Penn Jillette, Teller, and Wier Chrisemer form the troop Asparagus Valley Cultural Society. Today, they, sound engineer Marc Garland, and guitarist Gary Anderson, join the show for an interview and perform their music, comedy, and magic. The group also shares their favorite classical records.
Billy Crystal is a comedian currently enjoying success on television. He also grew up around jazz musicians due to his father's business; Billie Holliday was his sometime-babysitter. Crystal joins the show to discuss his career and jazz memories. (INTERVIEW WITH DAVID KARPOFF)
Writer Ralph Allen returns to Fresh Air to talk about his new musical Sugar Babies and the history of burlesque, and to tell his favorite jokes from that tradition. Fresh Air listeners call in to join the conversation.
Writer Christopher Cerf co-edited a humorous speculative history called The 80s, which anticipates what happens in the coming decade. Fresh Air listeners and host Terry Gross discuss a number of whimsical predictions.
Writer and humorist Roy Blount's new book is "Crackers," a book of "impressions" about Southerners, Northerners, Jimmy Carter, and a fictional Carter family. Blount joins the show to talk about his book, Carter, the 1980 election, and the current political climate.
Humorist Fran Lebowitz talks about her career as a writer and how her choice of profession has affected her personal life. The interview is briefly interrupted by a press conference by President Reagan about the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
The comedian's morning television program, The David Letterman Show, was recently canceled. Since then, he's been a frequent guest host on The Tonight Show. Letterman explains the differences between daytime and evening programming, as well as how he paid his dues as an up-and-coming comedian.
The writer says that his desire to perform his weekly radio show stems from his restlessness after hours spent at his typewriter. He talks about how he developed a regional brand of comedy and his experiences working in public radio.
New York City-based cartoonist and illustrator Ed Koren is best known for his work in The New Yorker and The Nation. He talks about how he chronicles many aspects of city living, ranging from daily commutes to street protests.
Comedian, television host and musician Steve Allen performs his original songs and compositions for Fresh Air. He also talks about his career as the host of his own late-night television program and his new book, Funny People, which pays homage to some of his favorite comedians.
Gregory uses his celebrity platform to raise awareness for a number of different issues, including alcoholism, the policies of the Reagan administration, and the the state of the black community today. He is currently on a hunger strike in solidarity with women in support of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Jules Feiffer is a cartoonist known for satirizing the middle class, politicians, and sexual attitudes in his comic strip "Feiffer.". He began his career at The Village Voice and is now syndicated nationally. Feiffer has also written several screenplays, including "Little Murders." A new collection of his work "Jules Feiffer's America: From Eisenhower to Reagan."
Mimi Pond is the author and illustrator of the new book "The Valley Girls' Guide to Life," which she researched by spending time in the mall with Californian junior high students. Pond is a cartoonist whose strip "Mimi Pond's Famous Waitress School" appears regularly in The National Lampoon.
Paul Zimmerman is the screenwriter of the film "The King of Comedy," directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert DeNiro and Jerry Lewis. Zimmerman was previously the movies editor for Newsweek and has written several books. ZImmerman is based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and is active in the Bucks Alliance for Nuclear Disarmament (B.A.N.D.). Now, that "The King of Comedy," has been released, Zimmerman returns to Fresh Air to discuss the film.
"Populist gourmet" Calvin Trillin is a journalist, humorist, and food writer. His latest work is "Third Helpings." He joins the show to discuss his work and contemporary food culture, including potato skins and the "bacon-bit barrier."