The conservatism of DJ Akademiks; plus Bridget Everett on 'Somebody Somewhere' : It's Been a Minute While hip hop has a history of anti-establishment and progressive politics, hip hop media is taking an increasingly conservative turn. Host Brittany Luse is joined by Rolling Stone staff writer Andre Gee to discuss one of the most influential current stars of hip hop media — DJ Akademiks — and what his conservative provocations and visibility say about changes in the rap landscape. Later, Brittany chats with actor, producer, and cabaret singer Bridget Everett about season two of her show, Somebody Somewhere on HBO. They talk about the show's distinctive coming-of-middle-age narrative and what it means to build community in small town America.

You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at

The new conservative bent of rap media; plus, the sweetness of 'Somebody Somewhere'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Hey, hey. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Brittany Luse. It's time to log in and get chronically online.


CARDI B: Oh, my God. What is that?

LUSE: Chronically Online is where we dissect the biggest trends on the internet.



LUSE: Every meme, mess and microtrend comes from somewhere.


TARIQ: I love corn. Mmm, corn.

LUSE: And we're going to unravel, unpack, and recontextualize the most interesting viral trends.


LAUREN BULLOCH: Welcome to part four on your guide to entering your villain era.

PRYMRR: So for today's video, it's going to be a giant, giant, giant Shein haul.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Here's some ways on how to activate your divine feminine energy.

LUSE: Because what happens online doesn't happen by accident.


MIKHAELA JENNINGS: The girls that get it get it, and the girls that don't don't.

LUSE: It's time to get...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Chronically online.

LUSE: Last week, the popular hip-hop media influencer DJ Akademiks inked a deal with none other than Rumble, the same parent company that platforms former President Donald Trump's social media site, Truth Social. And that's just one example of how some men in hip-hop music and media have been edging towards more extreme right-wing ideologies. DJ Akademiks himself touts some extreme ideas, particularly around women.


DJ AKADEMIKS: They're looking at you like a wallet. So when you are dealing with these chicks, you got to objectify them. You got to look at them just as a sexual object.

LUSE: And he's massively popular. We're talking 5.2 million Instagram followers, 2.8 million YouTube followers. And that's not even counting the number of people he reaches through his live streams on Twitch.


DJ AKADEMIKS: Y'all advertisers, that's a fact. I'm trying to tell the truth.

LUSE: Today we're looking at what I see as the darker side of hip-hop, the move away from critiquing the establishment to embracing its ideals. And to put a finer point on it, I feel like a specific segment of hip-hop media is saying the quiet part out loud. Media figures like DJ Akademiks are not just sharing conservative views here and there anymore. It's becoming their business model. And my guest, Andre Gee, wrote about all of this for Rolling Stone. Andre, welcome to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. Tell me, where do you think DJ Akademiks fits into the current hip-hop media landscape?

ANDRE GEE: I would say it's his modern equivalent to just any, like, radio star personality,

LUSE: Like a shock jock.

GEE: Shock jock. Yes. That's the phrase. Shock jock would have their show, you know, and they're just going on for hours, two or three hours at a time, maybe more, about, like you said, just whatever's happening in the news cycle. He's pretty adept at, like, putting himself in the middle of stories in ways that rap media and actual journalists don't do. His propensity for being adversarial with artists, getting into tiffs with artists - that allows him to then have content that he can stream about and talk about.

LUSE: He hardly exists in a vacuum. I mean, you know, you got people like Charlamagne tha God and even Joe Budden, who, you know, was a former collaborator of DJ Akademiks. They're arguably two of the biggest voices in Black media and, you know, all men, I might add. And they kind of regularly espouse a sort of, like, machismo that is just really popular with audiences. All of these people have huge platforms. Who is listening to him? And what are they vibing with?

GEE: Well, I think he's also on some level, like, entertaining to some men. Like, you'll see his clips where he's, like, berating women.


DJ AKADEMIKS: Do hot girls get in relationships? No [expletive]. A lot of y'all are side pieces in disguise. Y'all are acting like the entrees. Y'all are straight side pieces.

GEE: Just espousing pretty, like, misogynistic views.


DJ AKADEMIKS: Until you cheat on a chick or show you're willing to cheat on a chick, you'll never earn her respect.

GEE: I think a lot of, like, men, unfortunately, under a patriarchal system, they align with those values. And so he shares a lot of those same views but in a very, like, colorful, I-don't-care kind of manner. And I believe that people align with a lot of his views on life and being a man and being a powerful man and being - and what that means and how that means you should treat people.

LUSE: It's interesting that he's going to be taking this kind of semi-open forum, call and response, kind of come-as-you-are format, and taking it to a platform like Rumble. What does it say about where hip-hop media is if one of its biggest voices is being platformed by the same parent company that also hosts Donald Trump's social media platform, Truth Social?

GEE: I mean, he's speaking to people who I think, at the core, dehumanize artists and view the beef and the violence around rap as entertainment, as, like, fandom in the same way they would, like, a comic book series. Like I said, just a fan who enjoys the music but then also enjoys the violence and the drama on a voyeuristic, gossipy level, I think that's his core audience.

LUSE: I want to give some listeners, if they're unfamiliar, a clear sense of DJ Akademiks', like, sound and sensibility.


DJ AKADEMIKS: You know, for example, Andrew Tate is popular. One of the things that people like with him is kind of like what some people like with Trump. They're like, yo, you say it. I won't say it because I don't want to get in trouble or getting cancelled, but I'm going to tune into you saying it, and I'm going to give you the attention for you to say that.

DJ VLAD: Look at how many people...

DJ AKADEMIKS: Vlad, I'm definitely voting for Trump next time.

DJ VLAD: Wait. You're voting for Trump?

DJ AKADEMIKS: Yes, I'm definitely going for Trump, 100%.

LUSE: For him to align himself with Trump, say that he's voting for him and to see some of himself or his own commentary in the way that Trump speaks, how does someone like DJ Akademiks get there? Like, why is he seeing those parallels? Why does he feel connected to someone like Trump? Like, what is all that about?

GEE: A lot of hip-hop figures always kind of idolize Trump or, like, amplified him as, like, a symbol of wealth or something to aspire to.


LUDACRIS: (Rapping) I buy cars with straight cash, have meetings with Donald Trump.


DIDDY: (Rapping) That Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Bloomberg money.


T I: (Rapping) Used to want dough like Jay-Z, but now I'm thinking Donald Trump.

GEE: I mean as a wealthy man who has a strong brand and has a lot of money, that's what a lot of entertainers are aspiring towards. But then once he becomes president, then you see, like, a lot of the fascist policies that that mindset, that that profit-above-all mentality is tied to. Trump embodies, like, the powerful male under capitalism, under this American system. And I think that's what people prioritize about him.

LUSE: The kind of talk that you're describing is something that I think we see in a lot of other places in culture, specifically, you know, Andrew Tate, who also has a deal with Rumble - right? - who's become an incredibly popular, quote, unquote, "men's rights" figure who many people feel shares misogynistic views, you know, sunup to sundown every single day. It kind of sounds like there's a tenor of conversation that is appealing to many men right now, men across different demographics, right? So maybe some people are being served by Andrew Tate. But it sounds like what you're saying is sort of, like, maybe people who share some of those views and align with that sort of thinking but also are looking for hip-hop commentary can find all of that through DJ Akademiks.

GEE: Yeah. I think he emulates a lot of that same manosphere, quote, unquote, "philosophy" through a hip-hop lens. They preach a lot of individualism, a lot of, like, you're on your own journey through life. You want to make as much money as possible. You want to be as successful as possible. You don't need any woman unless they ascribe to, like, these popular notions of what a woman should be in terms of, like, beauty standards or, you know, these classist standards of, like, what a woman can do for you.

LUSE: All of this is happening as hip-hop has gone from critiquing the establishment to kind of becoming the establishment, at least from, like, an industry perspective and, like, a business perspective. I mean, to take it a step further, in the past few years, we've seen some of the biggest names in hip-hop, like Kanye West and DaBaby, platform deeply antisemitic and homophobic things and ideas. And those men are just two examples, right? What does this shift from anti-establishment to establishment say about where hip-hop culture and hip-hop media are headed?

GEE: Yeah. I feel like it's a reflection of hip-hop being, like, a playground, basically, for men, like, Black men specifically, where they have a power within the sphere of hip-hop that they don't necessarily enjoy in other communities and other industries, I believe. So I feel like, unfortunately, we're just going to continue to see this dynamic of men espousing patriarchal views becoming the norm and becoming more platformed unless, you know, you have more artists who get amplified, who have, like, more views that are rooted in dismantling some of the constructs that create this environment, that create patriarchy. But I don't know how likely that is, unfortunately.

LUSE: One of the things that I think about a lot when I think about the role of hip-hop journalists, especially the role that they've played since, like, you know, the '70s, '80s, '90s in shaping the legacy and sort of keeping the legacy or even creating the legacy of hip-hop, right? This year, hip-hop turns 50. There's so many people who have done amazing work, like Dream Hampton. And I'm thinking of people who have been doing really incredible, really well thought out, really well-researched work that serves as, like, a way of legacy-keeping for hip-hop. If we are losing some of that right now or if some of that work is being drowned out, rather, right now by figures like Akademiks or by these commentators who are more invested in stoking the basest impulses of their audience - right? - for clicks and views, people who are interested in mess and gossip and violence - if those are the voices that are more prominent now, I wonder, for you as a fan, how does that make you feel about where hip-hop's legacy could be headed?

GEE: One thing when it comes to, like, the rap media personality versus, like, the journalist who has, like, a genuine passion for the music - I think the difference between the two spheres is, like, motivation. Like, what are you doing it for? I think, like, when you mentioned, like, the Dream Hamptons, the people who help basically, like, mythologize and document our culture for years, I think they did it because it was based in a passion for the music and the artists and the themes and the potential of hip-hop versus, a lot of rap media figures now, the motivation is views and clicks, like you said. It's more of a hustle than anything. So then you see Akademiks going to a right-wing platform because they gave him a nice bag, or you see them - "No Jumper" interviewing a Richard Spencer because they get a lot of views. It's just like a 1 to 1 of, OK, how can I monetize this? It's just, like, another example of, like, the corporatization and the profit-above-all mentality. Like, we've seen it with artists, and now we're seeing it in the media.

Yeah. I mean, how I feel about that - it sucks. I mean, I just try to pay attention to the journalists I know who are doing good work and hope that at some point, we can have an infrastructure where the outlets that used to house them and be havens for them get more amplified and have the resources to place them back where I think they deserve to be.

LUSE: Well, Andre, thank you so, so much for joining me today on IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. It's great to talk to you.

GEE: Likewise. Thank you for having me.

LUSE: Now, I have my own thoughts on all this. As we're talking about this platforming of misogynistic views in hip-hop media, it's clear that women who make hip-hop music are killing it. Like, from aesthetics to lyricism, it's women who are pushing hip-hop forward, rappers like Doechii, GloRilla, Rico Nasty, Megan Thee Stallion - I mean, I could go on. And I can't help but wonder if this rise in misogynistic content from men is connected to women's dominance in hip-hop right now. We see power treated as a zero-sum game. And as women gain power, whether in hip-hop, politics, the workplace, we've seen men time and again claw back. I'll be thinking about that the next time I see a clip of DJ Akademiks go viral. Coming up, we're switching gears and sitting down with the comedian Bridget Everett. We're going to laugh. We're going to cry. And we're even going to sing a little. Stick around.


LUSE: What are some of your favorite vocal warmups?

BRIDGET EVERETT: The thing that I really like to do the most is, like, (snorting).

LUSE: What?

EVERETT: Because it loosens your, like, situation back there.

LUSE: Oh, you just did the snort. That's the warmup.

EVERETT: Yeah. That's one of the things that you do to sort of, like, keep it - to sort of (snorting).

LUSE: (Laughter). That snort you just heard came from actor, producer and cabaret singer Bridget Everett. She's one of the stars and creators of a show I absolutely adore, "Somebody Somewhere" on HBO. The show centers on Bridget's character, Sam, a spirited but withdrawn 40-something who recently returned to her hometown of Manhattan, Kan. That's where Bridget's from, too.

EVERETT: It's literally called the Little Apple.

LUSE: The Little Apple. Exactly.

The series opens as Sam tries to come to terms with the recent death of her older sister and follows as she embarks on new friendships and mends old family bonds.

EVERETT: I sort of think of it as, like, a slice of life. And ultimately, it's about not giving up on yourself.

LUSE: It's a perfect comfort watch. It's quiet, sweet and laugh-out-loud funny.


BRIAN KING: (As Drew) Nice underpants.

EVERETT: (As Sam) They're my mom's.

KING: (As Drew) Vintage. She has great taste.

EVERETT: (As Sam) She's a shopper.

LUSE: And season two of "Somebody Somewhere" is about to drop on April 23. I sat down with star and executive producer Bridget Everett at the NPR studio to sing a little, cry a little and laugh at the most universally funny topic in human history. A quick warning - this segment contains explicit language and references to sexuality that may not be suitable for all listeners.

Bridget Everett, welcome to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE.

EVERETT: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

LUSE: Oh, my gosh. My absolute pleasure.

EVERETT: So cool. I walked in the NPR building. I feel - you know, I feel pretty good.

LUSE: (Laughter) I'm glad that we've kept it very legit for you today.

EVERETT: Yeah (laughter).

LUSE: On "Somebody Somewhere," your character, Sam, she frequently makes up, like, little ditties.


LUSE: She frequently makes up little songs here and there. I wonder, what's your favorite of them that we could share (laughter) on NPR?

EVERETT: Well, I personally have a blue sense of humor, so, like, when Sam gets to, like, let one rip, I like to put a little bit of my own personal spin on it, which can involve - you know, I'm a woman with a lot of parts.


EVERETT: But, like, one of them is something that I used to sing with my friend, like, back in the '90s because I would always forget my keys. It was like, (singing) keys, phone, cash, ID. Keys, phone...

LUSE: Yes.

EVERETT: That's something that I'd do every day. I like to sort of sing to myself and sing to the people around me, just dumb, little things.

LUSE: Well, I mean, it works.

EVERETT: I guess I'm on HBO now, so maybe it's - maybe it was smart. (Laughter).

LUSE: Maybe it was smart. Maybe it was smart. So on that note, HBO - you got this amazing show, "Somebody Somewhere." It's coming back for its second season. One of the things that we've been talking about on our team as we're preparing to talk to you, in one of the meetings that we were in, I realized that I was the only, as I said, country mouse. Everybody else is from a city. And I think that the show does a really great job of capturing what it's like to be squarely in adulthood, right? Like, not, like, 25, 26 - like, squarely in adulthood, old enough to have maybe some ghosts and some regrets. But to be going through all of those things and experiencing them within the small town that you grew up, I really have enjoyed, like, sort of the pace of the show. I think that you captured how it feels really accurately.

EVERETT: That makes me happy to hear because, basically, we didn't want to do anything that kind of looks down on the Midwest in any way. I just wanted to celebrate it. And really, it is - you know, it's a really great place to grow up. I'm so happy I grew up in Kansas. I couldn't get away fast enough, but - I don't know. We just don't want to do anything, like, snarky. We want to do something kind, I guess.

LUSE: Executive producer Carolyn Strauss called "Somebody Somewhere" a coming of middle-age story, which I thought was so interesting. I feel like so many narratives in TV and film are concerned with, like, hitting specific markers of adulthood, like parenting, you know, having kids, purchasing a home, like, climbing up the career ladder. And Sam's not really concerned about any of those things. To me, Sam seems like she's in the process of defining herself for herself. Outside of any of those things, I wonder, is there, like, a point of self-definition that you hope that Sam gets to?

EVERETT: I think that for Sam and I think for a lot of people, like, not everything has to be marriage, kids, you know, white picket fence, career - all that. I think Sam is more inch-by-inch. I'm kind of like that, too. Like, I always think about what's right in front of me. I don't think about, like, I want to do this in my career. I want to have this kind of personal life. I just sort of take it day-by-day, and I think that that's something you don't really see on TV because it could be kind of boring because there's not a lot going on, but we really try to show Sam's internal life and her growth, as slow as it is, but I think it's hard because she kind of put herself in a self-seclusion for, like, 15 or 20 years. And I can relate to that.


EVERETT: (As Sam) I guess I'm trying out being a people person.

JEFF HILLER: (As Joel) How's that working for you?

EVERETT: (As Sam) I'm not sure.

And thinking about how to sort of pull yourself out of that and meeting somebody like Joel, who's, like, so full of life and full of direction and full of purpose.

LUSE: And Joel is her best friend...

EVERETT: And Joel's her best friend - yeah, exactly.

LUSE: ...Who she's kind of reunited with.


LUSE: Like a high school friend, she reunites with him. They just stick to each other.

EVERETT: Yeah, and I think the thing - you know, she'd probably still be on her own if he wasn't so undeniable. He's so warm and sweet - and I don't want to say nonthreatening, but I guess nonthreatening. He just has a gentleness about him. What I love about the story is about how somebody like that can sort of slowly bring you back to life, and it is a slow burn. It is a slow crawl. You know, I have friends that have been putting in a lot of work with me for a lot of years, and I guess that's kind of what we're trying to do.

LUSE: No, I mean...

EVERETT: How'd I do?

LUSE: No, you did good.

EVERETT: Are we doing OK?


LUSE: I noticed that when you talk about Sam - you kind of almost talk about Sam and yourself, not completely interchangeably, but sort of noticing that there are some similarities between you as a person and also who Sam is, like, at her core as a character. I mean, you know, you've said in interviews before that Sam is kind of like who you would be if maybe you had never left Manhattan, Kan., where you're actually from, and that the show is, in some ways, semi-autobiographical. Has the show allowed you to reflect on yourself or moments from your life in a different way?

EVERETT: Yeah, absolutely. I think the themes in Sam's life are very similar to mine.

LUSE: Right.

EVERETT: And she takes bigger emotional swings that I would, even though they're small. Like...

LUSE: Yeah.

EVERETT: ...I think there's a lot I can learn from her and a lot that - of me that's infused in her. And specifically with my own family, you know, we have a sister who passed away, and so what's great about doing this show, for me, is I never really dealt with my grief, and my family and I - we don't talk about it. If we do anything, you know, we're very Midwestern. At least our family has a way of deflection. You know, we sort of, like, deflect a lot with humor and don't really talk about her. So the show has been a way to kind of think about my own grief and think about the way grief infects your life - how it - at first, it's so overwhelming, but then how it just sort of pops up one day and totally takes your breath away.

And so in season two, when Sam is dealing with her sister and - you know, my own sister and I - we don't have the kind of relationship where we're having these, like, conversations about how we really feel, you know? We just don't do that. And Sam and Tricia, her sister, really get at it because Tricia is making Sam talk about things. She's pushing her, but Sam also kind of can't help herself. And, like, I feel that way sometimes. And, like, I want to be able to talk about this, and we just don't do it, and Sam does in, like - in the way that your family can kind of lay you bare or sort of strip you to the, you know - just hit your nerve in, like, one second and how it can completely unravel you. And that's why I love the season two arc with Tricia, her sister, because I feel like Tricia is growing, and Sam is just stuck. I don't know.

LUSE: No, I'm glad you - literally, that was my next question about the sister dynamic. So I am the middle of three sisters.

EVERETT: OK, that's a lot. Yeah. Lot going on.

LUSE: Lot going on. Really lively household I had growing up.

EVERETT: Yeah, I'm the youngest of six, so I have the sibling situation, too.

LUSE: Oh, yeah, yeah. It's all - I mean, this is the thing - this sister dynamic on the show between Sam and Tricia. And Tricia is like - Sam is, like, a creative - like, in her spirit, she wants to be a performer. And Tricia is very traditional, by-the-book. And I won't give away too much for people who haven't seen the show, but in the first season, you really see how that didn't quite work out for Tricia the way that she thought it would, so it's interesting to see these people who are so different be forced to interact all the time, which is like - I mean, what is family but a bunch of people who are very different...


LUSE: ...Who learned to be in relationship with each other?

EVERETT: Bound by blood.

LUSE: Bound by blood. I mean, but the sister dynamic - the sibling dynamic was - between them, is so sharp. Like, they will hit each other below the belt.


MARY CATHERINE GARRISON: (As Tricia) You know what, Sam? I don't know when you think that real life starts, but you are well over 40, so you're past the point. Real life's happening right now. OK?

EVERETT: (As Sam) OK, you know what? I've got to go.

LUSE: But then we'll turn around and sometimes be the first person to come to the other's rescue. How did you go about carefully building that dynamic?

EVERETT: Well, we didn't want Tricia to just be a b****. You know, she's a - first of all, Mary Catherine, who plays Tricia, is an incredible actor, and you want to give her all the room in the world to do as much as possible because she's so dynamic. And we lived - we were roommates for eight years, so I've seen it all from her, you know, like - and she's seen mine. You know, we have the dirt on each other. But yeah, I mean, I think that that kind of happens a lot. You see like, oh, there's a sister. She's kind of one-note. She's a b****, and then maybe she redeems herself later, but I think we all wanted Tricia to have friends and a family, but, like, her life kind of unravels. It's like everybody is doing the best they can, and things never really work out for any of us the way that we hope to. And another thing I wanted to add is that, you know, Holly, the sister that, you know, we start the series off and she's been dead for, you know, six months or whatever, and she was kind of the buffer, right? So Tricia and Sam are kind of learning to live with each other without that. In my personal life, my sister who passed away was, like, you know, she was - she believed in me. She loved me. She cared for me. In kind of, like, sort of a chaotic household, she was gentle and maternal and loving. And that's how I think about Holly, who's passed away. But I love that Sam and Tricia are finding a way, as painful as it is, to discover each other and to live with each other, because they have the common bond of family and they're not giving up on each other, as much as I think Sam perfectly - if you would have started off in season one, she would have been happy to never have a relationship with Tricia.

LUSE: So a big plotline in season two revolves around - euphemistically, we'll say, a pillow of Tricia's she's selling online - or selling - you know - that says lying see you next Tuesday.


LUSE: Let's say. Let's say. Eventually, I mean, Tricia grows to have legion pillows with sassy sayings on them. If you had to have one of Tricia's pillows in your home, what would it say?

EVERETT: Well, I do have some of those pillows, because I definitely - like, when we were wrapping that day, I was like, you don't mind if I take a couple of those - do you - for the house? I, like - you know, there's a live, laugh...

LUSE: See you next Tuesday?

EVERETT: Yeah. Live, laugh - you know, I'll see you there. You know what I mean? It makes me laugh. And it was so funny about it - you know, like, there's a line in the pilot where Sam was like, there she is. Like, Sam knows that there is - like, Trish is always putting on a front - right? - you know, when we first meet her. But, like, she's just like Sam underneath it. But also, Sam was more like Tricia than she thinks she is, and the fact that they can come together on these pillows is really delightful for me. And I think everybody should have one of those pillows in their house. I mean, there used to be a time when I didn't say that word for a long, long time, but now I feel like I like saying it. And for me, it's power. I'd like to be super... Super C. You know, just something - actually, you know, I'm sick of going by Bridget Everett on stage. I'm going to start going by Super C.

LUSE: (Laughter) I - honestly, I feel like stock's going to go up. I feel like stock's going to go up if you do that.

EVERETT: I stand with the camp - Camp C.


LUSE: Coming up, Bridget on the relationship at the heart of the show, and why she owns a golden toilet. Stick around.

The relationship between Sam and her BFF, Joel, it is so beautiful. Their love is really the center of, I think, of the show. He's exactly the friend that everyone wishes that they had. Right? And if you have a friend like that, then you cherish that person. And it seems almost like to me, the whole show is framed around Joel's outlook on life, like, in the sense that the show, I think, is really about people who want to be connected to one another.


LUSE: Sam fights that to some degree.


EVERETT: (As Sam) I don't think maybe you want to do all this. You know, I don't know if I'm really friend material. So just...

HILLER: (As Joel) You're overthinking that. We're going to be OK.


HILLER: (As Joel) You want to do some Zumba?

EVERETT: (As Sam) No.


LUSE: But Joel is so open and earnest. He's always looking for ways to, like, create community or say hi to somebody - right? - or cheer them up. I wonder, how does that tension, that tension between Sam's inclination to sort of close off and lean back and hide away and Joel's inclination to open up and welcome others in - how does that tension drive the show?

EVERETT: I think it's so interesting that you said that that sort of - like, his perspective is kind of what drives the show. I think that's really smart. I'd never thought about that before. But I do think it's true. Like, Jeff Hiller, who plays Joel - you know, he's incredible.

LUSE: Oh, he's so incredible.

EVERETT: I think that what he brings to the character - and it's a lot who he is - is, like, a warmth and a humor that kind of just allows Sam to view life in a different way, which I think when you're in your 40s is really hard. And when you're at this age, you need somebody who's going to sort of come at you from nowhere and sort of knock you off your feet and lift you back slowly. And that's what he does.

LUSE: That's - I think that's a really beautiful way to put it. There's a moment that I think really speaks to Joel and Sam's relationship that happens in season two. I will not get into explicit detail for those who have sensitive - you know, sensitive spirits, but there is an extended poop joke between Sam and Joel in season two. And, like, I feel like that speaks to their intimacy, right? The fact that, like, this kind of the...

EVERETT: That's exactly it.

LUSE: It's something you don't talk about.

EVERETT: Yeah. I think it's exactly - well, we wanted to do something that would speak to their level of intimacy, and this feels about as intimate as you could get. But I had something like this happen and something similar happened in my real life. And I was like, oh, my God. Like, we are good friends. You know? We are really good friends.

LUSE: I don't want to, like, overly describe - I mean, basically, each character has some awareness that the other person...

EVERETT: Let me just say this. I bought myself this golden toilet as a wrap gift for season two.

LUSE: That is a toilet charm you have hanging from...


LUSE: ...This chain around your neck. It was really - it's darling. Wait, does it open and close like that?

EVERETT: Yeah. It opens.

LUSE: Oh, that's cute.

EVERETT: Yeah. So I - anyway, because I think it's a reminder also to just, you know, not take life too seriously. And I realize that, you know, maybe not everybody's going to - we might lose a few people on - because not everybody thinks farts are funny, but I do. Guess what? I'm No. 1 on the call sheet and the executive producer, so it stays.

LUSE: Also, we see Sam throughout the show kind of use art and performance, and really, singing as, like, an avenue for growth or, like, almost like for us as the viewer, like, a litmus test of sort of where she is. One of the most heartbreaking moments of this season was when your character, Sam, was doing a singing lesson and the teacher who's, like, a high school, like, choir teacher of hers - right? - has decided to take up doing lessons with her again. The teacher guides her through the warm ups, and Sam becomes overcome by the feelings that it brings up, and she just leaves. It seems like the thing that she loves most is almost, like, too painful for her to do. Like, singing, this thing - like, there's all these moments throughout the show where we see Sam really expressing herself and feeling free when she's singing, as long as she feels safe. But also, there's all these other moments where singing almost feels impossible for her to do because she loves it so much.



HILLER: (As Joel) Singing makes you happy.

EVERETT: (As Sam) Yeah, it makes me happy. But it also breaks my heart.

LUSE: How do you relate your relationship to singing to that moment or that feeling within Sam?

EVERETT: Well, I understand it. You know, it's there because it's the way I feel about music and singing. It feels like - it's like, when Sam sings, especially something emotional, that, you know, it's kind of confronting her.


EVERETT: (As Sam, singing) Lift me to my feet again. I've lost touch. I need a friend. You brought me home.

You know, it's like, because it's undeniable. Like, when Sam sings the song that she sings in the voice - it's like, I can't even talk about it because it's just also connected for me and for Sam. It's like it's a love that's so deep and so personal. You know, it's just - it's a great love of her life. It's - and I just can't talk about it.

LUSE: It's interesting that you have such, like, a similar reaction to Sam about singing - like, it strikes this emotional chord for you when it's, you know, the thing that perhaps, you know, before this show, you were most known for. You have this huge personality on stage...


LUSE: ...Where you're, like, belting out and playing with the audience. And it seems like it's also still this thing that's very sacred for you, though, in a similar way.

EVERETT: Yeah, but, you know, in that way it's a lot about, like, singing about different body parts and keeping it light and keeping it fun. And - but I still - I sing ballads with my band and all that, but it's just - I guess I have a little work to do, just like Sam does. Anyway. I think there's something that the singing teacher says to Sam. You know, it's like, it's almost too much to bear. And I think that that is - it's true. It's like, I feel like Sam faces her pain when she sings because it's the way that she knows how to communicate. And she hasn't been singing for so long. That's why.

LUSE: It's like this - it's like the channel through which she can kind of really, truly express herself.


LUSE: It makes it tender.

EVERETT: Barbara Walters 2.0.


LUSE: I really don't intend for these things...

EVERETT: No, I mean, and I feel, like, silly, like, how emotional it makes me. But it's just - you know, when we were talking about season two, I really wanted to have, like, some more about the singing and about that relationship because it's what gives her wings. You know, she hasn't had wings for a long time. So I think what Sam is learning is, like, it doesn't have to be just one person that can kind of give you life. You know, it can be singing - it can be a lot of things at the same time.

LUSE: That's such a really beautiful way of putting it. Like, you have to have multiple lifelines.


LUSE: I want to go back to your hometown for a second. I would love to know from you what is the thing that you love most about Manhattan, Kan.?

EVERETT: The Chef. The florentine frittata. The Chef. I love - I sort of - you know, what I love most is the thing that I ran from, is, like, community. Like, I - like, I don't know. There was, like - the small town-ness of it I couldn't get away from fast enough. But now I sort of need it.

LUSE: I know you're a songstress. Would you be so kind if you could do us the honor of making up just a little ditty, a little something short? Could be about NPR. Could be about me. It could be about the show. Could be about you, whatever we talked about today.

EVERETT: (Sing) It's been a minute since I felt this nice. It's been a minute since I felt so good. It's been a minute since I've lived my life the way that I want to live.

LUSE: That's beautiful.

EVERETT: That wasn't very good. I could do better. But, you know...

LUSE: (Laughter).

EVERETT: It's early in the morning. I haven't had my third cup of coffee. And I couldn't sing about genitals, so I tried to do something sweet.


LUSE: Look. Nobody else has come on this show and bust out into song like that.

EVERETT: (Laughter).

LUSE: So this is a first.


LUSE: This is a first.

EVERETT: I can do better if we were about to sing about the C-word, but I know we're not supposed to do that.

LUSE: No, we're not supposed to do that.

EVERETT: Yeah. You know, I love NPR. Can I get a tote bag?

LUSE: (Laughter) Probably.

Oh, my gosh. Bridget, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

EVERETT: Thank you.

LUSE: It was a pleasure to have you.

EVERETT: Very proud that I get to be on NPR and with you. And this has been a really great chat. Thank you very much.

LUSE: Thanks again to Bridget Everett, star and executive producer of "Somebody Somewhere" on HBO. The new season is out April 23. This episode of IT'S BEEN A MINUTE was produced by...





LUSE: This episode was edited by...


LUSE: Engineering came from Stacey Abbott. Our executive producer is...


LUSE: Our VP of programming is...


LUSE: Our senior VP of programming is...


LUSE: All right. That's all for this episode of IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Brittany Luse. Talk soon.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.