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Wild Card with Rachel Martin

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Part-interview, part-existential game show – this is Wild Card from NPR. Host Rachel Martin rips up the typical interview script and invites guests to play a game about life's biggest questions. Rachel takes actors, artists and thinkers on a choose-your-own-adventure conversation that lets them open up about their fears, their joys and how they've built meaning from experience – all with the help of a very special deck of cards.

Want more Wild Card? Support NPR by subscribing to Wild Card+. You'll get access to bonus episodes and you'll get to listen sponsor-free. Learn more at plus.npr.org/wildcard.
13 Episodes
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LeVar Burton has three roles he'll forever be known for: Kunta Kinte on the TV series Roots, Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation and host of Reading Rainbow. Those roles have had profound impacts on people and he now understands, as he puts it, "my job is to be LeVar Burton." He talks to Rachel about the tension of that job, his changing definitions of success and learning to embrace the chaos.To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcard Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
At 81, Nikki Giovanni isn't afraid of getting older. And the legendary poet also isn't spending any time thinking about her legacy. She's mostly focused on having fun and being able to look back on her life and feel like she did her duty. She talks to Rachel about the myth of a happy family, what she's learned on safaris and why she's fascinated with Mars.To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcard Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Ted Danson has mastered the role of the happy-go-lucky guy with a quick wit and a quicker smile – who nevertheless has a few cracks in his sunny demeanor. It's there in Sam Malone on Cheers, in Hank Larsson on Fargo and in Michael on The Good Place. And that same duality is there in Ted's real life. He goes deep with Rachel on the light and dark sides of aging, marriage and what he calls "karmic poo."To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcard Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
At 40, Lena Waithe already has an impressive legacy, with dozens of writing, acting and production credits. She was the first Black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing (for Master of None). And she's also the creator of The Chi, which is just wrapping its sixth season. She tells Rachel one of her core beliefs is a lesson from The Wizard of Oz. They also discuss being bad at being wrong.To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcard Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Taylor Tomlinson has found the kind of success many comedians dream about, with multiple Netflix specials and a late-night hosting gig — After Midnight on CBS. She tells Rachel that part of the secret to her success is fear. They also swap stories about their Christian upbringings, the search for validation and getting things stuck up their noses.To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcard Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
David Lynch doesn't do a lot of interviews. The Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive creator usually just lets his work speak for itself. But he was excited to talk to Rachel about his new album coming out this summer, Cellophane Memories. And he also was game to dive into his love for transcendental meditation, a fateful childhood psychosomatic illness and a memorable encounter with a Buddha statue.To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcard Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Bowen Yang has had some iconic Saturday Night Live roles — the iceberg that sank the Titanic, the Chinese spy balloon, the Tiny Desk intern. And he's also had big successes outside SNL — in movies like Fire Island and Bros, and on his hit podcast, Las Culturistas. He talks to Rachel about living too much in the present, hard truths from Tina Fey and why the afterlife should have a rollercoaster. To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcard Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Jack Antonoff has seemingly cracked the code for producing hit albums, winning multiple Grammys for his work with artists like Lorde, Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. But for his own songwriting, he leans into the unknown. He studies his anxieties, regrets and grief, and shares those feelings in songs with his band Bleachers — as well as in this game of Wild Card. To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcardLearn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
As U.S. Poet Laureate, Ada Limón has focused her attention on the natural world, most recently editing a collection of nature poems, titled You Are Here. But Limón's ability to see what others often overlook goes beyond nature. Limón talks with Rachel about learning to forgive yourself, the smell of her grandparents' dueling fudge recipes and a premonition she once had.To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcard Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Chris Pine says his directorial debut, Poolman, got "obliterated" by critics. But the Star Trek and Wonder Woman star tells Rachel that the experience helped him reevaluate his desire for perfection. Chris also debates predestination with Rachel, reflects on the struggle to feel awe and discusses his recurring childhood dreams of having tea with an elf in a tree. To listen sponsor-free, access bonus episodes and support the show, sign up for Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org/wildcardLearn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Last year, Issa Rae was in three Oscar-nominated movies (Barbie, American Fiction and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse) and she also won a Peabody. Despite her success, the Insecure creator tells Rachel there have been forks in the road that still keep her up at night. Issa explains why she loves writing from a place of fear, and connects with Rachel over the way they keep lost loved ones close.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Welcome to Wild Card with Rachel Martin. In this first episode, Rachel talks to Jenny Slate, known for her roles in Obvious Child, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and Parks and Recreation. Jenny opens up about whether fate brought her to her husband, what she's sacrificed for motherhood and what's so special about margarine and white bread sandwiches.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
Part-interview, part-existential game show – this is Wild Card with Rachel Martin from NPR. Host Rachel Martin rips up the typical interview script and invites guests to play a game about life's biggest questions. Rachel takes actors, artists and thinkers on a choose-your-own-adventure conversation that lets them open up about their fears, their joys and how they've built meaning from experience – all with the help of a very special deck of cards. Access sponsor-free listening and exclusive bonus episodes with Wild Card+ at plus.npr.org.Email the show at wildcard@npr.org.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
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