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!

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Dr. Phil Says People Never Stop Surprising Him

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

Past Episodes

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
Howie Mandel talks about doing his first comedy special in 20 years, his childhood growing up in Toronto, and how the show Candid Camera inspired him to pull an elaborate prank that got him expelled form high school. He shares how winging it the first time he want on stage turned into his signature improvisational style, and why he still thrives on audience interaction.  He recalls opening for Diana Ross in Vegas, his very first TONIGHT SHOW appearance, how the HBO YOUNG COMEDIANS SPECIAL changed his life, and the time when a sitcom audition led to getting cast in the serious TV medical drama SAINT ELSEWHERE. Howie reveals why he originally turned down the offer to host DEAL OR NO DEAL and the anxiety he gets whenever he sees contestants making bad decisions on the show.  He opens up about his struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and how he went from fearing that it might be a career killer to using his fame to raise awareness of mental health issues.  Plus Howie Mandel gives the secret to winning the golden buzzer on AMERICA'S GOT TALENT. Howie's new comedy special HOWIE MANDEL PRESENTS HOWIE MANDEL AT THE HOWIE MANDEL COMEDY CLUB this Friday Jan 18th at 10 Eastern and Paficic on Showtime.  DEAL OR NO DEAL airs Wednesdays at 9AM on CNBC and AGT: CHAMPIONS airs Mondays on NBC at 8/7 Central.  Follow Howie on Twitter at @HowieMandel.  Today's episode is sponsored by Flatiron School and Hackable podcast.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:57:00 1/13/2019
Abbi Jacobson opens up about the frustrations of TV development hell, playing "herself" on Comedy Central's Broad City, and being a woman in a position of power.  She discusses her ongoing struggle with work-life balance, how it took a book deal just to make her take 3 weeks off to travel the country and get over a broken heart, and how that trip taught her that "the things we're most afraid of, are the things that will most change us."  Abbi reveals how she and co-creator Ilana Wexler got Amy Poehler to champion Broad City for television, how they convinced Hillary Clinton to guest star in the middle of the election, and what you can learn about a TV network from the snack selection in the lobby.  Plus Abbi Jacobson talks aura readings in Sedona, feeling a little out of place at a Mormon lodge in Utah, and why a bed and breakfast is the worst place to go when you just want to be alone! Order Abbi's new book I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff on Amazon or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with Abbi on Twitter at @AbbiJacobson, and don't miss the final season of Broad City beginning January 24 on Comedy Central.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:51:26 1/9/2019
Brad Meltzer is the #1 bestselling author of political thrillers like The Escape Artist and The Inner Circle.  Today he talks about making his first foray into nonfiction for his latest book The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington, all the research that went into it, and his initial concern that a long forgotten rumor of a secret plot to assassinate America's founding father might turn out to be just that - a rumor.  He tells the story of America's "other Benedict Arnold" and the deadly conspiracy by some of the very men charged with protecting George Washington's life.  He reveals how the incident gave birth to American counterintelligence, why Washington wasted no time in making an example of one of the traitor, and why there was a deliberate effort to cover-up the plot to kill Washington for more than 240 years.  Plus he shares some of the wild conspiracy theories he hears from his fans at book signings, his alarm over the explosion of conspiracy thinking and paranoia in American politics, and a few memories of his friend the late President George H.W. Bush. Order THE FIRST CONSPIRACY: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington on Amazon or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with Brad at BradMeltzer.com or on twitter at @BradMeltzer.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:53:54 1/6/2019
Brad Meltzer is the #1 bestselling author of political thrillers like The Escape Artist and The Inner Circle.  Today he talks about making his first foray into nonfiction for his latest book The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington, all the research that went into it, and his initial concern that a long forgotten rumor of a secret plot to assassinate America's founding father might turn out to be just that - a rumor.  He tells the story of America's "other Benedict Arnold" and the deadly conspiracy by some of the very men charged with protecting George Washington's life.  He reveals how the incident gave birth to American counterintelligence, why Washington wasted no time in making an example of one of the traitor, and why there was a deliberate effort to cover-up the plot to kill Washington for more than 240 years.  Plus he shares some of the wild conspiracy theories he hears from his fans at book signings, his alarm over the explosion conspiracy thinking and paranoia in American politics, and a few memories of his friend the late President George H.W. Bush. Order THE FIRST CONSPIRACY: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington on Amazon or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with Brad at BradMeltzer.com or on twitter at @BradMeltzer.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:52:15 1/6/2019
Actor Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Rushmore) discusses how his music and poetry album New Worlds evolved out of a chance meeting with classical cellist Jan Vogler on a flight from Berlin to NYC. Plus, Bill Murray shares his philosophy of life, his favorite American humorists, and his thoughts on being an internet folk hero. New Worlds is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, or wherever you buy music.  Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.
00:39:09 1/2/2019
Today's episode is a rerun of my interview with journalist Bob Woodward that originally aired 11/04/15.  Bob talks about his book "THE LAST OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEN" which chronicles the White House career of Alexander Butterfield, who served as deputy assistant to President Nixon.  Through countless documents and hours of interviews, Butterfield gave Bob Woodward a revealing glimpse into the disfunction, paranoia, and corruption in the Nixon White House.  Woodward talks about how Alex Butterfield oversaw the installation of the infamous taping machine in the Oval Office and served as the right-hand man to Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.  We'll talk about the isolated world of Richard Nixon, Nixon's relationship with his wife and with Henry Kissinger, Nixon's awkward though likely unconsummated flirtations with White House secretaries, and the chip on Nixon's shoulder that haunted him his entire life.  Plus we'll talk about the man known as "Deep Throat." If you enjoy this episode, then go to Amazon to order Bob Woodward's fascinating new book "THE LAST OF THE PRESIDENT'S MEN."
00:41:21 12/30/2018
Today's episode is a rerun of an interview with Anthony Bourdain that originally aired 10/12/17.  Anthony speaks candidly about the problem of food waste, who is to blame, and who is working on solutions.  He discusses how he and his fellow chefs have been fighting this battle for years in their own kitchens, including embracing the "snout to tail" movement, renaming so called "trash fish," and even turning table scraps into delicious pork.  He also shares how he manages to juggle his a hectic travel schedule, waxes about his love of Vietnam, and reveals some of his most cherished comfort foods.  Plus, Tony and I gripe about California's newly revived foie gras ban and the term "foodie." Anthony Bourdain's new documentary Wasted: The Story of Food Waste is available in the theatres, on demand, on Amazon, and on iTunes beginning this Friday, October 13.  Visit www.wastedfilm.com for more information.  Keep up with Anthony Bourdain on his website www.explorepartsunknown.com or on Twitter at @Bourdain. Today's episode is sponsored by Nadex.  Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our annual listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/KICK.  Visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.
00:36:09 12/26/2018
John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan discuss their childhood love of the Laurel & Hardy movies, stepping into the shoes of the legendary comedy duo for their new film Stan & Ollie, and the transformation that allowed John to step in the famously large pants of Oliver Hardy.  They share how Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's 35 year showbiz partnership was a lot like a marriage, what it was like for Steve and John to find that same chemistry (having never worked together before), and how their director's emergency apendactomy gave them an opportunity to bond during an impromptu pilgrimage to Stan Laurel's hometown in England.  Plus John C. Reilly talks about being part of another famous comedy duo with Will Ferrell, Steve and John reveal how they recreated some of Laurel and Hardy's most iconic routines, and we debate the pros and cons of the old Hollywood studio system and the controversy over Oliver Hardy's most memorable line. Stan & Ollie which opens in theatres in New York and Los Angeles this Friday December 28.  Visit www.sonyclassics.com/stanandollie for showtimes and more information.  Today's podcast was sponsored by BetDSI.com.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:43:33 12/23/2018
Leon Panetta talks about hard decisions, worthy fights, and "governing by leadership instead of by crisis."  He recalls growing up in Monterey, CA as the first generation of Italian immigrants and warns the Trump Administration's harsh immigration policies could mean fewer immigrant success stories like his own.  He reveals how he started out his political career as a Republican until President Richard Nixon fired him for daring to enforce civil rights.  He shares some early lessons in political civility and bipartisanship from his mentor Senator Thomas Kuchel and how those lessons served him well as a Congressman and President Bill Clinton's Director of the Office of Management and Budget.  He discusses stepping in as Clinton's Chief of Staff during a particularly chaotic time in his Presidency, how his early military training helped him get the White House in shape, and some words of advice he recently shared with President Trump's outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly.  Panetta admits to his surprise when years later President Obama tapped him for Director of the CIA, opens up about what went through his mind as he watched the Bin Laden raid go down, and says that Obama's failure to enforce his own red line on Syria's chemical weapons may have embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin. Learn more about the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at www.panettainstitute.org.  Thank you to the Ronald Reagan National Defense Forum and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for hosting this interview.  Today's podcast was sponsored by the new Wondery podcast Safe for Work and Ben Sasse's audiobook Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
00:37:38 12/20/2018

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