Kickass News



Hosted by Hollywood producer and political media strategist Ben Mathis, KickAss News is a twice weekly podcast that features the most interesting personalities and thought leaders in politics, entertainment, tech, business, science, and more. Enjoy the podcast? Then please support the show and help keep us on the air by making a donation to our GoFundMe campaign at Another way you can support the show is to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review on iTunes to help keep us ranking strong on the top podcasts charts. For more information visit Thanks for listening!


  • Lisa Napoli Celebrates 40 Years of CNN

    Lisa Napoli Celebrates 40 Years of CNN

    04/06/2020 Duración: 50min

    On the 40th Anniversary of CNN, journalist Lisa Napoli discusses the founding and "wild west" early years of the upstart network that set out to change how the news gets delivered and consumed.  Lisa reveals that few people to took Ted Turner seriously when he entered broadcasting and how Turner went from hating the news to founding the first all-news network in the basement of run-down former country club in Atlanta.  She talks about the skeptics who questioned whether there was a enough news to fill a whole day and how being on the air 24-hours gave CNN a decided advantage over the big three networks.  We also discuss Ted Turner’s political evolution, his flirtation with running for President, and his unlikely friendship with Fidel Castro.  Then we look back on the lasting legacy of Ted Turner on the network and the impact of CNN on the world of broadcast journalism. Order Lisa Napoli's book Up All Night: Ted Turner, CNN, and the Birth of 24-Hour News on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Follow

  • Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

    Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

    02/06/2020 Duración: 40min

    Former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says America is facing a loneliness crisis.  He discusses the many physical and mental impacts of feeling lonely and reveals that chronic loneliness is just as bad for you as smoking and obesity.  He opens up about his bouts of loneliness during his life, how he came to realize that it’s much larger problem than he ever realized, and the U.S. Congressman who confided in him about his own struggle with loneliness.  Vivek explains the difference between someone who is genuinely lonely vs. someone who enjoys being alone, how loneliness can often disguise itself as other health problems, and how loneliness once served an evolutionary function but might be hurting us in modern society.  Then Vivek weighs in on the President’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, shares his insights from when he dealt with the Ebola and Zika outbreaks as Surgeon General, and offers advice for how to improve the quality of our online and socially distanced interactions during the quarantine.

  • Sian Clifford on the Million Dollar Quiz Show Heist

    Sian Clifford on the Million Dollar Quiz Show Heist

    28/05/2020 Duración: 30min

    Actress Sian Clifford (Fleabag, Vanity Fair) talks about starring as Diana Ingram, the British woman accused of helping cheat Who Wants to Be a Millionaire out of a million bucks, in AMC's 3-part limited series Quiz.  She recalls her memories of growing up watching Who Wants to Be A Millionaire with her own family and how the game show became a national obsession across the UK (and then all across the world).  She talks about working with Michael Sheen and Matthew McFadden on Quiz, what it felt like to sit in the real Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hot seat, and what she hopes will happen when the Charles and Diana Ingram’s conviction is up for appeal this year.  Plus Sian talks about her Emmy nominated role as Claire in the hit television series Fleabag and her longtime friendship with the shows creator and star Phoebe Waller Bridge. See Sian Clifford in the three-part miniseries Quiz, premiering Sunday, May 31 at 10/9c on AMC.  Visit for more information.

  • David Frum on Surviving the Trumpocalypse

    David Frum on Surviving the "Trumpocalypse"

    25/05/2020 Duración: 53min

    David Frum, former speechwriter and special assistant to President George W Bush, talks about his new book Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy.  He discusses Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, how Trump is encouraging disinformation and dangerous conspiracy theories about this deadly virus, and whether Republicans may finally get on board with voting rights reforms now that it’s a literal matter of life and death.  He illuminates how President Trump’s dangerous pattern of decision making continually makes matters worse for him and the nation and says that Donald Trump is his own "deep state" constantly self-sabotaging his own agenda while well meaning advisors and civil servants desperately try to save Donald Trump from Donald Trump.  David describes Trumpism as a type of affinity fraud, asks what will happen when well-meaning Trump supporters realize that they’ve been duped, lays out Trump’s dark game plan for the 2020 election, and ponders what will become of the Republican party and our democ

  • The Whos Roger Daltrey

    The Who's Roger Daltrey

    21/05/2020 Duración: 43min

    This is a rebroadcast of a November 5, 2018 interview with Roger Daltrey, founder/lead singer of The Who.  Roger discusses how the hardships experienced by Brits in WWII paved the way for the musical revolution of the 1960s, he recalls what it was like to be the poster-boys for the British “mod” movement (and why he never fully embraced the fad), and he remembers the “utter chaos” of performing at Woodstock. He talks about how he and Peter Townsend pushed each other’s creative boundaries during the making of the first rock opera Tommy, how he managed to resist the drug fueled excess the 60s, and how it led to quite a bit of tension with his bandmates - especially The Who’s famously reckless drummer Keith Moon. Roger also reveals how he processed Moon’s tragic death in 1978, how it led to the band’s breakup in the early 80s, and a how it took a Silicon Valley con man to finally reunite the band.   Order Roger Daltrey's new book Thanks a Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite: My Story on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are so

  • Patton Oswalt on Comedy, Classic Films, and Turning 50

    Patton Oswalt on Comedy, Classic Films, and Turning 50

    18/05/2020 Duración: 33min

    Patton Oswalt recalls coming up as a comedian at the dawn of the alt comedy scene, his first gig in Hollywood as a writer for Mad TV, and his prolific side gig as a script doctor on some of the biggest box-office hits of the past two decades.  He reminisces about his friendship with the owner of LA’s most famous revival cinema and his love of the films of Billy Wilder and Sidney Lumet.  Then Patton discusses his new Netflix special Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything, finding love again after the death of his first wife, and turning 50.  Plus he talks about going to college in that wild party town of colonial Williamsburg, the time he donated to the crowdfunding page of one of his Twitter trolls, and how he got Netflix to build him a house for his new comedy special! Watch Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything streaming on Netflix beginning May 19.  Follow Patton at or on Twitter at @PattonOswalt.

  • Dr. Richard Haass Explains the World

    Dr. Richard Haass Explains the World

    14/05/2020 Duración: 48min

    Dr. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, returns to discuss his new book The World: A Brief Introduction. He explains the foreign relations implications of the current pandemic, his concerns that the crisis may lead to more nationalism and isolationism instead of greater cooperation, and what the pandemic might mean for US-China relations. He addresses why terms like "world order" and "globalism" are such hot buttons for many Americans and why the negatives of globalism and trade often overshadow the many benefits. Dr. Haass talks about why we are still struggling to define the current post-Cold War period, and he proposes that the world may need to rethink its ideas about national sovereignty to address problems that know no borders such as COVID-19 and climate change. Then he outlines the most urgent global issues of the 21st Century, the regions of the world that worry him the most, and why he believes that the US might not want to get out of the nation-building business just yet.

  • General Stanley McChrystal on Leadership

    General Stanley McChrystal on Leadership

    11/05/2020 Duración: 48min

    General Stanley McChrystal talks about the myths and reality of leadership.  He shares how he came to reassess the legacy of his military hero General Robert E. Lee in the aftermath of Charlottseville, how he personally learned that the man at the top often gets credit he doesn’t deserve, and why leaders aren’t always judged by their results.  He discusses a 15th century Chinese admiral who has become the symbol for that country’s global ambitions, why he didn’t realize that Coco Chanel was a real person, and one leadership flaw that he shares with Walt Disney.  He reveals why he decided to include his former enemy in combat Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the book, and what it was like to get into the dark mind of the Al Qaeda in Iraq leader.  This episode is a rebroadcast of an interview that originally aired on November 19, 2018. Order General McChrystal's book Leaders: Myth and Reality on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Visit Kickass News at, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Po

  • Peter Bogdanovich and TCMs Ben Mankiewicz

    Peter Bogdanovich and TCM's Ben Mankiewicz

    07/05/2020 Duración: 51min

    Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz talk about TCM's new podcast The Plot Thickens: I'm Still Peter Bogdanovich.  Ben reveals that he was initially nervous to meet Peter because of a longstanding controversy involving Ben’s grandfather, Orson Welles, and Citizen Kane.  Peter shares stories about his friendships with Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, John Ford, and many others, and how their advice kept him from making some rookie mistakes when he eventually got to sit in the director's chair himself.  He remembers making his first movie for Roger Corman with horror icon Boris Karloff, how he tricked the government of Singapore into letting him film the movie Saint Jack, and the scene that earned a 9-year-old Tatum O’Neal an Oscar for Paper Moon...but only after 2 days of shooting and 25 grueling takes!  Peter discusses envy and success in Hollywood, his relationships with Cybill Shepherd and Dorothy Stratten, and how he managed to finish his favorite film They All

  • Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz

    Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz

    04/05/2020 Duración: 43min

    Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Rec) talk about their improv training at Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade, the fateful day they joined forces to become the improv team of Middleditch & Schwartz, and how they still get a kick out of trying to make each other crack up on stage.  They reveal what it’s like to make-up a 45 minute play as they go along, how they keep as many as 20 characters straight (and even switch characters during a performance), and what happens when one of them ends the sketch, but the other one keeps on going.  Then they discuss the transition from doing a performance that exists entirely in the moment to recording them for all eternity for their new Netflix specials.  Plus Middleditch and Schwartz talk about their obsession with Daniel Day Lewis, the night they played Carnegie Hall, and more. Their three completely improvised comedy specials Middleditch & Schwartz are now streaming on Netflix.  Follow Thomas on Instagram at @Tombini, follow B

  • Comedy Writer Alan Zweibel

    Comedy Writer Alan Zweibel

    30/04/2020 Duración: 58min

    Comedy writer Alan Zweibel starting his career selling jokes for seven dollars apiece to the last of the Borscht Belt standups, some of the old comedians who are still using the same material that he wrote for them 40 years ago, and his very first manager, who served as the inspiration for Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose.  He recalls his early attempt at performing, carpooling to clubs with a young Billy Crystal, and the night he bombed on stage but caught the attention of Lorne Michaels.  He his shares his memories of being one of the first writers at Saturday Night Live, his special relationship with the late Gilda Radner, and some of his creative battles with the network censors at NBC.  Alan also discusses the genius of Garry Shandling, the delights and difficulties of working with him on the groundbreaking It’s Garry Shandling's Show, and what it’s like to be in Larry David’s world on Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Plus the comedian who paid him by the pound, the infamous night when Milton Berle hosted Saturda

  • Wagner Moura on Diplomats and Drug Lords

    Wagner Moura on Diplomats and Drug Lords

    27/04/2020 Duración: 36min

    Wagner Moura discusses how his first career as a journalist informs his acting, what it was like to play ruthless drug lord Pablo Escobar on Netflix’s Narcos, and how he gained (and then lost) all of that weight for the role.  He talks about his fascination with the late UN diplomat Sergio de Mello, playing him in the new film Sergio, and how Iraq might have turned out very differently if de Mello had lived to complete his mission there.  He says working with war correspondent and documentary filmmaker Greg Barker added extra authenticity to Sergio, he reveals that they even used real-life refugees as extras on the film, and he suggests that the political leaders who are now dealing with the Coronavirus could learn from Sergio de Mello's example.   See Wagner Moura in Sergio, no streaming on Netflix.  Today's episode was sponsored by Demand Justice.  Visit to learn more and support voting rights in 2020.  

  • Nathan Lane Finally Gets a Stunt Double!

    Nathan Lane Finally Gets a Stunt Double!

    23/04/2020 Duración: 45min

    Nathan Lane talks about why his fans always think he’s Jewish, how his older brother inspired him to get into acting, and some of roles he’s played on Broadway in shows like from Guys and Dolls to The Producers.  He laments the that the Coronavirus could have a lasting impact on the theatre, but says that he is hoping to soon realize his lifelong dream of starring in Death of a Salesman on Broadway.  He discusses starring in the return of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, how the new season transports the show from Victorian London to California on the cusp of World War II, and what it was like to finally star in something where he gets an actual stunt double.  He reveals his love for the noir detective fiction of Raymond Chandler, how Penny Dreadful exposes the social tensions simmering under the surface of  1930s LA, and how his character was partly inspired by a real attorney turned Nazi hunter.  Plus Nathan remembers the late playwright Terrence McNally, George C. Scott as Noel Coward, and the grueling experienc

  • Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry

    Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry

    20/04/2020 Duración: 38min

    Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry talk about their new film Bad Therapy, and how the filmmaker's own nightmare experience with a couples counselor inspired the movie.  Alicia shares memories from Clueless, and stories from working with playwright David Mamet and the late Peter O’Toole.  Rob talks about his original audition for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, some of the low-budget, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants field pieces that he did in the early days of the show, and why he always gets cast as creepy assholes and pedophiles! See Rob and Alicia's new film Bad Therapy on Video on Demand, and follow them on Twitter at @AliciaSilv and @robcorddry.

  • Larry the Cable Guy

    Larry the Cable Guy

    16/04/2020 Duración: 47min

    Comedian Dan Whitney talks about the origins of his popular character "Larry the Cable Guy," his education in southern redneck culture while going to college in Florida, and how Larry went from being a bit he did on talk radio shows to a wildly popular stage act.  He shares some of his comedic inspirations, how he tests out new jokes on Twitter, and what he does when people on social media don’t like his politics.  He also discusses what touring with his pal Jeff Foxworthy and his unlikely friendship with comedian Lewis Black.  Plus "Larry the Cable Guy" weighs in on the sketchy crowd at Walmart after midnight, his love/hate relationship with the county fair, and how he is surviving the Coronavirus quarantine. His new comedy special LARRY THE CABLE GUY: REMAIN SEATED is now available through Comedy Dynamics Network on Comcast, Amazon Prime Video, Spectrum, Apple TV, Dish, Google Play, DirecTV, Vimeo, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.  You can also listen to the album on SirusXM, Spotify, Amazon Music,

  • Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee on the Promise/Peril of Genetic Research

    Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee on the Promise/Peril of Genetic Research

    13/04/2020 Duración: 35min

    Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee is a Pulitzer Prize-winning best-selling author and a doctor at the forefront of cancer and genetic research.  He talks about a new two-part documentary that he and Ken Burns produced for PBS titled The Gene: An Intimate History.  He discusses the fascinating history of the genetic research and those scientists who have worked to understand heredity.  He shares how the eugenics movement set legitimate genetic research back in the early 20th Century and why, even today, the specter of eugenics still looms large as scientists ponder the possibility of gene editing and designer babies.  Dr. Murkergee talks about how an unlikely public/private partnership accomplished the monumental task of sequencing the entire human genome and how modern day gene hunters are using that information to potentially treat some of the world’s rarest and most debilitating diseases.  He also revels how that same research could be applied to treating and even curing major diseases like cancer and how genetic sc

  • Dr. David Kessler Talks Processed Foods and Pandemics

    Dr. David Kessler Talks Processed Foods and Pandemics

    09/04/2020 Duración: 43min

    Former FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler discusses how his own battle to control his weight helped inspire him to write a book about the health dangers of processed foods.  He explains the difference between how our bodies digest fast carbs and slow carbs and why fad diets that cut out carbs all together might not be such a good idea.  David outlines the long list of diseases that can be traced to heavy consumption of processed foods, some of the tricks that the food industry employs to mislead consumers about what is in many processed foods, and he suggests some changes that he would like to make to the nutritional labels that he helped create when he was head of the FDA under Presidents Bush and Clinton.  He also expresses his concern over America's heavy reliance on processed junk foods at a time when fresh meats and produce are in short supply, he shares what he is saying to former Vice-President Joe Biden as a member of the Biden campaign's Coronavirus advisory committee, and he gives his own practical

  • Vincent Cassel on Westworld S3s Dystopian Future

    Vincent Cassel on Westworld S3's Dystopian Future

    06/04/2020 Duración: 29min

    Actor Vincent Cassel (Ocean's 12, Black Swan, Jason Bourne) talks about joining the cast of one of his favorite TV series Westworld, playing a reclusive billionaire with a dark view of humanity, and how his character attempts to make order out of chaos.  Vincent discusses how Westworld Season 3 deals with the very real problem of big data (and who controls it) and says that it has inspired him to be a lot more careful about the information that he shares on his devices.  He also reminisces about the career of his father, famous french actor Jean-Pierre Cassel, and how Gene Kelly discovered his dad on the movie An American in Paris.  He recalls being heavily influenced by Hollywood films as a kid, learning to tap dance from Broadway legend Michael Bennett, and why he originally tried to join the circus before getting into acting.  Vincent reveals how he persuaded director Steven Soderbergh to let him do his own stunts in Ocean's 12, how an acting teacher inspired his role as the controlling choreographer in Bl

  • Tom Pelphrey Joins Netflixs Ozark

    Tom Pelphrey Joins Netflix's Ozark

    02/04/2020 Duración: 35min

    Actor Tom Pelphrey talks about playing Laura Linney's brother in Season 3 of Ozark and what it’s like to work with Jason Bateman as a director.  He also discusses his upcoming role as legendary Hollywood director Joseph Mankiewicz in David Fincher’s film Mank.  He recalls his early days working on the soap operas Guiding Light and As the World Turns, keeping up with the grueling production schedule of daytime television, and how it requires an actor to memorize fast and think on their feet.  He discusses the learning curve involved with switching from soaps to film and primetime television, his popular roles on the hit series Banshee and Iron Fist, and whether Marvel fans or soap-opera fans are the most obsessive. Season 3 of Ozark is streaming now on Netflix.  Look for Mank coming out in theaters this fall and follow Tom on Twitter at @Tom Pelphrey.  Today's episode was sponsored by the podcast Afternoon Cyber Tea with Anne Johnson.  

  • Newt Gingrich Reports from Italys COVID-19 Crisis

    Newt Gingrich Reports from Italy's COVID-19 Crisis

    30/03/2020 Duración: 27min

    Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich reports on the Coronavirus crisis from Italy, where his wife Callista serves as U.S. Ambassador the Vatican.  He offers some lessons for America from Italy’s early failure to stop the spread, some tips from what he say of South Korea’s successful containment of the virus, and his own theory of how COVID-19 made it’s way from China to Milan.  He also talks about how the pandemic will affect US-China relations, how he hopes it could lead to regime change in Iran, and how to best address the economic impact here at home in America.  Newt is also out with a new novel to help distract from the stress of these difficult times, and he discusses how top secret military research from World War II and the Cold War inspired the plot of his latest book, why the Russians make the perfect perennial villains, how the murderous Iranian General Qasem Soleimani lives on in his latest book, and how to kill a man with a poisonous snail! Order Newt Gingrich's new book SHAKEDOWN: A NOVEL

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