David Greene | WYPR

David Greene

The humorist Mo Rocca loves obituaries.

He loves that for one last time, the public gets to dig deep into a person's life, however consequential he or she may have been. So he's coined the term "Mobituary": a second remembrance for someone who didn't get a fair treatment the first go-round.

If there were ever a person stuck in a place he never wanted to be, it's Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Zelenskiy had been in his post for only two months when he had that infamous July 25 phone call with President Trump — during which Trump asked the Ukrainian president to help investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. For Zelenskiy, the call made what was already a delicate diplomatic situation even more complicated.

Bill Bryson is beloved for his travel writing, but his new book takes us not to Australia or to Europe or to Iowa, but on a journey inside our own bodies. And it's called — naturally — The Body. Bryson says he's genuinely fascinated by the ways our bodies work. "I mean, once you start delving into the body and how it's put together, and what a miracle life is when you think about it," he says, "each of us is made up of 37 trillion cells, and there's nothing in charge.

The U.S. women's soccer team is still savoring its victory after capturing the World Cup championship this summer. But off the field, the players continue to battle a gender discrimination case against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The women are demanding pay equal to that of their counterparts on the men's national soccer team. U.S. Soccer says it pays women more than men in salaries and game bonuses.

To some, Republican Sen. John McCain embodied principles of a bygone Washington: He sought common ground; he reached across the political divide; he had close friendships with Democrats.

His wife, Cindy McCain, would like to try to get back to those days. So to mark a year since her husband died of brain cancer, she is encouraging Americans to be more civil.

"We're missing John's voice of reason right now in so many ways," McCain tells NPR's David Greene.

Andre and Jordan Anchondo were expecting houseguests for a barbecue last Saturday. It was supposed to be a triple celebration. Andre had just finished building their new home, the couple was celebrating their first wedding anniversary and their daughter was turning 6.

Before the barbecue, they dropped by Walmart to grab school supplies and food for the party. But all of their plans and celebrations shattered in an instant of violence.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Mark Hamill remembers the first time he learned about voice acting — he was watching a Walt Disney special about animation and he saw Clarence Nash "this guy in a suit and a microphone" doing the voice of Donald Duck. "I must have been five or six and a light bulb went off in my head ..." Hamill says. "Suddenly it occurred to me that somebody gets up in the morning, goes to work, and does Donald Duck for his job. I want that job!"

Super Bowl III, 1969: The New York Jets were playing the mighty Baltimore Colts. Nobody predicted the Jets would win. Well, except for Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who did more than predict a victory. "I guarantee it," he said before the game.

Fifty years later, his legacy is still tied up in those three words.

Carly Rae Jepsen has evolved into one of pop's most endearing and indelible voices; her relatable lyrics hit home but her dance-pop arrangements soar above the everyday. She's a long way off from the bubblegum pop days of "Call Me Maybe." Over the course of her first three records, Jepsen went from a relatively unknown Canadian Idol contestant to a viral phenomenon to a lowkey critical darling. Still, Jepsen had yet to really let fans in until now.

The Netflix anthology show Easy deals with topics that are anything but: searching for love, navigating relationships, seeking knowledge of ourselves — and sometimes looking for it in other people. The show's third and final season is out now on Netflix.

Its creator, writer and director, Joe Swanberg, has a naturalistic filmmaking style with a lot of improvisation — it's often categorized as part of a movement called "mumblecore." In an interview, he says he had to translate that style into something authentic for TV.

In the Broadway musical The Prom, a high school PTA decides to cancel the dance rather than allow two girls to attend together. The show's creators, Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, started writing a musical eight years ago, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S. They worried that the show might feel irrelevant by now — but they were wrong. The Prom just received seven Tony nominations, including Best Musical.

Boris Fishman was nine years old in 1988 when his family left Belarus for New York. As Jews in what was then the Soviet Union, their prospects were limited, and they lived under the constant threat of discrimination and violence. But his grandfather was resourceful, so, unlike other families, Fishman's did not lack for good food.

His new memoir, Savage Feast, layers family recipes into the stories; Fishman says his grandparents' attitudes toward food were shaped by the hunger and loss of World War II.


There's this one scene in The Hangover. A man jumps out of the trunk of a car — completely naked — and attacks Bradley Cooper with a crowbar.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "SPRING AWAKENING")

SAWYER GARRITY: (As Wendla, singing) Mama who bore me, Mama who gave me no way to...

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

For one Native American tribe whose land straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump's proposed border wall would, literally, divide its people.

The Tohono O'odham Nation stretches through the desert from just south of Casa Grande in southern Arizona to the U.S. border — and then beyond, into the Mexican state of Sonora. This means that if Trump gets his $5.7 billion border wall, it would cut right through the tribe's land.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When he's not busy on a movie set, Jeff Goldblum owns Wednesday nights in Los Angeles.

The actor, known for roles in Hollywood blockbusters and a singular, chin-stroking comic persona, plays piano in a jazz band with a standing weekly gig, which he calls The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. The performances are casual and unstructured, with the man of the hour playing keys one moment, holding court and posing for photos with attendees the next, just generally being ... well, Jeff Goldblum.

In his new movie Boy Erased, the Australian actor and director Joel Edgerton takes us inside a Christian program that is supposed to "cure" people of homosexuality. Edgerton himself plays the practitioner of a discredited treatment known as conversion therapy.

The film is based on the true story of someone who entered such a program at age 19. Garrard Conley wrote about his experience in Boy Erased: A Memoir, and was a close consultant for the movie.

In an interview, Edgerton says that Conley is still coming to terms with the experience.

Viola Davis is known for her roles in movies like Fences and The Help. She's won an Oscar, an Emmy, a couple of Tony Awards — the list goes on and on.

But as we sit in her trailer on the set of the TV show in which she stars, How to Get Away with Murder, she tells me about a time before all of this — when she grew up in a condemned building in Rhode Island, sleeping on the top bunk with her sister to be safe from rats on the floor.

She had a way to get away from all that.

Grab the tissues — the Fab Five are back with a second season of Netflix's Queer Eye.

For the uninitiated, Queer Eye is a makeover show where five gay men with different areas of expertise (fashion, food, grooming, interior design) have a week to help change the life of one person, who they refer to as a "hero."

Comedian Louie Anderson would like to introduce you to his mom, Ora Zella Anderson. She died years ago, but he's been thinking about her a lot lately.

In his new book, Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too, he's written a series of letters to fill her in on all that she's missed — like the breakthrough TV role that she inspired on the FX show Baskets.

Anderson plays the sweet, sometimes flustered mom, whose son Chip is played by Zach Galifianakis.

Judd Apatow was just a kid when he first saw the comedian who would change his life. He was watching The Tonight Show.

"Like a lot of people in America, I just thought: what a fascinating, hilarious, odd man," Apatow says. "And I tracked his career. Some kids would track baseball players and their averages. I would watch comedians and watch them develop."

As a kid in Oakland, Calif., Ryan Coogler hung out at a comic book shop near his school, reading about superheroes who looked nothing like him.

"As I got older, I wanted to find a comic book character that looked like me and not just one that was on the sidelines," Coogler says. "And I walk in and ask the guy at the desk that day, and say, 'Hey man, you got any comic books here about black people, you know, like with a black superhero?' And he was like, 'Oh, yeah, as a matter of fact, we got this one.'"

Vanna White has been turning letters on Wheel of Fortune for 35 years. That's 6,500 shows — and I've seen a lot of them. It's amazing to think about how much the world has changed, even as White has been doing the exact same job.

In Tiffany Haddish's new memoir, The Last Black Unicorn, she writes "I know that a lot of these stories will seem unbelievable. I look back over my life and I'm like, 'For real, that happened?'"

You could just look at Tiffany Haddish's career this year and ask that question. She was the breakout star of this summer's raucous hit movie, Girl's Trip, and last month, Haddish became the first African-American woman stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And it seems like the Republican National Committee has had some trouble figuring out exactly what to do with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. They were supporting him before they weren't.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Ivy Pochoda begins her new novel almost like she's trying to break up the ho-hum of an everyday morning: In the middle of downtown traffic, there's a man jogging, without a care, through Los Angeles' crazy maze of freeways. And, oh yeah, he's totally naked. "He's just completely antithetical to everything that I imagine a morning commuter is up against," Pochoda says. "He's free, he's bucking the rules, and he's moving."

Pochoda's novel is called Wonder Valley, and it follows several different characters who all connect back to that mystery man on the freeway.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Pages