Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

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Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso is a weekly series of intimate conversations with artists, activists, and politicians. Where people sound like people. Hosted by Sam Fragoso. New episodes every Sunday.

  • 1 hour 13 minutes
    A Father’s Day Special (with Ethan Hawke)

    This Father's Day, we're revisiting our special talk with actor Ethan Hawke.

    After a phone call with Dad Fragoso (2:00), we dive into the episode. At the top, Hawke unpacks his docuseries The Last Movie Stars (9:24), describing his introduction to Paul Newman through Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (12:13). Then, he reflects on his personal history: growing up with his mother on the east coast (16:43), his on-screen debut at fifteen in Explorers with River Phoenix (20:04), the enduring legacy of Robin Williams (25:57), and how Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy transformed his career (33:01).

    On the back-half, we revisit a memorable scene from Before Midnight (42:28), how capturing Chet Baker in Born to Be Blue helped Hawke process loss (52:31), what he learned about longevity from director Paul Schrader (55:29) and how that definition evolved in making The Last Movie Stars (58:32). To close– we discuss the importance of family (1:02:12), Hawke’s hopes for his third act (1:04:24), and why he continues to honor The Actor’s Vow by Elia Kazan (1:07:38).

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    16 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 hour 20 minutes
    Director Richard Linklater’s Moments in Time

    Director Richard Linklater has made a career out of telling personal stories with universal appeal. Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, the Before trilogy, Boyhood. No matter the genre or form, Linklater's human touch remains. 

    He joins us this week around the release of his latest film, Hit Man (7:36), an action-packed neo-noir (9:15) that also explores the malleability of identity (12:00). Then, Linklater reflects on his athletic career in college (18:20), the health scare that ushered in a period of creative exploration (19:48), and the renegade spirit that drove his first two feature films, It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books and Slacker (29:12).

    On the back-half, Linklater describes a formative Sundance memory with director Robert Altman (36:00), his first experience at the helm of a major motion picture (39:48), and the lived serendipity that inspired his Before films (54:22). To close: a Hollywood state of the union (1:02:54), why Richard continues to create art from the fabric of his life (1:10:00), and whether Sam should return to directing himself (1:19:36).

    You can watch Sam’s directorial work here, including his short film Sebastian.

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    9 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 hour 1 minute
    Maya Hawke (‘Stranger Things’) Writes through Chaos

    On the heels of her breakout role in Stranger Things, Maya Hawke has gone her own way as an artist— both as an actor and singer-songwriter. That’s especially true on her striking new record, Chaos Angel.

    We begin our conversation by diving into this third record of hers (5:37), the ‘emotional pendulum’ that guided her creative process (9:15), and how director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia inspired the first track (16:12). Then, Maya discusses a piece by novelist Flannery O’Connor (21:20) that shaped her portrayal of the Southern Gothic writer in the new film, Wildcat (25:28), directed by her father (Ethan Hawke). 

    On the back-half, we sit with Hawke’s childhood growing up in a household of actors (41:55), a passage from her father reflecting on Before Midnight (45:10), the connective tissue between her latest projects (55:10), and how she’s recently found a place of peace in the aftermath of her new album, Chaos Angel (59:36).

    For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at [email protected].

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    2 June 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 hour 23 seconds
    Comedian Ilana Glazer (‘Broad City’) is Mothering

    This week we’re joined by comedian and actor Ilana Glazer. 

    At the top, Glazer reflects on her recent tour across the country (4:55), portraying a new mother in Babes while having her first child (8:30), and the film’s timely politics around reproductive rights (10:28). Then, we dive into the creation of Broad City with collaborator Abbi Jacobson (16:06), how the show ascended to five seasons on Comedy Central with the support of Amy Poehler (22:40), and their maternal approach to creating the series (26:14).

    On the back-half, we talk about her regenerative period following Broad City (37:10), why Glazer has yet to rewatch the series (39:00), her daily practice of presence (48:05), the joy of parenthood (50:05), and why she still has faith in humanity (58:10).

    This conversation is available to watch on YouTube. For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at [email protected].

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    26 May 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
    A Love Letter to Comedy with Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello (‘Hacks’)

    Hacks co-creators Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello, who are also husband and wife, have been performing and writing together for over a decade. Today, we discuss the road to season three of their hit HBO series.

    At the top, they unpack the makings of their creative partnership (8:20), how they chronicled the evolving state of comedy in Hacks (14:38), and Jerry Seinfeld’s recent comments about the medium (20:05). Then, we walk through Paul and Lucia’s origin stories (33:45), their meeting in an improv class at UCB (38:00), and the New York comedy pipeline they fell into with Broad City (46:59).

    On the back-half, we talk about the making of their feature film debut Rough Night (49:35), the road trip where they first imagined the premise for Hacks (53:25), their guiding principle while creating the show (59:10), and their journey into parenthood (1:05:48). To close, a piece of advice on art-making today (1:11:30).

    For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at [email protected]. This conversation was recorded at Spotify Studios. Clips courtesy of HBO.

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    19 May 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 hour 5 minutes
    A Mother’s Day Special with Pamela Adlon (‘Better Things’)

    This Mother’s Day, our very special episode with actor, writer, and director Pamela Adlon.

    We discuss her new movie Babes (7:27), directing a comedy about reproductive rights in 2024 (12:38), and her creative upbringing between New York City and Los Angeles (17:55). Then, we dive into her early roles as a child actor, including appearances on The Facts of Life and The Redd Foxx Show (19:06), her foray into voice acting (23:15), and the MTV Madonna music video contest that made her want to become a filmmaker (34:16).

    On the back-half, Pamela describes how motherhood shaped her career (41:50), including her semi-autobiographical show Better Things (44:30) and her newfound mission to mentor women in the industry through her production company, Slam Book Inc. (1:00:40). To close, a tribute to Pamela’s mother (1:04:30).

    For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at [email protected]. This conversation was recorded at Spotify Studios.

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    12 May 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 hour 25 minutes
    Comedian Jerrod Carmichael’s Self-Portrait

    In just under a decade, comedian, writer, and actor Jerrod Carmichael has had a remarkably varied career. On the heels of his Emmy-winning HBO special Rothaniel, he embarked on a personal new project: Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show.

    Carmichael joins us today to discuss the origin of the program (6:30), his early days making his NBC sitcom (10:57), and why he decided to broadcast a deeply intimate conversation on the reality show (13:00). Then, he unpacks his view of the camera as a vessel for honesty (17:10), the response from audiences witnessing Jerrod ‘Truman Show’ himself (21:30), and his three-decade history of storytelling (34:15).

    On the back-half, Carmichael describes the artists who inspired his work (43:00), a formative performance in his first HBO special Love at the Store (50:50), and the evolution of his comedy (57:37). To close, he reflects on the central truth he explores in this new series (59:30) and how he hopes this art will at long last set himself—and his family—free (1:08:30).

    For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at [email protected]. This conversation was recorded at Spotify Studios in Los Angeles.

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    5 May 2024, 9:53 am
  • 1 hour 16 minutes
    Nick Offerman (‘Civil War’) Brings a Message of Hope

    Today, actor and author Nick Offerman returns to the show! We call him up to unpack his latest role as a fictional president in Alex Garland’s Civil War (2:30), the function of the film’s politics (9:30), and a powerful poem by Wendell Berry (26:15).

    Then, we turn to Offerman’s personal journey, beginning with his recent book Where the Deer and the Antelope Play (32:48), which was inspired by growing up in rural Minooka, Illinois (33:30) and his experiences with the late Sam Shepard at Steppenwolf Theatre (35:55).

    Shortly after working with Shepard, Offerman began to find his footing—on and off the stage—as a performer, carpenter, and fight choreographer (39:48). He reflects on his galvanizing role in the film Going All the Way (42:37), the guiding principles of George Saunders (45:30), lessons from his sensei Shōzō Satō (52:10), the start of his nearly two-decade marriage with actress Megan Mullally (54:05), the phone call that changed his life (1:00:00), and the complicated legacy of Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation (1:06:36). 

    Then, before we go, we return to the timely (and urgent) message of his latest book (1:11:30), a piece by Jeff Tweedy (1:14:10), and words by Wendell Berry (1:16:45).

    For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at [email protected].

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    28 April 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 hour 2 minutes
    Poet Rupi Kaur: 10 Years of 'Milk and Honey'

    Today, in honor of National Poetry Month, we’re returning to our conversation with Rupi Kaur. Her debut collection, milk and honey, turns 10 this year.

    At the top of our conversation, Kaur reflects on her international tour (4:44), her childhood in Canada (13:05), how she processes trauma through writing (22:13), her college photo series on menstruation that went viral (23:33), and the self-published poetry collection (milk and honey) that followed (29:20). In the aftermath of this unexpected attention, Rupi speaks candidly on the emotional toll of the last decade (30:43) and how she reckons with her critics today (32:35), before reading a poem written in response to their harassment (41:09).

    On the back-half, Rupi describes her powerful connection to her heritage (42:41), understanding her mother’s sacrifices (43:15), which she recounts in Broken English (45:52), and the ways in which her work has evolved (54:08). To close, she performs two personal pieces from home body (56:17) and shares why she’s ready to get back on the stage, doing what she loves to do (58:43).

    For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at [email protected].

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    21 April 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 hour 14 minutes
    The Stories of Actor Jeff Daniels

    Actor Jeff Daniels is always writing. Plays, songs, a script or two. Even in interviews you get the sense the Michigan native is trying to relay the stories of his life in a way he’d find compelling as a reader, or listener. Bystander — as a viewer. 

    He joins us this week around the latest chapter of his crime series American Rust (12:30), reprising his role as Police Chief Del Harris. It’s a performance inspired by his midwestern upbringing in Chelsea, Michigan (16:06) and the formative teachings of theater director Marshall W. Mason (21:20). Then, Daniels reflects on his arrival to New York City in 1976 (24:06), performing in Lanford Wilson’s play Fifth of July (27:20), and his early on-screen roles in Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild (31:10), Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo (34:20), and Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale (44:20).

    On the back-half, we walk through his years making The Newsroom (51:48), working with screenwriter (and then playwright) Aaron Sorkin (53:20), and how the two of them reimagined Atticus Finch and To Kill a Mockingbird for both Broadway (59:49) and what he calls “a country at a crossroads” (1:05:33). To close, we sit with the utility of good writing in this fraught era (1:10:30), and a musical tribute to his late father, Robert (1:15:32).

    For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at [email protected]

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    14 April 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 hour 2 minutes
    Actor and Director Dev Patel is a Leading Man

    Actor Dev Patel has pursued interesting, complex roles in Hollywood since his arrival in Slumdog Millionaire fifteen years ago. He joins us today to discuss Monkey Man, his directorial debut and most personal project to date.

    At the top, we walk through the Hindu mythology that inspired the film (12:30), his decade-long fight to get the project greenlit (16:17), and the conditions of filming on an island during the pandemic (18:08). Then, Dev describes his intense creative process (27:02), how he landed his TV debut at sixteen as a sex-crazed teenager on Skins (28:33), and his life-changing role in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (35:40).

    On the back-half, Patel reflects on his years in The Newsroom (47:24), the films that followed, including Garth Davis’ Lion (49:52) and David Lowery’s The Green Knight (51:30), and how director/producer Jordan Peele saved Monkey Man from oblivion (56:32).

    For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at [email protected]

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    7 April 2024, 8:00 am
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