Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin
Summary: From WNYC Studios, award-winning actor Alec Baldwin takes listeners into the lives of artists, policy makers and performers. Alec sidesteps the predictable by going inside the dressing rooms, apartments, and offices of people we want to understand better: Ira Glass, Lena Dunham, David Brooks, Roz Chast, Chris Rock and others. Hear what happens when an inveterate guest becomes a host. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Snap Judgment, On the Media, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and many others. © WNYC Studios
Kristen was in college when an Acting 101 class prompted a move to L.A. She had little experience, but a tremendous gift for improv, and she soon found herself in a room auditioning for SNL. Hundreds of personas later, Wiig is regarded by SNL creator Lorne Michaels as one of the three or four greatest SNL talents ever. Kristen’s expertise translated well to film, and she eventually won an Oscar nomination for her Bridesmaids screenplay. She joins Alec to talk about the arc of her career and the steps she hopes to take next. READ | Interview Transcript
When Herb Alpert started playing trumpet with his band Tijuana Brass, Woody Allen and George Carlin were the opening acts. In 1966, The Brass outsold The Beatles. Alpert went on to co-found A&M Records, where he identified and signed some of the industries greatest talent: The Carpenters, The Police, and Cat Stevens. He and his partner sold A&M in 1989 for half a billion dollars. He says he’s looking for the same thing as everybody else—a life of purpose and meaning. READ | Interview Transcript Herb Alpert with some of his Black Totem sculptures. (Photo by Graham Howe)
Kathleen Turner’s movie star status was quickly secured after her captivating role in Body Heat. She spent the next decade as one of Hollywood’s go-to leading ladies. But the arc of Kathleen’s career was disrupted by illness. She tells Alec about living with rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that plagued her both on screen and on stage. Many of her colleagues in film fear the stage, but Kathleen Turner finds theater irresistible. READ | Interview Transcript
Dick Cavett shares some of his memories with Alec: meeting Orson Welles in the lobby of the Plaza; talking with Marlon Brando by phone—““I was told he would [call] at a certain time and we talked with the sun about 15 degrees above the horizon until well after the moon had risen;” and interviewing Laurence Olivier in the Wyndham Hotel when, Cavett says, he was feeling so depressed “I just want[ed] to go home and get under the rug.” Dick Cavett is the master of talk, a television legend; in this conversation, he shows Alec why his career has spanned nearly five decades. READ | Interview Transcript
The child sex trafficking industry is a $12-32 billion dollar a year industry. But Rob Morris wants us to consider the plight of individual children, rather than statistics. Morris is the president and co-founder of Love 146, an organization working to end child trafficking through survivor care and prevention education. Morris and Love 146 want to increase the penalties predators face, and to protect children under 18 from being criminalized for their activity. Morris considers the Internet the “new streets” when it comes to sex trafficking, and he tells Alec he is determined to make sure child exploitation is included in mainstream sex education classes. READ | Interview Transcript
Lorne Michaels had nothing to lose on October 11, 1975, when Saturday Night Live first aired. He doesn't pull all-nighters any more in preparation for the week’s show, but Michaels tells Alec he is still anxious on Saturdays at 11:30 pm. Michaels believes in the power of live performance and gives SNL hosts the best bits. But aside from the funniest lines, the irreverent Michaels offers little protection. Alec is no exception. READ | Interview Transcript
Documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger went to Arkansas to investigate a brutal triple murder. He thought there was a trend in youth violence; what he found were three wrongfully incarcerated teenagers. Berlinger’s quest to advocate for the West Memphis Three took 18 years and three films. Alec spoke with Joe about the emotional toil of making his Paradise Lost documentaries, especially as his own children were coming into the world. READ | Interview Transcript
Alec sat down with Erica Jong, author of the 1970s best-seller, Fear Of Flying, and her daughter Molly Jong-Fast. Erica talks candidly about coping with three divorces, and tells Alec she is certain her current marriage will be her last. Meanwhile, daughter Molly had no idea her mom wrote so-called “dirty” books. She does recall her mom being consumed by work and travel, but concludes that her mother’s legacy is about being honest. READ | Interview Transcript
The first time acclaimed director Stephen Daldry was expected to shout “Action!” he thought it was a joke. Alec met with Stephen Daldry in 2011, weeks before his intimate, post-9/11 drama, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, opened. Daldry’s work is precise and intimate, but in conversation with Alec he was passionate about a wide variety of topics, including communal living, the virtues of mass transit, and the Olympics. READ | Interview Transcript
Chris Rock is one of the greatest comic talents in the world, but when he arrived on Broadway to perform his first play, The Motherf***ker in The Hat, he did not yet know how to properly cross a Broadway stage. Rock says that his life has mimicked each role in the play—both the heart-breaker and the heart-broken—and he tells Alec that performing in the show was the hardest thing he has ever done. READ | Interview Transcript
Thirty days after a casual dinner conversation about doing a reality television show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians started filming. Six years later, Kris Kardashian is hoping for another 26 seasons. In 2013, the Kardashian family earned $65 million in profits. Behind the clothing, jewelry and perfume empires is a family driven by faith and an unwavering work ethic.
“Pretend I’m your priest,” says political strategist Ed Rollins, when he starts to work with prospective candidates. Rollins encourages his clients to tell him everything—even still, he tells Alec, “they always lie.” A boxing phenom as a kid, Rollins went on to work on six presidential campaigns and knows what is really required of a president. He talks to Alec about his work with Michele Bachmann, offers new insight into Ronald Reagan’s legacy and shares some of his personal history—of a Democratic bent. READ | Ed Rollins Interview Transcript
Michael Douglas has lived in the same apartment overlooking Central Park for decades. Alec joins him there for a compelling conversation about what makes a great director and why playing the villain is so wonderful. Douglas reveals how competition with his father, legendary actor Kirk Douglas, shaped both his career and his life as a parent. He says he’s much more honest with his young daughter than he ever thought he’d be. Douglas explains how his father’s early brush with death, and his own cancer diagnosis affected them each in different ways. Resources: American Head and Neck Society
In WNYC’s new podcast series, award-winning actor Alec Baldwin gives the listener unique entrée into the lives of artists, policy makers and performers. Alec sidesteps the predictable by taking listeners inside the dressing rooms, apartments, and offices of people such as comedian Chris Rock, political strategist Ed Rollins and Oscar winner Michael Douglas. Every two weeks, Alec pursues great conversations in unexpected places to find out what motivates his guests, how they feel about what they do and what keeps them up at night. Here’s the Thing: Listen to what happens when a man you think you know surprises you. Sign up for the "Here's The Thing" with Alec Baldwin newsletter and subscribe to the podcast to get the latest on upcoming episodes.