Fresh Air

Weekdays at 11am
Terry Gross

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 4.5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.

Though Fresh Air has been categorized as a "talk show," it hardly fits the mold. Its 1994 Peabody Award citation credits Fresh Air with "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights." And a variety of top publications count Gross among the country's leading interviewers. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators.

Fresh Air is produced at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.

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NPR Story
12:44 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Seth Meyers' 'Late Night' Challenge: What To Do With His Hands

Seth Meyers hosts the premiere of his talk show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, in February. "The trickiest part of this job the first week was just figuring out what to do with my hands," says Meyers, who was used to holding a microphone during standup. Remembering that he had pockets was key.
Peter Kramer AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:32 pm

Seth Meyers already had his dream job. As the host of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, "I sort of had already accomplished the job I never thought I would accomplish," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. He joined the cast in 2001 and was there for 12 years.

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Music Reviews
12:44 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

For Jessica Lea Mayfield, Sometimes Sanity Is The Better Option

Jessica Lea Mayfield.
LeAnn Mueller Courtesy of the artist.

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Author Interviews
1:51 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

'Forcing The Spring' Tells One Chapter In Story Of Marriage Equality

In her new book, Forcing the Spring, investigative reporter Jo Becker goes behind the scenes in the fight for marriage equality. Above, Eric Breese of Rochester, N.Y., joins hundreds of others to rally outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act on March 27, 2013.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 3:34 pm

In her new book, Forcing the Spring, investigative reporter Jo Becker tells the behind-the-scenes story of an important chapter in the fight for marriage equality. She embedded with the team that challenged Proposition 8 — the 2008 anti-gay-marriage California ballot initiative that called for amending the state constitution to say that the state would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman.

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Pop Culture
12:14 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

For Comic Hari Kondabolu, Explaining The Joke IS The Joke

he says. "You were a minority when you came to this country. Things seemed to have worked out for you."" href="/post/comic-hari-kondabolu-explaining-joke-joke" class="noexit lightbox">
Comic Hari Kondabolu's album Waiting for 2042 is a reference to the year the Census Bureau projects whites will be the minority in the U.S. "Don't worry, white people," he says. "You were a minority when you came to this country. Things seemed to have worked out for you."
Kyle Johnson

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:23 pm

At first, Hari Kondabolu's comedy was mostly about catharsis: "I was doing some work in detention centers and meeting families who had family members who were going to be deported," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It was really powerful work ... but it was incredibly hard and performing at night was a relief. It was cathartic. It was just a way to get things out."

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Fresh Air Weekend
11:00 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Missing Microbes,' 'The Both,' And Mike Judge's 'Silicon Valley'

According to Dr. Martin Blaser, the overuse of antibiotics has contributed to killing off strains of bacteria that typically live in the gut.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Modern Medicine May Not Be Doing Your Microbiome Any Favors: In Missing Microbes, Dr. Martin Blaser argues that the overuse of antibiotics, as well as now-common practices like C-sections, may be messing with gut microbes.

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Interviews
12:21 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

'Inside Amy Schumer': It's Not Just Sex Stuff

On Inside Amy Schumer, the comic (here with Jon Glaser and Adrian Martinez) deploys everything from scripted vignettes to stand-up comedy and man-on-the-street-style interviews.
Matt Peyton Comedy Central

This interview was originally broadcast on June 25, 2013.

One of Amy Schumer's comedy routines begins with the declaration, "I'm a little sluttier than the average bear. I really am."

Degrees of sluttiness may be hard to define, but Schumer does talk frankly about many subjects — including sex — that can be uncomfortable for people, both in her stand-up act and on her Comedy Central series, Inside Amy Schumer, which is now in its second season.

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Movie Reviews
11:52 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Undead Hipsters And An Abstract Alien Star In Two Arty Horror Pics

In Under The Skin, Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who adopts an English accent and cruises Scotland enticing hitchhikers into a darkened building.
Film4

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:20 pm

Every so often a high-toned arthouse director dips a toe into the horror genre and the results are uplifting: You realize vampires and space aliens are subjects too rich to be the sole property of schlockmeisters. That's the case with two new arty genre pictures: Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive — both slow, expressionist, non-narrative, the kind of films that drive some people crazy with boredom and put others in their thrall.

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Music Reviews
2:57 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

A Duo's Debut Album: A Collaboration From 'The Both'

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 6:26 am

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

The Both is the name for the duo formed by veteran singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo. "The Both" is also the name of their debut album. The two began performing together in 2012, when Ted Leo was Mann's opening act. Mann began joining Leo onstage during his set. They liked the sound their voices together and started collaborating. Rock critic Ken Tucker has this review of "The Both."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAMBLER")

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Television
2:11 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

'Silicon Valley' Asks: Is Your Startup Really Making The World Better?

Kumail Nanjiani (from left), Martin Starr, Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods and T.J. Miller star in Silicon Valley, Mike Judge's new sitcom about young programmers trying to hit it rich.
Isabella Vosmikova HBO

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 4:45 pm

Mike Judge is no stranger to workplace comedy — back in 1999, he wrote and directed the cult classic Office Space, which poked fun at desk job-induced ennui in a 1990s software company.

Now, more than a decade later, Judge continues to find humor in the tech industry. In his new HBO sitcom, Silicon Valley, Judge explores what happens when young computer geeks become millionaires.

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Book Reviews
12:49 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

'Bintel Brief' And 'Hellfighters': American Stories, Powerfully Illustrated

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 2:57 pm

A Bintel Brief and The Harlem Hellfighters are two New York Stories. That's why I'm combining them in this review; not because — as some purists still think — they're lesser works of literature because they're graphic novels. If Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Bayeux Tapestry, and Art Spiegelman's 1991 classic, Maus, haven't yet convinced the high-art holdouts of the value of stories told in visual sequence, nothing I say now about these two books is likely to.

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National Security
1:44 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Edward Snowden: From 'Geeky' Dropout To NSA Leaker

What motivated Edward Snowden to leak NSA secrets? Bryan Burrough, Suzanna Andrews and Sarah Ellison explore Snowden's background in an article for Vanity Fair.
The Guardian/Getty Images

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has revealed some of the group's most carefully guarded secrets.

The reporting on the documents he leaked won a Pulitzer Prize for the Washington Post and The Guardian, announced on Monday.

But there's still a lot we don't know about Snowden himself — and his motivation.

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Book Reviews
1:33 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Exploring Life's Incurable Soiledness With The Father Of Italian Noir

Crime writer Giorgio Scerbanenco was born in Kiev in 1911, grew up in Rome and worked for decades as a journalist in Milan.
Olycom Melville House

Although there's no rigid dividing line, fans of the crime genre generally fall into two camps. There are those who prefer stories which, after titillating us with dark transgressions, end by restoring order — the show Law & Order is an aptly named example. And then there are those who prefer stories which, even after the mystery is solved, leave you swimming in the murk — think Chinatown. This is the male-dominated realm of noir.

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Television
12:33 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

FX's 'Fargo' Is Neither Remake Nor Sequel

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 3:05 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. The FX cable network premieres a new drama series tonight. It's called "Fargo" and has the same title as the 1996 Coen brothers movie. Our TV critic David Bianculli says it's a wonderful show in that same wacky spirit, but he says it's just as important to note what this new "Fargo" is not. It's not a remake, and it's not a sequel.

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Author Interviews
12:33 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Pakistan, The Taliban And The Real 'Enemy' Of The Afghanistan War

Children play at the demolished compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Aqeel Ahmed AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:42 pm

Carlotta Gall's new book opens in 2006, when undercover Pakistani intelligence agents punched her in the face, after breaking into her hotel room and confiscating her phone and computer.

It's just one example of how risky her job — covering Afghanistan for The New York Times — has been. Gall writes that over 12 years, she lost friends and acquaintances in suicide bombings and shootings and saw others close to her savagely maimed.

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Author Interviews
11:17 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Modern Medicine May Not Be Doing Your Microbiome Any Favors

According to Dr. Martin Blaser, the overuse of antibiotics has contributed to killing off strains of bacteria that typically live in the gut.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 6:18 pm

There are lots of theories about why food allergies, asthma, celiac disease and intestinal disorders like Crohn's disease have been on the rise. Dr. Martin Blaser speculates that it may be connected to the overuse of antibiotics, which has resulted in killing off strains of bacteria that typically live in the gut.

Blaser is an expert on the human microbiome, which is the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live in and on the body. In fact, up to 90 percent of all the cells in the human body aren't human at all — they're micro-organisms.

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Fresh Air Weekend
4:21 pm
Sat April 12, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Nurse Jackie,' 'Mad Men' And 'Frozen'

Edie Falco plays ER nurse Jackie Peyton, who is competent at her high-stress job but struggles with addiction. The sixth season of Nurse Jackie starts Sunday on Showtime.
Ken Regan Showtime

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 2:30 pm

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Edie Falco On Sobriety, The Sopranos, And Nurse Jackie's Self-Medication: Falco plays ER nurse Jackie Peyton, who is competent at her high-stress job but struggles with addiction. The sixth season of Nurse Jackie begins Sunday on Showtime.

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Television
1:41 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Colbert Moves Into Letterman's Coveted Late Night Spot

CBS announced Thursday that the spot held by David Letterman for 21 years will go to Stephen Colbert.

Interviews
10:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

At Last, David O. Russell Is Making The Films He Was Meant To Make

A '70s con artist (Christian Bale, right) is forced to team up with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper, left) in American Hustle, inspired by a real-life sting targeting corrupt politicians.
Francois Duhamel Columbia Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 1:38 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 20, 2014.

Filmmaker David O. Russell first talked with Fresh Air's Terry Gross back in 1994, and two decades later, he tells her: "It's taken me 20 years since I first spoke to you to really make the films that I think I was meant to make, and to be at the level of filmmaking and storytelling and writing that I think I had ever aspired to."

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Television
10:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Without Giving Too Much Away, Here's What We Can Say About 'Mad Men'

Mad Men — starring Jon Hamm as Don Draper — returns for its seventh and final season Sunday on AMC.
Michael Yarish AMC

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 1:38 pm

This review discusses the plotline of Mad Men, up through the end of Season 6.

Matthew Weiner's Mad Men begins its seventh season Sunday on AMC. Every season, as this outstanding period drama has made its way through the 1960s, Weiner has been increasingly insistent about the things he doesn't want critics to reveal in advance. This year, that confidentiality wish list is almost laughably long, and includes not only the year in which the story resumes, but also specifics about certain relationships — both professional and personal.

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The Fresh Air Interview
2:20 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Songwriters Behind 'Frozen' Let Go Of The Princess Mythology

Frozen is the tale of sisters Anna and Elsa, whose relationship is captured in music by songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 6:29 am

If you have young children, you may know by heart the songs from the Disney animated musical Frozen, including its massively ubiquitous "Let It Go." The songwriting team behind the Oscar-winning hit is Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, a married couple with two children who each sing on the soundtrack.

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Television
12:06 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Edie Falco On Sobriety, The Sopranos, And Nurse Jackie's Self-Medication

Edie Falco plays ER nurse Jackie Peyton, who is competent at her high-stress job but struggles with addiction. The sixth season of Nurse Jackie starts Sunday on Showtime.
Ken Regan Showtime

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:03 pm

This interview discusses the plotline of Nurse Jackie through the end of season five and beginning of season six.

In Nurse Jackie, Edie Falco plays an ER nurse who does a lot of self-medicating. Addicted to pills, she finally got sober last season and started going to 12-step meetings. But she saved one pill, and right before going to the party celebrating one year of sobriety, she took it. In the sixth season, which starts Sunday on Showtime, Jackie is back on pills and back to hiding her addiction.

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Television
12:06 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

'Parenthood' Is Hard, But NBC Gets This Family Drama Right

Family dramas have always been one of television's most difficult genres to do properly, without getting too sweet, too overwrought, or too predictable — but NBC's Parenthood finds the right balance. Above, Ray Romano as Hank, Mae Whitman as Amber, and Lauren Graham as Sarah.
Colleen Hayes NBC

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 2:41 pm

During a recent Fresh Air review of the CBS series The Good Wife, I referred to it as one of my "go-to" shows whenever anyone asks me to name a drama series on broadcast TV that's as good as the ones on cable these days. Ever since, I've wanted to give equal time to my other go-to choice. That show, now winding up its fifth season, is NBC's Parenthood.

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Author Interviews
11:38 am
Tue April 8, 2014

A Nonbeliever Tries To Make Sense Of The Visions She Had As A Teen

In her memoir Living With a Wild God, Barbara Ehrenreich describes the mystical visions she had as a teenager.
Courtesy of Twelve/Hachette Book Group

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 12:35 pm

Barbara Ehrenreich is known for her books and essays about politics, social welfare, class, women's health and other women's issues. Her best-seller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, explored the difficulties faced by low-wage workers. So fans of Ehrenreich's writing may be surprised at the subject of her new memoir — the mystical visions she had as a teenager.

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Remembrances
12:06 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Peter Matthiessen On Writing And Zen Buddhism

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 12:57 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. The publication of Peter Matthiessen's final novel "In Paradise" is coinciding with his obituary. He died Saturday at the age of 86. We're going to listen back to an excerpt of my interview with him. Matthiessen was a naturalist, as well as writer, and his fiction and nonfiction books were often inspired by his travels to remote regions, including mountains and rainforests. His books include "The Snow Leopard," "Men's Lives," "At Play in the Field of the Lords" and "Far Tortuga."

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Religion
11:57 am
Mon April 7, 2014

If Jesus Never Called Himself God, How Did He Become One?

"If Jesus had not been declared God by his followers, his followers would'™ve remained a sect within Judaism, a small Jewish sect," says historian Bart Ehrman.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 4:26 am

When Bart Ehrman was a young Evangelical Christian, he wanted to know how God became a man, but now, as an agnostic and historian of early Christianity, he wants to know how a man became God.

When and why did Jesus' followers start saying "Jesus as God" and what did they mean by that? His new book is called How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee.

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Fresh Air Weekend
11:16 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Michael Lewis, Jon Langford, And A Housekeeping How-To

Jolie Kerr says when you have a fresh red wine stain, pouring table salt — no water — on it will suck it right up. "You can go pour some wine on your carpet tonight and try it out!" she says.
iStockphoto

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Music Reviews
10:53 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Carlene Carter Carries The Heavy Burden Of History Lightly

Carlene Carter.
Marina Chavez Courtesy of the artist

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Interviews
10:04 am
Fri April 4, 2014

The Politics Of Passing 1964's Civil Rights Act

Demonstrators march down Constitution Avenue during the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 12:05 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 20, 2014.

Martin Luther King may not have had a vote in Congress, but he and the movement he helped lead were integral to getting the civil rights bill introduced. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of that bill, now known as the Civil Rights Act.

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Television
1:20 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

HBO Fills Sunday Night Lineup With Entertaining Power Struggles

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 2:48 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. This Sunday HBO presents the season premiers of two returning series - "Game of Thrones" and "VEEP" - and launches a new series, a Mike Judge comedy called "Silicon Valley." Our TV critic David Bianculli has seen them all.

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Author Interviews
1:20 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Embarrassing Stains? This Housekeeping Guide Gets That Life Is Messy

Jolie Kerr says when you have a fresh red wine stain, pouring table salt — no water — on it will suck it right up. "You can go pour some wine on your carpet tonight and try it out!" she says.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 2:48 pm

Jerry Seinfeld used to joke that if you have bloodstains on your clothes, you probably have bigger problems than your laundry. But Jolie Kerr is here to help with all the stains — her new book is titled My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag ... and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha.

Kerr is known for giving cleaning advice for unconventional and embarrassing housecleaning and laundry problems — without the judgment of the typical holier-than-thou housekeeping advice columnist.

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