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Welcome, welcome, welcome to Armchair Expert Experts on Expert. I'm Dax Sheppard. I'm joined by Monica Padman. Hi. Today we have Charles Duhigg. Oh, my gosh, was this fun? Charles is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, New Yorker staff writer, and best-selling author. His previous books are The Power of Habit, Smarter, Faster, Better, and his new book, which we're here to talk about, is Super Communicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection. This was particularly fun for us because we communicate for a living. We I do. Charles was so nice about our communication for the most part.


He was. He had some questions for us, which was nice.


It is nice.


But it was also really informative. I think it's a very good listen for anyone in the world right now. Who's alive. Anyone who considers He sees himself as living on planet Earth.


Yes. I hope Charles feels like this is a feather in his camp. He's our 700th guest. Also, yesterday was six-year anniversary. Happy anniversary.


Happy anniversary to you.


We didn't have an episode that came out on the day. We didn't really have a moment where we said thanks.


We talked about it for a second on Valentine's Day, Armchair Anonymous.


Right, which will be tomorrow.


Which will be tomorrow. So please listen to that. Which will be tomorrow. Yeah. But yeah, happy anniversary.


Happy anniversary.


Six years, 700 episodes.


20% of your life. I mean, not quite 20%, but almost.


In the Armchair Anonymous episode, you also give a stat. Yeah.


I had a- I think you said one-six. It is. It's really one-six. So I cannibalize that. It'll be less important if you hear it tomorrow. Easter. With That's the full thing. It's the Eastern dinner in this case. Please enjoy Charles Duhigg.


He's an armchair expert. He's an armchair expert.


How are you? Great to meet you. Welcome to the Add-in. Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Yes, happy to have you.


Really appreciate it. And you guys are friends with Adam Grant.




He's a great friend of ours. Oh, we love Adam. He's in the good guys.


I've listened to the show for years. I did not actually realize that you guys genuinely were in armchairs.


Oh, we got to be comfy. Well, I wasn't for a while. I was in that yellow chair. That's evolved. But then he got too sweaty in this chair, so he bought this grandma chair.


Specifically my back.


Your back got too sweating.


Do you deal with any back sweat, Charles?


Oh, my God, all the time. Sometimes I'll get up, I look fine in the front, and there's a streak of moisture along the back of my shirt.


Well, compound this with imagine you stand up, you make that realization, Fuck, I'm wet back there. And now I've got to step outside and take pictures with Adam Grant, and he's going to put his arm around me, and it's going to be disgusting. Actually, worse, an actress that's probably attractive, and then she's going to put her hands in a swamp. It's fine.


You need to be humbled.




So this is the world.


That's your theory. I think I'm very humbled.


This is life telling you how to be humbled?


I think I'm the most humbled person in the the world. You master humility.


Like, motherfucking.


Black belt humility. Where are you from? No, I know this, New Mexico, but where's-Yeah, New Mexico, originally.


I'm impressed.


There's not a lot to work with in your Wikipedia. I just got to complain publicly.


It's true. At some point I need to go in and actually put some stuff.


I don't know what your parents do. I don't know what town in New Mexico.


Well, good. We'll get a lot of new info.


Now I live in Santa Cruz.


Okay, wonderful. Yeah. Do you love it there?


So we moved there three years ago from Brooklyn. My wife is a marine biologist. I had made her to New York. Not great for marine biologies. She had done her grad work up in Monterey. So we moved back there. We have a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old. Okay, great. So, yeah, Santa Cruz. Have you spent time up there?


I bought a half pound of mushrooms there when I was 24. Only a half But let me tell you, a half pound of mushrooms is two full, gallon-size ziploc bags. Wow.


Yes. How long did that last?


My best friend Aaron and I kept, I guess it would have been a quarter pound for our own consumption. And then we sold the other quarter pound. Statute of In Michigan, it was impossible then to get Santa Cruz, you trip over mushrooms.


Literally a half pound. They're like, That's your hors d'œuvre. The one is yours.


Also, it was like 10X is cheap in Santa Cruz. And then we did imbibe there and walked around the Redwoods. It was awesome. That's my singular Santa Cruz experience. Do you surf? I don't.


Okay. Do you? I do, yeah. Me and my wife. We only picked it up 10 years ago. I'm a late in life coming to surfing.


Did you start in the wake of that documentary, Happiness, where it said it was probably the most endorphine-inducing activity. Oh, really? Yeah, it's supposed to be like that. I haven't seen that. Because it's combining physical activity with also you're in nature. There's a lot of things happening.


I'm a terrible surfer. But as someone who... I mean, I know that you're athletic. I just lift weights.


Don't get ahead of yourself. She's a state champion. You snowboard.


I am humbled, so I won't say it. I've never been particularly athletic or good at it.


On a surfboard, I feel graceful for the first time in my life. Oh, wow. It feels like you're embodying poetry. Yeah. I think snowboarding is the same, right?


That's my You have to work with the...


Yeah, you ride it.


It's not...


You can't control it. You have to dance with it.


It's a waveform. It's not a photon.


You're giving in to gravity.


Did your wife see Free Willy and then want to go on the Marine biologist? What was her inciting incident that sent her into that. It had to be something in media, right?


She grew up in Saudi Arabia. She's a third generation born in the Middle East of Western parents. Oh, wow. Her dad would take her spear phishing in the Red Sea and all these places.


Maldives is close to there-ish.


Definitely compared to us. She just fell in love with the underwater world. The funny thing is, so Marine biologist is not actually a job. She's a professor of marine genetics at the university. But what's really interesting is that whenever I describe her as a Marine biologist, because I'm proud of her, the number of people who are like, Oh, I almost became a Marine biologist.


No, I was going to say this. This is something every five-year-old thinks they want to be.


I would parallel with the dolphin tattoo on females' backs. There's something- Everyone had a face. I want a tattoo I want a dolphin.


It's so original, right? I don't know where it came to me. I was just sitting there and I was on the small of my back or my ankle. I think it would look cool.


I don't know where I got this idea, but maybe a dolphin. And then dudes are like, Give me something tribal. I want to look like I'm from the islands.


That's exactly.


You can say that because you did it.


Because if there's someone who says tribal, it's this pudgy white guy with the gray in his beard.


You and I both scream indigenous. So while this sounds like a really idyllic life to be living up in Santa Cruz. I did have a question. I do want to know about New Mexico, but when you wrote for the LA Times, did you live here?


I actually lived a mile from here. You did? I used to go to birds all the time.


Oh, sure.


This was 20 years ago. This was so long ago. Did you like it here? I love living in LA. I loved writing for the LA Times. I love New York, too. New York is an amazing city, but LA has this hidden energy. It's like a thousand cities, right? Yeah. It is. And so you can dip into all of Polycentric multi-notal.


That's from an LA geography class.


Wow, that's pretty good.


That's pretty good.


You pulled that out like nobody's business.


Thank you. As it was coming out, I wasn't sure about it, but back to the humility. It's to save my confidence.


I'm going to edit it out.


I do want to shoot you as you should. We're going to go back to New Mexico because we're at LA Times. One thing I was immediately curious about is you wrote there, of course, but then you also wrote the New York Times for quite a stretch, like 14 years. Yeah, 14 years. How did the two cultures differ?


I'll say the LA Times, when I was there as a very different newspaper than it is today, because there's been all these ownership issues. It was before it was bought by a chain, so it was still owned by folks who felt very local about LA. When I got the job at the New York Times and I was at the LA Times, I called up a guy who had made that same transition, and I asked him, and I was like, What's the difference? And he was like, At the LA Times and in LA, you are always the ugliest person in the room, but people will come talk to you because they think it's interesting that you're a journalist.


They want attention. Yeah.


What a funny- At the New York Times, you will definitely not be the ugliest person in the room, and no one will want to talk to you ever.


You have zero interest because they're off making gajillions of dollars or whatever.


Yeah, that's good summation of New York and LA, which is like, you could try to get someone's attention on the street in New York. It's not happening. You could be on fire. You could be offering $100 bills. People are just like, I don't want to see you. I'm keep walking.


Whereas in LA, they'll stop and talk to you, and then they'll be like, You know, if you just lost 10 pounds, you would look a lot better.


People want to talk to you because you could be the one to give them their big break. That's true. Or you never know what you might be able to get from someone.


To be honest, Charles, it does also look like you could have created a TV show. Exactly. You very much look like a writer. Showman. A linen shirt and a beard.


I think what you're saying is I have a face for radio. No. You look like you belong in a writing room. No.


Without showering. No, you're very handsome and rugged-looking, but you look like a writer. This could be Mike Schur. Well, you all are.


So that adds up.


But I'm a TV writer.


Yeah, but it's one and the same.


That's true. Was there varying levels of pride about the institution itself? Because for me, New York Times feels like as much as we have of a megalith in this country of literary Very tradition. Of course, you're at the only one that's crazier than that, the New Yorker now.


But how did that vary? I mean, there's this thing that happens when you go to the New York Times, which is that, first of all, people who wouldn't return your call before suddenly, not only will return your call, they will call you with a story. I would lose out to stories all the time. And they were like, It's the New York Times Advantage. They literally called them and just handed it to them. So once I was on the other side of that, that was great. But the other thing is there is this sense of importance/self-importance at the New York Times. It's very hard to navigate around. Because if you're putting someone on the front page of the New York Times, this could be a life-changing moment for them. And so you have to be really careful.


With great power comes great responsibility. Yeah. And the LA Times, you're like, I don't know, maybe we'll read this edition or not. We're not sure. Some of these things work.


Did I get it next to the cooking thing? So maybe people will see it.


Where do you think LA Times ranks in cache in the national newspaper?


I mean, the problem is the newspaper industry has basically died. There were something like 2,000 local newspapers shut down in the last four years. It is crazy. If you want to go commit graft or be corrupt in a city, now's the time, man. Nobody's watching. I think what's happened is that there's the Post, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times. I don't even know if there's another newspaper. Chicago's Sign, I don't care.


Yeah, maybe. Boston.


The Globe, yeah. And magazines, there's obviously The New Yorker, The Atlantic. I still read Wired. And I actually have this question for you guys because you guys are at the white heart center of the new culture. Do you think people want to read books anymore?


I do. It's my resolution.


But the fact that you made a resolution means you're not doing it on your own.


I'm not.


I have two answers for that. Also, are we going to incorporate listening to them?


I think Yeah.


Consuming books, I think, should be the measure.


Yes, I agree.


But I'll give you a great example. We have Matthew McConahe in recently, and his memoir, I believe, is the most successful memoir in the last 20 years, and it has sold 3 million copies. Then we had our friend Jedediah Jenkins, whose father wrote these series of books about walking across America in the '70s, from which that part of Forrest Gump was based. You haven't heard of him? No. Those books sold 15 million in the '70s. So clearly, the metrics would suggest it's gone downhill. But yet, probably I'm in a silo. I read a ton of books. Everyone I know is generally talking about books they've read. The people that listen to this show read a ton of books. I don't know. I guess it's hard to... I guess the numbers would suggest that.


I think people still want to learn and take an information, but reading has gone by the wayside in the way to do it. People get quick information from TikTok and social media, and they'll read the headline of the New York Times and skim. But sitting with a book feels so daunting in this current attention era.


I think that actually one of the things, I have this hypothesis, I don't know if this is true, is that people just need a certain number of stories in their lives. Books used to provide stories. You read Malcolm Gladwell, you read a big idea book, and it had all these stories in it. That's what I try and do with my books. But I think that that itch for story is increasingly being filled by podcasts. Because podcasts have great stories or that itch for hanging out with people you like because I can listen to you guys while I'm driving down the road and it just feels like I'm with friends.


You get a whole Probably both things.


And you're delivering actual ideas to me. And TV is so much better now than it was 20 years ago, right?


A thousand %. It's better than movies.


There's so many stories. Yeah. And so as a result, I think that people are getting their story fixed in other places.


The only upside of all this, I would say, is that I do think reading now, because we do this other thing so much, in the '80s, when you read a book, it was like, Yeah, this is boring, too, and I'm calm. It wasn't relative to anything else. Whereas now, I think when you a book, at least for myself, it's taken on this other property, which is almost meditative. It puts me into a space in my brain that I'm not in as much as I used to be with less stimulation. It's therapeutic more than ever.


Okay, so let me ask you another question. Sorry, I'm asking- You're the interviewer.


This is so fun. I love this. I regret doing any research.


Since the book I wrote is about communication, I was actually really looking forward to coming on because you guys do long shows. You're always present throughout the entire show. I never get the sense that you're thinking in your head, I got to ask this question, I got to push it this way. Have you become super communicators through the show or were you a super communicator before the show?


Good question. I'll let Monica answer first.


I'll answer for you.


Well, no.


Yeah, a little bit. Well, we have an answer for you. Well, I think you've been an incredible communicator before we started this. I think we've both gotten a lot better, but I think you have that innate ability.


I would say that's definitely a strength of mine. I was disheartened to see that one of the original questions you propose in the book is to say, When you've had a problem, think of who you've called recently. Were they the funiest? Were they the most entertaining? You basically listen to what I would think is my other qualities. You're like, No, You'd call the person. In some ways, I imagine I challenge your paradigm.


You're probably an exception to the paradigm.


But it's a great point.


Most people, when we have a problem, we don't call someone who's a movie star.


You don't even call the smartest person. No.


You call that person who's a super communicator. I'm going to try an idea and you tell me if I'm getting it right. Even though you are smart and funny, probably the reason those people call you is because they feel like you're really listening to them. You hear what they're saying, and you're trying to see things through their perspective. Do you think that's right?


I do. This feels so self-indulgent, but let's do it because we're fucking here and I'm going to answer your question. I have a few explanations. I am in AA. I have been for 20 years. I sit and listen to men share. That clearly has done something. My dad was a good communicator. My mom's a good communicator. Oh, interesting. Additionally, I have all this trauma, so I'm hyper vigilant. Sure, I'm listening to you very carefully, but I'm not going to say it's entirely altruistic. I'm watching you like a fucking Hawk. Are you a liability? Are you going to do something strange? What's happening next? So I think some of it's coming out of a pathology.


But that's actually what a super communicator does, because in addition to listening closely, they're paying attention to what the other person is transmitting beyond just the words that are coming out of my mouth. We can talk a little bit more about this later, but there's these three kinds of conversations that most of us into. The thing is that it's sometimes hard to figure out which a conversation we're in. But people who just train themselves, by the way, anyone can be a super communicator. It's just a set of skills that you learn.


Right. There's no biological disposition for this.


No, not at all, or even a certain personality. But I think what you just said that you're watching me like a Hawk without making me feel like I'm being interrogated or watched like a Hawk, that's really important because if you say something, I'm like, you're going to pick up.


Yeah, I'm not going to miss anything. Yeah.


As a result, not only can you match me, if I just sent you a little micromessage like, I'm uncomfortable, you can invite that into the room.


Charles, the funnest moments we've had on the entire show in six years, or at least from my perspective, have been those little things where I just saw someone's eyes move a tiny bit, and then they moved on for a second, and then I said, Hold on, let's go back. Something just happened, and I would love to get into that. It's generally, too, it's another hyper vigilant person. Interesting. The one that pops out is Machine Gun Kelly, I said something, and then he just had the tiniest eye twitch, and then he proceeded on. Then I said, What happened a minute ago? Then he was cool enough to go through it, and he was hyper. When he walked in this room, he looked in every corner of it and scoped that there were windows over there and the doors there. It was quite obvious. Okay, this dude needs to know how to get out of here if shit goes sideways.


I guess if your first name is Machine Gun, they probably get it.


It's on-brand. But all this is so fascinating Nadine, and you've already introduced the three different kinds of conversations you could find yourself in.


Your first name is Machine Gun.


You got to wonder what are his parents thinking.


I think we should first lay out what the incentive would be for someone to even explore this? Why would someone take the time to even evaluate their communication and/or try to better it?


What's interesting is you mentioning that you pick up on that little eye twitch, that you're looking for that. That's actually why your friends call you when they're feeling bad, is because you help them understand themselves. When you think about humans, communication is our superpower. The reason humans have succeeded as a species is because we can talk to each other. And by talking to each other, we can share knowledge, we can form communities, we can form families.


Pass on knowledge, pass on culture.


Exactly. Communication is at the core. And by the way, our brain has evolved to be really good at communication. That's why we all have the potential to be super communicators because we all have the circuitry there. We all have the instincts. We just have to understand how to let them out.


I think people would overlook how much communication is a part of their job. Oh, absolutely. I think there are people that would be like, Well, no, I install mufflers at Midas. Communication is really not all that essential to this.


Until your boss comes over and is like, Hey, can you go work on this car instead of that car? And you're like, Whatever jerk, you get fired.


To say it's everything is not an exaggeration.


Well, relationships are everything between humans. That's exactly right. That's the only way to succeed in a relationship is have good communication.


You mentioned AA. I wrote this book called The Power of Habit, and there's a whole chapter.


Very successful book, let's say. It's on all the best seller lists. It was great. 2012?


Yeah, a decade ago. There's a chapter on AA. How does AA work? What's the history of AA? The thing that's amazing to me, I've been to a number of meetings just because I think everyone should go to an AA meeting at least once. I think it's the most powerful thing you can do. You go into a room, you literally just hear someone communicate with you. You connect with them, even if you're not speaking taking back, and that changes your addiction. That changes what you can do in this world. That changes what cravings you can fight and what you can embrace about yourself. That's amazing.


Yeah. What was your conclusion about the proprietary thing that's happening happening. When I try to explain the magic of AA, it's not just that you're listening. You're almost listening as an outside observer in that your own self-defenses are not enacted because the share is not directed at you personally. It's this bizarre privileged position to listen to someone's most intimate thing, but you're not on the hook for anything. You will not be asked to engage. It lowers all your defenses. You're not talking to me. When you tell me, I have a problem with my wife, I don't assume you think I have the same. That's the weird magic of it. It's like nothing personal is being triggered. Your identity is not being threatened. You're not defensive. You're able to observe as if you're watching TV safely.


That's really insightful. I had not thought of that until just now. Okay.


Should Are we do an addendum to the book? Yes, absolutely.


We got a new chapter for the book. I think one of the things that's happening there is that what super communicators can do really well is they can disappear into the conversation. They're not thinking about what they're going to say next. They're not thinking about how they present themselves. They're not thinking about, Here's the tricks I'm going to use. They're very much in the flow. There's actually a neural... It's called neural entrainment. There's a connectivity that happens between people.




Yeah, neural simultaneity. Tough word. Yeah, it's a tough word. It's a tough word. Tough one to spell.


Yeah, I know. Because it's supposed to be I before E except for after C, but it's not.


That's where the spell check comes up. If we could measure this, what we would see in this conversation, because I think we're connected, our pupils are dilating at the same rate. Oh, wow. Our breath patterns, without us noticing it, are matching each other. In our brain, if we could do brain scans, the three of us, we'd see that our brains start looking similar. Literally the neural activity starts looking similar. That's what communication is. I think of an idea, I feel an emotion, I describe it to you, and you think about it or you feel it. But is that why cults happen? Like all tools, communication is a tool, right? You can use an ax to build a house or to go chop off someone's head.


Get Lizzie Borden's mom in the crowd.


I mean, these are super communicators cult leaders and like...


Oh, my God. Who are you going to whisper?


He doesn't like to go political, but hello.


We had a president- Somebody's saying any president is a super communicator.


Well, one specifically got a lot of people's brains to move in a direction. Yes.


We have a lot of for interpersonal communication against this manipulation. Basically, we can detect in authenticity really, really well.


That's why it's hard to be a great actor.


Oh, that's interesting.


There's any number of millions that have tried it, but it's not memorizing the words. We are the best lie detectors on planet Earth. We can see bullshit.


Yeah. To your point, is this something that creates cults? Yes. But it's also the thing that allows us to develop relationships with other people. I am married to my wife because of conversations conversations we have had. I can tell you the top 10, and none of them were easy, and they were all conversations where I learned something about myself based on what I said and based on what she said.


Those are the most- You sound like a dream husband. He knows the top 10 conversation.


He's a great listener and knows how to communicate.


Let me just say, So this book was born in part by fights I had with my wife, where I was like, the asshole?


But great to admit that. They give you to admit it.


Now, I've admitted it. I called her yesterday and I was like, I'm going to describe this one fight we had. And she was We weren't fighting for the reason you thought we were fighting. Oh, that's great. We were fighting because you were being a jerk.


Is that in your book? You got a chapter on just being a straight up asshole without any neurology? Back to the thing you were just saying, though, how we'll match each other. You gave a great example in the book when they do fMRIs of musicians that are playing by themselves, and they have completely unique and fingerprinty type brain activity. Then when they start doing a duet, now all of a sudden...


Oh, that's so cool.


They look exactly the same. There's another study where they basically had this woman tell a story about her prom night, and it was this long, complicated story that went on for 20 minutes, and they had people listening to it. They could tell who understood the story best by how closely their brain matched the speaker's brain. No, that's so interesting. Without even listening. There's these little details, there's little characters. If my brain matches yours, I have heard that story. I remember that character. But more importantly, I understand why you told me about that character.


Yeah, well, you say when you get to this neural, what's the we want to say?




Yeah, but the word we hated.


Oh, synchronicity. Neurosynchronicity. Neurosynchronicity. Neurosimilarity. Something.


I don't care. You're going to force me to look at the piece of paper. We just said it's hard to spell.


Simultaneity or whatever.




Simultaneity. When you reach that neural simultaneity, you listen better, but you also speak clearer.


That's exactly right. You know how to say something, so someone is going to listen to you. For the same reason that when you're picking on stuff about me or Machine Gun Kelly or whoever it is, and you ask me a question, the way you ask me that question is tied into what I'm thinking and feeling, right? If you were just like, Machine Gun, it looked like your eyes went off to the side.


Tell me what's going on there. Are you stoned? Yeah, right, exactly. Wait, I know you're stoned. Is anything else happening?


But you probably asked that question in a way that made it feel really safe for him to answer it. And that's really important.


We should earmark that because I think that's another element of what happens in here that happens in AA, which is people are also inclined to match other people's vulnerability. There's some weird ethical... We have it. It's one of the most beautiful parts of ourselves. I remember the very first time I ever admitted I had been molested was in response to a girl telling me she had been raped. I was like, Oh, my God, that's so brave. She said this. I'm the first person she ever told. I'm holding this secret. I owe her this. I don't know that I ever would have admitted it other than she just had shown me that trust, and I owed it to her.


What I love about that is that in the psychological literature, that's actually referred to as emotional or vulnerability reciprocation, and it's exactly what you just said. There is this thing that's hardwired in our head by evolution. Vulnerability is the loudest thing that someone can do. If someone is saying something vulnerable, we cannot help but listen to them, even if we want to ignore them. In politics, this is why it happens, right? Interesting. Why do you think we're- In movies, because if you think about it, when you're evolving, when somebody is expressing vulnerability, it means either you can attack them, they're being attacked and you need to protect them. It's so loud It's hard because it's so hard. The only time someone would be vulnerable is if they have something important to say. So our brain actually will latch onto vulnerability. But you're exactly right. There's this emotional reciprocation that when I hear vulnerability, I feel like I owe it to this person to listen and to be vulnerable in reply.


And it's an open door. It's like, Oh, this is the chance. Most people want to be vulnerable. It's just really hard. And so if somebody else is doing it, you feel like they gave you permission to do it.


And every mistake I've made in communication, when I look back on it, one night, I wrote this long list of all the past year, all the things. This is why I wrote the book, is because I wanted to learn how to do this better. Basically, every communication mistake I've made comes down to not recognizing someone's vulnerability or recognizing it and ignoring it, not reciprocating, not taking seriously that debt that I owe them.


Well, then, okay, so now let's get into there's three different kinds of conversation, because as we just talked about, there's a bunch of neurology involved. In different areas of your brain are responsible for different types of communication. So of course, someone speaking out of their amygdala is not going to be communicating with someone that's in their frontal lobe to another person that's in the hippocampus. Those three areas of the brain don't speak the same language.


That's exactly right. They're literally speaking different cognitive languages. So what researchers have found, we're living through this golden age of understanding communication because of advances in neuroimaging and data collection. And what they found is that we think of a discussion as one thing, but actually every single discussion is made up of different kinds of conversations. Conversations. In general, most of those conversations fall into one of three buckets. There's these practical conversations where we're trying to figure out, what are we actually talking about? Or we're trying to make a plan together, or we're trying to solve a problem.


It's like decision making. Exactly.


That's the prefrontal core context. Then there's these emotional conversations where I come in and I say something emotional, and I don't want you to solve my problem.


Now, this is the most generic male/female genderized debate ever.


I'm just going to guess. I don't know how gender works out in your relationship.


Feel free to bet your life on it. I'm sure you're going to I got it right.


Your wife brings you a problem and you try and solve it. That's right. And then she gets pissed off.


I try to figure out how to prevent her from ever feeling this way again. I've got a solution. You'll never have to feel this way again because I'm terrified of your emotions. I just want you to listen to how I feel. And be compassionate. And be present to have an emotional conversation with me.


Then there's these social conversations which are about how we relate to other people and how we relate to society, how we think society sees us. It's a huge part of where identity becomes this huge pillar. What researchers have found is what's known as the matching principle that if your wife comes to you and wants to have an emotional conversation and you reply with a practical conversation, you're both having legitimate conversations. You will not hear each other. And more importantly, you will inflame each other. I will feel like you're ignoring me, even if you're like, I want to solve your problem.


Yeah. Why aren't you just acknowledging if you put your phone on the night stand every time you'll never have to look for it again? Right.


Why are you crying about this? Yeah.


This is the most obvious solution is on your lap. Why aren't you picking it up?


And so part of it is just developing a slight habit. This is what super communicators do. They have this slight habit just to pick up on what conversation is happening. So if I said something vulnerable right now, my guess is the two of you, you would respond with vulnerability. You would know that I'm having an emotional conversation, you'd meet me there without even thinking about it.


Stay tuned for more Armchair Expert, if you dare. The identity thing is really fascinating, and I think it's what obviously plagues any political debate. I think people, we've talked about it on here a ton of times over the last six years, but obviously, once your identity is being, from your perspective, threatened, this is a life or death thing. Now, this is straight amygdala. You're not going to get the frontal lobe involved in this debate. Now, this is survival. This is in-group, out-group. This is the most primitive shit imaginable. I would imagine, not to say one's the most important, but really recognize when what you're doing is igniting someone's or challenging someone's sense of identity.


Challenging someone's sense of identity rather than acknowledging it. There's been a bunch of studies that have looked at conversations, particularly between white people and black people, because of the post George Floyd period. What they found is that people's instincts are often to not acknowledge race. I sit down, you're my black friend. Color Colorblind. Even if I don't say I'm colorblind, we sit down, we're having a conversation, and I'm not going to be like, As the Black dude, what do you think about this? What's really important is to just acknowledge that we have differences, and those differences are actually pretty awesome. They're super interesting. Then the other thing that's important is to recognize that everyone at that table has an identity. Very often, I think in conversations, particularly if it's a group of white people and they're talking about something and there's one Black guy there, something about race comes up and everyone turns him, and that feels terrible for him. Sure. But it also means that everyone else at that table, their racial identity is not being brought into the conversation. Now, sometimes that's appropriate, right? Because we want to create space for marginalized folks to have a voice, and they've been excluded.


But if the goal of the conversation is to understand each other, you need to have everyone in that conversation. Identities are critical.


I was on Parenthood. My wife on the show was Black, Joy Bryant, one of my very best friends in the world. We were together all week long for six years, and we never ever stopped talking about race. That's interesting. It's our favorite conversation. It's found it endlessly fascinating. There was this level of trust and understanding between us. It was so enjoyable for both of us. She's curious and confused by so many of the things I'm doing. Why is it a car note, not a car payment? Why is there Vaseline in the wintertime on the cheeks? I lived in Detroit. What's that all about? It was endless for me and endless for her. That for us was the bedrock of the friendship, was constantly acknowledging that.


Because you're both allowed to bring your true selves to the conversation, right? Monica, you're a brown person, right? I'm a white guy. Dax is a white guy. We're talking about race to not acknowledge that you have had a different experience than we have. Exactly, yeah. That's super interesting. I want to know what that is.


Totally. I think it's like with Joy, you two knew there was no judgment. You have to know that in order to be able to have a real conversation with someone or else you're going to get defensive. And you guys also were the same on the level of power. You guys both had the same job.


Same size trailer.


Those things matter. If someone's talking down to you, if someone's your boss and they're talking to you in a certain way, that's different.


Well, I think it's safe to say even your and I's comfort level with discussing your Indianness has evolved over the last eight years.


I think it's gone up and down. Oh, tell me. When we first started becoming friends, we talked so openly about so much stuff. And then Then when we became very good friends, it almost got in some ways harder because if there was a challenge, it felt like, Oh, no. If he doesn't get it, then how could I still be friends with this person? Whereas when you're first getting to know someone and first understanding them, the stakes are not that high. That's really interesting. But then we come back. I just think it's more complicated.


And there is some research on how to make this easier. What most of the studies say, a tough conversation like this about identity. If you by saying, I just want to acknowledge upfront, this is going to be an awkward conversation. And by the way, I'm going to sound stupider than I am.


I don't have any of this worked out.


Yeah. And you're probably going to say things that you don't mean it, don't mean what you're actually saying. And by the way, here's an obstacle we might hit. I'm worried that if you say something, maybe it's going to prove that you're racist and you're my friend, and I don't want to think that you're a racist. And what do we do when we get to that point? How do we plan in advance to overcome it?


Also, I am. We all are. Yeah. Literally. On some scale, I am.


That's absolutely right.


And That'll pop up. And then you'll correct me. But I'm most certainly going to step in it. I think in that moment when you do that, it's very popular to say intentions don't matter. But I really actually believe what you're doing is you're pretty clearly stating your intention, which is like, I want to come to understand you, and I'm not going to do a very good job in route to it, but I want you to know my goal is to do that and not to label you or dismiss you or judge you for something. I just really want to know, and that's my intention, and I'm going to do it in eloquently.


The thing that's really important about that that I think you put very well is the goal of a successful conversation is a conversation where you understand each other. It is not a conversation where you convince each other. It is not a conversation even where you come to agreement on something, right?




We can walk away and disagree with it. This is the Netflix example from the book. This has got to be the best one. Can you share it? Yeah, walk people through the Netflix.


Sure. There was this VP of communications who, during a meeting, used the N-word. He was explaining a situation, and he said, It's as if someone who is African-American had heard the word, and then he said something.


He said it. Okay.


At the time, Netflix has this culture where you're supposed to say anything. You're supposed to challenge each other all the time, attack each other. One of the things that happens is that this incident is like a spark to set off the Civil War, where basically there's a bunch of people who are like, Look, we have problems with race at Netflix that we have not been acknowledging. Other people who are like, We don't have any problems with race. It's just that you don't work hard enough, and that's why you haven't gotten promoted. Right. Netflix has no idea how to deal with this. This is tearing the company apart. They eventually fired the guy. It took them four months to fire the guy. The whole time, there's this internal debate going on across the entire company. I talked to him. I talked to the executive as part of my reporting. He's a former Wall Street Journal reporter. This has all been written about in the newspapers. There's no anonymity. He says to me, I've been living abroad for years as a foreign correspondent. I didn't realize that you had to say the N word now, that there was a sensitivity.


When I was growing up, you could say that word as long as you didn't say it as a slur. And then he said, and the problem is, I think it's totally unfair to judge people by their worst day. I made one mistake, and the rest of my accomplished life gets ignored by it.


By the way, there were iterations of it. There was moments in my 25 years here in Hollywood where it's like, if you were directly quoting somebody who said something, you would do it. I wouldn't do that now. But there was a time where it was like, I'm not saying that thing. I'm telling you what was said.


Or in scripts, I'm sure.


Yes. If you're writing for a black character who's in a verbal dust-up with someone else, the reality is that word's coming out a bunch. Yeah. So what do you do as the writer?


So what's interesting is about how Netflix resolved this. Because as the company is getting torn apart, so they hire this woman, Renee Myers, who's a wonderful woman. She's basically spent her whole life thinking about how to have conversations about diversity. And she comes in and what she says is, We need to have way more conversations about race. But the way that we're going to do it is we're going to do it in an environment that always feels safe. And the way we're going to make it safe is, first First of all, we're going to say, This is going to be awkward. I'm going to make mistakes. You're going to make mistakes. By the way, I want people to talk about the racial experiences. If you're white, you have as much a racial experience as everyone else, you need to talk about it. It's unfair to the Black or Brown person. You're going to tell us all about race. Yeah, teach us. Yeah. So they did that, and that was really effective. Then they did this other thing that we've seen a lot of conversations, works even beyond the social conversation, the identity conversation. She asked deep questions.


You guys do this really, really Well, on the podcast, I think you do it without even realizing it. A deep question is something that asks us about our values, our beliefs, our experiences. It can be really simple. If I ask you, What do you do for a living? And you say, I'm a lawyer. I could say, Oh, did you always want to be a lawyer? That's about your experiences. Do you love that job. I'm asking you about your values. What made you decide to go to law school? Was there a moment that- Was there a moment that changed your mind? I'm getting into some beliefs there, right? It's a super easy thing to say, but when you respond, you are telling me so much about who you are. Here's the important part. If it's a conversation about race or something controversial, you're the expert on you. I can't tell you like, Oh, no, you didn't decide to become a lawyer because you saw your dad got arrested. You decided to become a lawyer for a totally different reason.


Because you want money. Yeah, right.


I can't second guess your experience is about you.


That's why when you're arguing with your partner, that's why the me statements are so important, which is this isn't about you. I'm telling you how I responded, and that can't really be debated. Now, whether I shut the door with the intention to pitch, that's a debate. But how I felt is not a debate.


And I own that. I have the right to own that. And by the way, whatever I'm feeling is probably something you have felt in the past. Whenever I fight with my wife, and at some point she says something like, I'm feeling really threatened, and I'm feeling like I can't say my thing. I know what that feels like. Even if we disagree with each other, we have something in common now. I empathize. I reciprocate.


I wrote down a little thing because that wasn't where it ended at Netflix, because then we also had Chapelle. Yeah. So to refresh everyone's memory, his stand-up routine comes out. People within the company are very upset. People quit. There's walkouts. There's all kinds of things that happen. They had a town hall, and this person said, We had a big town hall after this started, and the rules were made clear at the beginning. Everyone was allowed to talk, but no shame blaming or blaming or attacks. You had to think before you spoke. You had to contribute rather than just criticize. I just feel like these are the best ground rules. Yeah, I love that. I feel like so many of these debates I hear online in social media, at campuses, no one's adhering to any fucking rules whatsoever.


And they're not talking about the rules when they start. If we just sat down and we're like, Here's the rules of us talking about religion. We all think they're good. Then suddenly we're cooperating.


When I heard this statement, because this was, as I recall, this is also someone who was quite critical of them allowing the Chapelle for him to exist.


Yeah, he helped lead the complaints.


The charge, yeah. So I do, and again, this is such a stereotype, and it's probably offensive, and I'm probably wrong, but I do feel like the younger generation seems a little bit like, to be heard is to get your way. There's some expectation that when I say what I say, if you really heard me and comprehended and took the time, then the outcome should go my way. And I think that's a weird expectation. That's not really it. The only commitment is we're going to hear each other and really take a minute to understand where each other's coming from. But that's not to say I'm going to reverse my position or that it's going to go your way.


And I don't know if it's the younger people because I think- I don't think it's- I see it happening with my peers all the time, and I do it sometimes. There is this mindset we get into where I sit down with my uncle and he thinks lizard people are taking over the world. I'm like, if I can just show him the right evidence, he's going to see that that's crazy. But the truth is, my uncle has spent 45 hours researching this online. He knows his own evidence. And how do I respond to that? Do I try and change his mind, give him evidence? No. Instead, I ask a deep question. I say, I'm just wondering, of all the things we could be talking about right now, why is this one so important to you? I'm really curious. The lizard people, what do they mean to you?


And what are they threatening?


What are they going to Yeah. He's probably going to say something like, I think that things are stacked against guys like me. I think that the elites are taking advantage of us. At that point, now we can have an emotional conversation about that because I can say, I feel that way sometimes, too.


It's a different group, but I feel that way.


Yeah, I feel that way about the Plutarks or whoever. When we walk away from that conversation, I am not going to believe in the lizard people. He is not going to think that the lizard people don't exist. We are going to disagree with each other, but I understand why.


What fear has been triggered. Yes.


Or joy or whatever it is.


I know. This is the thing I kept saying during the last election, which I can't believe we're here again. But listening to both sides, it occurred to me all of a sudden. It's like, neither side is really about anything other than their fears. Each side is afraid of different things. Both sides are afraid. Left is afraid of environmental collapse. They're afraid of of all kinds of things.




I mean, there's a lot. The right is terrified that this place that they've known their whole life is not going to exist.


Or that guns, which are something important to me, are going to be taken away from me.


That's how I'm going to feed my family. If everyone could just learn to... Instead of like, you're full of shit because of blank, it's just, I'm afraid of this. I can relate to that.


And this happened with COVID.


Oh, yeah, because you have a vaccine chapter.


When COVID started, the vaccine came out. There were a bunch of anti-vaxxers, and the CDC said, at first, just go give them the evidence. You're a doctor if you just give them the evidence. And that was a total failure, right? Because the people had done their own research. They had looked at sources that they believed. So they completely changed tact, and they taught this method called motivational interviewing. And in motivational interviewing, what you do is you ask a deep question. You ask a why question. You listen for what the person says from a values perspective, and then you say to them, I feel the same values you do, and I struggle with aligning them. It's exactly your point that the world is complicated. So You just said that you care deeply about your grandchildren and you're worried about the world they're inheriting, and yet you're really scared that you want to protect them from vaccines because you think it's going to give them autism. I hear you. That is a legitimate... I understand why you feel scared. I'll tell you what I'm scared about because I care about my kids, is that I see all these kids come in, they aren't vaccinated, and there's nothing I can do for them once they're sick.


I want to believe in freedom. I'm trying to figure out how do I reconcile freedom with helping protect people when they don't want that protection. You have experienced this. Help me figure this out. And then the person convinces them. That's the most effective way to get them to take the vaccine.


Well, during the vaccine thing, the thing that struck me is if you were an alien and you had no emotional attachment to either of these arguments I'm about to parallel, it would be so blatantly obvious that both people have the exact same view, and it is abortion and vaccine. So the right didn't want to vax because they didn't think the government should have control of their body. The The left does not want abortion rights to be abolished because they don't think the government should tell them what they should do with their body. And it's like, how could these two groups who are literally diametrically opposed, who have the exact same argument about these two things, cannot see any each other that those are valid arguments.


There was a period in our history when that was easier. I mean, America was born in conversation. The Constitutional Convention was people who hated each other, arguing with each other.


That's incredible. Anything got done. It's amazing.


Abortion is a great example. Pre-roe versus Wade, if you look at the conversation around abortion, it was much more moderate than it is today. It was much more people listening to each other. There's actually a lot of political scientists who say that Roe v Wade was bad because it stopped. The states would have ended up legalizing abortion on their own. But what's happened today, part of it is technology, it's inevitable. But part of it also is just that we've stopped thinking about how to communicate. We've stopped training kids how to communicate.


I think the most provocative and entertaining explanation the Malcolm Gladwell one he did on revisionist history last year, which is there was a point in the past where 35% of us all watched the same TV show on Wednesday night, and we got on a bus, and the person next to us probably saw the cheers finale. Just What was that? Monoculture. Yeah, the monoculture of the networks themselves were forced to have the dialog and come up with a compromise before they presented it. Then we all had that thing in common and that you could actually predict people's voting patterns by how many hours of television they watched in the '80s. That was the most significant predictor. It's like, well, there's a weird variable that's also in the mix now. We all watch our own shows.


And now the biggest variable is whether you went to college or not. And it's for the exact same reason. Because if I went to college and you did not, we both believe that our lives are totally different. Now, they might not be. We're neighbors. We live right next to each other. We both have the same community.


We're still trying to solve our wife's emotional issues with pragmatic solutions.


But for whatever reason, we've gotten stuck in this viewpoint. Instead of bringing it up and saying, Hey, you didn't go to college. Tell me a little bit about what that decision was like. Are you happy you made it? Instead of having that conversation where actually we would figure out what we have in common, even around this issue, we avoid it because we're terrified that asking the question is going to piss them off or it's going to be awkward, or we're not going to know how to end the conversation.


Is there anything in there about taking a couple of extra minutes to pursue a path that isn't divisive first? Example I always give is I go to the Sand dunes a lot. I'm going next week. It's 100% Trump flags. And I You go to this thing, you drive out to the middle of the dunes, and there's this great swing set. And I'm constantly out there. And what I see first is these dads put so much effort in to get their kids out here to do this thing. I fucking know what that's like. They were trying to get them out of the house. They've taken the time. These are good dads. Let's just start with that guy with the fucking Go Brandon flag, which I find annoying and embarrassing, is a good dad. And so is there any strategy or technique suggested about first touching down on a few things we are similar?


Absolutely. And the reason why it's important to do that is not because you have the thing in common. So the fact that you're a good dad and that this other guy is a good dad, there's lots of good dads. But what's important is that when you bring it up, you're showing him that you actually want to match him. You're showing him that you want to connect. There's been all these studies that about 80% of the time we laugh is not in response to something funny. Eighty % of the time we laugh is because we want to show someone that we want to connect with them. Then when they laugh back, which we all do, they're showing us that they They want to reciprocate. They want to connect with us. The thing is, neither of us think something is funny. That's embarrassing.


It's the impulse. Which in itself is funny.


But the impulse to show that I want to connect with you. When you talk to a dad and you're like, We both love the White Sox, or we both love our kids, or, Oh, you grew up in this place? I grew up near there. It doesn't matter. It's not like you both care about that place. What you're saying is, I want to connect with you. I'm hoping to learn something about you. So now, why do you feel that way about Trump.


How about this, though? This feels new that people are, I think, increasingly threatened that people don't think like them. That was the most interesting thing about traveling. It's actually super interesting that people don't think like you. But now I feel like it's identity first at all times. And so someone not thinking like you is threatening, which I feel like is new. Maybe I wasn't online enough.


Well, politics have changed a lot, and it does feel more threatening. It does feel like they've become more dream. And so if you agree with this President, you're actually signing up for something that could actually hurt me. It is threatening. It's not like, Oh, yeah, I don't love that idea. It's never going to affect me.


Is that person threatening?


That person can be threatening if they're contributing to someone who could hurt me.


I get that part. But could they individually?


Yes. I believe voters have an impact. Right.


So it's already done. They voted for Trump. Do they actually, in real life, not theoretically, not downriver, does the person who voted for Trump in front of you, are they going to put you in a cage or are they going to oppressed you for your race in real life?


The chance that they might oppressed you for your race or say something racist when you've had experiences in life where that's happened, you know when the chances are higher with each individual person that's in front of you.


I think my thing is, though, it's like it's such guilt by association. So it's like maybe they voted for Trump. Let's just be really generous. They're a fiscal conservative, right? So really, they would never oppressed you. They're not racist. They don't want kids in cages. But they were pro-life, and that was the only pro-life candidate. So by association, you're assuming that person is in lockstep with that other person, which I'm not in lockstep with Biden. I voted for him. I'm not in lockstep with anyone I voted for. I wasn't in lockstep with Obama when he was anti-gay marriage. So I'm not going to carry out everything this person I'm associated with is. But we do assume the worst that the other person is carrying the mantle of everything.


I think that's really important. I think that there's this jump that has become a norm. If you're talking to someone that voted for Trump, it's very hard for you, I imagine, to hear that, and tell me if I'm getting this wrong, to hear that and not feel like, actually, you were doing something that's against my interest. Yes. But the next step should be to ask, why did you vote for Trump? Did you want to put people like me? You probably shouldn't ask it like this, right? Yeah.


But we can get there, come in the back door. You figure it out quick. You figure it out quick. When they ask where you're from.


There's this It's a thing called Looping for Understanding. This changes the goal of the conversation, how you evaluate the success of a conversation. Many people feel like, if I'm in a conversation, someone says something I disagree with, I'm letting myself and my people down if I don't disagree with them.


This is that great Orna moment with the Palestinian girl. Yeah. She felt like she was betraying her family by trusting this Jewish doctor.


Right. But of course, you're not betraying anyone. Yeah.


Nor is Orna Netanyahu.


That's really important. For Looping for understanding, ask a deep question, just something with why. Number two, repeat back in your own words what you heard them say. And then number three, and this is the step we usually forget, but it's the magical one, ask them if you got it right. Because if you're talking to that guy and he's like, I love Trump. He's amazing. And you're like, I'm just wondering, can you tell me-What do you like about him? Yeah, what do you like about him?


He grabs him by the buzzie.


Okay, so you're saying that what you like is that- Is buzzie. No, is that he grabs him by the genitals? Did I get that right? Yeah.


So my guess is that if that person is like, Yeah, you got it Exactly right. Then you know I don't want to have a conversation with you. You don't have to have a conversation with everyone.


Most certainly many people will fall into the exact thing you're afraid of. Yes.


I want to say I grew up in Georgia. I had no choice but to grow up giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, or I would not have had friends. I wouldn't have had anyone in my life. So I do think I am actually good at it. In fact, I'm like, there's no way you can possibly be racist. So what is it? I'm not I'm comfortable with the idea that these people are against me. So I'm looking for all the evidence to the contrary, normally, if this is someone in my life. I don't really care that much about strangers. And I think that's something a lot of people, especially young people in their silos, have never experienced. They've never had to, for their own survival, find understanding.


That is super duper interesting.


They're just in their own bubbles. Who cares? You don't have to understand anybody.


You didn't have the luxury. Exactly.


You couldn't just retreat into your community community and thrive.


There wasn't. That didn't exist. I had to figure out a way to feel like there was love coming from people who weren't like me. Yeah.


And I already know you've had this experience. You meet people, you like them, you go by the house, you're like, There's a competitor flag in the garage. Okay. That's hard to make peace with. Does it mean to them what it certainly means to me?


Does it mean they think a certain way about me? It doesn't seem like it because- Are they into the rebel spirit of hunting and fishing?


And those are actually legitimate questions. The best way to confront them is to say, I'm going to ask you an awkward question, and I want you to know, I'm probably going to say it wrong, but I really want to understand you. Why do you have a Confederate flag?


I would also add because I'm scared.


The vulnerability, please.


Because I'm not asking you to judge you. I'm asking you because I'm scared.


I think putting it that way would be great. I would actually-Go ahead and amend it. You can break it into two pieces. They give you their response. You can repeat it back, did I get that right? And then say, Let me tell you why I asked, or let me tell you how the flag makes me feel, because it's clear it makes you feel something really different. Right. So guns. This happens with guns all the time.


Yes. I think unless you're talking to an actual monster, if this little cute girl told me that thing makes her scared and it's my thing, my humanness would be like, Oh, my gosh, I don't want you to feel scared. You don't need to be afraid.


Could they feel so defensive, though, that they were a part of making that person feel scared, that then they retreat?


I think they'd feel defensive if the question is, why would you have that? But if the question is, Why do you like that flag? It really scares me.


This is why. That's the right way. And then you're showing some vulnerability.


Yeah, exactly. Again, unless you're talking to a fucking monster, no one wants a guest in their property to be scared while they're there. So you might get the best.


You're trying to send this message the same way that when we laugh, we're sending a message, I want to connect with you. You're sending a message, I actually want to understand you, and I want us to be closer. I'm not asking this question to push us apart. I'm asking this question to bring us together. And the other person can pick up on that. It's hardwired into our brain. We detect when other people want to connect. We detect authenticity. There's actually an awesome study that was done where the researchers recorded a bunch of friends laughing together and a bunch of strangers laughing. Then they would play half a second to one second of the laughter. The people who would listen to those tapes could tell with 90% accuracy, the friends from the strangers. I want to do that test. We just know. We know when someone really wants to connect with us. We know when they're being authentic.


This is fun.


Talking about talking.


You guys are very Okay, I do have a couple of questions for you guys.


But hold them because you're still here to promote a book. You talked about Netflix, you talked about vaccines. I like that. How does the trial of Leroy Reid demonstrate that every conversation is a negotiation?


Every dialog that we have, often at some point is what's known as a quiet negotiation. It's a little bit of a misnomer because we think of negotiations as trying to get the best deal. A quiet negotiation is totally different, and this is what most high-level negotiations are. It's about understanding what you want. If I sit down at the table with I understand what you want and you know what I want, we're going to get to a deal faster, right? Yeah. A quiet negotiation often takes place. Leroy Reid is this guy. He's an ex-con. He had been arrested and put in jail once before. He had gotten out of jail. It wasn't clear if he knew he had committed a crime. He was the getaway driver for a friend who robbed a convenience store. Part of it is that Leroy has learning disabilities. He sees in the back of a magazine this thing that says, You can become a private eye. What you do is tend in $20 with this form. He gets something back. It contains a tin badge and instructions that he should run every morning and buy a gun. What?


Oh, boy. That third recommendation. Yeah. It's a little half hazard.


The first two steps are okay.


Learn on his serangle, Infants. Excuse me?


He goes down to a sporting goods store. This is in Milwaukee. He buys a gun. He fills out all the paperwork, totally illegal purchase, brings it back to his house. He puts the box in the closet. It's unclear if he actually ever touched the gun. He never takes it out again. But then about six or seven months later, he's by the courthouse and he's hoping that someone's just going to hire him to solve a crime.


Oh, no.


This is so sweet. And a cop asks him for some ID, and the only ID that he has is the bill of sale in his pocket. So he hands it over to the cop and the cop says, Have you ever gone to jail? And Leroy Reid says, Yeah. He says, Go bring the gun into the headquarters. I want to see it. Because there's a law that it's a felony to be an ex-con owning a gun in Milwaukee. So he's put on trial.


Oh, no. This is upsetting.


He's going to get sent back to jail. So they have the whole trial, and then the jury goes into the deliberation room, and there's only five or six jury deliberations in the history of America that have been taped. So this is one of them. I got the tapes, I got the transcripts. The crowd is basically divided. Half the people want to send him to jail. Half the people are like, This is ridiculous. He shouldn't be punished for this. They're just fighting with each other, and you have to come to a unanimous verdict. There's this one guy who is a super communicator. Now, what's funny about him is that most of the people in the room are stay-at-home moms, they factories. This dude, nobody liked him. He was a professor of literature at Marquette. His specialty was derrida. He would talk about Kafka all the time in the trial. Everyone was like, I didn't understand him at all. But what he knew is he knew how to listen to people. More importantly, he knew that this negotiation had to take place. What he does is he starts asking all these questions.


Have you read Metamorphosis? Tell me on French postmodernism, what do you think?


One of the things we know about super communicators is they ask about 10 to 20 times more questions than everyone else. But what's interesting is we don't even register it because they're questions like, Hey, what did you think of that? Oh, that's interesting. Why did you say that? What's going on there? They're questions that we hardly register that invite us in. He's asking these questions, and he's keeping track of, some people are here to talk about justice, and some people are here to talk about safety. Justice is an emotional conversation. Safety is a practical conversation. Oh, interesting. When I'm talking to this half the room, we need to talk to each other on an emotional level. When I'm talking to this half the room, and that's how he brings the two sides together, Leroy Reid absolutely would have gone to jail if this guy had not been in the room. Oh, my God. He goes free. And not because this guy thought he should go free, but because he figured out how to get everyone to hear each other.


He probably thought he should go free.


So it's interesting. I reached out to him, and he's an elderly now, and his wife said, I don't think he's in a place to talk to you. So I asked her. I think that at the end of the day, he thought that Leroy Reid should go free. But if he had tried to use this technique to manipulate everyone else, they would have snipped it out. They would have been like, This guy is just playing games with us. When you look at what he said, when you listen to what he said, it's really even handed. It's very neutral. I actually don't know what he thought because I couldn't tell until he cast his vote.


That's cool.


When you get arrested, pray that you have a super communicator on the jury. Yes. But more importantly, recognize that actually all of us can do this. He didn't have some superpower. He just thought a little bit more about communication.


And what two conversations were actually being had. Exactly.


Exactly how conversations work. The fact that he was so awkward and put on airs and everyone else didn't like him, it's probably why he was a super communicator.


Because he was in neither camp. He wasn't in an in-group to not be trusted.


My guess is that when he was younger, he had trouble communicating. He had to study how people talk to each other.


You didn't have that natural charisma that attracts people to you. Stay tuned for more Armchair Expert, if you dare.


And so here's my question for you guys is- Friam.


Oh, is that not the.?


Oh, my God.


That's so dark. Straight to the... When you guys were young, if I met you when you were 12 or 13, whatever your most awkward year is, would you be the communicator you are today? Were you popular?


I was a good communicator. That's why girls like me. I could talk on on the phone with gals for four or five hours.


How did you learn to do that, though?


Middle child, I'm solving debates and letting the tension out of situations and being able to recognize, Well, these two people are fighting. Someone's got to step in and resolve this or lower the fucking temperature in here. That's my explanation.


So you had to learn it. You were in a situation where learning that skill was important, and that's why you became so good at it.


It very much felt like for survival, it was required.


And it's interesting you use the word survival, right? Because that's amygdala. What about you, Monica?


Yeah, same. I could connect with anyone I had to because there was a big obstacle that I couldn't control. And so I had to control all the other parts, which was connecting and making myself invaluable to people. So yes, I do think so.


So what's interesting about this, and this is true of most super communicators, is they are people who had to learn, who had to just pay attention to communication. Nobody's born a super communicator. The people who become super communicators are actually the ones who were bad at it initially. Who needed Who needed it, who had to study it. And that means any of us can study it. And it becomes an instinct. The point of the book is to let these instincts out.


Well, that's the last story I'm going to make you tell because it's exactly that point. Tell me about Agent Lawler recruiting spies in a terrible job he was doing.


Yeah, so I love this guy. His name is Jim Lawler. That's his actual name.


Kind of convenient for a CIA agent, Lawler.


It's like chicken or the egg.


Yeah, I'd say egg. Try him. Stop saying that.


He writes spy novels now? Oh, Yeah, so you can find them on Amazon. So he gets hired. He's in his early 30s. He wanted to be a CIA agent so bad. He had failed at everything else. He got in the law school. He had totally mediocre grades. He goes in for the interviews, and basically everyone who interviews him is like, I don't understand why the hell you're doing this. You're not going to get selected. You have no military background, no language ability, no special skills. And yet this one guy is like, There's something special about you. I'm going to let you become a CIA agent.


Well, he had flown himself to DC on his own dime, and he said, ultimately in the interview, after a failed run at what he thought the guy would want to hear, he ultimately said, I really want meaning in my life, and I think this would be it.


He said something authentic, and he connected with this guy.


And vulnerable. I don't have meaning in my life.


So they send him to Europe, and Jim would never tell me where he was posted in Europe or any of the other countries, but you'll figure it out. I did.


If you read his book, Holland's Surprise, you'll get a sense of...


As I look, He has the canals.


He goes to Europe and he spends an entire year trying to recruit people, and he is terrible at it.


People threaten to report him. He's going to get deported.


Seen as a pervert, probably.


Yeah, he's so bad at it. Everyone else in his class who is over with him are so good. They're so suave. One of his colleagues is like, Look, this woman's coming into town. She works for the foreign Ministry of her Middle Eastern country. Get to know her. So he manages to bump into her at a restaurant, bump with quotes.


Really quick, as I was reading it, I was like, The first The rule they should tell all these people is, Anyone who you accidentally meet, get them out of your life. I know. Anyway, sorry. But I was thinking that when I read that bumping in is a strategy.


That's how I feel. I, so I don't like strangers. That's exactly what. Maybe they're all CIA's.


You don't want to be an operative. You'd make a pretty good operative. She is an operative.


Shut up.


He tells her he's an oil speculator. He gets to know where they go to lunch together a bunch of times. They go sightseeing together. And eventually, he's like, he tells his bosses, I think I'm recruiting this spy. She comes from a country that had recently had a revolution involving religious radicals. You probably can guess which one it was. It was late 1970s, early '80s. He has dinner with her privately and he says, Look, look, I'm not an oil speculator. I work for the CIA. But you've told me a bunch of times how depressed you are because your government is now being run by these chauvinists. And by the way, the US wants the same thing. We want to empower people. We want women to be empowered in your country. Work for me for the CIA. And she listens to him and she starts crying and gripping the table and just shaking her head, no, no, no, and just freaks out and is like, no, I cannot do this. They are going to kill me. You have put me in such danger just by befriending me. She leaves. So he goes to his boss's. He's like, By the way, this has been a total miserable failure.


And his boss is like, No, I already told Washington, DC, you recruited her. If you do not bring her in, you're going to get fired.


Or killed.


Yeah. Sounds worse.


Who knows? Yeah, I know.


So Lala is like, I don't know what the hell to do. And he calls her a couple of times and she won't even pick up. And eventually she picks up and he's like, Look, just have dinner with me one more time. You're about to leave to go home. Can we just have dinner? And he actually tells her, I'm going to take you to this really fancy restaurant to bribe her to come. And he's like, writing down all these ideas of ways to recruit her. And every single one, he's like, There's no way you can convince someone to take a suicidal risk, right? He's like, I'm terrible at this. I wanted this career, and it turns out I'm not cut out for this career. They go to dinner. She's really down because she's like, I came to Europe to try and figure out what to do the rest of my life, to be a force for good. And everything's the same. I'm about to go home. I hate being home. And Lala decides to try and make her feel better. Start telling her stories. And remember that time we went sightseeing and little jokes, and she laughs, but she's not into it.


And then they get to dessert, and Lala is like, Should I try one more time? And he's like, If I do, she's going to walk away. This isn't going to work. I'm going to get fired. I guess I'll just have an honest conversation with this person. He starts telling her all about how disappointed he is in himself. He's like, I thought I was going to be a great CIA officer. There is something missing in me. I see it in other people. I am bad at this. I tried to recruit this one person from the Chinese embassy, and basically they were like, I'm going to report you immediately if you talk to me again. I am terrible at this job. I know the disappointment you are feeling because I feel it in myself, and I felt it my whole life, and this was the thing that I thought was going to change it. And it turns out I'm just disappointing myself again. And he's not trying to recruit her.


Yes, it's not He's manipulative.


He's just being honest with her.


This feels like a love story. Me too? Yes, it does.


She starts crying, and he's like, I'm such a jerk. And by the way, he has to describe everything that happens in the conversation back to his bosses. And he's like, I'm going to turn in this report, and they're going to massacre me.


They're going to all gather into a room and laugh as they read it.


Yeah. So he reaches over and he's like, I'm so sorry. Don't cry. Please don't cry. And she says, I can do this. This is important. And he's like, What? And she's like, I think I can help you. And he is so inexperienced that what he says next is, No, you don't have to do that. I don't want you to help me. She's like, No. For the first time she heard what he was saying, which is, You can help your country. We want to help your country. And she hears that. She goes into a safe house two days later to get training in covert communications. Oh, my God. For the next 20 years, she's one of the best sources in the Middle East. Wow. And Jim Waller ends up being one of the best recruiters that the CIA has ever had. He actually trains other people how to recruit now. Wow. When I asked him why this happened, he's like, I don't know. I've asked Faustina, what changed your mind?


What's funny is he had already learned the lesson. He had learned the lesson in the interview.


But he didn't see it as a lesson.


Yeah, which is what we all do.


She was having an emotional conversation. He wasn't matching her. He was trying to cheer her up.


He was probably trying to explain to her the reasons she wouldn't be in risk. I'm going to solve your problem.


Yeah, exactly. And so finally, when he matched her- I'm scared, too.


He was like, Yeah, this life is a beat down. It is.


It's a tricky job because you really are asking people to risk their life. Absolutely. That's what's crazy. And also, I would have fallen in love with all of them. Oh, my God. Are you feeling that too, Monica? No. This restaurant in Paris where you guys are tagging and everyone's emotional because they're failing their country. You need to comfort each other and hold each other. Oh my God. And then you get tinglies.


You could have been so many things, but your sexual appetite is your kryptonite.


I would like to see Dax Sheppard as a CIA officer who just can never get me on the romantic appeal of the job. I've never recruited one guy. When are you going to? I don't know.


You're like, No, we need more women.


Oh, wow. Well, Charles, this was a blast.


Thank you guys You're having me on.


Yes. I hope everyone reads Super Communicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection. I will say, too, there's all sorts of fun. I love when a book breaks up this stuff. There's cute icons and different flowcharts, and there's a lot going on that keeps it It's very readable. It's a really fun read.


Oh, thank you. I really appreciate that. Okay, before we finish up, can I ask you a question, please? Yeah, now it's your turn. Yeah. Having done this now for as long as you've done it, having had real success with it, the world is telling you you do this well, if you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself? Either before you started doing the podcast or even when you were younger. You guys are communicating all the time, and you're thinking about it so deeply in a different way. What's the big lesson that you wish you knew earlier?


This is such an Adam Grant question.


Yeah, which we normally say, we'll get back to you.


It's such an Adam Grant question. I want to, because I like you so much, I want to give you an answer that falls into something that would be pleasing to you. But my true answer is nothing. You learn this by doing it a bunch. I would go back six years ago and say, talk less, but I wouldn't have talked less. I'm not a huge believer in that some tip would have altered my behavior. It's just like, I needed time on the job. I needed the 10,000 hours. I needed to do it over and over again. And I think that's why we're getting better at it, is just doing it. And maybe the confidence that comes with that, and then you calm down a bit, and you can listen better and talk less. But I don't think you can shortcut that. I think you just got to fucking do it. And then really get the confidence that allows you to calm down. And what do you think?


It's hard.


You'd say, get a tea kettle right out of the gates because that's been last year's.


Get a microwave, which we still haven't done. Probably, I would say, don't get attached to it being one thing every time or lower your expectations a little bit because this thing is going to be a ride. It's not just going to be at 100 at all. We did come out hot. We did.


That's the truth. Lightning struck us.


It did. And we got really lucky in that way. It wasn't like it took us two years before people started listening. It was fast.


But that's its own challenge, interestingly. That's what I'm saying. We weren't practicing without anyone watching. We came out with four four episodes in the first week, and it was humongous, and we didn't know what we were doing.


But also, even now when there's dips, it hasn't been so easy this whole time. There were moments that were so stressful, but they were only so stressful because of these expectations. If we didn't have any, it would have been totally normal.


Okay, I'm going to tell you guys what I hear you saying, and tell me if I'm getting this right. Dexter, you were saying, basically, learn to give in to what feels right, to learn to fall back on your instincts. And what you're saying is when we create false instincts, when we start saying it has to be like this, it has to be perfect this way, we have to satisfy the audience because we're so terrifying that we might lose some of them. Yes. That in some ways, what I'm hearing is that by doing it, you have learned to trust your ability to be super communicators. It's not the lessons, it's learning to just trust what you can do. Is that fair?


It is, but I do want to put a fine point I'm going on the fact that I think it's the difference between telling your kids you can be anything is not effective. Creating situations where they can find out that they're capable of things does result in something. So it's like even the notion of going back in time and telling yourself something? I guess that's the premise I reject a little bit. I don't think you can tell yourself. I think you have to prove to yourself and do it.


That's just a way of asking what have we learned?


It's a wonderful question. I should be more compliant. As I said, Charles, I'm inclined to just go along with it, but I want to be dead honest in that I don't think there's shortcuts. I don't think you can go back in time and tell yourself stuff.


I mean, it's super interesting because, of course, we can't actually do this. The mistakes I made when I was younger, if I went back and I told myself, you're about to make this mistake, I wonder if I would have listened to myself. To your point. No. Because other people told me I was making a mistake, and I basically didn't even hear them.


Exactly. Because you were certain of how you were doing it. That's why you were doing it that way.


Yeah. Okay, so here's my takeaway from this for listeners is go out, try and have a conversation, try and break through to someone, try and do something that feels a little risky, let yourself be vulnerable, recognize their vulnerability, and then don't go to dinner with Dax and try and recruit him because he will definitely...


No, I think just asking yourself the most basic question, which of these three conversations is happening, is like 85% of it.


I totally agree.


Oh, wait, we are not having the same conversation at all. I think that's so powerful and helpful. I agree. Charles, it's hard for me to believe you weren't a super communicator prior to writing this book because you are such a beautifully connected individual.


That is very nice for you to say. I was terrible. I was the most awkward pudgy kid. I was bad at making friends. You figured it out. Yeah, I had to for survival.


Oh, well, this has been a blast. Everyone buy and read Super Communicators, and I can't wait to bump into you on the street and then have the most effortless and connected conversation because we both have the tools. Be well. Good luck with everything. Stay tuned to hear Ms. Monica correct all the facts that were wrong. That's okay, though. We all make mistakes. Hi.


Let's do it as a whisper today. Okay. These are the facts.


These are the facts brought to you by Whispers, the most refreshing breathment in the business. Oh. That'd be a good name for a breathment. Whispers? Whispers?


This is sexy.


Ask me if I have a Whispers. Do you have Whispers? Well, you don't need one, but I'll give you one anyways. That would be the tagline.


Oh, just became Old Spice.


Well, no, because you'd want to alleviate the person's fears that their breasts smelt.


I see. I think it's hard to say, Do you have a Whispers? There's something about the plural?


Ted Seeger's. I like a plural because I'm from Michigan. Kmartz, Fords, Walmart's. You love that.


I feel like, do you have a Mince? No.


But Serts.


I I loved Serts.


There you go. Tell me about your Slacks. Tell me about your Slacks.


Okay, you want to hear about them? I do.


They're so fun-looking.


They're so soft.


Are they Whispers?


I already resent this product.




Guess what they are.


The Row. No. Prada.


No. K-mux. It's not a brand I'm looking for. The answer I'm looking for is-Cashmere pants? Well, they are cashmere. Oh, they are.


Oh, my God. They're like a dress sweat pant, cashmere, sweater pant.


They're men's.


They're men's.


Guess what size?


Extra, extra small.


Extra large.


What are you talking about? Those are men's extra large? Yes. Can I ask you to stand up? Is that inappropriate? No. Okay. And what if you folded the under leg in by- No, no, no.


They're very... Should I take my shoe off?


For a small extra large man? No. Because they would not fit me. Yes, they would. Okay. Look. Yes, they do.




Okay, pull them. Okay, now I'm seeing. Wow. So to the listener, she's pulled them out and they extend about seven inches past the tips of her toes.


And they have a draw string, so that's why I can wear them. Okay. You just pull them really tight.


How did you find yourself buying a set of extra large men's sweater slacks?


Well, as you said, they're very attractive.


Did you see them on someone specifically? No. I could see Pitt in those. Me, too. Or Lewis Hamilton.


Oh, yeah. I saw them at Fred Siegel. They were on sale. I just saw them from afar.


I was going to say, were you perusing the men's section?


I was in the female section, and then there's a rack, and I just saw these pants, and immediately I wanted them. I'm drawn to soft clothes.


And draw strings.


And draw strings. I didn't give a fuck what size size they were. Oh, great. And I saw they were extra large. I got a little nervous when I saw extra large.


Well, I will add that's a Fred Siegel's extra large. Do you know what I'm saying? I mean, I think- If you're going, you know what I'm saying? Like a Kmart medium. Exactly. At Kmart, they would be considerably bigger if they were extra large.




I don't know why I had to say that. Because if the viewer, the listener rather, the arm cherry, is picturing the extra large sweats they just saw at Kmart, I want them to know that's actually not the size you're wearing. It's for their benefit.


You'll see these pants in an upcoming picture.


Yes, with a A-list actor.


But I just also loved the color. It's a bluish-gray. There's a very nice bluey- Just slight. Yeah. And so I tried them on, and I was like, I'm going to make this work.


When were you shopping in front of Seacold? Yesterday? Yesterday, yeah.


At Sportsman's Lodge.


Oh, there's That's the one there? Yeah. Oh, did you go before or after the Super Bowl? Before. Okay. Did you have a little lunch before?


I had brunch with Liz.


Okay. At the Sportsman's Lunch?


No, we went to Beachwood Canyon.


Oh, did the little weird intersection at the top there? Yeah.


Is that place fun? I love it there. Oh, I want to try it. It's so cute.


I was there Saturday.


At Beachwood Canyon?


Yes, because Kristen's Cleaners is there.


Oh, yeah. There's a good Cleaners right there.


So we left Barton Street Bakery or whatever. Clark Street. Cafe 101, Clark Street. It's called Clark Street. There was a young red-headed gentleman reading a book in front of Clark Street. And then when I dropped Kristen off to run into the cleaners, that red-headed boy was reading a book in front of the cleaners. Oh, my God. So I pulled up to him and I rolled down the window and I said, Sir, where are we going next?


Oh, that's funny.


And he liked it because he also saw us there. He goes, You're following me? And I go, Oh, for sure. Yeah, you were at both places before us. That's why I'm asking you where we're going next.


He's a glitch in the sim. That's so glitchy.


Because he was also probably still back at Clark Street reading his book.


Definitely. He's a duplicate.


That's why he has a red head.


That's a.


Did you punch him and see if he cried?


No, but I gave him an esthetic really quick. Oh, wow. And he did respond differently.


Oh, my gosh. Dad. Big mistake.


Daddy. Did you have to wait a while to get in to Beachwood? There's always a huge line.


It It was a huge line. I put my name in. She said 20 minutes, which I already thought was not going to be accurate. I thought it was going to be like an hour based on how many people. But there's a cool vintage store next door. So I put my name in, went to the vintage store, and then I got called in within five minutes.


They have your phone number?


You scan and you put your name in.


And they text you. Oh, that's great. It's really great. There was a long line at Barker Street.


It's weird because you love it so much, but it feels disrespectful that you won't call it by its name.


I don't like the name. I think it's a weird rebrand. Why don't you just keep a Cafe 101?


Because it was bought. So it's not fair to the people who spent their money.


They should have bought the rights to the name as well.


No, Clark Street Bakery. I talked to Max about this. I found some stuff out. The bakery itself is, I forget all the details. Okay. I did forget. Sure. But it was an existing bakery, big institution.


In LA? Yeah. Okay. Ding, ding, ding. Langer's earmark. Go ahead. Oh, okay. I went to Langer's last week. I told you that, right? No. Oh, yeah. It was like, rainy, middle of a rainy day. Have you ever been?


I've never been, and that's an LA institution.


76 years old. Wow. Yes. Best corn beef and pastrami in Los Angeles.


Where is it? Is it downtown?


It's right across from MacArthur Park. Okay. It's in the- Which is where exactly?


The gut.


It's like, yeah, almost downtown. Okay. But it's 76 years old. They have not updated the esthetic. So a couple of things were happening. It was raining, which is not LA. Where I was walking in, there was a river running down the street.


It was more than raining. It was like, monsooning here. Yeah.


Monica Monsoon. We already know it. There's already been shirts.


We've been talking about it a lot.


So it already is like, I feel like I'm in New York City because why is it raining so much? And I'm downtown-ish, so the architecture is different. And then I walk in and it's a time traveling experience. I sit down at the booth by myself. I brought my Buddhist to read, and I'm planning on reading, but I can't because the service is too good. So the woman says, Can we start you with something to drink? And I say, Yeah. She literally turns her back, and then she turns right back around. She's holding a huge Diet Coke. It's like the fucking machine was behind my head of the booth in her little stand. And then I hit her with my order, which was the combo platter of pastrami and corn beef, and I wanted to decide a potato salad and coleslaw, and I wanted two eggs over easy. Pick up my book to read. That meal is on my table within three minutes, and everything's perfect.


Do you think that was a glitch, too?


Could have been. Real glitchy week.


Oh, my God.


But I sat there and I felt like I was in a Bukowski short story. I was eating a big platter of Prastramian corn beef in a 76-year-old LA restaurant with rain outside.


Oh, I like that.


I was in heaven. Then I saw a cute younger couple taking a picture of their meal. So I was like, Oh, they know Langer's Institution is their first time. And then I saw them at the register and I said, First time to Langer's? And they said, Yeah. Oh, my gosh. And they were really excited. But everyone else in there, it looked cast. Out of a Bukowski short story.




I don't know where these people live in LA. They were older. They were dressed like my grandparents. It's real human beings, not Hollywood people eating in this. I mean, really, it was a time travel. That's great. I recommend going to Langer's. It's so fun.


What do we think are the top five LA institutional restaurants? But before we do that, while you're thinking, look at my... Look at Liberty right now.


Shit bear? Don't comment. Don't move him.


Don't move him. Just look at his positioning. He's on the toilet.


Well, shit bear is shitting. Yes. He's hanging his guns over the side of a Lussite box and letting it plop.


Yeah, he's just in position.


And he wanted to be close to the- The tissue paper.


The tissue, yeah. Because he wanted to learn. He's learned his lesson. He doesn't think he should wipe with his body.


That's right. Well, and or he's run out of space to wipe with because he's completely covered in shit now. Now he's holding some tissue getting ready. We should put a little chocolate right here.


No, don't. Why? He's already soil. He's perfect as he is. Oh, man. All right.


Anyway, so Oh, top restaurants.Institutions.Institutions. Two right off the bat, Langer's already spoke of. Phelips. That might even be older. See how old Phelips is, Rob? That's also- That's famous French dip, also downtown. Town, closer to Chinatown. Were you? You didn't work that day on Chips. We shot down there. It was really fun. How old is Phelips? 1951. Okay, so 73 years old. Okay. So just three years after Langer's. Which ones are you going to add?


I'm going to add Mousseau and Franks.


Of course. Great call. Mousseau and Franks, Old Steakhouse in Hollywood.


And probably Dantanas.


Yeah, I wonder what... I feel like they probably opened in the '60s, is my guess. 1927, actually, for Philipps. For Philipps, 27. I thought they were nearing a 100-year anniversary. A 100-year. I know they were doing something maybe for their 90th anniversary, and they were selling the French Dips at the price they were 90 years before for a really limited time.What a cool thing.That is cool. A 20-cent French dip or something. Dantanas is 1964.


Okay. More recent, but I think still it counts.


At this point, yeah. It's over 50 years old.




Okay, so-Mousseau and Franks is a really good one. That's a good one. That's in Bukowski's stories a lot.




Mousseau and Mousseau and Franks?




Whoa, 125th anniversary this year. Mass man. Unreal.


So we have one slot left.


I should go eat at Mousseau and Franks. I think I've only eaten there once or twice, and I don't think I liked steak at the time, and so I think I should go there.




Have you been there recently?


Mousseau and Franks, I went last year once for a martini, and that's the time that this old man, he probably worked there from the beginning. I paid. It was Jess and I. I paid. And he kept giving the bill to Jess and returning the credit card. Thank you, sir. And then after the tip, oh, my gosh, thank you so much to Jess. After the first time, he looked at me and I said, Don't do it. Don't do it. You can handle it. It's fine. And then the second time, the blood is starting to burble.


Hair trigger. Yeah.


And by the third time, he couldn't. He said, It's her, bro.


And what did that guy say?


He just said, Oh. He didn't know what bro meant. Yeah. He was like, That's a woman that can't be. Right.


He was very confused. The tiny one at that, wearing extra large- His head exploded.


Yeah. I think he just said- He collapsed from a heart attack in that moment. Well, that's why I was trying to... I was like, It's okay. He's old. But also, this is the messiness of being human. I told him not to, and I didn't want him to. But then when he did that, he was standing up for what was right. Jess was. I liked it. Sure. Even though- This is the contradictory nature of us humans.


Speaking of heart attacks and being spooked, were you watching the game closely enough to see Travis, Kelsey, attack his coach.


He yelled at him?


He grabbed him. He bumped into him and grabbed his arm. And I felt, Hey, I don't really care. It's sports, whatever. But that man's older, and the look on it, he looked so confused, like what just hit him. I was like, That could have caused a heart attack.


Okay, two things I'll say. One, I wasn't watching that closely. I think that's now like a meme.


Oh, it is? Yeah, it's already. Are people upset about it?


No, it's just like everyone puts their own words on it and whatever. That's some meme work. Yeah. And that guy, I don't like the way it looks, right? I don't like when people are yelling at other people. But also, I don't think you should probably have a heart attack in the middle of a football game. You should be ready for intensity.


Yeah, I just think he was very much concentrating on what was happening on field. I think they just had a humongous fumble, which was going to fuck them up. And he's looking out there and all of a sudden, you know. Again, now look, I'll defend him as well. Let's acknowledge the world we're in.




This is sports. You can't want it to be a Unix boys choir or whatever, and also the Super Bowl. So I have great tolerance for all of it. I just got sincerely scared for the man that he might have a heart attack. Yeah. Tell me about the Super Bowl.


Oh, I mainly sat outside by the fire.


Oh, you did? Yeah. Nice cozy fire outside? Yeah.


I went to the Hansons. They do a big Super Bowl party every year, which is always very fun. Normally, I am at least sitting in front of the game.


To watch the commercials.


Yeah, but for some reason-Was there betting on the commercials? Yeah. All of a sudden, it was halftime, and my plan was to leave after halftime. I missed pretty much all of it. I did I hear, and then rewatch that there was a Ben and Matt commercial. There was a Duncan commercial, Ben and Matt. You sure was. So of course, people sent me that. Of course. I watched it, which I enjoy seeing them. It makes me happy. They're your guys. They're my guys. And what she says at the end of the commercial, Ben says, whatever, they're naming a drink after us. And they are. So I'm going to have to get that.


What's it called? Ben and Matt Mocha?


I think it's like Dunkings or something, but it's Ben's drink. Okay. So I got to get it. Sure.


I understand. You get it, right? Where's the closest Dunkin' Donuts to us? They are in LA now, right? Yeah.


Yeah, okay.


I love a Dunkin' Donuts. I'm not here to cast shade on Dunkin' Donuts.


So do I. I love their donut.


No, exactly. I don't care about it. People love their coffee. I'm addicted to another brand. Starbees, shout out. Sure, you love that. Pre-commerce.


Except, Starbees is not as... We've tried to do a flightless bird on Starbucks, and they won't agree, but I have done one on donuts, and Duncan did agree. So I like that.


Sure. You got to like them more for that reason alone. But when I ate gluten, I would occasionally stop into a Duncan Donuts. And this is occasionally, they don't make a ton of them, and they're rarely in stock, but they do have a chocolate filled one that's like a chocolate. It's like an icing. It's not a mustard. Interesting. And I like it a lot. Okay. Yeah, very good.


Is it clay?


It's powder white on the outside. And then it's got like, it literally looks like you're putting it on a cake, the icing, and the little device leaves the weird marks, the corrugatedness, that's hanging out of its asshole. It looks like it has a butt hole. Where they filled it and they fill it good. So it comes out. So it looks like a little butt hole with chocolate whispers in it.


Does it have an open hole? No. It's closed.


It's closed. Like a jelly-filled one would be, but in this case, it's icing.


Okay. It's really good. That sounds It's nice. It doesn't really sound like it's going to be for me, which is probably good since it's too hard to have.


We wouldn't want to go in there and there be one left.


Actually, I would love that.


Well, I knew, but then we would be in a fight over it, but I'd let you have it.


I would take one bite and give you the rest. Okay.


You would take the bite of the anus of it, probably?


Yeah, the poop part.


Do you want to hear something very perverse? Yeah. I have taken a bite out of it, and then I stick my tongue in there before I take a bite because that's where all the chocolate is seeping out. Sure.


I'll cut that. Okay. My donut is a chocolate cake donut from Duncan. That's a good donut. I love it. My best friend Gina and I would go a lot before and after chilling practice.


Before and after.


Yeah. We could eat anything then.


Yeah, because you were ripping through them calories.




Bouncing and twisting. Ripping and tearing. Ripping in the tearing. Ripping in the tearing. Rick, let's hear from Rick.


Okay, so what was I going to say?


Did we earmark something?


Yeah, last institut.


Oh, that and then Super Bowl. Oh, yeah. I watched it with my father-in-law. Yes. Which is a very sweet experience. How was the time? That's our first football game we've ever sat down and watched as father and son. Seminal. And it was just the two of us.


That's fun.


That could be awkward for a father-in-law and son-in-law. But it was really fun. Kristin and the girls drove home because it was 7:30 by the time overtime started. They had to get home and get to bed for school. So they got in the car when overtime started. And I don't know how this happened, who told Lincoln what. But when they arrived at home, Lincoln was under the belief that the 49ers had won. She had been crying in the car. And then she had been workshopping some responses to the boys that were going to make fun of her today for being so vocally supportive of the chiefs and that they lost. So they were all as a family prepping with the retorts to the ridicule would be. Okay. So they walk into the... And by the way, I saw the car pull up knowing they must have missed it. And I rewound it to the last two plays, which were insane. Fucking Travis, Kelsey got that first down. Again, you want him to be that guy. He's going to rough you up on the sidelines.


Exactly. Yeah.


Gets this incredible first down, which pretty much you go, wow, they're going to have four shots to get six yards. And then this incredible pass, blah, blah, blah. I had it cued up right to hit play when Lincoln walked in, knowing she'd want to know. She comes in, she's devastated. I go, What's the matter? And she goes, They're going to make fun of me. And I go, Watch this. I got a feeling. And then showed her. And she was cheering. It was so funny to see how excited she was about a football game.


Yeah, that's lovely. It was because of Taylor, right?


Yeah, it's funny because Molly and I were talking about how so many guys are really mad about all this.


I know. It's crazy.


And I was like, Let's do our most generous exploration of what's going on. Of course, on the surface, why do you care that more people like football? That's great. Women. Yeah. Why do you care that women now like football? And why are you mad at Taylor that they're cutting to her? She's not running the fucking editing board on the telecast. She has no control over that. Why are you mad at her? And so we got over the like, they're just assholes, blah, blah, blah. But I think this is the one I've concluded that I feel most maybe it's highest percentage of what's going on. We can assume that a lot of these guys have wanted their girlfriends to like football for so long, and they've tried to explain what a great game it is and why it's so fun to watch it, and the girlfriends had zero interest in it. And now Taylor starts dating a football player, and all of a sudden, their girls love football. So it's this other thing that like, Oh, if she likes it, you'll like it. But if I like it, you'll have no interest in it. I don't have those feelings, but at least it It attempts to explain why they're threatened by it.


Okay. That didn't hold any water for you? No.


I mean, it does as a theory. I think it's a great theory. I think it's a very generous theory. I don't think it's real.


You think they just hate women?


Did I say that? Oh, no, I'm sorry. I didn't say that at all. That's a strong thing to say. I've been around so many football people, men. No one there gives a fuck if the girls are into it or not. There's a lot of men with their girlfriends, and sometimes the girlfriends are into it, sometimes they're not. But I've never been in a scenario where the guy's like, Wait, let me explain it to you. Or can we watch this together? I've never seen that. Okay. So I don't think there's this, Fuck, I just really wish my girlfriend and I could commiserate over football.


Maybe they like that it's boys time.


That's what I do think. Okay.


And now the girls are on Boys Time.


Yeah. Maybe the girls are like, What's happening now? And then they're upset by that.


Why isn't Travis playing?


Why haven't they shown Taylor in 10 minutes? I think that's a big chunk of them, too. I could see that being annoying. I don't want to explain this now. Right.


Well, that's a good theory, too. I guess from me, I love Formula One. I would love it if you love Formula. I'd love to talk about it with you. I want my daughters to watch it with me. That'd be so fun. They will occasionally. So I'm not saying that I don't have this, but I can imagine that I have been really wanting them to join me every Sunday to watch the races and talk about it, and they have no interest in it. And then Taylor Swift starts dating Charles Leclerc, and then they're watching every race with me. Now, an evolved person would be like, Well, great. I got what I wanted. We get to share this together. That would be the adjusted thing to do. But I can imagine going like, God, I was begging them to watch with me, and care at all. But as soon as she is dating someone, now they want to do it. So just they value her a lot more than they value me.


Would you really feel that way, though?


No, I'm saying I would get to the point where I'm just delighted they're not with me.


I think you're being very nice. I don't think you would have that hurdle. I think if someone was dating Charles or any of the players. The players? Oh, the drivers.


They're watching Formula One calling them players. Right. That'd be the first.


You might get annoyed at it. But I know that you would not care at all. I know you're trying to- No, I would.


But I'm also someone who has incredible amounts of love shown towards me. I have a lot of advantages that your average alienated, unemployed, hopeless dude house.


Look, I guess I... Okay, let's take it out of this. Okay, so I really want you to watch Mr. And Mrs. Smith. Yeah. I watched the whole thing this weekend. Oh, it's all All Out. All Out, eight episodes. I watched it.


Okay, great.


I loved it. I told you to watch it.


And I'm going to.


Yeah, I know. But let's say you weren't, right? Let's say you just weren't watching it and weren't watching it and weren't watching it.


And then I heard that it was Zizou Z beats his favorite show.


Well, no, it can't be that because that's the wrong analogy.


It would have to be- Okay, it's your Max Verstappen's- Exactly. Favorite show.


And then you're like, Oh, fuck. I really got to watch it.


You might be a little hurt.


Okay, I would be hurt, but now, again, this is not a good analogy.


This is not a perfect comp?


No, because- It's not one-to-one. The reason the girls are watching is they want to see her.


Well, I think they want to see her, but additionally, they want her boyfriend to win.


They do.


They want her boyfriend- Because that's good for the whole team. Exactly.


It's not the same as an endorsement or like, now I'm interested in football.


But my daughter was like, she died her hair red.


I She wants the Chiefs to win. For Taylor.


By proxy, yes.




But she wants- And so if you're a diehard Chiefs fan, you're like, you don't even want them to win for them. You want them to win for her.


But if you're a Chiefs fan, shouldn't you just be like, yes, We have more people on our side.


It's like liking the band before they blow up. You have ownership. Feeling of ownership.


It's like fair weather.


And now you feel like all these people. That's understandable.


It is. I just And again, it's a huge umbrella.


And there's misogyny, and there's weird right-wing conspiracies. There's a lot going on. There's a bunch of different reactions to this weird phenomenon that's happened.


I just also am like, Stop caring about it. The men that are really upset and talking about it on fucking Fox News, like, Come on, this is for- It's crazy to me they're not embarrassed that they're talking about it.


Exactly. That to me is like, you're so mad about them showing her that you're now I'm talking about her and you're creating... I don't know. Participating in something you're very judgmental of is funny. Even you and I were gossiping about somebody, and I said, well, let's just own the fact that we're gossiping about them.


Well, we were talking about them.


Yeah, Taylor.


Yeah, we were- I guess it was this. Yeah. We were talking about them. But we were talking about how everyone's talking about them and how I'm actually worried. I have a fear that she's too on top of right now and everyone's going to bring her down.


Turn on her.


You're feeling protective of it. I'm feeling scared for her. I want her to come hang.


. I'll sit with a bear.


Liberty. Yeah, and just be safe for a little bit. Because people are scary out there. They're mean.


It's cute that you feel protective of her. You're very much a swifty.


I feel protective of a lot of people in this life.


I went the other way. I was like, God, if they lose, he's going to have his own journey of having lost a Super Bowl. I only know what it's like. My movie didn't open, and I know that takes me months to get over. If they lose the Super Bowl, they're going to take that on personally. Yeah. And so I was just predicting someone... I'll use myself. If I started dating someone three months ago, and then my movie came out and tanked, and they had to deal with me working through that for the next three months, that's quite a stresser on a new relationship. I I started thinking, if they lose this game, what happens to this relationship? Because that's a big moment to process in a new relationship.


Yeah, I wonder.


They would have blamed her. That would have been a new element, too. Oh, 100 %. So he'd be wrestling with all this stuff. Then all the fans would be saying he didn't perform because of her. And then so she would have her own issue she's got to navigate. It would be a lot if they lost.


I mean, she would for sure get blamed. I mean, that's true. You got to blame the woman. I think she's smart enough. She would have She would have wrote a song.


It's Jada's fault.


Yeah, it's always the woman's fault. It's the woman's fault if he lost.


It's her fault that they've won somehow. But it's not to her credit if they win, but it is her fault if they lose.


It's like something they've overcome that she's there. It's crazy. Anyway, the NFL gets it. They're the reason.


Yeah, well, they're not going to not give the people what they want. They're in the business of giving people what they want. They made so much money. They haven't made more money.


Yeah, they I have. There's a whole stat. Can you look it up?


Well, just the TV rights have already been sold for the next seven years. Like, merchandise?


I don't know. I mean, ratings, I guess.


I know. I'm only saying they're not compensated for that. The money they made from this Super Bowl was made three years ago when they signed this contract. There's no real-time adjustments for them. They've reported that she generated more than $330 million for the NFL in the Chiefs.


Yeah. According to APEX Marketing Group, Swift attended 12 games leading up to the Super Bowl. So also people going.


They weren't already sold out those Chief games. I guess not. Or the ticket price just went up. Oh, that's possible. I'm not challenging you. I'm trying to figure out how they would have adjusted since everything's so pre-sold. That's all I'm trying to figure out.


The AFC Championship Game, yes, saw some 55 million viewers making it the most watched ever.


Yeah. I think she generated money for networks. So merchandise sales, sponsorship, ticket sales, and social media. Wow. Yeah.


Cbs Sports reported, Kelsey's Jersey sales spiked nearly 400%, launching him into one of the top five selling jerseys in the NFL.


Well, also look, that guy was never on a commercial. He's in every commercial now.


Now, their podcast is also huge. She was on it the other day. She was? I think so. I saw some little videos. I was like, Oh, my God. I was like, Who can I date? Get him on here. Yeah.




I feel guilty. This is reminding me I feel guilty. Well, for Monday's episode, Bateman, where we talk about Ben and Matt, and I say I want to marry Matt. Then I saw the commercial and I felt like, damn it, I should never have said that.


Because you You're not positive about the truth.


I'm just not positive, and I don't want to have that out there in the world.




But it is out there in the world. I have guilt. I'm just going to say I have guilt. Okay.


I'm glad we cleared that up. You were sinned that.


Yeah, I want to take it all back. Got you. I'm not saying I take it all back to say the opposite. I just take it all back.


Right. You have children and you picked a favorite, and you realize you don't have a favorite. That's just not right.


Yeah. Okay, well, a couple of facts. This is for Charles Duhigg.


Oh, he was really fun.


Yeah, I liked him a lot. And sweet. But pause just super quick on Mr. And Mrs. Smith. It's so good.


Oh, I can't wait.


I'm really excited. Did you start it? Yeah, I finished it. You watched the whole thing, too? Did you like it? Yeah. It's like, tonally, it's so fun.


If I can be fully, can I be honest? Yes. I know you love boys, some boys, so much, and I I know you love Donald.


You love this boy so much.


I do. But I know that you really love some boys. Would you agree? Yeah. You've told me how great it is, and I'm really inclined to think it is. That is my expectation. But I have wondered how much you've inflated how great it is because you're so smitten with Donald. Will I be able to experience that? It's most the Atlanta team that made it. Oh, it is? As well. Oh, cool. Hero. Yeah, same director. Oh, wow.


He's awesome. This is exactly what I just said.


But I believe this isn't baseless. The one show that this happened on that I can remember the most And I think I even got you to admit this a little bit.




Well, hold on. Give me a fair damn car. I want to hear. Was that show Looping? I loved Looping. I know you did.


Okay, go on.


And the guy is so attractive and fucking sexy.


He is?


Yes. And so when I watched it, I was like, It's an okay show. If I were watching someone I was in love with, Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina. Okay. I'm not talking. Go on. But the look on your face.


I'm listening and reacting. I'm not interrupting. What is it? I'm an empath.


I think that one got a little bump. I think that one got a little bump.


Okay. I think. I don't know what to say.


Can I own it on my side of the street? Maybe that'd be helpful.


Alicia McCander, you just said that.


That one, Ex Machina Affected Men in Some We're Written. In a couple of the early Scarlett Johansson movies, a lot of women I knew were like, Yeah, it was good. And a lot of guys were like, Oh, my God, that movie. Because something was really happening. You're in love with the person you're watching. Yeah, but it's also a little...


I mean, it's not because you're owning it on your side of the street, too. But to say that I couldn't be objective about a thing because of a sexy factor.


But that's a male/female. We can't make it that because I think men do it, too. Right.


I really liked that show. I thought it was a sexy show because he was sexy. But there are a lot of things I watch where there's someone who I find extremely attractive or sexy, and I can enjoy it for that and know that this isn't great. I also know a bunch of people who watch Lupin, of all genders, who liked it.


So I don't think it's cute. So I had a specific issue with it. You and I have a very consistent opinion of writing. We used to watch a ton of shows together. You and I would generally look at each other at the exact same moment, and we would have had an issue with the writing. That was too convenient or they just broke their own rule. You and I are on that. That happens to be, I think, the thing that we're most in sync on. Okay. So Lupin was just so grossly convenient at all times that it was like, from a writing standpoint, I was like, oh, my God, everything's so easy. And then that happened, that happened. How is this person a superhero? But it's not a superhero show. So not everyone would have this problem, but I definitely think you and I would have had this problem. So then I was like, why didn't the writing bother her? And I was like, oh, it's the same as me watching early Scarlett Johansson. I'm pretty distracted by this thing, and I'm probably not as critical of this other thing because my attention has gone to this thing.


Maybe. Also, we have to leave some room for us having-Different opinions.Different opinions on different things. And I thought that show was so fun. I did not- Loop in. Yeah. I didn't need it to be 100%. I could buy into what it was early and then just very much enjoy that ride without being critical of it, of those things. Things that maybe I would- Well, I'm susceptible to it.


I'll just keep it to me. I'm susceptible to enjoy a movie. If I am having very strong feelings about the lead of the movie, I am susceptible to that.


Yeah. Well, anyway, I really loved Mr. Smith. Not just because of him. My is awesome. She's incredible in it.


Is she a new fresh face or has she been in a much other stuff?


She was on Pen15. That was a big show. And their chemistry is great. It's very natural. Is it sexy like the movie was? I assume a lot of it is improvised. It is sexy. I find it very sexy, but more real sexy. So I think I'm curious about what you think. I can't to watch it. I'm curious. But now I'm nervous that you're going to watch it with that in mind.


No. Okay. Not at all.




Not at all.


How can you be sure?


Because I wouldn't make myself not like something because I'm trying to prove that you are- I think it would be a subconscious. I think I'm pretty in charge of that realm of my thinking.


Okay. We don't know, we don't know.


By the way, I didn't decide that's what was going on. I just said, I wonder, because I know you're super smitten with him, as am I.


I guess it shouldn't be any different. You and I both love him. So whatever you're saying is going to be innate in that, it should be equal. If it's not, then that feels a little gendered.


Well, you like boys and I like girls. That's a reality of this dynamic.


But we both love Donald Glover and talk about him all the time and how sexy he is.


You talk about him sexy. Absolutely. I don't ever go to a place where I want to be laying on a pillow next to his pillow and looking at him. That's a zone that I don't have.


Yeah. He's not Ben and Matt to me. I haven't spent hours daydreaming about what my life would be like with him.


I just- I think I remember some things you said when that incredible video he made came out. You were having some very strong feelings at that point.


Yeah. Okay. Anyway, I think you'll I have to report back.


Let me ask you this, though, because you feel offended by what I'm saying.


Don't put that on me. I don't feel offended. I'm just breaking it.


I'm not saying you are. To me, it feels like I've offended you by suggesting that your attraction to someone might alter how you perceive- My objectivity. Yes. And that feels offensive to you. Or it feels to me like I've offended you by suggesting that. You haven't offended me.


You have not offended me. But I'm going to push back. Okay. Which is what I did. Push, push. Yeah. But now I need a new show because I watched that show so quick.


I don't know if you're going to like this one or not. Okay. This is a very low percentage that I think you'll like it, but I'm loving it, which is I started Griselda.


You're loving it?


I'm loving it. Mind you, I loved the first season of Narcos. The first one made by the Brazilian filmmakers was fucking mind-blowing. This is the quote it starts with. So good. I've only feared one man in my life, and it was a woman named Griselda, Pablo Escobar. I like that. Pablo Escobar is the baddest of the bad. He said, There's only one man I've ever been afraid of, and it was a woman named Griselda. I like that. Is it dark and edgy? Yeah. It's violent and it's coke.


They're marketing it weird.


The reason I think you might like it, Monica, was crazy violent and cokey, which you don't love. It is a woman in 1975 building a coke Empire in Miami against all of these distributors who are the most machismo Colombian.


I do love that.


Yeah, and she's just indomitable. Yeah, that's cool. It's a fucking cool story.


Yeah, very.


And she was known as the Godmother. Oh, I've only been afraid of one man, a woman named Grisel.


Yeah. I mean, it's also- It's like he's in on it. He's in on it, but he's also refusing to give up. Well, I guess it's at the time, too, in the culture. They would never not have men at the top of the- It was only men until her, yeah. That's cool.


Back to our expert. Charles. Charles in charge.


How do the national newspapers rank? Okay, Okay. As of 2023, the newspaper with the highest print circulation in the United States in the six months running to March 2023 was the Wall Street Journal.


No kidding. Yes. That wouldn't have been my guess.


Me either. Ranking second, New York Times, followed by the Washington Post.


Washington Post.






Oh, no. Remember that movie? Yeah, that was a good movie. Mark Ruff. A great movie.


Mark Ruff.


The paper in the ranking with the highest year over your drop in circulation was the Atlanta Journal Constitution.


I'm sorry, Atlanta.


I'm sad about that. Okay. There's a good article. Well, it's an opinion article, and I actually don't know if it's good. Because I looked up what's the biggest predictor of voting, and this is about the diploma divide. Oh, right. And that being the biggest factor right now, which...


College diploma. Yeah.


Because it to be religion before that.


That makes sense.


Okay. I thought this was interesting about laughter. It doesn't always coincide with what's funny. He was saying 80% of laughter is actually showing you're connecting. It's not that something's funny.


Right. That's why it's so misleading for some people. They think they're funny.


Especially if they're in power because the underlings are trying to show, I hear you. I'm with you. Like me.


I have witnessed that more in my life than probably anything else where people that are famous and have status and have a lot of people doing their hair and makeup around them at all times have convinced themselves they're really funny, and it's so embarrassing. It is. By the way, this isn't like, I also saw it at GM, the eighth-level person thought he was Rodney Dangerfield.


Bosses. A boss in general need to be super aware of this.


Minimally, just hack off 30% of how funny you think you are.


And more than funny, smart, charming, all of it, all the things that you start to think about yourself. It's probably exacerbated.


How are they to know? That's what's confusing. Before you have that, it's a real response. And then all of a sudden, you trust that that response is real. And then all of a sudden, everyone's laughing around you, but you haven't gotten any funnier. I know.


Okay, let's see. Well, you'll like this. Playfulness is considered the basis of humor. A play with ideas, but not all play is humorous. Cheerfulness is considered the temperamental basis of good humor, a disposition for laughter and for keeping humor in face of adversity, but mostly overlaps with the socio-effective. I don't want to... This is weird.


I feel like it's trying to scienceify something that's magic. It is. I'd rather leave playful as playful. Okay. I'm not asking you to stop. I'm just saying I agree with you, and I think that my issue with it is like, let's not try to break this down into a social science.


I agree.




We know what it is. Also, it's a reflex. Also, people laugh when they're uncomfortable. People laugh for all kinds of reasons. But, yeah, it's a social tool. Right. Oh, you said that I'm a CIA operative.


And I shouldn't have blown your cover? Yeah. Sorry about that. That was a big- Are you in trouble over at Langley? I have some things I to talk to them about. This is probably... I know. Well, this is part of my fantastical ego. What did you make Mr. And Mrs. Smith? Part of my fantastical ego is that I have, I guess, the guy who wrote the book Dangerous Mind or whatever it was. Clooney made a movie out of it, Sam Rockwell played them. There was a game show host who later wrote a book in his retirement claiming to have been a- Confessions. Of a Dangerous Mind. Yeah, something like that. Yeah, that he had been a CIA operative. But it is the perfect cover. I could Be anywhere in meeting with high-level people, and you're just not going to think I'm a CIA operative. How can I be doing both? It's a good cover.


Wait, what? Say it again. I was a problem.


I can travel through the world, and it doesn't look suspicious. It's conceivable I would be at the parliament somewhere. Seth Meyers, he was in Israel, met the Prime Minister, and had googled the Prime Minister to make sure he knew everything about the Prime Minister. And then at a certain he went to a bookshelf and he said, Let me show you this. And he walked by the Prime Minister's computer and he saw on the screen of his computer, he had Seth Meyers' Wikipedia page pulled. No. Yes, this is a great moment. Netanyahu? No, no, no. I mean, vice President. I don't know.


Okay, let's just be careful because that's a big guy, so that's not who it was.


This is someone really high up in the Israeli government. This is a year and a half ago. But just the laugh he had when he saw that that person had done the same thing he had done, which is gone to Wikipedia meeting and had this meeting anyways. That's the comedy of being high status. It's like, Yeah, that person's high status. I'm high status. We should meet. For no reason. No one knew who each other was. They weren't really there, whatever the case. My point is I could end up anywhere, and it wouldn't be suspicious.


Right. But also on the flip side of that, you're going to go noticed.


Right. Hiding in plain sight.


Yeah. Hiding in plain sight. I mean...


I could woo a woman that's high up in the Russian government. I could meet her at a hotel. She'd be thinking she was meeting a celebrity. We could have a little affair. She could try to impress me and tell me some stuff that happens at work. I could get that real information and report it back to Langley. And she would never leave thinking, Oh, I bet he had wooed me intentionally to get information. She would think I was a celebrity.


Then it would be in the tablet. People would take pictures, and it could be in the tablet.


You have to assume I'm not married or something in this case. I thought you were saying you. The point is, I'm famous, you're a Russian ambassador, and you're at this nice hotel in London, and I am, too. And we start chatting at a bar. Now, normally that ambassador knows if I'm being wooed by a foreigner, I got to have my guard up because they're probably working for the CIA. Whereas in this case, my celebrity would transcend that. It would overpower that. They would just go like, Oh, wow, I'm meeting George Clooney. Your guard would go down. You're like, Oh, this person's not that. I know what this person is. It's a great cover. That's what that movie was about? It was about this guy's claims that he was working. He claims to have gone to other countries and assassinated people while he was a game show.




Chuck Barris.


I think this might be just lure, or maybe I made it up. I don't think I did. But I think my mom was recruited. She didn't do it, or maybe she did.


See, She was grown as a- That's another good-an intelligence asset.


That's also another good way to go, is to tell people that you were recruited.


And then what happens?


Because then you're like, well, and she obviously didn't do it. But they're like half telling a truth so that it becomes more plausible. If you're like, what's the CIA? Then you're obviously you're in it.


Yeah. Tell me your mom's story. Did a handsome man try to woo her at a cocktail bar?


I'm nervous it's all made up. Okay. Should I text her?


No, let me call her. No. Yes. It's so much more fun when I call her.


I don't know how she's feeling.


Well, I'll find out in a second. Hey, Dax. How are you? Hi, beautiful. Mom, I'm here, too. You're on the show again. Okay.


Mom, did I make this up, or did you get recruited by the CIA?


Did I make it up? Do you need me to repeat that? She's across the room. Yeah, I can barely hear you. She wants to know. She vaguely remembers hearing that maybe someone attempted to recruit you from the CIA. Oh, no, no, no. No, no. No, no. No, no. No, no, no, no. No, no, no. No, no, no. No, no, no. No, no, no. When I was in college, we interviewed for a job with the NSA, and I wasn't a citizen at the time, so I couldn't.


I mean, it just went flat.


So it was almost the opposite story, which is you would have liked to have worked for the NSA, but you couldn't because you weren't a citizen.


Well, if you interviewed, did they want you?


Well, I didn't find out until the end. I mean, the interview went well. I didn't find out until almost the end of the interview that you have to be in America. You have to have been born.


Well, I mean, I think you just had to be a citizen.


You can be a naturalized citizen, too. But at that time, I wasn't. Have you ever fantasized about what your life would have been like had you become an an MSA agent? Not really. Could you spend the afternoon doing that and then tell me what you came up with? You could have been flying all over the world. A real good friend of mine, we both did it, and he actually went to work for an MSA. I'm glad that that fell through because it's a very secret you can't tell people anything about what you're doing. Wink, wink. I think I just got what you're saying, which is you did get the job, and now you're sworn to not tell us you got the job. Wow. Yeah. Okay.


But does he keep his name? Yeah. Oh, you're allowed to keep your name?


It's not like that. It's not like the CIA.


I don't think it's like that.


I feel like I'm privy to your guys' relationship when you're back at home, Monica, where you're yelling from your bedroom and your mom's trying to hear you. Yeah. Yeah, this is what she does.


You're always like, Do you want tea?


What? Yeah, that's pretty much it. Did you watch the Super Bowl, Nerme? Yeah, we watched that. It was a pretty good game. It ended up being one. Who are you rooting for? Kansas City? Kansas City, yeah. Two questions. Did Monica tell you I've tried to send you barbecue three times now in that fucking restaurant? Are you serious? Yes. I don't know why that restaurant's on Postmates because I've ordered it three and it's been declined after I've ordered it three times. So I see she didn't tell you that. So there's that. Secondly, did you have a favorite commercial? Oh, that one with Jennifer Anaston.


Oh, Uber Eats.


That was really funny. That was the best. And what was your favorite part of that one? That guy in the underwear.


What guy in the underwear? Oh, God.


What was that? I don't He just was... I didn't even... I mean, it was just hilarious. I didn't even care most of it because I had something else on while I was watching, but I just saw it.


He was walking into the room with a shirt and just an underwear. Yeah, I actually- I do.


He was walking into a break room at an office. Yes, that is exactly what it was because he forgot his pants. He forgot how to put his pants on. You're supposed to wear pants. Yeah, or something like that. Anyway, yeah, it was some good ones. What was the other media you were concerned zooming at the same time. I was just watching something on YouTube. Oh, my God. You're like a millennial. I get bored very fast. Same with your daughter. She's already tuned out. I just saw her face.


I don't know what we're doing anymore. We called about NESA.


Oh, here we go. Monica's got pretty good focus.


Thank you, Mom.


She and Ashok, they both have focus pretty well. Me and Neil, we're sometimes all over the place. Thanks for sharing that. Well, I love you just the same. Thanks for always taking my calls, for real. It's so fun to call you and hear from you. Okay, thank you.


All right. Bye, Mom.


Bye. I love her. I would watch the game with her. I mean, I would tell her, Nerme, shut those fucking things off. You got too many things going.


You'll never get her to not do that.


So when you guys are watching even like Dateline or something, she's running three other things? Yeah.


No, one other. Her iPad. She's always on her iPad with headphones.


Do you feel like she misses a lot of what you guys are watching? She has to, right?


She's a human. She's not Are you watching it. She does this thing. I know she's doing it. If we start a movie or something, five minutes into the movie, she'll look up stuff about the movie.


Okay. Right. Go down a rabbit hole.


As the movie is happening, she's reading stuff about it, so she knows stuff. Oh, I hate that.


Natalie does that. Really? Trust me, nuts. Well, if she's not invested in it. I've never heard of this. I've never seen. Kristen does that, too. When we were watching the plumbers, the White House plumbers, because it's historic, and all of this stuff that's happening on screen has really happened. So it's like there's a flight, and then all of a sudden we're going to find out the real answer of whether the CIA blew up this plane or not. I'm content to wait for the show to tell me when I need to hear that conclusion. But Kristenristen will look that up real-time as well. She did that American Nightmare. I started it, and she was reading it. She's like, Why don't you tell me what happens? I'm like, Oh, I'm watching. I want to finish this.


The whole point is that we're watching this.


But she has too much anxiety. I think that's it. And she has not enough interest in it already and was not planning to watch it with me. Right. Like football pre-Taylor. Yeah. Bring it all the way back around. But I don't have a lot of anxiety, so I don't need to know how things end.


I do, but that is not my MO. Right.


You're a good TV watcher.


Thank you.


I think I am. You watch that whole Mr. And Mrs. Smith from Friday to Monday, Sunday.


Friday night to Saturday night.


Oh, wow. You got through the whole thing by Saturday night. You're nasty.


I stayed up so late.


Oh, my God. Naughty girl.


And I started Mr. Smith, the movie all in that time. Wow.


You got a lot done this week.


All righty. All righty. Love you. Love you.