Culture Gabfest podcast

Jon Stewart Returns

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On this week's show, Slate’s Dan Kois (author of Vintage Contemporaries, How to Be a Family, The World Only Spins Forward, and Facing Future) sits in for Julia Turner. The panel first begins with a reboot: In 1999, when Jon Stewart took over, rather indifferently, the helm of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, he changed the media landscape with his comedic chops, serious outrage, and penchant for pointing out politicians' hypocrisies. He’s since left and returned back to the show (which he hosts once a week), but how effective are he and his trademark bag of tricks in 2024? We discuss. Then, the three dive into Problemista, writer-director-star Julio Torres’ first feature film that can only be described as “a lot.” Torres (Los Espookys, My Favorite Shapes, Saturday Night Live) plays Alejandro, a sweet but naive aspiring Salvadoran toymaker who must navigate the Kafka-esque purgatory known as the U.S. immigration system. He meets Elizabeth, played by Tilda Swinton, a nightmare boss with fuschia-colored hair and a looming presence that often overwhelms the film… but perhaps that’s exactly what it needs? Finally, the trio is joined by The Sporkful host Dan Pashman to discuss his cookbook, Anything’s Pastable: 81 Inventive Pasta Recipes for Saucy People. In 2021, Pashman created the cascatelli, a new pasta shape that went viral, with Time calling it “one of the best inventions of the year.” Anything’s Pastable aims to revolutionize our concept of what pasta sauces can be, with recipes for unique and non-traditional dishes like “Kimchi Carbonara” and “Cacio e Pepe e Chili Crisp.”  In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, the panel explores Dana’s book review, “Rejecting the Binary” for Slate. She reviews American philosopher and theorist Judith Butler’s latest book–the first of theirs published with a nonacademic press–Who’s Afraid of Gender. Butler served as Dana’s dissertation adviser at the University of California in the late 1990s.  Email us at [email protected].  Outro music: “Funny Jam” by Gloria Tells. Endorsements: Dana: A feat of artistry and interpretation, nineteen-year-old American Ilia Malinin’s free skate to the Succession theme (composed, of course, by Nicholas Britell). Malinin scored a record 227.79, winning his first world title and executed the best collection of jumps in one program in figure skating history.  Dan: The Big Ears Festival held in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Stephen: Falling into a Cat Stevens rabbit hole. He recommends starting with “The First Cut is the Deepest” and Stevens’ 2014 Tiny Desk performance.  Podcast production by Jared Downing. Production assistance by Kat Hong.    Hosts Dana Stephens, Dan Kois, Stephen Metcalf Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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