Rank #1: #28 Jim Gaffigan
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.
Rank #2: #19 David Sedaris Part 1Money
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.
Rank #3: #6 Amy Schumer
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.
Rank #4: #2 Lin-Manuel Miranda
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.
Rank #5: #46 Ira Glass
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.
Rank #6: #87 David Cross
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.
Rank #7: #38 Tim Gunn
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.
Rank #8: #56 Judd Apatow
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.
Rank #9: #92 Jay and Mark Duplass
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.
Rank #10: #67 Ina Garten
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.
Rank #11: #78 Tig Notaro
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. *
Rank #12: #20 David Sedaris Part 2 Family
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.
Rank #13: #47 Neil deGrasse Tyson
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.
Rank #14: #36 Michael Showalter
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.
Rank #15: #12 Megan Mullally
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.
Rank #16: #80 Tara Westover
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.
Rank #17: #60 Al Franken
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.
Rank #18: #4 Bob Odenkirk
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.
Rank #19: #33 Dan Savage
America’s leading sex advice columnist known for his popular Savage Love column and podcast talks to Michael about how growing up a closeted gay person in a religious Catholic family prepared him for the job of letting people know they are normal, no matter what their sexual interests may be.
Rank #20: #49 Andy Cohen
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.