NERD CAGE MATCH: Marc Maron Vs. Terry Gross

  FRESH AIR Earlier this month, almost 2,000 radio fanatics gathered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to listen in as Marc Maron, the neurotic and sometimes gruff comedian and podcast host, interviewed Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. He is known for being vulnerable and bringing his personal life into his interviews; she tends to keep her personal life separate from her work. The conversation that resulted blurs those two styles and ends up revealing aspects of Gross’ life that even the biggest Fresh Air fans may find surprising. Maron is the host of WTF, a podcast he started in […]


Photo by Larry Hirshowitz UPDATE: Marc Maron on Fresh Air BY JONATHAN VALANIA Marc Maron pretty much wrote the book on how not to write the book — the book on how to win friends and influence people, how to succeed in showbiz without really trying, how to enjoy harmless recreational drugs like cocaine responsibly. Whatever his books about those topics (in truth, there are no books like that, but stick with me I’m going somewhere with this) tell you to do, do the exact opposite. Unless you want to find yourself on the far side of 40, bottomed out […]

Q&A w/ Comedian John Mulaney, Ex-SNL Writer, Stefon Co-Creator, Couldbe TV Sitcom Star

EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally published back in September of 2013, in advance of his appearance at Oddball Fest. Mr. Mulaney will be performing at the Merriam on Saturday, hence this encore presentation. Enjoy, and check back tomorrow when we will be giving away a pair of tix for the show. Why? Because we love you! BY JONATHAN VALANIA As co-creator of the ever-popular Stefon (‘New York’s hottest club is…’) sketch on SNL, comedian John Mulaney is probably better-known for his work behind the camera than in front of it, but that will change soon. Last Friday we got Mulaney […]

FINE YOUNG CANNIBAL: Q&A w/ Hannibal Buress

  BY JONATHAN VALANIA Comedian Hannibal Buress has played a homeless man on 30 Rock who was NOT masturbating to Tina Fey, a second banana on The Eric Andre Show, and a nitrous huffing dentist/fuck buddy on Broad City. But no matter how glorious a career he goes on to have, he will forever be remembered as The Man Who Unmasked Bill Cosby, in the bit heard round the world, delivered, let us not forget, at the Trocadero (just a few hours after this interview first published on October 16th, 2014). Which confers on Philadelphia the dubious distinction of being […]

RIP: Goodnight Mr. Carr Wherever You Are

DAVID CARR: “I now inhabit a life I don’t deserve, but we all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end any time soon.” NEW YORK TIMES: Mr. Carr collapsed in the Times newsroom, where he was found shortly before 9 p.m. He was taken to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. MORE DAVID CARR ON BRIAN WILLIAMS: We want our anchors to be both good at reading the news and also pretending to be in the middle of it,” he wrote on Monday in the wake […]

UNFORGIVEN: Chris Kyle’s American Horror Story

    BRADLEY COOPER ON FRESH AIR TODAY: “The fact that [the fact that American Sniper is] inciting a discussion that has nothing to do with vets — and it’s more about the Iraq war and what we did not do to indict those who decide to go to the war — every conversation in those terms is moving farther and farther away from what our soldiers go through, and the fact that 22 vets commit suicide each day,” Cooper says. “The amount of people that come home is so much greater because of medical advancement and … we need […]

REWIND 2014: The Year In Questions And Answers

If armies run on their stomachs, blogs run on their big fucking mouths. We’re no exception. But we’d like to think that, on a good day, we put all that hot air to good use when interrogating visiting dignitaries in advance of their triumphant arrival into the City Of Brotherly Love. We’ve never pretended to have all the answers but we do know all the right questions. And we’ve never settled for easy answers to hard questions. Sometimes feelings get hurt and sometimes new connections are made. Sometimes painful truths emerge and sometimes we actually learn something. And sometimes we […]

BECAUSE REALITY HAS A LIBERAL BIAS: Q&A W/ Comedian & ex-Totally Biased Host W. Kamau Bell

Illustration by GARY TAXALI© BY JONATHAN VALANIA Comedian W. Kamau Bell has been fighting the good fight in the stand-up comedy trenches of San Francisco since the phat pants ’90s. It was there that Chris Rock discovered him and eventually brokered a deal with FX for Bell to have his own TV show. In 2012, Totally Biased, a much-buzzed-about late night sketch comedy show starring Bell and produced by Rock, debuted to strong reviews and a big enough viewership to justify a second season until its ill-advised migration from FX to FXX, subsequent plummet in audience share and ensuing cancellation […]

Q&A: Talking Trash, Twitter, ESPN, & Appetite For Self-Destruction w/ Badboy Funnyman Artie Lange

“Lamentations Of A Jersey Prince” by AUGIE PAGAN BY JONATHAN VALANIA In advance of his show at the Keswick tomorrow night and in the wake of the The Great ESPN-Twitter Reverse Mandingo Masturbation Fantasy Fiasco, we got badboy fatass funnyman Artie Lange on the horn. DISCUSSED: The Eagles, The Fightins, Riley Cooper, Woody Allen, robbing banks, opiate addiction, the ESPN-TWITTER fiasco, why he’s not backing down, why he shouldn’t, the struggle to stay sober in a business full of “hot babes with blow,” falling off the wagon, John Candy, Chris Farley, his work with Wounded Warriors, the double standard of […]

Q&A: Ira Glass, Host Of This American Life

Photo by STUART MULLENBERG BY JONATHAN VALANIA A long time ago in a public radio galaxy far, far away called 1995, the median listener age was 87, nobody ever said um or like on the air, all stories ran just one way — front to back —  and were narrated with the plummy-voiced elocution of the Founding Fathers, and semiotics was just one more thing Medicare refused to cover.  Nineteen years, five Peabody Awards and 500-plus episodes of This American Life later, all that has changed, thanks to the post-post-modern vision, wry melancholia and casually precise broadcasting style of the […]


Illustration by MATTHEW WOODSON NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Earlier this year, Greenwald, Poitras, and a third comrade in arms — former Nation writer Jeremy Scahill — launched a website called the Intercept. It is meant to be the prototype for a fleet of publications funded by Omidyar’s flagship company, First Look Media, to which Omidyar has initially committed $250 million. “We have the luxury of doing something different because we have this kind of infinite-resource backer,” Greenwald told me on the phone from Brazil, where he is based. “We’re thinking about how to do journalism structurally differently.” At the time of […]

THE GOOD SHEPHERD: A Q&A With Globe-Trotting New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof

  BY JONATHAN VALANIA Last week we got New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on the horn to discuss his new book, A Path Appears, co-authored with his wife Sheryl WuDunn, which extols the innovative but largely un-heralded efforts of a dedicated few to leave the world a better place than they found it. Just a few days prior, Kristof had been at the center of a cultural storm that erupted in the wake of his appearance on REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER along with Ben Affleck and Sam Harris, so we gave him an opportunity to clarify some points […]

I SEE A DARKNESS: Twin Peaks 24 Years After

EDITOR’S NOTE: This originally posted on September 23rd, 2011. BY MIKE WALSH Like millions of Americans, I was fanatical about Twin Peaks when the show originally aired on ABC in 1990. I rearranged my schedule, so I could be home to watch it. I recorded it on VHS tape when I couldn’t. I debated the identity of Laura Palmer’s murderer with friends and strangers. I had dreams about Bob, the malevolent demon that haunts the show. So when Netflix made Twin Peaks available for streaming recently, I immediately added it to my queue. I started watching in August and every […]