May 13, 2017

"Fresh Air’s 10 Favorite Terry Gross Interviews."

Explanations and audio here.

I'm going to listen to all of these, beginning with Maurice Sendak.

28 comments:

Earnest Prole said...

The Gene Simmons interview didn't make the cut?

Chuck said...

My favorite Fresh Air interviews:
1. Boyden Gray, former White House Counsel and Federalist Society member. Terry Gross invited him on to be the (rare) conservative counterpart to one of her usual liberal pundits. And because she wanted to try to corner Gray (who has forgotten more law and legal policy than Terry Gross will ever know), she bumbled her way through one of the worst interviews of her career.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4501565

2. Bill O'Reilly, former Fox News blowhard. Another terrible interview, for which the NPR Ombudsman recommended that Terry Gross be reprimanded, and she was. Both O'Reilly and Terry Gross come out looking bad.

http://www.npr.org/yourturn/ombudsman/2003/031015.html

3. Gene Simmons of "KISS" fame. Another walk-off. Words fail me, in describing this interview. You gotta listen to it.

https://archive.org/details/TerryGrossInterviewWithGeneSimmons

Earnest Prole said...

Here, let me help. The Gene Simmons interview reveals as much about Terry Gross as it does her subject.

Tim Wright said...

I listened to terry gross a couple of times perhaps 25 years ago. She interviewed a couple of ball players who had books, Mickey mantle and bill lee. She could not conceal her dislike of these men. She is perfectly suited to NPR listeners, of which I am not one. Tim

Earnest Prole said...

Thanks, Chuck, for your first recommendation. In 2005 Terry Gross provides a perfect defense of Senate Republicans’ 2016 refusal to give Merrick Garland a hearing, and Boyden Gray provides a perfect rebuttal of Terry Gross, thereby proving that politics has no fixed principles.

furious_a said...
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furious_a said...

Back when I listened and contributed to NPR (before they sold my name on a list to Barbara Boxer's fundraisers) she had a very entertaining interview with Tony Curtis about 'Spartacus' (I think it was a milestone anniversary of the Premiere). They giggled about the "Snails and Oysters" scene with Olivier and observed that all the Romans had upper-crust British accents and all the Gladiators sounded like they were from Brooklyn.

Ipso Fatso said...

Legend has it that she interviewed Ron Jeremy "The Ground Hog of Porn" and he asked her to have sex with him. (Man, talk about taking one for the team!). He also fell asleep during the interview!! God bless Ron Jeremy.

Ipso Fatso said...

I remember an interview with Keely Smith (Louis Prima's partner) and Gross could not understand how Keely put up with Louis constantly interrupting her on stage. The difference in attitude between these two generations of women (if you can call Gross a woman), was remarkable. Keely Smith's grace was wonderful to behold, Gross came off as a whiny, left wing trollop.

Sebastian said...

"Terry Gross is one of the greatest interviewers we’ve ever seen." Odd way to start a piece about Terry Gross.

She makes an earnest effort with pop culture figures she likes, but she is often out of her depth with people and topics that involve some actual knowledge. Though I guess it sounds natural to many listeners, I find her disfluent speaking style hard to take.

Sydney said...

Everyone beat me to it, but the Gene Simmons interview is my favorite, too. It's the one interview that comes to mind immediately when someone mentions Fresh Air and Terry Gross.

Sydney said...

This is another one that sticks in my head: Steve Martin. I love listening to entertainers talking about their craft. Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld are two people who are very good talking about their craft, too.

EDH said...

"Terry Gross is one of the greatest interviewers we’ve ever seen." Odd way to start a piece about Terry Gross.

In other words, a face for radio?

EDH said...

I hate listening to entertainers talking about their "craft" unless it floats or flies in outer space.

vanderleun said...

A radio face th at would break a plate. Truly sets me back.

rcocean said...
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rcocean said...

I like Terry Gross, she's a great interviewer. Her top 10 list is so NPR:

4 women (1 black)
6 men - made up of:
1 Black singer
1 Muslim immigrant
1 Jewish-Mexican comedian
1 Jewish-English Comedian
1 Catholic Comedian
1 Jewish Artist (kids books).

rcocean said...

Terry Gross really, really, likes to interview singers and musicians. To me, most of them are boring, but I get the impression that songs/music have replaced poetry/Literature to a lot of Americans.

Ron Snyder said...

Terry is a fine interviewer until she lets her Leftist beliefs/agenda come into play.

rcocean said...

she lets her Leftist beliefs/agenda come into play.

Yeah, she definitely pushes the left-wing narrative in politics and cultural issues.

She's usually a nice/sympathetic interviewer but she was so nasty to Bill O'Reilly he storms off in the middle of the questions, Terry later smirked and snarked about the whole thing.

Another reveling moment came when she interviewed Hank Greenberg, the great Detroit Tiger Baseball player. Greenberg almost broke Babe Ruth's HR record in 1941. To Terry that could only mean one thing. All those horrible, Horrible, Jew-hating rednecks had "stopped" our Jewish hero from breaking Ruth's record. So she asked Greenberg about it, and you could hear her the disappointment when Greenberg, told her that: "No, he hadn't gotten any antisemitism in 1941, quite the opposite, many Gentile BB players had expressed their disgust over Hitler, and that in Sept '41, many opposing pitchers had served him "softballs" in order to help him break the record". She pressed him some more, hoping for Baseball antisemitism but Greenberg didn't oblige.

Virtually Unknown said...

Her interview of Bill Murray, probably almost 30 years ago, had me in stitches. She let Bill be Bill. That's back when I used to give NPR money.

St. George said...

Simmons didn't leave the NPR interview, but Gross was condescending from the get-go when she should have said to herself, "Ok, I've an egomaniac, zillionaire rock star in the studio, let's have fun with it."

She wastes about the first third of the interview asking him about makeup and stockings, almost as if she's trying to embarrass him. Geez, the guy has made $100 million with his stage schtick. It's like asking Harpo about his wig.

Finally, near the end she asks him about his childhood in poverty in Israel, his mother the death camp survivor...and that's more than interesting. He explains that when he came to America at the age of eight suddenly he saw superheroes on TV and horror comics, and that's where KISS came from.

Chuck said...

rcocean said...
Terry Gross really, really, likes to interview singers and musicians. To me, most of them are boring, but I get the impression that songs/music have replaced poetry/Literature to a lot of Americans.

I have seen Terry Gross do a talk live about her craft. One thing she says straightaway is that she tries to never do a sports interview. She hands them off to Dave Davies. Because she is the first to say that she knows nothing about sports and she'd only offend her audience.

On politics, I am honestly not sure whether she is consciously left-wing or unconsciously left-wing. I'm not sure which is worse. She routinely does welcoming, helpful megaphone-type interviews with New Yorker writers, and Slate and Salon columnists, and left-wing activists. On the rare occasions that she invites a conservative author or writer, it is to cross-examine them and trap them.

Where she is at her absolute best, is in interviewing traditional recording artists, songwriters, Broadway players, film (and especially tv) producers and actors. When she interviews a fiction writer, she always is so admirably prepared. She actually reads the book, and the authors always know it.

Bill said...

I like that she rarely interrupts. People interrupt too much these days.

Lem said...

My favorite is when she interviewed Gene Simons of Kiss. It was a disaster.

Rick Lee said...

I used to be a huge fan, but after listening to Marc Maron do interviews for several years, Terry Gross just seems stiff and stilted by comparison.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ipso Fatso said...
Man, talk about taking one for the team!


Who, Gross or Jeremy?

epador said...

I seen to remember listening to her in Philly- I think her show started before the bicentennial - she was quite interesting and indeed provided a breath of Fresh Air to the radio waves. I left Philly about 4 years later, and in mid-America, after a few more years, she was syndicated. It wasn't the same, even back then. She let her feminist, progressive roots show, maybe because now she was a big NPR star. I've tried listening once or twice to her since then but couldn't find enough ondansetron and lorazepam to be able to make it through an entire show.