincarnated souls only seem to hang...
48 min
349
Phil Rosenthal Eats His Way Around The World
, creator of , reveals how the idea for his new travel show came from a trip he and Ray Romano took to Italy, he recalls some of the cultural roadblocks he encountered when he later produced the Russian version of , and talks about the places he...
47 min
350
Secretary of State George Shultz on Reagan, Gor...
Former Secretary of State George Shultz recalls his close friendship with President Ronald Reagan, the moment he realized that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was someone the U.S. could do business with, and Reagan's Pershing missile moment as...
32 min
351
Greg Barker Captures Obama's Final Year
Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Greg Barker (Ghosts of Rwanda, Manhunt, Homegrown) talks about following President Barack Obama and other senior White House officials during the final 12 months of the Obama Administration for his new film . He...
41 min
352
General David Petraeus on the Counterinsurgency...
General David Petraeus talks about implementing the successful "Surge" strategy in Iraq, and some of the unique complexities he encountered when translating that plan to the war in Afghanistan.  He discusses the fundamentals of...
44 min
353
Nightline's Dan Harris Becomes My Meditation Guru
's Dan Harris has become a self-professed meditation evangelist ever since his infamous on-air panic attack in 2004 and today he tries to win over the ultimate skeptic...ME.  He reveals how daily meditation has improved life at home and at...
45 min
354
Daniel Ellsberg Reveals America's Secret Nuclea...
, the whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, reveals how helped design America's top secret nuclear war plan and why he has since dedicated his life to dismantling it.  He explains why the movie Dr. Strangelove is not far from the...
39 min
355
Mike Duncan Answers "Is America Rome?"
Mike Duncan, host of podcast and , constantly gets asked "Is America doomed to the same fate as the Roman Empire?"  Today he points to some startling parallels to US current events including populist demagoguery, economic inequality, the...
41 min
356
Dilbert Creator Scott Adams on Persuasion in th...
, creator of the cartoons, talks about his new book .  He reveals why facts and ideology no longer matter, why Donald Trump makes what he says are intentional misstatements, and how Trump uses what he calls “linguistic kill...
43 min
357
Ridley Scott & Charlie Plummer Talk About Savin...
Academy Award-nominated director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down, The Martian) joins me on the podcast to discuss how he saved his movie from the Kevin Spacey scandal by making the unprecedented decision to recast the role with the...
35 min
358
Father Greg Boyle with a Holiday Message of Hop...
Father Gregory Boyle is the founder of , the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry program in the world.  He reveals what inspired him to start Homeboy Industries, how he fosters kinship between the most unlikely of...
44 min
359
David Hallberg, the First American in the Bolsh...
is a principal dancer with the and the first American ever to be admitted into Russia's legendary .  David talks about the discipline and dedication needed to make to the top as a dancer, the unique chemistry of partnering with the right...
44 min
360
Brian Kilmeade on Andrew Jackson & America's Se...
Brian Kilmeade, co-host of , talks about his new book  .  He describes a confrontation with a British officer that became a defining moment for a young Andrew Jackson, how Jackson lead an army with a bullet wound to his shoulder and...
45 min
361
Corey Lewandowski & David Bossie Say "Let Trump...
Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie served as campaign manager and deputy campaign for Donald Trump's successful Presidential campaign and they write about that wild ride in their new book .  Today they talk about the man they still call...
36 min
362
Judd Apatow Returns to Stand-up Comedy
Director/writer/producer (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,...
39 min
363
Dan Rather on Patriotism, the Press, and the Va...
Legendary newsman Dan Rather talks about his 60 year career and how his travels and conversations have given him a “wide shot” of the American experience and the values that unite us.  He condemns recent attacks on some on those values...
45 min
364
Lawrence O'Donnell on the Lasting Impact of the...
For , host of ’s , the 1968 U.S. Presidential election was his political awakening, and it has remained one of his abiding fascinations.  Today he talks about the war that sunk LBJ’s presidency and the wild election that followed...
55 min
365
A.J. Jacobs Explores the World's Family Tree
recounts his attempt to throw the worlds biggest family reunion, and his efforts to connect with the billions of people he calls his "cousins" via a project called the world family tree.  He discusses how this crazy project all began...
47 min
366
Magazine Queen Tina Brown
Vanity Fair, news, magazines, publishing, journalism, fashion, celebrity, New York, Conde Nast, media, photography,
40 min
367
Eric Ries on Applying Startup Thinking to Big C...
business, entrepreneurship, startup, silicon valley, lean startup, tech, companies, GE, Amazon,
52 min
368
Comedian Brian Regan on Working Clean, Tennis S...
comedy, comedian, funny, Brian Regan, Netflix, standup, humor,
48 min
369
Paul Reiser & Jeff Sotzing on Bringing Johnny C...
comedy, television, Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, Hulu, TV, Mad About You, entertainment, comedians,
51 min
370
Jenna & Barbara Bush on their Unbreakable Bond ...
politics, family, President, Bush, George. W. Bush, White House, sisters, 9/11, Republican, inspiration,
38 min
371
Alec Baldwin & Kurt Andersen Talk Presidential ...
humor, politics, satire, parody, Saturday Night Live, comedy, political, Donald Trump, President,
36 min
372
A Lesson in Girl Logic w/ Comedian Iliza Shlesi...
comedy, comedian, stand-up, funny, Last Comic Standing, humor, feminism, women, relationships,
52 min
373
Gilbert Gottfried Gets Real About Comedy, Famil...
comedy, comedians, funny, humor, stand-up, entertainment, Hollywood, jokes, impressions, documentary,
52 min
374
LORE's Aaron Mahnke on Monstrous Creatures & Da...
Lore, history, ghosts, paranormal, supernatural, history, witches, story, folklore, mysteries, podcast,
45 min
375
Ron Chernow on Redeeming Ulysses S. Grant
American history, history, Civil War, Presidents, Reconstruction, military, strategy, leadership, biography, Lincoln, Confederacy,
50 min
376
Sir Richard Branson on his Adventures in Busine...
business, entrepreneurship, adventure, Virgin, Space, Billionaire, Leadership, Travel, startup,
40 min
377
King of Cards Richard Turner
magic, cards, magician, illusion, close-up, sleight of hand, entertainment, motivational, inspiration, illusionist, Houdini, documentary, film,
47 min
378
Astronaut Scott Kelly's Year in Space
space, astronaut, NASA, space station, science, Mars, orbit, experiment, Johnson Space Center, cosmonaut, stars, planet,
46 min
379
Anthony Bourdain Wants to End Food Waste
chef, food, foodie, travel, cooking, traveling, culinary, CNN, hunger, waste, gastronomy, Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain,
36 min
380
Grouchy Historians Ed Asner & Ed. Weinberger
politics, history, America, founding fathers, Constitution, law, Supreme Court, television, comedy, federalist, liberal, political,
48 min
381
Merry Mortician Caitlin Doughty on Changing Ame...
funerals, death, mortality, Halloween, travel, funeral homes, reform, burial, rituals, Libertarian, Ask a Mortician, cremation,
51 min
382
Bill Murray & Jan Vogler Explore New Worlds of ...
Actor Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Rushmore) & classical cellist Jan Vogler discuss how their album evolved out of a chance meeting on a flight from Berlin to NYC and a mutual love of music and poetry.  Plus, Bill Murray shares his...
39 min
383
Obama's Funny Man David Litt
politics, White House, comedy, humor, satire, Obama, President, Funny or Die, The Onion, jokes, comedian, political, Obamacare,
53 min
384
The Improv's Budd Friedman & Entertainment Writ...
comedy, comedians, entertainment, The Tonight Show, improv, standup, Hollywood, funny,
40 min
385
Lesley Stahl Celebrates 50 Years of 60 Minutes
60 Minutes, News, CBS, broadcasting, journalism, politics, world affairs, president, Watergate, television,
44 min
386
Tennis Player Maria Sharapova on Serena, That 2...
tennis, sports, Wimbledon, Russia, Serena Williams, Olympics, U.S. Open, immigration,
36 min
387
Ken Burns & Lynn Novick Re-examine the Vietnam War
documentary, film, history, American history, Vietnam, War, PBS, politics, Civil War, movies, filmmaking, Presidency, military, veterans,
51 min
388
Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison's Plan for a 100 Year...
science, astronaut, space, NASA, Star Trek, solar system, StarTalk,
43 min
389
Danny Strong Brings Author J.D. Salinger to the...
Salinger, Catcher in the Rye, literature, film, movies, writing, authors, books, acting,
45 min
390
Bryan Cranston on Life Before Acting and Becomi...
Breaking Bad, AMC, acting, theater, television, film, Seinfeld, TV, fame, actor,
52 min
391
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson (Rerun)
Science, Astrophysics, StarTalk, Astronomy, Physics, Einstein, Universe, scientist, Hayden Planetarium,
38 min
392
Carol Burnett (Rerun)
comedy, television, entertainment, comedian, theater, TV, shows,
38 min
393
Richard Dawkins Has a Soul for Science
Dawkins, Science, Biology, Darwin, Evolution, Reason, Christopher Hitchens, atheism,
38 min
394
Al Madrigal on Comedy, Trump, and Avoiding Cila...
comedy central, stand-up, funny, politics, the daily show, Trump, latino, comedian, comic, Mexico, border, jokes,
46 min
395
Dennis Prager on Politics, Religion, & Happiness
Philosophy, Wisdom, Religion, Politics, Judaism, Conservative, Talk Radio, Happiness, Self Help, Relationships, Republican,
50 min
396
Rob Reiner Talks Movies, Politics, & Presidents...
Film, Movies, LBJ, Politics, President, Lyndon B. Johnson, Trump, Hollywood, Directing, Political,
39 min
397
200th Episode w/ Anthony Atamanuik, Host of The...
Comedy, Politics, Satire, Trump, Comedy Central, Humor, Television, President, Funny, Political,
44 min
398
Snopes Founder David Mikkelson on Fighting Fake...
news, media, fake news, alternative facts, truth, fact check, research, politics, urban legends, internet,
49 min
399
The Creators of Amazon's COMRADE DETECTIVE
television, satire, comedy, propaganda, Romania, cold war, funny, TV, Amazon, series, Soviet, Reagan, humor,
39 min
400
The Other Russia Scandal w/ Filmmaker Bryan Fogel
Russia, Sports, Olympics, Drugs, Putin, WADA, Socci, Putin, Crime, Athletics, Doping, Lance Armstrong, Bicycling, Documentary, Film,
46 min