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

  • Best Of: Founders OF The 1st AIDS Ward / Comic Ramy Youssef

    Jun 29 2019

    The new documentary '5B' tells the story of America's first hospital unit dedicated to the care of people with AIDS. Nurse Cliff Morrison helped create 5B in 1983, and worked on it with Dr. Paul Volberding. They talked with Terry Gross about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and how they sought to give patients compassionate care through human touch when most medical workers wore full body suits because they were afraid they'd get infected.Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Yesterday' by 'Sl...more

  • Novelist John Green On OCD

    Jun 28 2019

    Green's latest novel, 'Turtles All The Way Down,' is about a teenage girl with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The author spoke with Terry Gross about his own experience with OCD in 2017. "It starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to have. It's like there's an invasive weed that just spreads out of control." Also, linguist Geoff Nunberg considers how the word "algorithm" has come to stand in for the power that technology wields in our l...more

  • How An All-Female Crew Sailed Round The World & Into The History Books

    Jun 27 2019

    In 1989, 26-year-old skipper Tracy Edwards set out on what was thought of as an unthinkable journey for a woman — to sail the 33,000 mile Whitbread Round The World Race. She assembled an all-female crew, restored a shabby racing yacht, and took to sea. The new documentary 'Maiden' tracks their 9-month-long race and the sexism they faced at every turn. Edwards spoke with 'Fresh Air' contributor Dave Davies. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Yesterday,' by 'Slumdog Millionaire' director Dann...more

  • Founders Of The First AIDS Ward

    Jun 26 2019

    The new documentary '5B' tells the story of America's first hospital unit dedicated to the care of people with AIDS. Nurse Cliff Morrison helped create 5B in 1983, and worked on it with Dr. Paul Volberding. They talked with Terry Gross about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, how they sought to give patients compassionate care, and the rampant homophobia at the time.

  • Comic Ramy Youssef

    Jun 25 2019

    In the semi-autobiographical Hulu series 'Ramy,' Youssef plays a first generation Muslim American who follows some — but not all — of the rules of his religion. Youssef, whose parents immigrated from Egypt, also co-created the series. He says he can relate to his character's "picking and choosing" approach to his faith. "Sometimes we would call it 'Allah carte,'" he says. Youssef talks with Terry Gross about the series, feeling torn between wanting to fit in and his faith, and his stand-up comed...more

  • A Former Jehovah's Witness Reflects On Leaving Her Faith

    Jun 24 2019

    Amber Scorah was a third generation Jehovah's Witness raised to believe that the Armageddon was imminent. As a teenager she was shunned from her religious community for having sex with her boyfriend. Scorah went on to marry an elder in the church, and she and her husband traveled to China as missionaries. But gradually doubt began to set in. Scorah speaks with Terry Gross about her decision to leave her marriage and her religion and start over. Her memoir is 'Leaving the Witness.' Also, John Pow...more

  • Best Of: Ava DuVernay / Bill Hader

    Jun 22 2019

    Filmmaker Ava DuVernay's Netflix series 'When They See Us' tells the story of how five black and brown boys, known as the Central Park Five, were manipulated into confessing to a brutal rape they did not commit. DuVernay focuses on the boys' perspective — and the criminal justice system that failed them. Ken Tucker reviews Willie Nelson's new album 'Ride Me Back Home.'Bill Hader, who became famous as a writer and performer on 'Saturday Night Live,' now stars in the HBO series 'Barry.' Hader spea...more

  • John Prine

    Jun 21 2019

    The singer, songwriter and guitarist was recently inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Prine spoke with Terry Gross in 2018 when his album 'The Tree of Forgiveness' was released. He described how his voice changed after neck cancer: "It dropped down lower and feels friendlier." Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the final seasons of FX's 'Legion' and Netflix's 'Jessica Jones.'

  • Bill Hader On 'Barry'

    Jun 20 2019

    Hader, who became famous as a writer and performer on 'Saturday Night Live,' now stars in the HBO series 'Barry.' Hader plays a Marine who suffers from depression and PTSD ever since returning from Afghanistan. While working as a hit man in Los Angeles, he discovers that he wants to pursue acting instead. Hader speaks with Terry Gross about writing the series with Alec Berg, struggling with severe anxiety while on 'SNL,' and his love of old movies.

  • Ava DuVernay On 'When They See Us'

    Jun 19 2019

    DuVernay's Netflix series tells the story of how five black and brown boys, known as the Central Park Five, were manipulated into confessing to a brutal rape they did not commit. 'When They See Us' focuses on the boys' perspective — and the criminal justice system that failed them. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Toy Story 4.'

  • Uncovering The Story Of Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero

    Jun 18 2019

    At the height of the Jim Crow era, Taylor broke barriers by becoming the country's fastest and most famous cyclist. Author and 'Washington Post' journalist Michael Kranish tells his story in the new book, 'The World's Fastest Man.' "He really belongs in the pantheon of civil rights leaders as a sports athlete," Kranish says. "He was able to use his athleticism and his championships for a greater purpose to show that the racist theories of eugenics and other things were wrong." Also, book critic ...more

  • Rethinking 'Elderhood'

    Jun 17 2019

    Geriatrician Dr. Louise Aronson treats patients who are in their 60s — as well as those who are older than 100. "I need to be a different sort of doctor for people at different ages and phases of old age," she says. Aronson writes about changing approaches to elder health care in the book, 'Elderhood.'Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a live recording from saxophonist Stan Getz.

  • Best Of: How Ordinary People Got Us To The Moon / Actor Damian Lewis

    Jun 15 2019

    This summer marks 50 years since the first Apollo moon landing. Journalist Charles Fishman's new book 'One Giant Leap' focuses on the untold stories of the ordinary men and women who worked behind-the-scenes on the Apollo missions. "Apollo was the biggest non-military effort in the history of human civilization," Fishman says. He talks about the team at Playtex who designed the spacesuits, the computer programmers, and the state of the U.S. space program today. Ken Tucker reviews Bruce Springste...more

  • 'I Wrote This Book Because I Love You'

    Jun 14 2019

    Writer and cartoonist Tim Kreider admits unabashedly that the longest relationship of his adult life was with the stray cat that became his companion for 19 years. His collection of personal essays details his many unconventional relationships, which include the girlfriend he traveled with on a circus train, a married woman he fell in love with and his whirlwind romance with a sexual performance artist. "One of the few conclusions I may have reached from writing this book is that when we say 're...more

  • How Hackers Pose A Threat To Cities & Elections

    Jun 13 2019

    'New York Times' cybersecurity correspondent Nicole Perlroth says hacking tools developed by the NSA were stolen, posted online and are now being used in cyberattacks, including one on the city of Baltimore.Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco.'

  • How Ordinary People Got Us To The Moon

    Jun 12 2019

    This summer marks 50 years since the first Apollo moon landing. Journalist Charles Fishman's new book 'One Giant Leap' focuses on the untold stories of the ordinary men and women who worked behind-the-scenes on the Apollo missions. "Apollo was the biggest non-military effort in the history of human civilization," Fishman says. He talks about the team at Playtex who designed the spacesuits, the computer programmers, and how NASA nearly forgot to send an American flag into space.

  • Inside Kim Jong Un's North Korea

    Jun 11 2019

    'Washington Post' journalist Anna Fifield visited North Korea and interviewed many of its citizens — including members of Kim Jong Un's family — for her new book about the country and its leader. Her book is 'The Great Successor.' Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'The Body in Question' by Jill Ciment, about jurors on a murder trial.

  • Actor Damian Lewis

    Jun 10 2019

    The classically-trained British actor plays a ruthless hedge-fund manager on Showtime's 'Billions,' which recently ended its fourth season. Lewis describes his character as "the embodiment of the American dream." He also starred in the series 'Homeland' as Nicholas Brody, a Marine sergeant who converts to Islam in captivity. Also, Soraya Nadia McDonald reviews 'When They See Us,' Ava DuVernay's devastating new miniseries about the Central Park Five.

  • Best Of: Christina Applegate / The Future Of Food

    Jun 08 2019

    Christina Applegate stars in the Netflix series 'Dead to Me,' opposite Linda Cardellini, as a woman grieving the sudden death of her husband. She speaks with Terry Gross about her own experience with grief and loss, her double mastectomy, and working as a teen actress in 'Married with Children.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new installments of the Netflix anthology series 'Black Mirror.'Environmental journalist Amanda Little talks about efforts to create a global food supply for a...more

  • Remembering Musician Dr. John

    Jun 07 2019

    New Orleans musician Mac Rebennack, A.K.A. Dr. John, died yesterday at 77. He was known for his raspy voice and hits such as "Right Place, Wrong Time" and "Such A Night." Rebennack spoke with Terry Gross in 1986. Contributor Zahra Noorbakhsh, who is Muslim and Iranian-American, shares a story about how the Christchurch shooting coincided with a personal health crisis. Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Late Night,' starring Emma Thompson as a seasoned late night talk show host whose recent drop i...more

  • Trump, M.B.Z. & The United Arab Emirates

    Jun 06 2019

    We talk with 'NYT' international correspondent David Kirkpatrick about how Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (M.B.Z.), the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, became one of the most influential foreign voices in Washington. He's urged the U.S. to adopt his increasingly aggressive position against his enemies, including Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.Also, John Powers reviews the new season of HBO's hit series 'Big Little Lies.'

  • Actor Christina Applegate

    Jun 05 2019

    Applegate stars in the Netflix series 'Dead to Me,' opposite Linda Cardellini, as a woman grieving the sudden death of her husband. She speaks with Terry Gross about her own experience with grief and loss, her double mastectomy, 'Married with Children,' and doing 'Sweet Charity' on Broadway.Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new installments of the Netflix anthology series 'Black Mirror.'

  • The Case Against R. Kelly

    Jun 04 2019

    Nearly 20 years ago, reporter and pop music critic Jim DeRogatis broke the story that R&B superstar R. Kelly was allegedly sexually abusing underage girls. It all started with an anonymous fax to his office at the 'Chicago Sun-Times.' Fourteen months after the first story was published, he received the now-infamous videotape in his home mailbox. DeRogatis spoke with Terry Gross about his two decades following this story, the current charges against Kelly', and his new book 'Soulless.'Also, book ...more

  • The Future Of Food

    Jun 03 2019

    Environmental journalist Amanda Little talks about efforts to create a global food supply for a world that will be hotter, drier and more crowded. Little writes about meat cultured in a lab, 3D printed food, and indoor vertical farming in 'The Fate of Food.' Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a new recording from the Boston Symphony Orchestra of Busoni's Piano Concerto.

  • Best Of: Why College Students Are So Stressed / How Eugenics Shaped U.S. Immigration

    Jun 01 2019

    As colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, a new book argues that college life may actually be more stressful than ever. Dr. Anthony Rostain and family therapist B. Janet Hibbs are the authors of 'The Stressed Years of Their Lives.' They say today's college students are experiencing an "inordinate amount of anxiety" — much of it centered on "surviving college and doing well." Justin Chang reviews the new Elton John biopic 'Rocketman.' Journali...more

  • A Return To 'Deadwood'

    May 31 2019

    The HBO series about a lawless mining town in 19th century South Dakota is now the basis of a new film. TV critic David Bianculli shares his review and then we'll listen back to interviews with actor Timothy Olyphant, who played the sheriff Seth Bullock, and we'll also hear from David Milch who created and wrote the show. And film critic Justin Chang reviews the new Elton John biopic 'Rocketman.'

  • SCOTUS And Abortion

    May 30 2019

    'New York Times' correspondent Adam Liptak talks about how President Trump's two appointees might change the Supreme Court — including its direction on abortion: "It's not hard to write a decision striking down Roe," he says. "It's built on quicksand." Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews drummer Jeff Williams' new album 'Bloom.'

  • Inside 'Sara Berman's Closet'

    May 29 2019

    The art installation 'Sara Berman's Closet' chronicles the life of a woman who grew up in a shtetl in Belarus, fled with family to Palestine, and then eventually moved to New York City to start a new life. Berman's daughter, children's book author and illustrator Maira Kalman and Berman's grandson, designer Alex Kalman, tell her story in a new book accompaniment to the museum exhibit. Also, we remember Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Tony Horwitz. He spoke with Terry Gro...more

  • The Mental Health 'Epidemic' On College Campuses

    May 28 2019

    As colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, a new book argues that college life may actually be more stressful than ever. Dr. Anthony Rostain, co-author of 'The Stressed Years of Their Lives,' notes that today's college students are experiencing an "inordinate amount of anxiety" — much of it centered on "surviving college and doing well." Co-author and family therapist B. Janet Hibbs joins Rostain to talk about the root causes of the stress and ...more

  • Sir Elton John

    May 27 2019

    The new biographical musical film 'Rocketman' is based on Elton John's life story. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2013 about what he calls "Elton John excess," his fear of sex as a young man, and how Liberace's example encouraged him to make the piano a star instrument and embrace wild costumes.

  • Best Of: John Waters / Lizzo

    May 25 2019

    John Waters has made a career out of rebelling against the norm. The 'Pink Flamingos' and 'Hairspray' director returns to 'Fresh Air' to talk about what he was like as a kid, and how he still finds ways to break the rules as a self-described "filth elder." His new book about his career in Hollywood is 'Mr. Know-It-All.' Rapper, singer and flutist Lizzo talks to Terry Gross about collaborating with Prince, feminism, and using music to help people find a positive place within themselves. Her new a...more

  • Michael Pollan On the 'New Science' Of Psychedelics

    May 24 2019

    Pollan discusses the history of psychedelic drugs, including LSD and magic mushrooms, and explains how they're currently being used experimentally in therapeutic settings to treat depression, addiction, and fear of death. The author experimented with psychedelics for research. "I had an experience that was by turns frightening and ecstatic and weird," he says. 'How To Change Your Mind' is now out in paperback. Also, critic John Powers reviews 'Booksmart,' a film about two brainy girls who are de...more

  • Lizzo

    May 23 2019

    The flute-playing pop star celebrates self-love on her latest album, 'Cuz I Love You.' About 10 years ago, "I made the decision that I just wanted to be happy with my body," she says. Lizzo talks to Terry Gross about collaborating with Prince, feminism, and using music to help people find a positive place within themselves.

  • The 'Power Struggle' Within The NRA

    May 22 2019

    'New York Times' reporter Danny Hakim discusses conflicts within the NRA's leadership, its lawsuit against its advertising and PR company, and what leaked documents reveal about the organization.Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'The Secret Between The Shadow and the Soul' from saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and TV critic David Bianculli looks ahead to the ABC special 'Live in Front of a Studio Audience,' which recreates individual episodes of two vintage shows.

  • A New Approach To Dementia

    May 21 2019

    While caring for her mother, who had dementia, bioethicist Tia Powell began imagining a different way to approach the disease. Her new book, 'Dementia Reimagined,' looks at long-term care options and end-of-life decisions. Also, movie critic Justin Chang reviews 'The Souvenir,' about a film student who falls into an intense and fraught relationship with an older man.

  • John Waters On Being A 'Filth Elder'

    May 20 2019

    The cult filmmaker, 73, has plenty of ideas about what older people should and shouldn't do. "You can't be trying too hard to rebel [when] you're older," Waters says. He talks about what he was like as a kid, why he's done making movies, and what he wants on his tombstone. His new book about his life in Hollywood is 'Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder.' Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Spying On The South.'

  • Best Of: Howard Stern / Phoebe Waller-Bridge

    May 18 2019

    Howard Stern talks about how therapy changed his radio show, what makes him cringe about his early shock jock style, and how being a misfit as a kid pushed him to find an audience. His new book is 'Howard Stern Comes Again.' Phoebe Waller-Bridge writes female characters who are flawed, reckless, unpredictable and real — women not typically seen onscreen. She's the creator and star of the Amazon Prime series 'Fleabag' and creator/producer of the BBC America series 'Killing Eve.' She talks about h...more

  • Novelist Explores Sexuality & Relationships In 'My Ex-Life'

    May 17 2019

    Stephen McCauley's novel, 'My Ex-Life,' is a comedy about a couple whose marriage ended years ago when the husband came out as gay. "All relationships evolve — even for people who stay together," he says. McCauley's book is now out in paperback. Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the new album from Vampire Weekend, 'Father of the Bride,' and TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new adaptation of Joseph Heller's 'Catch-22' on Hulu, created and directed by George Clooney.

  • The Dark Side Of Generic Prescription Drugs

    May 16 2019

    Journalist Katherine Eban says most of the generic medicine being sold in the U.S. is manufactured overseas — sometimes under questionable quality control standards. She talks about instances of fabricated data, sabotaged inspections, and drugs released onto the market before they're ready. Eban's new book is 'Bottle of Lies.' Also, John Powers reviews season 2 of 'Fleabag,' the Amazon series created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

  • Howard Stern: Part 2 / Remembering Doris Day

    May 15 2019

    In the second half of our two-part interview, Stern talks about his 2017 cancer scare, his thoughts on retirement, and his mother's depression. His new book is 'Howard Stern Comes Again.'Also, we remember late Hollywood actress and singer Doris Day. She spoke with Terry Gross in 2012. She died Monday at 97.

  • Howard Stern: Part 1

    May 14 2019

    The self-proclaimed "King of All Media" speaks with Terry Gross for the first time. Stern talks about how therapy changed his radio show, what makes him cringe about his early shock jock style, and how being a misfit as a kid pushed him to find an audience. His new book is 'Howard Stern Comes Again.' Part 2 will be available May 15.

  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Creator Of 'Killing Eve' & 'Fleabag'

    May 13 2019

    Waller-Bridge writes female characters who are flawed, reckless, unpredictable and real — women not typically seen onscreen. She's the creator and star of the Amazon Prime series 'Fleabag' and creator/producer of the BBC America series 'Killing Eve.' She talks about the interplay of guilt and grief, her character's obsession with sex in 'Fleabag,' and why she wanted to be a boy when she was young. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Non-Fiction,' a comedy that takes place in Paris' literary ...more

  • Best Of: How Kleptocrats Stash Fortunes / 'PEN15' Creators

    May 11 2019

    Journalist Oliver Bullough runs kleptocracy tours in London, in which he points out mansions bought by corrupt foreign leaders and oligarchs. His book 'Moneyland' describes their secretive transnational world.Ken Tucker reviews Lizzo's first major label album, 'Cuz I Love You.'From braces to bullies, crushes and drama, middle school is a period of adolescence that might best be described as cringe-worthy.​ In the Hulu series 'PEN15,' actors Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play 13-year-old versions ...more

  • Celebrating HBO's 'Veep'

    May 10 2019

    After seven seasons, 'Veep' is ending this weekend. We listen back to archival interviews with showrunner David Mandel, star Julia Louis-Dreyfus and co-star Tony Hale. Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews the movie 'Bolden' about jazz's original hero, Charles "Buddy" Bolden, and Lloyd Schwartz reads his poem 'Little Kisses.'

  • Why Deutsche Bank Loaned Donald Trump Billions When No One Else Would

    May 09 2019

    The German bank was Trump's partner on countless investments at a time when most of Wall Street shied away. As a result, 'New York Times' finance editor David Enrich says, it has a trove of information about Trump. "Deutsche Bank has become the Rosetta Stone for congressional and state investigators who are trying to better understand and get information about Donald Trump's network of business and his own personal finances," Enrich says.

  • The Law That Kept 2 Generations Of Immigrants Out Of The U.S.

    May 08 2019

    Journalist Daniel Okrent says that the eugenics movement — a junk science that stemmed from the belief that certain races and ethnicities were morally and genetically superior to others — informed the Immigration Act of 1924, which restricted entrance to the U.S. Jews, Italians, Greeks and other Eastern Europeans were targeted. Okrent talks about the parallel between the xenophobia of the early 20th century and President Trump's hard-line stance today. His book is 'The Guarded Gate.' Also, criti...more

  • Shedding Light On Domestic Violence

    May 07 2019

    An average of four women are killed by their partners every day in America. Crisis center CEO Suzanne Dubus and journalist Rachel Louise Snyder talk about identifying risk factors in abusive relationships, prevention, and how to set victims up with resources to rebuild their lives. Snyder's book is 'No Visible Bruises.' Also, critic Ken Tucker reviews the debut album from Nat Turner Rebellion, a '70s R&B group whose record 'Laugh To Keep From Crying' was kept under wraps for half a century.

  • 'PEN15' Revisits The Awkwardness Of Middle School

    May 06 2019

    From braces to bullies, crushes and drama, middle school is a period of adolescence that might best be described as cringe-worthy.​ In the Hulu series 'PEN15,' actors Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play 13-year-old versions of themselves in the year 2000 — even though they're in their early 30s.​ They spoke with Sam Briger about their physical transformation and reliving those difficult years.Molly and John Chester took a massive leap when they decided to leave behind their urban lifestyle in Los ...more

  • Best Of: Patricia Arquette / Erin Lee Carr

    May 04 2019

    Patricia Arquette has won awards for her performances in 'Escape at Dannemora,' 'Boyhood' and 'Medium.' She currently stars in 'The Act' on Hulu, based on the real-life story of Dee Dee Blanchard, a woman who lied to her daughter, Gypsy Rose, and everyone they knew — including doctors — that Gypsy Rose was seriously ill. Dee Dee Blanchard was posthumously diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome by proxy after she was murdered in 2015. Arquette talks about playing a series of complex roles in the past...more

  • Remembering 'Boyz N The Hood' Dir. John Singleton

    May 03 2019

    We remember film director John Singleton who died Monday at the age of 51. He made his debut in 1991 with the semi-autobiographical movie 'Boyz n the Hood,' about a group of kids growing up surrounded by drug addiction and gang violence in South Central L.A. Critic Soraya Nadia McDonald reviews the new memoir 'What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker' by Damon Young. Then we remember singer Jo Sullivan Loesser who starred in Frank Loesser's Broadway show 'The Most Happy Fella' and then married hi...more