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Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

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Talk Easy is a podcast of long-form conversations with the people shaping our culture today: filmmakers, musicians, comedians, activists, authors, actors. Hosted by writer Sam Fragoso.

Talk Easy is a podcast of long-form conversations with the people shaping our culture today: filmmakers, musicians, comedians, activists, authors, actors. Hosted by writer Sam Fragoso.
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Talk Easy is a podcast of long-form conversations with the people shaping our culture today: filmmakers, musicians, comedians, activists, authors, actors. Hosted by writer Sam Fragoso.




Episode 86 - Josh Radnor

Unless you've lived without a TV for the past decade or so, you probably recognize Josh Radnor. The actor--who is also a skilled writer, director, and musician--has been immortalized in the eyes of the public as Ted Mosby, the goofy and hyper-romantic protagonist of the hit series How I Met Your Mother, which ran on CBS from 2005 to 2014. In real life, though, Josh will be the first to tell you that in many ways, he and his fictional counterpart are worlds apart. When Josh sits down with Sam...


Episode 85 - Alia Shawkat

Talk Easy returns! Actress Alia Shawkat is on the show this week. We talk growing up on the television, the success of Search Party, and how the #MeToo movement is getting increasingly complex.


A Talk Easy Holiday Special

With the year coming to a close, Sam (literally) calls on past guests of the show to deliver some hope. Including: Janicza Bravo talking Kahlil Joseph’s Shadow Play at the New Museum; Jon Daly wishing to be friends with the Obamas; Lena Waithe getting engaged; Anna Sale adoring Search Party; Martin Starr being proud of his “Big Sick” friends; Noel Wells falling in love with Lady Bird; AO Scott delivering a Paul Thomas Anderson symposium; Jelani Cobb unable to get Jordan Peele out of his...


Episode 83 - Sean Baker

Sean Baker is a writer/director known primarily for the Prince of Broadway, Tangerine, and, most recently, The Florida Project. In this week’s episode, Sam and Sean dive into his upbringing in New Jersey, the difficulty of making movies on a low-budget, and why he stands by the heavily debated ending of his latest project.


Episode 82 - Lois Smith

The inimitable Lois Smith has lived a full and exciting life, beginning in Kansas in 1930 and leading her to where she is today, acting in films like Marjorie Prime and Lady Bird at the age of 87. Lois studied theater at the University of Washington, got married at the age of 18, moved to New York with her husband, and has acted on stage and screen ever since. In this episode, she and Sam spend a surprisingly peaceful hour discussing all of these milestones, along with Lois' first job in...


Episode 81 - Paul F. Tompkins

This week, Sam sits down with comedian, actor, and TV writer Paul F. Tompkins. Paul is a longtime standup comic who has appeared in everything from Mr. Show with Bob and David to two Paul Thomas Anderson films--more on both of those in the episode. Besides his prolific standup career, Paul's current projects include roles on Bob's Burgers and Bojack Horseman and a podcast hosting gig of his own. Here, he and Sam talk about his early dream of being a household name, the ways he's changed...


Episode 80 - Rory Scovel



Episode 79 - Joachim Trier

Joachim Trier is a Norweigan filmmaker who has so far directed four feature films, including the English language family drama Louder than Bombs and his newest project, Thelma, an intense thriller that was selected to represent Norway in this year's competition for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. As Sam points out, each of these films is incredibly different than one another, a deliberate creative choice on Joachim's part. Through the course of this conversation, Joachim's...


Episode 78 - Noël Wells

Early this year, Sam and actress Noël Wells recorded an episode of Talk Easy at Sundance. Days after the presidential inauguration and in the midst of festival chaos, it was a strange time for both of them, but the resulting conversation was thought-provoking and lovely. Now Noël's back at a different moment of her life--debuting Mr. Roosevelt, her first feature as director, writer, and lead actress--for another round of thoughtful conversation. Here, she and Sam talk about parallels...


Episode 76 - Shea Serrano

His whole adult life, Shea Serrano's worked hard. Not just at one thing, but at everything he's done, from chronic pool-playing and highly-calculated games of Texas hold 'em in college, to teaching middle school for eight years at an underserved school in Houston. Here, he talks to Sam about all of this, as well as how the work he did to pay the bills ultimately led him to writing. Shea has written for Grantland and The Ringer, and has authored three multimedia books, including a New York...


Episode 75 - Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato is an internet-era journalist working at one of the last print news institutions in America, The LA Times. That in itself is interesting, but it's only the latest step in a career that's also included time spent working at Rotten Tomatoes, Deadline, Movieline, and The Daily Beast. This week, after warning us that she's a Gemini, Jen talks with Sam about the best year of her life (age 17), changes she's witnessed to the journalism landscape, and the recent spate of sexual...


Episode 73 - Willem Dafoe

For over thirty years, Willem Dafoe has been putting in hard work on stage and screen, and it’s paid off. Starting in 1980 with Heaven’s Gate, a movie that he was mostly cut from during editing, he went on to take memorable roles in a wide range of films that include Platoon, The English Patient, Shadow of a Vampire, and Spider-Man. Most recently, he’s starring in The Florida Project, a film by Sean Baker that premiered to acclaim at last month’s Toronto Film Festival. Willem sits down...


Episode 69 - Norman Lear

TV titan Norman Lear joins Sam on the show this week. The 95-year-old is chiefly responsible for changing television. His shows—All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times—were unlike anything that came before them. Political, combative, funny. Lear’s greatest gift is his endless curiosity in the imperfection of humans. Especially Americans. When Sam and Norman sat down, they discussed his remarkable life, one story at a time....


Episode 68 - Fred Melamed

For over thirty years, Fred Melamed has been a true Character Actor. He’s starred in seven Woody Allen movies, played Sy Abelman in the Coen Brothers’ “A Serious Man”, and has made appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, House of Lies. He’s most recently in Janicza Bravo’s dazzling debut feature, Lemon. If you perhaps don’t recognize Fred by name, you’ve certainly heard his iconic, booming voice. On this week’s show, Sam and Fred walk through the actor’s life. Stay tuned. It’s a good...


Episode 67 - Amber Navran

Amber Navran is the lead vocalist of "Moonchild", a neo-soul group out of Los Angeles. With their third record out in stores, Amber came on the show to discuss her musical influences, performing with Stevie Wonder, and what it looks like to be a working musician in 2017 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Music for the show is by Dylan Peck. Original illustrations by Krishna Shenoi: Learn more about...


Episode 65 - Doreen St. Félix

Doreen St. Félix is only 25 but she has made a name for herself in the New York media scene. After graduating from Brown she started her career at "Lenny Letter", Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner's digital, feminist publication. While doing this, she was also freelancing for places like Pitchfork, New York Magazine, and The Fader. Now, she is a contracted writer with the New Yorker (at only 25!). She and Sam talk about her successes, today's media scene, and how she really loves the show...


Episode 64 - Robert Downey Sr.

Robert Downey Sr. (also known as "The Prince") is known for giving a candid response. Throughout all of the films he has directed he has never been afraid to poke fun at the establishment--little is off limits. This is not to say that he isn't a thoughtful person, though. In this interview the Prince tells Sam about his days in the army (12:40), his early days of filmmaking (28:37), and some of his regrets (49:30). Also, a side note: it was a very hot day when Sam and Robert Downey Sr. sat...


Episode 63 - Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb has a clarity about his life and what he intends to do with it--combine journalism and history. Known for his writing on America and its relationship to race, Jelani's work is crucial to understanding America in its past and present self. Throughout this conversation Jelani's clarity on who he is and what he wanted to do is apparent. In this conversation he and Sam talk about his dreams, family life (4:00), working with David Carr (45:30), and the modern political climate...


Episode 49 - James Gray

In this episode Sam sits down with director James Gray, and they dive deep into all aspects of the film industry. They start with the difficulty financing films (5:00). Then, they move onto how directing a movie is an inherent narcissistic endeavor (14:00). They also get into the importance of distribution (17:54), television and it's relationship to cinema (45:55), and the change in movies' role in pop culture (50:47). ------------------------------------------------- Music for the show...


Episode 48 - Andy Daly

This week Sam sits down with comedian Andy Daly. Best known for his critically acclaimed show "Review," Andy's work is centered around a dark portrayal of earnestness. There is a disconnect between this darkness and Andy himself, however--outside of his work he is generally an optimist. In this interview he and Sam talk about his improv work at the Upright Citizens Brigade, how he was a horrible student, and behind the scenes of "Review." -------------------------------------------------...


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