Podcast

Fresh Air

Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.

Episodes

  • Actor Robert Pattinson

    Nov 18 2019

    Pattinson is best known for his role in the 'Twilight' saga, where he played the vampire Edward Cullen – a bloodsucking teen heartthrob. "I think Edward basically is Nosferatu, but, at the same time, he still cares about doing his hair and stuff." After becoming a success in big box office films, he pivoted to indie art house films, like his new one, 'The Lighthouse.' He co-stars with Willem Defoe as increasingly unhinged lighthouse keepers in 19th century New England.

  • Best Of: Reese Witherspoon / Judd Apatow

    Nov 16 2019

    Frustrated by the lack of leading roles for women in Hollywood, Reese Witherspoon decided to start her own production company. Her new project, 'The Morning Show,' takes on sexual harassment in the news industry. Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Kirk' from hip-hop artist DaBaby. Filmmaker and producer Judd Apatow talks about his late mentor, stand-up legend Garry Shandling, and the personal trauma that informed his comedy. Apatow explores Shandling's life and legacy in the HBO documentary 'The Zen ...more

  • 'The Crown' Creator Peter Morgan

    Nov 15 2019

    Season 3 of the the historical drama about Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family begins Sunday. We listen back to our interview with series creator Peter Morgan. He says he tries to get as close as possible to the truth about life inside the Royal family, based on extensive research and using his own imagination. "We pretty much know for every day of their lives where they were and what they were allegedly doing," Morgan says. "What we don't know is what they were feeling, what they were think...more

  • Reese Witherspoon

    Nov 14 2019

    Frustrated by the lack of good leading roles for women, Witherspoon decided to start her own production company. Her new project, 'The Morning Show,' takes on sexual harassment in the broadcast news industry. She spoke with Terry Gross about the #MeToo movement, studying with a vocal coach to play June Carter Cash in 'Walk the Line,' and why 'Wild' was a turning point for her.

  • Actor Willem Dafoe

    Nov 13 2019

    Dafoe has played villains, soldiers, van Gogh and Jesus. He's earned four Oscar nominations and appeared in more than 100 films — including, most recently, 'Motherless Brooklyn' and 'The Lighthouse.' He talks about being a 'good bad guy.' Also, Ken Tucker reviews DaBaby's new album 'Kirk,' and book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Great Pretender,' by Susannah Cahalan, author of the best-selling memoir 'Brain on Fire.'

  • How Online Extremists Are 'Hijacking' The American Conversation

    Nov 12 2019

    'New Yorker' staff writer Andrew Marantz spent years with far-right online extremists, embedding with them and watching them spread false news by exploiting social media. His new book is 'Antisocial.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new streaming service Disney+.

  • Judd Apatow On His Mentor, Comic Garry Shandling

    Nov 11 2019

    Filmmaker and producer Judd Apatow (Superbad, Girls, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) talks about his late mentor, stand-up legend Garry Shandling, and the personal trauma that formed him. "Garry was a wounded person. He was a neurotic man," Apatow says. "He was a guy constantly attempting to evolve and heal. I felt like there's so many lessons that people can get from learning about how he lived his life." Apatow explores Shandling's life and legacy in the HBO documentary 'The Zen Diaries of Garry Shand...more

  • Best Of: Musician Allison Moorer / Writer Saeed Jones

    Nov 09 2019

    When Allison Moorer was 14, her father shot and killed her mother and then took his own life. Moorer, a country singer-songwriter, has a new memoir and accompanying album (both entitled 'Blood') about the incident and her road to healing. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a reissue of early recordings by Nat King Cole."It was perilous to be a black gay boy in America," Saeed Jones says of the fear and isolation he experienced growing up in Texas in the 1990s. Jones, a former culture editor and...more

  • The Fugitive Slave Act & The 'Struggle For America's Soul'

    Nov 08 2019

    Historian Andrew Delbanco says the 1850 law paved the way for the Civil War by endangering the lives of both escaped slaves and free black men and women in the North. His book, 'The War Before The War,' is now out in paperback. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Marriage Story,' Noah Baumbach's new drama starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple going through a divorce.

  • 'What Happens When A President And Congress Go To War?'

    Nov 07 2019

    The leaders of the impeachment inquiry in the House have issued subpoenas to several members of the Trump administration—and the White House lawyer has told them not to comply. In our system of checks and balances, what power does Congress have to force them to comply? 'New York Times Magazine' staff writer Emily Bazelon says, "The question is, what it really means to be held in contempt of Congress these days." In the past, "Congress would hold you in contempt; they'd send the Sergeant at Arms ...more

  • Writer Saeed Jones On 'How We Fight For Our Lives'

    Nov 06 2019

    "It was perilous to be a black gay boy in America," Jones says of the fear and isolation he experienced growing up in Texas in the 1990s. Jones, a former culture editor and LGBTQ editor at BuzzFeed, talks about his search for identity and being "mad as hell and gay as hell." His new memoir is 'How We Fight for Our Lives.' Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two contemporary operas.

  • Hearing In A Deafening World

    Nov 05 2019

    From lawn mowers to rock concerts, our deafening world is hurting our ears. Writer David Owen talks about why it's hard to follow conversation in a loud restaurant, the cause of tinnitus, and breakthroughs in hearing aid technology. His book is 'Volume Control.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a reissue of early recordings by Nat King Cole.

  • Musician Allison Moorer Finds Healing In 'Blood'

    Nov 04 2019

    When Moorer was 14, her father shot and killed her mother and then took his own life. Moorer, a country singer-songwriter, has a new memoir and accompanying album (both entitled 'Blood') about the incident and her road to healing. Moorer brought her guitar to the interview.

  • Best Of: Prince Memoir Co-Writer Dan Piepenbring / 'Mr. Robot' Creator Sam Esmail

    Nov 02 2019

    Prince died in 2016, leaving behind an unfinished memoir. Dan Piepenbring, his co-writer, recalls what it was like collaborating with the pop music icon. The book is 'The Beautiful Ones.' In college, Sam Esmail shied away from parties and instead took refuge in the the computer lab, where he experimented with hacking. He later drew on those experiences to create his USA Network show, 'Mr. Robot,' starring Rami Malek.

  • Remembering Film Producer Robert Evans / Punk Pioneer Viv Albertine

    Nov 01 2019

    Robert Evans ran Paramount Studios from the late '60s to early '70s and brought 'Chinatown,' 'Rosemary's Baby,' and 'The Godfather' to the big screen. He talked about making some of those iconic films with Terry Gross in 1994. Evans died Saturday at 89. TV critic David Bianculli reviews Apple's new streaming service. Viv Albertine was the guitarist and lyricist for The Slits, one of the first all-women British punk bands. She spoke with Terry Gross last year about her early years in the punk sc...more

  • The Ukrainian Side Of The Impeachment Drama

    Oct 31 2019

    'New York Times' reporter Andrew Kramer says impeachment puts Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a tough spot: "He may be dealing with a President Biden next year, or he may be dealing with President Trump." Also, Ken Tucker reviews country musician Jon Pardi's new album 'Heartache Medication,' and film critic Justin Chang reviews Martin Scorsese's new film 'The Irishman,' starring Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro.

  • 'Mr. Robot' Creator Sam Esmail

    Oct 30 2019

    In college, Sam Esmail shied away from parties and instead took refuge in the the computer lab, where he experimented with hacking. He later drew on those experiences to create his USA Network show, 'Mr. Robot,' starring Rami Malek. We'll also talk about growing up Egyptian American, his first job in film (editing amateur porn), and his love of movies.

  • How Living With Tourette's Inspired 'Nothing To See Here'

    Oct 29 2019

    For novelist Kevin Wilson, Tourette's syndrome means living with intrusive thoughts that flash disturbing images without warning. His novel, 'Nothing to See Here,' was inspired by visions of people bursting into flames. Wilson talks about his experience of Tourette's and how writing gives him a reprieve from his tics. Also, critic John Powers reviews the second season of 'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan' on Amazon.

  • Prince's Co-Writer Reflects On Posthumous Memoir

    Oct 28 2019

    Prince died in 2016, leaving behind an unfinished memoir. Dan Piepenbring, his co-writer, recalls the moment he knew he could make 'The Beautiful Ones' happen — even in Prince's absence.

  • Best Of: The Life & Music of Janis Joplin / Kathryn Hahn

    Oct 26 2019

    Onstage, Janis Joplin oozed confidence, sexuality and exuberance, but biographer Holly George-Warren describes the singer as a bookworm who worked hard to create her "blues feelin' mama" persona. Her new biography of the '60s counterculture icon is 'Janis.'Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the psychological thriller 'The Lighthouse,' starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.Kathryn Hahn stars in the new HBO series 'Mrs. Fletcher' as a divorced mom grappling with her son going away to coll...more

  • Writer Tom Perrotta On 'Mrs. Fletcher'

    Oct 25 2019

    Mrs. Fletcher tells the story of Eve, a single mother whose only child, Brendan, has left for college. Perrotta says the book was inspired by the upheaval he experienced when his own kids moved out. The novel has been adapted into an HBO series starring Kathryn Hahn It begins this weekend. Perrotta spoke with Terry Gross last year. Also, we listen back to our 2007 interview with musician Booker T. Jones. He's the frontman of the soul band Booker T. & the MG's and has a new memoir about his caree...more

  • Actor Kathryn Hahn

    Oct 24 2019

    Hahn stars in the new HBO series 'Mrs. Fletcher' as a divorced mom grappling with her son going away to college. Hahn is known for her roles in 'Transparent,' 'Parks and Recreation,' 'I Love Dick,' and 'Private Life.' She says her best roles have been in her 40s. "The most complicated and messy roles I've been able to get have been offered through women," she says. "I'm just so buoyed and galvanized that the juiciest part of [my career] has been post-kids." Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead rev...more

  • Mosul & The Fall of ISIS

    Oct 23 2019

    Journalist James Verini offers a first-hand account of the 2017 battle to drive ISIS from Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. The fighting left thousands dead, and the oldest part of the city in ruin: "The west side looked as though some vengeful deity had wiped his hand across the city. It was miles and miles of rubble." His new book is 'They Will Have to Die Now.' Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the psychological thriller 'The Lighthouse,' starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson....more

  • Covering The Syrian Civil War

    Oct 22 2019

    'Washington Post' Beirut Bureau Chief Liz Sly has covered the Syrian civil war since it began in 2011. She discusses Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces and her experience reporting in war zones. "The idea that nothing will happen to you is something that goes away the more experience you have, because you see the narrow escapes and you see all the things that do happen to people you knew." Sly is receiving an award for courage in journalism from the International Women's Media Foundation. ...more

  • The Life And Music Of Janis Joplin

    Oct 21 2019

    Onstage, Joplin oozed confidence, sexuality and exuberance, but biographer Holly George-Warren describes the singer as a bookworm who worked hard to create her "blues feelin' mama" persona. Her new biography of the '60s counterculture icon is 'Janis.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews HBO's miniseries 'Catherine the Great,' starring Helen Mirren.

  • Best Of: Elton John / Novelist Attica Locke

    Oct 19 2019

    Elton John says his father's early misgivings about his chosen career became a source of motivation: "He gave me the determination to make something of myself." He talks about his volatile childhood, addiction, and fame. His new memoir is 'Me.'Also, Justin Chang reviews the satirical Nazi film 'Jojo Rabbit.' Attica Locke says her new novel, 'Heaven, My Home,' "was about place before it was about a character." The story centers on a black Texas ranger who patrols Highway 59 searching for the miss...more

  • Jazz Singer Anita O'Day / Remembering Robert Forster

    Oct 18 2019

    Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead offers an appreciation of singer Anita O'Day, who was born 100 years ago today. O'Day, who died in 2006, inspired the so-called cool jazz singers of the '50s. In her autobiography 'High Times, Hard Times,' O'Day explained that her last name was Colton, but she changed it to "O'Day," because in pig Latin that meant dough, and she hoped to make plenty of it. She spoke with Terry Gross in 1987. Also, we remember actor Robert Forster who died last Friday at 78. He appear...more

  • Climate Change & The Cost Of Coastal Real Estate

    Oct 17 2019

    Journalist Gilbert Gaul says federal subsidies encourage developers to keep building on the coasts — despite accelerating and increasing risks from climate change. His book is 'The Geography of Risk.' Also, John Powers reviews 'Watchmen,' an adaptation of the comic for HBO, starring Regina King.

  • Novelist Attica Locke / Filmmaker Taika Waititi

    Oct 16 2019

    Attica Locke says her new novel, 'Heaven, My Home,' "was about place before it was about a character." The story centers on a black Texas ranger who patrols Highway 59 searching for the missing son of an Aryan Brotherhood leader. Locke spoke with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger. The new satirical film 'Jojo Rabbit' centers on a 10-year-old boy who joins the Hitler Youth. Writer and director Waititi, who is from New Zealand, is half-Jewish and half-Maori. He plays the boy's imaginary friend, Hitl...more

  • Ronan Farrow

    Oct 15 2019

    Farrow's 2017 report on Harvey Weinstein helped spark the #MeToo movement and earned him a Pulitzer Prize. He says in the course of his reporting Weinstein had him followed and his house bugged. Farrow talks about the systemic ways in which top institutions aid and abet powerful people accused of crimes, silence witnesses, and stifle the First Amendment. His new book is 'Catch and Kill.'

  • Elton John

    Oct 14 2019

    Elton John says his father's early misgivings about his chosen career became a source of motivation: "He gave me the determination to make something of myself." He talks about his volatile childhood, addiction, and fame. Elton John's new memoir is called 'Me.' Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a documentary about the iconic opera singer Maria Callas.

  • Best Of: Singer Anthony Roth Costanzo / Leaving The Westboro Baptist Church

    Oct 12 2019

    Anthony Roth Costanzo is a countertenor, meaning he sings in a high range that's associated with women's voices. He knows all about the history of countertenors and their predecessors, castrati. He's about to star in the Metropolitan Opera's production of 'Akhnaten,' by Philip Glass. Costanzo plays the titular Pharaoh, who many people now think was gender fluid.Film critic Justin Chang reviews the thriller 'Parasite.'Growing up in the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper was tol...more

  • 'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan & Actor Aaron Paul

    Oct 11 2019

    Netflix just dropped the 'Breaking Bad' movie 'El Camino,' which picks up where the AMC series left off. TV critic David Bianculli reviews it, and we'll listen back to our interviews with series creator and writer Vince Gilligan and actor Aaron Paul.

  • 'Loving And Leaving' The Westboro Baptist Church

    Oct 10 2019

    Growing up in the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper was told that God killed soldiers as punishment for America's sins and its tolerance of homosexuality. She started to question her beliefs after she began running the church's Twitter account. Her memoir about her decision to leave the church is 'Unfollow.' Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Parasite,' which he calls "the most deviously entertaining con-artist thriller" he's seen in years.

  • Understanding Trump's Impeachment Peril

    Oct 09 2019

    'Bloomberg Businessweek' columnist Joshua Green explains how President Trump fell for a media campaign that was designed to help him: "The irony is that the target was supposed to be the Bidens, not the president," he says.Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the new memoir 'How We Fight For Our Lives' by Saeed Jones, about growing up gay and black in Texas.And Kevin Whitehead reviews the new album 'The Ambiguity Manifesto' by cornet player and composer Taylor Ho Bynum.

  • Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Christopher Wylie

    Oct 08 2019

    Wylie exposed Cambridge Analytica's role in Brexit and the Trump presidential campaign. Cambridge Analytica collected personal data from millions of Facebook users, and used it to target people susceptible to conspiracy theories and disinformation. Wylie was the research director at Cambridge Analytica, before leaving in protest over the direction it had taken. His new book is 'Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America.'Also, Ken Tucker reviews 'Jaime,' the new album by Alabama...more

  • Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo

    Oct 07 2019

    Costanzo is a countertenor, meaning he sings in a high range that's associated with women's voices. He knows all about the history of countertenors and their predecessors, castrati. He's about to star in the Metropolitan Opera's production of 'Akhnaten,' by Philip Glass. Costanzo plays the titular Pharaoh, who many people now think was gender fluid.

  • Best Of: Antonio Banderas / Conan O'Brien

    Oct 05 2019

    Antonio Banderas stars in Pedro Almodóvar's new film 'Pain and Glory' as a screenwriter and director suffering with physical pain, and pain of the soul. Banderas had a heart attack a few years ago, and talks about how the experience informed his performance. Conan O'Brien recently switched up the format of his late-night show, and is about to launch the second season of his podcast, 'Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend.' He talks about how his comedy has been driven in part by anxiety. Also, he sings a...more

  • Biographer Claire Tomalin On 'A Life Of My Own'

    Oct 04 2019

    After writing biographies of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Mary Wollstonecraft, Tomalin turned to memoir. Her new work tells of her conflicting desires to have children and to lead a meaningful working life, her first husband's infidelity, and how long it took to find herself professionally.Also, we remember opera star Jessye Norman, who died Monday. She was first exposed to opera as a child listening to live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera. "I was intrigued by it and I loved it," she t...more

  • Reporters Reveal Trump's Extreme Border Proposals

    Oct 03 2019

    President Trump made building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico a cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign. But when, after the election, efforts to build the wall stalled, he turned to other possible options — including constructing a trench filled with snakes and alligators — according to 'New York Times' journalists Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear. Their new book chronicling the president's attempts to upend the nation's immigration system is 'Border Wars: Inside Trump's...more

  • Conan O'Brien

    Oct 02 2019

    Conan O'Brien recently switched up the format of his late-night show, and is about to launch the second season of his podcast, 'Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend.' He says the name of his podcast is a joke — sort of. "Sometimes when you're in the public eye, it can get murky as to who's really my friend. Who's going to come visit me in the hospital? Who's going to come over to my house when my dog dies and drink cocoa with me? Who are those people?" He also talks about his unusual career trajectory, ...more

  • An Author Investigates His Family Ties To Jimmy Hoffa's Disappearance

    Oct 01 2019

    Jack Goldsmith's new memoir 'In Hoffa's Shadow' centers on his investigation into his stepfather's involvement in the 1975 disappearance of mob-connected labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa is portrayed by Al Pacino in Martin Scorsese's new film 'The Irishman.' Goldsmith is a Harvard Law professor, and best known for having headed the Office of Legal Counsel in the George W. Bush administration, where he challenged warrantless wiretapping and retracted memos legally justifying torture.

  • Actor Antonio Banderas

    Sep 30 2019

    Banderas stars in Pedro Almodóvar's new film 'Pain and Glory' as a screenwriter and director suffering with physical pain, and pain of the soul. Banderas had a heart attack a few years ago, and talks about how the experience informed his performance. He also talks about his early career working with Almodóvar in Spain, getting his start in Hollywood when he spoke very little English, and catching his hair on fire while filming 'Desperado.'

  • Best Of: Ta-Nehisi Coates / Tegan And Sara

    Sep 28 2019

    Coates won a National Book Award in 2015 for 'Between the World and Me.' His debut novel, 'The Water Dancer,' is set in slave times and re-imagines the Underground Railroad's leaders as having a magical power to teleport people out of slavery.Also, Justin Chang reviews 'Judy,' the new Judy Garland biopic starring Renée Zellweger.And music duo Tegan and Sara revisit their teen years and early music in a new memoir, 'High School,' and companion album, 'Hey, I'm Just Like You.' They talk about figu...more

  • A 'Photo Ark' For Captive Animal Species

    Sep 27 2019

    'National Geographic' photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to document every captive animal species in the world. His new book of photographs is 'Vanishing: The World's Most Vulnerable Animals.' (Originally broadcast in February 2017)Also, Lloyd Schwartz reviews a reissue of the movie version of the 1955 musical 'Damn Yankees' — the only time Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon danced together on the big screen.And TV critic David Bianculli reviews Ryan Murphy's first Netflix series, 'The Politician....more

  • 'Piety & Power' And Mike Pence

    Sep 26 2019

    Political reporter Tom LoBianco has covered Vice President Mike Pence in both Indiana and Washington, D.C. He describes Pence as a man of faith who is willing to put political ambition ahead of his beliefs. His book is 'Piety and Power.' Justin Chang reviews 'Judy,' a Judy Garland biopic starring Renée Zellweger.

  • Singing Cowboys / Remembering Grateful Dead Lyricist Robert Hunter

    Sep 25 2019

    Musician Doug Green talks about a largely forgotten chapter of music history, the singing cowboy. Green wrote a book on singing cowboys, and is featured in Ken Burns' new PBS series on the history of country music. He co-founded Riders in the Sky, a popular Western band named after a famous cowboy song.After Jerry Garcia formed Grateful Dead in the mid '60s, Robert Hunter wrote most of the lyrics for Garcia's songs, lyrics most Deadheads know by heart. Hunter died on Monday at 78. He spoke with...more

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates On 'The Water Dancer'

    Sep 24 2019

    Ta-Nehisi Coates launched a national conversation with his 2014 Atlantic cover story, 'The Case For Reparations. In 2015, he won a National Book Award for for 'Between the World and Me,' written in the form of a letter to his son about the violence young black men are vulnerable to. Now, he's written his first novel ... 'The Water Dancer' is set in slave times and re-imagines the Underground Railroad's leaders as having a magical power to teleport people out of slavery. The magic is activated by...more

  • Tegan And Sara

    Sep 23 2019

    Music duo Tegan and Sara revisit their teen years and their early music in a new memoir, 'High School,' and companion album, 'Hey, I'm Just Like You.' Listening back to the songs they wrote, Sara says: "I was struck by the joy in our voices." They talk about figuring out their sexuality, the difficultly of being twins, and the misogyny and homophobia they faced in the media at the beginning of their careers. TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new CBS procedural 'Evil,' by the creators of 'The...more

  • Best Of: Edward Snowden / Journalist Andrea Mitchell

    Sep 21 2019

    In 2013, Edward Snowden showed journalists thousands of top secret documents about U.S. intelligence agencies' surveillance efforts. He's been living in exile in Russia ever since. His new book is 'Permanent Record.'Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Ad Astra,' starring Brad Pitt. Andrea Mitchell, the chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News and anchor of her own MSNBC show, looks back on her career in journalism. She's receiving a lifetime achievement Emmy on Sept. 24.