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.
1:40:08Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer prize winning author, reviewer, and presidential biographer. Jon chats with the Armchair Expert about this early fascination with politics, attending Ronald Reagan's inauguration as a young boy and the importance of delineating historical figures from saints. Jon states his position on confederate statues and Dax asks what factors distinguished his pulitzer prize winning book from the others. The two talk about how age has affected their career outlook and they debate the impact of Christianity in the modern world.
1:29:16Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Mike and Molly, Spy, Identity Thief) is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer. Melissa chats with her old pal, the armchair expert, about how she found the Groundlings, tanking her Bridesmaids audition and her hatred of e-mail. Dax commends Melissa for continuing to work with old friends and Melissa talks about her love of renovating homes. The two discuss the dream of Saturday Night Live, the unifying experience of seeing comedies in a theatre and they reminisce on an old comedy show they did together in which one audience member (in a 400 seat theatre) came to see it.
1:34:31Dr. Laurie Santos is a cognitive scientist and Professor of Psychology at Yale University and host of The Happiness Lab podcast. Laurie chats with the armchair expert to discuss 5 ways to increase happiness during quarantine, the neuroscience behind deep breaths and why studying animals is better than studying humans. Dax connects Laurie's principals to the principals of AA and Laurie talks about the negative impact of academic grades. The two discuss the scientific effects of giving and the connection between anthropology and psychology.
1:01:41Curtis Jackson better known as 50 Cent is an American rapper, actor, producer, and entrepreneur. 50 cent chats with the Armchair Expert about towing the line between Curtis and 50 Cent, hustling at age 12 and having to make the distinction between the one who sells and the one who consumes. Dax asks about masculinity and 50 Cent talks about being a lightweight. The two talk about their instinctual guard against people and why it’s important to have a career that evolves over time.
1:54:24Rajiv Shah is the President of the Rockefeller Foundation. He is a former American government official, physician and health economist who served as the 16th Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development from 2010–2015 under President Obama. He also held many leadership positions at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Raj chats with the Armchair Expert about the economics of the healthcare system, leading the U.S response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Rockefeller Foundation's commitment to expand Covid-19 testing. Dax asks what he learned from Bill and Melinda Gates and Raj talks about having to address the crisis in Haiti only 6 days into the job. They two talk about America's interest in expanding American values around the globe, vaccinations and the importance of agriculture in humanitarian efforts.
1:28:07America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, End Of Watch, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Superstore) is an American actress, voice actress, producer, and director. America chats with the Armchair Expert to discuss her feelings of insecurity when she won her Emmy, growing up being told she wouldn’t make it and her learned skill of molding stereotypes into true representations. Dax wonders if it can feel burdensome to be the voice of a community and America talks about her identity crisis at the conclusion of Ugly Betty. Dax and America discuss raising children in a place of privilege and the newfound proximity amongst women in the industry.
1:38:32Dan Heath is an American bestselling author, speaker and fellow at Duke University's CASE center. Dan chats with the Armchair Expert about why certain ideas stick, the emotionality behind urban legends and the benefit of thinking upstream. Dax implores those to think about the financial benefits to upstream social reform and Dan explains that every system is designed for its outcome. The two talk about systemic preventions that have a lasting impact, getting caught in a bad plan loop and they commiserate about being older dads.
1:48:01Zoë Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road, Big Little Lies, High Fidelity) is an American actress and singer. Zoë chats with the Armchair Expert to discuss the differences between living with her mom versus her dad and her experience working with many powerful women on Big Little Lies. Dax checks himself on asking a potentially misogynistic question and Zoë outs Dax on being obsessed with her mom. The two talk about how Zoë caught Dax is in a compliment paradox the first time they met, they bond over Koo Koo Roo and they debate whether or not to refer to the superhero as Batman or The Batman.
1:38:31David Chang is an American restaurateur, author, television personality and founder of the Momofuku restaurant group. David chats with the Armchair Expert about growing up Korean American, his first time eating ramen in Japan and how he found his way into cooking. Dax talks about elitism in food and David discusses how depression led him to open Momofuku. The two talk about self-medicating, the responsibility to share one’s painful experiences and the importance of asking for help.
1:42:58Rob Lowe (The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, The West Wing, Parks and Recreation) is an American actor, producer, and director. Rob chats with the Armchair Expert about moving to Malibu as a child and feeling out of place, his time and ultimate departure from The West Wing and going to high school with many famous faces before they were famous. Dax asks about his navigation through negative public moments and Rob talks about his experience on The Outsiders. The two talk about sobriety and Rob’s foresight that caused him to move away from Hollywood.