It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders-logo

It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders


Each week, Sam Sanders interviews people in the culture who deserve your attention. Plus weekly wraps of the news with other journalists. Join Sam as he makes sense of the world through conversation.

Each week, Sam Sanders interviews people in the culture who deserve your attention. Plus weekly wraps of the news with other journalists. Join Sam as he makes sense of the world through conversation.


Washington, DC




Each week, Sam Sanders interviews people in the culture who deserve your attention. Plus weekly wraps of the news with other journalists. Join Sam as he makes sense of the world through conversation.




The Warped Reality of Eric André's 'Bad Trip'

Sam talks to actor and comedian Eric André about the evolution of the prank genre with his Netflix hidden-camera comedy Bad Trip. They chat about the complications of making a prank show while Black, who André would never prank, and why everyone could use a little absurdism to warp their realities. — Watch the full extended version of this interview on YouTube: You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at


The 'Thin Blue Line' In Minnesota, Plus 'Tell Them, I Am'

What's it like to cover the Derek Chauvin trial against the backdrop of continued police violence? Guest host Ari Shapiro talks to Minnesota activist and journalist O'nika Nicole Craven. Then, he talks to Maurice Chammah, staff writer at The Marshall Project, about the origins and evolving symbolism of the thin blue line. Plus, Misha Euceph on the new season of her podcast Tell Them, I Am, and the many ways that Muslims find glimpses of God. Then, Mary Knauf, executive producer of Tell Them,...


Bowen Yang's Rules of Culture

Bowen Yang often plays delightfully weird characters on SNL. But recently he appeared as himself on the show to address the uptick of Asian American violence in the U.S. Sam revisits his conversation from last fall with the comedian, who discusses becoming the first Chinese American cast member on Saturday Night Live, what it was like to do the show during a pandemic, and why Adele Dazeem is the number one moment in the history of culture. — Watch Sam's extended interview with Bowen:...


What's The Strategy? Corporate Activism And Anti-Trans Bills

Corporations have spoken out against the new restrictive voting law in Georgia, but to what end? Sam talks to Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick about whether that tactic actually effects change—and whether it's just a performance. Plus, Sam talks to author and historian Jules Gill-Peterson about the historic flood of anti-trans bills in state legislatures and how these bills echo anti-gay rhetoric of the past. Then, friends of the show Saeed Jones and Zach Stafford join Sam to play Who Said...


The Human Cost of Family Separation

It's been a few years now since President Trump adopted (and then later reversed) his administration's zero-tolerance policy that separated parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border. But what's happened to those families since? And what is President Biden doing now to help? Sam talks to Aura Bogado, senior investigative reporter and producer at Reveal, about how family separation, which has reaches back to the Obama administration, has affected a system that Aura says is not quite...


Is 'Diversity And Inclusion' Far From Its Roots? And What's An NFT?

Sam talks to Kim Tran, an anti-racist author and consultant, about her article in Harper's Bazaar on how the diversity, equity and inclusion industry has strayed from its movement roots. Plus, what's an NFT? And why are people buying them? And what are they again? Sam breaks it all down with tech reporters Bobby Allyn and Erin Griffith to explain the phenomenon of the non-fungible token — and whether it can last. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at...


Hanif Abdurraqib's Rabbit Holes into Great Black Performance

Hanif Abdurraqib's latest book is A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance. In it, Abdurraqib researches the impact of Black performers on American culture throughout the past several hundred years, touching on everything from minstrel shows to Soul Train, the concept of the "Magical Negro," and playing spades. Sam talks to Abdurraqib about lesser-known performers like Ellen Armstrong, the first Black woman magician, and they revisit the mythology of household names...


Gun Violence Never Went Away, Plus The Overlooked Talent Of Asian Actors

It might have seemed like mass shootings were down last year, but 2020 was actually one of the deadliest years for gun violence in decades. Sam talks to Abené Clayton, reporter for The Guardian, about why some shootings get more coverage than others. Plus, Sam talks to Shirley Li, staff writer at The Atlantic, about Minari and the way stereotypes inform how white audiences view the performances of Asian actors. Then, Hannah Giorgis, also of The Atlantic, joins Sam and Shirley to play Who...


The Fight To Transform Criminal Justice

There are few paths to freedom for people serving life sentences in prison on federal drug charges. Guest host Ayesha Rascoe talks with Brittany K. Barnett, lawyer, entrepreneur and author of A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom, about her role in the fight to free incarcerated people from these sentences. They talk about high profile clemencies, how life sentences are handed down even without physical evidence of drugs, and the wealth of Black love. You can follow us...


A History Of Anti-Asian Racism, Plus 'Married At First Sight'

In the wake of Tuesday's mass shooting in Atlanta, guest host Ayesha Rascoe talks to critical race theorist and professor Jennifer Ho about the history behind anti-Asian racism and what it means to be an Asian woman in America. Then, Ayesha chats about her latest obsession, the reality dating show Married at First Sight, with fellow devotees Delece Smith-Barrow, education editor at Politico, and Brittany Luse, former co-host and executive producer of The Nod. You can follow us on Twitter...


Can't Let It Go

A special episode from our friends at NPR's Planet Money: A show all about the things we're obsessed with. Sam joins Planet Money co-host Karen Duffin to dig into obsessions including the Beyoncé of economics, an actual musician, Lubalin, finding deep inspiration in shallow web posts, and curried chicken. Also, we stage an intervention, and, we bring you Planet Money's first ever meditation to help you breathe deeply and let go. Just let it go. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin...


Our Pandemic Year

We take stock of a year that challenged us emotionally, culturally and politically. Sam talks to Hira Deol, a former contestant on Big Brother Canada, about what it was like to learn about the pandemic while sequestered away from the outside world. Plus, Sam chats with culture writer Anne Helen Petersen about the gradual return to our "normal" lives — and just how messy it's going to be. — Read the poem from this episode: "Small Kindnesses" by Danusha Laméris You can follow us on Twitter...


Sohla El-Waylly on Race, Food and 'Bon Appétit'

Sohla El-Waylly called out her previous employer, Bon Appétit, during the magazine's racial reckoning last summer and resigned. The chef and food star is now a columnist at Food52 and star of the YouTube series Off-Script with Sohla. She and Sam talk about racism in the food media industry (and everywhere else), The Cheesecake Factory, and certain kinds of mushrooms. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at


Pop Culture Happy Hour: L'Amour For 'Lupin'

Sam joins the Pop Culture Happy Hour team to talk about the French Netflix series Lupin with culture writer Bedatri D. Choudhury and co-hosts Aisha Harris and Glen Weldon. They discuss the twisty caper's exciting (if implausible) plot, dissect its take on race and class, and gush over Omar Sy's performance. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at


Voting Rights Under Threat, Plus Do We Still Need Sports?

A new case before the U.S. Supreme Court could jeopardize the power of the Voting Rights Act. Sam talks to Mark Joseph Stern, staff writer for Slate, about what's at stake and how so much of the current debate goes back to Reconstruction. Sam also chats with contributing writer for The Atlantic and podcaster Jemele Hill about how tv viewership across almost all sports has tanked during the pandemic. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at


Author Torrey Peters On Seeing Through A Trans Lens

Torrey Peters' new book Detransition, Baby, is about navigating identity, commitment, parenthood and divorce. The three main characters, a pregnant cis woman, her partner who is a detransitioned man, and his ex, a trans woman, are all considering how they might come together to create a family. Sam talks to Torrey about writing for trans readers, creating flawed characters and how the COVID-19 pandemic can be viewed through a trans lens. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and...


A Weird Awards Season, Plus "Anything for Selena"

What's an awards season when many theaters are still closed and it's harder to track which movies and shows deserve buzz? Louis Virtel and Ira Madison III, co-hosts of Keep It chat with Sam about who's being selected and who's being overlooked, and whether the pandemic further exposes awards' irrelevance or not. Plus, Sam talks with Maria Garcia about her podcast, Anything for Selena, and why honoring Selena is political. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at...


Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction‬

A special episode from our friends at NPR's history podcast Throughline: Octavia Butler's alternate realities and 'speculative fiction' reveal striking, and often devastating parallels to the world we live in today. She was a deep observer of the human condition, perplexed and inspired by our propensity towards self-destruction. But along with her warning is her message of hope - a hope conjured by centuries of survival and persistence. For every society that perishes in her books comes a...


Your Vaccine Questions, Answered

Will the vaccine make me sick? Can I see grandma if she's vaccinated but I'm not? And what's the deal with double masking? Listeners had questions about the coronavirus and vaccines, Sam and NPR Short Wave host Maddie Sofia have answers. Sam also talks to his Aunt Betty about her experience getting her COVID-19 vaccination. Then, the view on coming out to the other side of the pandemic with health journalist Bridie Witton in New Zealand. — Learn more about masks: A User's Guide To Masks:...


The (Not So?) Wonderful World of Disney

Sam talks to filmmaker and activist Abigail Disney, daughter of Roy E. Disney, about her views on inequality in the U.S., corporate greed and why, despite her last name, she's become one of the more vocal and prominent critics of The Walt Disney empire.