Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin

Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin

www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/heresthething
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


New York City’s Post-COVID Future
May 19 • 35 min
In the midst of a crisis it can be healthy to think of what comes after. In this episode of Here’s the Thing, two of the most influential New Yorkers when it comes to long-term economic planning join Alec to discuss whether the current economic crisis…
In Memoriam: Wynn Handman
May 14 • 28 min
Over a 70-year career, Wynn Handman added sharpness and craft to the natural talents of actors including Christopher Walken, Allison Janney, Raul Julia, Richard Gere, James Caan, Anna Deveare Smith, Joanne Woodward, and Mia Farrow. The World War II…
Brian De Palma on Scarface, Mission: Impossible, and the Movie He Made in College
May 5 • 33 min
Brian De Palma’s astonishingly diverse hits as a director include Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchables, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Raising Cain, Carlito’s Way, and Mission: Impossible. He wrote many of those screenplays, too. With his distinctive visual…
Daryl Hall Invites Alec In
Apr 21 • 40 min
Hall & Oates is the biggest-selling vocal duo in history. “Maneater,” “Rich Girl,” “You Make My Dreams Come True,” and countless other hits will be beloved for generations. So Daryl Hall has long been at the top of Alec’s Most Wanted list for Here’s the…
In Memoriam: Patricia Bosworth
Apr 16 • 39 min
Alec and Patti Bosworth became friends serving together on the board of the Actors Studio. When Bosworth died of complications from COVID-19, it wasn’t just a loss to the literary and theatrical worlds; it was also personal for Alec and the rest of…
Anjelica Huston on Modeling, Movie-Making, and a Life in the Spotlight
Apr 7 • 48 min
Anjelica Huston has lived many lives, all with grace and charisma. As the daughter of John Huston (director of The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon, and more) she was movie royalty from birth. But she grew up in rural Ireland and went to high school in…
Butch Walker’s Awesomely Diverse Rock Résumé
Mar 31 • 60 min
Butch Walker is one of rock and roll’s biggest talents, and on May 8th, he’ll be releasing his new album — a rock opera called American Love Story. You can preview one of the songs on today’s episode of Here’s the Thing, taped live last month (just before…
Eliza Shapiro on School Closures, the Big Picture — and Probably Getting Coronavirus
Mar 20 • 52 min
New York Times reporter Eliza Shapiro ranks high on the list of the most powerful people in education because ”no one on the education beat is a sharper – or more effective – thorn in the side of city officials.” Over the course of a lively conversation…
Revealing Barry Sonnenfeld
Mar 10 • 39 min
Barry Sonnenfeld was among Hollywood’s most in-demand cinematographers (Big, When Harry Met Sally, Misery) when he decided to make the switch to directing in 1991. The producers were nervous, but the proof was in the pudding: Sonnenfeld’s directorial…
The Luminous Kelli O’Hara
Feb 25 • 35 min
For more than a decade, Kelli O’Hara has been at the very top of the Broadway heap. She gets called “luminous” so often that it must get really very, very tiring. It’s been a remarkable journey for a kid who grew up on a farm in western Oklahoma and cut…
Russ Tamblyn, from DeMille to David Lynch
Feb 11 • 36 min
Russ Tamblyn was born in Los Angeles in the middle of the Depression to a chorus girl and a Broadway “song and dance man.” His father had moved his growing family west to press his luck in the talkies. Russ was a showbiz kid and found his talent young:…
The Oscars Series, Day 5: For Sama, This Year’s Most Powerful Documentary
Feb 7 • 33 min
This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, Here’s the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners — and, today, with a pair of 2020 nominees. They are Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts, the co-directors of For Sama, which is…
The Oscars Series, Day 4: Spike Lee
Feb 6 • 48 min
This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, Here’s the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners — including one new interview, coming tomorrow, with the creative team of 2020 Best Documentary-nominee For Sama. Today, on…
The Oscars Series Day 3: Julianne Moore
Feb 5 • 52 min
This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy awards, Here’s the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners — including one new interview with the creative team of 2020 Best Documentary-nominee For Sama, coming Friday. For Day 3 of…
The Oscars Series, Day 2: Cameron Crowe
Feb 4 • 44 min
This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy awards, Here’s the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners — including one new interview with the creative team of 2020 Best Documentary-nominee For Sama. For our second installment, we…
The Oscars Series, Day 1: Barbra Streisand
Feb 3 • 52 min
This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy awards, Here’s the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners — including one new interview coming Friday with the creative team of 2020 Best Documentary-nominee For Sama. We begin,…
Kantor and Twohey: The Reporters Who Broke the Harvey Weinstein Story
Jan 21 • 35 min
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are the New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story. For five months — perpetually in danger of losing the scoop — they cultivated and cajoled sources ranging from the Weinsteins’ accountant to Ashley Judd.…
Wynton Marsalis, Keeper of the Jazz Flame
Jan 7 • 37 min
Wynton Marsalis was on the cover of Time as the avatar of the “New Jazz Age.” His central role in reviving the genre is thanks partly to his gorgeous, virtuosic trumpet-playing, and partly to his founding of Jazz at Lincoln Center. JALC established jazz…
Julie Andrews, Revisited
Dec 24, 2019 • 50 min
We often think of Julie Andrews as the prim nanny from Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, but her personal path may have the greatest resemblance to one of her Broadway roles: Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Andrews grew up in a family strapped for…
Noah Baumbach Gets Personal in Marriage Story
Dec 10, 2019 • 37 min
Director Noah Baumbach is known for messy and realistic family dramas. The Squid and The Whale chronicles divorce within a family; Margot at the Wedding explores the relationship between two sisters; The Meyerowitz Stories tells the story of 3 adult…
Is Cristina Tzintzun Texas Democrats’ Best Bet for the Senate?
Nov 26, 2019 • 34 min
The last Democrat elected to the Senate seat Cristina Tzintzun has her sights on was Lyndon Johnson. Republican takeovers are just a fact of life in the South. And yet in some places, there’s light at the end of the tunnel for beleaguered Dems. It’s in…
And Another Thing, with Errol Morris
Nov 22, 2019 • 16 min
Alec wanted to know a few more things about Errol Morris’s work — so he set up a call!
Errol Morris on Steve Bannon, Self-Loathing, and Life as a Private Eye
Nov 12, 2019 • 47 min
Errol Morris’s documentaries are visually unmistakable, whether they’re about pet cemeteries or the morally bankrupt “great men” of American history. Thanks to his optical invention, the “Interrotron,” Morris’s subjects’ are looking straight at those of…
Edward Norton on Directing – and His Directors
Oct 29, 2019 • 39 min
Edward Norton gets into every aspect of filmmaking, even when he comes to the set as an actor. He’s helped rewrite scripts, and sometimes gets intimately involved in editing, as was the case with American History X. That has led to tension with directors,…
Judith Light Once Told Her Agent, “No Soaps, No Sitcoms”
Oct 15, 2019 • 38 min
Judith Light has an unequaled emotional and tonal range as an actor. She also has a shape-shifting physicality that made her entirely convincing both as the shuffling yenta Shelly Pfefferman in Transparent and as the lithe, aristocratic Hedda Gabler. But…
Peter Bergman, King of the Soaps
Oct 1, 2019 • 46 min
Peter Bergman is the dean of soap opera actors. His portrayal of Dr. Cliff Warner on All My Children from 1979 to 1989 overlapped precisely with the era when soap operas were America’s great guilty pleasure. Liz Taylor made cameos alongside Bergman,…
Lang Lang Plays
Sep 17, 2019 • 47 min
Dubbed “the hottest artist on the classical music planet” by The New York Times, pianist Lang Lang has reached a level of stardom rare for classical musicians. But his prominence is hard-won. Alec, who adores Lang Lang’s charisma and talent, elicits from…
James Caan: Last of the Tough-Guy Movie Stars
Sep 3, 2019 • 48 min
At the end of the 1950s, James Caan, son of a German-Jewish butcher, had been kicked out of ROTC and was too poor to finish college on his own. He started a job for his godfather unpacking meat along the docks of the Hudson River. Less than a decade…
How to Run a Small-Town Paper When Your Town Is East Hampton
Aug 27, 2019 • 35 min
Since 2004, 1300 towns across America have lost local newspaper coverage. 2004 was also the first full year David Rattray, the third generation of his family to own the East Hampton Star, served as the paper’s editor. It’s a job for which Rattray gave up…
Donna Schaper, Radical Reverend
Aug 20, 2019 • 38 min
The Reverend Donna Schaper of New York’s Judson Memorial Church leads her flock of 300 through life’s sacraments like any pastor. But she has a national profile, too, appearing in print and on television to reject the idea that Christian values…
Matthew Landfield’s Wildly Deep History of His Childhood Home
Aug 13, 2019 • 37 min
Alec Baldwin and Matthew Landfield crossed paths one time before their Here’s the Thing interview. In early 2001, Alec was shooting a movie in front of 31 Desbrosses Street in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. Matthew had grown up in the building in the…
A Major Conservatory President Who Knows the Life of a Working Musician
Aug 6, 2019 • 42 min
Six years ago the Board of the Manhattan School of Music faced a daunting decision: who would guide the school into its second century? They turned to someone with a long history with the school, James Gandre. Gandre joined MSM as an administrative…
Brian Lehrer Comes to Here’s the Thing
Jul 23, 2019 • 35 min
Brian Lehrer is a unique figure in the public life of New York City. Beyond hosting the city’s defining daily talk show, he’s our conscience and our conciliator. When New Yorkers want a fair mayoral debate, they often call Brian. When WNYC needed someone…
Julie Brown UPDATED: Acosta’s Epstein Explanations Are “Ridiculous,” “Disingenuous”
Jul 12, 2019 • 57 min
Alexander Acosta has resigned from his position as Secretary of Labor in the Trump administration. That’s because of the sweetheart deal he cut politically connected financier Jeffrey Epstein back in 2008, when Acosta was a federal prosecutor. In the…
These Three People Say They Can Fix the Subway
Jul 9, 2019 • 43 min
Corey Johnson wants to be the next mayor of New York, and the press seems to think he will be. His plan to fix transit is the centerpiece of his platform. Tom Wright is the CEO of the powerful Regional Plan Association. That organization imagines the…
Adam Schiff Tells All: Could Have Gone to Med School, Mom Livid
Jun 25, 2019 • 35 min
California Congressman Adam Schiff weighs both sides of the impeachment debate and speaks out forcefully on Iran. Plus why his childhood in Massachusetts had an influence on his future career, why his his mother was so disappointed that he went to law…
How Julie Brown Broke Open the Jeffrey Epstein Story
Jun 11, 2019 • 48 min
Julie Brown of the Miami Herald conceived, reported, and wrote one of the most explosive criminal justice stories in recent memory. She revealed the shutting down of an FBI investigation that may have been on the verge of discovering the full extent of a…
Moby on Living Large and Falling Hard
May 28, 2019 • 50 min
Moby had already put out four studio albums when Play was released in 1999. He was solidly into his 30s, playing gigs in record stores and thinking about a career-change. But Play, against all expectations, started selling. Then it started selling out.…
Jeff Daniels Was Supposed to Take Over the Family Lumber Business
May 14, 2019 • 49 min
By 1976, college student Jeff Daniels was pretty sure he didn’t want to follow his father into the Michigan lumber trade. But he wasn’t sure he could make it as a working actor — until one of the founders of Manhattan’s legendary Circle Repertory Company…
Jane Mayer on Thomas, Trump, and Twitter
Apr 30, 2019 • 39 min
The New Yorker’s marquee investigative journalist, Jane Mayer has been a thorn in the side of three presidents, two Supreme Court justices, and, most recently, Fox News. She tells Alec stories from her investigations into Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas,…
Perta: Life Just Before Rock Stardom
Apr 16, 2019 • 38 min
The band Perta has landed a glossy magazine profile and is represented by star-making talent agents WME. They’ve got big labels knocking at the door, attracted by a stunningly talented frontman and a funky, catchy, original sound. But that doesn’t mean…
Geoffrey Horne and the Mysterious Disappearance of a Dreamboat
Apr 2, 2019 • 34 min
Barely out of college in the mid-1950s, Geoffrey Horne was a heartthrob TV star with acting chops to rival the greatest talents of his day. In ‘57 David Lean gave him a breakout role in his masterpiece, Bridge on the River Kwai and Otto Preminger followed…
Sarah Kliff and the Insane Saga of American Emergency Room Bills
Mar 19, 2019 • 43 min
America’s most famous healthcare expert was actually born in Canada! The Vox reporter and all-around policy guru explains how, in a country with entrenched interests similar to ours, progressives managed to win coverage for every Canadian. Plus she gives…
Itzhak Perlman Cracks Wise
Mar 5, 2019 • 42 min
The legendary violinist talks about his difficult childhood, stricken by polio in the war-torn early days of Israeli statehood — and laughs about his early success, whisked away to the United States at 13 to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. Plus, what…
Steven Lee Myers’ Putin Primer
Feb 19, 2019 • 52 min
Russia has glittering towers and a jet-set elite, but grinding rural poverty. It has one of the world’s great literary traditions, but throws dissenters in jail for a blog post. Who is Vladimir Putin, the man who created this new world power through force…
Climate Science, Explained
Feb 5, 2019 • 39 min
How can Earth Scientists and programmers really make predictions about the climate? What are the ethics of having kids in a warming world? How to combat the disastrous politicization of the issue? Dr. Peter deMenocal is the Dean of Science at Columbia,…
The Delightful Deviant Behind “The Human Centipede”
Jan 22, 2019 • 38 min
This episode talks about a movie whose premise might be disturbing to some. The Human Centipede wasn’t in every multiplex when it came out in 2010, but the film is now firmly a part of American culture, the basis of parodies from South Park to Conan…
She Helped Create “Chaos at the Airports” after Trump’s Muslim Ban
Jan 8, 2019 • 44 min
On January 27th, 2017, Donald Trump issued the travel ban barring visitors and migrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Becca Heller, founder of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), had seen it coming. She foresaw that it would…
Carly Simon Was Afraid of the Spotlight, and Still Is — Revisited
Dec 28, 2018 • 53 min
It’s hard, if not impossible, to imagine the 1970s without Carly Simon. After opening for Cat Stevens at LA’s Troubadour in 1971, she gained near instant fame, winning a Grammy for Best New Artist that same year. The daughter of Richard L. Simon,…
Billy Joel, Revisited
Dec 25, 2018 • 66 min
Billy Joel has sold more records than The Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna—though the “rock star thing” is something he can “take off.” Joel started playing piano when he was about four or five years old, but he admits that he doesn’t remember how…
Questlove Can’t Take a Compliment, Revisited
Dec 21, 2018 • 53 min
Few musicians can compete with the encyclopedic musical knowledge that Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson possesses—which is great news if you got to be a student of his at NYU. When not teaching music history, the 45-year-old drummer is directing the…
Emilio Estevez Is Making Great Films, Doesn’t Do Breakfast Club Reunions
Dec 18, 2018 • 36 min
By the time Emilio Estevez was 23, he’d starred in The Outsiders, Repo Man, The Breakfast Club, and St. Elmo’s Fire. As the son of Martin Sheen, he was Hollywood royalty, and as a member of the “brat pack” group of early-80s stars, he was a hot commodity.…
The Restaurant Whisperer
Dec 4, 2018 • 40 min
Debra Kletter’s job is to be food-guru to some of the world’s most discerning palates. Once one of New York theater’s most respected lighting designers, Kletter found herself in the early 1990s disillusioned by budget-cuts and shaken by the loss of a…
Roger Daltrey, Founder and Lead Singer of The Who
Nov 20, 2018 • 48 min
Roger Daltrey put The Who together while working in a sheet-metal factory. The band took many forms before settling into the guitar-smashing, mic-swinging amalgam of testosterone and sensitivity that changed the world. But even before The Who began moving…
Ben and Jerry Warm Up
Nov 6, 2018 • 51 min
In the late 70s, Ben Cohen was a rootless pottery teacher, laid off when his school closed down. Jerry Greenfield was a diligent pre-med, realizing he was never going to get into med school. They’d formed a deep friendship years earlier, as the two chubby…
American Alexandria: Susan Orlean on the Great LA Library Fire
Oct 23, 2018 • 40 min
As a staff-writer at the New Yorker, Susan Orlean has embedded with fertility shamans in Bhutan and profiled a dog (a boxer named Biff). Her book The Orchid Thief inspired one of the most successful art-house movies of the past 20 years. Her latest deep…
Maggie Gyllenhaal Knows What She Wants
Oct 9, 2018 • 42 min
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s in a good place right now, at least as far as work and family go. Her latest starring role is as a troubled teacher named Lisa Spinelli in The Kindergarten Teacher. It’s an unsettling portrayal of, as Gyllenhaal tells Alec, the…
The Dual Life of SNL’s Steve Higgins
Sep 25, 2018 • 41 min
Steve Higgins has two jobs. At 4:30 every day, 4 days a week, Steve announces The Tonight Show, sticks around to play Jimmy Fallon’s straight man, and then runs back upstairs at 30 Rock to keep working on that week’s Saturday Night Live. At SNL, he’s in…
The Passion of Flynn McGarry
Sep 11, 2018
After his parents divorced, 10-year-old Flynn McGarry wanted to feel useful, and maybe to reassert some control over his environment, too. So he started cooking for his mom, Meg. A passion was born. Meg began homeschooling him, allowed him to turn his…
The Money Man Behind America’s Biggest Concerts
Aug 28, 2018 • 41 min
Ron Delsener is a working-class kid from Queens who rode his charm and his hustle all the way to the top of the music industry. He basically created the genre of the massive outdoor concert with his epic series of free Concerts in the Park. He landed…
The Hidden Trove of Musicals by Broadway’s Greatest Talents
Aug 14, 2018
After watching an early copy of the forthcoming documentary Bathtubs Over Broadway, Alec became fascinated by the film’s quietly hilarious hero, Steve Young. As part of his job as a writer for the David Letterman Show, Steve had to scour secondhand stores…
Spike Lee Live at Tribeca
Jul 31, 2018 • 48 min
This affectionate, funny conversation was recorded in front of a live audience at the Tribeca Film Festival, and garnered articles in the Hollywood Reporter, Vanity Fair, BET, and beyond. The headlines were varied: some reporters focused on Spike’s 2 a.m.…
Pete Souza, Photographer to Reagan and Obama, Would Turn Down Trump
Jul 17, 2018
Having followed a steep path from his working-class immigrant family in Massachusetts to the pinnacle of American photography, Pete Souza ended up working for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama — the only Chief White House photographer to have documented…
Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Rethinking Vietnam
Jul 3, 2018
The vast ambition of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s PBS documentary The Vietnam War has precedents, but most of them are other Burns and Novick documentaries. The two directors’ collaborations — including 1994’s Baseball and 2007’s The War, about WW2 — use…
Roseanne’s Laurie Metcalf on Lady Bird and Lady Barr
Jun 19, 2018 • 40 min
Note: this interview was recorded before Roseanne’s tweet and the subsequent cancellation of the show. Alec says he has never enjoyed being on-stage with a fellow actor more than when he performed with Laurie Metcalf in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. Her…
A Fresh Look at the Death and Life of RFK
Jun 5, 2018 • 36 min
June 5th is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. It was one of the formative events in Alec’s childhood, and in the life of his father. The release of Dawn Porter’s brilliant new Netflix documentary series, Bobby Kennedy for…
Kubrick’s Right-Hand Leading Man
May 22, 2018
Tony Zierra’s documentary Filmworker, opening May 11, highlights the best of movie-making. It sings an unsung hero, and through him, all the unsung heroes of Hollywood. Actor Leon Vitali got his break playing the antagonist in Kubrick’s period masterpiece…
Former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
May 8, 2018 • 36 min
Schneiderman sat down with Alec last Thursday, just before news broke in the New Yorker that four women have accused him of, in the magazine’s words, “non-consensual physical violence.” In the context of these women’s allegations, it is undeniably jarring…
David Crosby: Don’t Call It a Comeback
Apr 24, 2018 • 47 min
Some combination of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young played together for 50 years until 2016. The group survived even Crosby’s near-total dissolution under the influence of cocaine and heroin. That was a brush with death that left him in need of a liver…
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin Is Not Just a Talking Head
Apr 10, 2018
Jeffrey Toobin is such a TV institution as a legal commentator that it can be hard to imagine him in casual clothes, outside a news studio. But it was the real, flesh-and-blood Jeff that showed up to his interview with Alec, talking about life before CNN…
Did the Moody Blues Save Alec Baldwin from a Life of Crime?
Mar 27, 2018 • 43 min
Alec is a BIG fan of Justin Hayward — vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter for The Moody Blues, pioneers of complex orchestral arrangements in rock. As he tells it, their songs were the only thing that could mellow out his rough crowd in high school.…
The Turnaround Artist: Janice Min on Magazines and #Metoo
Mar 13, 2018 • 42 min
Daughter of a science professor and an IRS agent, a double-graduate of Columbia herself, Janice Min turned her talents in the early 2000s to the glossy magazine Us Weekly. Celebrity journalism has never been the same. In its pages, she revolutionized pop…
The Fast Times and Long Career of Cameron Crowe
Feb 27, 2018 • 44 min
Cameron Crowe’s teenage years are familiar to anyone who’s seen his autobiographical Almost Famous: 16-year-old writing prodigy convinces Jan Wenner and Rolling Stone to let him tour with and profile the greatest rock musicians of his generation. But what…
Michael Wolff, Chronicler of Chaos in Trumpland
Feb 13, 2018 • 51 min
Michael Wolff’s Trumpland tell-all, Fire and Fury, has set Washington ablaze with its terrifying (and controversial) depiction of a White House in chaos. But all the focus has been on the White House intrigue and the downfall of Steve Bannon. The man…
Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone: a Legacy Built on Solid Rock
Feb 6, 2018 • 31 min
There was no such thing as serious rock journalism when Jann Wenner borrowed money to ink the first issue of Rolling Stone onto cheap newsprint in 1967. His creation changed the landscape of both music and magazines. It also put Wenner, a suburban…
Kyle MacLachlan on 28 Years of Twin Peaks’ *Blowing Your Mind*
Jan 23, 2018 • 43 min
“The feeling of power” that comes from playing a dark, diabolical role? Kyle MacLachlan tells Alec, “I get it.” “It’s not something you want to abuse, or let exist other than when that camera is rolling.” The wholesome, square-jawed actor’s dark side can…
Brilliant Minds of Trash and Sewage
Jan 9, 2018 • 38 min
New York City generates 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater every day. 16 million pounds of trash. Eight million pounds of recyclables. Think of the awesome engineering and effort behind making all of that “go away” without our thinking about it. Alec…
Farmer Hoggett in the Slammer
Dec 26, 2017 • 45 min
From the humane wisdom of Farmer Hoggett in Babe to the simmering evil of Captain Dudley Smith in L.A. Confidential, James Cromwell realizes his roles with unmatched emotional honesty. He brings that same openness to a wonderful, sprawling conversation…
John Dean: Watergate’s Legacy in the Age of Trump
Dec 12, 2017 • 57 min
When John Dean found his conscience, America found its backbone and impeached a president. The Nixon Administration tried to undermine American democracy during the election of 1972 through now-legendary dirty tricks aimed at their Democrat opponents.…
Alan Gilbert Is Leaving the NY Phil Even Better than He Found It
Nov 28, 2017 • 46 min
When two people who really love something talk about what they love, the exuberance is contagious. Alec Baldwin, a New York Philharmonic board-member since 2011, and Alan Gilbert, the outgoing Music Director, both really love the Phil. When Gilbert took…
Tina Brown Was in the Room Where It Happened
Nov 14, 2017 • 44 min
Nobody chronicled the go-go 80s like Tina Brown. Her creation, Vanity Fair, wrote that decade’s cultural history as it happened. It was also part of the story: its fashion-spreads, celebrity gossip, and serious reporting wielded real influence in…
Steve Erickson Saw Trumpism Coming
Nov 7, 2017 • 31 min
American Weimar, novelist Steve Erickson’s 1995 essay on threats to American democracy, has always been among Alec Baldwin’s favorite pieces of writing. But last year, when all of the chickens Erickson identified came home to roost, it became clear that…
A Visit to Barbra’s Place
Oct 17, 2017 • 52 min
Barbra Streisand has had multiplatinum albums every decade going back to the 60s. She’s got Emmys, Oscars, Grammys, and a Tony. She’s as big as a star gets, and she’s gotten there not despite but because of the fact that she’s remained distinctly Barbra —…
Bernie Sanders Thinks Democrats Are Still Way Off-Course
Oct 3, 2017 • 40 min
It was just 15 months ago that Bernie Sanders ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, but by his own telling, he’s already converted that political insurgency into a movement that’s changed what’s considered mainstream in America,…
Burton Cummings: the Canadian Man behind “American Woman”
Sep 19, 2017 • 47 min
For a while The Guess Who and frontman Burton Cummings were as big as it gets. And if you’re Canadian, they’re even bigger — the first huge Canadian rock ’n roll act, paving the way for border-crossing superstars from Arcade Fire to Justin Bieber. Burton…
HBO’s Sheila Nevins Makes Docs Hot
Sep 5, 2017 • 33 min
As head of HBO Documentary Films since 1979, Sheila Nevins has exerted more influence on the medium than perhaps anyone in its history. She has overseen the production of literally hundreds of documentaries, which have won dozens of Oscars. Whether shot…
Brando, Robert Frost and the Other Men in Patricia Bosworth’s Life
Aug 22, 2017 • 38 min
Mark Twain once likened biographies to “the clothes and buttons of the man” saying “the biography of the man himself, cannot be written.” The quote is a favorite of Patricia Bosworth, a 1950s model-actor turned biographer known for capturing the lives of…
How Charles Munn is Saving the Amazon
Aug 8, 2017 • 42 min
Charles Munn’s quest to save the Amazon revolves around one theory: if people see the beauty in nature, they’ll fight to protect it. So far, he’s right. Over four decades, the American conservation biologist’s ecotourism mission has helped restore 12…
Audra McDonald is the “Luckiest Survivor in the World”
Jul 25, 2017 • 40 min
Much like the staggering beauty of her voice, Audra McDonald is impossible to ignore. The only artist to sweep all four acting categories at the Tony’s, she’s the most decorated Broadway star of all time. Reviews of her award-winning performances overflow…
Yes, Jon Anderson’s Musical Adventure Isn’t Over
Jul 11, 2017 • 53 min
Many words can be used to describe singer-songwriter Jon Anderson; cautious is not one of them. Born in England in 1944, he began singing on his brother’s daily route as a milkman before falling head first for rock n’ roll. After meeting bassist Chris…
‘The Godfather’ Made Sofia Coppola Protective of Actors
Jun 27, 2017 • 36 min
Before Sofia Coppola could talk, she was in movies, famously playing an infant in her father Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece The Godfather. She’d appear in the next one too, as an immigrant girl, but it was her role in The Godfather: Part III that…
Philip Galanes Lies Like a Rug
Jun 13, 2017 • 43 min
Philip Galanes is a man of many words—which comes as no surprise to his family, who grew up listening to him read Dear Abby columns aloud. An avid reader and passionate wordsmith, he returned to his alma mater, Yale University, a few years after…
Joe Jackson Suffers No Fools
May 30, 2017 • 42 min
Combining three musical genres in your debut album may be risky, but Joe Jackson never cared about playing it safe. In 1979, his first LP Look Sharp! did just that—weaving pop, ska, and punk together into a sound all its own. With songs like Is She Really…
Carly Simon Was Afraid of the Spotlight - and Still Is
May 16, 2017 • 53 min
It’s hard, if not impossible, to imagine the 1970s without Carly Simon. After opening for Cat Stevens at LA’s Troubadour in 1971, she gained near instant fame, winning a Grammy for Best New Artist that same year. The daughter of Richard L. Simon,…
Brian Reed Thought “S-Town” Could Only Ever Be a Cult Show
May 2, 2017 • 38 min
Good stories teach us about humankind, great ones change the way we see it. For many, S-Town — a seven episode series about an eccentric Alabama horologist named John B. McLemore — has done just that. Released on March 28, the podcast reached critical…
Tony Hendra on the Essentiality of Satire
Apr 18, 2017 • 36 min
British-born comedian, actor, and writer Tony Hendra knows a thing or two about mocking politicians. As one of the first editors of the American humor magazine the National Lampoon, he helped perfect and popularize the type of satire that comedians still…
Alec Baldwin in the Hot Seat
Apr 17, 2017 • 39 min
Here’s The Thing listeners are used to hearing Alec ask the questions, but for this bonus episode, he’s the guest! To mark the publication of his new memoir, Nevertheless, Alec talk about money, drugs, career choices and family with Death, Sex & Money…
Mark Farner: The Cussing Christian of Rock and Roll
Apr 4, 2017 • 40 min
Grand Funk Railroad’s lead vocalist talks to Alec Baldwin about his Christian faith and writing one of his greatest hits in the middle of a fight with his first wife.
Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman Take it Slow in Work and in Love
Mar 21, 2017 • 49 min
Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman are famous for creating iconic TV characters on two beloved sitcoms, “Will & Grace” and “Parks and Recreation.” But they also have a life together off screen. They’ve been married since 2003, and Playboy magazine compared…
Vogue’s Grace Coddington Doesn’t Want To Think Much About What She Wears
Mar 6, 2017 • 39 min
These days, legendary fashion editor Grace Coddington tends to wear black—her way of remaining a “blank slate” at the fashion shoots she runs. But it wasn’t long ago that she herself was the vessel for the clothes. Born in the north of Wales in 1941,…
Scott Chaskey is America’s Favorite Farmer
Feb 21, 2017 • 35 min
Farmer, poet, and pioneer of the community farming movement, Scott Chaskey is the kind of progressive thinker that doesn’t come around often. Weaving together his passion for farming and prose, the 66-year-old has penned multiple books on the community…
Thelma Schoonmaker: Martin Scorsese’s Secret Weapon
Feb 7, 2017 • 43 min
Thelma Schoonmaker—with a face and demeanor like your favorite grade school teacher—may be the last person you’d imagine to helm the epic violence of Martin Scorsese’s films. Yet this earnest, soft spoken woman has edited every single movie he’s done…
John Turturro’s Mind at Work
Jan 24, 2017 • 51 min
It’s hard to imagine John Turturro—an award-winning actor, director, and writer—feeling inadequate. But even today, the big-hearted 59-year-old says he’s “still learning” his craft. Raised by Italian working-class parents in Park Slope, Brooklyn, he…
The Wonderful Life of Debbie Reynolds
Jan 17, 2017 • 45 min
Last month, as our listeners know, Debbie Reynolds died on December 28th – one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died, on December 27th. Alec talked to Debbie Reynolds over three years ago for Here’s The Thing. We always hoped he would sit down with…
Questlove Can’t Take a Compliment
Jan 3, 2017 • 53 min
Few musicians can compete with the encyclopedic musical knowledge that Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson possesses—which is great news if you got to be a student of his at NYU. When not teaching music history, the 45-year-old drummer is directing the…
Patti Smith Never Wanted to Be Famous
Dec 27, 2016 • 53 min
Patti Smith defined punk rock in 1978 with her hit song Because the Night, but the New Jersey native was never looking for fame. A lover of poetry, art, and creative expression, it was the desire to “do something great” that motivated her to move to New…
Robbie Robertson Learned Music on an Indian Reservation
Dec 20, 2016 • 44 min
At age 15, Robbie Robertson packed up his guitar and took a train from Canada to the Mississippi Delta—or as he calls it, the “holy land of rock n’ roll.” Inspired by his Mohawk relatives’ musical talents, Robertson was determined to make his own mark on…
Eric Fanning Says Combat a Last Resort
Dec 6, 2016 • 42 min
Eric Fanning didn’t think there was a place for him in a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military, but today he’s Secretary of the US Army. He is the first openly gay leader of the armed forces. Fanning was raised in Michigan in a military family and had a…
Sandra Bernhard: Post-Modern Entertainer
Nov 22, 2016 • 38 min
Born in Flint, Michigan, Sandra Bernhard was raised in a conservative Jewish family. She spent 8 months on a kibbutz out of high school, then moved to LA in 1974 at age 19 and enrolled in beauty school. She started performing in comedy clubs at night. And…
Michael Stipe on R.E.M. and Fear of Collage
Nov 8, 2016 • 42 min
In the 1980s, Athens, Georgia, rock band R.E.M. was the epitome of the artful “alternative” band— producing a string of beautiful, if occasionally inscrutable albums, and slowly evolving over time. But then came Out of Time, the band’s true arrival as…
Gordon Lightfoot on Dylan, Neil Young, and Stompin’ Tom Connors
Oct 25, 2016 • 38 min
Over the course of a career that has lasted more than half a century, Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot has achieved global stardom and exceptional influence. Bob Dylan’s a fan—he’s said, “I can’t think of any [Lightfoot songs] I don’t like.”…
Radio Host Bob Garfield on Trump and Telemarketing
Oct 11, 2016 • 44 min
Each week, more than 400 radio stations across the country air “On The Media,” a program that takes a hard look at the boldfaced names in the headlines—and the smaller names in the bylines. The program has won many awards for its role as a watchdog for…
Starbucks’ Howard Schultz Doesn’t Sleep—But Don’t Blame the Coffee
Sep 27, 2016 • 34 min
Howard Schultz wasn’t born into business. A Brooklyn boy whose father worked menial jobs to support the family, Schultz thought his way out would be through sport. That is, however, until he broke his jaw on the football field at 18 (an injury from which…
Elliott Gould: Mash Notes on a Long Career
Sep 13, 2016 • 45 min
Elliott Gould has lived a life in show business. He was just 12 when he started singing and dancing in a vaudeville routine in 1951. Dancing has been a fixture: Gould says he tangoed with his mother to “I Get Ideas” at his own bar mitzvah, perhaps hinting…
Iris Smyles Is Trying to Be a Human Again
Aug 30, 2016 • 44 min
In Iris Smyles’ new book “Dating Tips for the Unemployed,” the main character ‘Iris Smyles’ embarks on a personal journey (modeled on Homer’s “Odyssey”) that involves plenty of emotional shipwrecks and failures to launch. The source material is closely…
Kevin Kline Takes a Bow, Several Times
Aug 16, 2016 • 53 min
Kevin Kline is one of the most acclaimed entertainers working today. So how did the kid from St. Louis end up with an Oscar, two Tony awards, and a career that has intersected with those of Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, John Cleese, and Kenneth Branagh,…
Nuclear Safety Isn’t Just About Who Has the Codes
Aug 2, 2016 • 48 min
Gregory Jaczko didn’t grow up aspiring to work on the country’s central nuclear energy oversight body, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He had a freshly-minted Ph.D. in physics when he received a fellowship to learn about the political process in…
Viggo Mortensen, From Warrior King to Captain Fantastic
Jul 19, 2016 • 53 min
Viggo Mortensen became a global star as a valiant crusading king in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. But then he deftly complicated this virtuous image with a series of dark, dense character studies for the director David Cronenberg. And…
Michael Eisner Wants a Good Movie to End Quickly
Jul 5, 2016 • 50 min
Michael Eisner started out in show business the same way everybody else does: by taking tickets at the studio door. But most ticket takers don’t end up as epochal media magnates. Eisner rose to prominence at ABC as a protege of Barry Diller, helping to…
Joe Dallesandro Thought Warhol Made Soup
Jun 21, 2016 • 57 min
Joe Dallesandro became famous as a shaggy-haired blond Adonis in the iconoclastic and transgressive Andy Warhol-produced films Flesh, Trash, and Heat, in which he helped to rewrite the rules for onscreen sexuality. He’s name-checked in “Walk on the Wild…
Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’ Makes a Star
Jun 7, 2016 • 35 min
The massively popular Netflix series Making a Murderer explores the circumstances surrounding a homicide in small-town Wisconsin, and highlights the ways the criminal justice system failed defendants Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. Defense attorney Dean…
Michael Pollan Tried to Blow Up a Woodchuck
May 24, 2016 • 43 min
Michael Pollan says that every writer has a “final question,” an irreducible topic to which all their work tends. For Pollan, that topic has always been nature — specifically, the ways in which the natural world and humans have co-evolved to mutual…
Anthony Weiner on Term Limits and Text Messages
May 10, 2016 • 49 min
This interview was conducted in April 2016, prior to new reports that Anthony Weiner continued to be involved in explicit text and digital message exchanges. Anthony Weiner is charismatic, full of ideas, quick on his feet — he’s a natural politician.…
Ellie Kemper Gets Brain Freeze with Alec Baldwin
Apr 26, 2016 • 40 min
Ellie Kemper leapt into pop culture consciousness in 2009 when she joined the cast of “The Office” during the show’s fifth season. Her portrayal of earnest, perky receptionist Erin Hannon introduced viewers to Kemper’s strongest weapon as an actress: her…
Mary Brosnahan on Homelessness in New York
Apr 12, 2016 • 36 min
Mary Brosnahan recalls a trip she took to Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the height of The Troubles: she was 16, raised in a Detroit suburb, but here she saw soldiers deployed with rifles right in the city center. The trip politicized the young…
Cary Fukunaga Wanted to Be a Snowboarder
Mar 29, 2016 • 39 min
Director Cary Fukunaga was born half-Japanese, half-Swedish. His works travel wide cultural distances, as well. He’s told an immigrant story (Sin Nombre), created authentic British period drama (Jane Eyre), and explored gothic noir (True Detective). His…
Steven Donziger: Oil and Its Aftermath
Mar 15, 2016 • 36 min
In 1993, tens of thousands of native Ecuadorians filed a civil suit against oil giant Texaco, alleging that the corporation’s activity in the country’s north-east Lago Agrio oil fields resulted in the poisoning of drinking water, land toxicity, and…
MSF’s Joanne Liu Still Believes War Has Rules
Mar 1, 2016 • 34 min
Joanne Liu is the the International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), a non-governmental organization that administers humanitarian medical aid and assistance to war- and disaster-ridden areas. They don’t just treat victims…
Molly Ringwald: ‘These Films No Longer Belong to Me’
Feb 16, 2016 • 40 min
For movie fans who came of age in the 1980s, Molly Ringwald is the definitive ”it” girl. As the creative inspiration for director John Hughes, Ringwald was the de facto center of generationally-significant films like ‘The Breakfast Club,’ ‘Sixteen…
Still Plenty of Fight in Mickey Rourke
Feb 2, 2016 • 43 min
Mickey Rourke started boxing as a young man as a way to cope with a rough home and a rough neighborhood. He was undefeated as an amateur in the ring, before coming to New York to study at The Actors Studio. Working with renowned acting coach Sandra…
The Making of ‘Making a Murderer’
Jan 19, 2016 • 40 min
In 1985, Steven Avery was convicted and imprisoned for sexual assault in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. He served nearly two decades of his sentence before being exonerated on the basis of new forensic evidence. Shortly after launching a multimillion dollar…
Dustin Hoffman and Edie Falco
Jan 12, 2016 • 57 min
In anticipation of a new season of Here’s The Thing, we’re looking back at some of our favorite interviews from 2015. The Graduate. Midnight Cowboy. Lenny. That’s just the beginning of Dustin Hoffman’s legendary Hollywood career. Over the last five…
Sarah Jessica Parker and Ian Schrager
Jan 5, 2016 • 57 min
It’s a new year — and soon, a new season of Here’s The Thing. So today we’re looking back at two of our favorite interviews from 2015. After shooting the pilot for Sex and the City, Sarah Jessica Parker told HBO she didn’t want to go through with the…
A Classical Icon Who Has a Lot to Say for L.A.
Dec 22, 2015 • 42 min
The London Philharmonia is one of the world’s great performing ensembles; over its seventy year history, it has engaged conductors as distinguished as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini, Richard Strauss and others. Today, Finnish composer Esa-Pekka…
Jimmy Fallon Will Never Make Fun of You
Dec 8, 2015 • 48 min
When Jimmy Fallon landed a spot on Saturday Night Live in 1998, he told executive producer and comedy kingmaker Lorne Michaels, “I’m going to make you proud.” Six years later, Fallon departed as a audience favorite, the show’s go-to impressions guy, and…
Andrew Berman and Rob Snyder on Preserving What Matters
Nov 24, 2015 • 35 min
Growth comes with costs. On this episode of Here’s The Thing, Alec Baldwin talks to two individuals who are protecting places that are most vulnerable to development and destruction. Andrew Berman has been called one of the most powerful people in New…
Amy Schumer Grew Up in a Nude House
Nov 10, 2015 • 36 min
Amy Schumer says she’s been called the “girl next door, fastest-rising comic” for ten years. But it’s more true than it’s ever been, given three high profile successes in 2015: her increasingly hilarious and transgressive Comedy Central television show…
Dan Rather Tells Alec Baldwin the ‘Truth’
Oct 27, 2015 • 46 min
Dan Rather was the host and anchor of CBS Evening News for more than twenty years. He resigned the post in the wake of an investigation into then-President George W. Bush’s Vietnam-era military service. A new film starring Robert Redford and Cate…
Carol Burnett
Oct 13, 2015 • 40 min
Carol Burnett’s stage and screen career is one of the great showbiz success stories. From her early days on Broadway, to the 11-season run of The Carol Burnett Show, to her luminous big-screen turn as Miss Hannigan in Annie: Burnett’s numerous Emmy and…
William Friedkin Paid Off the MTA to Make ‘The French Connection’
Sep 29, 2015 • 35 min
William Friedkin is the director of more than twenty films, among them “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection.” For the latter, Friedkin won the 1971 Academy Award for Best Director, based on the film’s stunning action sequences and incandescent…
Andy Warhol Really Did Like Campbell’s Soup
Sep 15, 2015 • 32 min
Andy Warhol gained fame and notoriety as the godfather of Pop Art. His electric-colored screen prints of Coca Colas, Marilyn Monroes, and electric chairs are iconic pieces, despite their iconoclastic origins. But there’s more to Warhol than Day-Glo…
Julie Taymor, Before and After ‘Lion King’
Sep 1, 2015 • 38 min
“The Lion King” is now the highest-grossing Broadway production of all time. Julie Taymor hadn’t seen the Disney film when she was approached to direct the project, but she had spent years studying the masks, mythology, and ancient ritual drama of…
Penn Jillette’s Marathon Life in Magic
Aug 18, 2015 • 45 min
At 6’6” tall, Penn Jillette is a huge character. He’s got a huge frame, a huge personality, and huge appetites. It’s a trait that has occasionally gotten him into trouble; he weighed, until a recent diet change, more than 350 pounds. But his gregarious…
Paul Simon
Aug 4, 2015 • 49 min
Paul Simon is one of the great American entertainers—a mantle he’s worn since he started singing harmony with grade-school friend Art Garfunkel in a duo called Tom & Jerry. In the following six decades, Simon has written dozens of classic songs. His…
David Remnick on Liebling, Dylan, and Glasnost
Jul 21, 2015 • 48 min
David Remnick is the editor of The New Yorker magazine. It’s a title he’s held since 1998, and one that requires a tireless attention to detail, and an endless awareness of current news, trends, and ideas. In short, he keeps himself busy. Under Remnick’s…
Alec Baldwin Dives to the Gulf Floor with Antonia Juhasz
Jul 7, 2015 • 37 min
Journalist Antonia Juhasz details the ongoing environmental disaster of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
John Guare and Lisa Dwan Talk Theater with Alec Baldwin
Jun 23, 2015 • 62 min
A prestigious agent signed playwright John Guare before he had even graduated from Yale School of Drama, saying he showed promise. In the five decades since, Guare has been one of the most humane—and absurd—voices of American theater. He says “there’s no…
What Dustin Hoffman Learned from Bob Fosse, Gene Hackman, and Kobe Bryant
Jun 9, 2015 • 39 min
The Graduate. Midnight Cowboy. Lenny. That’s just the beginning of Dustin Hoffman’s legendary Hollywood career. Over the last five decades, he’s stretched and contorted himself into dozens of defining roles, earning recognition as one of the most talented…
Gay Talese Tells Alec Baldwin About Sinatra’s Cold
May 26, 2015 • 35 min
When Gay Talese couldn’t land an interview with Frank Sinatra, he wrote the profile instead by talking to Sinatra’s tailor, stylist, valet, and other secondary characters in the pop star’s world. The resulting piece for Esquire magazine, “Frank Sinatra…
For Ian Schrager, Studio 54 Was Just the Start
May 12, 2015 • 37 min
Ian Schrager is in the hospitality business. Hotels or nightclubs, uptown or downtown, Miami or Manhattan, Schrager defines luxury and leisure. When he and his late business partner Steve Rubell opened Studio 54 in 1977, the club quickly became the…