Hi, I’m Dax Shepard, and I love talking to people. I am endlessly fascinated by the messiness of being human, and I find people who are vulnerable and honest about their struggles and shortcomings to be incredibly sexy. I invite you to join me as I explore other people’s stories. We will celebrate, above all, the challenges and setbacks that ultimately lead to growth and betterment. What qualifies me for such an endeavor? More than a decade of sobriety, a degree in Anthropology and four years of improv training. I will attempt to discover human “truths” without any laboratory work, clinical trials or data collection. I will be, in the great tradition of 16th-century scientists, an Armchair Expert.
Emily Mortimer (Lars and the Real Girl, Shutter Island, The Newsroom) is an English actress and screenwriter. Emily chats with the Armchair Expert about her newfound realization of her social anxiety, her mother’s patronization and overcoming a lazy eye in her first big movie. Dax wonders what it’s like working for Aaron Sorkin and Emily Is forced to define many British words. The two talk about the power of delivering a message via horror movie and Emily talks about her early nepotistic start in show business.
BONUS EPISODE with Jennifer Eberhardt (social psychologist who is currently a professor in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University) is the first in a monthly series on dissecting the Black experience in America. Jennifer chats with the Armchair Expert about her work in police reform, her personal experiences with racism and the biological impact of cultural biases. Dax asks if there are any model police departments and Jennifer shares a story of when she got arrested. She talks about having “the talk” with her sons and she shares the details of many psychological experiments she did on race and discrimination.
Nina Vasan is an American psychiatrist and author of the Amazon #1 best-selling book Do Good Well: Your Guide to Leadership, Action and Innovation. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. Nina chats with the Armchair Expert about her personal experience with anxiety/depression, the continued prevalence of stigma and the loop of actions, thoughts and emotions. Dax asks about the concern of treating addiction with psychiatric drugs and Nina discusses how technology can aid in this problem. They talk about mental health as a three-pronged bio, psycho and social endeavor and they discuss the tenets of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers, Old School, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) is an American actress. Juliette chats with the Armchair Expert about wanting to be seen as her current self rather than her past self, she talks about her early struggle with fame and how acting course corrected her wayward path. Dax asks what’s it’s like to be a part of an evergreen holiday movie and Juliette talks about the distraction of beauty in acting. The two discuss the phenomena of Natural Born Killers, her pull towards music and her new show, I Know This Much Is True.
Jeff Sachs an American economist, academic, public policy analyst and former director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he holds the title of University Professor. He is known as one of the world's leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty. Jeff chats with the Armchair Expert about his career in international economics, what he’s learned from advising other countries and his propensity to model Scandinavia’s middle way economic model. Dax asks about communism in theory vs. in practice and Jeff implores us to take care of one another. The two talk about how the history of WWI has led to today and Jeff describes ways in which we couldn’t have a more balanced economy.
Blake Griffin is an American professional basketball player for the NBA the Detroit Pistons. Blake chats with the armchair expert about growing up playing basketball with his dad and brother, learning to be a leader amongst players who are older than him and he talks through his game-day routine. Dax asks about Blake’s experience with racism and Blake discusses managing money. They talk about balancing egos and Blake shares what he learned after enduring an injury early in his career.
Vivek Murthy is an American physician and former vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. Vivek chats with the armchair expert about the health implications of loneliness, how his childhood as an outsider made him more compassionate and why he became interested in public policy. Dax wonders about the dilemma between liberty and equality on health legislation and Vivek talks about the biggest boat rescue in human history. He talks about what he learned from a patient who won the lottery and the lessons he’s taken from patients on their deathbeds.
Beastie Boys were an American hip hop group from New York City. Adam and Mike D sit down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the nascent beginnings of the band, the protective nature of a group dynamic and working with legends early in their careers. Dax makes predictions about Mike and Adam's life and they discuss the conflation of personal identity with band identity. They talk about what it feels like to lose a band member and Adam is the first to introduce Zoom chat to the Armchair Expert recording history.
Alanis Morissette is a Canadian-American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. Alanis chats with the Armchair Expert about finding music as a young kid, the concept of "deserving" fame and the attributes of being a highly sensitive person. Dax is hung up on one of her song lyrics and Alanis shares what it's like to be a principal's daughter. The two talk about shedding the desire for loyalty, they dissect the word perverted and they talk discuss the fundamental difference between Canadian and Americans.
Ibram X. Kendi is an American author and historian who teaches at American University. From July 2020, Kendi will join Boston University to launch the BU Center for Antiracist Research. Ibram sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the definitions of racism vs. anti-racism, the importance of acknowledging moments of racism in your life and his own racist beliefs that he has worked on shedding. Dax wonders if it’s realistic to ask people to prioritize issues that don’t directly affect them and Ibram equates fighting racists ideas to fighting addictions. They talk about the police system, how to educate children and the unspoken element of gun deaths in America.
Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, The Handmaid’s Tale, Get Out) is an American actor and political activist. Bradley chats with the armchair expert about growing up in a Quaker household, the impact of social change through storytelling and the three thoughts that flood his brain when receiving direction. Dax asks about the events that led to Bradley writing episodes for The West Wing and Bradley talks about his experience of playing complex characters. The two talk about professions that draw arrogant people and their mutual desire to say the worst thing at the worst moment.
Heather McGhee is an American political commentator, political strategist, currently a distinguished senior fellow and former president of Demos, a non-profit progressive U.S. think tank. Heather sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss race in America - her takeaway from going to a white school but living in a black neighborhood and her theory that racism comes at a cost to all races. Dax asks about the economic impact of systemic racism and Heather talks about her epiphany watching Black Panther. They talk about colorism, the history of police interfacing with the black community and the hope of change.
Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer prize winning author, reviewer, and presidential biographer. Jon chats with the Armchair Expert about this early fascination with politics, attending Ronald Reagan's inauguration as a young boy and the importance of delineating historical figures from saints. Jon states his position on confederate statues and Dax asks what factors distinguished his pulitzer prize winning book from the others. The two talk about how age has affected their career outlook and they debate the impact of Christianity in the modern world.
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Mike and Molly, Spy, Identity Thief) is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer. Melissa chats with her old pal, the armchair expert, about how she found the Groundlings, tanking her Bridesmaids audition and her hatred of e-mail. Dax commends Melissa for continuing to work with old friends and Melissa talks about her love of renovating homes. The two discuss the dream of Saturday Night Live, the unifying experience of seeing comedies in a theatre and they reminisce on an old comedy show they did together in which one audience member (in a 400 seat theatre) came to see it.
Dr. Laurie Santos is a cognitive scientist and Professor of Psychology at Yale University and host of The Happiness Lab podcast. Laurie chats with the armchair expert to discuss 5 ways to increase happiness during quarantine, the neuroscience behind deep breaths and why studying animals is better than studying humans. Dax connects Laurie's principals to the principals of AA and Laurie talks about the negative impact of academic grades. The two discuss the scientific effects of giving and the connection between anthropology and psychology.
Curtis Jackson better known as 50 Cent is an American rapper, actor, producer, and entrepreneur. 50 cent chats with the Armchair Expert about towing the line between Curtis and 50 Cent, hustling at age 12 and having to make the distinction between the one who sells and the one who consumes. Dax asks about masculinity and 50 Cent talks about being a lightweight. The two talk about their instinctual guard against people and why it’s important to have a career that evolves over time.
Rajiv Shah is the President of the Rockefeller Foundation. He is a former American government official, physician and health economist who served as the 16th Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development from 2010–2015 under President Obama. He also held many leadership positions at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Raj chats with the Armchair Expert about the economics of the healthcare system, leading the U.S response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Rockefeller Foundation's commitment to expand Covid-19 testing. Dax asks what he learned from Bill and Melinda Gates and Raj talks about having to address the crisis in Haiti only 6 days into the job. They two talk about America's interest in expanding American values around the globe, vaccinations and the importance of agriculture in humanitarian efforts.
America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, End Of Watch, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Superstore) is an American actress, voice actress, producer, and director. America chats with the Armchair Expert to discuss her feelings of insecurity when she won her Emmy, growing up being told she wouldn’t make it and her learned skill of molding stereotypes into true representations. Dax wonders if it can feel burdensome to be the voice of a community and America talks about her identity crisis at the conclusion of Ugly Betty. Dax and America discuss raising children in a place of privilege and the newfound proximity amongst women in the industry.
Dan Heath is an American bestselling author, speaker and fellow at Duke University's CASE center. Dan chats with the Armchair Expert about why certain ideas stick, the emotionality behind urban legends and the benefit of thinking upstream. Dax implores those to think about the financial benefits to upstream social reform and Dan explains that every system is designed for its outcome. The two talk about systemic preventions that have a lasting impact, getting caught in a bad plan loop and they commiserate about being older dads.
Zoë Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road, Big Little Lies, High Fidelity) is an American actress and singer. Zoë chats with the Armchair Expert to discuss the differences between living with her mom versus her dad and her experience working with many powerful women on Big Little Lies. Dax checks himself on asking a potentially misogynistic question and Zoë outs Dax on being obsessed with her mom. The two talk about how Zoë caught Dax is in a compliment paradox the first time they met, they bond over Koo Koo Roo and they debate whether or not to refer to the superhero as Batman or The Batman.
David Chang is an American restaurateur, author, television personality and founder of the Momofuku restaurant group. David chats with the Armchair Expert about growing up Korean American, his first time eating ramen in Japan and how he found his way into cooking. Dax talks about elitism in food and David discusses how depression led him to open Momofuku. The two talk about self-medicating, the responsibility to share one’s painful experiences and the importance of asking for help.
Rob Lowe (The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, The West Wing, Parks and Recreation) is an American actor, producer, and director. Rob chats with the Armchair Expert about moving to Malibu as a child and feeling out of place, his time and ultimate departure from The West Wing and going to high school with many famous faces before they were famous. Dax asks about his navigation through negative public moments and Rob talks about his experience on The Outsiders. The two talk about sobriety and Rob’s foresight that caused him to move away from Hollywood.
Glennon Doyle is an American author known for her #1 New York Times bestsellers Untamed and Love Warrior and bestseller Carry On, Warrior. Glennon chats with the Armchair Expert about her struggle with addiction, falling in love with a stranger and her realization about forgiveness. Glennon talks about overcoming societal memos and Dax questions if following your personal truth is a realistic goal. They discuss the responsibility of highly sensitive people and why control and love are inherently at odds.
Sheryl Crow is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and actress. She joins the armchair expert to discuss starting her career later in life, how breast cancer changed her perspective and her pattern of attraction. Dax wonders about her experience on the Michael Jackson Bad Tour and Sheryl talks about the physiological impact of music. The two talk about meditation, Sheryl declares she’s done making albums and Monica and Dax discuss their enneagram in the fact check.
Jessica Lahey is an American teacher and author. She writes the bi-weekly 'Parent-Teacher Conference' advice column for the New York Times, is a regular contributor to the Atlantic and wrote the book, The Gift of Failure. Jessica chats with the Armchair Expert about the importance of childhood autonomy, the level of parental involvement to maximize childhood growth, and the profundity of the word 'yet' when engaging with children. Dax asks about the concept of "desirable difficulties" and Jessica explains why the internet hasn't replaced the need for learning facts. The two discuss loving your children for who they are; not who you want them to be, how to commit information to long term memory and allowing kids to have ownership of their knowledge.
In Part 10: Monica and Jess love each other, M and J chat with Kristen and Dax for their final episode. The four discuss what Monica and Jess learned from the experience, how they've grown and the things they can't un-learn after this journey. Monica talks about a newfound relationship to her narrative and Jess has a growing acceptance of addiction. Dax wonders what the big take-aways have been, Kristen praises M and J's vulnerability and the four verbally "write" their relationship manuals. Monica and Jess say farewell to this adventure and hello to whatever's next.
Ed Helms (The Daily Show, The Office, The Hangover) is an American actor, comedian and musician. Ed chats with the Armchair Expert about his love of the banjo, feeling guilty about leaving The Daily Show and being self admittedly repressed. Dax asks about Ed's open heart surgery and Ed tells the story of having food poisoning when shooting The Hangover. The two talk about the loss of control that comes with fame, Ed’s new movie- Coffee and Kareem and Dax recalls escaping a career-ending situation in Thailand.
Andrew Marantz is a journalist, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and author of Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians and the Hijacking of the American Conversation. Andrew sits down with the Armchair Expert (pre social distancing) to discuss working as a journalist and specifically his time researching internet trolls and the direct ways in which they impact society. He talks about his experience getting to know many white nationalists and the revelation they aren’t always people you would expect. Dax wonders if there is an effective way to attack hateful ideologies without forgoing free speech and Andrew encourages social media companies to implement more foresight.
In Part 9: Monica & Jess love Love Addiction, M and J chat with author and the Clinical Director of Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles, Dr. Alex Katehakis. Dr. Alex talks about the tenants of unmanageability and addiction. Monica wonders if you can be a love addict who’s never fallen in love and Jess asks questions about post relationship nostalgia. Dr. Alex declares both Monica and Jess have some dissociative tendencies in relationships and adhere to fantasy as an outlet. Monica expresses her fears of being replaceable and Dr.Alex thinks Jess uses sex to mitigate anxiety. The three talk about childhood abandonment and how that has trickled into adulthood and she gives both Monica and Jess 90 day challenges to take into the world.
Alicia Keys is an American musician, singer, composer, actress and pianist. Alicia joins the Armchair Expert to discuss overcoming resentments, her pattern of people pleasing and releasing the notion that being overworked equals success. Dax relates to Alicia's love of her grandparents and Alicia talks about a life lesson that taught her the necessity of boundaries. The two talk about fear of abandonment, the mix of work and friendship and Dax proves to have good phone game. Alicia’s new book More Myself: A Journey is out now.
Stephen Dubner is an author, journalist, and podcast/radio host. He is co-author of the Freakonomics book series and host of Freakonomics Radio. Stephen sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss being drawn to counterintuitive thinking, his journey to Judaism and looking at politics through an objective lens. Dax asks about Stephen’s childhood and Stephen talks about popular Freakonomics pieces. The two weave in and out of many topics including the prevalence of artificial insemination in turkeys, the uptick in pedestrian deaths and the potential of eating humans.
In Part 8: Monica & Jess Love Cock Buffets, M and J welcome Dan Savage (author, media pundit, journalist, and LGBT community activist) to the attic via video chat. Dan delineates many differences between dating in the gay community vs. the straight one. He talks to Monica about why women are engrained to "vet a guy before they bed a guy" and talks to Jess about transgressive behaviors in the gay community. He discusses the notion that we meet a few people in life who are .68 and we make the choice to round them up to a 1. He talks about the equality complex and how we need to give ourselves permission to have successful short term relationships. Monica talks to Sam on the phone and relays to Jess what they talked about and Dan takes the challenges to a new level of scary.
Joy Bryant (For Life, Parenthood, Get Rich or Die Tryin') is an American actress. Joy returns to Armchair Expert and sits down with her ex-TV husband to discuss her new obsession with duck, living bi-coastal and the parameters of when she wears a headscarf. Dax tries to induct two new people to the soul spectrum and Joy revisits the conversation of house note vs. house payment. The two talk about whether traumatic backgrounds give you a pass for problematic behavior, they discuss the extremities of the societal pendulum swing and Dax updates Joy on a recent change of opinion.
Lydia Denworth is a science journalist and author. She is the contributing editor for Scientific American and writes for Psychology Today. Her work has also appeared in The Atlantic, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time. Lydia sits down with the Armchair Expert to talk about the biology of friendship, the science of social bonding and the evidence that we are social animals. Dax asks for suggestions to aid social development for kids who struggle to make friendships and Lydia details how friendship impacts mortality and longevity. They also touch on Lydia's work in the Deaf community, quality vs. quantity in friendships and Lydia explains why Monica is Exhibit A in the necessity of friendship.
In Part 7: Monica & Jess Love Goblins with Esther Perel, M and J are thrilled to welcome psychotherapist, Esther Perel to the attic. Esther makes the distinction between love and desire and she reminds them that having a lot of sex with many partners is equivalent to avoiding sex- both are methods to avoid rejection. Esther encourages Monica to let go of the goblin on her shoulder and she removes the phrase "losing feelings for" from the relationship vocabulary. The three talk about "want" vs. "should" and Esther is intrigued by Jess's interactions with "out of my league guy". Esther does exercises with M and J on how to spark desire and she gently tells them if they don't let go of their narratives, regardless of who they date, they will always be dating their narrative.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta (American neurosurgeon and medical reporter) joins us for an informative episode on COVID-19. Sanjay takes time out of his incredible busy schedule to answer Dax and Monica’s questions about the pandemic. He hits many topics such as immunity, correct precautions, the danger of overwhelming our medical system, human ingenuity in times of crisis and balancing honesty and hope.
Tom Silver is a Hypnotherapist with over 35 years of experience developing powerful, proven therapeutic hypnosis methods. Tom sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his relationship with sobriety, how he stumbled into hypnosis and the depth of the subconscious mind. Dax asks about the distinction between a hypnotist and a hypnotherapist and Tom talks about his experience hypnotizing Guillermo on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. In the second half of the episode, Tom hypnotizes Miniature Mouse. He hooks her up to an EEG and they note the difference in her brain waves in and out of hypnosis. Dax and Monica have another long-distance fact check in which they dissect the experience. Visit Tom’s website at www.tomsilver.com.
In Part 6: Monica & Jess Love Tough Love with Patti Stanger, M and J welcome the Millionaire Matchmaker to the attic. Patti is direct and no-nonsense when giving her opinion on Monica and Jess’s love lives. She asks about their dream men, she prods for details about Monica’s fantasies and believes Jess wants to be chased. She talks about the differences between “beta” and “alpha” partners, differences between matchmaking in gay vs. straight communities and how she believes money and love are more connected than people want to believe. She encourages Monica to get more in touch with her sexuality and discusses the concept of “out of your league” with Jess. At the end of the episode, Patti doles out challenges that terrify both Monica and Jess.
Lennon Parham (Playing House, Veep, Bless This Mess) is an American actress, comedian and improviser. Lennon sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss growing up in the deep south, feeling like she couldn't find "her people", and the balance of holding on to your personal dream while in a relationship. Dax praises Lennon on her work on Bless this Mess and Lennon talks about the experience of creating her own show. The two talk about questionable 80's songs, new ideas for the yearly hot bodies calendar and Dax and Monica do a long distance fact check.
Adam Mosseri is the current CEO of Instagram. Adam sits down in the attic to talk about how he landed a job at Facebook, the responsibility of social media and the rise of the individual. Dax wonders if Mark Zuckerberg likes McDonalds and Adam talks through the reasoning behind the hiding likes trial. The two discuss how Facebook got intertwined with Cambridge Analytica, designing platforms to have a certain energy and Dax thinks men's preferences boil down to circles.
In Part 5: Monica and Jess Love Getting Called Out on Their Bullshit with Dr. Drew, M and J invite the esteemed addiction medicine specialist and personality Dr. Drew Pinsky to the attic. Dr. Drew cuts right to the chase asking Jess about his relationship to mania, asking Monica about family trauma and he calls both of them out on negating themselves. He talks about removing expectations and how our country puts pathological love on a pedestal. He discusses neurological wiring regarding attachment styles and asks about Monica’s sexual history. The two are assigned a very interesting challenge at the end of the episode.
In this episode, Dax invites Rob McElhenney (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet) and Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, The Big Sick) into the attic to discuss their obsession with male bodies. Dax remains shirtless through the duration of this episode while the three dissect childhood insecurities that led to this predilection, their opinions of the perfect male body, body dysmorphia, societal influences on females vs. males, and not being in on the joke. Rob mentions the high point when a stranger wanted to take a shirtless picture of him and Kumail reveals a tidbit about his abs. Monica commends the three for talking openly and vulnerably.
BJ Fogg is an author and social science research associate at Stanford. BJ sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his approach to changing behavior, growing up in the Mormon faith and his new book Tiny Habits. Dax commends BJ's approach of habit building by stating "after I blank, I will blank" and BJ talks about overcoming a childhood condition. The two discuss the behavior grid, lowering the bar on aspiration and technology in regards to behavior.
In Part 4: Monica and Jess Love Therapy with Harry the Therapist, M and J invite Harry - Kristen and Dax's couples therapist, to the attic. Harry specializes in both personal and couples therapy and Kristen and Dax have credited Harry for giving them the tools for relationship longevity. But today he brings his expertise to Monica and Jess's love lives. Harry wonders if Monica has any unresolved parental issues and he encourages Jess to listen to his small inner voice. He provides a few Harry rules for approaching a forever relationship and reminds M and J that we are all a work in progress. Monica and Jess talk about their challenges from last week and the realization that these challenges have nothing to do with the other person - it’s all about personal growth.
Whitney Cummings (Whitney, Two Broke Girls, Chelsea Lately) is an American stand-up comedian, actress, producer, writer, director, and podcaster. Whitney sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss her time in Al-Anon, her need to people please and the first time she met Dax at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Dax asks about her workaholism and Whitney talks about growing up in an isolated environment. The two talk about the pros and cons of roasts, manifesting your fears and Monica discusses her new medical condition in the fact check.
Peggy Orenstein is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Girls & Sex, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Waiting for Daisy and Boys & Sex. Peggy sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss her research in talking to young boys, why parents need to be open with their kids about sexual realities and the impact of pornography. Dax asks how boys can stand up to injustice without losing their social capital and Peggy talks about the uncoupling of pleasure and sex. The two talk about the double standards that exist in the way we perceive young males and young females, how gay communities navigate sex and the misconceptions boys and girls hold about the opposite gender.
In Part 3: Monica and Jess Love Motherly Advice with Kristen Bell, M and J invite their mom to the attic. Using her mother's intuition, Kristen warns Jess on the falsity of butterflies, they discuss the prevalence of blocking people on apps and Kristen asks Jess about the rigidity of tops and bottoms in the gay dating community. She encourages Monica to externalize her sexuality, she tells a story of a friend who leaves her underwear at bars and Monica reveals a recent fantasy slip. Kristen talks about her own dating patterns - testing her partners and dealing with jealousy. The three discuss fidelity, knowing one's value and Kristen assigns the most extreme challenges yet.
Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch, Jobs, No Strings Attached, That 70s Show) is an American actor, producer, and entrepreneur. Ashton returns to the attic to discuss new decade resolutions, his goal to eliminate child pornography from the Internet and his interest in improving the foster care system. Dax talks about working with Ashton on The Ranch and Ashton talks about his love of a live audience. The two talk about preparing for the apocalypse, intention versus perception and appreciating counterintuitive data.
In Part 2: Monica and Jess Love Boys who like Christmas, M and J have one solo episode (before they bring in experts) where they dive deeper into their histories. They discuss their experiences completing last week’s challenge. Jess lived in fear all week that he ruined his challenge and Monica adds “needs to like Christmas” to her list. Jess talks about having secret moments in his youth with other boys while openly having a girlfriend and Monica goes through some of her boy-crazy artifacts. The two discuss feeling on the outside of normal and craving experiences just to feel “in the club”. They realize the amount of similarities in their backgrounds. Jess and Monica give each other challenges to complete by the following week.
Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men, Glow) is an American actress. She sits down with the armchair expert to discuss the experience of filming Mad Men and Community simultaneously, why she doesn't like WWE being referred to as "fake" and mental illness in her family. Dax asks how she met her husband and Alison talks about the decision to do nudity. The two discuss why humans are inclined to protect bad behavior, the merits of apple eating and the science of blackouts.
In Part 1: Monica and Jess Love Boys with Dax Shepard, M and J sit down with the Armchair Expert. Dax knows Monica and Jess better than anyone and he uses his previous knowledge to help diagnose individual and collective dating patterns. He asks Jess about addiction, his propensity for sex, “dating” rituals and he asks why Jess isn’t leading with his superpower: personality. He talks to Monica about her tendency to overanalyze, her pattern of wanting people she can’t have and not being attracted to people who find her attractive. Dax gives tips on how to navigate this social experiment and he gives M and J a challenge to complete by the following week.
Ezra Klein is an American journalist, blogger, and political commentator who co-founded Vox. Ezra sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the current state of polarization, how liberty and equality can work in tandem and the impact of media on the world. Dax asks about his debate with Sam Harris and Ezra details the prevalence of NIMBY-ism. The two talk about the effects of political transparency, the misconception about identity politics and the pros and cons of universal basic income.
Monica and Jess Love Boys is a 10 episode series brought to you by the Armchair Expert that follows the relationship struggles of two opposites. Jess, who dates too much and Monica who dates too little. They approach relationships from opposing ends but quickly realize how the underlying issues are universal. Jess dates in the gay community while Monica dates in the straight one. They get to deep dive not only into individual patterns but societal ones as well in the different dating scenes. Through meeting with different experts (therapists, doctors, friends in successful relationships, relationship professionals and the armchair expert himself), they explore and uncover traps and patterns that we all fall into as humans and they ask the age old question- why do we do what we do? However, in keeping with the true armchair spirit- Monica and Jess know talking about problems is not enough. Action is necessary to evoke change. At the end of each episode M&J are given a challenge in an attempt to break bad habits. In one episode Monica is challenged to give a stranger her phone number. In another, Jess is asked to be 100% honest on his dating profiles. As they learn how to partner healthily with others, they grow into healthier individuals as well.
Josh Gad (Frozen, Frozen 2, Book of Mormon, The Daily Show) is an American actor, comedian, and singer. Josh sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss kindness in Hollywood, fatherhood, and his experience on Broadway. Dax claims Josh has won the lottery multiple times and Josh sets a goal for the next time he visits Armchair. The two talk about how we can learn from history, what its like to be the court jester and putting their mothers on pedestals.
Chris Voss is an American businessman, author, and professor. Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator, the CEO of The Black Swan Group Ltd, and co-author of the book, Never Split the Difference. Chris sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his time as a hostage negotiator, what drove him to law enforcement and the benefits of de-escalation. Dax wonders about the evolution of terrorism and Chris talks us through the hostage negotiation of Jill Carroll. He talks about the power of saying no, the concept of bending reality and the ways in which we can win negotiations in our daily lives.
Will Arnett (Arrested Development, BoJack Horseman, Blades of Glory, Lego Movie) is a Canadian-American actor, comedian and producer. Will sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his friendship with Dax, feeling like people misconstrue his optimism for arrogance and why he doesn't consider himself a comedian. Dax admits he was envious of Will's life and Will talks about his experience doing voiceover work. The two discuss sobriety, re-defining their narratives and how they became friends over Breves.
Jared Cohen is an American businessman. He is currently serving as the CEO of Jigsaw and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has also served as a member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff and as an advisor to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton and he is the author of Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America. Jared sits down with the armchair expert to discuss his obsession with history, the impact of social media on world crises and he teaches us how to win the week. Dax asks about his collection of presidential hair and Jared talks about how he learned to transfer his visible ticks to invisible ones. The two debate the importance of presidential fidelity and the narrowing center in American politics.
Claire Danes (Homeland, Romeo and Juliet, Temple Grandin, My So Called Life) is an American actress. Claire sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss growing up in an artistic environment, her feelings surrounding the final season of Homeland and her only one-night stand. Dax wonders if Claire was scared to play Temple Grandin and Claire talks about the choice to pass on Titanic. She discusses an absence of socialization as a kid, the awkwardness of returning to acting after college and an absurd experience at the Met Ball.
Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show, The Price is Right) is an American comedian, actor, voice actor, sports executive, and game show host. Drew sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his experience with meditation, his interest in gambling and being able to see his childhood with clarity as an adult. Dax asks about the phenomenon of The Price is Right and Drew invites the AE team to Disneyland. The two talk about overcoming less than ideal circumstances, their relationship to money and Drew shares his secret to show business.
Sam Harris is an American author, neuroscientist, philosopher, and podcast host. In Sam’s return to Armchair Expert, he discusses what it means to live an examined life. He touches on the concepts of being deliberate with one’s attention, consciousness as experience and the value of meditation. Dax believes Sam holds paradoxical interests and Sam admits he is increasingly leaning away from controversy. The two start the episode with an interesting thought experiment and they discuss the complexity of gurus.
January Jones (Mad Men, Last Man on Earth, Anger Management) is an American actress and model. January joins the Armchair Expert to discuss her obsession with reality TV, moving to Los Angeles with Ashton Kutcher in her early 20s and noting people don’t expect her to be smart. Dax is excited they are both named after fictional characters and January gives her opinion on why Mad Men was so successful. The two talk about social anxiety, January talks about her fear of fear and she discusses her experience as a single mother raising a young boy.
Ronan Farrow is an American journalist. Ronan sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his childhood growing up among 10 siblings, the discomfort of having a public family and his commitment to uncovering the truth. Dax is obsessed with Ronan’s wunderkind status and Ronan corrects Dax on calling him the “vanguard of the me too movement.” The two talk about universal insecurities, Ronan gives a piece of advice to celebrity parents and Dax and Monica beg him to be their best friend.
Rainn Wilson (The Office, Six Feet Under, The Rocker) is an American actor, comedian, writer, director, businessman and producer. Rainn joins the Armchair Expert to discuss his feelings about The Office, his experience with the Baha’i faith and his familial connection to acting. Dax commends Rainn’s approach to comedy and Rainn talks about using the position of celebrity for good. The two talk about overcoming the need for global approval, Monica admits a big confession and Rainn explains that we will all meet again and on the next spiritual plane.
In our final episode of 2019, we send out the year by inviting friends and family to sing, laugh and be merry. Please enjoy our 2019 holiday spectacular with Kristen Bell, Sean Hayes and Scotty Icenogle. Music performed by David Schuler and routine shenanigans brought to you by Dax Shepard, Monica Padman and Rob Holysz.
Keri Russell (Felicity, Mission: Impossible III, The Americans) is an American actress and dancer. Keri visits the attic to discuss her time on the all new Mickey Mouse club, meeting Dax’s mom and sacrificing a normal childhood for work. She talks about being an introvert and Dax is thrilled about a childhood connection he has to her. The two discuss the need to privately re-charge at public events, the story of why Keri cut her hair on Felicity and they dissect the themes of loyalty and marriage in The Americans.
Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist, author, speaker and podcast host. Malcolm joins the Armchair Expert to discuss the value of gleaning information from other cultures, growing up in a college library and our inability as humans to read others. Dax claims that Malcolm is our most referenced person on the podcast and Malcolm shames Dax for using the derogatory term of “jogger”. The two geek out over cars, they talk about how media shapes public perception and they give credit to people they met early in life who affected the trajectory of their lives.
T.I. is an American rapper and actor. He sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his foray into entrepreneurship as a child, narcissistic patterns and developing desensitization. Dax asks Tip to acknowledge his trauma and T.I. refuses to accept that Dax is a hillbilly. The two talk about imprisonment in the African American community, gearing education to kids' strengths and growing up in a single-parent home.
Adam Grant is an American psychologist and author who is currently a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania specializing in organizational psychology and the host of the TED podcast WorkLife with Adam Grant. Adam visits the armchair expert to discuss overcoming introversion, being a super taster and the difference between givers and takers. Dax debates Adam on his latest Atlantic article and Adam talks about the importance of criticism. The two talk about growing up in Michigan, the necessity of tenure and how genius is often a result of quantity not quality.
Sam Elliott (Mask, The Big Lebowski, Road House, A Star is Born, The Ranch) is an American actor. Sam sits down with the Armchair Expert to talk about fighting fires in Malibu, having a crush on his now wife and his introduction into the business. Dax reveals that his mom is in love with Sam and Sam discusses the evolution of A Star Is Born. The two talk about Sam's mixed messages persona, his draw to Westerns and the changes in the industry.
Laura Beil is a journalist and podcast host. Laura sits down with the Armchair Expert on this Thanksgiving day episode to talk about having to work on your feet as a journalist, her specific draw to the medical field and how she stumbled into podcasting. Dax theorizes on Laura’s Dr. Death podcast and Laura claims a story is never done, it is only due. The two talk about her new podcast, Bad Batch, that focuses on the stem cell industry, they eat Taco Bell together and Monica and Dax thank Laura for serving the best podcast of 2018.
Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Toy Story 4, Veep) is an American comedian and actor. Tony joins the attic to discuss his tools for combating anxiety, his relationship to religion and being present with his daughter. Dax wonders if Tony ever felt career insecurity and Tony ponders why he doesn’t have memories before 5th grade. The two talk about achieving their dreams and the subsequent lack of fulfillment. They discuss relating to others as a survival mechanism and their shared inability to remember people’s names.
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Me Before You, Terminator Genisys) is an English actress. She sits down with the Armchair Expert to talk about her Hogwarts-esque boarding school, learning Dothraki and her experience having two brain hemorrhages. Dax describes his love of male physiques and Emilia appreciates a Boston accent. The two discuss round features, struggling with imposter syndrome and Emilia weighs in on the difference between British and American sexual escalation.
Jonathan Safran Foer is an American novelist. He is known for his novels Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Eating Animals and We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast. Jonathan sits down with the armchair expert to discuss his struggle to eat vegetarian, his first book getting rejected by every publisher and he walks us through a traumatic childhood event he experienced. Dax wonders if Jonathan was nervous to write a second book following the success of his first and Jonathan talks about the efficacy of moderate changes. The two talk about climate change, hypnosis and there is a special visitor in the fact check.
Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks, The 40 Year old Virgin, Knocked Up, This is 40, Trainwreck) is an American filmmaker, producer, actor and comedian. Judd sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss interviewing comedians as a teenager, what he’s learned from his marriage and the experience of delving into Gary Shandling’s life posthumously. Dax wonders if Judd feels a loss when his projects end and Judd talks about growing up in a spiritual void. The two talk about being children of divorce and Judd talks about his commitment to personal growth.
Richard Dawkins is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science until 2008. Richard joins the Armchair Expert to discuss his draw to science, his theory on evolution and the lack of language diversity in English cultures. Dax admits he has been a fan of Richard since college and Richard declares what shows he’s watching on Netflix. The two talk about atheism, the evolutionary cause of death and the distortion of objectivity due to human filters.
Kate Hudson (Almost Famous, How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days) and Oliver Hudson (Nashville, Splitting Up Together) are American actor/producer siblings. The two sit down with the Armchair Expert to discuss their new podcast, they talk about their relationship to their father and how sibling perspectives differ. Kate tells a story of when she went to Valentino’s house and Oliver discusses unearthing old trauma. Kate and Dax talk about their past relationship and what they learned, stifling children’s aspirations and watching the OJ chase.
Liz Plank is an author, journalist and political correspondent at Vox. Liz sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss how to include men in the conversation on masculinity, her observation on American race relations and her solution to Twitter negativity. Dax praises Liz for changing Olympic guidelines and Liz delineates the components to a female orgasm. The two debate gender in sports, responsibility of the media and Dax experiences an unexpected mishap while taking a picture with Liz.
Edward Norton (Fight Club, American History X, Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel) is an American actor and filmmaker. Edward sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his new film Motherless Brooklyn, his relationship to privacy and his thoughts on storytelling. Edward talks about how he always felt on the outside of cool and Dax wonders if Edward seeks control. The two discuss iconic vs. shapeshifting actors and they tell the sad origin story of how they met.
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, 40 Year Old Virgin, Pitch Perfect) is an American actress, writer, director and producer. Elizabeth sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss going to a uniphile school, turning 40 on the set of the Hunger Games and her producorial recipe. Elizabeth talks about her positive disposition and Dax recalls meeting her at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The two talk about wanting their kids to feel a sense of danger, the sexiness of a capella singers and female empowerment.
Monica Lewinsky is an American anti-bullying ambassador to the Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Programme, on the advisory board of Project rockit, founding board member of The Childhood Resilience Foundation and contributing editor to Vanity Fair. She sits down with the armchair expert to discuss overcoming trauma, cyber bullying and her experience being publicly labeled as a negative archetype. Monica talks about being an upstander and Dax is impressed by Monica’s resilience. The two discuss chasing and breaking patterns, public shame and the ways in which they both seek safety.
Jim Jefferies (Legit, The Jim Jefferies Show) is an Australian-American stand-up comedian, political commentator, actor, and writer. Jim visits the attic to discuss his early negative experience doing standup, his mothers end of life and his relationship to sobriety. Jim talks about the gun control bit that changed his career and Dax asks about Australian masculinity. The two talk about the desire to one up every conversation and the benefit of maintaining friendships with ex-girlfriends.
Nadine Burke Harris is an American pediatrician who is the 1st and current Surgeon General of California. She is known for her work in adverse childhood experiences. Nadine visits the Armchair Expert to discuss the impact childhood trauma has on health and longevity, she talks about her own experience with childhood adversity and she gives tools to buffer those who have many ACEs. Nadine talks about the screening process she pioneered and Dax wonders if parents will ever be truthful in admitting their contribution to childhood trauma. The two talk about the study that first led to ACE research, they discuss how awareness leads to shame reduction and Monica and Dax are in awe of Nadine's uniphile status.
Adam Devine (Workaholics, Pitch Perfect, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer, and singer. Adam sits down with the Armchair Expert to talk about managing ego, the series of events that led to Workaholics and an early childhood trauma that he credits to his career in comedy. Adam discusses his first experience on Letterman and Dax explains the effects of a certain muscle building diet. Adam confesses that he originally thought Pitch Perfect was a baseball move and the two realize they are both obsessed with the same almond butter packets.
Lori Gottlieb is an American author and psychotherapist. She sits down in the attic to discuss her transition from entertainment to therapist, her willingness to listen to career advice and the importance of the patient/therapist relationship. She talks about the privilege of being let into someone’s thoughts and Dax wonders if she’s ever fallen in love with a patient. The two talk about the unfamiliarity of change, her rule for couples therapy and what it’s like seeing her patients out in the world.
The Avett Brothers are an American folk rock band. They sit down with the Armchair Expert to discuss the experience of being in a family band, the balance between touring and home life and the connection between artist and audience. The two talk about how they came to love music and Dax describes the magic of an Avett Brothers’ concert. They discuss the male right of passage, their relationship to religion and the feeling of universal unity.
Jim Gaffigan (Away We Go, 17 Again, Mr. Universe, Obsessed) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. Jim joins the armchair expert to discusses his desire to revolt against expectations, his relationship to religion and his experience growing up in the midwest. Jim laments over being offered grandpa roles and Dax talks about the dangers of elitism. The two talk about challenging the audience, why certain people can avoid scandal and whether their children will have addictive personalities.
Dave Asprey is an entrepreneur and author. He founded Bulletproof 360, Inc., and Bulletproof Nutrition Inc. He has also written multiple books. Dave sits down in the attic to discuss his transition from tech to nutrition, his experience working through PTSD he developed at birth and his journey to lose weight. Dave talks about the benefits of delayed ejaculation and Dax wonders what the evolutionary purpose is for death. The two talk about embracing placebo, the impact of gratitude and Monica and Dax take a field trip on the fact check.
Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Horrible Bosses, Pacific Rim) is an American actor, screenwriter, producer, director and musician. He sits down the with Armchair Expert to discuss growing up amongst musical PHD's, his biggest fear as a parent and the process for creating It's Always Sunny. Charlie relays an incident involving a BB gun which resulted in profound life advice and Dax wonders what it was like to work with Ice Cube. The two talk about their varying relationships to money, wanting to avoid the comparison game and they debate whether or not its valuable to insert yourself in a dangerous situation.
Duane "Dog" Chapman aka Dog the Bounty Hunter is an American reality TV star and bounty hunter. Dog sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss why he joined the Devil's Disciples, how he got the name Dog The Bounty Hunter and his longest hunt. Dog talks about his connection to Tony Robbins and Dax sees many similarities between Dog and his dad. The two talk about being in public-facing marital relationships, building armor to cover trauma and creating moral boundaries within immoral situations.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock From the Sun, 500 Days of Summer, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) is an American actor, filmmaker, singer, and entrepreneur. Joseph visits the attic to discuss the differences between enjoying science vs. art, his commitment to creativity and the future of privacy in social media. He talks about why he did a Pop Tart commercial as a kid and Dax admits to a social blunder upon first meeting Joseph. The two discuss career fear, Jospeh talks about his grandfather who was blacklisted from the industry and they dissect the perceived idea that Joseph is extra confident.
Pete Carroll is an American football coach who is the head coach and executive vice president of the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He is a former head coach of the New York Jets, New England Patriots, and the USC Trojans of the University of Southern California. Pete joins the Armchair Expert to discuss overcoming his stature as a kid, the importance of being present and his three basic rules. Pete talks about learning from failure and Dax is enamored by Pete's skin. The two discuss the value of being a salesman, learning how to be competitive and the power of self-actualization.
Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar, The Namesake, House) is an American actor, comedian, producer, and former civil servant. Kal sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss developing his stage name, not being able to please everyone and lying on his resume. Kal talks about his time working in the White House and Dax asks about balancing work and stereotypes. The two discover that they are the same person and they discuss the worth of a Big Mac.