Bret Stephens, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, sits down with Bridget to discuss Trump’s effect on the Republican Party, feeling out of place in your own country, the dangers of a culture that’s so sure of its convictions, mob politics, and how Trump’s behavior is both a symptom and a cause of a form of cultural corrosion. Bret talks growing up in Mexico and the perspective it gave him on the US that most Americans don’t have, and why what we have in the US is relatively rare, difficult to achieve, and extraordinarily easy to lose. He and Bridget cover tolerating behavior you find morally offensive because you realize that the price of intolerance is worse than whatever offense is being perpetrated, the unforgiving nature of writing a weekly column, maintaining the understanding you don’t possess a lock on truth, how antisemitism is like a society’s immune system, the emerging attitude of a hatred of excellence, and his experience of being in Jerusalem on 9/11.More
Dana Goldberg, stand-up comedian, stops by to talk how she got into comedy, bombing in front of Gloria Steinem, the fact that European audiences don’t laugh, and her talent for bonding people with humor. She shares coming out to her parents when she was 18, how they made it an easy experience, and offers her best advice for parents who have children struggling with their sexual identities. She believes you haven’t failed your child until you turn your back on them. She and Bridget discuss Dana’s ability to raise money for worthy causes, their encounters with Rihanna and Meryl Streep in real life, and using comedy as a means to protect yourself.
Full transcript available here: WiW58-DanaGoldberg-TranscriptMore
Faisal Saeed Al Mutar’s first experience with Americans was during the second Iraq war when a US tank rolled up in front of his house. He shares his incredible story of growing up under Saddam Hussein’s regime, the vaccuum in his neighborhood that was filled by members of Al-Qaeda, blogging against extremism and receiving death threats as a teenager, escaping Iraq, and the ten year journey to becoming an America citizen. He discusses being taken in by a family in Virginia, why he thinks Americans are amazing people, his appreciation of the values America was founded upon – free speech, civil liberties, and freedom of religion – and the importance of the separation of powers. His is the founder of Ideas Beyond Borders, a non-profit that seeks to prevent extremism before it takes root by translating and creating content related to the values that make people less likely to be recruited by extremist organizations. And he shares stories of the heroes he works with across the Middle East who are risking their freedom and lives to help translate content covering controversial or banned ideas, from civil rights, to women’s rights, to evolution, and critical thinking.
Full transcript available here: WiW57-FaisalSaeedAlMutar-TranscriptMore
Ryan Stout, stand-up comic extraordinaire, shares how he got into stand-up, parsing his college courses for material, the joys of being a stay-at-home husband, and the changing effect of wearing a suit when doing a comedy show. He and Bridget discuss how liberal people used to view artists as a minority community that needed to be protected and now they view them as oppressors, the future of advertising with deep fakes, and how to support comics you like (hint: don’t just tell them they’re going to be famous and walk away). They talk comedy as an art form with an extremely short shelf life, “post comedy,” rape jokes, suicide jokes, laughter as medicine, and how the victimhood mentality is so damaging psychologically that therapy doesn’t work. Learn the truth about “making it” in Hollywood, and why intersectionality is like trying to win in a small d*ck contest. Be sure to check out Ryan’s latest comedy album Man in the Suit.
Full transcript available here: WiW56-RyanStout-TranscriptMore
Melissa Chen (NY Editor, Spectator US) stops by for a brilliant chat that covers a lot of ground. She describes growing up in Singapore in a “benevolent authoritarian state,” feeling liberated in the US, the fact that most Americans take the first amendment for granted, being on the forefront of human genome research, the Pandora’s Box that is CRISPR, and points out that whatever moral concerns we have about gene editing technology, China does not have them. She is currently the Managing Director of Ideas Beyond Borders, a foundation aimed at translating online content into Arabic and making ideas accessible that can challenge extremism before it takes root. They cover tribalism, intuition vs instinct, post-colonial theory, Bridget’s recurring dream, free speech, self-censorship, and designer babies, among other things.
Full transcript available here: WiW55-MelissaChen-TranscriptMore
Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, stops by to talk about screen and tech addiction. He and Bridget discuss the billions of dollars that go into keeping us looking at our screens, from game app design to, story formatting, to rolling from one episode into the next. They talk the evolution of binging, the fragmentation of our attention spans, the dopamine overloads we’re being doused with, and the difference between wanting and liking. If you’ve ever been stuck down a YouTube rabbit hole at 3:00am wondering why you didn’t go to bed hours ago, Adam offers some answers and some tips for setting boundaries and breaking unhealthy habits.
Full transcript available here: WiW54-AdamAlter-TranscriptMore
Yasmine Mohammed, author of Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam, shares her story of growing up in a fundamentalist Islamic home in Canada. At 13, when she tried to report the abuse she suffered at the hands of her step-father, she was told by a judge “you come from a different culture, and that’s how your family chooses to discipline you, so we just have to accept that.” And here lies the inherent contradiction in the way in which the West views fundamentalist Islam versus other fundamentalist religions, and turns a blind eye to the abuse and suffering of millions of girls and women. She and Bridget discuss how alienating that is, the message those girls receive is “we don’t care about you, you are ‘other.'” They cover the escalation of rape culture, sexual harassment, the problems with celebrating the hijab, the indoctrination of attitudes towards girls and women in Muslim culture, and being called Islamophobic for criticizing a tool and system of oppression. They bond over shared traumatic experiences and discuss their belief that if you can use your own trauma to help others, it has not happened in vain. If you only ever listen to one episode of Walk-Ins Welcome, this is the episode.
Full transcript available here: WiW53-YasmineMohammed-TranscriptMore
Bridget finally convinced Cousin Maggie to share her story, from a rather idyllic childhood in a small town in Rhode Island, to being raised in a stable environment with active, involved parents, to having a certain expectation about the track her life would follow, until she was completely derailed by depression in college. They discuss the little known realities of suicidal depression, picking up the pieces, the journey back to “normal” and how falling apart wound up being completely freeing. Maggie talks about the warning signs she has to be aware of when she’s sliding into a dark place, how to counteract the slow creep of depression, and how she found her way to LA. They also cover the importance of setting boundaries in your life, the value of life coaches (even though the name is ridiculous), the battle against laziness, and the absolute necessity of maintaining a sense of humor about it all.
Full transcript available here: WiW52-CousinMaggie-TranscriptMore
Jamie Kilstein, stand-up comic and podcast host, sits down with Bridget to discuss his conversion from a woke, SJW, male feminist to a humbler and healthier version of himself. He shares the scars of being falsely accused of sexual misconduct, the fallout to his career and life, being suicidally depressed, and why he was basically taken down for being a self-righteous a**hole who everyone was willing to turn on. They cover being addicted to validation, being crazy in relationships, people who have teams and not principles, the importance of healthy male role models, and the struggles of losing friends to suicide. Jamie wonders when Republicans became funnier than Liberals, examines why he stays in toxic relationships so long, credits his improved mental health to no longer fighting with strangers online, and points out when you don’t offer people a path to redemption, you offer them a path to radicalization.
Full transcript available here: WiW51-JamieKilstein-TranscriptMore
Helen Pluckrose, one of the three authors of the Grievance Studies and editor-in-chief of Aero magazine, sits with Bridget to discuss the much richer role for women in history than the lenses by which we’re viewing them today, the contradictions in feminism and social justice activism, the argument against post-modernism, and the inherent problems with intersectionality. Helen talks about her own journey from a care assistant in hospitals, to getting a Masters in Early Modern Literature with a focus on religious writing by and about women, her conversion from a Christian to an atheist, and how she met James Lindsay and became involved in the Grievance Studies. It’s a fascinating conversation covering complex topics with a true master of critical theory. Helen helps breakdown the fundamental contradictions within intersectionality and offers Bridget a way to formulate a compassionate and rational response to the intersectional argument.
Full transcript available here: WiW50-HelenPluckrose-TranscriptMore
Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan stops by to discuss the long and painful journey to a career in the entertainment industry, from studying finance at Georgetown, to taking improv classes so he can overcome his fear of speaking in meetings at the advertising agency where he worked, to falling in love with stand-up and watching everyone else in his comedy class find success before he did. Jim talks why failure is such a great teacher, getting lost in other people’s expectations, the creepy thing about doing press, and why he doesn’t want power. In his new movie, American Dreamer, he gets the chance to play against type with a complex character in a disturbing thriller, and he shares how he could relate to the delusions of his character, the American fantasy of the “quick fix,” and the rewards of being able to explore a dark character. He and Bridget marvel at Joe Rogan’s abilities, commiserate over the repressed rage of comedians, and reflect that more dangerous than cancel culture, is the growing trend of leaving people out of the discussion altogether.
Full transcript available here: WiW49-JimGaffigan-TranscriptMore
Bridget and Peter Boghossian have a conversation under the Colorado stars about the search for ultimate meaning in life, the denigration of reason, the loss of being able to wonder publicly, figuring out the best type of life to lead, and teaching people how to value the right things. Peter explains how bales of hay, lifting weights, and prison inmates got him started on his career path and led him to question whether you can fundamentally change the way people think about problems and the way they view morality. They cover street epistemology, the truth about “pecking orders,” the difference between rationalizing and reasoning, and the glorification of violence in our society. His book, How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide, co-written with James Lindsay, is a distillation of decades of study and offers the best ways to approach and have conversations with people who have different opinions and foster a climate of civility.
Full transcript available here: WiW-PeterBoghossian-TranscriptMore
Story Hour with Bridget Phetasy is a segment where Bridget reminisces with cousin Maggie and tells stories explaining who she is and how she got here. Full transcript available here: WiW47-AccidentalPundit-Transcript
This week Bridget covers how she went from being the Playboy Advisor to an accidental pundit on Ben Shapiro’s Election Special. She can trace every opportunity she’s had since leaving waitressing behind to one thing – Twitter. The realization that Twitter is just like high school, with its cool kids and its cliques helped her understand it and how to use it to her advantage. She discusses using it to hone her writing and her wit, being blocked by Demi Moore, the wrath of Dane Cook and her first mobbing (you can read the essay here), and how Twitter helped her get sober. Hear about her first taste of virality with her essay Bill Cosby Raped Me… Kind Of, how she built her following and created her own community of people who offer support in some of her darkest moments. Her journey from Playboy to the Federalist was a direct result of the paradigm shift that occurred after Trump won the election. She honestly had no idea what she was getting into when it came to political commentary and being caught in the crossfire of the culture war. She wonders as much as anyone “How did I get here?”More
Glenn Beck is a conservative political commentator, radio host and television producer. He and Bridget discuss the early evolution of his career, his love affair with radio, the transition from CNN to Fox News, attending Yale at age 30, and mistakes he’s made along the way. They delve into the value of struggle and overcoming hardship, the cultural celebration of “victimhood,” how tribalism and the culture wars trick people into thinking that the problem is outside themselves, and the dangers of buying into your own fame. They explore the importance of being able to say “I don’t know,” the loss of compassion that occurs when we stop seeing the humanity of the people we disagree with, Glenn’s surprising conversion to Mormonism, and what he found in the depths of his most recent dark night of the soul.
Full transcript available here: WiW46-GlennBeck-TranscriptMore
Noah Rothman is an MSNBC and NBC New contributor, Associate Editor of Commentary Magazine, and author of the book Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America. He and Bridget have a fascinating conversation about the origins of the social justice movement, the fact that “social justice” as a term defies definition, the paradox of treating individuals unequally in order to achieve equality, and whether or not it’s just tribalism with a fancy name. They cover Noah’s early career in radio, how he got started as a writer, advice to writers seeking to make a career for themselves, dealing with imposter syndrome, and the ridiculousness of the office air conditioning sexism debate. They discuss the “outrage economy” cultural politics, bad faith interpretations of common idioms like “real man,” and how a self-destructive movement can do a lot of damage before it self-destructs.
Full transcript available here: WiW45-NoahRothman-TranscriptMore
Corinne Fisher is a stand-up comedian, co-host of popular podcast Guys We [email protected]#ked, and co-author of the book F*cked: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed, with creative partner, Krystyna Hutchinson. She and Bridget have a conversation that is surprisingly not all about sex, though that’s certainly covered. They also talk the small world of stand-up comedy, the joys of bombing during a stand-up set and the hidden skill involved, the impetus for the podcast and how it evolved into its anti slut-shaming message, what Donald Trump’s podcast would be like if he had one, the lunacy of “post-comedy”, and Corinne’s rule about cutting any joke from a set that gets more “clappter” than actual laughs. They delve into body dysmorphia, shame, society’s view of women in their 40s, experiencing second-hand trauma, and the dangers of the body positivity movement. Find out why Corinne is the Jane Curtain of sexuality and how the words “I’ll try anything once…” have led Bridget astray.More
Ethan Nicolle, Creative Director at the Babylon Bee, stops by to talk the pros and cons of going viral, how virality does not automatically equal dollars, the never-endingness of being a parent, the bubble within a bubble within a bubble that is LA, and Ethan’s theory that fighting with bears is the struggle for manliness. They discuss the comic Axe Cop which Ethan created with his 5 year old brother, Malachai. Malachi provided the ideas and story, Ethan illustrated. He delves into finding success and moderate fame with Axe Cop, and what happens after the fame. They theorize on why dogs choose to poo where they do and the fact that it might be responsible for keeping the Earth on its axis, why Bridget wants to get milkshaked, and why Ethan had trouble talking to strangers after his band broke up. Don’t miss Ethan’s new book, Bears Want to Kill You.More
Marshall Herskovitz, writer, director and producer (thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Dangerous Beauty), drops by to talk about how he got his start in Hollywood, when he decided he’d rather fail and leave the business than keep writing things that didn’t feel like him, the TV movie that kick-started his and partner Ed Zwick’s careers into high gear, and what kind of reboot he would do for thirtysomething if the opportunity arose. Learn why he, Ed, and Winnie Holzman wound up sobbing when they had to do the DVD commentary for the My So-Called Life pilot, why they were terrified of Claire Danes, and why the way we define risk is so destructive in our society. Marshall shares how making Dangerous Beauty (one of Bridget’s all-time favorite films) was his all-time favorite experience in the business, what the film meant to him, and the reason for its incredible longevity after initially bombing at the box office. They discuss everything from the extreme the changes in the movie and television industry in the last 10 years, to the truth about climate change, how Democrats are getting the messaging wrong, the difference between investment and cost, and how the economy is like a bottle of wine. Don’t miss Bridget’s story about Jared Leto and Marshall’s story about Brad Pitt.More
Andy Levy, American commentator and humorist, is a former panelist on S.E. Cupp’s Unfiltered and Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld. He drops in for a conversation with Bridget about why Twitter is like Soylent Green, hanging out in LA waiting to be discovered, Bridget’s secret desire to knock popcorn out of people’s hands at the movies, their shared dream of becoming private island owners, and what to do if you’re having a bad drug trip. They discuss why Andy would make a great serial killer, why men roll their eyes when it comes to astrology, and why therapy is great for people who don’t like talking about themselves. Bridget gives Andy some career advice and suggests WWOOFing on a horse farm in New Zealand, Andy analyzes Bridget’s vision board and marvels at the 5 year old child that lives inside her who she’s constantly struggling to keep in check.More
Sarah Solomon, author of Guac is Extra But So Am I: The Reluctant Adult’s Handbook, stops by to talk why life gets better as you get older, getting to the point where you get over your jealousy of other women, struggling with depression and anxiety in the age of social media, and how parenting seems like the hardest job in the world. She tells the story of being evicted from her apartment, losing her job, and getting her book deal all within a two week period. She and Bridget dissect why they both hate being in relationships, how a bagel broke up Bridget’s latest relationship, why men in their 20s need to get “slapped in the face by the dick of life a little bit,” and how a picture with Chris Christie got Sarah a lot of concerned texts from her male friends.More