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

  • Inside New York's Citywide Effort To Bury Its Dead

    May 28 2020

    In just a two month period, New York City had 20,000 COVID deaths. What happens to the bodies? 'TIME' reporter W.J. Hennigan visited the disaster morgues set up around the city, and spoke with the death care workers on the front lines. "The scale of it is incomparable to anything that we've seen," he says. Also, John Powers reviews the new AMC limited series 'Quiz,' about a British couple suspected of cheating at a game show.

  • Deep Breaths: How Breathing Affects Sleep, Anxiety & Resilience

    May 27 2020

    Humans typically take about 25,000 breaths per day — often without a second thought. But the COVID-19 pandemic has put a new spotlight on respiratory illnesses and the breaths we so often take for granted. We talk with journalist James Nestor about why breathing through your nose is better than breathing through your mouth, snoring, and how breath work can affect your overall health. His book is 'Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art.' Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album of Transylvanian folk so...more

  • Comic Hannah Gadsby

    May 26 2020

    Since her explosive 2018 Netflix special, 'Nanette,' Gadsby has been trying to adjust to her newfound success. We talk about her autism diagnosis, growing up in Tasmania, and her new special, 'Douglas.' Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Nancy McKinley's road trip novel 'St. Christopher on Pluto.'

  • Winston Churchill & Fearless Leadership In Crisis

    May 25 2020

    In 'The Splendid And The Vile,' author Erik Larson details Churchill's first year in office, during which England endured a Nazi bombing campaign that killed more than 44,000 civilians. Larson says Churchill told his citizens the truth and inspired them to resist. (Originally Broadcast March, 2020)Lloyd Schwartz shares a collection of songs by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong that's particularly soothing right now.

  • Best Of: Janelle Monáe / Meditation For Pandemic Anxiety

    May 23 2020

    Musician and actor Janelle Monáe talks about the concept behind her 2018 album 'Dirty Computer,' and her identity as a queer woman in the entertainment industry. She now stars in the second season of the thriller series 'Homecoming,' as a veteran who wakes up in a rowboat and is unable to remember who she is or how she got there.John Powers reviews a recent restoration of 'Tokyo Godfathers,' a 2003 anime film by Satoshi Kon, about three social outcasts who find an abandoned baby. ABC News corres...more

  • Remembering Beatles Photographer Astrid Kirchherr / Comedy Actor Fred Willard

    May 22 2020

    German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who died May 12, took the very first publicity photos of the then little-known Liverpool band, "The Beatles." She also gave the group their signature "mop-top" haircuts. Kirchherr spoke with Terry Gross in 2008 when a book of her Beatles photographs was published. John Powers reviews a new restoration of 'Tokyo Godfathers,' a 2003 anime film by Satoshi Kon about three social outcasts who find an abandoned baby. Comedy actor and improviser Fred Willard died M...more

  • How The Pandemic Reveals Gender Inequality In The Household

    May 21 2020

    For many couples, the pandemic has exposed inequality in the home: Many women take on twice as much housework and childcare as their male partners, even when both partners are home full time. We talk with Brigid Schulte about women's visible (and invisible) labor, and how to create a more equitable household. Schulte is a journalist and author and the founder of the Better Life Lab. Also, we remember filmmaker Lynn Shelton. She died suddenly last Saturday at age 54. She wrote and directed the aw...more

  • Breaking The Edward Snowden Story

    May 20 2020

    Journalist Barton Gellman shares a Pulitzer for his reporting about former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and the U.S. government's secret surveillance program. Gellman talks about his tense relationship with Snowden, getting hacked, and Snowden's lasting impact on privacy and security. His new book is 'Dark Mirror.'

  • How Meditation Can Ease Pandemic Anxiety

    May 19 2020

    ABC News correspondent Dan Harris was broadcasting live in 2004 when he experienced a panic attack. He credits meditation with helping him work through his anxiety — both then and now. He's the co-founder of the meditation podcast and app '10 Percent Happier.' "Meditation doesn't make the uncertainty go away. It's not like I meditate and I'm walking through this pandemic like a unicorn barfing rainbows all the time." Rather, Harris says, meditation allows people to "relax into the uncertainty."

  • Janelle Monáe

    May 18 2020

    The musician and actor spoke with us about the concept behind her 2018 album 'Dirty Computer,' her identity as a queer woman in the entertainment industry, and making her acting debut in the Oscar-winning film 'Moonlight.' She now stars in the second season of the thriller series 'Homecoming' as a veteran who wakes up in a rowboat and is unable to remember who she is or how she got there.

  • Best Of: John Moe On Depression / Alia Volz On Growing Up 'Home Baked'

    May 16 2020

    In his podcast, 'The Hilarious World of Depression,' John Moe talks with his guests (mostly comics) about their experiences with mental illness. We talk about his own depression (especially during the pandemic) and how humor gives him relief.Also, Ken Tucker reviews the new album, 'Alphabetland,' from the band X.Growing up in San Francisco in the '70s, Alia Volz's family ran a booming weed brownie business, back when growing a single cannabis plant was a felony. "I had this understanding of my f...more

  • Remembering Actor Jerry Stiller / Cellist Lynn Harrell

    May 15 2020

    Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller, who died May 11, was part of a comic duo with his wife Anne Meara and later played George Costanza's hot-headed father on 'Seinfeld.' He spoke to 'Fresh Air' in 1993. Also, we remember award-winning cellist Lynn Harrell. He joined the the Cleveland Orchestra when he was 18 and went on to perform as a soloist with orchestras around the world. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1987.TV critic David Bianculli reviews the genre-bending series 'The Great' on Hulu.

  • What We Might Learn From The 1918 Flu Pandemic

    May 14 2020

    John Barry's 2004 book about the 1918 influenza pandemic is a current bestseller. Barry talks about the parallels that are relevant to today's COVID-19 crisis. In both cases, he says, "the outbreak was trivialized for a long time." Also, we remember eccentric pop music figure Ian Whitcomb. Many people knew him for his 1965 novelty song 'You Turn Me On,' which was a top 10 hit. He died last month at 78.And classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz shares what he's been listening to during these diffi...more

  • Doctor With Rare Disease Decides To Find His Own Cure

    May 13 2020

    David Fajgenbaum was diagnosed with Castleman disease as a medical student and nearly died several times. In 'Chasing My Cure,' he recounts crowd-sourcing his own treatment with a global network of doctors, scientists and patients.Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Benjamin Taylor's book about his friendship with Philip Roth, 'Here We Are.'

  • Writer Michael Arceneaux Worries, 'I Don't Want To Die Poor'

    May 12 2020

    Michael Arceneaux graduated from Howard University in 2007 with more than $100,000 of private student loan debt. His new essay collection, 'I Don't Want to Die Poor,' recounts how that debt has shaped his life. "I became a 'New York Times' bestselling author the same week I lost my health insurance," he says. "I do have a foot in both worlds, because I just really know how difficult it is to attain social mobility." Also, Ken Tucker reviews the new album, 'Alphabetland,' from the band X.

  • How Will The Pandemic Affect Voting?

    May 11 2020

    Assuming the pandemic has not ended by Election Day, will you be able to vote by mail? And if not, are you willing to risk your health? We talk with journalist Emily Bazelon about her new 'NYT Magazine' article titled, "Will Americans Lose the Right to Vote in the Pandemic?" She focuses on the financial and political obstacles that are likely to prevent many Americans from voting by mail. Bazelon writes, "The U.S. prides itself on its democracy in theory, but this year, not necessarily in practi...more

  • Best Of: Tim Gunn / Chef Tom Colicchio

    May 09 2020

    Longtime fashion expert and mentor Tim Gunn returns to 'Fresh Air' to talk about how the pandemic has changed his mind about comfy clothes and his new competition series, 'Making the Cut.' David Bianculli recommends the 90th birthday salute to Broadway icon Stephen Sondheim, available online.'Top Chef' judge Tom Colicchio spoke with Terry Gross about broken food supply chains, food waste, and what the future of the restaurant industry might look like due to COVID-19. Colicchio helped form the In...more

  • Steve Martin

    May 08 2020

    We're revisiting one of our favorite interviews from our archive, with comic Steve Martin from when his memoir 'Born Standing Up' was released in 2008. When he started doing comedy in the 1970s, his audiences often didn't know what to make of him. His material was somewhere between vaudeville and performance art. As a kid, he sold guide books in Disneyland, and hung out in magic shops while spending hours working up a magic act. Martin tells us about his years as a stand up comic—and why he en...more

  • Chef Tom Colicchio On How To Save The Restaurant Industry

    May 07 2020

    The 'Top Chef' judge spoke with Terry Gross about broken food supply chains, food waste, and what the future of the restaurant industry might look like due to COVID-19. Colicchio helped form the Independent Restaurant Coalition to lobby Congress for relief for the industry. "We're really looking at saving every restaurant, because we think that every restaurant needs to be there," he says.Justin Chang reviews 'Driveways,' starring late actor Brian Dennehy.

  • Understanding Speaker Nancy Pelosi

    May 06 2020

    'Time' correspondent Molly Ball says the key to the speaker's success is her mastery of the inside game in politics — building relationships, counting votes, plotting strategy and working around the clock. Ball's book is 'Pelosi.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the album 'Liberty' from the Dayna Stephens Trio.

  • Exploring 'The Hilarious World Of Depression' With John Moe

    May 05 2020

    In his podcast, 'The Hilarious World of Depression,' John Moe talks with his guests (mostly comics) about their experiences with mental illness. We talk about his own depression (especially during the pandemic), losing his brother to suicide, and how humor gives him relief.

  • Fashion Guru Tim Gunn

    May 04 2020

    The longtime fashion expert and mentor returns to 'Fresh Air' to talk about his new competition series, 'Making the Cut,' how to give constructive feedback, and why he's moved to tears by beautiful things.

  • Best Of: Mindy Kaling / 'Notes From An Apocalypse'

    May 02 2020

    Mindy Kaling's new Netflix comedy series, 'Never Have I Ever,' is based on her own experiences as a nerdy, confident teen who pined for a boyfriend. We talk about why she was hesitant to relive her high school years through the show, and why she wanted to put a different kind of nerd onscreen. John Powers reviews Hulu's TV adaptation of the Sally Rooney novel, 'Normal People.' Mark O'Connell went on what he calls "a series of perverse pilgrimages" while researching people who are preparing for d...more

  • Remembering Bollywood Icon Irrfan Khan / Michael Cogswell

    May 01 2020

    Irrfan Khan, one of India's most beloved film stars, died this week at 53 from cancer. He became internationally known for his work in films like 'Slumdog Millionaire,' 'Life of Pi,' and 'The Darjeeling Limited.' He spoke with Terry Gross in 2012. Also, we remember Michael Cogswell, whose life work was preserving the legacy of Louis Armstrong. Cogswell was executive director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum which archives thousands of artifacts including journals, trumpets, tapes and photogra...more

  • Who's Benefiting From The Coronavirus Economic Relief Package?

    Apr 30 2020

    As small businesses and individuals struggle to obtain federal aid, the wealthiest are poised to reap tens of billions of dollars in tax savings. That's what 'New York Times' investigative business reporter Jesse Drucker says. Drucker explains how the economic rescue package is benefiting the rich.French guitarist Stephane Wrembel talks about jazz great Django Reinhardt and plays songs from his new album, 'Django L'Impressionniste.' He spoke with producer Sam Briger.

  • What The U.S. Might Learn From China's Approach To COVID-19

    Apr 29 2020

    'New York Times' health and science reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. points to China as a model of how to stop a fast moving pandemic in its tracks. "We're reluctant to follow China, but they did it," he says. McNeil talks about the challenges facing the U.S. as states move to reopen. "We're nowhere near getting on top of this virus," he says. Also, John Powers reviews Hulu's TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's novel 'Normal People.'

  • Inside One Family's Marijuana Brownie Business

    Apr 28 2020

    Growing up in San Francisco in the '70s, Alia Volz's family ran a booming weed brownie business, back when growing a single cannabis plant was a felony. "I had this understanding of my family as an outlaw family from the very beginning," she says. Her memoir is 'Home Baked.' Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In' by Phuc Tran.

  • Mindy Kaling

    Apr 27 2020

    Kaling's new Netflix show, 'Never Have I Ever,' is based on her own experiences as a nerdy, confident teen who pined for a boyfriend. We talk about the new series, how being a diversity hire at 'The Office' inspired her movie 'Late Night,' and how the grief of losing a parent has impacted her as a mother.

  • Best Of: Zoe Kazan / Trans Activist Jennifer Finney Boylan

    Apr 25 2020

    Zoe Kazan co-stars in HBO's limited series 'The Plot Against America,' an adaptation of Philip Roth's 2004 novel. We talk about encountering sexism in Hollywood, how the new series made her think about her family history differently, and her experience with depression and an eating disorder. Maureen Corrigan shares some book recommendations for these challenging times. Transgender activist Jennifer Finney Boylan spoke with Terry Gross about finding her identity as a woman, the evolution of her m...more

  • Remembering Actor Brian Dennehy / Catherine Russell In Concert

    Apr 24 2020

    The notable character actor Brian Dennehy died April 15 at age 81. He was a recognizable face in numerous movies and TV shows, but he was best known for his work in the theater, earning Tony Awards for his leading roles in 'Death of a Salesman' and 'Long Day's Journey Into Night.' He spoke with 'Fresh Air' in 1999. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead shares a remembrance of trailblazing saxophonist Lee Konitz. He died April 15. We revisit a concert from blues and jazz singer Catherine Russell, who sang ...more

  • Jane Mayer On How Mitch McConnell Became Trump's 'Enabler-In-Chief'

    Apr 23 2020

    'New Yorker' staff writer Jane Mayer talks about how the Senate majority leader has thrown his support behind the President, and allowed the president to diminish congressional power — in spite of the fact that Trump and McConnell are opposites in several ways. Mayer says McConnell's refusal to rein in Trump is looking riskier than ever.Also, TV critic David Bianculli bids farewell to 'Homeland' and welcomes back 'Penny Dreadful' on Showtime.

  • Author Shares His 'Notes From An Apocalypse'

    Apr 22 2020

    Mark O'Connell went on what he calls "a series of perverse pilgrimages" while researching people who are preparing for doomsday. He talks about prairie bunkers in South Dakota, Mars as a "backup planet," and catastrophe tourism. O'Connell's book is 'Notes from an Apocalypse.' Also, critic John Powers tells us why he's been bingeing 'The Good Fight' and 'Bosch' while sheltering at home.

  • Transgender Activist & Author Jennifer Finney Boylan

    Apr 21 2020

    Jennifer Finney Boylan came out as transgender in her 40s. She describes her new book, 'Good Boy,' as a "memoir of masculinity, kind of told the way an expatriate might speak of the country of their birth." Boylan talks about finding her identity as a woman, the evolution of her marriage, and the dogs she loved along the way. Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Dua Lipa's second album, 'Future Nostalgia,' a disco throwback that's perfectly timely and bursting with joyfulness.

  • Actor Zoe Kazan

    Apr 20 2020

    Kazan co-stars in HBO's limited series 'The Plot Against America,' an adaptation of Philip Roth's 2004 novel. It imagines a world in which aviator Charles Lindbergh defeated Franklin D. Roosevelt in the race for the presidency, moving the country toward fascism. We talk about encountering sexism in Hollywood, and how the HBO series made her think about her family history differently. Kazan also starred in 'The Big Sick,' 'Ruby Sparks,' and she co-wrote 'Wildlife' with her partner Paul Dano.

  • Best Of: Sam Sifton On Quarantine Cooking / Jason Bateman

    Apr 18 2020

    Sam Sifton, founder of NYT Cooking, talks about how to make meals that stretch, improvising with less-than-ideal ingredients, and the best vegetable for quarantine cooking. His new cookbook is 'See You on Sunday.'Film critic Justin Chang recommends some movies to watch at home while sheltering in place. Jason Bateman stars in the Netflix series 'Ozark' as a financial manager who has become the money launderer for Mexico's second biggest drug cartel. We'll talk about embracing his darker side on ...more

  • Singer-Songwriter Iris DeMent

    Apr 17 2020

    DeMent describes herself as extremely shy, but says that "when the songs started coming to me, I felt I didn't have the option to hide and avoid" the stage. She spoke with Terry Gross (and played songs in-studio) in 2015.

  • How Dr. Fauci 'Changed Medicine In America Forever'

    Apr 16 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced millions of Americans to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 'New Yorker' staff writer Michael Specter has known Fauci and covered his work for decades. Specter talks about Fauci's trail-blazing work during the AIDS epidemic, why Trump can't fire Fauci, and the structural changes and research that Specter says would make us more prepared for the next pandemic.

  • The FBI, CIA & The Truth About America's 'Deep State'

    Apr 15 2020

    'New Yorker' online executive editor David Rohde refutes Trump's claims about a "deep state" — and argues that the president is the one creating a parallel shadow government filled with like-minded loyalists. His new book is 'In Deep.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli shares what's on his current watch list.

  • Jason Bateman / Remembering LGBTQ Pioneer Phyllis Lyon

    Apr 14 2020

    Jason Bateman stars in the Netflix series 'Ozark' as a financial manager who has become the money launderer for Mexico's second biggest drug cartel. We'll talk about embracing his darker side on 'Ozark,' and his experience directing 'The Outsider,' HBO's adaptation of Stephen King's novel. Also, we remember one of the mothers of the gay rights movement, Phyllis Lyon. She died April 9 at 95. Lyon and Del Martin co-founded the first national lesbian group in the U.S., Daughters of Bilitis. In 20...more

  • The 'Big Business' Of Inequality

    Apr 13 2020

    Nelson Schwartz, author of 'The Velvet Rope Economy,' says special privileges for the super-rich are dividing America: "The result is less sympathy, less empathy and a sort of a harder-edge society." Schwartz talks about private helicopter rides to the airport, concierge doctors, and elite college counseling — and their impact on our society. Schwartz writes about economics for the 'New York Times.' Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan recommends a few titles for troubled times: 'The Women in Blac...more

  • Best Of: Kerry Washington / Stephen King

    Apr 11 2020

    In the Hulu series 'Little Fires Everywhere,' Kerry Washington co-stars opposite Reese Witherspoon as Mia Warren, a bohemian artist/single mom with a mysterious past. Washington spoke with Terry Gross about how she drew on her own mother for the role. Even Stephen King is feeling like he's living in a Stephen King novel these days. The author of the 1978 pandemic novel 'The Stand' tells Terry Gross he understands why fans have said the COVID-19 pandemic feels like something out of his books.

  • Remembering John Prine

    Apr 10 2020

    Legendary songwriter, singer and guitarist John Prine died Tuesday from complications of the coronavirus. He was 73. Prine's best-known songs include "Angel from Montgomery," "Paradise," "Sam Stone," and "Hello in There." Among the many people who recorded his songs are Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, and Bette Midler. Last year he was inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame. Terry Gross spoke to him in 2018 after the release of his album 'The Tree of Forgiveness,' his first album of new songs i...more

  • How San Francisco's D.A. Is Decreasing The Jail Population Amid COVID-19

    Apr 09 2020

    San Francisco's new District Attorney Chesa Boudin's own father is 75 and in prison in New York. In 1981, his parents, who were radical leftists, were imprisoned for being getaway drivers in a politically-motivated armed robbery. "My earliest memories are going through prison gates and metal detectors," he says. Boudin is part of a movement of progressive prosecutors working for criminal justice reform. We talk about the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails, and the measures he's taking to re...more

  • Stephen King

    Apr 08 2020

    Even Stephen King is feeling like he's living in a Stephen King novel these days. The author of the 1978 pandemic novel 'The Stand' says he understands why fans have said the COVID-19 pandemic feels like something out of his books. King says he doesn't feel panic or terror, but rather, a "gnawing anxiety." He talks about his new book, 'If It Bleeds.' and how the current crisis is changing his writing.

  • Cooking In The Time Of COVID-19

    Apr 07 2020

    Former 'New York Times' food editor (and founder of NYT Cooking) Sam Sifton says the resurgence of family meals is one of the "precious few good things" that's come from the pandemic. Sifton talks about how to make meals that stretch, improvising with less-than-ideal ingredients, and the best vegetable for quarantine cooking. His new cooksbook is 'See You on Sunday.'Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews bassist Lisa Mezzacappa's album 'Cosmicomics.'

  • Kerry Washington

    Apr 06 2020

    In the Hulu series 'Little Fires Everywhere,' Kerry Washington co-stars opposite Reese Witherspoon as Mia Warren, a bohemian artist single mom with a mysterious past. Washington spoke with Terry Gross about how she drew on her own mother for the role, her 'Scandal' audition, and playing Anita Hill in 'Confirmation.'Also, critic John Powers recommends Netflix's 'Unorthodox,' the Hulu series 'Baghdad Central,' and the novel 'Abigail' by Magda Szabo.

  • Best Of: Author Max Brooks / Playwright Terrence McNally

    Apr 04 2020

    Author Max Brooks became an expert on disaster preparedness — from pandemics to nuclear war — through researching for his books, 'World War Z,' 'Germ Warfare' and the forthcoming 'Devolution.' Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz recommends some music to listen to that feels right for this moment: A compilation of all the songs Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded together. It's called 'Cheek to Cheek.' We remember Broadway playwright Terrence McNally, who died March 24 due to complicat...more

  • Remembering Bucky Pizzarelli, Adam Schlesinger, Ellis Marsalis

    Apr 03 2020

    Today we remember three people from the music world who died this week of COVID-19. First, we'll listen back to two interviews with the great jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. He was 94. Then we'll hear an interview with Adam Schlesinger, who was 52. He co-founded the band Fountains of Wayne, wrote songs for the movies 'Thing You Do!' and 'Music and Lyrics,' and won three Emmys for his songs for the TV series 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.' Later, we'll hear what jazz musicians Wynton and Branford Marsali...more

  • A 'War Doctor' Shares Stories From The Front Line

    Apr 02 2020

    Trauma surgeon Dr. David Nott has spent decades volunteering in war and disaster zones all over the world. Now he's advising doctors on how to treat COVID-19. He spoke with Terry Gross about how fighting the pandemic is similar to working in a war zone, and shares harrowing stories from his time in the field. His book is 'War Doctor.'

  • Masks, Vaccines & How COVID-19 Might End

    Apr 01 2020

    Two years ago, 'Atlantic' science writer Ed Yong predicted a new global pandemic and how we might be caught unprepared. Now that so much of what he warned about in his reporting has come true, he's been covering how and why we failed to stop the spread of COVID-19, why the virus has been so successful in spreading, how the pandemic might end, and what the aftermath might be.