The week of July 5, 2015

A comedian, a porn director, and the NSA’s former lawyer walk into a bar

By Jesse Hicks

I described our previous Interviews Issue as like that old chestnut about who you’d invite to a dinner party: What guests would make for the most fascinating conversation? Of course, any good dinner party should spawn another, so today we’re bringing you the second of this summer’s Interviews issues. The guest list is all-new, and we’ve had some great discussions.

Marisa Kabas talked to Drew and Jonathan Scott, who’ve turned their HGTV show Property Brothers into an expanding digital empire on Vine, Instagram, Facebook—basically anywhere you can be watching them. I talked trivia with Ken Jennings, the record-setting Jeopardy! superstar, about why we’re still interested in quiz games when nearly every answer we need is as close as the nearest smartphone. Aaron Sankin got comedian Scott Aukerman to finally open up about how he balances work and family—oh, and how President Obama gave him and Zach Galifianakis free rein on Between Two Ferns. And Rae Votta heard from Stan Lee, the legendary comics creator, about Marvel’s plans to expand into YouTube.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Stark quizzed Smokincigs23 (a pseudonymous, Instagram-famous 17-year-old girl from Columbus, Ohio) about her vision of America: “I feel like it was built on beer and turning up.” (Hopefully you’ve remembered that for your Independence Day celebrations.) Aaron Sankin talked to Rajesh De, former general counsel to the National Security Agency, about representing the agency in the midst of the Snowden scandal. Selena Larson asked NASA’s Rachel Binx how to turn big data into art, and about the joys of space robots. And finally, EJ Dickson and Erika Lust talk about crowdsourcing female-friendly, sex-positive porn.

It’s an eclectic mix, as any party should be. We hope you enjoy it.

Photo via Custom USB/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed