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The Colbert Report Guest Line UpWelcome to Better Know a Guest, your weekly guide to the wonderful and diverse array of personalities appearing on ‘The Colbert Report’ and ‘The Daily Show’ each week.

Hey there Hubsters! I hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! After a week off, it’s time for some more Colbert–and goodness knows we’d better soak it up while we can! As usual, let us know about any topics you hope the guys will discuss in the topics below. Stephen’s guests at the desk this week are two actors, an economist, and a musician. Jon’s guests this week are two actors, a comedian, and a journalist.

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Stephen Colbert Featured in ‘The Unbelievers’

The Unbelievers poster

‘The Unbelievers’ follows renowned scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss across the globe as they speak publicly about the importance of science and reason in the modern world – encouraging others to cast off antiquated religious and politically motivated approaches toward important current issues.

The film includes interviews with celebrities and other influential people who support the work of these controversial speakers, including Ricky Gervais, Woody Allen, Cameron Diaz, Stephen Hawking, Sarah Silverman, Werner Herzog, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, Eddie Izzard and many more.

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Ron Howard, Jon Stewart, and Ricky Gervais hanging out

(via fuckyeahstevejonandstephen)

The Colbert Report Guest Line UpHello, Hubsters!

I hope everyone had a happy Passover, a happy Easter, or just a happy weekend. Great to be back and better knowing Stephen’s and Jon’s guests—although I assure you, I am still in the midst of freelance madness, editing and writing and then editing and writing some more. A little crazy, but basically wonderful.

This weekend has been relatively quiet, considering how super-heated the news has been recently. I myself cannot even guess what our favorite faux pundits will cover on Monday. Well, being surprised is a good thing, and there’s never any shortage of political madness to play with. And this week, as we all know, Stephen has a big guest: Michelle Obama! I’m really excited to see how she’ll do in the hot seat; my suspicion  is that she’ll handle it all very coolly and well, with her customary flair. As for The Daily Show, a favorite returns: Ricky Gervais is back yet again. I’m expecting the usual hilarity.

So onward to our guests!

Monday, 4/9: Bob Lutz

Robert A. LutzWhen Obama was putting his economic recovery act into effect, one of the industries that generated the most controversy was car manufacturing—and especially one-time powerhouse General Motors, now only a shadow of its former self. (Ask Michael Moore.) Should the auto makers get bailed out? Were they more or less deserving than the bankers who got their cash relatively easily, despite having done far worse things to the economy? And how did the General Motors and the other manufacturers get into this mess, anyway? Last year, Bob Lutz— once the head of Chrysler’s Global Product Development, executive vice president of sales at BMW, executive vice president at Ford, and vice chairman of GM—attempted to answer that question in the bestselling Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business. In his view, the money men, more concerned with counting pennies than building a good product, overtook the innovators who once designed automobiles that could capture America’s imagination. Lutz has been in and out and in again at GM, working for them from 1963-71; rejoining them in 2001 and retiring at the end of 2009 from his job as Vice Chairman, Marketing and Communications. In September 2011 he came back yet again.

He certainly has played an important role in the company: In 2008, just as the auto bailout was being angrily debated in DC, the then-76-year-old Lutz testified before Congress to help stem GM’s public relations damage. He ultimately resigned from the corporation because he felt the constraints of government regulation stopped him from giving the customers what they wanted. But during the time he held the post, he succeeded in getting GM and the other Detroit automakers the money they required to stave off bankruptcy. Curiously, though he does agree that cars should be fuel efficient and that electric vehicles are the wave of the future, he does not accept global warming as a reality.  Here he is debating our own dear Neil deGrasse Tyson on the topic, with Bill Maher on Real Time. Really, who are you going to believe on climate change: an astrophysicist or an auto executive?

Lutz now runs his own company, Lutz Communications. Visit his website.

Watch him on Charlie Rose.

In 2010, he helped British carmaker Lotus promote its vehicles.

Lutz discusses his legacy in Forbes.

Tuesday, 4/10: Richard Hersh

Richard HershThough it has been a while now since I’ve done it, I used to teach as an adjunct professor in New York area colleges. Some classes were better than others, but all too often I was left dispirited by two things: the students’ lack of cultural knowledge, and their inability to write well.  Tonight’s guest, Richard Hersh, seems to share some of my opinions about the problems with our educational system, for he has co-written a book with Richard P. Keeling on the topic cleverly titled: We’re Losing Our Minds: Rethinking American Higher Education. Hersh believes that if we don’t do something to remedy the problem, and encourage students to think critically and problem-solve effectively, we will have an economic, social, and political crisis.

Hersh has extensive experience as a high school teacher, college professor, and dean. His many posts included: President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges; President of Trinity College; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of New Hampshire (and the same at Drake University); Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Oregon; and Director of the Center for Moral Education at Harvard. These are top schools, so he has generally dealt with the crème de la crème of students.
Hersh is a senior consultant at Keeling Associates, a higher-education consulting firm.

He appeared in the PBS documentary Declining by Degrees, a accompaniment to his book of the same name. Here are some academic responses to that program.

Here’s an article he wrote in The Atlantic.

Wednesday, 4/11: Michelle Obama

Michelle ObamaMichelle Obama is definitely the biggest “get” of the week, the buzz-worthy guest I can’t wait to see. Good going, Stephen! America’s First Lady certainly doesn’t need much introduction. The Chicago-born Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama attended both Princeton (major in sociology; minor in African studies) and Harvard Law, where she worked for the university’s Legal Aid Bureau. Post-graduation, she joined the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met her husband-to-be, and later worked for both Mayor Richard M. Daley and was Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago. She ended up becoming a great asset during the presidential campaign and proved to have a pitch-perfect sense of how to present herself to voters. (Everyone remember her affordable, on-sale Gap dress—which cost a whopping $29.99? It sold out within hours of her wearing it.)

As First Lady, Michelle Obama has advocated for childhood heath, particularly to eradicate obesity. She established the “Let’s Move!” program to encourage young people to exercise, and has had an organic garden planted on the White House grounds, along with bee hives. Hmmm—inspiration for a “Thought for Food” segment, perhaps? Of course, she’s also mom to daughters Sasha and Malia.

Here is her official “Elect Obama/Biden” website.

Visit her government page.

Follow the First Lady’s much-admired style.

Like her on Facebook.

Follow her on Twitter.

She is known for her strong support for military families, particularly injured vets. She recently visited some former soldiers at the Fisher House in Bethesda, bringing along dog Bo.

Listen to a speech she gave to a girls’ school urging them to get a good education.

She was in the TIME magazine 100 in 2011.

Thursday, 4/12: Ben Rattray

Ben RattrayBen Rattray founded, a website dedicated to making a difference. Basically, allows people to create and distribute petitions for various political and social causes. The petitions have focuses on a range of topics, from getting justice for Trayvon Martin to eliminating pink slime from school lunches to forcing Bank of America to drop unexpected fees. The site has nearly ten million members (of which I am one), but until now has not made very much money. It has, however, done exactly what it was supposed to do: create change and call attention to unfairness and inequality.

A graduate of both Stanford University and the London School of Economics, Rattray has been a government affairs consultant and he just won a “40 Under 40” award for progressive political entrepreneurship.

What is Rattray accomplishing? This article explains.

Read a Q&A with him in the Wall Street Journal.

Subscribe to him on Facebook.

Follow him on Twitter.

Along with Stephen, he’s a nominee for the 2012 TIME 100.

Watch a video of him discussing social change.

Here’s his blog.

And now, let’s check in with our good friend, Jon Stewart!

Monday, 4/9: Tim Weiner

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Tim Weiner reports for The New York Times, where he has primarily worked as a foreign correspondent in such hot-button countries as Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan, and Mexico. He previously has covered such topics as “black budget” spending at the CIA and the Pentagon. (A black budget is undisclosed money given to an agency in order to carry out work that it does not wish to be public—eg. for weapons research or secret operations.) His newest book is Enemies: A History of the FBI, about the more hidden, often illegal, side of the agency.

Read the New York Times review of Weiner’s book, which they call: “an outstanding piece of work, even-handed, exhaustively researched, smoothly written and thematically timely.”

Here’s the link to some of his articles he’s written for the Times.

Hear him discuss the book on NPR.

Read his article in Slate.

60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace just died, and Tim Weiner wrote his obituary.

Tuesday, 4/10: Elon Musk

If you’ve ever bought anything with PayPal, you’ve can thank Elon Musk, because he’s the founder of that company. But that’s not all, because this combination businessman/physicist has also created Space.X , which aims to make space travel less costly and more reliable than ever, and Tesla Motors, which produced one of the first all-electric cars.  He’s won the Heinlein Prize Trust award for “accomplishments in commercial space activities.”

Musk has also established the Musk Foundation, a charitable organization that funds science education, clean energy, and child healthcare.

Like him on Facebook.

Follow him on Twitter.

Read his TechCrunch interview.

Space.X may go public.

Watch Elon Musk over at Space.X!

Wednesday, 4/11: Ricky Gervais

Well, I don’t have to tell you who Ricky Gervais is, do I? You all know The Office, Extras, and perhaps now Life’s Too Short—which is just ending its first season on HBO. Maybe you listen to his podcast. You’ve probably seen the Emmy and BAFTA winner cause controversy when he hosts The Golden Globes. He’s becoming one of the most frequent guests on The Daily Show, and one of the funniest.

This was his most recent appearance on TDS, just this past Valentine’s day. If you visit the show’s guest page, and click on Ricky’s image, you can see them all.

Visit his website.

He’s got a new show debuting on Britain’s Channel 4 this week, and guess what? Mr. Gervais has somehow caused another uproar, as he’s accused of mocking the disabled. A defense against the allegations has been launched. The Daily Mail likes the series and has posted some teasers.

Thursday, 4/12: Esperanza Spalding

Just two years ago, Esperanza Spalding shocked the world and distressed Beliebers everywhere when she won the Grammy for Best New Artist over the Biebster. No one knew who she was, and now she’s famous, which may—although it so rarely happens—be exactly  the result the Grammy voters should want. A graduate of the renowned Berklee School of Music, Spalding is best known for playing bass and she sings as well.

Visit her website, which also has a store to buy her music and other fun things, like t-shirts. You can also find out about her tour schedule, which is happening right now.

You can watch her latest video here.

Follow her on Twitter.

Like her on Facebook.

Hear her on NPR.

That’s it for this week, folks! Let me know which guest you’re most looking forward to!

The Colbert Report Guest Line Up Hello, Hubsters!

The boys are back in town, so welcome, everyone, to a new week of fun. So much has happened since we’ve last seen Misters Colbert and Stewart. Rick Santorum has managed to energize his campaign by winning three caucuses, throwing the GOP into a tizzy—although the recent Conservative Political Action Conference has reaffirmed its support for Romney. (Well, kind of; add it up and the other three candidates—Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul—have more votes than Romney, meaning a majority of the group doesn’t favor Mitty.) Karen Handel has been forced to resign from the Susan B. Komen Foundation after the uproar over Planned Parenthood. Iran is about to announce that it has made strides in nuclear technology. And Syria has suffered massive bloodshed, as numerous protesters have been killed or beaten by government forces.

In short, there’s a lot of material for Stephen and Jon to choose from. I figure Santorum (Google it) will probably be a major focus. And funny thing here: my spell check didn’t like “Santorum” and suggested that I might wish to use “sanatorium” instead. Even spell check knows not everything is well with him.

And, off subject, I wish to say RIP, Whitney Houston. Sadly, it wasn’t a surprise but it is tragic.

Now on to this week’s guests.

Monday, 2/13: Bill McKibben

Bill McKIbbenIt’s eco-friendly night on The Colbert Report! Environmentalist Bill McKibben founded Step it Up and, a grassroots organization that is “building a global movement to solve the climate crisis.” The name comes from scientific data that suggests 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide is the most we can bear—and the percentage of CO2 in our atmosphere just keeps growing. The group is fighting such nature-destroying projects as the Keystone Pipeline, which would carry crude all across Canada and into the US. The project was initiated by the TransCanada Corporation (O Canada!) and has generated intense criticism from environmentalists. Right now, there’s an effort to get the pipeline going again. My own opinion: sign whatever petition you can to stop it.

McKibben has written several books, starting with The End of Nature in 1989, which Random House then reissued on its 10th anniversary. His most recent, released March 2011, was Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. Yes, it is spelled “eaarth” in the title: McKibben argues that we’ve changed our planet so much through global warming that we should now think of Earth as something totally different than it was before, and learn new methods of survival.

A native New Englander, (Lexington, Mass.), McKibben is now the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Vermont’s prestigious Middlebury College. He has received Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, as well as the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing.

This is his third appearance on The Colbert Report: he is now officially a friend of the show! In fact, his last visit wasn’t that long ago—only in November 2011, when he discussed the Keystone Pipeline. He also visited back in August 2009 to talk about carbon dioxide levels.

Visit his official site, rich in links and information.

Like him on Facebook.

Follow him on Twitter.

Read an article on him and his fight against Keystone in The New Yorker.

Here’s an article he wrote, reprinted in The Nation, about a subject near and dear to Stephen: fighting the influence of corporate funds.

Tuesday, 2/14: William Broad

William BroadIf yoga is the path to enlightenment, how could a discussion of this ancient art cause such a furor? When William Broad’s article on the dangers of yoga—excerpted from his book The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards—appeared in The New York Times Magazine, reaction was swift. Yogaphiles were quick to defend the form, noting that the problem sometimes lay with teachers, or with America’s penchant for turning everything into a competition, rather than with the practice itself. (I myself thought the comic photos used for the article were a serious misstep by the Times and unworthy of the discussion.) Without a doubt, Broad’s scary stories of strokes in the yoga studio and permanent crippling probably struck fear into the hearts of many—especially as some of the victims were long-time, expert practitioners, not newbies who didn’t know what they were doing. Broad’s interest lay in finding out exactly what benefits yoga provided, since it’s often treated as some kind of magical pill for all remedies. As an occasional practitioner (although not so much recently), I found it an excellent workout as long as I had a knowledgeable instructor; remained mindful of my body’s capabilities; and didn’t try to get in some kind of contest with the people in class who could twist themselves into pretzels.

Broad, a distinguished journalist for The New York Times, shared two Pulitzer Prizes with his colleagues for their reporting on President Reagan’s dangerous “Star Wars” missile pipe dream as well as the space shuttle Challenger tragedy. He also won an Emmy® for a PBS NOVA program based on his New York Times bestselling book (co-written with Judith Miller and Stephen Engelberg) Germs, about germ warfare, and a DuPont Award. In his biography on his official website (see link below), Broad says this about his work:  â€œMy books and awards reflect my decision to focus on exploring the social repercussions of science – threatening ones as well as the beneficial. My longtime goal has been to help avoid the bad and encourage the good.” Now would it be too much to hope that Stephen will show us his downward dog?

Visit his official website where you can read lots of reviews of The Science of Yoga, watch a video, and get links to his other books. Make sure to look at his “About the Author” to see all of his awards.

Check out his New York Times blogrunner.

Follow him on Twitter.

Like him on Facebook.

USA Today wrote an article on his book. And here’s one from Kirkus Reviews.

I said the book received criticism from the yoga community: here’s an example, from Pranamaya.

Broad appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air.

Wednesday, 2/15: Claire Danes

Claire DanesIf you’re the right age, she made an impression on you as a disaffected teenager is My So-Called Life, the buzz-filled show that won a passionate—though not quite large enough—audience. But unlike many young stars, Claire Danes smoothly made the transition into adulthood, with nary a DUI arrest or rehab stay to her name. Instead, she’s carved out a rich career as an award-winning actress. Her most recent success was the Showtime series Homeland, in which she played a bipolar CIA agent who suspects that a Marine—returning from Iraq after having been MIA—may not be quite all he seems. The show just been picked up for another season, so there’s more drama to come. (Homeland, for my fellow X-Files fans, was created by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, writer/producers on Files.) Danes’s performance nabbed her second Golden Globe® in a row, following last year’s win for her depiction of Temple Grandin. (She also got Emmy® and SAG awards for Grandin.)

Her notable films include: Romeo + Juliet (with Leonardo DiCaprio); The Hours, based on the eponymous novel by Michael Cunningham; Shopgirl, from Steve Martin’s semi-autobiographical novel; and Me and Orson Welles, from Robert Kaplow’s novel. She’s just completed As Cool As I Am, in which she co-stars with Jeremy Sisto and James Marsden. And she was recently honored by Harvard’s famed Hasty Pudding Theatricals as Woman of the Year.

Visit her “So-Called Homepage.”

Check out her IMDB page to see all her films and TV programs.

Homeland was enormously successful for Showtime, which has crept up on, and some say exceeded, its rival HBO.

She’s was on The Colbert Report before, two years ago, to discuss Temple Grandin. Stephen’s interest in the autism, more than the “Hollywood” aspect of the film, appeals to me.

Here’s her Golden Globes acceptance speech for Homeland.

Britain’s Daily Mail wrote an article on how she had “blossomed.”

And speaking of “blossomed”: here she is on The Jon Stewart Show back in 1997. She was 15 and it was her first talk show appearance! And she returned to talk with Jon again, 10 years later, on The Daily Show.

Thursday, 2/16: Susan Cain

Susan CainAmerica has always valued outgoing, even oversize personalities, or how else could a blustery windbag like Donald Trump be where he is? Parents worry about the seemingly shy child, the introvert, the one that goes off and quietly reads or draws. But is extroverted always better? Susan Cain aims to answer that question in her new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. She feels that those with a more sensitive nature often listen better, think more carefully before they act, and have greater creativity.

This is Cain’s first book, and it’s garnering a huge amount of attention. Previously, this Harvard Law School graduate was a corporate attorney with some very high-profile clients, including J.P. Morgan and General Electric. She’s now writing full-time and not practicing law anymore. Since she describes herself as introverted, she’s probably enjoying her newly calm life in upstate New York with her family.

Cain laid out her ideas in this article for Time Magazine. She makes a firm distinction between “shy” and “introverted,” although she does note that people with either type of personality may suffer some of the same problems in our society. There’s also a link here to a quiz where you can find out where you lie on the introvert/extrovert spectrum.

Hear an interview with Cain on CBS News.

Newsday did an article on her, and so did Forbes.

Cain wrote an op-ed criticizing “groupthink” for The New York Times. In groups, there is no quiet to think.

Random House has a publisher page for the book with reviews and other information.

Follow Cain on Twitter.

And now, let’s check in with our good friend Jon!

This week we have a familiar guest: TBA is back again, on Wednesday. At least for now.

Monday, 2/13: Fawzia Koofi

This is a guest I can’t wait to see. Women in Afghanistan have had an unimaginably difficult time, especially (but not only) during the Taliban’s rule. And Afghani businesswoman and human rights activist Fawzia Koofi experienced it firsthand from her earliest hours: her mother left her out to die. You see, she was the 19th daughter…and wasn’t wanted. But, amazingly, she survived, and may yet become president after having served as the first women speaker of parliament in the country. Her new book, The Favored Child, tells her story—for herself and for her daughters.

Visit her website. It features excerpts from her writing, videos in several languages, and a place to donate to her human rights efforts.

Will she become Afghanistan’s first female president? Read this article in The Daily Beast.

Here, she speaks in Ms. magazine of her desire to leave a better Afghanistan for her daughters.

TIME magazine asked her 10 questions.

Like her on Facebook.

Tuesday, 2/14: Ricky Gervais

Fresh on his second year hosting the Golden Globes, Ricky comes to visit Jon again. We all know him: creator of the original The Office, as well as the hilarious Extras; movie actor, stand-up, and delightfully snarky host. His most recent series is Life’s Too Short, starring actor 3’ 6” actor Warwick Davis as a fictionalized version of himself. (There seems to be an epidemic of that lately, including Matt LeBlanc’s wonderful Episodes and another featuring Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek, although Gervais did it first.) The show is premiering in the US on HBO on January 19th. Gervais also hosts a podcast named, fittingly enough, The Ricky Gervais Show. He’s won countless awards, including seven BAFTAs (the British equivalent of the Oscars) and two Emmys.

He has been on The Daily Show so many times, he’s become more than just a friend; he’s practically a semi-regular. His last visit—complete with an extended interview—took place less than a year ago, in April 2011, Before that, he appeared in December 2010. If you want to see all nine interviews, head to the Daily Show site, where they’re listed in this week’s guest information. Just click on his pic. Can’t blame Jon for having him on so often; he and Gervais are hysterical together.

Visit Ricky Gervais’s website.

Follow him on Twitter.

Like him on Facebook.

Here’s an article on his recent Golden Globes gig.

He’s one of Britain’s wealthiest comedians.

Wednesday,  2/15: TBA

Who will it be?

Thursday, 2/16: Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan is President Obama’s Secretary of Education, and given Jon’s interest in the subject, this should be a good interview. I’m really eager to see how it goes, because I suspect Duncan’s views differ from Jon’s. Interestingly, this Harvard graduate went from being a professional basketball player in Australia to teaching to becoming CEO of the Chicago Public School System. Perhaps that’s why he tends to think competitively, such as his “Race to the Top,” where school systems across the nation vie for funding. In order to get the precious dollars, they have to institute innovations and improve test scores. Duncan has won the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s Enterprising Educator Award, among other honors.

Here’s his page on the Department of Education site.

Like him on Facebook.

Follow him on Twitter.

In 2011, he and actor Matt Damon—whose mother, like Jon’s, was a teacher—expressed clashing views on teacher pay and recruitment. I happen to love the Damon speech, which went viral.

Duncan appeared on The Colbert Report in 2009.

That’s all for this week! Can’t wait to see the new shows. Which guests make you the happiest?

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast this Sunday, September 18th, at 8/7c on FOX.

Make sure you join us right here at Colbert News Hub on Sunday starting at 6/5c for a live chat with your fellow Hubsters. Drop on by at any time to discuss the show! A real chat room!

Let’s take a look back at some of our favorite Emmy moments, shall we?