Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso is a weekly series of intimate conversations with artists, activists, and politicians. Where people sound like people. Hosted by Sam Fragoso. New episodes every Sunday.

Episodes

September 28, 2022 51 min

With the US midterms approaching, we’re joined by New York Times political reporter and host of The Run-Up, Astead Herndon. We start by examining this “relentlessly disorienting time” in America (5:10), where the pendulum of democracy (7:40) will be swung by four voting blocs this November: The Skeptical Trump voter (9:50), The Young Voter (13:15), The Disillusioned Democrat, and The NON-MAGA Republican (15:47). 

In the back half: ...

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Today we’re joined by Billy Eichner! We discuss the release of his groundbreaking rom-com Bros (4:22), how the film drew inspiration from James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News (6:30), and the power of working with an all LGBTQ+ cast (10:30). Then, we walk through Billy’s childhood in NYC: discovering the joy of film and live performance (16:23), watching ‘80s romantic comedies with his parents (17:10), and picturing himself in Tom Ha...

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Today, we’re joined by director Hiro Murai! With the return of Atlanta (5:06), we discuss the homecoming of this final season (7:14), Murai’s connection to the character Earn (10:04), the influence of Hayao Miyazaki (14:09), immigrating from Tokyo to Los Angeles at age 9 (17:12), and his search for an artistic identity between these two worlds (20:38).


After the break, how the Coen Brothers and Takeshi Kitano shaped his early work ...

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September 11, 2022 87 min

Last fall, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we turned to the work of photographer Joel Meyerowitz. In the aftermath of that fateful day, Joel spent nine months at Ground Zero, capturing images of the recovery effort and first responders—the firefighters, police officers, EMS, construction workers—who put their lives on the line and families on hold to show up for a nation in repair. Today, we revisit our special talk wi...

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This Labor Day weekend we’re joined by flight attendant and AFA President Sara Nelson! To begin, we discuss the challenge of summer air travel (6:14), the union’s fight against stock buybacks (9:45), and the history of harassment and sexism in the industry (18:33). Then, we walk through Sara’s early years at United (22:35), the physical toll of being a flight attendant (26:44), and how she found her way into the labor movement (30:...

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Today, we head to Princeton, New Jersey to sit with legendary writer Joyce Carol Oates. We begin with her daily routine, from writing to revision (6:34), the real-life events that inspired her new novel, Babysitter (9:09), and why she’s fascinated with examining violence in her work (14:06). Then, we walk through Oates’ early years: growing up on a farm (17:45), her literary influences (22:22), and the lasting relationship she form...

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August 21, 2022 68 min

Today we’re joined by Abbi Jacobson! We begin with her new series, A League of Their Own (5:35), the legacy of the 1992 film (10:35), her earliest comedic influences (15:05), moving to New York City post-college (21:04), falling in love with improv at UCB (25:08), the night she met Ilana Glazer (32:40), and a handful of memories creating Broad City (37:20).

On the back-half, Abbi tells the story behind her book I Might Regret This ...

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August 14, 2022 68 min

Musician Joey Bada$$ joins us today! With the release of his new album, “2000”, we discuss the evolution of his songwriting (5:07), the direction of the new record (8:59), and how Grand Puba influenced the opening track, The Baddest (10:28). Then, to better understand Joey’s present, we sit with his past: the first verse he performed (13:31), writing Waves, featured in “1999”, in his mother’s bedroom (19:15), forming Pro Era as a t...

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August 7, 2022 74 min

Today we’re joined by Lena Dunham! We start by discussing her new film, Sharp Stick (6:20), the 1970s cinema that inspired it (9:50), and how it offers a “three-way mirror” to the female experience (12:41). Then, Lena reflects on meeting Judd Apatow on the heels of Tiny Furniture (15:39), her rapid ascension following Girls (17:39), the pain and power of grappling with OCD on the show (23:11), the genius of season five’s “The Panic...

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July 31, 2022 71 min

Ethan Hawke has spent three decades telling stories. His latest project, The Last Movie Stars, honors two legends that inspired him to do so: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Today, he joins us to unpack the new docuseries (9:24), starting with his introduction to Paul Newman through Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (12:13). Then, Hawke reflects on his personal history: growing up with his mother on the east coast (16:43), his on...

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July 24, 2022 62 min

Today, we’re joined by comedian John Early! We begin with his excellent new special, Would It Kill You to Laugh? (6:51) and its surprising tenderness (10:03), before revisiting a satirical book club sketch written with collaborator Kate Berlant (13:41). Then, John reflects on growing up in Nashville to minister parents (19:05), discovering Toni Collette at Blockbuster (22:37), and creating a fan-site dedicated to her work (25:31).

...

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This week we’re joined by author and body healer, Resmaa Menakem. With the release of his new book, The Quaking of America, we discuss Black liberation (5:09), the ‘white-body supremacy’ of January 6th (7:41), the implications of America’s conservatism (20:08), why there’s a failure to communicate across the aisle (25:03), the pernicious paradigm that ‘white guilt’ creates (32:44), and what it will take for us to have an embodied, ...

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July 10, 2022 44 min

Five years ago, Jenny and Sam sat for a special conversation. They promised to reconvene in 2020 (which they did). To celebrate the release of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Jenny returns for round three!

We unpack the decade-long journey to making Marcel (8:00), what the character embodied for her (11:19), creating with director Dean Fleischer-Camp (13:39), combating misogyny in Hollywood (15:16), and the painful timeliness of he...

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This holiday weekend, we’re revisiting one of our favorite talks with actor, author, and woodworker Nick Offerman. We begin with his new book, Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside (5:05), which was inspired by Nick’s upbringing in rural Minooka, Illinois (6:12), the writings of poet Wendell Berry (7:30), and his experiences with the late Sam Shepard at St...

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June 26, 2022 71 min

Today, we sit with author and cultural critic Margo Jefferson. We begin with her new book, Constructing a Nervous System (6:54), an early Ella Fitzgerald memory (11:20), and the said (and unsaid) racial pedagogy of her childhood (16:24), defined by Condoleezza Rice (19:54), Bing Crosby (24:18), and a formative interaction at a high school party (27:49).

On the back-half, we walk through Margo’s entry into criticism (34:27), her rol...

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Last month, a leaked draft opinion offered a repudiation of a 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. The historic leak was followed by both pro-choice and pro-life protests across the country.

While we await the Supreme Court’s decision, attorney Neal Katyal has been fighting back. Formerly the Solicitor General under the Obama Administration, Katyal joins us to discuss the historic na...

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This week we’re joined by beloved author David Sedaris! We begin with the timely opening essay from his latest collection, Happy-Go-Lucky (4:05). Then, David describes growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina (10:07), his mother’s “Group Therapy” sessions at the dinner table (11:03), the night his father heckled him during a live performance (16:02), and what he learned about writing at the Art Institute of Chicago (26:55).

On the bac...

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June 5, 2022 59 min

This week we’re joined by actor Jon Bernthal! To begin, we discuss his latest performance on HBO’s We Own This City (6:00), policing and gun culture in America (9:15), growing up grappling with toxic masculinity (14:47), his pivot to acting in college (23:30), and the powerful history of theater in Moscow (27:25). 


On the back-half, he reflects on his first year in Los Angeles (32:45), the night that changed his life (37:44), and t...

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This week we are joined by comedian Meg Stalter! With season two of Hacks, we talk about her role as Kayla the assistant (5:50), a formative experience in a middle school drama class (12:50), moving from Ohio to Chicago to perform (17:54), and how she pushed boundaries on stage (19:47) with the support of her comedy community (22:34). We also unpack the strange sensation of going viral (25:19) before reenacting a trademark Meg Stal...

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To start, a reflection on the week that was. Then, we return to our conversation with Stacey Abrams. She won her Gubernatorial primary this week in Georgia, where she hopes to unseat Brian Kemp this November.

We talk about the systemic challenges that small business owners face (6:32), the impact of Georgia’s new voting laws (11:20), the threat of election subversion (14:02), what a functional democracy could look like (16:48), the...

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