NEW YORK – When Dax Shepard and Monica Padman recently greeted Harry, the Duke of Sussex on their Armchair Expert podcast, the conversation with the Prince sparked a debate between the two.
“We’ve been fighting royalty for a year and a half because (Padman) loves The Crown and I always poop it,” Shepard said. “It just felt a lot like simulation theory, what are the chances that we now have a representative of this debate who will join us personally? And what are the chances that I will just fall in love with the guy because he’s so normal and was in the army and all? “
“I fell in love,” Padman joked in a recent interview before the podcast that made Spotify its exclusive home.
Armchair Expert isn’t the first or only podcast with long conversations, but Shepard’s sober approach to his guests often causes them to lose their vigilance.
In the interview with Harry, Shepard broke the ice by showing him a calendar that Padman joked for him, with various male body parts that he would like to imitate. (Shepard has long talked about his appreciation for a fit, strong, masculine body and even dedicated an “armchair” episode to the subject.) For Harry, the fact that Shepard dared to bring up this conversation with a member of the British royal family wasn’t just one brave, but perhaps allowed the Duke to deviate from the script.
“Why am I not September,” joked Harry, whose birthday falls this month.
Then he suggested that his contribution to a future calendar could be a photo of his head: “It’s bald and it’s ginger.”
It is moments like these that tickle Shepard. Another example: a conversation with Hillary Clinton. He entered into conversation, but the conversation turned into the ex-politician’s house cleaning process.
“Now you are in minute 10 where you will learn how she cleans up from the basement to the attic,” said Shepard. “That’s the order. And Bill has too many DVDs to save as if those moments were just so spectacular for us.”
Shepard willingly speaks of his own struggles which he believes will help others do the same. He talked about his drug and alcohol addiction, a recent relapse with prescription drugs, his insecurity about money and sexual abuse as a child.
“I’m going to share something first to get the ball rolling, almost in good faith,” said Shepard. “For example, ‘I’m ready to talk about it. And if you are inclined to do so, you can see that this is a place where I at least feel safe to do that.'”
Shepard and Padman hope a new Spotify partnership will expand their audience worldwide. The “Armchair Expert” library with 341 episodes plus new shows and the companion series “Experts on Experts” will be available free of charge to listeners exclusively on Spotify. Former President Barack Obama was her first guest.
The five other shows from the production company “Armchair Umbrella” – including the new podcast “Shattered Glass”, co-moderated by Padman and Shepard’s wife Kristen Bell, are available on Spotify and other podcast platforms.
Both Shepard and Padman agree that thanks to “Armchair” they have experienced personal growth.
For Shepard, a self-proclaimed “Blowhard”, he also learned to be quiet sometimes. It wasn’t cut down in the show’s early days, so breaks or dead rooms scared him. Now he feels she has to talk and talk.
“I think I’ve got so much disinterest in myself in the 800 hours, which I think is very healthy. I don’t have to hear my opinion as often as I used to, ”he laughed.
Padman found fame in ways she couldn’t imagine.
“I moved to Los Angeles for acting, so I had an idea of what it would be like if I got famous,” said Padman. “That’s not it. When I meet someone on the street and know me from the podcast, they really know a lot about me. It’s not a character. So that was interesting. ”
Padman was originally hired by Shepard and Bell to nannies for their children. This became Bell’s assistant, and then with each of them she became a production partner on various projects.
Padman accepts that she is now an important part of the show’s identity. In his early days, she only did a fact check at the end to correct Shepard if necessary. Over time, Padman began to interfere in the conversation and ask questions of the guests.
“A lot of the people on the show now know the dynamic and they know that I’m there and that I’m co-hosting and producing them,” she said. “But sometimes they don’t. We had Luke Wilson with us recently and he came in, we just talked and he’s like. ‘So what are you doing?’ I thought, ‘Oh, I’m producing and hosting the show.’ And he says, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that.’ If that had happened, I would probably have been very triggered by it in the beginning. Now that part is gone and I think it’s because there is some security in what we built. “
“Armchair” will continue to record their show from an attic in Shepard’s house that he often jokes that is constantly under construction.
Padman won’t be far. She bought a house across the street.
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