Better Know a Guest: November 26 – 29, 2012: UPDATE

The Colbert Report Guest Line UpHello, Hubsters!

Welcome back! Is everyone who celebrated turkeyed-out? (Or whatever you feasted on—perhaps there are some vegetarians/vegans here.) I hope it was a great holiday, for Hubsters and for Stephen, Jon, and their families.

But now we’re back, and into the home stretch before the Christmas/New Year’s break. (Yeah, Jon’s Jewish, but Hanukkah begins December 8th, and I’m pretty sure Mr. Stewart will be on the job then.)


Monday, 11/26: Jake Tapper

Jake-TapperSince 2008, journalist Jake Tapper has served as ABC News senior White House correspondent, a job he took on after having covered then-Senator Barak Obama’s presidential campaign. During that time, he’s received the Merriman Smith Award, given for presidential coverage under deadline pressure, and helped ABC News earn an Emmy® for its coverage of President Obama’s first inauguration. Tapper was a candidate for hosting This Week, after George Stephanopoulos first left the show; Christiane Amanpour got the job instead. (Stephanopoulos has since returned.) Tapper also contributes to ABC’s other news shows such as Good Morning America, Nightline (soon to move to a new location to accommodate Jimmy Kimmel), and World News with Diane Sawyer.

Tapper now has a new book out (his third) called The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, which examines a tragic incident in Afghanistan. In 2009, an American outpost near the Pakistani border suffered a deadly attack by the Taliban. Ultimately, the seriously out-manned US forces won, but not without a heavy loss of life. Tapper investigates what happened—and reaches the sad conclusion that there was no reason for the outpost ever to have been established there. (You can read an excerpt if you follow my link to the publisher’s page.)

After graduating from Dartmouth with a BA in history and visual studies and a brief stint studying at USC’s famed School of Cinema-Television, Tapper—who seems to be quite a liberal Democrat—worked as a press representative for several Dem politicians and then as a writer for various publications, including the Washington City Paper and He joined ABC in 2003, and in addition to politics has covered major stories ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the heated debate over the removal of brain-dead patient Teri Schiavo’s life support. Rather unusually for a person involved in hard news, he also appears on Daily Show regular “Judge” John Hodgman’s podcast and has created a comic strip called Capitol Hell! along with stand-alone cartoons. That interest in popular culture is also evident in some of his less political interviews, which include Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park), golfer Tiger Woods, all-around worthless buttinsky Donald Trump, and Steve Jobs.


One of his earlier books was Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency, about the contested 2000 election between Gore and Bush. Check it out here.

Follow him on Twitter: I love his little profile description: “ABC News’ Sr White House Correspondent. Dissecting my tweets with Talmudic meticulousness will result in wrong conclusions. RTs do not = endorsement.”

Read Political Punch, his ABC News blog.

Here’s his ABC page, with more biographical info and links to some of his stories.

The Outpost has a Facebook page to like.

ABC News covered this book by one of its own.

MediaLite ranks him high among influential TV reporters.

Politico Live interviewed him about The Outpost.

Here are some of his articles, old and new.

Watch Tapper querying White House press secretary Jay Carney on what happened in Benghazi .

He dated Monica Lewinsky—just a few weeks before the Clinton scandal broke: “But perhaps even more, I also want to point out that behind this particular bimbo eruption sits a young woman who is not a bimbo, who is a fairly sensible sort from what I saw, who was never going to be the one holding a press conference alongside a posterboard blowup of the Star with a back pocket full of the cash she got from selling out. She may be guilty of poor judgment, but she never asked for this.”


Tuesday, 11/27: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton“I—I, I, will always love you-ooh ooh.” The multi-Grammy® winning country star with the voice of an angel, a wicked sense of humor, an infamous bustline, and (sadly) too much plastic surgery is stopping by the Report to discuss her new book of inspirational thoughts. Dream More expands on a commencement speech Parton delivered at the University of Tennessee, presenting a little more of the singer’s life philosophy. Certainly, she knows a little something about making dreams come true, because this poor girl from the Tennessee hills not only managed to make her mark in music, but grew up to own a theme park of her very own. I’d love a small duet too, if possible. Please make it happen.

Parton, who in addition to singing plays several instruments and has composed more than 3,000 songs, is the fourth of 12 children, so I guess she and Stephen both know what it’s like growing up in a big family. Her career began early: by nine years old, she already performed regularly on local radio shows and at 13 she signed a recording contract and a had chance to perform at Nashville’s famous Grand Ole Opry. She did graduate from high school before fully leaving home and devoting herself to her career, achieving success as a songwriter in tandem with her uncle, Bill Owens. As a singer, she had her big break when she joined Porter Waggoner and appeared regularly on his TV show. (He’s the one introducing her in the “Dumb Blonde” video, below.) In 1974, she and Waggoner went their separate ways and she moved from pure country recognition to pop notoriety. Her big hits include “Here You Come Again,” “9 to 5” (which spawned the film, in which she also starred), and “Wrong But It’s All Right.” She’s made numerous TV appearances, including specials and a guest shot in American Idol; starred in films, including Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; and established the Dollywood Company, which runs her parks and provides a lot of investment in her native Tennessee. Twenty-five of her records have gone gold, she won eight Grammys and received 45 nominations, won the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award, and is a Kennedy Center honoree. In addition to those honors for her music, she’s received additional awards for her philanthropy, including from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.


Visit her official website, which covers it all, including the theme park attractions.  Or go to this site for just the music.

Like her on Facebook.

Follow Dolly on Twitter.

Watch videos on her YouTube channel, which is mostly devoted to her diary. But here’s “Dumb Blonde” (which she sure isn’t) for those who want to listen to her sing.

The LA Times had an article on the book.

She continues to influence new generations. Ke$sha’s covering her.


Wednesday, 11/28: Frank Oz

Frank OzMiss Piggy! Fozzie Bear! COOKIES! Frank Oz brought them and other beloved Muppets brilliantly to life through his amazing puppeteering. It’s kind of a weird time for him to be on, what with the recent flap over Kevin Clash, the man who handled Elmo and had to resign due to allegations of sexual abuse. But he’s not on to discuss that or the Muppets: he’s going to talk about the recent re-release of the film he directed, The Little Shop of Horrors, in a Blu-ray director’s cut. This dark but funny little horror-musical hybrid concerns a killer plant named Audrey II (after the girl its owner loves) that just happens to enjoy drinking human blood and aims to take over the world. The movie stars former SNL performer Rick Moranis as the hapless milquetoast for whom the plant is a bit of an alter-ego. The story began life as a cheapie Roger Corman movie featuring a then little-known Jack Nicholson and later became an off-Broadway show, where it gained the musical score. The cameos here include such greats as Steve Martin, Bill Murray, and Christopher Guest. Obviously, Oz’s puppet knowledge comes in handy when directing the rapidly growing man-eating (drinking?) plant. Among other things, this new edition presents, for the first time, an ending that wasn’t included in the original. (See below for some clips.)

The English-born Oz is actually the son of puppeteers, so he came by his profession naturally. (Incidentally, his Dutch parents helped fight the Nazis in that country before being forced to move to the UK.) In the US, he’s worked primarily with creatures created by the late, great Jim Henson, and has continued developing those characters after Henson died. What Stephen will seize on, I imagine, is Oz’s turn as Yoda in the Star Wars films. (Created Yoda’s twisted sentence structure he did and also helped move the character from puppet to CGI.)  Little Shop was the first non-Muppet film he directed (he had handled Labyrinth, among others), and he went on to helm such human-only movies as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, What About Bob? (which I love), and Bowfinger. Obviously he’s a fave of Steve Martin and Bill Murray, which I consider very good endorsements, indeed.


Read an interview with Oz and Ellen Greene (Audrey I and the only holdover from the show) on EW about the new version. Includes video excerpts!

Here’s yet another interview.

A third interview—and there’s a new Muppet movie in the works.

And a fourth, this time with co-composer Alan Menken.

Oz spoke movingly at Henson’s memorial.

He won’t do it—don’t ask him: The  voice of Yoda. (Outside of the movies, that is.)

Like him on Facebook.

He did not appear in the last Muppets movie; he didn’t like the script.

Watch him at work.

Try your hand at a Frank Oz trivia quiz!


Thursday, 11/29: Sean Carroll

Sean M. CarrollIt’s science Thursday! Recently, Stephen seems to have been reserving the end of the week for a science-based visitor. And this guest will be discussing one of the newest discoveries in physics: The Higgs Boson Particle. Sean Carroll’s new book, The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Search for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World, deals with this historic breakthrough in astrophysics. More than 6,000 scientists were in on the search, which finally was uncovered thanks to the Large Hadron Collider. Basically, the discovery of the Higgs Boson provides some of first real knowledge we have on “dark matter” and on the potential mass of subatomic matter. I’m sure that Carroll will describe it better than I, and he’s not only exploring the scientific possibilities opened up by this new information, but also reveals background on the huge project itself—which began with engineers from more than 100 countries collaborating to build the collider. According to his website (link below), he’s also involved on a NOVA episode devoted to the topic.

Carroll is a physicist at CalTech, where he teaches theoretical physics and astrophysics. He received his PhD from Harvard, did postdoctoral work at MIT, and taught at the University of Chicago, which for some reason did not award him tenure. Now elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, he works in cosmology, relativity, and quantum field theory. Carroll blogs for the website Cosmic Variance (associated with Discover magazine), and among other things, he’s a notable atheist, so he and Stephen might possibly get into that.


Scientific American reviewed the book.

Watch a video of Carroll discussing the book and the particle.

Visit Carroll’s website, Preposterous Universe, where you can get more biographical information, find out about his other books (including the nicely titled From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time), link to his blog, and much more.

Subscribe to his Facebook page. And the book has its own Facebook page to like.

Follow him on Twitter.

He appeared on NPR to discuss the subject.

Publishers Weekly reviewed the book.

Watch him discuss the origins of the Universe. (I personally love one of the commenters: “Great lecture, horrible shirt.”)


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



Monday, 11/26: David Nasaw

David Nasaw’s new book,  The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P.  Kennedy, focuses on the man who sired one president, several influential senators, and a passel of activists who still influence the world today. Nasaw had access to many family members and to formerly unseen documents in the writing of this work, which examines everything from the personal (why he had daughter Rosemary lobotomized) to the political (his views on the Monroe Doctrine, his relationship with J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, and whether or not he bought the election for JFK).  Nasaw is the Arthur M. Schlessinger, Jr. Distinguished Professor of American History at the Graduate Center of CUNY (City University of New York).

Read a review in  the New York Times.

Here’s one from the Boston Globe–the Kennedys’ home territory.

Visit David Nasaw’s page at the CUNY website.


Tuesday, 11/27: Warren Buffett, Carol Loomis

The billionaire founder of Berkshire Hathaway, and one of the world’s wealthiest men, wrote a series of articles for Fortune magazine through the years. Carol Loomis has collaborated with Warren Buffet to turn them into an anthology: Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012.

Watch Buffett on CNBC.

Find out his seven pearls of wisdom.

TIME magazine wrote an article on Buffett’s investing strategy.


Wednesday, 11/28: Neil Young

“Tin soldiers and Nixon coming. We’re finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming. Four dead in Ohio.” I don’t know how many of you Hubsters are old enough to remember when that song was an anthem for the antiwar movement (anti-Vietnam war, that is.) I bet this guest really thrills Jon. The iconic, iconoclastic singer and songwriter has a new autobiography out, Waging Heavy Peace. Going his own way since the 1960s, Young has belonged to several of the rock history’s most famous groups, including Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young, and stood as one of the most fiercely individual and musically uncompromising solo acts as well. Until this book, he remained relatively quiet and secretive, so this is quite a change, and a welcome gift to his fans.

He’s having a Twitter chat just after his appearance on the who, from 9-10 PM, so join in!

Follow him on Twitter anytime.

Rolling Stone reviewed the book. There are also several excellent links at the bottom of the article, to earlier interviews and photos.

Read a chapter snippet of Waging Heavy Peace.

Here’s the New York Times review.

Watch Neil Young sing one of my favorites: “After the Gold Rush.”

He was on the Report way back in 2006..


Thursday, 11/29: Calvin Trillin

He was on The Daily Show just about a year ago, and here’s what I wrote then. The book he discussed last time is now being released in paper on December 4th..

Humorist Calvin Trillin’s newest book features some his finest writing: Forty Years of Calvin Trillin: A Compilation of Funny Stuff. Trillin has written for numerous publications, but principally for The New Yorker, where his “U.S. Journal” series appeared for years.  He’s also well known for his articles and books on food, including The Tummy Trilogy. In addition, he has appeared in one-man shows and lectures frequently.

Here is a longer biography of Trillin, if you want to know more.
Want some witty Trillin quotations?  Check this out!  (I like “I don’t care where I sit, as long as I get fed.”)
Here’s his New Yorker page, where you can access some of his articles.
He’s been on The Daily Show before.
In this touching article, Trillin talks about his wife—who died, in a sad coincidence, on September 11, 2001.
Trillin talks with NPR about his new anthology.



That’s all for this week, folks! Let me know which guest excites you most.
Cheers, and have a great week!

  • CN Helper

    Two words: Dolly Parton. Going to be awesome! I wonder what she is going to wear more than anything else.

    I also think Warren Buffet and Neil Young will awesome on TDS. I was kind of disappointed that Neil wasn’t able to sing more when he appeared on TCR. Of course, he was trying to sing a song about impeaching the then president Bush, so that’s understandable. Not one that is going to make a “web exclusive.”

    I wonder if Frank was the Cookie Monster when the furry blue guy appeared on TCR. I loved when Cookie was on, so he should also make for a good interview.

    In any event, happy viewing all!

  • karenatasha

    @CN Helper

    Thank you, CN, for mentioning Neil Young on the REPORT! I don’t think I ever saw it; it might have been before I started watching. (Bad girl, me.) The BKAG is now updated with that clip.

    I think Parton will be a blast, and that she and Stephen will get on fabulously.
    I’m not sure if Oz did the voice on TCR; I don’t think he always does Cookie Monster, so someone else might have been handling it.

    Jon’s guests (so far) are good. But two mysteries!

  • Caroline

    Good lineup of guests. I am most looking forward to Dolly Parton – who seems funny and I think will click with Stephen. Would it be too much to hope for a short duet?

  • karenatasha


    Well, I’m sure hoping for a duet, so I’m praying it’s not too much! Even a little a capella by the desk would keep my Thanksgiving thankfulness going for a while!

  • Mariana312

    Since Stephen had some practice singing “Islands in the Stream” with Kenny Rogers on GMA fairly recently, that would be pretty easy to do! *Fingers crossed.*

  • karenatasha


    YES! That could work. We shall see. I’m expecting a fun evening, anyway. Nothing like Parton espousing her life philosophy to provide for some good humor. She is not a lady who takes herself too seriously–and as the song says, she’s no dumb blonde!