Fresh Air

Monday through Thursday at Noon on WMRA
  • Hosted by Terry Gross

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

Growing up, the only thing Scott Rudin wanted to do was become a theater producer. "I never had a fantasy of doing anything else or being anything else," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I used to read [The New York Times'] Arts & Leisure [section] and obsess over, 'David Merrick has five shows running on Broadway! What would that be like?' "

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Three kids meet in junior high, grow up skateboarding, doing graffitti and shooting stuff on home-video cameras, then eventually get jobs together on Saturday Night Live. It sounds like an adolescent fantasy, but for former SNL cast member Andy Samberg and former SNL writers Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, it actually happened.

"We were not ambitious," Schaffer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We were just kids who liked comedy, and we liked music, and we were nerds about that stuff."

Science writer Mary Roach is not easily repulsed. While researching her latest book, Grunt, Roach learned all about the medicinal use of maggots in World War I. She also purposely sniffed a putrid scent known as "Who me?" that was developed as an experimental weapon during World War II.

For Roach, it's all in the name of research. "I'm kind of the bottom-feeder of science writing," Roach jokes to Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm just someone who is OK with being very out there with my curiosity."

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Marc Maron On Sobriety And Managing His 'Uncomfortable' Comfort Zone: The comic recently played out his own fictional relapse on his IFC show, Maron. He says relapse is "a very real fear of mine. I'm glad it happened in fiction and not in real life."

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The original Roots miniseries, based on the 1976 Alex Haley novel tracing his own family tree from African tribal life to American slavery and freedom, was a phenomenon.

ABC showed it over consecutive nights in January 1977, not because it was expected to earn huge ratings but because network executives were afraid it wouldn't. So they crammed the entire miniseries into an eight-day prime-time marathon, which aired, by coincidence, during a massive winter storm that snowed in much of the Northeast.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Henry James famously said that "summer afternoon" were the two most beautiful words in the English language. With apologies to The Master, I'd tweak that sentiment to suggest that maybe "summer suspense" are two even more beautiful words. Surely, on a sunny summer day, few pleasures can be greater than reading outside in the shade cast by a first-rate thriller.

Things are going well for Marc Maron. He has a new comedy special; he has interviewed both President Obama and Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels on his podcast, WTF; and his IFC show, Maron, is in its fourth season.

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