Hosted by Hollywood producer and political media strategist Ben Mathis, KickAss News is a twice weekly podcast that features the most interesting personalities and thought leaders in politics, entertainment, tech, business, science, and more. Enjoy the podcast? Then please support the show and help keep us on the air by making a donation to our GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Another way you can support the show is to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review on iTunes to help keep us ranking strong on the top podcasts charts. For more information visit www.kickassnews.com. Thanks for listening!

LATEST EPISODE

Kickass News

The Dangerous World of Larry Charles

Legendary comedy writer and director Larry Charles (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Borat) talks about traveling the world in search of humor in the most unusual, unexpected and deadliest places for his new Netflix series Larry Charles' Dangerous World of Comedy.  He talks about meeting former child soldiers who perform standup in a cemetery in Liberia, the "John Stewart" of Iraq who has a price on his head, and the imprisoned terrorist who wanted to show Larry the lighter side of ISIS.  Larry also tells stories about working on the early seasons of Seinfeld, why Kramer was his favorite character to write for, and what he says Seinfeld has in common with Superman.  He shares how Larry David used to fight with audiences in comedy clubs, why David threw a fit when NBC wanted to move Seinfeld to the most coveted time slot in television, and what it's like to direct Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm.  We discuss how Borat and Bruno exposed racist and authoritarian leanings in the US and abroad long before 2016, why Larry Charles had to play a character while he was directing those movies, and the crazy amount of commitment it required from that hilarious mad genius Sacha Baron Cohen.  Plus, what it was like to grow up in Brooklyn's Trump Village (yes, that Trump!), how Larry went from selling drugs to selling jokes outside the Comedy Store in Hollywood, and the one country that scared the living hell out of him while making Larry Charles' Dangerous World of Comedy.  Watch all four episodes of Larry Charles' Dangerous World of Comedy available on Netflix now.  Follow Larry on Twitter at @LarryCharlesisms.  Today's episode was sponsored by Brother INKvestment Tank Printers.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and rate and review the podcast.  Like Kickass News on Facebook and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.  For more interesting stuff, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com.  
00:55:49 2/17/2019

Past Episodes

Former NJ Governor Chris Christie sets the record straight about his tenure as a corruption-busting prosecutor and a Republican running a Democratic state, as well as what really happened on the 2016 campaign trail and inside Trump Tower.  He recalls how his friendship with Donald Trump began and the nasty details of the infamous Charles Kushner case that would later come back to haunt him.  He talks about why he passed on running for President in 2012, Hurricane Sandy and that notorious Obama hug (which he says wasn't really a hug), and how the Romney campaign used it as a scapegoat for their own candidate's shortcomings.  Christie reveals that he even had to convince his own son that he had nothing to do with the George Washington Bridge closure and in the end it boiled down to stupid people doing stupid things.  I ask him if he thinks the Trump-Russia collusion may turn out to be a similar situation, he says he could tell General Mike Flynn was trouble from day one, he talks about his former colleagues Bob Mueller and James Comey, and he shares the advice he gave President Trump when the whole Russia investigation began.  He reveals why he believed he was going to be tapped as Trump's running mate, how Jared Kushner tossed out the entire Trump transition plan just to get even with him, and the day he finally got fed up and said "I'm done."  Plus Chris Christie on how he became the first Youtube Governor, why he unfollowed every New Jersey reporter on Twitter, and why it took him 3 months to convince Donald Trump to cash his check. Order Chris Christie's book Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Follow him on twitter at @ChrisChristie.  Today's episode was sponsored by BetterHelp.com.
00:39:00 2/13/2019
Former NJ Governor Chris Christie sets the record straight about his tenure as a corruption-busting prosecutor and a Republican running a Democratic state, as well as what really happened on the 2016 campaign trail and inside Trump Tower.  He recalls how his friendship with Donald Trump began and the nasty details of the infamous Charles Kushner case that would later come back to haunt him.  He talks about why he passed on running for President in 2012, Hurricane Sandy and that notorious Obama hug (which he says wasn't really a hug), and how the Romney campaign used it as a scapegoat for their own candidate's shortcomings.  Christie reveals that he even had to convince his own son that he had nothing to do with the George Washington Bridge closure and in the end it boiled down to stupid people doing stupid things.  I ask him if he thinks the Trump-Russia collusion may turn out to be a similar situation, he says he could tell General Mike Flynn was trouble from day one, he talks about his former colleagues Bob Mueller and James Comey, and he shares the advice he gave President Trump when the whole Russia investigation began.  He reveals why he believed he was going to be tapped as Trump's running mate, how Jared Kushner tossed out the entire Trump transition plan just to get even with him, and the day he finally got fed up and said "I'm done."  Plus Chris Christie on how he became the first Youtube Governor, why he unfollowed every New Jersey reporter on Twitter, and why it took him 3 months to convince Donald Trump to cash his check. Order Chris Christie's book Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Follow him on twitter at @ChrisChristie.  Today's episode was sponsored by BetterHelp.com.
00:39:50 2/13/2019
Madeleine Albright fled fascists during her childhood and faced them down as Secretary of State, and today she comes on the podcast to warn that fascism is once again on the rise.  She shares how her own refugee experience during World War II and the Cold War shaped her worldview and recalls her meetings with with authoritarian strongmen like Kim Jong-il, Slobodan Milo?evi?, and Vladimir Putin.  She reveals that most fascists come into office through democratic elections or a constitutional transfer of powers, not a bloody coup, and in her experience, dictators can be surprisingly normal and polite despite their monstrous cruelty.  She discusses the upcoming summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, says Putin plays a poor hand well and Trump plays a good hand poorly, and calls out Donald Trump as "the least democratic President in American history." Order Madeleine Albright's book Fascism: A Warning on Amazon and follow her on twitter at @madeleine.  Today's episode was sponsored by BetterHelp.com.
00:43:14 2/10/2019
Former AOL exec and chairman of National Geographic Society Jean Case talks about her new book Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose.  She says leaders need to start viewing risk as R&D and failure as a learning experience.  In fact, Jean Case encourages people to talk about their own mistakes by sharing her own "failure resume" and hosting "fail tests."  She discusses why CEO's need to get out of their bubble and get uncomfortable, and how greater diversity actually affects an organizations bottom line.  Plus she reveals the coolest thing about being the first female chairman of the National Geographic Society and talks about National Geographic's history of fearless women going back over 125 years. Order Jean's book Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose on Amazon and learn more about the Case Foundation at www.casefoundation.org.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kronos Payroll Solutions, Blinkist, and Homesick Candles.
00:50:20 2/6/2019
Encore.org founder Mark Freedman says seniors are an untapped resource and calls on society to stop segregating the elderly from society and renew the bond between young and old.  Marc talks about the mentors who influenced his life, what we can learn from the movie The Intern, and the evidence that shows that seniors who take an interest in a young person actually live longer, happier lives.  He talks about the elderly neighbors who act as "surrogate grandparents" to his own children, calls out the interests who are trying to pit baby boomers and millennials against each other, and reveals why artificial intelligence may create greater demand for the kind of interactions that only seniors can offer.  Plus we talk about the starry eyed dreamer who accidently created an "age apartheid," how Otto Von Bismark decided your retirement age, and why your kid's next college roommate might be older than you are! Be sure to visit Encore.org for more information and order Marc Freedman's book How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Homesick Candles.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:55:06 2/3/2019
Cliff Sims recalls his time as President Trump's Director of Messaging Strategy in a chaotic White House that he likens to "Game of Thrones with the cast of VEEP."  He shares the real story behind the fiasco around Trump's inauguration numbers, how the administration takes disorganization to a whole new level, and how many times the President's senior staff learn of about major policy decisions on cable news.  He recalls helping President Trump draft his notorious "enemies list," how he learned that Kelly Anne Conway was leaking to the press, and why he believes former WH Chief of Staff John Kelly had it in for him.  He discusses how he reconciles his own conservative evangelical values with the President's less than Christian behavior, how he came to grips with the hard learned lesson that everyone is disposable to Donald Trump, and why he still respects the President even after Trump disavowed Sims and his book in typical Trump fashion - via an angry tweet.  Plus the Mooch is on loose, Sean Spicer needs a refrigerator, and the greatest mystery of all - Donald Trump's hair! Order his latest book Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Today's podcast was sponsored by BetterHelp and Homesick Candles.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:38:30 1/30/2019
Science Communicator Professor Brian Cox reveals why he left a popular rock band for a career in particle physics, what he is learning through his participation in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hardon Collider, and why he says the HCL has disproven the existence of ghosts.  He discusses Brexit, the vital link between democracy and science, and his concern over the growing education disparity.  He talks about walking in the footsteps of his hero Carl Sagan as a leading science communicator, the scientific concept that he has the hardest time explaining to non-scientists, and how the digital effects wizards behind the movie INTERSTELLAR are helping him elucidate the wonders of the universe in his spectacular new live show UNIVERSAL: ADVENTURES IN SPACE AND TIME.  Plus Brian says he's ready to call a truce in his ongoing feud with Deepak Chopra. Visit www.profbriancoxlive.com for dates, tickets and information for Brian Cox's live tour UNIVERSAL: ADVENTURES IN SPACE AND TIME.  Subscribe to Brian's podcast THE INFINITE MONKEY CAGE and follow him on twitter at @ProfBrianCox. Today's podcast was sponsored by Homesick Candles, Flatiron School, and Blinkist. Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:57:06 1/28/2019
Award-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother's Keeper, The Paradise Lost trilogy) reexamines America's most notorious serial killer on the 30th anniversary of his execution in his new Netflix documentary Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.  He discusses how one of Bundy's first jobs gave him an inside view of the flaws in America's law enforcement system, how Bundy exploited those weaknesses to his own devilish advantage, and how it led to dramatic changes in how the FBI hunts serial killers and how state and local police share information.  We talk about how Ted Bundy's clean cut good looks helped him elude capture, and the movie heart-throb who Joe Berlinger cast as Bundy in his new feature film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.  We talk about the media circus that turned Ted Bundy into a household name, the influence that the Bundy trial had on the true crime genre, and why Berlinger, known as the father of the true crime documentary, doesn't actually like the term "true crime." Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes is available on Netflix beginning January 24 and look for Joe's feature film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend and in theatres soon.  Keep up with Joe at www.joeberlinger.com or on Twitter at @JoeBerlinger.  Today's episode is sponsored by Betterhelp.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:43:05 1/23/2019
Dr. Phil McGraw says that some of his guests still surprise him even after 2000+ episodes of his #1 daytime talk show The Dr. Phil Show.  He recalls how losing a football game in junior high school inspired him to go into psychology, what it was like to go into practice with his father, and why he eventually decided to go from getting into the minds of his patients to getting into the minds of juries as a trial consultant.  He explains how that put him into contact with Oprah Winfrey, how he convinced her to move her entire TV operation to Amarillo, Texas for 3 months during the famous mad cow beef trial, and why he was initially hesitant when Oprah first invited him to come on her show.  He discusses his belief that problems are complex but solutions are often fairly simple, but he also says don't be fooled by the magic of television and his easy going manner.  He says hours of research and peer review by America's top doctors go into every single episode of The Dr. Phil Show.  He shares a little relationship advice from his 42 years of marriage, how his wife Robin is the "Dr Phil to Dr Phil" who always keeps him in check, and why Robin still sits in the audience of every taping of his show.  Then Dr Phil discusses how his new podcast Phil in the Blanks is a welcome chance to interview interesting people without the pressure of having to solve their problems, why he desperately wants to get O.J. Simpson on the show, and why he's planning to enter the popular true crime genre for his next project.  Plus why he never volunteers advice to his friends, what he would say if he was mediating the government shutdown negotiations, and he weighs in on the prospect of an Oprah for President campaign in 2020. Subscribe to Dr. Phil's new podcast Phil in the Blanks on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or Spotify, and visit www.drphilintheblanks.com for more information and upcoming guests.  The Dr. Phil Show airs weekdays and you can go to www.drphil.com to find your local listings.  Follow Phil McGraw on Twitter at @DrPhil.  Today's episode is sponsored by Flatiron School.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:51:45 1/21/2019
A year ago, Dr. Steven Pinker's book Enlightenment Now made headlines for giving hard data that proved that the world is safer, happier, and freer than ever, but he was surprised by how many people just don't want to believe good news!  Today Dr. Pinker returns to the podcast to review the metrics of societal progress that continue to show that the world just keeps getting better, but he also discusses two areas that give him cause for concern.  Steven Pinker ponders whether the immigration debate might actually be a positive turning point as polls show that Americans are rejecting alternative facts and alarmism.  He reveals how genetics may play a part in our political preferences and explores how linguistics can make for more productive political discussions.  Dr. Pinker recalls growing up during the turbulent 60's in Montreal and how he went from a teenage anarchist to a leading proponent of science, reason, humanism, and progress.  Plus we discuss his ongoing fight against political correctness, why we need to stop giving words too much power, and why he says those baby boomers who say millenials are a generation of snowflakes have no one but themselves. Order his latest book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with him on Twitter at @sapinker or at www.stevenpinker.com.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Blinkist.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:54:55 1/17/2019

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