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Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard on Smash Notes

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcast.

December 28, 2019

Hi, I’m Dax Shepard, and I love talking to people. I am endlessly fascinated by the messiness of being human, and I find people who are vulnerable and honest about their struggles and shortcomings to be incredibly sexy. I invite you to join me as I explore other people’s stories. We will celebrate, above all, the challenges and setbacks that ultimately lead to growth and betterment. What qualifies me for such an endeavor? More than a decade of sobriety, a degree in Anthropology and four years of improv training. I will attempt to discover human “truths” without any laboratory work, clinical trials or data collection. I will be, in the great tradition of 16th-century scientists, an Armchair Expert.



Episodes with Smash Notes

Jamil Zaki (The War for Kindness) is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and the director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab. Jamil joins the Armchair Expert to discuss all things empathy: why he was drawn to the topic, the roadblocks of it, the erosion of empathy and how to get it back. He explains the different types of empathy (emotional, cognitive, and empathic concern), the impact it has on motivation in the workplace, and how self-compassion is a bridge to having compassion for others. Jamil expresses how empathy leads to a healthier mental and physical state and the importance of tuning your empathy towards who you want to be.

In this episode, we meet the contestants: Perfect 10 Charlie (230lbs) and Best Friend Aaron Weakley (306lbs). The colorful history of their physiques, rules of engagement and week 1 results will be revealed!

Welcome to Race to 270– Armchair Expert’s first game show! Two competitors, Best friend Aaron Weakley and Perfect 10 Charlie, are on a race to see who can reach 270 pounds first. Aaron starts out the competition at 306 pounds and has 36 pounds to lose. Charlie starts at 230 pounds and has 40 pounds to gain. The winner will receive $5,000! Dax and Monica check-in with the competitors each week to track their progress and chat about life, Chinese food and everything in between. Let the games begin.

Common (Mind Power Mixtape, A Beautiful Revolution Pt 1, Hell on Wheels) is a rapper, actor, and writer. Common joins the Armchair Expert to discuss learning to love process, the value of character, and having gratitude for the moment. Common explains how he found strength in individualism and how grateful he is to finally be able to do the things he loves without the pressures of their monetary performance. Dax and Common bond over their parallel lives: their love of Pulp Fiction and Barack Obama, not having masculine figures in their lives, and disastrous first podcast interviews with a significant other. Best friend Aaron Weakley returns for the fact check and Dax & Aaron recount Dax’s worst smelling fart on the school bus.

David Farrier exposes Monica and Dax to a new conspiracy theory each month. Today’s episode: Bigfoot.

Brad Grossman is an author, entrepreneur, and creator of the Zeitguide’s Culture Class. Brad joins the Armchair Expert to discuss his role as a culture guide and how he seeks out all the interesting information in the world and synthesizes it for his students.  Brad explains the inspiring ways companies and individuals are pivoting in order to connect to consumers, how covid has been a magnifier to our systemic problems, and the ways it will help us reboot our sense of humanity. Dax and Brad explore what’s going to happen in 2021, the need to dismantle archaic systems and tweak them in a way that’s more sustainable to humanity.

Go to Zeitguide.com and use code “ARMCHERRIES” for 50% off Brad’s first culture class of the year.

Randy Jackson (Name that Tune, American Idol) is a world-renowned musician, record producer, A&R executive, and founder of Unify Health Labs. Randy joins the Armchair Expert to discuss being a child in the deep south in the 60s, how he got started playing music, and his desire to live his life through music. He discusses his journey as a studio musician to an A&R executive, the ingredients that make up a star, and his vision of American Idol as the A&R process completely unfolded. Randy and Dax bond over the sexual power of Van Hunt and Dax pleads a defense to jazz-fusion.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the first three-peat Armchair Expert guest and an American neurosurgeon, medical reporter, CNN medical correspondent, and author. Sanjay, fresh off receiving his covid-19 vaccination, joins the Armchair Expert to discuss how much we’ve learned this year about human behavior. Sanjay explains the evolution of neurogenesis and why cognitive decline is not inevitable. The two discuss that in order to heal the body you have to heal the mind, the importance of building the resiliency of your brain, and the power exercise has on it. Dax tells Sanjay about Monica’s psilocybin experience and Sanjay tells us that the best thing you can do for your brain is to take a brisk walk with a friend and discuss your problems.

Jackie Tohn (Glow, Best Leftovers Ever, CHiPs) is an actress and musician. Jackie joins the Armchair Expert to discuss getting into acting in New York at nine-years-old, how she and Kristen became best friends and how being a boundaries-less person has affected her relationships. Jackie opens up about her past boyfriends and how they’ve all become megastars, how much her mom gave up in order to make her dreams come true, and how self-awareness is what separates the assholes from the non-assholes. Jackie explains how she landed a hosting role on Netflix’s Best Leftover’s Ever while Dax explains the cup full of urine in the attic.

On this special episode, we revisit some of our favorite moments from 2020.

Join us for our annual holiday party featuring remote guests Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Emmy Raver-Lampman, Bob Mervak and Kristen Bell. 

John O. Brennan is a former American intelligence officer who served as the Director of the CIA from 2013 to 2017. John joins the Armchair Expert to discuss the distinctions between the CIA and FBI, his professional route through his career, and serving under six different administrations. John explains what it’s like to be confronted with harsh realities where either course of action has implications, the ebbs and flows of the CIA’s power of persuasion, and the need for ethical intelligence. John opens up about the personal weight of his job, the trickle-down effects of supporting smaller nations, and the ways in which climate change will continue to have serious national security implications. In the fact check, we find out if Miniature Mouse is a good fit for the CIA.