Better Know a Guest: October 15 – 18, 2012

Hello, Hubsters!

The Colbert Report Guest Line UpI hope everyone has purchased America Again by now. If not . . . why not?

Election season seems to bring out the best in Stephen and Jon—if not everyone else—and their shows have been blazing in the past few weeks. Kudos to Jon for some of the sharpest work he’s done in a long time. And thank you, Stephen, for everything (but especially the searing humor of “Four more wars! Four more wars!).

This week looks pretty amazing, with both the Report and TDS having a host of fabulous guests. Got to hand it to Jon this week, though. Wow. His booker SHOULD get an Emmy®.

Tuesday’s debate will likely provide more fodder for everyone—and I’m hoping that this time Mitt is the butt of the jokes. I’m betting that if Obama does as badly as he did last debate, he’s going to get an earful from Jon on Thursday.

I would just like to take a moment to offer my best wishes for a full recovery to the brave Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai. The 14-year-old is an inspiration and, in my opinion, should received the Nobel Peace Prize–not the European Union. Malala is currently on her way to the UK, where she will receive physical and psychological care.

Now, let’s take a look at this week’s guests!  


Monday, 10/15: Evan Thomas

Evan ThoamsDo you like Ike? In this presidential election year, it’s always interesting to look back at earlier leaders and see how they handled crises and policy. Journalist Evan Thomas, a former Newsweek editor and correspondent, has written a book on Eisenhower, Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World.  Eisenhower, the great general who came to power just after WWII, had to navigate the Cold War and prevent it from becoming hotter, hotter, nuclear. (He also gave us Nixon, but that’s another story.) It seems to me that present-day politicians, coping with an explosive Middle East and other regions, might glean something from Ike’s policies—though there are plenty of ways in which they shouldn’t emulate him, too.

Thomas presents Eisenhower as a brilliant strategist, which shouldn’t surprise us given his victories on the battlefield. Yet at the time, Ike was not considered the smartest of men. To counter this belief, Thomas zeroes in on the years 1953-1961, bypassing Eisenhower’s military career in favor of examining the way he steered us through the Korean War and other, smaller, emergencies that arose—such as when the Soviet Union shot down a US spy plane and captured the pilot, Gary Powers.

Thomas, who graduated from Harvard and then received his law degree from the University of Virginia, has won the National Magazine Award, as well as many other honors. In addition to writing for Newsweek, he reported for TIME magazine and regularly appears on the TV current affairs program, Inside Washington. Ike’s Bluff is his eighth book; the others include The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst and the Rush to Empire, 1898, the bestselling Sea of Thunder, and Robert Kennedy: His Life. Recently, he has taught as a visiting professor at both Princeton and his alma mater, Harvard.

Interesting family tidbit: Thomas’s grandfather ran for president on the Socialist Party line six times.


Read the New York Times review of Ike’s Bluff.

The Washington Post reviewed the book, too.

Listen to the publisher’s “Book Talk” with Thomas.

Vanity Fair also published an article about the book.

Visit his website.

He has appeared on Charlie Rose. (In this instance, with Jon Meacham, also formerly of Newsweek.)

Like him on Facebook.

Ummm–he doesn’t think Romney made gaffes during this summer’s trip abroad. “Obviously London was not ready for the Olympics,” he asserted. Really? I think it went off beautifully.

While his two most recent books have been published by Little, Brown, Simon and Schuster had many of the earlier ones, and you can look them up here.


Tuesday, 10/16: Cory Booker

Cory BookerI am so stoked about this visit! I love Cory Booker, the dynamic, committed mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He took over a city that suffered from extreme poverty and violence, not to mention corrupt politicians (that’s you, Sharpe James), and he is making a difference. Booker, now on his second term after a landslide victory, received his BA and MA from Stanford University, and then a second BA in Modern History from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He then earned his law degree at Yale. During his time at Stanford, he also played football—and became class president. Prior to becoming mayor, he served as a Newark city councilman.

Judging from the links provided, it looks as if Booker will discuss the Dodge Poetry Festival, taking place in Newark right now. The site says that the event will feature “2,500 hours of audio and video recordings, which include never-before-seen and once-in-a-lifetime conversations by internationally recognized poets.” There’s also a special day dedicated to the writing by high school students, and lots of fun music and art shows occurring along with the poetry, including a new jazz festival.

Incidentally, he has reason to try winning over Mr. Colbert. Booker has admitted contemplating a run for NJ governor in 2013 . . . and resident of the state Stephen would have the opportunity to vote for him, if he wished. I’d be delighted to see Booker kick out current governor Chris Christie, who spoke at the Republican convention and whom I can’t abide. Besides, Booker’s actually a hero, having rushed into a burning building and rescued a neighbor.  Would Christie do that? Nah.  It also got Booker a very nice reward: Stephen honored him as Alpha Dog of the Week!

Although Booker has taken the reins of a very troubled and poor city, he didn’t have to. He himself grew up in a more upscale area of New Jersey, but even while getting his law degree he ran clinics to help the low-income residents of New Haven, CT; directly after graduation he joined the Urban Justice Center in New York and then became Program Coordinator of the Newark Youth Project. After that, Booker embarked upon his political career. I personally have high hopes that he will eventually run for president. But we shall see.

This is Booker’s third visit, so he’s a friend of the show! He last appeared in September 2009 and before that in 2008.

Visit his website.

Follow him on Twitter.

Like him on Facebook.

He gave a speech at the DNC, and advocated for gay rights.

What did he think of Obama’s recent performance in the debate? He has strong words.

Here’s his Huffington Post blog.

Watch the full DNC speech.

He was the subject of the Oscar®-nominated documentary, Street Fight.

Cory Booker and Stephen Colbert have something in common: both have had their family roots researched by Henry Louis Gates.


Wednesday, 10/17: Tyler Perry

Tyler PerryIn an industry that has never been particularly welcoming to African-Americans, Tyler Perry has made his mark. While critics don’t always love his broadly humorous films—particularly the Madea series—audiences do. But it has been a long journey for Perry, who grew up in a poor and abusive household in New Orleans and fought his way to success. He actually began in theater, rather than films, which is where the legendary Madea was born in 2000. Played by Perry in drag, this was one wild foul-mouthed grandmother, with a fondness for pot and guns. She proved to be his ticket to the movies when he turned Diary of a Mad Black Woman into a film in 2005. Perry had a 5.5 million dollar budget; it raked in 50.6 million. Now he has a huge studio complex in Atlanta with 300 employees. In addition to movies, he produced a TV show called Tyler Perry’s House of Payne until this year, and now has Tyler Perry’s For Better or for Worse on the air. According to Forbes in 2011, he was the highest paid man in the entertainment industry. In 2012, the magazine counts him as #20 in the Celebrity Top 100.

On TCR, however, Perry won’t be plugging a film he himself directed, but one he’s acting in. And it’s not a comedy, but a mystery. In Alex Cross, based on a James Patterson novel, he portrays the title character, a detective in search of his niece’s killer. He’s taking over the role from none other than Morgan Freeman, who played Cross in two earlier films: Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Earlier this year, Perry released a non-Madea film of his own called Good Deeds.

One thing that Stephen and Perry can chat about is Oprah, now that Stephen’s had his “OWN” encounter with the talk show great. On his website’s biography, Perry credits her with giving him life-changing advice, and he and she now have formed a partnership for OWN—but he hasn’t yet provided the details.

Perry has received a number of BET, Image, and MTV Movie Award nominations and wins.


Visit his website.

Perry—and his popular Madea films—are not without controversy. Spike Lee, among many others, has criticized him for using minstrel stereotypes—“coonery buffoonery,” in Spike’s words. In response, Perry told Spike to “go straight to hell.”  (By the way, I’d like to counter Perry’s statement that “Italians don’t complain about The Sopranos.” He’s wrong. Many have complained bitterly, about both the TV show and also Scorsese’s Mafia-based films.) Cornel West also weighed in on the argument.

Like him on Facebook.

Follow him on Twitter.

An article in the Atlantic talks about Perry’s work in relation to a film that it considers a better “answer” to the type of movies he makes: Ava DuVernay’s The Middle of Nowhere.

Like his mentor, Oprah, Perry believes in performing acts of kindness and generosity. He contributed a lot to Haiti after the earthquake; sponsored a trip to Disney World for a group of poor children—and he bought a van for a disabled woman whose vehicle was stolen.

Perry who admitted that he was sexually abused, wrote an open letter to the brave 11-year-old who spoke up in the Penn State case.

He’s going to appear on America’s Next Top Model.


Thursday, 10/18: The Killers

The Killers

Photo by Frank Micelotta/Fox via Getty Images

Thursday is this week’s music night, which, much to my delight, is becoming a regular thing on the show. Indie band The Killers has a new album, Battle Born. The title comes from the slogan on the Nevada state flag: the state’s creation in 1864 helped assure both Lincoln’s re-election and the union. It’s also the name of the group’s studio.

The Killers consists of vocalist and keyboardist Brandon Flowers; guitarist/backup singer Dave Keuning; bassist/backup singer Mark Stoermer; and drummer/percussionist Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. The Las Vegas-based band formed in 2001 and previously released three records (not counting a compilation album): Hot Fuss (2004), Sam’s Town (2006), and Day & Age (2008). Over the years, the group’s sound has varied and changed, from hard guitar rock to Springsteen-like anthems. Interestingly, Flowers and Keuning, the two founding members, met through a newspaper ad placed by Keuning; Stoermer and Vannucci joined them a year later. They paid their dues playing in Vegas, before undergoing a long process that ended with them first getting signed by the small British indie label, Lizard King, and then by Island Records in the States. Their first release won them three Grammy® nominations, and in 2010 they played on the White House lawn in a salute to the military. That same year, the group decided to go on hiatus, with the members embarking on solo projects. Now, a year-and-a-half later, they’re back together, with this new work and a tour.


Brandon Flowers tell the story of the band in the Daily Mail.

Visit their website.

Buy their albums on iTunes.

Like their Facebook page.

Just as the new album comes out, MTV decided to take a fresh look at an old work: Sam’s Town, which originally received a very mixed response.

The LA Times reviewed Battle Born.

Brandon Flowers talks about the new album and about the power of rock ‘n’ roll.

The entire band discusses music, politics, and more in The Daily Beast. (Teaser: Flowers is a Mormon and Romney likes their music.)

The Independent went on the road with The Killers.

Watch videos on their YouTube channel.

Tragically, the saxophonist who toured with the band killed himself earlier this year.


Now, let’s check in with our good friend, Jon Stewart!

Mr. Stewart, I raise a toast to you this week for snagging two of the most-wanted guests. Cheers!


Monday, 10/15: J.K. Rowling

Her story is legendary by now—how she started scribbling a story on a napkin and went from unemployed single mom to the author of the most successful children’s series in history. Now, the Harry Potter author has a new book, but this time for adults—The Casual Vacancy, set in a small English town. Rowling has said her next work will once again be for kids (of all ages).

Read the New York Times review.

Visit her website.

Are you magical—or a muggle? Visit Pottermore to find out.

Listen to her on NPR.

Watch her on the BBC.


Tuesday, 10/16: Eugene Jarecki

Director and writer Eugene Jerecki is a Sundance Festival favorite, and he has a new film out. Like Why We Fight, his previous movie, The House I Live In won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prizes for Documentary. It deals with the war on drugs—which seems an increasingly futile and costly battle. Jarecki speaks to people on both sides, from the cop to the dealer.

Read the New York Times review.

This is his third visit to The Daily Show; his recent appearance took place almost four years ago to the day, in 2008.

He and Bill Maher discussed the film and the drug war. (They both oppose it.)

Forbes had an interview with Jarecki.


Wednesday, 10/17: Nate Silver

Statistician Nate Silver began his career in baseball, predicting the outcome of games. Then he moved on to politics—and in his last go-round, he got the results right in 49 of the 50 states. I’m scared of what he’ll say this year. His new book is The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—and Some Don’t.

He’s got a blog—called FiveThirtyEight.

Follow him on Twitter.

Listen to him on NPR.


Thursday, 10/18: President Barack Obama

Okay, I do NOT have to tell you anything about this guest, do I? Well, if there’s just one thing you have to know: he’s currently running for his second term as President of the United States.

This is President Obama’s fifth visit with Jon. The most recent occurred in 2010. Here’s Part 1Part 2, AND Part 3.

Visit his website.

Follow him on Twitter.

Like him on Facebook.


That’s all, folks! Let me know who you’re most looking forward to seeing!
Cheers, and have a great week.


  • CN Helper

    I am really excited about the Prez appearing once again on TDS. I was so impressed with how Jon interviewed him back in 2010, asking him pretty tough questions, but with a lot of grace and aplomb.

    I like Cory Booker, if only for the fact that he is audacious enough to use the word “delicious” for things other than food, such as, the “deliciousness of our democracy.” If he does become an NJ gov, he will be a pretty delicious one, at that.

    Tyler Perry is an out-of-the-box pick, but Stephen has done a lot of Perry jokes in the past, so it’s probably about time he came on and represented.

    I am not familiar with The Killers, but you usually cannot go wrong with Stephen’s musical picks. He is very adept at ferreting out the most happening folks.

    Happy viewing week, e’erbody! Thanks karenatasha for the great post.

  • karenatasha

    Good morning, CN! I agree about the President and Stewart; it should be interesting, and we will see how much “debate discussion” there needs to be. I’m sure it will get mentioned–and I’m sure Obama has a joke ready for just such an occasion.

    I like Cory Booker a lot, too. He had quite a job going in, and still does, really. But he’s doing his best.

    Perry will be an interesting guest. He’s clearly touchy about all the criticism that’s been lobbed at him, so I think Stephen will have to step carefully there. Fortunately, the film is plugging is so different it gives them a chance to move onto smooth territory.

    I don’t know The Killers much, too, but I always enjoy having a little music on the Report. I’m glad it’s becoming a more regular event on the show. I imagine it eases the pressure that day for the staff, because the song takes several minutes and there usually is a normal-length interview as well, so they can prepare a little less material.

    Happy viewing!

  • karenatasha

    @CN Helper
    And thanks for your kind words! A nice morning wake-up!

  • CN Helper

    @karenatasha I was also deeply touched by the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai. Such a beautiful young girl, with so much energy and passion for improving her country. Why do people like her have to bear the brunt of such ignorance?

  • Katt

    Looking forward to ‘The Killer’s and J.K Rowling, I can’t say the same for Tyler Perry. I am thankful that we do not get Madea here, I have seen enough clips on ‘ET’ to know that I do not find it in the least bit funny.

  • Mr. Arkadin

    Aloha Karenatasha! Hope you’re well. I always enjoy every Monday coming here and knowing you’ll be better knowing something for me. (Yes! Just me! No one else!)

    I guess I’m most looking forward to the Perry interview. I’ve never seen a Tyler Perry movie, so I’m not a fan. But I’m interested in how “Stephen” will interact with him none the less.

    I’d also love if Stephen/”Stephen” would say to Evan Thomas, “How does the grandson of the great and heroic Norman Thomas, become a beltway milquetoast like you?! Do you think you were switched at birth?” Don’t worry. I’m not holding my breath on that coming true.

    Alas. I don’t share your enthusiasm for Mayor Booker. While I don’t dispute all the good things you’ve written about him. I think he revealed himself for what he really is during his appearance on “Meet the press” back in May. When he called Obama’s attacks on Bain Capitol “nauseating” and how Bain had “done a lot to support business.” He also conflated attacking Bain Capitol with bring up Rev. Wright. I don’t think that was a mistake or accident. He meant it. He’s a corporate liberal. Good on social issue. But with his head so far up the a$$ of Wall Street he has to blow his nose with toilet paper! He was looking to defend his base. So he can get the money to run for Gov. (or the senate) later.

    Sorry for the angry tangent. But to me the increasing (If not total) corporatization of the Democratic party is as scary as the insanity of the Republican party. I’ll stop now.

  • Mr. Arkadin


    I want to apologize to you for the way I dumped on Cory Booker this morning. He’s someone you like and admire and so I really should have checked myself. I also consider you a friend and should have taken into account how what I wrote might make you feel. It reads to me now like I’m trying to bully you into agreeing with me and that makes me feel terrible. I’m sorry.

  • karenatasha


    I’m interested in how Jon will interact with her. His son is just about the age to read Harry Potter–if it wasn’t already read to him. The daughter’s a little young yet.

    I don’t know The Killers’ work very well, but am looking forward to hearing them on the show. As usual for Stephen’s musical guests, they seem smart and good-hearted. Such interviews are usually fun.

  • karenatasha

    @Mr. Arkadin

    Absolutely no apology necessary! You were expressing your opinion–and I’ve done the same. I understand that your reaction was to Booker, and not a judgement of me. There is no problem at all, and in fact I found what you said interesting.

    But I have to say that, in this country, I despair of finding too many politicians who are not cozy with big money. It’s practically necessary to get elected and to get the job done, unfortunately. In Booker’s case, I think some of it may have to do with getting investment in Newark, which so desperately needs it. If he was at odds, companies would shun the city and it would be very hard to improve. I know how imperfect that is. I’m not happy about the Bain comment either. But a whole lot of politicians dumped on Obama for it. We are just a deeply conservative, deeply capitalistic nation. And you are not the one who has to apologize for that. No offense was meant (to me, anyway), and no offense was taken.

  • lockhart43

    First of all, YES, I was finally able to purchase America Again! I wasn’t going to buy it until I had a bit more spending cash, but I was at the store on Saturday night and I found it on sale for a great price, so I couldn’t pass it up. So I walked out of the store with America Again and a box of grape Edy’s Fruit Bars. And I do not regret either purchase in the slightest. :)

    Secondly, The Killers!! Not that I’m not excited about the President being on the same night, but I am SO excited for The Killers. I’ve been a fan of theirs since Hot Fuss, and I’ve always secretly hoped that Jon or Stephen would be a fan. Brandon Flowers seems like a smart, easygoing guy too, so it should prove to be a good pre-performance interview as well.

  • karenatasha

    Yay! So glad you got your copy, Lockhart! You deserve it. And no — regret nothing! Je ne regrette rien!

    I hope you really enjoy The Killers on TCR. I think it will be a great way to end the week, along with The Daily Show’s special guest. A little music to sing us off on our weekend!

  • susan209

    @Mr. Arkadin and @Karenatasha,
    It is so good to come back and see true dialogue between thoughtful, caring people who may disagree about something (or someone). If this site was just all “positive” about everything and appeared to unconditionally adore every guest on TCR with nary a criticism, I’d never come back! Thank you both for restoring my faith! Oh, and hello again, by the way!
    As for what I look forward to this week… I am just looking forward.

  • karenatasha


    Hi, Susan! Great to see you again here. I hope you are well and am sending warm hugs to you.

    I guess it’s easy for Mr. Arkadin and I to have a thoughtful chat; we do kind of disagree from a position of agreement. By that I mean, we don’t have radically different political opinions on the things that really matter. But you are right: wherever possible, there must be dialogue. With some people it’s hard. (Paul Ryan, are you listening? I’m expecting Stephen to do something about that soup kitchen stunt of yours.)

    And I shall see you this week, I hope, Ms. Susan. Looking forward, as you say.

  • Mr. Arkadin


    I’m glad. :) I was worry about it after re-reading my post.

    In the Steve Kornacki’s article in Salon, that I based my rant on. Wall Street types are Booker’s people. His fellow “brilliant” students from his university days. They are also the one’s who financed both his campaigns to become mayor. So I don’t think Booker saw Wall St. as a necessary evil to deal with for the sake of Newark. As much as he saw them as his peers.

  • Mr. Arkadin


    Hi! I’m glad to see you again. It’s been awhile and I’ve missed you.

    All credit has to go to Karen on the “thoughtful chat” front. She’s the best!

    Susan you weren’t around in September so: Belated happy twenty-ninth birthday! *Balloon drop* 😀

  • karenatasha

    AHHHHH. Edit function not working.

    Mr. Arkadin and ME to have a thoughtful chat. ME. Not I.


    And, yes, I wanted to use the edit function and hide it forever!

  • karenatasha

    @Mr. Arkadin

    *Blushing at your kind words in this and the next post*

    I don’t know, Mr. Arkadin. You could be right. I do think he’s helped Newark, which was in such desperate need. Or we both could be a little right. He saw them as his peers, but he also saw what they might do.

    Time will tell. But as I said, the sad fact is, it’s almost impossible to get anywhere in the US without those cronies. Can you say: election reform? But it won’t happen. Or not fast enough, anyway. I mean really. Stephen can totally deconstruct SuperPacs and STILL not win an Emmy? Now, what does THAT say?

  • susan209

    Hmmmph. I am clicking “reply” and it’s not working. Well, @Mr. Arkadin, thank you for the “29th” birthday wishes 😉 It’s very upsetting these days to check my email and notice that I’m getting spam from companies that sell walk-in-showers and living communities for older adults.
    It’s good to be 29 again!
    Thank you! 😉

    And @Karenatasha, *hugs* back to you. Yes, I will see you (and Stephen) at the 92nd Street Y later this week! Looking forward indeed!