Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso is a weekly series of intimate, long-form conversations with filmmakers, musicians, comedians, activists, writers, performers and, once, my mother. Hosted by writer/director Sam Fragoso. New episodes every Sunday.

Episodes

June 28, 2020 44 min
Dr. Ashish Jha (Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute) joins us this week to give us science-based updates on the global pandemic. We discuss the federal government’s inconsistent approach to COVID-19 (9:40), the truth about transmission rates (13:00), the affect masks can have on numbers country-wide (20:55), the restlessness of the older generation (32:24), predictions of the second wave (36:50), and his hope of overcom...
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A bonus episode! And a personal one at that. Back in February I directed a music video for Radnor & Lee, the folk duo created by artists Josh Radnor and Ben Lee. Today we discuss using their platforms to take a stance on the ongoing social injustices (3:20), the process of making their latest record, Golden State (11:00), finding a balance within each other (23:00), living a life full of passion (31:09), the expectations betwee...
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June 21, 2020 73 min
Today we celebrate Father's Day with the great Dolores Huerta! An icon within in my Latino family, she's a trailblazing labor leader, civil rights activist, and community organizer. At age 90, she joins us this week to share her mother's words of wisdom that compelled her to fight for people (15:34), how she co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez (22:06), our civic duty to lend a helping hand (42:37), pers...
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June 14, 2020 72 min
Holland Taylor is an American playwright and actress best known for her television roles on The Practice and Hollywood; films like Legally Blonde, Romancing the Stone, and The Truman Show. This week, she walks us through her storied career, from her days as a playpen baby (8:08) to the college experience that solidified her choice to place career ahead of motherhood (12:51). Having moved from coast to coast, she discusses her early...
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June 7, 2020 42 min
Hank Willis Thomas believes the past is the present. Now more than ever. As a conceptual artist, he focuses on race, identity, and popular culture. His work (sculptures, photography, installations) has been exhibited around the world, from New York to Paris to Hong Kong. Today, since we can't stroll through museums, we offer a kind of guided listening experience. At our website (talkeasypod.com) you'll find a visual compani...
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Jelani Cobb is a professor, historian, and staff writer for The New Yorker, where he covers race and politics. He joins us to discuss the “dimension and contours” of this moment in America (6:00), the intersection of Amy Cooper's phone call and George Floyd's death (12:05), how to engage those with whom you disagree (18:30), Ahmaud Arbery and the age of the black-panic defense (24:00), why body cam videos may objectify inst...
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In the midst of a global pandemic, two artists emerge with new projects. Art for your hearts and minds. First we call up multi-hyphenate talent Terence Nance (4:07), known for his HBO series Random Acts of Flyness, to discuss his healing debut EP: Things I Never Had. After that we ring up director Malik Vitthal (31:00). His new film, Body Cam, stars Mary J. Blige and is available on VOD today! We'll see you back here on Sunday...
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For the last 20 years, journalist Brooke Gladstone has been making sense of the news. Her Peabody-winning show, On the Media, says to examine the “myths and media narratives that shape our worldview—for better or for worse”. This week Brooke join us to put this moment of ours in context. We discuss her ability to “take the long view”, the need for civility in journalism, lessons learned from the 2016 Presidential election, how we a...
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May 17, 2020 73 min
A self-described “contract player”, Ted Danson has been a staple on television for the past 40 years. Cheers. Becker. Bored to Death. Damages. Curb Your Enthusiasm. In that time he's been, at least for me, a stabilizing force. A welcomed, recurring presence. On the heels of The Good Place's final season, Danson takes this unusual moment of ours to slow down and reflect. We discuss how his love of basketball translated into ...
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May 10, 2020 79 min
Back in 2017 I invited my mother on the podcast. She (reluctantly) accepted the invitation. What follows is that conversation, in full. A very special thanks goes out to Theresa Meyers this week. She has helped me more than she knows. A beacon, even when I've been a pain the ass (which has been often). I love her so. Happy Mother's Day to you and yours. Stay safe everyone.
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May 3, 2020 60 min
Roxane Gay may be a self-described introvert, but she's not one to shy away from a public fight. As a contributing writer for The New York Times, Gay has taken aim at President Trump, modern misogyny, racial discrimination within the police force. But it's her two best-selling books–Bad Feminist and Hunger–that cemented her place in the public discourse as a singular talent, someone able to write personally and politically ...
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For the next month I'm co-hosting a new podcast! It's called “The Last Dance Aftershow”, a weekly program on the 10-part documentary of Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls. Upcoming guests include Adam McKay, Chuck Klosterman, Heidi Gardner, Sam Smith, Steve James, Jason Hehir, Bill Cartwright, and many more! Listen/rate/subscribe wherever you do your listening. https://the-last-dance-aftershow.captivate.fm/ (...
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April 26, 2020 86 min
Four years ago Sam stumbled upon a book called “Big Magic”. From it, Talk Easy was born. Today we come full circle in sitting with beloved writer Elizabeth Gilbert. Both in her fiction and non-fiction work, Gilbert seeks a kind of radical honesty. She’s irrepressibly curious, a searcher of stories. On this week’s podcast, those stories come in all different shapes and sizes: an appreciation for her current solitude; a re-examinati...
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Four years ago W. Kamau Bell joined us on Talk Easy. It was a different time, before Donald Trump was President Trump. This week the sociopolitical comedian returns to provide some light and laughter in these trying times. He discusses being a parent during the pandemic, the insensitive comments made by the U.S. Surgeon General, going back to Mobile, Alabama for his CNN show (United Shades of America), and the life lessons learned ...
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Who better to guide us through this darkness than Noam Chomsky? The esteemed linguist, author, and political activist joins us this week to provide a historical perspective to the pandemic (44:02). He also offers his diagnosis of the Trump administration and its failure to effectively respond to COVID-19. At 91, Chomsky is a beacon of hope in these trying times. Before speaking with Noam, Sam calls up Dr. Ashish Jha, Director of Ha...
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April 5, 2020 76 min
Beto O'Rourke entered politics because of people. He believes in their capacity for goodness and decency. He believes in their potential. And yet– what if his political brand is not exactly what the country wants in 2020? For the first time since suspending his Presidential campaign, Beto reflects on where he succeeded and where he failed these past three years. His strengths and weaknesses as a candidate, and the intense chall...
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March 29, 2020 57 min
Naomi Klein is an author, filmmaker and climate activist. But above all– she is a journalist. She joins us to reflect on her natural instinct to run toward crisis; her decades long research of disaster capitalism; the striking systemic difference between her home country of Canada and the United States; the influence of her grandfather’s strike against Disney; and how this pandemic has asked her to slow down. It is important to not...
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March 22, 2020 64 min
Actress Juliette Lewis “lost her anonymity” with the movies. Movies you've probably seen. Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, From Dusk Till Dawn. She's a visceral, singular performer, untethered to convention. This was true in 1989 and even more true in 2020. But it's what unfolds off-screen that Lewis keeps returning to these days. The larger, existential considerations one has as both a ...
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Dr. Ashish Jha is the Director of Harvard Global Health Institute and a Professor at Harvard T. H. Chan school of public health. If you've turned on your TV over the past few days, you've likely seen him discussing COVID-19. Today he joins us to talk about how the coronavirus spread; the necessity for social distancing; elderly discrimination; what we can learn from the Spanish Flu of 1918; and plenty advice on how to best ...
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March 8, 2020 63 min
Actor Sam Waterston doesn't do many of these. In fact, this is his first podcast. To mark the special occasion the stage and screen performer reflects on his 60-year career, from his days at Yale in Waiting for Godot to breaking into Hollywood with the The Great Gatsby. But what most fascinates Waterston is reflecting on his life behind the camera, off-stage, as a husband and father. For years Waterston was reluctant to publicl...
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