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Stephen Merchant

Funnyman Stephen Merchant chats with Michael about why he went into comedy, David Bowie eating bananas, impersonating Abe Lincoln for Drunk History and his new show HBO series, Hello Ladies.

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Bob Mankoff

Robert Mankoff is the cartoon editor of The New Yorker. More than eight hundred of his cartoons have been published in The New Yorker in the past thirty years, including the best-selling New Yorker cartoon of all time. Mankoff says of cartooning:

"Your sense of humor is probably the sense you value most. That's certainly the case for me. Besides making life more enjoyable during good times and bearable during trying ones, having it, and honing helped me become cartoon editor of The New Yorker in 1997. Best job in the world, greatest professional day of my life—except for a day, twenty years earlier, when I sold my first cartoon to The New Yorker."

And what about the story of his becoming an experimental psychologist? Mankoff says: 

"I was so close to being a "doctor" that I could taste it, but it didn't taste good. My gift for laughter and my sense that the world was mad were rapidly dissipating, as I learned more and more about what I was less and less interested in. And my experimental animal, a rat, had no sense of humor at all."

Michael and Bob share what humor means to them and so much more.

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Patricia Marx

Patricia Marx has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1989. She is a former writer for Saturday Night Live and Rugrats, and is the author of several books, including the novels Starting from Happy and Him Her Him Again the End of Him (both of which were finalists for the Thurber Prize) and numerous children’s books. Marx was the first woman elected to the Harvard Lampoon. She has taught screenwriting and humor writing at Princeton, New York University, and Stonybrook University, but mainly she does errands and looks things up on Wikipedia. 

Marx calls in to the show to talk about the law of service animals and pushing the boundaries and limits of service and emotional support animals in public places. While dining with a piglet at The Four seasons in New York a woman is startled that her baby is oinking and then flying with the same pig. She's next plotting to bring a skunk with her to get out of jury duty.

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Jim Gaffigan

Indiana native Jim Gaffigan arrived in New York City in 1990 at the age of 24. Officially, he had relocated to work in advertising, but his real fascination with New York had a lot more to do with pursuing his dream of making people laugh as an actor and stand-up comic, a dream he would eventually realize through hard work and ample talent. Gaffigan says he came from "a conservative family where you're driven by security, and wearing a tie to work is considered a success. 

After a some miscommunication and not be able to connect with him Michael reads a bit about Gaffigan's history and finds interesting connection points in the audience. When a connection is finally made Michael and Jim chat about kids, exploiting them, conversations with relatives, food and more about food!

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Gray Frederickson

Oscar-winning Producer (The Godfather II) and Artist-in-Residence at the OCCC, Gray Frederickson takes the stage to delight Michael with enough Hollywood stories to fill a book!

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Michael Perry's Advice for Bon Iver

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin. Having just released his first young adult novel titled The Scavengers, Perry stops by the Terrace to tell Michael all about it and how it came to be.