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It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders

Author: NPR

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Each week, Sam Sanders interviews people in the culture who deserve your attention. Plus weekly wraps of the news with other journalists. Join Sam as he makes sense of the world through conversation.
365 Episodes
With the holidays coming, we're all trying to figure out how to celebrate with loved ones from a distance. When all we have to connect this year are phone calls and video chats, how do we make the most out of our conversations? In this episode from NPR's Life Kit Sam gets advice from the owner of a hair salon, whose job has taught her to be a good conversationalist. Then, Sam talks to journalist and professional speaker Celeste Headlee. Celeste, who gave a TED talk on this topic, shares her guidance on how to have more meaningful conversations.You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at
Georgia's Senate runoffs have become national races as control of the Senate depends on who wins. Sam asks Tia Mitchell, Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, if Georgia voters are looking at the runoffs the way the rest of the country is. Then, Sam chats with comedians W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu, hosts of the podcast "Politically Re-Active", about how the Left is processing the results of the 2020 election.
What's next for President Trump once he leaves the White House? And what's next for his business? And what's he being investigated for again? And by whom?We take a step back and break it all down with Andrea Bernstein, co-host of the WNYC & ProPublica podcast Trump, Inc., about Trump's finances, his mounting debt and how, after decades of bad business, he has always managed to find a way out.
The rapper Bobby Shmurda had a big viral hit in 2014, and it looked like he was going to be a star. But just months later, Bobby and his friends were arrested and charged in connection with a murder and several other shootings. Our friends at NPR Music podcast Louder Than A Riot trace the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration, and they take a look at Bobby's story in this episode.
What could a new president mean for the coronavirus pandemic? Sam talks to Ed Yong, staff writer at The Atlantic, about President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force and how much the federal government can do to change the course of the pandemic. Then, Sam chats with comedian Matt Rogers, whose projects this year include competition show Haute Dog on HBO Max, Quibi's Gayme Show and the podcast Las Culturistas (which he hosts with SNL's Bowen Yang). They talk about pop culture and what's giving them joy in 2020.You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at
Talia Lavin went undercover in white supremacist online communities, creating fake personas that would gain her access to the dark reaches of the internet normally off-limits to her, a Jewish woman. That research laid the groundwork for her book, Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy. Lavin talks to Sam about what it was like to infiltrate those online spaces, what she learned, and how white supremacy cannot exist without anti-Semitism.
Joe Biden appears to be inching closer to a victory, but there wasn't a blowout for Democrats this election. Sam talks to New York Times national political reporter Astead Herndon about what we know, what we thought we knew, and what the results could mean for the left moving forward.
With the election still too close to call, The Atlantic reporter McKay Coppins joins Sam with the latest on what we know about the results, what they mean for President Trump, and how much Trumpism will live on in the Republican Party.
It's Election Day, but instead of the latest politics news, we're giving you some therapy. Sam shares listener questions around mental health issues with psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb. In addition to her clinical practice, Gottlieb is the New York Times best-selling author behind Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed. She and Sam discuss burnout, white guilt, and when the right time is to reach out to a therapist. Gottlieb also co-hosts the podcast Dear Therapists and writes the weekly advice column 'Dear Therapist' for The Atlantic.
With 2020 progressing the way it has, comedian Sarah Cooper wants you to know that Everything's Fine in her new comedy special. Sam talks to Sarah Cooper about her journey from going viral on TikTok lip-syncing to President Donald Trump, to starring in her own Netflix special. Then, Sam chats with Linda Holmes and Aisha Harris, hosts of the NPR Podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, about their favorite politics and election pop culture picks.
Election Night 2020 is a week away. It's hard to know whether we'll have results that night, in a week or maybe even a month. But that's exactly what happened 20 years ago — between candidates Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush.Sam goes back to that night with NPR's Ron Elving and Mara Liasson to chat about what they remember from working in the newsroom, why it was so chaotic, and what one of the most turbulent elections in U.S. history could teach us about... well, one of the most turbulent elections in U.S. history.
On this bonus drop, we feature an episode from the NPR podcast Rough Translation. A Chinese idol had millions of fans who adored him for his kindness and good looks. Then, this February, one group of fans accused another of violating their image of him. What happens is a lesson in morality and revenge, love and hate, and how these feelings are weaponized on the internet.
Voter outreach took on an unconventional form Tuesday night when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez streamed her gameplay of the hit game "Among Us" on Twitch. While she played the game with friends, her stream became one of the 20 most watched streams in Twitch history. Sam chats with Wired writer Cecilia D'Anastasio who explains the streaming platform's potential to reach new voters. Also, the pandemic has hit the economy hard, but not everyone is feeling the blows. Sam talks to Scott Horsley, NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent, about the pandemic economy – who's winning, who's losing and why.
Latinos are the second largest group of eligible voters by race or ethnicity in the United States, but they continue to be misunderstood and underappreciated by political campaigns of all parties. Sam talks to Lisa García Bedolla, a scholar of Latino politics, about how the word "Latino" encompasses diverse communities of all political stripes and life experiences, and he checks in with the former mayor of a small town in Texas who's been thinking of Latino voter outreach for a long time.You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at
From fights over early voting applications to ballot drop-off sites, voting in Texas has drawn national attention. Sam talks to Texas reporters Ashley Lopez of member station KUT and Jessica Huseman of ProPublica to unpack what's happening and what it means for voting access. Then, Sam gets advice from John Paul Brammer, creator of the advice column "Hola Papi."
Writer and thinker James Baldwin used the power of his words to confront in order to connect, something that feels especially relatable in a year when the United States has been forced to reckon with racial inequality. This week we share an episode from our friends at NPR's Throughline, about James Baldwin, his life and philosophy, and what we can learn from him to lead us into the future.
In honor of Coming Out Day this weekend, Sam talks to comedian and actor Joel Kim Booster about his experience coming out to his evangelical Christian family. As Kim Booster grew up in this religious household, he struggled to come to terms with his sexual orientation. On top of that, he was also adopted into an all-white family living in an all-white town. Kim Booster often jokes about his upbringing in his comedy sets: "I fully knew I was gay before I knew I was Asian." He also talks to Sam about finding community outside of church.
Sam revisits his 2017 chat with author and Radio Ambulante host, Daniel Alarcón. They discuss Alarcón's book of short stories, The King Is Always Above The People, which holds a mirror to the immigrant experience in today's political climate. Alarcón also shares his own experiences immigrating from Peru to the U.S. as a child.
When President Trump told white supremacists to "stand back and stand by," the country responded with heavy criticism. Sam talks with Kathleen Belew, assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago, about what we get wrong when we talk about the white power movement. Then, Sam chats with Demi Adejuyigbe, writer for The Amber Ruffin Show. They talk about his career, his viral September 21 videos, and how he uses online fame for good.
Sam chats with comedian Bowen Yang about becoming the first Chinese American cast member on Saturday Night Live, what it was like to do the show during a pandemic, and why Adele Dazeem is the number one moment in the history of culture. Watch Sam's extended interview with Bowen here:
Comments (34)


I burst out laughing when they sang the Succession theme song. Thanks for another great show!

Oct 31st
Reply (1)


oh xiao zhan is great

Oct 27th


he's awesome

Oct 12th
Reply (1)


I love Bill Nye!

Oct 12th


if Texan teachers strike their teaching licenses can be revoked? that doesn't seem right

Sep 25th

Maria Ray

So timely!! And so thoughtfully said!!!

Sep 13th

Maria Ray


Aug 28th
Reply (1)

Adriano Chiaretta

Totally agree on shaving your own head.

Aug 4th

muffen jr

I want so BADLY to hear the unbleeped version of this episode.

Jun 30th

Ntete Bassey Duke

such a rollercoaster of emotions episode

Jun 19th

Jes L Schultz

I wonder what history lessons you may have about what the big upperclass to rich America have done to keep the lower-lower middle classes quiet and happily pegged/immobilized .

Jun 12th

Arielle Niss

Love what you do with this show, Sam! Thank you for producing and reporting this.

Jun 10th

Xavier Doc Jenkins

Andrew Glouberman

Mar 11th

Sam Yeagle

"Scooters are bad, but people are good." 😊

Feb 22nd

"Anyway, this has been everything I wanted it to be." 🤣🤣🤣 This was fun to listen to. (:

Jan 1st
Reply (1)

Jennifer Ingram


Nov 16th


Most campus sexual assaults are by people the victim knows not strangers and also occur outside of frat parties. It's also not like drinking stops after college but we clearly don't use that as the scapegoat for sexual assault elsewhere. Drinking is a factor but it is not the cause and going after that won't magically stop assault. A lot of people drink and the majority do not assault someone while doing so. I really don't think the presentation of the issue by Gladwell was accurate and quite frankly it did sound like victim blaming not "victim prevention."

Sep 18th

Xavier Doc Jenkins

I need that “what” sound byte as a text tone.

Aug 24th


if the trans Victoria secret model is hot, I'm sure it'll get some views but guaranteed if Victoria's secret keeps going down this ridiculous Woke path and think the majority of their viewers of the show want to see plus size models and trans people who do not come off as well as they'd like, they will go either out of business or their catwalk show will be cancelled. these are facts.

Aug 11th

Cheng Zhang-Stoddard

Love this talented man!

Apr 10th
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