Hi, I’m Dax Shepard, and I love talking to people. I am endlessly fascinated by the messiness of being human, and I find people who are vulnerable and honest about their struggles and shortcomings to be incredibly sexy. I invite you to join me as I explore other people’s stories. We will celebrate, above all, the challenges and setbacks that ultimately lead to growth and betterment. What qualifies me for such an endeavor? More than a decade of sobriety, a degree in Anthropology and four years of improv training. I will attempt to discover human “truths” without any laboratory work, clinical trials or data collection. I will be, in the great tradition of 16th-century scientists, an Armchair Expert.
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar, True Detective) is a Golden Globe & Academy Award-Winning actor, author, and producer. Matthew joins the Armchair Expert to discuss the red and yellow lights in his life that he turned into green lights, why he loves delusional optimism so much, and the art of running downhill. Dax and Matthew bond over having to navigate fighting their fathers, how they aren’t who they are without the love of their mothers, and growing up around “by hook or by crook” ethics. Matthew tells the horror story of his year abroad in Australia and Dax confirms that the two do indeed have rhythm.
Erin Geiger Smith
Erin Geiger Smith is a freelance reporter for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and author of Thank You for Voting: The Past, Present, and Future of Voting. Erin joins the Armchair Expert to talk about the history of democracy, the rise of the electoral college, and how voting has evolved over time. Erin explains the ways in which voter suppression is still happening today, the systematic issues we face and how democracy works best if everybody shows up. Dax asks Erin about voter fraud and the voting statistics between different demographics. In the fact check, Dax and Monica have a debate about issues on this year’s ballot.
Chelsea Handler Returns
Chelsea Handler (Evolution, Chelsea Lately, The Chelsea Handler Show) is a comedian, actress, writer, television host, producer and activist. Chelsea sits down the Armchair Expert to discuss how standup comedy is evolving, how she can tell by body type what drug a person can handle, and she admits that being known for insulting people puts them at unease when she first meets them. Chelsea discusses her path to realizing she wasn’t a very empathetic person, how people should look at change with open-mindedness instead of fear, and how she wanted to attack the issue of white privilege from her own perspective. Dax admits he doesn’t have as thick of skin as Chelsea while she explains the desire to keep putting herself out there in vulnerable ways.
BONUS EPISODE with Isabel Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Isabel joins the Armchair Expert to discuss caste systems in the United States, the patterns of regression in civil rights in this country and giving someone the basic benefit of the doubt. She explains assumptions of competence, how embedded assumptions are and that caste systems aren’t only about race.
Eric Lander is a geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician. He was a principal leader of the Human Genome Project and is the president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Eric joins the Armchair Expert to discuss his work with the Human Genome project, the practical applications they’ve found, and how collaborative biology has become. Eric describes how the Broad Institute came to be, how their data is starting to uncover connections between different diseases, and that we have a lot of challenges ahead that are going to take science to solve. Dax takes a few swings and misses with his 25-year-old biology memory and Eric explains why humility has to be a part of every bit of science.
Sara Gilbert (The Conners, The Talk, Roseanne) is an Emmy-Award nominated actress, director, and producer. Sara joins the Armchair Expert and discusses how she handled success at 13 years old, the difficulty of balancing her personal and public life at that age, and her time spent at Yale. Sara admits that conflict seems to always find her, the huge crush she had on Corky Nemac, and what inspired her to create The Talk. Dax asks her what made her not give up on the Conners and Sara explains the connection the show has to real life for its’ viewers. Best friend Aaron Weakly returns and helps double fact check Dax.