Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard

Hi, I’m Dax Shepard, and I love talking to people. I am endlessly fascinated by the messiness of being human, and I find people who are vulnerable and honest about their struggles and shortcomings to be incredibly sexy. I invite you to join me as I explore other people’s stories. We will celebrate, above all, the challenges and setbacks that ultimately lead to growth and betterment. What qualifies me for such an endeavor? More than a decade of sobriety, a degree in Anthropology and four years of improv training. I will attempt to discover human “truths” without any laboratory work, clinical trials or data collection. I will be, in the great tradition of 16th-century scientists, an Armchair Expert.

TV & Film
Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani is a singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. Gwen joins the Armchair Expert to discuss how she got started singing and writing songs, why she started a beauty line of makeup, and where she got her sense of style from. Gwen and Dax talk about their experiences with dyslexia, what growing up in 80’s culture was like, and the differences between taxis and Ubers. Gwen explains how she was introduced to Japanese culture, how she got the offer to be on The Voice, and how spirituality has played a large role in her career.
94 min
Armchaired & Dangerous: Satanic Panic
David Farrier exposes Monica and Dax to a new conspiracy theory each month. Today’s episode: Satanic Panic
66 min
Armchair Anonymous: Ghosts
Dax and Monica talk to Armcherries! In today's episode, Armcherries tell us about their spookiest encounter with a ghost.
51 min
Felix Gillette & John Koblin (on the Rise, Revo...
Felix Gillette is the enterprise editor for Bloomberg News & John Koblin is a media reporter for The New York Times. Felix and John join the Armchair Expert to discuss how HBO became one of the premiere television networks in America, how their original shows changed the landscape of television, and why they wanted to write a book about it - It's Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and the Future of HBO. Felix, John, Dax, and Monica talk about which HBO shows are their all-time favorites, how streaming services have changed how networks produce content, and what impact HBO has had on American pop culture. Felix and John explain where the HBO tagline came from, how they developed such a great documentary division, and how they think the recent Discovery HBO merger will change the platform.
134 min
Race to 35: Day 3 + Emily Oster + January Jones
Monica and Liz are owning their dumbness in episode 3 (of 10) of Race to 35. They discuss last night's shots which were an utter disaster involving Monica giving Liz a proper stabbing. They talk to Emily Oster, American author and professor of economics at Brown, who talks about how to apply the principles of economics to fertility and pregnancy. She applies cost/benefit, optimizing the margin and opportunity cost to their egg freezing journey. They also speak to a friend of the pod, actress January Jones, who discusses her personal experience with egg freezing and solo parenting.
93 min
Flightless Bird: Halloween
In this week’s Flightless Bird, David Farrier sets to understand where the heck Halloween came from, a holiday that generates over $10 billion in retail sales in the US each year. Why does an average American spend $60 on the scary day, and is it more tied in with paganism, Christianity, or scary monsters? David meets with Regina Hansen - a writer and scholar who teaches at Boston University - to talk about why we used to carve turnips instead of pumpkins, before calling up professor of philosophy and religion Justin Sledge to talk horror movies. Finally, David decides to use the spooky season to try and communicate with a ghost that’s been waking him up every morning at 3am.
57 min
Hasan Minhaj Returns
Hasan Minhaj (The King’s Jester, Patriot Act, The Daily Show) is a comedian, writer, political commentator, and actor. Hasan joins the Armchair Expert to discuss his vulnerability and fear surrounding his new special, how he gauges its success based on the emotional resonance with the audience, and how he sees the beauty in Monica in a unique and specific way. Hasan & Dax rehash the Vanity Fair lie detector test incident, how their Illuminati event brought them closer together, and dealing with certain dreams and moments closing. Hasan explains how everyone needs to try to be more empathetic, how intoxicating public attention is, and Dax tells him that he’s only one ingredient away from Eddie Murphy.
117 min
Armchair Anonymous: Morning After
Dax and Monica talk to Armcherries! In today's episode, Armcherries tell us about the weirdest place they woke up after a night of drinking.
40 min
Siddhartha Mukherjee (physician & biologist)
Siddhartha Mukherjee is an author, biologist, and physician. Siddhartha joins the Armchair Expert to discuss how the evolution of cells can advance medical technology, how some body parts can reject cancer cells, and how the view of the opioid epidemic has changed. Siddhartha and Dax talk about where the idea of reclaiming one’s identity came from, what it means to be an insider or outsider of a certain group, and the differences between RNA and DNA. Siddhartha explains the different ways to organize a book, why he doesn’t own a television, and how cells communicate with each other in the human body.
106 min
Race to 35: Day 2 + Douglas NeJamie + Dre & Rachel
Monica and Liz are feeling "floopy" in episode 2 (of 10) of Race to 35. They discuss the previous nights' shots, the potentially deathly air bubble, substitute trays, and how they shouldn't be allowed to make purchases or decisions of any kind. They talk to Douglas NeJaime who is a professor of Law at Yale. Douglas specializes in parentage law and provides insight on what we deem legal parents in this country. Liz and Monica also talk to Dre and Rachel - a beautiful married couple who chose to use Dre's brother as their donor and sperm sample.
114 min
Flightless Bird: Shower Curtains
In this week’s Flightless Bird, David Farrier sets out to understand why America - despite all its advancements in innovation and technology - has decided to stick with the puzzling shower curtain. Why, while countries like New Zealand embrace the shower door, is America stuck in a long-term love affair with the fabric (or sometimes plastic) mistress? David calls his old friend Harvey from the Toilets episode to discuss American showering habits, before spending the day with the self-proclaimed “Glass Queen” who spends her days removing shower curtains and replacing them with glistening shower doors. He talks to professor David Schmidt about his complex mathematical simulations of shower curtains, to discover why the shower curtain insists on sticking to your body while you shower. Maybe this is a clue to why 66% of Americans shower daily, compared with 80% of Australians… and why 10 million Americans shower once a week or less.
39 min
Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale, Mad Men, The West Wing) is an actress, director, and producer. Elisabeth joins the Armchair Expert to discuss how seriously she takes her roles, what she has learned about directing other actors, and how she loves getting constructive feedback on performances. Elisabeth and Dax talk about if they are vain people, making shows about misogynistic worlds, and their skincare regiments. Elisabeth explains what ballet taught her about acting, what a “oner” is in filmmaking, and how she feels about attending award shows.
118 min
Armchair Anonymous: Funeral
Dax and Monica talk to Armcherries! In today's episode, Armcherries tell us about the craziest thing they’ve witnessed at a funeral.
49 min
Reza Aslan (scholar of sociology of religion)
Reza Aslan is an author and expert on world religions. Reza joins the Armchair Expert to discuss where the idea of Christianity came from, the history of religious conversion in Iran and Persia, and what part religion plays in global conflicts. Reza and Dax talk about whether or not people are born believing in a higher power, who the historical Jesus Christ actually was, and how religion is really a form of emotional language. Reza explains why he converted from Islam to Christianity and then back to Islam, if it’s possible to recreate the idea of faith in Artificial Intelligence, and how people often insert their own beliefs into scripture.
130 min
Race to 35: Day 1
Day 1 - Liz and Monica embark on their fertility journey. They sit down with Monica’s BFF - who has gone through the egg retrieval process herself - to ask questions and discuss their fears about the upcoming 10 days. They talk needles, they learn what follicles are, and they equate the vaginal ultrasound wand to an uncomfortable dildo. At the end of the episode, Liz and Monica administer their first shot on air and it is quite a rollercoaster.
60 min
Flightless Bird: Amish
In this week’s Flightless Bird, David Farrier sets out to understand the Amish, a group of Swiss Germans slash Alsatians that chose America as their home away from home. Why does a country that embraces fast cars, fast money, and fast food also embrace the very slow-moving Amish? David discovers why back in 2000 there were only 178,000 Amish in the US, and why that number has climbed to well over 367,000 - an increase of 106%. David sits down with Susan Trollinger, a professor from the University of Dayton, to talk about Amish tourism and culture. He also talks to Misty Griffin, who wrote a book critical of the Amish called “Tears of the Silenced” and consulted on the Peacock documentary “Sins of the Amish.” She discusses why she had a terrible time being Amish and the problems she says exist in the Amish community.
52 min
Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow, Her, Lost In Translation) is an award-winning actress. Scarlett joins the Armchair Expert to discuss her experience working with Bill Murray, what it means to have an “X-Factor,” and being sexualized at a young age. Scarlett and Dax talk about why some people poop their pants, working with Spike Jonze, and how difficult it was to shoot a sex scene as an A.I. character. Scarlett explains how profound the feeling of embarrassment is, how she has dealt with skin issues over the years, and her new skincare company: The Outset.
118 min
Introducing... Race to 35
The producers of Armchair Expert present their newest podcast venture, Race to 35. Race to 35 is co-hosted by Monica Padman and Liz Plank and focuses on Fertility. Throughout this 10 episode podcast, Monica and Liz will be going through the egg freezing process as they hit the critical age of 35. The top of each episode will check in on the two women- see how they are feeling, how their hormone shots are progressing and share their ever evolving thoughts, emotions, fears, joys, etc. The rest of each episode consists of Monica and Liz talking to people with different fertility stories and/or those who are experts in the field. We hear about fertility successes, fertility fraud, surrogacy, celebrity stories...We will hear from women who chose not to have children, hormone experts, parentage law professors and so much more. The subject of fertility usually happens behind closed doors. The goal of this podcast is to open it wide. As with all shows under the Armchair Umbrella, this show aims to remind all of us that the human struggle is universal. We hope you enjoy this race against the clock...Race to 35.
17 min
Armchair Anonymous: Pooped at the Gym
Dax and Monica talk to Armcherries! In today's episode, Armcherries tell us about a time they had an unauthorized evacuation at the gym.
41 min
Jonathan Abrams (on the history of Hip-Hop)
Jonathan Abrams (The Come Up) is an author and journalist. Jonathan joins the Armchair Expert to discuss why he wanted to write an oral history of hip-hop, how he became a sports writer, and who some of his all-time favorite rap artists are. Jonathan and Dax talk about which artists shaped the hip-hop landscape, what the different geographic pockets of the industry are, and how sampling influenced the progression of the genre. Jonathan explains the east vs west coast wars, why masculinity is so prevalent among some artists, and how hip-hop broke out into the mainstream.
104 min
Flightless Bird: Game Shows
In this week’s Flightless Bird, David Farrier embraces the American institution of game shows. He sets out to understand how in this time of high-caliber TV, Celebrity Wheel of Fortune still manages to pull in four million ahead of shows like Dateline, Undercover Boss, and Masterchef. David joins fellow kiwi Rhys Darby as he’s invited on Celebrity Family Feud - thrilled at the idea of meeting comic, actor, author, and Emmy Award-winning talk-show host Steve Harvey. Quickly David is shocked to learn he is not only attending a taping but also going on Family Feud as part of Rhys’ Kiwi “family.” Squaring off against actor and comedian Jay Pharoah (and Jay’s actual, real family), how will Rhys Darby and David Farrier cope? Will they be crushed or come out triumphant? Who will be the best team at guessing what the average American would answer? The American team or the New Zealand imports? Be warned: This episode quite possibly makes David the most American he’s ever been.
50 min
Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon (They/Them, City on a Hill, Footloose) is an actor. Kevin joins the Armchair Expert to discuss why he thinks Footloose had so much success, what being cool means to him, and why he decided to make the move to television. Kevin and Dax talk about what it’s like to do all those interviews to promote movies, why they embraced doing commercials, and how they view playing the role of an unlikeable character. Kevin explains how he views himself in the zeitgeist of American pop culture, what he thinks about being a mentor to young actors, and how working in the horror genre is different than it used to be.
114 min
Armchair Anonymous: Caught Masturbating
Dax and Monica talk to Armcherries! In today's episode, Armcherries tell us about a time they were caught masturbating in an inappropriate place.
30 min
Saul Kassin (psychologist on false confessions)
Saul Kassin (Duped: Why Innocent People Confess) is a professor and psychologist. Saul joins the Armchair Expert to discuss why some people give false confessions in criminal investigations, what tactics law enforcement use in interrogations, and how the language of memory and inference differ. Saul and Dax talk about why some investigators object to recording the questioning of suspects, why some people offer confessions in high-profile cases, and what the optics of silence often says to the public. Saul explains why the Innocence Project only gets involved with cases with DNA evidence, how the threat of punishment can affect the outcomes of learning, and why some people are afraid to confront authority.
96 min
Flightless Bird: Pornography
This week on Flightless Bird, David Farrier sets out to explore America’s adult film industry, which has its heart in California’s San Fernando Valley. In this episode Farrier heads for a mansion in the hills of Calabasas to attend an adult film shoot, hoping to understand why Americans spend an average of 9 minutes and 44 seconds on porn sites at a time. David meets a porn director also called “David” to ask why they still have all that dialogue and plot in amongst all the sex, before chatting with porn stars Hadley and Lucas about the joys, trials, and tribulations of their unique job. At the end of the day, David sits down for 45 minutes as the actors all have sex with each other and tries to come to a conclusion about what this all means. David also meets one of the (now adult) stars of the popular 90s sitcom “Boy Meets World,” to find out why Mailand Ward decided to make a late entry to the adult film industry. They discuss her new book “Rated X” and the challenges and misconceptions of the porn world.
72 min