We’ve got 2/3rds of a GLoP for you this month as John Podhoretz logs in from the back of an Uber in NYC –well, for about 1/3rd of the show. We cover Breaking Bad, why the NY State AG’s case against Trump is a sham (yes, they defend Trump on this one), a hard look at the MetaVerse and various other jokes, observations, anecdotes and giggles.

Today, Rob Long dives into some of the unspoken commandments that everyone working in entertainment ought to know and live by, from savvy advice when it comes to pitching (“never go first”) to why writers should never solicit feedback from execs who pass on their projects (“explanations are meaningless”). Also do your agent and manager secretly hate each other?

“Everyone in the entertainment business works hard. Except agents, obviously.” So says Rob this week, as he describes the differences between writing and directing, with a few nods to actors (and their overacting): Being a writer teaches you how to be alone. But being a director teaches you how to be with people. So maybe, actually, being a director is the harder job? Also, what’s the best way for an actor to play a drunk person? We won’t spoil it here, but it hinges on on not being yourself.

Today, Rob Long presents the idea that anyone who puts on a little play, bangs on an instrument or talks into a microphone for money can say they’re in entertainment. But a true show business professional — hello, Harry Styles! — is hard to find these days, because the kind of people drawn to the industry are often much like baby actors — moody, mercurial, hard to reason with, yet also adorable. So when a fussy infant is faced with the prospect of being replaced by a cutting-edge robot on set, as witnessed by Rob, can they step up to the challenge?

As promised our old friend David Limbaugh returns to the podcast to rant a bit and maybe pitch a few books on the side. We talk open borders and Martha’s Vineyard and then cover his latest volume, The Resurrected Jesus: The Church in the New Testament, which he wrote with his daughter, Christen Limbaugh Bloom.

We also welcome in American Enterprise Institute scholar Nicholas Eberstadt (fresh from his appearance on Uncommon Knowledge) about his new book Men Without Work: Post-Pandemic EditionThey also talk about pessimism and young people afraid of their own shadows.

It’s hard to call it unbelievable when a 96-year-old mortal shuffles off, but Queen Elizabeth II’s final departure has had a peculiar effect. Hoping to have the feeling articulated without sentimentality, we asked on a couple English friends (Charlie Cooke filling in for Peter and London Calling’s Toby Young) to discuss her importance, and what her death means for the Commonwealth.

We get into Charles III and the future of the monarchy; wonder whether the public ethic and sense of mission will die with the Queen; and contemplate the idea that Britain’s ironic humor may be what holds the whole thing together. Plus, Charlie approves of Ron DeSantis’ “Thank you, Governor” ad; and Rob finds something amusing about mayors up north making statements that sound oddly similar to Greg Abbot’s and Doug Ducey’s with regard to immigration surges.

This week, Rob Long recalls a childhood memory of a large, unidentifiable spinning machine with blades that took two people to operate — lest one lose a hand — which serves as good metaphor for working together in show business. And as long as that machine is doing its job, don’t try to tinker with it; just ask the people behind New Coke, who discovered — too late — that soda drinkers didn’t want something new. On the other hand, don’t be the CW, making shows for teens when the average age of your audience is… 58. Network programmers, this one’s for you!

You saw the pictures! The walls are finally closing in; or maybe it’s the floor that’ll finally move in on Trump! Or maybe everyone should cool their jets, as our guest Bill Barr might recommend. The former Attorney General joins us again to discuss what we know (and don’t know) about the latest legal troubles for the former president. Without getting ahead of the facts, Barr thinks through the search itself; partisanship in the Justice Department; and the kind of fighters the Republican Party needs.

And John O’Sullivan joins the gang at the top to remember his and Peter’s old foe, Mikhail Gorbachev. They dispel the lefty fantasy that Gorby was the real hero of the Cold War, but also give credit where it’s due. Plus, Peter recounts the time he got the man to scribble on a baseball.

Rob looks back at the “olden times”, when just a handful of broadcast networks with mediocre — and somewhat problematic — shows like Webster dominated the airwaves. Their main goals weren’t about attracting viewers as much as not driving them away to competitors. But in today’s streaming landscape, viewers aren’t drifting through a primetime lineup, or mindlessly channel surfing. And just like Rob, seduced by local clothes while on vacation in faraway places, both streamers and broadcast businesses need to remember who they are — lest they end up coming back dressed in a sarong and wooden slippers, looking ridiculous.

It’s hard to put words to the audaciousness of President Biden’s latest charade. Good thing we have an Englishman! Our friend Charlie Cooke is filling in for Peter and James to talk about Joe’s promise to liquidate the American social contract. He and Rob also get into midterms and search in vain for a Republican national agenda.

And since we can’t help but cling to a bit of good news, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya joins from Rome to give Fauci his final grade. He also gets into “fringe” science, corrupting conflicts of interest, and forgiveness. (And you’ll never guess who he’s just met!)

It’s late in the month and that means it’s time for another romp through pop culture, ephemera, and tales of travel. This week: Rob has a Midnight Express moment, Jonah wants to check into a movie themed hotel, and John once had a girlfriend with a mysterious past.

Writers get lots of advice during the development of a script, usually in a backhanded way with all sorts of qualifiers: agents like to give notes (typically on the prospects of a script in the marketplace) starting with phrases like “Hey, I’m not a writer!” or “I don’t have a creative bone in my body!” But if there’s one thing more awkward than receiving negative feedback on your work, it’s overhearing someone else getting those notes in a public space — a skill Rob has dubbed ‘yoga eavesdropping’. At the end of the day, sometimes the best thing one can do is provide no advice at all.

Since our plans to hide away forever at a remote Minnesotan lake house were dashed – on account of James not having one for us – we decided instead to jump on into the mucky swamp that’s swallowed up our institutions. At least we have Eli Lake (who, as you’ll hear, knows everybody) to tour us through the law enforcement agencies who’ve undermined their standing with the public in order to get the guy who they blame for undermining the public’s trust in them…

Also, the hosts chat some about the former rep from Wyoming; a Florida judge who hopes to stop Gov. DeSantis from stopping the woke; Lileks is seeing a resurgence of masking; plus, Rob had lunch with Viktor Orbán!

Most people will do almost anything to avoid being embarrassed, why is why, as Rob Long explains, embarrassment is the key to making something truly funny. But there’s a difference between personal mortification — “someone saw my nudes on my phone” — and professional humiliation — “I did a stupid thing in a meeting.” The latter can be used effectively as a way to build morale on a writing staff, or it can be deployed more nefariously to cause someone to leave the business entirely. Also, Rob cautions his listeners against committing the most ignominious act of self-humiliation: complimenting a show <em>not</em> on the network you are working with. Oops.

This week, Rob Long has a confession to make: he likes agents—they’re “the friendly bacteria in the lower intestine of the dirty business we call entertainment,” he says. In defense of this controversial point of view (well, for a writer, anyway), Rob offers a cautionary tale about a past-his-prime agent who, along with his assistant, saves the career of a struggling writer with a spec sale of an old script. In the process, he reinvigorates his own career and gets the assistant promoted to agent, too. All’s well that ends well, right? But that’s not the end of the story.

With heat waves, and the inevitable extinction of humanity practically around the corner, why not talk about what’s happening in the cool, comfortable theaters that we’re told are also doomed? To help us keep things light and pleasant, we’ve recruited film critic Sonny Bunch to chat about the elegiac Top Gun: Maverick, the rockin’ biopic Elvis, and the not-so-buzzy Lightyear. 

The trio also get into the President’s positive Covid test – which isn’t a big deal all of a sudden. They discuss the calls for “executive beast mode,” and ponder one of the biggest existential questions of all: what’s up with a moose in the wild?

With help of an old joke, Rob Long explains why agents in Hollywood are the professional deliverers of bad news (except for the occasional random encounter with a network executive). Pro tip: never ask a network executive you just ran into about your “rice bowl” (that’s show-biz slang for your future income, as in a pickup for your pilot or a renewal for your on-the-bubble show). Also, what is it like to be on the receiving end of a “your show is cancelled” call? And then to have the bad news pop up in the press minutes later? Rob — something of an expert on this topic — describes it in minute detail. Finally, Rob reveals the telltale signs that your show might actually be going well, and, also, how to feel when your agent wistfully mutters the phrase “dark skies.” It may not mean what you think.

This week, it’s another round of Question Time, this week with actual (OK, former) British person Charles C.W. Cooke sitting in for Peter Robinson, We cover Florida, guns, newspapers, — an entire smorgasbord of topics (what’s British for smorgasbord?).

Music from this week’s episode: I Know There’s An Answer by The Beach Boys

Sing us a song, you’re the men of GLoP… from Margaritaville to Brandy… where everyone is gay and everyone is Jewish (There is a logical explanation here!) and where they dish on FDR, homophobic telescopes and the Dutch.

While we were recording we heard the news of Ivana Trump’s passing and that leads to an interesting vocabulary discussion, one that you might say is iconic for this program, especially if you’re even vaguely familiar with our canon.

We’ve made it to 600, and in spite of the seemingly never-ending buffet of bad news that got our hosts talking in the first place, we manage to have a good time. Our first guest is Noah Rothman, whose latest book, The Rise of the New Puritans: Fighting Back Against Progressives’ War on Fun, takes a deep dive into the fanatics out to break up our good time.

Then Toby Young (host of Ricochet’s very own London Calling podcast) jumps on to talk about the fall of his old friend Boris Johnson. Was it his personality or his policies that drove him out of 10 Downing? And what’s next for Britain’s Conservative party?