Cover image of How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black
(1988)
Arts
Performing Arts

How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black

Updated about 1 month ago

Arts
Performing Arts
Read more

In this in-depth interview show, Black takes listeners into the minds of some of today’s most fascinating celebrities and newsmakers to discuss the process of how they became, well, amazing. Brought to you by PRX.

Read more

In this in-depth interview show, Black takes listeners into the minds of some of today’s most fascinating celebrities and newsmakers to discuss the process of how they became, well, amazing. Brought to you by PRX.

iTunes Ratings

1988 Ratings
Average Ratings
1837
84
24
15
28

Just saying

By flowerlady78 - Sep 25 2019
Read more
Still amazing! I love to go back and revisit these podcasts. Just excellent.

It’s great.

By kirozemon - Mar 01 2019
Read more
Just listen to it. Whatcha gonna do, trust a stranger? You don’t know me.

iTunes Ratings

1988 Ratings
Average Ratings
1837
84
24
15
28

Just saying

By flowerlady78 - Sep 25 2019
Read more
Still amazing! I love to go back and revisit these podcasts. Just excellent.

It’s great.

By kirozemon - Mar 01 2019
Read more
Just listen to it. Whatcha gonna do, trust a stranger? You don’t know me.
Cover image of How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black

How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black

Latest release on Jan 16, 2019

Read more

In this in-depth interview show, Black takes listeners into the minds of some of today’s most fascinating celebrities and newsmakers to discuss the process of how they became, well, amazing. Brought to you by PRX.

Rank #1: #19 David Sedaris Part 1Money

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Beloved author David Sedaris became a household name in his mid-thirties when he performed his iconic holiday story “SantaLand Diaries” on public radio. 20 years later he is now a bestselling author who tours the world routinely selling out venues full of loyal fans,  In Part 1 of his interview, Michael talks to David about how he crafts his stories and how his career as a writer and performer became so successful.  

Dec 23 2015

29mins

Play

Rank #2: #28 Jim Gaffigan

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In his early years as a comedian, Jim Gaffigan struggled to find his own comedic point of view.  It took him years to figure out that his best work meant being comfortable as his clean self and having faith that funny is funny, even without profanity.  Along with his writing partner, and wife, Jeanie, Gaffigan has become one of the most popular comedians working today.

Apr 13 2016

58mins

Play

Rank #3: #6 Amy Schumer

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Michael sits down with his friend and fellow comedian, Amy Schumer to discuss her years trying to make it in stand-up, how she made her hit Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer, and her upcoming film with Judd Apatow, Trainwreck.

Jun 23 2015

57mins

Play

Rank #4: #2 Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Lin-Manuel Miranda, the the Tony Award winning-lyricist who’s musical In the Heights catapulted him on the Broadway scene at a very young age and is now taking his new hit, Hamilton, the hip-hop, pop, rap musical about the Founding Fathers , to Broadway after a sold out run at The Public Theatre. The two discuss his passion for hip-hop music, building a hit Broadway show, working with Neil Patrick Harris and how he was able to combine his love of musical theater and hip hop to successfully make a career out of doing what he loves.

May 26 2015

58mins

Play

Rank #5: #46 Ira Glass

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From NPR intern to the creator, host, and Executive Producer of This American Life, one of the most popular shows on public radio, Ira Glass talks about what goes into making his weekly program, his approach to being “the boss” and he shares memories about his work before This American Life.  His legendary instincts about what makes great audio come into full play as he offers this show advice on how how to edit his interview.

Dec 07 2016

1hr 9mins

Play

Rank #6: #87 David Cross

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The multi-talented actor, comedian, writer, and director sits down with Michael to discuss his journey from his first stand up performance as a teenager in Atlanta to his many memorable roles on Arrested Development, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and more. The two colleagues dive into a heartfelt conversation about the unsteadiness of working in Hollywood, the ways in which men can support #MeToo and #TimesUp, and navigating the volatile world of Twitter.

Jun 13 2018

1hr 5mins

Play

Rank #7: #38 Tim Gunn

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The fashion therapist and Project Runway mentor chats with Michael about his journey from an art student to one of the most trusted names in the fashion world. In this deeply personal and heartfelt conversation Gunn opens up about his struggles with learning to be comfortable in his own skin and using his talent, creativity and passion for the arts to inspire others.

Aug 17 2016

1hr 1min

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Rank #8: #56 Judd Apatow

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Judd Apatow is one of the most important influencers of comedy today. In this jam-packed episode, the writer, director and producer of such blockbusters as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and This Is 40 traces the roots of his love of comedy, from working with giants like Jim Carrey and Gary Shandling who helped him along the way to why he now pays it forward to help launch the careers of so many others like Lena Dunham and Pete Holmes, and how he recently returned to the stand-up stages where he started out.

Apr 20 2017

1hr 6mins

Play

Rank #9: #92 Jay and Mark Duplass

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In a very funny, touching, and creatively inspiring interview, the filmmakers discuss their incredibly close brotherly bond, how they never doubted success would happen, even though it took almost two decades to achieve, and how they had to learn how to quit each other in order to find the space to have their own lives. Recorded live in New York City.

Aug 22 2018

1hr

Play

Rank #10: #67 Ina Garten

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In 1978, Ina Garten took a huge risk and left her job as a budget analyst in the White House to pursue her dream working with food. She packed her bags, moved to the Hamptons, bought a specialty food store and "The Barefoot Contessa" was born. In this enlightening and charming episode, the down-to-earth Food Network star shares her story of “jumping into the pond” by teaching herself to cook and run a business with no experience, when she knew it was time to leave, and she dishes about the challenges she faced along the road to becoming a bestselling cookbook author and TV star.

Sep 06 2017

44mins

Play

Rank #11: #20 David Sedaris Part 2 Family

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In Part 2 of Michael’s interview with David Sedaris, they talk about growing up Sedaris and how his relationship with his father motivated him to be the writer he is today.

Dec 30 2015

23mins

Play

Rank #12: #78 Tig Notaro

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In 2012, comedian Tig Notaro’s stand-up set, in which she boldly began with the line “Hello. Good evening. I have Cancer,” catapulted her into the national spotlight and led to numerous late show appearances, book and film deals. In this hilarious and candid interview, she explains why her belief in her own voice has never wavered, her unusual family, and how she tackled tough subjects such as sexual assault, loss, and love on her semi-autobiographical television show *One Mississippi. *

Feb 07 2018

1hr 12mins

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Rank #13: #80 Tara Westover

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In this heartbreaking yet hopeful episode, the author of the stunning new memoir Educated, opens up about growing up in a family of radical Mormon survivalists whose parents were opposed to traditional medical care and formal schooling.  She broke free by teaching herself enough to pass a high school equivalency test and going to college, eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge University.

Mar 07 2018

1hr 10mins

Play

Rank #14: #47 Neil deGrasse Tyson

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In this wide ranging conversation, the world famous astrophysicist, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, television host, author and all around badass talks to Michael about how his early years opened his mind to the universe and laid the path to his future success. In this candid interview the two discusses how he deals with fame, why he thinks NASA is so important, and how he approaches science deniers.

Dec 21 2016

58mins

Play

Rank #15: #36 Michael Showalter

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Michael sits down with his friend and fellow member of the comedy troupes The State and Stella for a lively, hilarious and moving conversation about finding your voice in the entertainment industry. The two reminisce about their early days on MTV, and Showalter talks candidly about the rejection and failed TV shows that lead him to his true passion behind the camera writing and directing films such as the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer and the indie darling Hello, My Name is Doris; starring Sally Field.   

Jul 20 2016

1hr 3mins

Play

Rank #16: #12 Megan Mullally

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After barely paying her rent for years trying to make it as an actress, Megan Mullally hit the big time playing the wealthy, alcoholic socialite Karen Walker on the Emmy Award winning TV sitcom Will & Grace.  Her funny, warm and thoughtful take on fame is nothing less than inspirational.

Sep 16 2015

53mins

Play

Rank #17: #4 Bob Odenkirk

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Actor, comedian and author Bob Odenkirk talks about his professional journey starting as a brash young writer for Saturday Night Live, to working as one half of the HBO cult comedy series, Mr. Show with Bob and David, to becoming a break out star in the hit series, Breaking Bad which spawned his own hit series, Better Call Saul. Along the way Odenkirk realized an important lesson that sometimes being a bull in a china shop isn’t always the best approach.

May 26 2015

1hr 3mins

Play

Rank #18: #86 Michael Pollan

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The author of many bestselling books about food including, among others, The Omnivore's Dilemma and* In Defense Of Food hasturned his attention to a new kind of consumption - psychedelic drugs. In this fun and informative interview, Pollan talks about how writing about these drugs was a natural progression from his earlier work, and what he discovered about himself when, in the service of research for his new book *How to Change Your Mind, he decided to test psychedelics for himself.

May 30 2018

52mins

Play

Rank #19: #60 Al Franken

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The Senator from the great state of Minnesota discusses his new memoir, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, which traces his unlikely path from a 30 year career as a comedian, writing and starring at Saturday Night Live, to diving into politics after being a passionate follower on the sidelines. In this emotionally honest conversation he shares with Michael why he cares so much, and even dishes a bit on his fellow senators.

May 31 2017

1hr 1min

Play

Rank #20: #49 Andy Cohen

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Michael sits down with the charming author, host of Watch What Happens: Live and executive producer of The Real Housewives for a lively discussion about how his passion for pop culture lead him to his dream job. Cohen dishes about his early days at CBS news, and gets candid about everything from coming out of the closet to handling life in the spotlight.

Jan 18 2017

57mins

Play

News for 2019

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A short message from host Michael Ian Black.

Jan 16 2019

3mins

Play

#102 Kathy Griffin

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Despite having endured a terrible year in the aftermath of her Trump photo controversy, the hilarious comedian kept everyone in the studio laughing. Kathy Griffin is without a doubt a survivor. She talks to Michael about her long road to success and hitting it big, how she became so driven (including her fears about being broke), and how her tough exterior masks her sensitive side.

Jan 09 2019

56mins

Play

#101 Bill Nye

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Best known as the host of Emmy Award-winning show Bill Nye the Science Guy, and current host of the Netflix show *Bill Nye Saves the World, *he has been the public face of science and discovery for more than twenty years. In this nerdy and uproarious conversation, the author and CEO of the Planetary Society talks everything from his love of NASA to current science headlines including Crispr, life on Mars, climate change, and LightSales.  

Dec 26 2018

49mins

Play

#100 Terry Gross

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For our 100th episode, Michael turns the tables on "the greatest interviewer of our time," a guest who we've had at the top of our wish list since the beginning. Terry Gross is the iconic host of the public radio show* Fresh Air,* where for over 40 years she has interviewed over 13,000 guests. In this engrossing interview, she and Michael cover a huge range of topics about her life and the show, allowing us to get to know a bit about a voice we're used to hearing ask all the questions.

Dec 12 2018

1hr 11mins

Play

#99 Jose Antonio Vargas

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Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas, called “the most famous undocumented immigrant in America,” shares his story of discovering his status at age 16 and his journey in the decades that followed including his coming out to the world as undocumented in The New York Times Magazine. In this poignant interview, the immigration rights activist discusses misconceptions about immigrants, his definition of "American," and his memoir Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen.  

Nov 28 2018

42mins

Play

#98 Lynsey Addario

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She’s one of this generation’s pre-eminent photojournalists, who covers wars and conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Darfur, among others; during which she’s been kidnapped twice. In this riveting conversation, the winner of a MacArthur Genius grant and a Pulitzer for her photos gives a behind-the-scenes her recent photography book simply titled, Love and War.

Nov 14 2018

46mins

Play

#97 Kevin Allison

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Michael sits down with friend and fellow member of The State for a nostalgic, hilarious, and honest conversation about their time together in the iconic sketch group. For more than a decade after the tv show ended, the comedian and storyteller struggled to find his voice trying his hand at numerous jobs (including a stint as a porn author). It wasn’t until he decided to be himself on stage that he discovered his true calling and the Risk! Podcast and live show were born.

Oct 31 2018

1hr

Play

#96 Maeve Higgins

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The delightful and hilarious Irish-born comedian and writer sits down with Michael to discuss her passion for using her comedic voice to start conversations about immigration, environmental issues, and social justice. A star in her native Ireland, she left fame behind to come to the US to continue her comedy career but also began chronicling the lives of immigrants in her podcast and book of the same name Maeve in America.

Oct 17 2018

54mins

Play

#95 Hank Green

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In 2007, Hank Green along with his brother John, tried a Youtube experiment - for an entire year they made a video a day together - which they thought was a dumb idea. To their surprise, these videos quickly led to millions of fans. Eleven years later Green has harnessed his popularity to focus on what's important to him and now oversees a video company that produces popular Youtube educational content, has raised millions of dollars for charity, founded the world's largest conference celebrating online video, and now written his first novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.  In this episode, Hank talks about his first novel, how his life parallels his main character’s, and why taking risks is the best way to learn.   

Oct 03 2018

46mins

Play

#94 Zachary R. Wood

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As president of his college group "Uncomfortable Learning," Zachary R. Wood attempted to bridge the gap between dissenting views by inviting controversial speakers to campus and was shut down by student protests. Now a recent graduate, and a new author of the memoir, Uncensored, he opens up about his abusive childhood with a schizophrenic mother, and the pressure he felt to constantly strive for perfection as a son, student, and black man.

Sep 19 2018

58mins

Play

#93 Tina M. Tchen

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The former Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama and leader of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund talks about her time at the White House and her childhood growing up in 1960s Ohio as the daughter of Chinese refugees. With a sense of humor and positively Tchen gives her take on the current administration, the importance of diversity of thought and representation in politics, as well as her lifetime commitment to tackling issues related to corporate compliance, ethics, and equality.  

Sep 05 2018

46mins

Play

#92 Jay and Mark Duplass

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In a very funny, touching, and creatively inspiring interview, the filmmakers discuss their incredibly close brotherly bond, how they never doubted success would happen, even though it took almost two decades to achieve, and how they had to learn how to quit each other in order to find the space to have their own lives. Recorded live in New York City.

Aug 22 2018

1hr

Play

#91 Carl Zimmer

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The author of 13 books about evolution, neuroscience, biology, and most recently heredity, as well as the weekly “Matter” science column in the New York Times, discusses his accessible style of science storytelling, answering Michael’s burning questions on his recent book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, science in schools, genomes, and whether there is a gene to make you a successful podcaster.

Aug 08 2018

59mins

Play

#90 Saru Jayaraman

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The co-founder and president of ROC, Restaurant Opportunities Center United, Saru Jayaraman has devoted her career to improving the lives of restaurant workers. Her activism through legislation, initiatives, and conversation as well as her two books, have raised the awareness and made significant improvements, of some of the appalling conditions of the workers who make and serve the food in the places millions of Americans like to eat.  

Jul 25 2018

39mins

Play

#89 Dan Pfeiffer

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One of President Obama’s longest-serving staffers, first as Communications Director then as Senior Advisor, and present co-host of the wildly popular Pod Save America, Dan Pfeiffer discusses present-day politics through the unique lens of his experience, which he also details in his new book, “Yes, We (Still) Can.” From what motivates Mitch McConnell, to his work as a pundit on CNN, Pfeiffer is one of the few who might be able to answer Michael’s question, “What the fuck is happening right now?”

Jul 11 2018

1hr 5mins

Play

#88 Giada De Laurentiis

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The Food Network star, bestselling cookbook author and now restaurateur tells Michael how her success all grew organically from her passion for cooking and not from a great ambition to be famous. But famous she is, and she now finds her life is a push and pull struggle when it comes to taking new risks, like deciding to open her first restaurant after years of being a television star, and what those risks cost her.

Jun 27 2018

46mins

Play

#87 David Cross

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The multi-talented actor, comedian, writer, and director sits down with Michael to discuss his journey from his first stand up performance as a teenager in Atlanta to his many memorable roles on Arrested Development, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and more. The two colleagues dive into a heartfelt conversation about the unsteadiness of working in Hollywood, the ways in which men can support #MeToo and #TimesUp, and navigating the volatile world of Twitter.

Jun 13 2018

1hr 5mins

Play

Introducing Obscure - Michael's new podcast

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This is probably a terrible idea.” So begins the new podcast, “Obscure,” where comedian, actor, and writer Michael Ian Back reads the Thomas Hardy classic,Jude the Obscure,out loud and comments on it as he goes. Why is he doing this? Because his wife’s old paperback copy of the book has been sitting on their bookshelf for years, mocking him, judging him for never having read it. Well, now he is. Join Michael, some of his famous (and non-famous) friends and experts as he discovers Jude’s world and a few things about his own. Is it a terrible idea? Probably. But it’s a terrible idea he wants to do with you. 

Hear Episode 1 of Obscure in Apple Podcasts:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/obscure-with-michael-ian-black/id1388660385?mt=2

Jun 08 2018

3mins

Play

#86 Michael Pollan

Podcast cover
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The author of many bestselling books about food including, among others, The Omnivore's Dilemma and* In Defense Of Food hasturned his attention to a new kind of consumption - psychedelic drugs. In this fun and informative interview, Pollan talks about how writing about these drugs was a natural progression from his earlier work, and what he discovered about himself when, in the service of research for his new book *How to Change Your Mind, he decided to test psychedelics for himself.

May 30 2018

52mins

Play

#85 Nell Scovell

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For more than thirty years, writer, producer, and director Nell Scovell worked behind the scenes of iconic TV shows such as Murphy Brown, The Simpsons, and Coach. In this lively and timely interview, she shares stories from her memoir Just the Funny Parts *about working in the male-dominated entertainment field, her time writing on *Late Night with David Letterman, and crafting jokes for everyone from Obama to Miss Piggy.

May 16 2018

56mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

1988 Ratings
Average Ratings
1837
84
24
15
28

Just saying

By flowerlady78 - Sep 25 2019
Read more
Still amazing! I love to go back and revisit these podcasts. Just excellent.

It’s great.

By kirozemon - Mar 01 2019
Read more
Just listen to it. Whatcha gonna do, trust a stranger? You don’t know me.