Kickass News
Kickass News
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!
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on Ernest Hemingway
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick come back to the podcast to discuss their new 3-part documentary on Ernest Hemingway.  They share their own memories of the first Hemingway books they ever read, the challenges of getting to the real person behind the legend, and what it was like to re-examining some of the trouble aspects of the writer’s personality from his views on women and race to his struggles with mental health.  They reveal what they learned from the many contemporary authors with whom they spoke as well as Hemingway’s only living son Patrick.  Plus we talk about the time when Ernest Hemingway got in two near-fatal plane crashes within two days, how World War II changed forever changed him, how an astounding number of concussions might have led to his suicide, and why Ken believes that the quality of Hemingway’s writing was inversely proportional to the amount of shooting he did. Hemingway airs on PBS tonight April 5 through 7 from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET.  Visit for more information and follow Ken and Lynn on Twitter at @KenBurns and @LynnNovick. See for privacy information.
Apr 5
43 min
Comedian Jo Koy
Comedian Jo Koy talks about growing up as a biracial military brat, his mom’s immigrant hustle, and his first taste of the spotlight as a childhood Michael Jackson impersonator.  He recalls selling tickets door to door for his first comedy show, encountering racism in Hollywood, and how he's now paying it forward to other Philippino artists and comedians. Plus Jo talks about embracing our stereotypes, Philippino crucifixion rituals, and why there really are so many Phillipino nurses. Order Jo Koy's new memoir MIXED PLATE: Chronicles of an All- American Combo on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Subscribe to his podcast the Koy Pond wherever you listen and keep up with him at and on twitter at @JoKoy.   See for privacy information.
Mar 25
42 min
Melissa Bernstein of Melissa & Doug Toys
Melissa Bernstein co-founded the wildly successful toy company Melissa & Doug.  You might think that this happily-married mother of 6, who has created over 5,000 toys which have sold over a billion dollars, is always chipper and full of positivity, but Melissa reveals that many days she wonders if she'll make it tomorrow.  She opens up about how her lifelong battle with existential anxiety and depression almost drove her to suicide, why she finally learned to manage it at age 50, and how she’s now on a mission to help other suffering from mental health issues.  Melissa also discusses how she and her husband Doug decided to start a toy company with no prior experience, how their nostalgia for simple, fun wooden toys that fire the imagination  has turned into a movement supported by The American Academy of Pediatrics, and why Melissa believes that designing toys even saved her life.   Order Melissa Bernstein's new book LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Find additional resources and support at and check out her wonderful line of toys for kids at  Kickass News is launching a brand new podcast network called Airwave in May, and we need your help fund our production slate of all new podcasts for 2021.  Please donate to this exciting new venture at See for privacy information.
Mar 22
50 min
Admiral James Stavridis and Novelist Elliott Ackerman
Former commander of NATO Admiral James Stavridis and decorated Marine and novelist Elliott Ackerman envision how a naval clash between the US and China in the South China Sea could lead to World War III in their disturbingly plausible work of speculative fiction titled 2034: A Novel of the Next World War.  They discuss how they came together on this project and the power of fiction to draw attention to real world issues and potential areas of crisis.  Admiral Stavridis talks about the China’s increasingly aggressive moves in the South China Sea and how tensions in this region could potential impact 30% of the world’s shipping.  He also reveals how the pandemic is altering the global balance of power, and Elliott lays out how America’s political divisions may signal the end of the two party system. Order Stavridis and Ackerman's new book 2034: A Novel of the Next World War on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Follow Elliott Ackerman at and on Twitter at @elliottackerman.  Follow James Stavridis at and on twitter @stavrisj.  Kickass News is launching a brand new podcast network called Airwave in May, and we need your help fund our production slate of all new podcasts for 2021.  Please donate to this exciting new venture at See for privacy information.
Mar 18
31 min
A Huge Announcement from Kickass News
It's official!  We're launching a brand new podcast network called Airwave this May!  In addition to Kickass News, Airwave will be the new home for many of your other favorite podcasts.  Airwave will also debut over a dozen original shows hosted by some of the leading thought leaders and storytellers in audio entertainment, including many of my most popular past guests.   We can't do it without you though!  We need your financial support to fund our full production slate.  Please become a part of this exciting new venture by donating at  Every penny of your donation will go toward to the production of the most engaging and entertaining new podcasts of 2021. I’ll be sharing more details about those specific shows and other Airwave news over the next few weeks so follow us on Twitter or Facebook at @AirwavePodcasts. See for privacy information.
Mar 17
2 min
Walter Isaacson on the Next Scientific Revolution
Bestselling author Walter Isaacson (Jobs, Leonardo DaVinci) shares how Nobel Prize-winning scientist Jennifer Doudna and her collaborators blazed a trail in a field dominated by men and turned a curiosity of nature into an something that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA.  He reveals how the technology known as CRISPR has launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.  Walter talks the controversy over so-called "designer babies," how Doudna and others are leading the way in the fight against Covid-19, and how the pandemic is actually changing opinions about the potential of gene editing our off-spring.  Walter Isaacson also discusses his mission to get people excited about science and the common trait that links all geniuses from Albert Einstein to Leonardo DaVinci. The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, CRISPR, and the Future of the Human Race on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Subscribe to his podcast Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson wherever you get your podcasts, and follow him on Twitter at @WalterIsaacson. See for privacy information.
Mar 11
38 min
Comedian Howie Mandel
Howie Mandel talks about making his first comedy special in 20 years, his childhood growing up in Toronto, and how the show Candid Camera inspired him to pull an elaborate prank that got him expelled form high school. He shares how "winging it" the first time he want on stage turned into his signature improvisational style, and how he still finds much of his comedic inspiration from interacting with his audience.  He recalls opening for Diana Ross in Vegas, his very first TONIGHT SHOW appearance, how the HBO YOUNG COMEDIANS SPECIAL changed his life, and the time when a sitcom audition led to his getting cast in the serious TV medical drama SAINT ELSEWHERE. Howie reveals why he originally turned down the offer to host DEAL OR NO DEAL and the anxiety he gets whenever he sees contestants making bad decisions on the show.  He opens up about his struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder, and how he went from fearing that it might be a career killer to using his fame to raise awareness of mental health issues.  Plus Howie Mandel gives the secret to winning the golden buzzer on AMERICA'S GOT TALENT. See for privacy information.
Mar 8
52 min
The Egyptian Indiana Jones Dr. Zahi Hawass
Dr. Zahi Hawass is the former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities and Director of Excavations at Giza, Saqqara, the Bahariya Oasis, and the Valley of the Kings. He is often referred to as “the real Indiana Jones, and some of his major finds include the Tombs of the Pyramid Builders at Giza, the Valley of the Golden Mummies, and multiple undiscovered pyramids.  Now he’s leading the biggest archeological excavation ever attempted in Egypt, and he is documenting the adventure in a new 2-hour special for discovery+ called VALLEY OF THE KINGS: THE LOST TOMBS. Dr. Hawass discusses the logistics of this massive dig in one of Egypt’s most unreachable areas, why he believes that the Western Valley of the Kings is rich in undiscovered tombs, and some of the tantalizing clues that may lead him to Egypt’s most famous queen Nefertiti.  He shares the the most important factor for a successful dig, the role that modern forensic science is playing in identifying mummies, and why even the greatest archeologist still relies on luck and instinct every now and then.  Plus Dr. Hawass opens up about his efforts to repatriate looted Egyptian artifacts, and he dispels myths about King Tut's death, a treasure under the Sphinx, and ancient aliens building the pyramids. VALLEY OF THE KINGS: THE LOST TOMBS is now streaming only on discovery+.  Keep up with Dr Hawass at See for privacy information.
Mar 4
35 min
Mark Bittman on Our Complicated History with Food
James Beard Award-winning food writer and #1 bestselling author Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of how the frenzy for food has driven human history to some of its most catastrophic moments, from slavery and genocide to our current moment, wherein Big Food exacerbates climate change, plunders our planet, and sickens its people.  Mark reveals how he first got the world to take food issues seriously, how we can rethink our food distribution systems, and take a different approach to feeding the world’s hungry.  We discuss America's junk food epidemic, how to tell junk from real food, and how government farm subsidies actually incentive the production of food with minimal to no nutritional value.  Plus we get into the impossible burger, lab grown meats, arsenic in the baby food, and Mark's mixed feelings about President Biden’s Secretary of Agriculture. Order Mark Bittman's book Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Subscribe to his newsletter The Bittman Project at and keep up with him at and on Twitter at @bittman. See for privacy information.
Mar 1
41 min
Director Lee Daniels on Jazz Icon Billie Holiday
Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) talks about his latest film The United States vs. Billie Holiday and how the 1971 movie Lady Sings the Blues inspired him to go into entertainment.  He reveals that he always has a personal connection to each of his films, that The United States vs Billie Holiday was the first movie that he has ever directed sober. and how his own struggle with drugs and alcohol gave him insight into Holiday’s lifelong addiction.  We discuss how the iconic song Strange Fruit that put Billie Holidays in the cross-hairs of a powerful drug agent who was intent on destroying her and why Lee believes that she deserves a place among America’s Civil Rights Heroes.  Plus Lee talks about his upcoming miniseries about another famous black entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. The United States vs. Billie Holiday streams on Hulu beginning Friday, February 26.   Follow Lee Daniels on Twitter at @leedanielsent. See for privacy information.
Feb 25
38 min
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