If you don’t like Fran Lebowitz, let me borrow a phrase from the great Ted Lasso, “that’s like Woody Allen playing clarinet. I don’t want to hear it.” What I do want to hear is the greatest New Yorker talking all things Manhattan during the pandemic without another great New Yorker and world class talker, Julie Klausner. That’s right, this is two Jewesses talking about two other Jewesses talking. This is an explosion of Judaism not unlike if you wired explosives into Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dreidel and spun it across the dance floor at a Bar Mitzvah in Haifa. But you don’t need to be Chosen, to choose this – because it’s everything great about documentaries, Martin Scorcese, New York City and the art and soul of the spoken word. This is Easy Listening, a podcast about podcasts and we are going to give you clips and kibbitz. Teresa Strasser and Gina Grad welcome you to the show.
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Our podcast spotlight shines this week on Bullseye with Jessie Thorn. Bullseye from NPR is your curated guide to culture. Jesse Thorn hosts in-depth interviews with brilliant creators, culture picks from our favorite critics and irreverent original comedy. Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.”
We feature the episode from January 26, 2021 with Fran Lebowitz with guest host Julie Klausner. Listen to it here: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Fran Lebowitz on Apple Podcasts
A little about Fran Lebowitz from her In a cultural landscape filled with endless pundits and talking heads, Fran Lebowitz stands out as one of our most insightful social commentators.
Her essays and interviews offer her acerbic views on current events and the media – as well as pet peeves including tourists, baggage-claim areas, after-shave lotion, adults who roller skate, children who speak French, or anyone who is unduly tan. The New York Times Book Review calls Lebowitz an “important humorist in the classic tradition.” Purveyor of urban cool, Lebowitz is a cultural satirist whom many call the heir to Dorothy Parker.
Lebowitz on special interest groups: “Special-interest publications should realize that if they are attracting enough advertising and readers to make a profit, the interest is not so special.”
Lebowitz on frankness: “Spilling your guts is exactly as charming as it sounds.”
Lebowitz on herself: “Success didn’t spoil me, I’ve always been insufferable.”
This is Lebowitz off the cuff. Her writing — pointed, taut and economical — is equally forthright, irascible, and unapologetically opinionated.
Lebowitz worked odd jobs, such as taxi driving, belt peddling, and apartment cleaning (“with a small specialty in Venetian blinds”), before being hired by Andy Warhol as a columnist for Interview. That was followed by a stint at Mademoiselle. Her first book, a collection of essays titled Metropolitan Life, was a bestseller, as was a second collection, Social Studies. By turns ironic, facetious, deadpan, sarcastic, wry, wisecracking, and waggish, Lebowitz’s prose is wickedly entertaining. Her two books are collected in the Fran Lebowitz Reader, with a new preface by the author. Lebowitz is also the author of the children’s book, Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas.
Between 2001 to 2007, Lebowitz had a recurring role as Judge Janice Goldberg on the television drama Law & Order. She also had a part in the Martin Scorsese-directed film, The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). A raconteur if ever there was one, Lebowitz has long been a regular on various talk shows including those hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and Bill Maher. In an interview with the Paris Review, Lebowitz said “I’m not a nervous person. I’m not afraid to be on TV. I’m only afraid when I write. When I’m at my desk I feel like most people would feel if they went on TV.”
She can also be seen in various documentary films including the American Experience series on New York City, as well as Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016), Regarding Susan Sontag (2014), and Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990), among others. In 2010 Martin Scorsese directed a documentary about Lebowitz for HBO titled Public Speaking. A new limited documentary series, Pretend It’s a City, also directed by Martin Scorsese, premieres on Netflix January 8, 2021.
Lebowitz was once named one of the year’s most stylish women by Vanity Fair. She remains a style icon. Lebowitz lives in New York City, as she does not believe that she would be allowed to live anywhere else.
She is on Facebook Fran Lebowitz
Julie Klausner created the Hulu series “Difficult People,” produced by Amy Poehler and starring Klausner and Billy Eichner.
Her podcast, How Was Your Week, was called “one of the few essential podcasts” by the New York Times.
She is head writer and Co-EP of Billy on the Street. She’s also written for Mulaney, Best Week Ever, The Big Gay Sketch Show, The Triumph and Jack Show and many other comedy specials and pilots.
She wrote a YA Novel called Art Girls Are Easy, and a memoir called I Don’t Care About Your Band, which she’s currently developing to be a movie with Broad Green Pictures.
Julie was, at one point, steadily employed by Vulture.com, which showcased her Real Housewives recaps and original videos in addition to lots of her other pop culture writing.
Julie does a lot of comedy, variety and cabaret shows in New York City, where she lives with her tuxedo cat, Jimmy Jazz.
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