Better Know a Guest: January 7 – 10, 2013

The Colbert Report Guest Line Up Welcome to Better Know a Guest, your weekly guide to the wonderful and diverse array of personalities appearing on ‘The Colbert Report’ and ‘The Daily Show’ each week.

Happy New Year Hubsters!

I hope everyone had a fine celebration and I wish you all a joyful, successful, and healthful 2013. May your dreams come true and may our world become a more peaceful place in the year to come.

It’s almost time for our favorite late-night faux-pundits to return. Hallelujah! I figure they’ll definitely focus on the last-minute deal that stopped us from going off the fiscal cliff and the House’s refusal to okay disaster relief for those suffering in the aftermath of Sandy. I do not know how, or if, they will speak about the most terrible, awful, heartbreaking story that occurred during their hiatus: the tragic killing of 18 children and 9 adults in Newtown, CT. I personally felt grateful that they were off when this happened. I do not believe that they could have come in the next day and in any way covered it. Jon, of course, could have been more direct; Stephen’s format and character would have made it harder for him. I also do not know how, or if, they will deal with the recent rape tragedies in India, in which one brutalized woman died from her injuries and another killed herself. An absolute horror.

One bit of new that might be fun for them to mock is French actor Gerard Depardieu’s “defection” from France for tax reasons, and his possible acceptance of Russian citizenship.

I do have my own news: this, and the next couple of BKAGs to come, will be my last, at least for the foreseeable future. I have a very full plate of work that will demand my concentration in the next nine months of so: a film review, two papers (one for a conference and one for publication), and a large-scale research project for a publisher. I also have my job and other freelance. All in all, this makes it impossible for me to write this blog and do the rest without becoming a little frantic. I don’t want to sacrifice quality, and so I am saying goodbye for now. I will still stick around, though, to comment and contribute to the conversation, and perhaps do other small things as I can.

Now to the guests—and Mr. Colbert is beginning the New Year with a bang! (Sorry for the lack of photos; the site won’t let me upload right now.)

Monday, 1/7: Jimmy Wales

Well, today’s guest was SUPPOSED to be director Kathryn Bigelow; it changed last minute. (Of course, it changed AFTER I wrote Bigelow’s entry—grr.) But I admit this should be a fun visit because Jimmy Wales is the founder of . . . Wikipedia! Now, we all know what fun Stephen and the Nation have had messing with that site and deliberately changing information. Of course, Wales has been on TCR before, discussing how he strived to protect his site from Mr. Colbert’s mischievousness. In addition to handling all things Wiki (including the charitable Wikimedia Foundation, the for-profit Wikia, Inc,, and the “human-powered search engine” Search Wikia), the internet entrepreneur is a Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.

Recently, Wales has been in the middle of a controversy about the Wikia Foundation and its connection to the extremely repressive, free-speech denying government of Kazakhstan. He’d firmly denied the accusations, but this article in the Examiner suggests he’s not exactly telling the truth. Wales has apparently also banned critics from commenting on his page, particularly concerning his friendship with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. (He recently married Blair’s former “diary secretary”—I’m assuming that’s the person who makes and handles his appointments.)

According to the ColbertNation site, Wales will be discussing his “upcoming ventures.”

Visit his website, where you can read his blog and learn more about him and his foundations.

Follow him on Twitter.

Like him on Facebook.

He discussed the birth of Wikipedia in a Ted talk.

Wales also appeared on The Daily Show in 2011.

Read an interview with him on

Tuesday, 1/8: Chris Kluwe

This man is a double threat. In addition to a career as an NFL punter for the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Kluwe also has a side job as a bassist for the group Tripping Icarus—a Minneapolis-based band that began making music in 2009. The band dedicated its first album, Perfect Citizen, to their producer, Andy Lindberg, who died just after the sessions had been completed. When Kluwe joined the group, he basically returned to his first love, one that he’d given up when he pursued a life in professional sports; he’d played violin from five years old on through high school.

As a football player, he set records at UCLA and then was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks prior to joining the Vikings. Apparently, when the NFL went on strike, he became very frustrated by four players who refused to sign the agreement that everyone else had voted for. He called them a rather nasty name, and responded to criticism by writing an article justifying his words. (You can learn all about it on his Wikipedia page.) He’s also been an activist for marriage equality. Touchdown!

Follow him on Twitter.

Find out about Tripping Icarus at their page on the ReverbNation website.

Recently, while playing, he posted an anti-NFL message on his jersey—and got fined for it.

He’s spoke on out guns and video game violence. (He’s a big gamer, but doesn’t like the ones that  focus on killing. Basically, he’s a “Guitar Hero” fan.)

Learn more about his gay activism. (No, he himself doesn’t appear to be. It’s just decency on his part.)

Read an interview with him.

Take a look at his NFL page, complete with stats.

ESPN wrote about his music career.

Watch a video of the band.

Visit Tripping Icarus’s Facebook page.

Wednesday, 1/9: Neil Shubin

Science night! Neil Shubin’s new book, The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People, comes out just the day before his Report appearance. Shubin, an evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, and bestselling author of Your Inner Fish, returns to the show after a long hiatus; he last visited in 2008.

The Universe Within examines our connectedness with the great world beyond and big events that occurred long, long ago—and shows how they still affect our very bodies. In a sense, the Cosmos has left its imprint on us.

Shubin earned his PhD in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard and now teaches at the University of Chicago, where he holds the Robert R. Bensley  Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and is Associate Dean of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and Professor on the Committee of Evolutionary Biology. He also serves as a Field Provost at the Museum of Natural History and achieved fame as part of the team that discovered the Tiktaalik roseae, a unique fossil of a fish that existed 375 million years ago. Shubin was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Shubin was an ABC “Person of the Week.

Read an interview with him in Smithsonian magazine about his great discovery an first book.

Follow him on Twitter.

Read what was a podcast of Neil on Science Sessions.

Find out about his lab in Chicago.

Your Inner Fish has a Facebook page to like , and there is a public page for him, too. (He also has a private, personal one, just for his friends.)

Read an article about his work at Science 2.0.

Read a review of The Universe Within in Kirkus Reviews.

A free sample of some of the book is available on iTunes.

Thursday, 1/10: Ben Gibbard

Now that we’ve had science, it’s time for Stephen’s second favorite subject: music. Indie rocker Ben Gibbard was the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service, and he has a new solo album out, Former Lives. According to his website (see below for address), “These songs span eight years, three relationships, living in two different places, drinking then not drinking . . They’re a side story, not a new chapter.” In addition to his music, Gibbard appeared in the film Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, directed by actor John Krasinski,

The Washington state native actually studied engineering at university and is, like Stephen, Catholic; despite not being very religious anymore, he admits the upbringing continues to stay with him. And, like Shubin, he’s a big, outspoken supporter of gay rights. On a personal note, he was recently divorced from actress Zooey Deschanel.

Visit his website, where you can watch videos, download songs, and find out more information about Gibbard and his tours.

Follow him on Twitter. (And look who he’s dancing with in his picture; Maurice Sendak’s characters from Where the Wild Things Are!)

Like him on Facebook.

Less than a month ago, he appeared on Conan, fronting a . . . mariachi band.

Watch a video for his song “Teardrop Windows.“

He appeared on NPR.

Gibbard’s a runner, and he created a mix for those who do long distances.

Read an article on Gibbard and the album on

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

Monday, 1/7: Anne Hathaway

We only have to wait one day more to see her—just one more day! Anne Hathaway has just delivered a critically acclaimed performance in the film version on Les Miserables, playing the doomed Fantine. She delivers—in one take, no studio recording and tampering—an emotional, tear-streaked rendition of the showstopper “I Dreamed a Dream.” Hair shorn, teeth dirtied, face in extreme close-up (the director practically shoots into the nasal cavities of his actors), it’s intensely personal and she sells it for all its worth. My favorite of her performances is actually in the indie flick Rachel Getting Married.”

By the way, Hathaway is second-generation “Miserables”: Her mother performed in the stage version of the show.

She’s been on TDS twice before, in 2011 and 2008.

Read the New York Times review of the film.

She talked about her weight loss for the film and her insecurities.

Read what true life story she based her performance in Les Mis on.

She hosted SNL.

Tuesday, 1/8: General Stanley McChrystal

He had to resign when he spoke too bluntly in Rolling Stone about his negative feelings towards Obama. That’s a military no-no. Now General Stanley McChrystal has written a book, My Share of the Task, about his experiences. The memoir concerns the West Point graduate’s and four-star general’s tenure in Afghanistan, particularly his relationship with Hamid Karzai, the president of that country. McChrystal now runs a political consulting firm,  the McChrystal Group, and teaches a leadership seminar at Yale.

The Washington Post reviewed the book.

CBS News interviewed him.

Read the infamous Rolling Stone interview. He has accepted blame…sort of.

In 2009, he was a runner-up TIME Person of the Year.

Wednesday, 1/9: Jeff Bridges

The Dude abides…and visits. Jeff Bridges comes for his third TDS appearance. This time the Oscar®-winning actor’s not pushing a movie or a record, but a book: The Dude and the Zen Master, co-authored with Bernie Glassman and released only a day before he’s on the show. Glassman has long been Bridges’ Buddhist mentor, as well as his friend.

Visit Bridges’ website.

Like him on Facebook.

Look at his IMDB page. He seems to have one film completed and a couple in post-production.

Go to this page for his music.

It’s been a long time since his previous TDS visits, in 2001 and 2000. But Bridges appeared more recently on TCR, in 2011. Here’s the interview and here’s Jeff singing. (On a totally related note: why did an ad for Jimmy Kimmel’s new show—directly opposite Stephen—pop up while I waited for the music? No, CC, NO!)

Thursday, 1/10: Josh Brolin

I really, really like Josh Brolin, and think he’s an enormously talented actor, whether he’s all grunged up and unrecognizable in No Country for Old Men or his handsome self. The son of James Brolin, Josh worked in the theater as an actor and director before becoming a star and Oscar nominee as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Milk. (He also played George W. Bush in Oliver Stone’s W, which shows he can act people from all end of the political spectrum, though he is a liberal.) His newest film is Gangster Squad, about mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), with Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, and Emma Stone. Brolin plays an LAPD cop after the gangster. And yes, his stepmother is Barbra Streisand.

Here’s the full site for the film.

He appeared on Conan, discussing his role in cult  favorite The Goonies—his first film.

Like Hathaway, he hosted SNL.

His New Year did not start well; he was arrested for public intoxication—but NOT driving.

That’s all everyone! I’m so excited to have Stephen and Jon back.
Be sure to let me know which guest you’re most looking forward to. Cheers!

  • Erika

    I’m SO excited for the guys to be back!!! SOOOO excited! I don’t know why but this last week was particularly hard to be without them for me.

    I’m also incredibly excited for Chris Kluwe! You guys don’t know just how awesome he is!!! As I’m sure I’ve mentioned way too many times before, I’m from Minnesota, and I’m also an enormous Vikings fan (sniffle). I try to involve myself in our LGBT rights issues as much as I can…..most fervantly so in trying to defeat the big marriage ammendment that was up for vote (and was indeed struck down!!! YAY!!!) last November. Chris Kluwe was one of the most outspoken people, and THE ONLY outspoken athlete, against the ammendment. He showed up at our rallys, and made a HILARIOUS radio public service announcement about it. I heard that a lot of people who maybe didn’t know much about the issue were actually persuaded by him. He’s also a big advocate for athletes and others being able to speak their mind, when people have said he should “stick to football”. He’s even gotten into a bit of trouble with his team at times, but he always says that the issues he supports is more important than his job. Most people around here applaud him for his amazing use of free speech. Lastly, everyone should read his letter to Maryland State Delegate Emmit Burns. It’s a MUST read (and I’m sure Stephen will mention it). It’s got some very colorful language, so beware about that. Some people think he should have toned it down, but I don’t agree. Some of the word choices he made is what got everybody talking about it, good or bad, and the widespread way it was received is what makes it so great.

  • Mr. Arkadin

    Hello Karenatasha! Yes. I’m back! And now… you’re going to stop blogging?! What the hell!
    Did I break wind? This is terrible news! :(
    But I’m glad you have a lot of interesting sound work coming your way. And I hope you do continue to comment. I would miss you if you don’t.

    Of the things that happened during the break. I hope that Stephen talks about Papa Bear’s latest bigoted comment when discussing the “problems” of Hawaii. He claimed that 35% of the population is Asian and said, “Asian people are not liberal, you know by nature. They’re usually more industrious and hard working.” Doesn’t this just scream for a response from Ching Chong Ding Dong? I think so!

    BTW: After his arrest, do you think Brolin will really stagger on to TDS this week?
    “Enquirering” minds want to know! 😉

  • karenatasha


    Chris Kluwe sounds pretty amazing — he seems to have a mind of his own and he’s not afraid to speak it. I bet he must be pretty secure in who he is. I was initially wondering at Stephen having a football player on, as that’s not usually his thing (more Jon’s), but after reading about Kluwe, I got it.

  • karenatasha

    @Mr. Arkadin

    Ha! No, it has nothing to do with you, Mr. Arkadin. And I will definitely be here commenting. I just can’t put the time in right now, usually on weekends, when I need to do research and writing for other projects.

    I think you’re right about Stephen discussing “Papa Bear” and his racist comments–especially now that war has been declared post O’Reilly’s “Killing Colbert” suggestion on TDS. Stephen will gladly go after him.

    Oh, I do hope Brolin will go on. He has a history of this type of problems and only five minutes ago I read about an upcoming interview in Men’s Journal in which Brolin discusses fighting and stealing in his youth. He sounds as if he could have quite a temper and a taste for alcohol, but he is a great actor.

  • lockhart43

    Our boys are back! Our boys are back! And not a moment too soon. I can’t wait for Ben Gibbard, and Neil Shubin certainly sounds interesting. In TDS Land, I’ll enjoy the Anne Hathaway interview tonight – I used to not like her in the slightest, and for some reason it’s been incredibly hard for me to like her in movies but I didn’t know why. So much so that I was worried about her being in The Dark Knight Rises this summer because I was afraid she might ruin the film (also because history tells me not to like Catwoman). But thankfully, I was proven wrong, and she’s been winning me over ever since. She was also great on SNL this season (atop a fine, fine SNL season, might I add).

    Karenatasha, while I’ll certainly miss your personality shining through in your BKAG posts, I’m glad to know you’re sticking around to comment and wish you good luck with your work! These BKAG posts have been very much appreciated, and so I thank you (and thank in advance the person who takes over for you) for doing them. :)

  • Anna S

    Karenatasha, I’ve loved your BKAGs – thanks for all the work you’ve put into them and glad you’ll still be around.

    I’m excited for Anne Hathaway. I love her! Rachel Getting Married is a fave of mine too. And Neil Shubin – I may need to look up Your Inner Fish – what a delicious book title!

  • CN Helper

    @Anna S @lockhart43
    Karen wanted me to say thank you for your comments, unfortunately she had an unexpected death in the family, and couldn’t hub this week. Keep her and her family in your thoughts and/or prayers.

  • karenatasha

    Hello, everyone. I’m sorry to have been away, and not to have responded to comments.

    Lockhart and Anna, thank you for your kind words. It’s been lots of fun blogging here, and it was a hard decision to stop. But, yes, I will be sticking around with comments and to do special reports. I haven’t had the time to write up any of the events I’ve gone to because of the BKAG, but in future, that may be possible.

    I hope you both enjoyed the week of shows!