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
Chris Columbus has brought to the screen some of the biggest American family films in the last 20 years: Adventures in Babysitting, Home Alone, and Mrs. Doubtfire. He also produced and directed the first two Harry Potter films and produced the third as well. Despite this success, Columbus admits that he “always, to this day, [feels] like [he’s] gonna walk on a movie and get fired.” He reveals to Alec what it was like working with brilliant improvisers like John Candy and Robin Williams—and casting Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone.
Danny Bennett has spent the past thirty years managing the career of his dad, Tony Bennett and has produced a film following his father's life entitled The Zen of Bennett. It was Danny who helped bring his dad’s music to a younger generation, through appearances on SNL, The Simpsons, and Late Night with Conan O’Brian—and the series of Duets albums, which feature Tony Bennett singing with the likes of Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Barbara Streisand and Amy Winehouse. Duets II debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, making Tony Bennett—at 85 years old—the oldest living artist to do so. As Danny says, “I don’t just handle a career, I manage a legacy.” Last year Danny produced a film called The Zen of Bennett, which followed his dad throughout the recording of the Duets II album.
Dan Mathews is in favor of going naked instead of wearing fur. That makes sense considering he is Senior Vice President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He sits down with Alec to discuss his battles (and victories) with the fashion industry and he explains why PETA actually owns stock in Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Eric Fischl became known in the 1980s art scene for work that explores issues of sexuality and power and what it means to become a man. Alec talks to Fischl about his memoir, Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas, where the painter writes candidly about his youth, the art world, his own struggles with depression and substance abuse, and his thoughts about the creative process. Fischl started as an abstract painter, but as he explains to Alec, once he began to work with figures, he realized he was “doing the work that [he] was supposed to do, that [he] was built for.”
Former MLB pitcher Dwight Gooden earned the Rookie of the Year Award in 1984. He was 19 years old with a blistering fastball and a notoriously deceptive curve ball. His outstanding first three years in Major League Baseball were soon replaced by very public battles with alcohol and cocaine which continued for much of his professional career. At 40, Gooden served ten months in a state prison for drug-related charges. That was a decade ago. More recently he published a book, Doc: A Memoir. Gooden watches football now and hasn't touched a baseball or a drink in years. READ | Full Transcript
Josh Fox didn't set out to be a documentary filmmaker. And in 2008, when Fox was canvasing for Barack Obama, hydraulic fracturing meant nothing to him. Things changed when Fox’s parents were offered nearly $100,000 to lease their Pennsylvania land for drilling rights. After seeing people light their contaminated well water on fire, Fox made a film called Gasland, which explores the impact of hydraulic fracturing on everyday Americans. It showcased at Sundance in 2010. READ | Full Transcript
This week, Alec sits down with Rosie O’Donnell who says she “never wanted to be a talk show host … I wanted to be on Broadway…I wanted to be a Bette Midler backup singer, one of the Harlettes.”
David Simon cut his teeth as a crime reporter for The Baltimore Sun. When the newspaper industry began to collapse, Simon started writing for television. The Wire was born, and Simon hasn't gone back. Simon has a much larger platform now for sharing his strong opinions on the U.S. war on drugs, but he admits he still misses reporting. READ | Full Transcript
Stacy Keach’s dad was an actor, director and a producer. He had hoped his son would be a lawyer. Keach eventually wore down his parents, abandoned his major of political science and economics to pursue acting. Keach started with Shakespeare, which took him from a festival in Oregon to studying classical theater in England. Today, Keach teaches acting via Skype and his only true regret is not experiencing more of the great outdoors. READ | Full Transcript
In 2013, Alec sat down with the late stage and screen veteran who, among many famous roles, played his mother Colleen Donaghy on 30 Rock. Stritch spoke to Alec about her transition from the Sacred Heart Convent and finishing school to finding herself in the New York theater classes sitting between Walter Matthau and Marlon Brando. She performed for nearly 70 years and throughout career, Stritch comments, "I was the funny kind of offbeat girl. I was never the romantic lead.” READ | Full Transcript
Former New York City Commissioner of Correction and Probation, Martin Horn has held every job imaginable in corrections: from debating the fairness of a state’s sentencing guidelines to fixing leaky water pipes in aging facilities. Horn tells Alec that his opinion toward inmates was formed from his early years as a parole officer: “every one of them was just a normal, ordinary guy … who had made bad judgments.” Though, nowadays Martin Horn has moved on: "It was a fascinating career. I am absolutely glad I’m done." Read | Full Transcript
Debbie Reynolds has been in show business for over six decades. She talks to Alec about her big break in Singing in the Rain. “I slept in my dressing room,” recalls Reynolds. “I didn't take any days off because I’d practice on Saturday and Sunday.” Reynolds went on to appear in Tammy and the Bachelor, The Unsinkable Molly Brown—and more recently, Mother. Reynolds talks about working with different directors and says she’s not one to hold a grudge, but warns that she does have a memory like an elephant. READ | Interview Transcript
Thom Yorke, Radiohead and Atoms for Peace frontman, admits that, even after over 25 years in the business, performing is “either wicked fun or really awful.” He talks with Alec about his pre-show ritual—"I stand on my head for a bit"—and how he and his bandmates have been able to stick together since they were teenagers. READ | Interview Transcript
In 2012, Andrew Luck was in his final year at Stanford University when he learned he was the top NFL draft pick. Luck, a self-proclaimed nerd, talks with Alec about going from being an unknown high school football hero to replacing his childhood idol, Peyton Manning. Off the field, Luck is passionate about travel, architecture and movies. READ | Interview Transcript
Note: In this episode, Brian Williams says he flew in a helicopter in Iraq that came under enemy fire. On Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 Williams retracted this claim on NBC Nightly News and acknowledged that he was in another helicopter. As a kid, Brian Williams grew up in a CBS household. Dinner didn't start until Cronkite was done. He didn't think journalism was attainable, but his work ethic and blue blazer opened doors. From White House intern to young television reporter, Williams eventually found his way back to New York. On the job, Williams keeps his opinions quiet. Off the clock, Williams still enjoys vestiges of his youth: NASCAR and Spam. READ | Interview Transcript