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Fresh Air

Weekdays, 3-4pm and midnight-1am

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every weekday she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns.

Last fall, a slim and eerie novel came out in Britain that tells a story about the lingering force of walls. That novel, which has just been published here, is called Ghost Wall, and its author, Sarah Moss, possesses the rare light touch when it comes to melding the uncanny with social commentary.

Ghost Wall is set in the 1970s in the rugged countryside of the far north of England. Our narrator is a sheltered 17-year-old girl named Silvie, who has accompanied her parents on a summer field trip of sorts with some university students and their professor.

Growing up, actor John C. Reilly remembers watching the comedy of slapstick duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and feeling very touched. It wasn't just that the two made him laugh, Reilly says, there was something more.

"The brilliant thing about their work when you watch it, it seems so nonchalant," he says. "It seems like they're doing it for the first time."

Then Reilly got a role playing Oliver Hardy in the new film Stan & Ollie and he realized just how much planning and precision went into those seemingly effortless physical comedy routines.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

When Joshua Mezrich was a medical student on the first day of surgical rotation, he was called into the operating room to witness a kidney transplant.

What he saw that day changed him.

After the donor kidney came out of ice and the clamps on it were released, he says, "it turned pink and literally, in front of my eyes, this urine just started squirting out onto the field."

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm TV critic David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WOKE UP THIS MORNING")

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

For about 48 hours in December, Kevin Hart was slated to host the 2019 Academy Awards. Then Hart was called out for homophobic jokes and tweets he made in 2010, and the Academy asked him to apologize.

There are countless presidential scandals in U.S. history, but very few of them have resulted in resignation or impeachment — which is precisely why MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was drawn to the story of Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon's first vice president, who resigned in 1973.

Maddow notes there are many misconceptions concerning the former vice president — including the notion that his "big sin" centered on taxes.

Ben Stiller loves a good escape story. So when he heard about Richard Matt and David Sweat, two convicted murderers who used tools provided by a prison employee to break out of a New York state maximum security prison in June 2015, he was intrigued.

"What really interested me was how they were able to do this, how they were able to get away with this," Stiller says. "It seemed like such an old-fashioned sort of escape, and I thought, 'Wow, how can that happen in today's prison system?' "

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