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
NPR Humorist and Best-selling Author of "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and "When You Are Engulfed in Flames," author David Sedaris became a household name in his mid-thirties after public radio broadcast his iconic holiday story "SantaLand Diaries.” 20 years later he now tours the world, 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: #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 #4: #6 Amy Schumer
Michael sits down with his friend and fellow comedian, Amy Schumer
Rank #5: #65 Cecile Richards
The president of Planned Parenthood talks to Michael about how she got started in activism and organizing and what it was like growing up in conservative Dallas as the daughter of two outspoken liberals. She also delves into the important work Planned Parenthood is doing today for women’s health in spite of the opposition from those who oppose birth control and abortion, just two of the many services they offer, and how she deals with people who disagree.
Rank #6: #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 #7: #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 #8: #54 Daniel Handler
In one of our funniest interviews to date, Michael sits down with Daniel Handler, whose books have sold over 60 million books worldwide under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket, for a humorous and insightful conversation about the power of books and music. Handler previews his anticipated adult novel and talks about his trajectory from being rejected over 37 times to becoming a bestselling author.
Rank #9: #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 #10: #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 #11: #100 Terry Gross
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.
Rank #12: #62 Katy Perry
One of pop music’s biggest stars - over the last ten years, she’s had 9 #1 hits, sold millions of albums, racked up billions of video views, and is the most followed person on Twitter - sits down with Michael to discuss growing up the daughter of ultra conservative Christian ministers, navigating her relationship with fame, and the struggle to be taken seriously.
Rank #13: #52 David Wain
Following a heartfelt conversation with Michael Showalter, Michael talks with the third member of his iconic group Stella for an equally memorable conversation about his career writing and directing films such as Wet Hot American Summer and They Came Together. The two friends open up about the early days in the improv group The State, and Wain talks about everything from his worst dry spell to now struggling with saying no.
Rank #14: #74 Margaret Cho
The outspoken comedian, activist, and actress sits down with Michael for an honest and thought-provoking episode, which dives into topics ranging from her history with addiction, sexual abuse and racism to lighter topics like working together in the New York alternative comedy scene early in their careers, tattoos and her upcoming television show, Highland. **
Rank #15: #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 #16: #86 Michael Pollan
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.
Rank #17: #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 #18: #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 #19: #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. Only a handful of actors get to experience what she has and her funny, warm thoughtful take on fame is inspirational.
Rank #20: #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. *