Roy Wood Jr. says the years he spent performing in comedy clubs in the South and Midwest — sometimes in places where he felt unsafe as a black man — helped him understand the psyche of the country. He grew up the son of a civil rights journalist in Birmingham, Ala., and joined 'The Daily Show' in 2015, after working for ESPN and as a radio personality. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘Ready Player One.’ And writer Sara Saedi was 2 when her parents fled Iran and moved to California. Her new memoir, 'Americanized,' describes her 18-year-long path to citizenship, and the lingering anxiety of being undocumented.
Comic actor Bill Hader spoke with Terry Gross in 2012 about his recurring 'SNL' character Stefon, doing voices and his love of classic Hollywood films. His latest project is the HBO series ‘Barry.' Also, former Obama White House staffer Alyssa Mastromonaco reflects on her six years running on adrenaline working for the president. Her memoir ‘Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?’ is now out in paperback. And film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘Ready Player One.’
‘New York Times’ reporter David Kirkpatrick explains the connection between the Mueller investigation and efforts by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to influence U.S. international policy.
Sara Saedi was two when her parents fled Iran and moved to California. Her new memoir, ‘Americanized,’ describes her 18-year-long path to citizenship, and the lingering anxiety of being undocumented. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews ‘Miles Davis & John Coltrane: The Final Tour,’ recordings of the last engagements Coltrane played as a sideman with Davis.
Journalist Maya Dusenbery argues that medicine has a "systemic and unconscious bias" against women that's rooted in "what doctors, regardless of their own gender, are learning in medical schools." Her new book is ‘Doing Harm.’ Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews ‘Battleship Yamato’ by Jan Morris, and then we'll listen back to an excerpt of Morris’ 1989 interview with Terry Gross. Finally, we remember musician Buell Neidlinger, who died March 16.
UCLA Law professor Adam Winkler says that in the past 200 years, American businesses have gone to court claiming constitutional rights that were originally intended for people. His new book is ‘We the Corporations.’ Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Tracey Thorn’s ‘Record,’ and David Bianculli reviews the reboot of the TV series ‘Roseanne.’
Trejo's made a career playing menacing tough guys, from 'Sons of Anarchy' to 'Machete.' He says that his experience standing in the yard waiting for a prison riot in San Quentin prepared him for acting: "You're absolutely scared to death ... [but] you have to pretend you're not."
Critic Maureen Corrigan reviews two books about cold cases.
In recent years, artificial intelligence technology has evolved at a rapid pace. Computers can now mimic human language and drive cars. 'New York Times' technology reporter Cade Metz discusses how computers can learn on their own, what their limitations are, and the dangers of them making mistakes.
Nashville musician Margo Price pawned her wedding ring — and her husband sold their car — to pay for the recording studio to make her 2016 debut album, 'Midwest Farmer's Daughter.' In 2017 she released her second album, 'All American Made,' an overtly political and feminist record that grapples with the current political climate. Price plays some of her songs in-studio, and does a bit of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘HUMBLE.’ David Edelstein reviews Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs.’
Journalist Anjali Kamat spent a year investigating Trump's business deals in India. Her report is in the ‘New Republic’ and on the WNYC podcast, ‘Trump Inc.’, which is co-hosted by Andrea Bernstein. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews Judd Apatow’s two-part HBO documentary about comic Garry Shandling, ‘The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling.’
Wood says the years he spent performing in comedy clubs in the South and Midwest — sometimes in places where he felt unsafe as a black man -- helped him understand the psyche of the country. He grew up the son of a civil rights journliast in Birmingham, Ala., and joined 'The Daily Show' in 2015, after working for ESPN and as a radio personality.
Religion scholar Bart Ehrman says that the early spread of Christianity transformed the entire history of the West — for better or worse. His new book examines how the once forbidden religion swept the world.
Trump "has made nationalist policy into the policy of the executive branch," says ‘New York Times’ editor Jonathan Weisman. His new book, ‘(((Semitism))),’ details how he became the target of neo-Nazi trolls and the connection between white nationalism and Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency. Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a collection of recordings celebrating the New York Philharmonic’s 175th birthday.
Luis Alberto Urrea's 'The House of Broken Angels' borrows from the story of his older brother, who died of cancer. Urrea talks about being the son of a Mexican father and an American mother, feeling like there was a border wall in his own home growing up. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a box set of recordings of pianist Teddy Wilson. Writer and cartoonist Tim Kreider admits unabashedly that the longest relationship of his adult life was with the stray cat that became his companion for 19 years. His new collection of personal essays details his many unconventional relationships, which include the girlfriend he traveled with on a circus train, a married woman he fell in love with and his whirlwind romance with a sexual performance artist.
In 2017 binge-watch, humblebrag, photobomb, NSFW, truther, face-palm and listicle were among the new additions to the dictionary. The words must meet three criteria, says Merriam-Webster lexicographer Kory Stamper: widespread use, sustained use and meaningful use. Stamper’s book is ‘Word by Word.’ Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the album ‘The Old Guys’ by Amy Rigby.
Over the past five years, artificial intelligence technology has evolved at a rapid pace. Computers can now mimic human language and drive cars. ‘New York Times’ technology reporter Cade Metz discusses how computers can learn on their own, what their limitations are, and the dangers of them making mistakes. Critic Milo Miles reviews two recent collaborations by the Kronos Quartet.
Trejo’s made a career playing menacing tough guys, from ‘Breaking Bad’ to ‘Machete.’ He says that his experience standing in the yard waiting for a prison riot in San Quentin prepared him for acting: "You're absolutely scared to death ... [but] you have to pretend you're not." Also, we’ll hear an excerpt of Terry Gross' 1993 interview with writer and former inmate Eddie Bunker, who was a mentor to Trejo. Film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘The Death of Stalin.’
Journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn have been at the forefront of the investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Their new book, ‘Russian Roulette,’ attempts to put all the pieces of the story together. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews two books about cold cases.
Rania Abouzeid has been covering Syria since 2011 -- despite the fact that she's been called a spy, placed on wanted lists by Syrian intelligence and banned from entering the country. In her new book, 'No Turning Back,' she writes about rebel fighters, and families caught in the middle. Critic John Powers reviews ‘The Sparsholt Affair,’ by novelist Alan Hollinghurst.
On his HBO series 'Last Week Tonight,' host John Oliver dives into often obscure stories, like NRA TV and the laws that govern televangelism. Oliver talks about how the show comes together, and his experience as an immigrant in America. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ Sarah McBride became the first trans person to speak at a major party's convention when she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Now she's the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. Her new memoir is 'Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality.'
Hamid's novel, 'Exit West,' is about knowing when it's time to flee your country, and what happens when you migrate to a nation that's hostile to immigrants. Hamid was born in Lahore, Pakistan, but has lived in New York and London. He talks about feeling like an outsider, and the power of language. He spoke with Terry Gross last year. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new CD-set recording of Charles Mingus, and film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’
Crimmins, who died last week, mentored Bobcat Goldthwait when they were up-and-coming comics in the '80s. The two men spoke with Terry Gross in 2015 about their documentary 'Call Me Lucky,' which details Crimmins' career, traumatic childhood and subsequent work advocating for survivors of sexual abuse. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the second season of 'Jessica Jones' on Netflix.
On 'Last Week Tonight,' Oliver dives into often obscure stories, like NRA TV and the laws that govern televangelism. He describes the show's style as "the slowest improv you've ever seen."
‘New Yorker’ staff writer Jane Mayer tells the story of ex-spy Christopher Steele, the man behind the unverified dossier detailing Trump’s ties with Russia. We’ll talk about how the dossier was compiled, and why so little was done about its findings during the campaign — even after Steele told the FBI. Steele also wrote a memo after the election about the possibility that Russians blocked Trump’s first choice for Secretary of State, Mitt Romney.
Luis Alberto Urrea's ‘The House of Broken Angels’ borrows from the story of his older brother, who died of cancer. He says the book went through a dramatic rewrite after Trump became president.
Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney channel the indignities of puberty in their animated Netflix comedy series 'Big Mouth.' Looking back on his own adolescence, Mulaney says: "I was always mystified." They're hosting the Independent Spirit Awards March 3. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews two new compilations of Nina Simone's early singles, and Doug Jones, who is a frequent collaborator of Guillermo del Toro's, tells ‘Fresh Air’ producer Sam Briger about playing the fish man in the Oscar-nominated film 'The Shape of Water.'