An original “Saturday Night Live” writer who the New York Times says has “earned a place in the pantheon of American pop culture,” Alan has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild of America, and TV Critics awards for his work in television, which also includes “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” (which he co-created and produced), “Monk,” “PBS’s Great Performances,“ “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.His new book is, “Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain In My Ass.” (Hyperion) We talked with him at the world famous Friars Club in Manhattan.
Comedian Christian Finnegan’s new special is “The Fun Part.” Then we return to the ‘70s and look at the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers and the SLA and remember a time when domestic terrorists set off bombs nearly every single day yet a large percentage of Americans were OK with it. In fact many Americans feared the police more than the terrorists! A different time, a different country with Bryan Burrough author “Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence.”
Kelly Carlin is author of “A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George” detailing what it’s like to be the daughter of the world’s greatest comedian. Also Doug Tirola director of a new documentary about The National Lampoon “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead – The Story Of The National Lampoon.” Plus Comic Kevin Bartini.
Rick Overton is one of the most respected comedians in the history of standup. He currently stars in Patrick Stewart’s new series “Blunt Talk.”
Joe Domanick is an award-winning investigative reporter reveals the troubled history of the LAPD in a gripping story filled with hard-boiled, real-life characters that bring to life the ravages of the criminal justice system.
Vividly drawn and character-driven, Blue is simultaneously a drama of cops, crime and politics, and a primer on American police policy and reform. Using the LAPD as the book’s spine and through-line, Domanick illuminates urban policing at a crossroads during the tumultuous violence-plagued years of the early 1990s. Years when the beating of Rodney King and the LAPD’s brutality sparked the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, and police departments were caught between an often brutal, corrupt and racist past, and the demands of a rapidly changing urban population and environment.
From LA he then zooms to New York City, and details how the transformation of the NYPD that resulted in a dramatic decrease in crime—even while the LAPD remained in freefall for a decade more before it too begins its road to reformation. Blue ends in the summer of 2014 with crime at record lows, but events in LA, NYC and Ferguson, Mo., raising alarming warnings about aggressive racial profiling and the militarization of American policing.
Comedian Bonnie McFarlane is the director of one of David’s favorite documentaries “Women Aren’t Funny. Her new book “You’re Better Than Me” comes out in February. She also hosts the wildly popular podcast “My Wife Hates Me” with her wildly unpopular husband Comic Rich Vos. On today’s show Bonnie and David share their love for Rich.
Richard Beck is author of “WE BELIEVE THE CHILDREN: Moral Panic In The 1980s” published by Public Affairs. WE BELIEVE THE CHILDREN IS A brilliant, disturbing portrait of the dawn of the culture wars, when America started to tear itself apart with doubts, wild allegations, and an unfounded fear for the safety of children.
During the 1980s in California, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, and elsewhere, day care workers were arrested, charged, tried, and convicted of committing horrible sexual crimes against the children they cared for. These crimes, social workers and prosecutors said, had gone undetected for years, and they consisted of a brutality and sadism that defied all imagining. The dangers of babysitting services and day care centers became a national news media fixation. Of the many hundreds of people who were investigated in connection with day care and ritual abuse cases around the country, some 190 were formally charged with crimes, leading to more than 80 convictions.
“Intellectually nimble… [Beck’s] argument should prove far more enduring than all the lies and self-deceptions, so credulously believed in the 1980s, that this book does a devil of a job correcting.” —NEW YORK TIMES
“Understanding a moral panic requires perspective—distance from the emotional heat of anger and anxiety. Sometimes it is precisely those who didn’t live through it who are best suited to providing that perspective. In WE BELIEVE THE CHILDREN: A MORAL PANIC IN THE 1980S, Richard Beck accomplishes this difficult feat, and he does so calmly, detail by meticulous detail…. A thorough account… His important book gives readers who don’t know the story—or who think it is over, so 20th century—an understanding of its lingering, pernicious effects on our lives…. Mr. Beck’s book is valuable because it is timely and comprehensive. He not only tells the story of a moral panic with a fresh eye but provides context, identifying the forces that preceded it as well as those that fed it and have kept it going today.” —WALL STREET JOURNAL
“[Thirty] years ago America was described as experiencing an ‘epidemic’ of sexual abuse in day care. Richard Beck, an editor at N+1, does a herculean job of investigating why this happened in his absorbing book WE BELIEVE THE CHILDREN.” —WASHINGTON POST
“In this sharp, sensitive debut [Beck] deftly examines all the forces that came together in this strange moment in our history.” —BOSTON GLOBE
It would take years for people to realize what the defendants had said all along—that these prosecutions were the product of a decade-long outbreak of collective hysteria on par with the Salem witch trials. Social workers and detectives employed coercive interviewing techniques that led children to tell them what they wanted to hear. Local and national journalists fanned the flames by promoting the stories’ salacious aspects, while aggressive prosecutors sought to make their careers by unearthing an unspeakable evil where parents feared it most.
Using extensive archival research and drawing on dozens of interviews conducted with the hysteria’s major figures, n+1 editor Richard Beck shows how a group of legislators, doctors, lawyers, and parents—most working with the best of intentions—set the stage for a cultural disaster. The climate of fear that surrounded these cases influenced a whole series of arguments about women, children, and sex. It also drove a right-wing cultural resurgence that, in many respects, continues to this day.