On Monday night, NBC presented The Maya Rudolph Show, a one-hour prime-time variety special executive produced by Lorne Michaels and featuring many of their mutual Saturday Night Live cohorts, including Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell. It also co-starred Kristen Bell, Sean Hayes and singer Janelle Monae. The Maya Rudolph Show was an intentional effort to bring back the old-school TV variety show, but with a new-school slant that bathed most of the show in a distancing self-awareness.
The winner of the United Kingdom's only literary prize for comic fiction was awarded Monday to Edward St. Aubyn for his new book, a satire about Britain's most prestigious literary award. The novel is called Lost for Words and it was just published in the U.S.
One of the most enviable aspects of Geoff Dyer's intellect is how nomadic it is. With dazzling authority and acuity, he has roamed over subjects as varied and dense as jazz (But Beautiful), photography (The Ongoing Moment), D.H. Lawrence (Out of Sheer Rage), and the perfect doughnut (the title essay of Otherwise Known as the Human Condition). Dyer himself is just as peripatetic, and his appetite for new experiences is the perfect reason to procrastinate on writing about them.
Two days before his death in 2012, poet Jake Adam York handed in the manuscript for his last book. He was 40 and had already published three collections. Now, his fourth one is out posthumously. It's called "Abide." Poet Tess Taylor has our review.
Louis C.K. is now commonly acknowledged as one of the greatest comics of his generation. His celebrated FX series, Louie, started its fourth season a couple weeks ago, after a 19-month hiatus.
Louis C.K. created, writes, directs and stars in the series as a standup comic named Louie, who, like Louis C.K., is the divorced father of two young girls and shares custody with their mother. Last year, Louis C.K. also had prominent roles in two films: Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine and David O. Russell's American Hustle.
Now, I want to talk more about one of the shows that Eric just mentioned earlier a few minutes ago. It's a sitcom recently announced by ABC. It will be the first network family sitcom in two decades to feature an Asian-American cast. It's called "Fresh Off The Boat."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FRESH OFF THE BOAT")
HUDSON YANG: (As Eddie) Me - my American dream is to fit in.
CONSTANCE WU: (As Jessica) Why do all your shirts have black men on them?
Just who's to blame for the childhood obesity epidemic? Over the years, the finger has been pointed at parents, video games, Happy Meals and the hamburgers in the school cafeteria.
A new documentary, Fed Up, alleges it all boils down to a simple substance most of us consume every day: sugar. The pushers of "the new tobacco," according to the film, are the food industry and our own government.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. You may have to rethink your TV-watching schedule now that most of the major networks have unveiled their new fall offerings, as well as which shows made the cut and which ones will fade to black.
Later, we will hear from writer Jeff Yang. You've heard him here, on both our Parenting and Barbershop roundtables. He's going to tell us about ABC's new show "Fresh Off The Boat" because his son is the star of the new sitcom.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're going to spend a good chunk of the rest of the day's program talking about issues in the media that all happen to bubble up at the same time. Later, we'll talk about why the new fall season just got more colorful. We'll hear about one show that puts an Asian-American family front and center in a network sitcom for the first time in 20 years.
Gordon Willis, the cinematographer behind such classic 1970s films as Annie Hall, Klute, All the President's Men and the Godfather series, died on Sunday. He was 82.
"One cinematographer had established a kind of noir color look, rich in brown, amber and shadow, that was a vital force in the noir movies made in Hollywood in the 1970s," film historian David Thomson wrote of Willis in his New Biographical Dictionary of Film.
Something funny has happened to the familiar commencement address in the past 10 years. That something is YouTube. Steve Jobs' 2005 address at Stanford, to take just one example, has been viewed upwards of 20 million times.
How would a man in a suit of armor go to the bathroom? That inquiry into medieval sanitation is just one of many unlikely topics that have come up around Sarah Albee's dinner table. Albee, a children's book author, has been trying to get middle schoolers interested in history. Her strategy is to look at it through the lens of something that gets kids' attention, namely: things that are gross.
As part of a series called "My Big Break,"All Things Consideredis collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.
It all started with a dead-end job at a convenience store in Pittsburgh. Terry Boring says he had the worst job there: the assistant manager.
"You get none of the respect of the store manager and you get all of the terrible hours that they can't get anyone else to work," he says.
In 2008, Nathan Deuel and his wife packed up their things and moved to Saudi Arabia. That country, famous for being largely closed to Westerners, was newly open to a handful of journalists. The couple moved to Riyadh. A year later, in 2009, their daughter was born.
Few people know the ins and outs of power politics in the nation's capital better than Richard A. Clarke. He served three presidents and as national coordinator for security and counterterrorism, he was instrumental in developing the nation's armed drone program.
The lack of diversity in children's literature is nothing new – it's an issue that's been roiling the book world for years. Just in the past few weeks, it's come to a head with the We Need Diverse Books campaign on Twitter and Tumblr. Everyone agrees: all kinds of kids need to be able to see themselves reflected in the books they read.
Francine Prose's new novel "Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932" was inspired by a picture taken by the famous Hungarian photographer Brassai. It shows a lesbian couple at a club in Paris before World War II. One of the women in the photo is dressed in a tuxedo. Her hair is short and slicked back like a man. She was Violette Morris, an athlete and racecar driver whose career was cut short because she was a cross-dresser.
Every so often, I read a novel and I experience all the clichés: my heart leaps into my throat, my pulse races, I'm stunned speechless. All this tawdry emotion occurs when I read sentences like this:
"He wasn't a seducer. He was remote. He was like a man preceded into a room by acrobats."
"Now it was like the labored conversation among guests at a late hour after there is nothing more to say, nothing but ashes in the fireplace, dishes in the sink, a chill in the room, a return to ordinary estrangement."
Millions of Americans get financial advice from pundits on talk radio and cable television.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, many of those pundits have gotten a bad name for failing to warn investors about the crash. Yet public frustration has done little to hurt the financial media industry as a whole.
In their new book, Clash of the Financial Pundits, Joshua Brown and Jeff Macke argue that financial punditry is not going anywhere; it's been around as long as there have been economies.
When Hollywood needs a big dude — a really big dude — they can call on all sorts of former athletes. Few come with the heart and humor of Terry Crews.
An 11th-round draft pick of the Rams, Crews gave up his NFL dream in 1997 to pursue a different dream in Hollywood. He thought he'd turn his love of art into a job behind the scenes in special effects. Instead, he has stolen scenes on camera — from action movies like The Expendables to TV comedies like the Golden Globe-winning Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
By the time a bright-eyed secretary named Peggy Olson walked through the fictional doors of the Madison Avenue advertising agency Sterling Cooper in 1960, one very real female pioneer was already hard at work down the street.
Like her Mad Men counterpart, the 84-year-old broadcasting legend Barbara Walters, who retired from television this week, got her start as a secretary for a Manhattan advertising agency. And though Walters' rise from the secretarial pool began much earlier and took much longer than Peggy's, it was no less dramatic.
Aaron Gwyn has written a novel about modern man at war on horses. He calls it a mideastern. "Wynne's War" is the story of a U.S. Army Ranger from Okla., Elijah Russell, whose stellar horsemanship gets him assigned to train Green Berets for a special mission in Afghanistan, a horseback raid on the Taliban in treacherous mountain territory.