A series of open, thoughtful and engaging conversations with notable writers, scientists, comedians, politicians, chefs and more in which their unique perspectives are creatively animated.
Sarah Jones: Guided by Voices
Where does Tony Award-winning actress and writer Sarah Jones find her characters? In this installment of Monologue, Jones gives us insight into her myriad talents, which include, among other things, leaving voicemail messages for the rapper Q-Tip.
Todd Solondz: ‘My Movies Aren’t for Everyone’
Love it or hate it, chances are you will remember seeing one of Todd Solondz’s films - such as Happiness (1998) and Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995). In this month’s Monologue, we learn about Solondz’s approach to his controversial characters.
Lynsey Addario: ‘The Camera Does Act As A Sort Of Shield’
What does the world look like to an award-winning photojournalist? It turns out that getting behind the camera can be even more nerve-wracking as a veteran image-maker than a neophyte.
Marcus Samuelsson: How Cooking Is Like Conducting
The impresario of the Harlem restaurant Red Rooster explains his very musical approach to cooking and creativity.
Masha Gessen: What Words Mean
The Russian-born journalist articulates the ways in which truth and language are under assault, by everyone from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump.
Roxane Gay: 'I’m Really Bad At Saying No.'
Saying no to people, whether personally and professionally, can be difficult. Author and cultural critic Roxane Gay ruminates on the challenges of navigating others’ wants and needs while also staying true to herself and her many gifts.
Cory Doctorow: How Writing Fiction Can Influence the Future
The future is never far from Cory Doctorow’s mind. Here, the novelist and activist explains how a deep interrogation of computers and computing in fiction writing might help humanity sidestep the worst that technological progress has to offer.
Who gets to call themselves an artist? The term didn’t come naturally to East London native Shantell Martin, who says the idea of living life as an artist was not something she could totally comprehend while growing up.
Mo’ne Davis: Surviving the Sting of a Bad Loss
You may remember Mo’ne Davis from her star turn on the cover of Sports Illustrated, after she became the first girl to pitch her team to a win in the history of the Little League World Series. In this episode, she reflects on one of her worst losses.
Frans de Waal: Great Apes and the Gift of Empathy
Biologist Frans de Waal studies the complex emotional life of apes—including how chimpanzees resolve conflicts. Here, de Waal discusses his subjects’ true capacity for fairness, reciprocity, and empathy, and how human beings measure up.
Ta-Nehisi Coates: Dreams of a Father
Ta-Nehisi Coates’s memoirs and essays on race, politics, and culture are now some of the most widely read in American letters. In an interview with Topic recorded in Manhattan, Coates reflects on how parenthood made him the writer he is today.
Kirsten Gillibrand: Guns, Greed, and the NRA
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wasn’t always a proponent of gun control. But now she admits she had it wrong. In an interview with Topic recorded in Washington, D.C., in May 2018, Gillibrand calls out the NRA for being motivated by greed.
Dolores Huerta: Surviving the Scourge of Sexual Harassment
Famed labor organizer and activist Dolores Huerta discusses her decades of work fighting sexual harassment and discrimination.
Lauren Greenfield: How Capitalism Exploits Insecurities
Filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield has been poking at the ugly underbelly of consumerism for more than 25 years. In an interview with Topic from November of 2018, Greenfield talks about “the ultimate cost, and degradation, of capitalism.”
Greg Nicotero: In Search of a Scream
The special-effects expert and executive producer of the hit TV show ‘The Walking Dead’ has always gravitated toward the darker sides of human nature. Here, Greg Nicotero spills secrets about a terrifying experience he had in a real haunted house.
Sarah Vowell: MAGA and Muffins
Sarah Vowell is an author, historian and self-described “heathen” who grew up in the bosom of a Reagan-voting, gun-toting, Evangelical family. In this episode, recorded in August 2018, Vowell discusses how she self-soothes against modern politics.
Jill Soloway: Checking the Third Box
Writer and director Jill Soloway is known for their groundbreaking Amazon series ‘Transparent,’ about a family adjusting to a parent’s revelation that she’s transgender. Soloway dreams of a day when bureaucracy acknowledges the full gender spectrum.
Laura Lippman: The Problem with Dead Women
Laura Lippman has a message for her fellow detective novelists: “One death is enough.” In this interview with Topic from January 2019, the award-winning writer points out that books in her genre tend to pile up the bodies—then forget the human toll.
Krista Tippett: Belief Is Complicated
If you are among the millions of listeners of Krista Tippett’s public-radio show On Being— you may be surprised to hear she’s not big on the word “belief.” Tippett talks about why she longs for a definition of faith that isn’t quite so “neck up.”
Dani McClain: The Political Power of Black Motherhood
Dani McClain’s new book, ‘We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood,’ is informed not only by the journalist’s years of reporting on race and reproductive health but by her own experiences raising her young child.
Jeff Tweedy: Learning to Love the Music You Hate
In an interview with Jancee Dunn, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy explains how an appraisal of his own musical tastes changed his palate and why he thinks the idea of a generation gap was destructive to young musicians growing up in the ’70s and ’80s.
Rick Steves: Leaving America Makes Americans Better
Rick Steves is a travel guidebook author and TV host known to millions. In this 2019 interview with Topic, Steves explains how to become an “activated citizen” and why a world in which people get out of their comfort zones is a better world for all.
Eric Holthaus is a meteorologist and a climate journalist. He has dire predictions for the future of the world and believes we have to make major changes if we’re going to survive.
Carl Reiner is a legendary comedian, actor, director, screenwriter and publisher. In his monologue, he talks about the power of humor not only in work but in life.
As a child, comedian and impressionist Jay Pharoah struggled with bullying and feelings of alienation. He describes how his father encouraged him to perform his funny, and accurate, celebrity impersonations in public.
- Lewie Kloster, Noah Kloster, Hannah McNally, Josh Kramer, Maya Erdelyi, Tom Crew, Lena Greene, Mark Kaufman, Lauren Schmidt, Keith Stack, Katie Fricas, Andrew Khosravani, Jeremy Jusay, Hillary Barton, Ester Rossi, Lyndon J. Barrois, Aaron Augenblick, Caitlin Fogarty, Ivyy Chen, Mady G., Scott Berglund, Daniel Rowe, Annie Zhao