Rank #1: Bryan Cranston on Life Before Acting & Becoming Walter White
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, catching shoplifters as security guard, and the time he ended up a suspect in a murder investigation. He talks about getting a crash course in comedy from Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, landing the role of a lifetime on Breaking Bad, and how he built one of the most iconic characters in the history of television. Bryan Cranston also gives some advice for aspiring actors, reveals how his life has changed since "Walter White," and why he loves making small talk with old people. Order Bryan Cranston's bestselling memoir A Life in Parts on Amazon or download the audiobook at www.audible.com. Bryan Cranston stars in Last Flag Flying which opens in theatres November 3. Follow Bryan on Twitter at @BryanCranston.
Rank #2: Al Jean, Head Writer/Exec Producer of "The Simpsons" Is Doing What He Loves
The moment Al Jean completed the first episode of The Simpsons in 1989, he knew that he wanted to work on that show for the rest of his career. He's been doing just that as the head writer and exec producer of The Simpsons, guiding that groundbreaking series to a record-breaking 28 seasons. Today Al Jean talks about his early days writing for “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” including those famous letters to Santa that were supposedly from little children. Then he talks about the birth of the Simpsons, the origin of many of the characters, and the early controversies that surrounded the show including a strange rivalry between the fictional Simpsons family and the first President Bush. We talk about the process of making the show, the challenge of keeping the show fresh after 625 episodes, and what he’d like to do with the final episode (if that day ever comes). Plus we talk about the fans and some of the crazy conspiracy theories they have about the show. Be sure to watch the season premiere of The Simpsons this Sunday 9/25 at 8PM Eastern on Fox and watch Simpsons reruns five days a week on FXX. For more fun Simpsons fan stuff, visit www.SimpsonsWorld.com. Follow Al Jean on Twitter at @AlJean and you can even follow the Simpsons on Twitter at @TheSimpsons Please subscribe to Kickass News and leave us a review. And support the show by donating at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Visit www.kickassnewspodcast.com for more fun stuff. Thanks for listening!
Rank #3: Part 1: Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist & Futurist Talks About Einstein, Gravity Waves, & The Future
My guest today is world renowned theoretical physicist, futurist, best-selling author, and popularizer of science Dr. Michio Kaku. He is the co-founder of string field theory and he continues to work on his ambitious mission to complete Albert Einstein's Unified Field Theory a.k.a. Einstein's Theory of Everything. Today he'll talk about his work on the Unified Field Theory, he'll discuss how the recent discovery of Einstein's Gravitation Waves will give scientists "a window into creation," and how his lifelong love of theoretical physics and the science of the future began. He'll reveal the real science that may one day make science fiction wonders like force fields, time machines, starships, teleportation, and travel to parallel universes possible. Plus Dr. Michio Kaku saves my life from the same thing that took down Malaysia Air Flight 370. If you enjoyed my interview with Dr. Michio Kaku, then follow him at www.mkaku.org or on Twitter at @michiokaku. You can order his books "Einstein's Cosmos," "The Physics of the Impossible," "The Physics of the Future," and "The Future of the Mind" on Amazon or you can download the audio version of these books for free with a special trial offer at www.audibletrial.com/kickasspolitics. Also be sure to subscribe to his weekly podcast on iTunes called "Explorations in Science" and you can check his site for stations that carry his weekly syndicated radio show called "Science Fantastic." Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!
Rank #4: Jon Meacham on the Soul of America and Donald Trump
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham 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 The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels was born in the dark days following the infamous Charlottesville rally. He talks about similarities between the current age and the 1920’s, how America during Great Depression could have easily followed the path of Germany into totalitarianism, and what Donald Trump could learn from the fate of red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy. He discusses moments when Presidents have served as moral leaders for the nation including the day George H.W. Bush handed in his NRA card and an oft forgotten speech by Dwight Eisenhower that is all too relevant today. Plus George H.W. Bush's biographer shares some candid memories of the late former First Lady Barbara Bush. Order Jon Meacham's book The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels on Amazon or Audible. Keep up with him at www.jonmeacham.com and follow him on Twitter at @jmeacham. Today's episode was sponsored by Citizen Watches, Grasshopper, Quip, and U.S. Markerboard.
Rank #5: Matt Ingebretson & Jake Weisman Go Corporate
Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman, the stars and co-creators of the new Comedy Central series CORPORATE 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 darker tone than typical workplace comedies, how they convinced Lance Reddick to play their tyranical boss, and why they took on the one holiday you that can’t make fun of in their season finale. Plus Matt and Jake talk about development hell, marvel at the modern wonder of a simple banana, and reveal why everyone’s a number at Amazon. CORPORATE airs Wednesdays at 10/9Central on Comedy Central. For more information, go to www.cc.com/shows/corporate. Follow Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman on Twitter at @mattingebretson and @weismanjake. Today's podcast was sponsored by Google Cloud AI, The Looming Tower on Hulu, and Grasshopper.
Rank #6: Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard On the GOP Primary
My guest today is Bill Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard and a political contributor to ABC’S This Week with George Stephanopalis. Just in time for the big GOP primaries in FL & OH, we talk about whether Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich may have missed chance to beat Donald Trump outright. We discuss the possibility of a brokered convention and the prospect of an alternative conservative launching a third party run. Plus we talk about Bill Kristol’s 20 year career as editor of the #1 weekly conservative publication in America. If you enjoyed this episode then go to www.weeklystandard.com to read Bill Kristol’s op-eds and subscribe to the print or online versions of The Weekly Standard. You can also subscribe to the Weekly Standard podcast on iTunes and follow Bill on Twitter at @BillKrystol. Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!
Rank #7: Jennifer Palmieri Empowers Women w/ Lessons from the Clinton Campaign
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 write her own playbook not emulate her male predecessors. She shares her insider’s perspective on the Clinton campaign, gives some insight into the candidate who she says was reluctant to run for President in 2016 and was all too aware of the slings and arrows that would come her way. She also shares some wisdom from another famous female mentor of hers the late Elizabeth Edwards, she re-examines the role of former FBI director James Comey in the 2016 election, and explains why Hillary Clinton’s email problem was about way more than just emails. Plus Jennifer Palmieri responds to all those armchair strategists who asked “where was THAT Hillary?” after her concession speech, she suggests that candidates for office should cry more and nod less, and she casts the Batman version of the 2016 election. Order Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World on Amazon or download the audio version at www.audible.com. Follow Jennifer Palmieri on twitter at @jmpalmieri. Today's episode was sponsored by Grasshopper and AppRiver.
Rank #8: General Michael Hayden, Former Head of CIA & NSA
General Michael Hayden is the only person in U.S. history to have served as head of both the CIA and the NSA. General Hayden served as the Director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 where he implemented a dramatic overhaul and expansion of the agency in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. He later serves as America's first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and then as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President George W. Bush. General Hayden has written a new book called PLAYING TO THE EDGE: AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE IN THE AGE OF TERROR. On the podcast, General Michael Hayden will give a frank assessment of the intelligence failures leading up to 9/11 and talk about what he did as NSA director and later as director of the CIA to close those intelligence gaps. We’ll discuss the conundrums of domestic surveillance, CIA black sites, and enhanced interrogation. Plus we’ll talk about cyber warfare, the Apple encryption controversy, the personal toll for the men and women who keep America’s secrets, why he says the U.S. military may have an obligation to reject orders from a President Donald Trump, his thoughts on James Bond and the TV series Homeland, and much more. If you enjoy this episode, you can order General Michael Hayden's new book PLAYING TO THE EDGE: AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE IN THE AGE OF TERROR on Amazon. You can also download the audio version of PLAYING TO THE EDGE for free with a special 30 day trial for our listeners at www.audibletrial.com/kickasspolitics. Follow General Michael Hayden on Twitter at @GenMHayden. Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!
Rank #9: Dave Itzkoff on Robin Williams' Comedy and Tragedy
New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff talks about the surprisingly patrician upbringing of Robin Williams, 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 land the role of Mork the Ork, and why his shenangigans on Mork and Mindy might have landed him in hot water in the age of #MeToo. He discusses Robin’s gradual evolution as a movie star, and why Hollywood didn’t really know what to do with him at first. Dave shares how John Belushi’s overdose scared Robin Williams straight, what eventually caused him to fall back into addiction some 20 years later, and how a rare disease led to his tragic suicide. Plus Dave Itzkoff recalls his own favorite personal encounters with the comedian, and why Robin always wanted to give total strangers what he called “an authentic Robin Williams experience.” Order Dave Itzkoff's book Robin on Amazon or Audible. Read more by Dave Itzkoff in the New York Times and follow Dave on Twitter at @ditzkoff. Today's podcast is sponsored by The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah: Ears Edition, LegalShield, and Dollar Shave Club.
Rank #10: Part 2: Futurist Dr. Michio Kaku On Amazing Inventions Coming In Our Lifetime
Today in Part 2 of my interview with theoretical physicist and futurist Dr. Michio Kaku, we look as some of the incredible advances in science and technology that will radically transform our lives within our lifetime. In many cases, these inventions are already in the testing phase and may be widely available within the next 5 to 10 years. These include computers that will fit into a contact lens, Iron Man-like super soldiers, modular robots, liquid biopsies that will detect cancer 10 years before a tumor forms, replaceable human organs, hand-held MRI machines, recording motion pictures of our dreams, uploading information into our brain, downloading our entire consciousness onto a computer after we're gone, and recent discoveries that will dramatically slow down aging and perhaps one day even stop death entirely. It's an amazing discussion about some very real technological leaps being made right now and the unbelievable inventions that could completely change our lives very soon. If you enjoyed my interview with Dr. Michio Kaku, then follow him at www.mkaku.org or on Twitter at @michiokaku. If you're interested in the science and technology of the near future, then I highly recommend Dr. Michio Kaku's books "The Physics of the Future" and "The Future of the Mind." You can order them on Amazon or you can download the audio version of these books for free with a special trial offer at www.audibletrial.com/kickasspolitics. Also be sure to subscribe to his weekly podcast on iTunes called "Explorations in Science" and you can check his site for stations that carry his weekly syndicated radio show called "Science Fantastic." Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!
Rank #11: Author James Patterson on the Shocking True Crimes of Billionaire Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein
Author James Patterson has sold over 350 million books and had more #1 New York Times Bestsellers than any author in history. He is best known for his fictional Alex Cross novels, but today he comes on the show to talk about his newest book - a true crime story about the sensational case of Jeffrey Epstein, the Palm Beach billionaire accused of sexually assaulting or molesting as many as 47 underaged girls as young as 12 and 13. James Patterson reveals how Epstein went about recruiting teenage girls on an almost industrial scale and how it led Donald Trump to personally ban him from Mar-a-Lago. We talk about the recent rape allegations against Trump involving Epstein, as well as other high profile figures who have been drawn into Epstein’s sordid story including Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and Allen Dershowitz. Patterson discusses how Epstein finally landed on the Palm Beach Police’s radar, and he talks about the strange matter of the Florida State Attorney who intervened in the investigation and some would say even “stacked the deck” in Epstein’s favor. If you enjoyed today’s podcast, then you can order his book Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein on Amazon or you can download the audio version for free at www.audibletrial.com/kickassnews. Patterson also has a new novel in his popular Alex Cross series called “Cross the Line” coming out on November 21st. James Patterson’s website is www.JamesPatterson.com and follow him on Twitter at @JP_Books. Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and leave us a review. And support the show by donating at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.
Rank #12: Whitney Cummings Hacks the Female Brain
Comedian Whitney Cummings talks about the humbling experience of being a first time director on her film The Female Brain, how she learned that every moment doesn’t have to be a joke, and why she says The Female Brain isn’t just for the ladies. She shares how she broke free of a cycle of co-depency once she started understanding the neurochemistry behind her bad choices and why she says it’s a lot harder to come up with jokes when you don’t have all that none-stop drama. Whitney weighs in on the Me Too movement and hints that the new Roseanne reboot (which she's executive-producing) might just help us understand how middle-America went for Trump. Plus, Whitney talks about being a lady comedian in the Middle East, those women who see Marilyn Monroe as a feminist role model, and how she almost accidentally killed Sofia Vergara. The Female Brain opens in theaters Friday, February 9. For more information, visit www.ifcfilms.com. Order Whitney’s very funny book I’m Fine…And Other Lies on Amazon, and you can keep up with her at www.whitneycummings.com or on twitter at @WhitneyCummings. Today's episode was sponsored by Google Cloud AI.
Rank #13: Former CIA Director Michael Hayden on Trump's Attack on the Intelligence Community
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" operating in the shadows, explains the lasting impact of a damaged relationship between the Intelligence Community and the Commander-in-Chief, and reveals what friends inside the IC are saying about that relationship including how they have to tailor the Daily Intelligence Brief to a President with zero attention span and constantly wonder “do you think he got that?” General Hayden talks about the lasting impact of the IC’s decision to focus their efforts on cyber instead of information dominance and reveals how one analyst saw the early warning signs 2 years before the Russian attack of the 2016 election. He weighs in on the President’s nominee for CIA director Gina Haspel, the decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, and why he believes Kim Jung Un is unlikely to give up his nukes. Plus General Hayden discusses the advice he gives to those considering a job in the Administration, how the President’s Twitter addiction aids our enemies, and the Russian’s FSB’s nickname for men like Donald Trump..."the useful idiot." Order Michael Hayden's book The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies on Amazon or Audible. and follow him on twitter at @GenMHayden. Today's podcast is sponsored by Citizen Watches, US Marker Board, and Grasshopper.
Rank #14: Director Barry Levinson on Paterno, Pacino, & Our "Wag the Dog" Reality
Director Barry Levinson explores the Penn State sexual abuse scandal that ended Coach Joe Paterno’s career in his new film PATERNO on HBO. He explains why he wanted to present the straight facts of the case without actually taking sides, talks the about the student riots that broke out when Penn State fired Paterno, and reveals what the film has to say about Americans’ views on issues of loyalty, tribalism, and the truth. Barry Levinson also recalls his early days teaming up with another "coach" Craig T. Nelson to form a nightclub comedy duo, writing sketches for THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, directing his first movie at the urging of his mentor Mel Brooks, and he shares behind-the-scenes stories from some of his classic films including DINER, TIN MEN, RAIN MAN, AVALON, and more. Plus Barry Levinson talks about why Hollywood doesn’t make films about human beings anymore, whether he’d like to make a sequel to WAG THE DOG for the age of "fake news," and how an infamous drug kingpin got him into his first acting class. PATERNO is available now on HBO GO, HBO NOW and HBO ON DEMAND. Today's episode was sponsored by AppRiver, Adiamor Jewelry, and Grasshopper.
Rank #15: Dylan Thuras of Atlas Obscura on the World's Hidden Wonders
Dylan Thuras is the co-founder and creative director at AtlasObscura.com, the popular travel site that revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. He co-authored a new book based on the site and it's called Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders. Today we'll talk about some of the strangest attractions the world has to offer including a Fiery crater that has been burning in the desserts of Turkmenistan since 1971, the independent micronation of Sealandia on an abandoned offshore oil platform in the North Sea, and a saloon in the Ukon that serves cocktails garnished with a severed human toe. Plus hipster tourism, lake monsters, doggie suicide bridges, and the hidden wonders in your neighborhood. If you enjoyed this episode, then order Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders on Amazon and visit www.AtlasObscura.com to read articles, find new travel ideas, and join special Atlas Obscura tours abroad and in your city. Follow Dylan Thuras on Twitter at @DylanThuras and Atlas Obscura at @atlasobscura. Please subscribe to Kickass News and leave us a review. And support the show by donating at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.
Rank #16: An American Ambassador in Putin's Russia
Ambassador Michael McFaul 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 during the attempted Russian military coup in 1989 and early encounter with a young unimpressive Vladimir Putin in the 90s. He gives an insiders account of being with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she presented the infamous "reset" button, the first meeting between Putin and the newly elected President Obama, and his own thoughts on what motivates the Russian President. He talks about arriving to protestors in Moscow on his first day as Ambassador, the Russian FSB’s sinister surveillance and harassment campaigns against him and his family, and the extensive efforts to gain Kompromat on US officials as well as certain wealthy American businessmen. Order From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia on Amazon or Audible. Follow Michael McFaul twitter at @mcfaul or at www.michaelmcfaul.com. Today’s podcast was sponsored by Michelin Premiere Tires, Just for Men Control GX, and Travel Guard Travel Insurance.
Rank #17: Donald Rumsfeld On Modernizing The Military, Saddam Hussein, Snowflakes, & Churchill Solitaire
My guest is former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In his remarkable 50 year career, he has served as a U.S. Congressman, Director of the Office Economic Opportunity and U.S. Ambassador to NATO under President Richard Nixon, White House Chief of Staff to President Gerald Ford, Special Middle East Envoy for President Ronald Reagan, and Secretary of Defense...both for Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush. In fact, Donald Rumsfeld has the distinction of being both the youngest and the oldest Secretary of Defense. Today he comes on the show to talk about the his amazing career, the current state of national defense, and the "unknown knowns" that America might be missing. Plus he'll talk about his first impression of Saddam Hussein, his favorite President, his prolific body of memos written, the issues that keep him up at night, and how Winston Churchill inspired him to create a fun new gaming app called Churchill Solitaire. If you enjoy this episode, then be sure to go to your app store and download Churchill Solitaire for your tablet device or smart phone. You can also find out more about the Rumsfeld Foundation at www.rumsfeldfoundation.org. View the massive archive of his memos at www.papers.rumsfeld.com and be sure to order his fascinating books Knowns and Unknowns and Rumsefeld's Rules on Amazon. Please subscribe to KickAss Politics on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also help us reach our fundraising goal for this year and donate at www.gofundme.com/kickasspolitics. Or go to the website for the show at www.kickasspolitics.com and click on the donate button. Thanks for listening!
Rank #18: An Anti-Endorsement and Final Thoughts on the 2016 Election
It's almost finally over! Today, I share some final thoughts on the 2016 election and make my closing arguments against Donald Trump. With guests Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, Pulitzer-winning New York Times journalist David Cay Johnston, former CIA/NSA director, General Michael Hayden, Stuart Stevens, chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, Jonah Goldberg, senior editor at National Review, CNN Global contributor Parag Kanna, Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of Slate Magazine, General Wesley Clark, and former Mexican President Vicente Fox. Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and leave us a review. And support the show by donating at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.
Rank #19: Dana Perino Says "If You Want a Friend in Washington, Get a Dog!"
The former White House Press Secretary and co-host of The Five on Fox News Channel says if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. She talks about her new book called Let Me Tell You about Jasper...How My Best Friend Became America's Dog and how pets can bridge political divides between humans. She also talks about her time as White House Press Secretary, the post-election vibe at The Five, how her dog Jasper became a social media celebrity, and her ideas for the next White House dog. If you enjoyed today’s podcast, then you can order Dana Perino's book Let Me Tell You about Jasper...How My Best Friend Became America's Dog on Amazon or you can download the audio version for free at www.audibletrial.com/kickassnews. Watch Dana Perino on The Five weekdays on Fox News and subscribe to her podcast called Perino and Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What on iTunes or GooglePlay. Visit her at www.danaperino.com and follow her on Twitter at @DanaPerino. Please subscribe to Kickass News on iTunes and leave us a review. And support the show by donating at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.
Rank #20: 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 The King. He traces Elvis’s journey from his birth in a Mississippi town that's barely kept alive by Elvis tourism to the musical melting pot of Memphis, and ultimately to Las Vegas and the "sweaty sequined jumpsuit Elvis" who became more of a corporate brand than a man. He reveals how he acuired Elvis’s Rolls Royce, and how it became a beacon for people on both sides of the political divide to have a conversation about the promise of America, the sins of the past, and where our country is headed today. Plus Eugene Jarecki talks about the perils of driving and directing and roadtripping in a 55 year old car. The King opens in theaters in NYC on 6/22 and in LA on 6/29. For information and showtimes, visit www.theking.film. Today’s podcast was sponsored by Outside the Box podcast, LegalShield, Michelin Premiere Tires, and LightStream.