Fresh Air

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Fresh Air with Terry Gross is a Peabody Award-winning magazine of contemporary arts and issues. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators. Fresh Air is produced at WHYY in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.

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:

The Rise And Fall Of Comedian Bob Hope: Hope was a comedy trailblazer, but in his twilight years he alienated younger audiences with his political views. "He had, unfortunately, stuck around too long," says Hope biographer Richard Zoglin.

Bob Gaudio wrote most of The Four Seasons' hits, some of which are compiled in a new anthology. He tells Fresh Air about the band's history, including why its songs had some "anger" in them.

Originally broadcast Sept. 9, 2014.

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Out of love and necessity, Stuart has become a country-music historian. "People were throwing things away," he says. "I just took it as a family matter."

Originally broadcast Oct. 1, 2014.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In the record industry, it's not too early to be releasing Christmas albums, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has been listening to a lot of them. He's narrowed down his list of goodies to these four: A Merry Friggin' Christmas soundtrack, Christmas at Downton Abby, Earth Wind and Fire's Holiday and the Living Sisters' Harmony is Real.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Major studios once churned out scores of great-person biographical pictures. But now you rarely see them except during awards season. They're prime Oscar bait. The new Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory Of Everything, is a perfect specimen. It's a letdown, finally, but Eddie Redmayne is amazingly tough. He captures the fury inside Hawking's twisted frame.

Many years ago, Laurie Colwin began an essay she wrote about the magic of roast chicken like this: "There is nothing like roast chicken. It is helpful and agreeable, the perfect dish no matter what the circumstances. Elegant or homey, a dish for a dinner party or a family supper, it will not let you down." Substitute the phrase "Laurie Colwin's writing" for the words "roast chicken," take some poetic allowances with the word "dish," and you'll have an approximate description of Colwin's own elusive magic.

The Rise And Fall Of Comedian Bob Hope

Nov 24, 2014

For his first book, Comedy at the Edge, about standup comedy in the 1970s, Richard Zoglin interviewed comedians like Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld about who influenced their careers. He says he was surprised that none of them mentioned Bob Hope.

"It was very strange," Zoglin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It made me realize how off the radar he was."

The comedians instead mentioned people like Lenny Bruce, Groucho Marx and Jack Benny. Zoglin says he thought that it was "unjust" and that Hope wasn't getting the credit he deserved.

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:

This is the third time Cumming has starred in the musical. He talks about the new production — everything from his costume (which he calls a "Wonder Bra" for men) to the darker themes of the show.

Originally aired April 28, 2014.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Nichols directed such movies as The Graduate and Birdcage and Broadway musicals such as Spamalot. He won nine Tony Awards. Nichols died Wednesday at 83. He talked with Terry Gross in 2001.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

When Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) first entered politics in the 1960s, he started out as moderate — pro-abortion rights, pro-union, in support of the civil rights movement. With time, McConnell shifted to the right as the Republican Party shifted.

"I was just really startled by this when I started looking into it," Alec MacGillis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I knew that he had started out as somewhat more moderate — but I didn't realize just how moderate he really was."

In his short story collection, former Marine Phil Klay takes his experience in Iraq and clarifies it, lucidly tracing the moral, political and psychological curlicues of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On Wednesday, he won the National Book Award for fiction for the collection.

This review originally aired March 26, 2014.

Stewart talks about his future hosting the show known for its political satire.

"It is unclear to me," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "The minute I say I'm not going to do it anymore, I will miss it like crazy."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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