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December 11, 2020
Unholier Than Thou
The magic of Judaism

In This Episode

 

 

 

Transcript

 

Phillip Picardi: We’re only a few weeks away from the January 5th runoff in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate. Early voting starts on December 14th. And if you’re looking for ways to support groups on the ground, making sure every voter makes their voice heard, sign up to adopt Georgia. We’ll be sending new opportunities to donate and volunteer every week between now and January. So head over to VoteSaveAmerica dot com/Georgia to learn more about what you can do today.

 

Phillip Picardi: Crooked Media, this is Unholier Than Thou. I’m your host, Phillip Picardi. Well, everybody, I hope you’re ready to light the menorah and spin that dreidel because Hanukkah officially started this week. A little later on in this episode, we’ll be welcoming Jon Lovett for a very special and at least partially Hanukkah-themed edition of Am I Going to Hell for This? But first, let’s get to today’s big story. Throughout the course of this season, we’ve had incredible guests from the Jewish faith who have helped to explain how Judaism has the history, wisdom and insight to meet our current moment. But today, I want to focus a little less on Jewish theology and a little more on Jewish magic. Nobody knows magic better, really, than the incredible author Alice Hoffman, whose book Practical Magic gifted the world with a movie adaptation that featured Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman casting spells and seeking revenge on a wily man. Alice’s later books often employ the use of magic to help her main characters as they seek justice, redemption and happiness in an otherwise hostile world. This was particularly prescient in her novel The World that We Knew, where Alice utilized Jewish folklore to help add elements of magical realism to a story about the Holocaust. It was a powerful storytelling device. It at once showed readers the horrific reality of that time period, while also giving all of us a reason to keep the faith. After all, what’s more magical than a miracle, really? To help explore some elements of Jewish folklore and make the case for why all of us should believe in magic, I’m honored to welcome the brilliant Alice Hoffman here today.

 

Phillip Picardi: Well, Alice Hoffman, I have to say what an honor it is to be on with you, I am a huge fan of your books. I was a fan of your books before I realized that the movie adaptation of Practical Magic is like a cult favorite among homosexuals everywhere. I was just wondering, do you know that Practical Magic is like a homosexual fan favorite?

 

Alice Hoffman: I do know that. I do know that. And I think that there used to be, unless I’m mistaken, used to be a drag version every Halloween at Joe’s pub. And I always wanted to go and just like never was there on Halloween. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what I’ve heard. But I want to see it.

 

Phillip Picardi: That would be incredible. Well, I hope next Halloween in a post-pandemic world, cross our fingers and toes and everything else, that you get to go witness that. And I, I think that I will be lining up for it. I have your book, Magic Lessons, here right in front of me. I’m so excited to talk to you more a little bit about that. But first, I want to talk specifically about the role that Judaism plays in some of your work. Now, before I even got on with you, I was told that you are not a strictly observant Jew. Is that correct?

 

Alice Hoffman: That’s correct. That’s very correct.

 

Phillip Picardi: So what is your relationship to spirituality?

 

Alice Hoffman: I’m a Hebrew school dropout. What’s my connection? My connection is really through my grandmother. And it’s really completely cultural, completely through New York City, the Bronx and Brooklyn. And I feel like I didn’t really write about Judaism until my grandmother died. And then I felt this huge loss without her and, you know, and then kind of turned to writing about it.

 

Phillip Picardi: What were the kinds of things that she taught you about Judaism or just Jewish culture in general?

 

Alice Hoffman: She told me, don’t trust anyone. She told me don’t live anywhere but New York.

 

Phillip Picardi: Ok, that’s a good one.

 

Alice Hoffman: In fact I was living in California. She made me come back. And then she told me about her childhood in Russia, which those were kind of the first stories I ever heard. And they, to me, seem like fairy tales. And she told them, you know, she couldn’t remember where exactly she had come from. But, you know, she told me that the river froze all year long and then she had to go down in the morning and get the water because she was the oldest girl and there would be wolves waiting for her. And I just felt like, you know, when she talked, I kind of entered this fairytale world. Even if we were on a New York City bus going to the Lower East Side, you know, we were in some fairytale world together.

 

Phillip Picardi: Wow. And fairy tales, magic, fantasy—it seems to play a role in a lot of your work as an author. Specifically, of course, I’m thinking of the Practical Magic Now series, but also in the world that we knew where, I mean, I don’t know if you refer to it as such, but I felt like the introduction of Jewish folklore in that book, it almost felt like elements of magical realism were taking place in that book. Is that how you would describe it?

 

Alice Hoffman: Yeah. You know, I always feel like, you know, the original magic was stories told by grandmothers to grandchildren. You know, cautionary tales: do this, don’t do that. But there’s so much magic in Jewish folk tales and Jewish stories that I feel like it’s kind of the original magic. You know, I wanted to tell a story that the Holocaust, but I didn’t want to, the story’s been told so many times that I wanted to tell it in a different way. So I think that’s why I started to read folk tales a fairy tales, to kind of get the sense of how I could tell the story in a different way, a way that meant something to me.

 

Phillip Picardi: And were you worried that introducing any elements of magical realism may have taken away from, I guess, the honesty of the storyline, right? Like, isn’t that a delicate balance to kind of draw when you’re talking about a horrific and catastrophic event in human history—that really is a story about the capacity of human cruelty—and then introducing magic in there? Were you ever worried about coming across insensitive or trivializing that moment?

 

Alice Hoffman: I was terrified. I was mostly terrified to, usually I don’t want to meet the people that had anything to do with the story I’m writing. But this time it was like 2016 I was very depressed, as many people were, and I felt like I wanted to meet Holocaust survivors because I wanted to find out how people survived extreme trauma, terrible times. And so I was lucky enough to meet several survivors here in the country and become friends with them. They were people who had been children during the war and now we’re in their 80s and 90s. And also then I went to France and met others and I was terrified for them. Their reaction is what mattered to me in terms of the book and would it feel too different. But I think they had a great reaction. And I think I was trying to get to the kind of feelings and the feelings a child would have and seeing things kind of in a magical way. It is like a fairy tale, you know, most of these kids now in their 80s and 90s were sent away by their parents so that they would survive and they never saw their parents again. And it seemed to me that is kind of the beginning of every fairy tale, right? You lose your parents, you’re in the woods, you’re trying to survive, there are monsters, and it just seemed like kind of the perfect setup for a fairy tale. But I was, completely right, very afraid about the reaction. And luckily, they seemed to love it. And also I had traveled with, in France, with a historian. And I was also very afraid of his reaction because his day job was to search for mass graves that they’re still finding in Belarus and the Ukraine. He said to me, such a wonderful thing, he said, you told the story in a way I would have never imagined it and I really felt it. And I always feel that as a writer, I want people to feel. That’s my goal.

 

Phillip Picardi: Right. That’s really powerful. Thank you for sharing that. And one of the ways in which you kind of provided a guardian for the main character of The World That We Knew, was you told the story of the Gollum. Am I pronouncing that right? Is it Gollum or Goal-um?

 

Alice Hoffman: I think, I think you’re right.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, can you tell me how you came across the story of the Gollum and what the story of the Gollum is in Jewish folklore?

 

Alice Hoffman: Yeah, well, I’d always heard about it and had read the I.B. Singer retelling of the story. It’s kind of like, it’s a very old folk tale. It’s really about that there is this figure that the Jews can call upon in times when they need a protector. But the problem with calling upon the Gollum is that if it gets too strong, he’s kind of a monster. If he gets too strong, he’ll turn against his own maker. So it’s a very brief lifespan for Gollum and also, you know, it was interesting because when I was doing research, I had this guy driving me around, he was terrific, and at the end we went to Geneva and he said, I want to show you some place. And he took me up to this big estate and he said, this is where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. And I realized Frankenstein is really another Gollum story, right?

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah, right. I could see that

 

Alice Hoffman: it was such a weird experience and I was, you know, gutsy enough to knock on the door and there was a maid and she let me kind of look around the mansion where this, this had happened. But all of the Gollum stories are all very male. Usually it’s a male scholar, rabbi, magician who creates the Gollum. The Gollum is male. And in my book, it’s a young girl who creates the Gollum for a mother who wants to have her daughter protected and the Gollum is female. So it’s a very different kind of story.

 

Phillip Picardi: That’s right. Yeah. And a lot of your books have this kind of element of women using forces that are kind of beyond nature, if you will, to help them, I guess, navigate their lives, help them survive, help them accomplish great things, help them find connections to one another. So that also felt like a really nice continual thread throughout your body of work, right?

 

Alice Hoffman: Yeah, I think I want to tell the stories of women who couldn’t tell their stories. Like they, there’s so few stories about women in the ancient world and there’s just, you know, women didn’t get to tell their stories. And I wrote a book about Camille Pizarro’s mother, and they were Marano Jews who went to St. Thomas. And I thought it was so interesting. There was nothing written about her, even though he was so incredibly famous, the father of Impressionism. And I read this book of his where he wrote a thousand letters and he didn’t mention his mother once, even though she was supporting him until she was like 90. So I just felt like there are all these women whose stories know haven’t been able to be told.

 

Phillip Picardi: Mm hmm. That’s so that’s so interesting. I’m Christian. I grew up Christian. And I guess folklore just isn’t necessarily something that I would immediately connect with Christianity. I’m sure upon further reflection, I can find some examples of things that one could call folklore. There’s certainly mysticism that exists in different parts of Christianity and Catholicism. But I wonder, does folklore feel unique to Judaism in a way, or is there a reason that folklore is so intrinsically tied to Judaism in this way?

 

Alice Hoffman: You know, I don’t know, because I think well, I don’t know much about Christianity or about anything else, but I think kind of the lives of the Saints. And it’s the same thing, kind of like the Bible in a way, is folklore, it’s all of these myths about where people came from and how the battles they fought and the children they had. And, but I think more of it kind of like, as I was saying, this kind of familial telling of stories, for me that’s kind of Jewish folklore is the stories that you get from your family.

 

Phillip Picardi: Right. And I also would point out to you that it seems as though Jewish people have been preserving their own text and their own histories and their own stories for so long, despite such great adversity. And so there seems to be some really nice element to incorporating folklore into a story of the Holocaust and the way that you did, because it’s a merging of so many important pieces of Jewish history.

 

Alice Hoffman: That’s kind of how I feel. Thank you so much. I really feel like, I think it’s a cultural thing is that it’s so, books are so important. Telling stories is so important. And it’s funny because when I was doing research for Magic Lessons and I discovered I mean, I didn’t know anything about this, but that over 95% of women in England in the 17th century were illiterate. And in so many cultures, women were illiterate. Like without the power of the word, you were kind of helpless.

 

Phillip Picardi: Wow, that’s so interesting. This idea of Jewish folklore that we’re talking about, I feel like we can also connect to Practical Magic, Magic Lessens, The Rules of Magic, because you employ this idea of spirituality and a lot of your books. I’m not sure if you would call it spirituality, you probably maybe refer to it as magic, as this device that allows your characters to accomplish things or tap into a different kind of world. Like what do you think it is that drew you to witchcraft as this like first element of, I guess, exploring those themes in your, in your work?

 

Alice Hoffman: Well, I think that the witch is the only mythic female figure that has power. And I think little girls still dress up as which is on Halloween. There’s still something about being a witch. And I recently during COIVD, I’ve been cleaning up my whole house and I found something I have done in third grade and it was a drawing of a witch. And I just feel like I have been interested in this my whole life long.

 

Phillip Picardi: That’s incredible. And I guess, do you find that there’s a similarity between the role that magic plays in something like Practical Magic or The Roles of Magic and the role that the Gollum played in the book The World that We Knew?

 

Alice Hoffman: Well, I think the Gollum is kind of more of a spiritual figure in some ways, but also she’s learning, she’s learning how to be human. So she’s both practical and magical. And I’m always interested in that kind of interfacing of those two things, like how magic or spirituality functions in the real, real world, the real gritty world.

 

Phillip Picardi: Right, and Magic Lessons takes us like way farther back in time, right, and into a different kind of element of the Owens family. So in that sense of what were the more interesting things that you learned about witchcraft when you were studying it to produce these three books?

 

Alice Hoffman: Well, you know, one thing that really shocked me after the writing of it is that I didn’t really, you know, I mean, I didn’t know COIVD was going to happen, but that the book takes place right after the plague years in England. And one of the interesting things I found in my research before all this happened was that the Owens family makes this black soap. They do it in all three books. They’ve been doing it for 25 years and it’s antibacterial and it makes you look young. And but I, I read that women who were healers were much more successful in saving their patients during the plague years than physicians who were mostly quacks at the time because they, the women washed their hands. And that was basically the reason. And I just thought it is so, it’s happening right now. The same thing is happening right now.

 

Phillip Picardi: That’s so fascinating. So you’ve talked about visiting Masada as a spiritual experience. Could you tell me more about that and what it actually felt like in the moment and how you started to process it after the fact?

 

Alice Hoffman: Well, I didn’t expect that to happen. I had never experienced it before. I went to Masada not thinking that I was going to write a book. I was visiting my family. It was August. Nobody told me not to go in August. It was super hot. But when we got there, I really felt like I could feel the people who had been there before me. I had never had that experience before. I almost felt haunted in a very deep way. I was walking along, I saw a sign that said there had been survivors and that’s something I’d never heard about story of Masada, and that I thought everyone had been, had committed suicide so that they weren’t taken captive by the Romans. But there had been survivors. And the minute I saw that sign, I knew it was a novel because I’m always interested in survivorship and I’m a breast cancer survivor, but I’ve always been interested in survivorship. But then I went down to the museum and I saw the the belongings of the women who had been there, the shoes and the clothes and the beads and the makeup, and I just felt like I had had kind of visitation. And this was a story I was supposed to tell.

 

Phillip Picardi: And I can’t help but point out. I mean, that’s such a, that is magic in and of itself, is it not? It’s like someone or something urging you to tell this story that has been relatively un-, or under told.

 

Alice Hoffman: Yeah. And if they went back a few years later as the guest of the person who kind of is in charge of Masada, and we went very early in the morning together and no one else was there. And he said to me, this is really moving to me because he had been at Masada for so many years taking care of it, he said he had never before he read my book, thought about the women who had been there. And I thought, well, then my job is done.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yes. You helping to now inform history, as it were. Well, thank you so much for sharing that. That’s really that’s really special.

 

Alice Hoffman: Thank you.

 

Phillip Picardi: So in all of this kind of like writing and research that you’ve done on magic, do you feel like it’s giving you a better understanding of what magic is? Or did you always have this appreciation for and respect for magic?

 

Alice Hoffman: I think I always had an appreciation for it, but for me, the real magic, I mean, I have to say, was always books. I mean, that for me was magic. That’s what changed my life. That’s what let me see that there were other possibilities. Let me escape from an unhappy childhood, from a terrible neighborhood, from all those things. It was all books and libraries.

 

Phillip Picardi: How do you feel like you’re manifesting magic in your life? is it by reading, is it by writing, is it both? Or you do you have some sort of spiritual practice of your own?

 

Alice Hoffman: I think it’s at this point it’s really more writing. I miss reading and being a fanatical reader, but it’s pretty hard to do both. And I don’t like to read novels while I’m writing novels. So I think for me it is, it’s I don’t know if it’s a spiritual experience or it’s like a drug experience, but writing for me is very transporting. It’s really takes me to another place completely.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah. Obviously for so many people, it’s been a really difficult year and it’s in human nature, I think, to look to writers to help us make sense of, or escape the world that we’re living in. And so I wonder if as we bring this lovely conversation to a close, you have any words of wisdom or advice to us as we prepare to enter 2021?

 

Alice Hoffman: Well, I think my advice is to read Ray Bradbury. He was my favorite writer growing up and he still is my favorite writer. And his book, Fahrenheit 451, is all about how important books are in changing the world and how politicians very often want to burn books. That’s the first thing they want to do because books are so dangerous, because they’re so full of magic and they’re so, and I really feel like the most important thing to do is to always make time to read.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, I think that’s all we have for you today, Alice. Thank you so much for taking the time. I’m such a big fan.

 

Alice Hoffman: It’s a pleasure.

 

Phillip Picardi: It was such an honor. I’m also from New England, so your books just like have, like a whole New England to New York, to L.A.—but your books just are are so beautiful and they’re so powerful. I could read them a million times over and I’m so excited to see what else is coming and I’m so excited to finish this. I’m only on page 50, so I can’t wait.

 

Alice Hoffman: Oh, thank you. It’s really been fun. I mean, you’re so comfortable to talk to you and I really appreciate you asking me.

 

Phillip Picardi: Thank you.

 

[ad break]

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, now it’s for my very favorite segment. Am I Going to Hell for This, where I invite friends holy and unholy, but mostly unholy, to help me determine what is and isn’t sinful about our daily lives? Today’s guest is none other than the fabulous Jon Lovett. Jon, thanks for being here.

 

Jon Lovett: Hi! Thank you so much for having me. So glad to be here for this segment in which I am asked vaguely uncomfortable questions.

 

Phillip Picardi: Well, you know, John, I do want to just issue a disclaimer that these questions are indeed from the audience and not from people who work for you and know you intimately. So if they appear at all too personal, it’s just purely coincidental. OK.

 

Jon Lovett: Ok.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK? I’m going to ask you a few questions. We’re going to have a little back and forth discussion and then I’ll see you in hell. Does that sound good?

 

Jon Lovett: OK, sounds great.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK.

 

Jon Lovett: Sounds great.

 

Phillip Picardi: All right, let’s get started. The first one is my favorite: am I going to hell for not watching The Undoing starring Nicole Kidman on HBO Max?

 

Jon Lovett: Wait sorry. Just so I understand, when you say am I? Am I answering for me or am I now answering for you? Do you change the—?

 

Phillip Picardi: You’re answering in general. Yeah. This is, this is general life advice.

 

Jon Lovett: So, look, I think that in these times we all should watch exactly what we want, when we want it. We should feel no shame for watching things that are silly or depraved. We should also feel OK with not watching something that everyone is telling us to watch. That should be OK, too. I will watch The Undoing. I haven’t watched yet. I have seen some of the coats.

 

Phillip Picardi: You haven’t watched The Undoing?

 

Jon Lovett: No, I haven’t watched it yet. I’ll get to it.

 

Phillip Picardi: This ism listen, this is I just feel like it’s a gay rite of passage.

 

Jon Lovett: So how am I supposed to? Look I just got through The Crown, all right?

 

Phillip Picardi: He’s getting very angry.

 

Jon Lovett: No one is going to tell me that I’m not, Netflix knows how gay I am. All right. And that’s all that matters. This is between me and my streaming platform. I will watch The Undoing, but I have many facets to my personality.

 

Phillip Picardi: Oh! OK.

 

Jon Lovett: I can multitudes Phillip Picardi. And yes, there is a part of me that is saying turn on The Undoing. Let’s see Nicole Kidman take a soapy drama out for a spin yet again. I’ll get in that car. I’ll go for that ride. But another part of me is saying, hey, maybe it’s time to watch Season 2 of the Mandalorian because then you can watch all the episodes before the finale airs next Friday. Like these are some of the things that are just going on for me right now.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah, these are complicated ethical negotiations that are happening. I can tell that you’re slightly tormented by them. So I understand. I appreciate the answer. Let’s move on to another facet of your multifaceted personality. One of the anonymous questions from our audience and definitely not from Crooked Media employees is: am I going to hell for choosing my PlayStation 5 over my fiancé?

 

Jon Lovett: First of all, I don’t think I have to choose. I will say when the PlayStation 5 first arrived, there was some polite disputation over who’s using the 5, who’s not using the PS5, though I do believe we have come to a romantic and satisfactory detente in which we alternate use of the PlayStation 5. And ultimately, I think it did make our relationship stronger.

 

Phillip Picardi: It sounds like a very nerdy form of foreplay. Am I ascertaining something here?

 

Jon Lovett: Sure. Sure you are. Absolutely.

 

Phillip Picardi: Somehow that answer made me sadder than the prospect of two homosexuals fighting over a video game device, but that is totally fine. So is your answer that you are not going to hell for choosing the PlayStation 5 over the fiance?

 

Jon Lovett: No, I should go to hell. I should go to hell on that.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK. Perfect. OK, great. I’m sure Ronan will be pleased with that answer. This one also anonymous also definitely not from a Crooked Media employee, but very slightly alarming: am I going to hell for having a dog engineered in a lab? What is this about?

 

Jon Lovett: That just, they’re just talking about a Goldendoodle, they’re just talking about my sweet little Goldendoodle, Pundit, and the answer is no, I’m not.

 

Phillip Picardi: Engineered in the lab!?

 

Jon Lovett: Look, is it an unholy creation, the merging of the golden retriever and the poodle? Is it violating God’s plan in some sense? But so is a dog!

 

Phillip Picardi: I think I’m going to cry. [laughs]

 

Jon Lovett: A dog [laughs] the wolf, the wolf, the majestic wolf roaming, living, becomes what? These loving, adorable creatures. But we, we sinned a long time ago when we let these beautiful wolves eat our garbage and we kept the ones that looked like babies, you know?

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah. Yeah, totally. So this is, this is the original sin?

 

Jon Lovett: In a sense, dog wise. Sure. Phill.

 

Phillip Picardi: And so do you carry guilt for not rescuing a poor abandoned dog and instead buying a designer dog? Is that what i’m ingathering?

 

Jon Lovett: So first of all, this dog came to me, she was originally actually Ronan’s mom’s dog, and so I like to say that I did rescue Pundit from Mia Farrow. That said, I think like rescuing—

 

Phillip Picardi: That made it worse.

 

Jon Lovett: For sure. My serious, my serious answer is I think that, like rescuing a dog, adopting a dog is a wonderful and very good thing to do. But like for me, like, I’m allergic to a lot of dogs and so, like—

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, so is the Golden Doodle hypoallergenic?

 

Jon Lovett: Yes. And I think, the truth is there are not, like when you try to adopt a like a hypoallergenic dog, it’s actually can be, I think, challenging sometimes. So all I’m saying is I support, I think there should be no dog shaming.

 

Phillip Picardi: No dog shaming.

 

Jon Lovett: That’s what I think.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, so therefore you’re not going to hell for pundit?

 

Jon Lovett: No, absolutely not.

 

Phillip Picardi: Definitely not. OK, all right. I accept that answer.

 

Jon Lovett: Absolutely not.

 

Phillip Picardi: This one is more holiday themed.

 

Jon Lovett: OK.

 

Phillip Picardi: Am I going to hell for being grateful a pandemic means that I don’t have to see my family over the holidays?

 

Jon Lovett: I think there are, I think there are a lot of people who, like I haven’t seen my parents in a year. I think it’s really hard for my mother. I miss my family. I think that there are a lot of people out there, that this has been a bit of a reprieve. And you know what? No, you don’t have to feel bad if that’s your situation, not even for a second. This year—.

 

Phillip Picardi: Totally.

 

Jon Lovett: 2020 has been a terrible year. It has been bad for everybody. It has been truly awful for a lot of people. One of the worst years in people’s lives, worst experiences of people’s lives. If you’re getting some small benefit of reprieve, we have enough to feel bad about without adding some needless guilt to the pile. Take the guilt off the pile. For that, take the guilt off the pile.

 

Phillip Picardi: Absolutely, Honor your feelings.

 

Jon Lovett: Give yourself that gift, put that in your stocking. Put that by the menorah.

 

Phillip Picardi: Love that. Multi-faith, it’s a multi-faith conversation.

 

Jon Lovett: Absolutely. Of course it is.

 

Phillip Picardi: My last one for you, Jon Lovett: am I going to hell—again completely anonymous, definitely not from [unclear]: am I going to hell for lying to the listeners of Crooked Media about which sponsors I actually like? [laughs]

 

Jon Lovett: Hey, if that’s something that you’re doing? First of all, yes. If that’s something that you’re doing. Yeah.

 

Phillip Picardi: Lying for ads. That’s, OK. So you think, so did Britney Spears, is Britney Spears going to hell for her Pepsi endorsement?

 

Jon Lovett: What reason do we have to believe that she doesn’t love Pepsi?

 

Phillip Picardi: I thought she was more of a Diet Coke drinker. Wasn’t that the whole scandal?

 

Jon Lovett: Oh, I don’t even, I didn’t I didn’t know that.

 

Phillip Picardi: Talking to the wrong hom about this one too. Look at that. OK, go ahead.

 

Jon Lovett: OK, look, listen, I got bigger fish to fry on Britney, we’re not, there’s only what, we’ve got to get. We got to save her.

 

Phillip Picardi: What’s your fight with Britney?

 

Jon Lovett: She’s in trouble! She trapped!

 

Phillip Picardi: She is in trouble. You’re right.

 

Jon Lovett: Our princess is in another castle.

 

Phillip Picardi: You’re right.

 

Jon Lovett: We have to, so so, you know, look, I completely believe in every, you have to, I believe in all these, everything, that I say.

 

Phillip Picardi: You do!? Yeah? Why are you smiling?

 

Jon Lovett: I’m not.

 

Phillip Picardi: You’re not smiling? OK, the listeners can’t see, but I can see.

 

Jon Lovett: I don’t know what you’re we’re talking about.

 

Phillip Picardi: Wow! [laughs] Oh, OK, taking a page out of the Trump playbook. I see.

 

Jon Lovett: What?!

 

Phillip Picardi: Kayleigh McEnany in the flesh.

 

Jon Lovett: I’m not going to be, how dare you? How dare. Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me.

 

Phillip Picardi: I’m just the innocent employee of a company called Crooked.

 

Jon Lovett: This is why I don’t things like that? This is why I don’t sit down for conversations like that, because I come in here to have a nice conversation and Phillip Leslie Stahl Picardi brings this a negative energy. The second I sit down, he says, Are you ready for some tough questions? And I’m like, tough questions? I thought we were here to have a conversation. So you know what? I think I’ve given you enough of my time. I’ve given you enough of my time.

 

Phillip Picardi: Wow. OK, well, listen, everyone, all of our listeners, Crooked Media’s network: you heard it here first, Jon Lovett just walked out of his Unholier Than Thou exposed interview. I can’t believe this is happening. But it was, it was, I guess, a pleasure, a perverse pleasure to have him. Jon Lovett, wherever you are, thank you for joining us. And I will see you in hell.

 

Jon Lovett: Thank you for having me. I’m still here. I’ll break the character to say that I’m still here. And this is wonderful. Thank you for having me.

 

Phillip Picardi: Well, OK. That’s all for our show today. If you like what you hear, spread the holiday cheer: leave us a review, give us five stars, and send some practical magic our way. We’ll see you next week.

 

Unholier Than Thou is a Crooked Media production. Brian Semel is our associate producer and Sydney Rap is our assistant producer, with production support from Reuben Davis. The theme song is by Taka Yasuzawa, and the show is executive produced by me, Lyra Smith and Sarah Geismer. Thanks for listening.

 

Unholier Than Thou