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I Think You're Interesting

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I Think You’re Interesting is a weekly interview podcast hosted by Vox critic at large Todd VanDerWerff, featuring both well-known and more obscure figures from the worlds of the arts, entertainment, and pop culture. Each week, guests will dive into their influences, their inspirations, and their careers, in frank, uncensored fashion.

I Think You’re Interesting is a weekly interview podcast hosted by Vox critic at large Todd VanDerWerff, featuring both well-known and more obscure figures from the worlds of the arts, entertainment, and pop culture. Each week, guests will dive into their influences, their inspirations, and their careers, in frank, uncensored fashion.
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I Think You’re Interesting is a weekly interview podcast hosted by Vox critic at large Todd VanDerWerff, featuring both well-known and more obscure figures from the worlds of the arts, entertainment, and pop culture. Each week, guests will dive into their influences, their inspirations, and their careers, in frank, uncensored fashion.




Better Call Saul's showrunner tells us everything about the show's amazing finale

Few TV shows are better than AMC's Better Call Saul. But if you told that to someone in 2015, when the show debuted, they might look at you askance. Yes, the show was a spinoff from Breaking Bad, one of the most acclaimed TV shows ever made, but it was still a spinoff, a format with an oft-indistinguished legacy. It was so easy to see how this series could have gone wrong. Instead, the show's writers, led by co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, have turned Better Call Saul into a...


The history of the American circus, with the people who worked there

The circus! At one time, it was one of the country’s most reliable forms of mass entertainment, crisscrossing American backroads to perform for people all over the nation. Everything from the circus train to the people who put up the big tent made its way into American legend. But the American circus isn’t in great shape anymore. The treatment (or mistreatment) of animals tarnished the image of the once-venerable Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, which closed down in 2017 after it...


Reup: BoJack Horseman's sly, funny brilliance, explained by the people who make it

This episode is a rebroadcast of an episode from 2017, but with BoJack Horseman's fifth season recently debuting, we thought it was a great time to revisit it. Todd loves few TV shows more than BoJack Horseman, Netflix's weird animated comedy about a sad horse. Its recently completed fourth season, which delved into the histories of many of the characters and talked about the roots of trauma and depression, just might be the best the series has ever done. To understand why the season was...


Jon Batiste, Stephen Colbert’s bandleader, on making music in New Orleans, on the subway, and on late night TV

Jon Batiste makes some of TV’s best music, night in and night out. As bandleader of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the multi-instrumentalist comes up with perfect tunes to introduce guests, to complement Colbert’s jokes, and to keep the audience hyped up. (Many of the tunes fitting that last category are Batiste originals, performed by him and his band, Stay Human.) But Batiste’s career stretches beyond late-night TV. He started out making music at a very young age in his hometown of...


Janet from The Good Place and Kelli from Insecure on making TV's funniest shows even funnier

We're focusing on TV scene stealers this week, as we head into a new fall season. These two performers take some of the best shows on TV and make them even better, sidling into any given scene and swiping it right out from under everybody else with a perfect one-liner or pratfall. First, we're talking with D'Arcy Carden of NBC's The Good Place and HBO's Barry. Her work as Janet (and Janet's evil twin, Bad Janet) on The Good Place is some of the funniest stuff you'll see on TV. As what...


TV ratings, explained

The Nielsen ratings might not have as much power as they once held, but they still can decide the fate of your favorite TV show. If nobody's watching, it could be canceled. That's always been true. But what's also always been true is that the Nielsen data-gathering procedure is a little opaque and hard to understand. Don't worry, though, because we've got your back. This week, Todd and guest Joe Adalian, of New York Magazine's Vulture, take you through how the Nielsens work, how they decide...


One of the best TV shows of the year is a documentary about racial inequities in education

Steve James is one of the best documentary filmmakers to ever have lived. His movies examine the fault lines that underlie American society, often (but not always) those of race and class, and how those who have power often attempt to maximize the amount they wield over those who do not. His seminal 1994 film Hoop Dreams, one of the greatest movies ever made, served as a kind of calling card for his interests going forward. He was going to tell stories about what it means to grow up and to...


How to make a movie starring the internet, with Eighth Grade director Bo Burnham

The new coming-of-age comedy Eighth Grade is one of the surprise success stories of the summer, turning a tiny story of a 13-year-old girl’s last week in the titular grade into a much larger tale of the universally awkward and cringeworthy experience of being an adolescent just trying to figure shit out. Its hero, young Kayla (played by the remarkable Elsie Fisher), deals with trying to launch her YouTube channel, with a crush that goes nowhere, and with her feelings of inadequacy when...


The incredible true story behind Spike Lee's new movie BlacKkKlansman

The new movie BlacKkKlansman is careful to let you know very early on that, yes, its story is a true one, with a few embellishments for film. And it likely does so because said story — a black man goes undercover and becomes a trusted confidant of people in the Ku Klux Klan, including David Duke himself — would be written off as preposterous if it occurred in a fictional context. But, no, that man really existed. His name was Ron Stallworth, and as an officer with the Colorado Springs...


Why the binge model doesn’t always make the best TV

There’s a reason TV critics and reporters call FX Networks president and CEO John Landgraf the “mayor of television” — and it’s not just because that’s kind of a funny title to give to somebody. Of all the executives in the TV game right now, Landgraf has a reputation as the most thoughtful about the past, present, and future of television, and his semiannual addresses to TV journalists have coined the term “Peak TV” and first raised the issue of Netflix not measuring its viewership. In...


Sharp Objects’ Patricia Clarkson on finding the mom roles worth playing

Adora Crellin is a difficult woman to love. The monstrously suffocating mother of Camille, the protagonist of HBO's terrific murder mystery miniseries Sharp Objects, Adora keeps finding ways to undercut her damaged daughters and to visit the deep-seated trauma in her soul upon the women who should be able to rely on her most. So just imagine playing Adora and how that might seep into your soul. Fortunately, we've got Patricia Clarkson, one of America's finest actors for portraying...


Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley on labor unions, capitalism, and his hit movie

The riotously funny, incredibly inventive new movie Sorry to Bother You has become one of the summer’s most acclaimed films, as well as an unlikely hit in arthouses. The movie’s tale of a young man named Cassius Green (played by Lakeith Stanfield), who takes a job in a call center, drifts wildly from genre to genre, sometimes seeming like a comedy, sometimes like a call to political action, and sometimes like a near-future science fiction movie. But uniting all these ideas is a commitment...


How Neko Case writes her beautiful, brilliant songs

Neko Case’s nearly 20-year career has been marked by some of the best songs of that time frame, chronicles of a country and world that often seem to be plunging into chaos but always manage to just avoid doing so. Her solo albums, including the brand new Hell-On, have been a major part of that, but so has her work as a vocalist with the indie-pop group the New Pornographers and as part of a trio of singer-songwriter superstars with K.D. Lang and Laura Veirs. Case’s songs don’t always...


The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 and the summer’s biggest movies, discussed and explained

Believe it or not, the summer entertainment season is half over. Fall TV will be firing up in just a few short weeks, and the summer movies of 2018 have just about run out. (Mission: Impossible — Fallout is the only big release still coming.) That makes it a great time to check in on some of the biggest pop culture items of the summer, in this special episode with two different segments. First, Salon's Melanie McFarland and Vanity Fair’s Sonia Saraiya join Todd to talk about the second...


Inside the world’s best true-crime podcast

Call the APM Reports production In the Dark a “true crime" podcast, and everybody involved in it will bristle, just a bit. Yes, it starts from the place of exploring crimes that really happened. But it’s not interested in exploring the crimes so much as it is the injustice of the American justice system. So my apologies for calling In the Dark a true-crime podcast, when it’s so much more than that. But every week, when I listen to it, I’m reminded that the form could be so much more than it...


You may not immediately recognize Bob Balaban’s name. But you know his voice

Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Gosford Park. Moonrise Kingdom. The original cast of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. These might seem like wildly different projects, but they have one man in common: actor Bob Balaban. Balaban is one of the consummate “hey, it’s that guy!” actors. His name might not immediately ring a bell (unless you, like me, love to keep track of all the great character actors), but the second you see his face or just hear his voice, you’ll instantly know who he is....


Stand-up Hari Kondabolu is so much more than The Problem with Apu

Hari Kondabolu identified a problem. His self-hosted, self-produced 2017 documentary, The Problem With Apu, which aired on TruTV, discusses how The Simpsons character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon created a caricature of South Asians and perpetuated a stereotype that hung over South Asian kids like Hari and followed them into adulthood. The documentary isn’t a call for Apu to be removed from the show or fired into the sun or anything like that. No, it’s an earnest discussion of how these types of...


Aisha Tyler on Archer, standup comedy, and being Aisha Tyler

Does Aisha Tyler sleep? That’s a question you might reasonably ask after looking at her IMDb page for a moment or two. She’s a regular on two TV shows — FXX’s Archer and CBS’s Criminal Minds — while also hosting Unapologetic, a new talk show for AMC. And that’s in addition to all the other one-off hosting gigs she takes on. And yet she’s always fresh, funny, and on point. Tyler got her start as a standup comic in the late '90s, at a time when, she says, black women were often pigeonholed...


How to make great TV, according to the showrunners of Black Lightning, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Vida

Another TV season is over. You might not have noticed its end, thanks to the way TV never goes away any more, but technically, the TV season wraps at the end of May. So it seemed like a good time to get some of the best TV showrunners together and ask them how they create great standout TV, when there's way too much of it. Salim Akil of Black Lightning (CW), Aline Brosh McKenna of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' (CW) and Tanya Saracho of Vida (Starz) join Todd for a lively discussion about this era in...


The Americans' showrunners and star bid farewell to TV's best show

If you've listened to this show ever, or read anything Todd has ever written, then you know The Americans is one of his favorite shows of the past several years. Last night, it ended. For this special episode of the show, Todd is joined by star Matthew Rhys (who plays Philip) and writers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, who run the series, to talk about the series' incredible final season and its even more remarkable finale. There are spoilers if you haven't watched the entire series, but also...