394: Margaret Cho, Michael McDonald, And We Cover Your Kvass

Photo Credit: Albert Sanchez

Comedian Margaret Cho lets listeners know when it’s OK to ask Asian-Americans where they’re from (Hint: never)… “Strong Island” documentarian Yance Ford re-examines his brother’s murder – and his family’s search for justice – 25 years later… Yacht Rock royalty Michael McDonald gives a soundtrack that takes him back to his childhood… Brendan tastes a traditional Slavic beverage known as Kvass… and we bid farewell to Michelle Philippe a.k.a “The Voice of History” with a cocktail.

A Farewell to Michelle Philippe

A History Lesson With Booze ®

We're marking the historic end of an era. For years, our friend Michelle Philippe has been our show's "voice of history," but she's leaving public radio to pursue her writing and acting career. We wanted to have her on for a final goodbye. Toast to her tenure with a vodka and tomato-infused cocktail.

Margaret Cho Riffs on Parents, Politics, and Personal Demons


For decades now, Margaret Cho has been fearlessly making audiences laugh about race, sex, and gender. Before taking on our listeners' etiquette questions, she chatted with Brendan and Rico about her new stand-up show called "Fresh Off the Bloat," making jokes in an age where comedians are facing career-altering backlashes for testing boundaries, and more.

Michael McDonald Spins A Nostalgic Party Soundtrack


Michael McDonald is a five-time Grammy winner who's had a career as a singer, songwriter, keyboardist, and producer for over forty years. He got his start performing with bands like The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan in the '70s, but is perhaps best-known for his solo hits in the '80s, an eclectic mix of R&B and soul. His latest solo album, Wide Open, comes out on September 15. He dropped by our studio recently to craft playlist that'll take you back to the soul of his youth.

Yance Ford Turns a Personal Lens on Grief and Social Injustice in 'Strong Island'

Chattering Class

In 1992, Yance's Ford's brother William was killed. Then, 10 years ago, Yance started making a documentary about the murder and why a grand jury decided the case would never go to trial. That film, titled "Strong Island," is more of a personal movie than a piece of journalism. Yance explains why he features his hands prominently while showing the personal items on screen, how talking about the film gave him a sense of relief, and more.

Margaret Cho Tells People Who Ask Where She's from, Where They Can Go


Each week, you send us your questions about how to behave and here to answer them this week is comedian and writer Margaret Cho. Before answering your questions, Brendan and Rico chatted with Margaret about her upcoming tour and what it's like to write comedy in the age of instant backlash. Here, she gives our listeners apt advice on how to handle some oblivious friends and acquaintances.

We get our Kvass Handed to Us

Main Course

What do "The Brothers Karamazov," "Anna Karenina," and "The Cherry Orchard" have in common? They all talk about Kvass. The authors were Russian and Kvass is a popular drink there and all around Eastern Europe. But, until recently, there wasn't much of it available in the States. Listen as Brendan gets a lesson on the Slavic fermented beverage, which is made from stale rye bread, from the folks over at Enlightenment Wines.

Shilpa Ray - 'Shilpa Ray's Got a Heart Full of Dirt'

One For The Road

Shilpa Ray is the songwriter and voice behind the blues-punk band called Shilpa Ray. Here's a song off of her forthcoming album. It's called "Shilpa Ray Has a Heart Full of Dirt."