Clear and Vivid™ is a series of Alan Alda’s spirited conversations with people who know how hard it is, and yet how good it feels, to really connect with other people – whether it’s one person, an audience or a whole country.

You'll know many of the people in these conversations – they are luminaries in our culture. Some you may not know. But what links them all is their powerful ability to relate and communicate. With his unique blend of humor and insight, Alda explores the ways we can connect better with one another in every area of our lives. Something we need now more than ever.

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Behind the Scenes Table Talk with Alan Alda and the Production Team

Release Date: 11/06/2018

Go behind the scenes with the Clear+Vivid team! Alan Alda sits down with his friend and long time producer, Graham Chedd, to talk about podcasting, their years together on Scientific American Frontiers, and their enduring friendship. Alan and Graham are joined by Associate Producer, Sarah Chase, who is also the voice of the ads and helps Alan run his company, Alda Communication Training (ACT). Our “Tech Guru,” Allison Coston also joins in and tells us about her 6 years in the U.S. Navy. The team has some fun turning the tables on Alan and asking him his own 7 questions. Find out what Alan has to say!

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Katie Couric and Sheryl Sandberg Take Over the Pod

Release Date: 10/30/2018

While Alan Alda is on vacation, he’s invited his friend Katie Couric to take over the pod with some of her favorite episodes! Alan’s producers interviewed Katie about this episode and Katie talks about the shared experience that she and Sheryl Sandberg have in common. After her husband died suddenly from a cardiac arrhythmia, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In) thought she would never experience true joy again. Sheryl speaks about her book, Option B, that delves into how she proved herself wrong— and how others can build resilience in the face of trauma, too. Sandberg wrote Option B with her friend Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and Wharton professor. They both join Katie onstage at 92Y ( in Manhattan to discuss insights from the book, including how to support grieving children, dating after loss, and the “three P’s” that can hinder recovery

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Katie Couric and Bryan Stevenson Take Over the Pod

Release Date: 10/23/2018

Alan is on vacation (literally). So, he asked his friend Katie Couric if she’d lend him a couple of episodes of her podcast. Alan sent in his producers to interview Katie about her podcast. In this episode Katie and her co-host Brian Goldsmith welcome Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Bryan could have gone anywhere—he chose to move to Alabama to help confront racial disparities and reform the criminal justice system. On the pod, they discuss Bryan’s childhood experiences with school segregation, the problem with Confederate monuments, and shining a light on one of the darkest chapters in American history: the post-Civil War period of Jim Crow and lynching.

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Hostage Crisis: How to Negotiate Through the Unthinkable with Chris Voss

Release Date: 10/02/2018

Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator who has used communication to save lives. Alan Alda interviews Chris about his experiences and they discuss intense situations where empathy has been successfully used as a tool to guard against the unthinkable. Alan also has a few tricks up his own sleeve as he lures Chris into a role play situation to see how well he does under pressure.

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Father Greg Boyle on Compassion, Kinship, and Real Ways to Help Others

Release Date: 09/25/2018

How do you talk to a member of a deadly gang? How do you help someone leave that life, and why did they join it in the first place? The answers are surprising. And they throw light on how to communicate with anyone. In this episode of Clear+Vivid Alan Alda has a lively and eye-opening conversation with Father Greg Boyle who tells how his Homeboys Industries in Los Angeles has been a lifeline to thousands of young people escaping the deadly culture of gang life. And how he answers violence with tenderness.

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Isabella Rossellini on Communicating the Wonder of Nature

Release Date: 09/18/2018

Isabella Rossellini is a legendary actress, iconic model, filmmaker, writer, and now – if that’s not enough – she’s working on her master’s degree in Animal Behavior. In this wildly fun conversation, Alan Alda talks with Isabella about how how animals communicate with one another and with us. And how Isabella communicates with us about the sometimes bizarre sex lives of animals — in her popular video series called “Green Porno.”

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The Quest to Understand Ourselves Through Art and Mind

Release Date: 09/11/2018

Is a work of art complete if no one experiences it? Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel talks with Alan Alda about the vital role of the audience when we communicate through art and story And his prize-winning discoveries on memory come alive in his own memorable stories.

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Cheryl Strayed Shares Her Advice on How to Give Good Advice

Release Date: 09/04/2018

Cheryl Strayed, one of the most exciting and uplifting authors of our time, is funny, down to earth, complex, and the perfect person to offer Alan Alda solid advice about how to give good advice. She’s the author of Tiny Beautiful Things and the co-host of the New York Times/WBUR podcast Dear Sugars, which originated with her popular Dear Sugar advice column, and she’s the co-author of The Sweet Spot advice column in the New York Times Thursday Styles section. Her novel, Wild, about her life in the wake of tragic events, is a well-known bestseller and a feature movie.

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George Mitchell on Bringing Together Enemies Part 2: Northern Ireland

Release Date: 08/28/2018

George Mitchell helped end decades of lethal violence in Northern Ireland with the historic accord known as the Good Friday Agreement. In this episode Alan Alda talks with Sen. Mitchell about how he achieved that agreement through effective communication, and an understanding of human nature. He describes the essential elements of effective communication that brought together the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom as well as the political parties of Northern Ireland, bringing an end to a seemingly endless cycle of violence. Sen. Mitchell served as a Special Advisor to President Clinton on Ireland, and acted as the Independent Chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks.

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Tina Fey and the Transformative Power of Improv

Release Date: 08/21/2018

Two icons of improv and comedy together on the same podcast. Alan Alda and Tina Fey – do we need to say more? This episode was originally recorded live on stage. Tina also joined Alan in studio to answer 7 questions about herself. Her answers are profound and funny and show why she’s one of the great comedians of all time.

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Ann Patchett on Novelists and the Sources of Empathy in Story

Release Date: 08/14/2018

Ann Patchett is a best selling author with an uncanny ability to write amazing characters, who capture our imagination and hold us in their emotional grip. Alan Alda talks with Ann about her approach to writing and how empathy influences both her stories and her personal life.

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Letty Cottin Pogrebin on Bringing Together Enemies. Part 1: The Middle East

Release Date: 08/07/2018

Author and activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin reflects on the modern state of feminism and the #MeToo movement – and how she’s brought people together in the Middle East through experiences that change their understanding of one another. (In Part 2 of these conversations on “Bringing Enemies Together” Senator George Mitchell discusses bringing peace to Northern Ireland.)

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Is Empathy Good or Bad? Alan Alda Speaks with Paul Bloom

Release Date: 07/31/2018

Yale Professor Paul Bloom doesn’t think empathy is such a good thing. He’s even written a book about it called, The Case Against Empathy. However, he does have an interesting theory about what he calls rational compassion. Paul and Alan Alda discuss their views for and against empathy and find out that they have more in common than they thought.

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Renée Fleming on the Healing Power of Music

Release Date: 07/24/2018

Surprisingly, Renée Fleming has been using her iconic voice to help scientists discover how music heals us. Alan talks with Renée about their mutual interest in science, her new starring role in Carousel, and what it’s like to really be present as a performer.

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Judge Judy on How to Figure Out Who’s Telling the Truth

Release Date: 07/17/2018

Every day, 10 million Americans watch Judge Judy on TV. Her style is direct and to the point. Her job is to know how to quickly separate fact from fiction. She talks with Alan about justice and what it’s like for a judge to have such an impact on the lives of others.

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Kate Bowler and How to Handle the Worst News of All

Release Date: 07/13/2018

Alan talks with Kate about the awkward, funny, and often misguided, ways people approach the subject when they know someone is seriously ill. New York Times Bestselling author and Duke University divinity professor, Kate Bowler tells Alan how stage 4 cancer led her to write a humorous, and graceful book about communicating with someone who’s received the worst possible news.

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Itzhak Perlman on the Spontaneity and Connection of Performance

Release Date: 07/10/2018

In this delightful and spirited conversation, Alan Alda talks with his good friend the world-renowned violinist, Itzhak Perlman. They explore the power of spontaneity in both music and acting, and what happens when a musician talks to the audience.

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Sarah Silverman and the Joy of Enjoying People You Don’t Agree With

Release Date: 07/10/2018

Alan Alda talks with comedian Sarah Silverman about how she befriended someone who was hateful toward her on Twitter, and how her new series on Hulu challenges her to connect with people that she doesn’t agree with. Her question to us is “Can Americans put down their “porcupine needles” and really listen to one another again?”

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Official Trailer

Release Date: 05/23/2018

Clear and Vivid is a series of Alan Alda’s spirited conversations with people who know how hard it is, and yet how good it feels, to really connect with other people – whether it’s one person, an audience or a whole country. You’ll know many of the people in these conversations – they are luminaries in our culture. Some you may not know. But what links them all is their powerful ability to relate and communicate. With his unique blend of humor and insight, Alda explores the ways we can connect better with one another in every area of our lives. Something we need now more than ever. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher. Visit for more details. Follow Alan on Twitter @alanalda and find us on Instagram and Facebook @clearandvivid. Launches July 10th!

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How the Alda Center Teaches Empathy in Science, and Medicine (Part 3)

Release Date: 12/08/2018

The most important time in your life can be those few minutes when you’re in the doctors office – this is a critical time for you to tell your story and for your doctor to listen. 80% of correct diagnoses are made when doctors get the whole history from their patients. And the more empathic the communication, the better the diagnosis. In this last episode of our 3-part series, we speak with Dr. Susmita Pati and Dr. Laura Lindenfeld at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Since 2009, the Alda Center has trained more than 12,000 scientists using improv and advanced communication techniques to help them be more empathic and more effective communicators. Dr. Pati has been working with Dr. Lindenfeld and Alan to create a training program for medical communication at the Alda Center. In this episode (part 3 of 3) we further explore the doctor-patient relationship and the efforts doctors are making to be more empathic, both with their patients and with their entire teams.

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Dr. Karl VanDevender: Empathy and the Doctor-Patient Relationship (Part 2)

Release Date: 12/06/2018

Dr. Karl VanDevender is one of the most empathic doctors you’ll ever meet. In fact, he’s one of the most empathic people that Alan Alda has ever met! Dr. VanDevender has been practicing medicine for forty years and in that time he has learned some interesting ways to connect with his patients, resulting in surprisingly positive results. Dr. VanDevender has a lot to teach us about the doctor-patient relationship, and how it can lead to better health. Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda is devoting a special series of three shows to doctor-patient relations and how better understanding can be achieved through empathy and deeper listening. This is part 2 of 3. Part 3 will be available on December 8th.

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Dr. Helen Riess on Empathy and the Science of Emotion (Part 1 of 3)

Release Date: 12/04/2018

Relating and communicating in the doctor’s office can sometimes be a matter of life or death. Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda is devoting a special series of three shows to doctor-patient relations and how better understanding can be achieved through empathy and deeper listening. First up is Dr. Helen Riess whose research has shown that not only is empathy important to the doctor-patient relationship, but that, when it’s lacking, empathy can be taught. Join us for this episode with Dr. Riess, followed by Dr. Karl VanDevender (available December 6th) and two experts in communication, Dr. Laura Lindenfeld and Dr. Susmita Pati, from the Alda Center at Stony Brook University (available December 8th).

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Marc Maron on What Podcasting Has Taught Him About Relating

Release Date: 11/27/2018

Marc Maron is a legend in both the stand-up community and also as a podcaster. His WTF Podcast broke new ground in the interview genre when he welcomed President Obama onto his show and helped to truly define the independent podcast movement. But Marc’s rise to the top has been an arduous personal journey. As a comedian and performer he’s dealt with anxiety and other issues that have haunted him over the years. He talks with Alan Alda about his personal life and how podcasting helped him to open up, understand himself, and eventually to relate better to others.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson on Communicating Science So We Actually Get It

Release Date: 11/20/2018

The universe has wonders that can stun us — if only someone could be clear and vivid in explaining them to us. Neil deGrasse Tyson does just that, which has put him among the most recognized science communicators of the 21st Century. He’s not only an astrophysicist, an author, and the head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium, he’s also funny. In this episode Alan and Neil explore some surprising techniques for making hard stuff clear, including how a particular football play can explain the weird physics of how things swirl around on earth (like clouds in a hurricane, or water in a toilet bowl).

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Michael J. Fox: How to Keep Going When Life Gives You Speed Bumps

Release Date: 11/13/2018

Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with young on-set Parkinson’s Disease in 1991. He threw himself into his work and fell into moments of depression and alcohol abuse. But, in 1998, when he went public with his story, he changed the way the world looked at Parkinson’s Disease and has now raised nearly a billion dollars in research through the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which he founded. And he inspired many other people with the disease to not let it stop them — including Alan Alda. Alan was diagnosed 3 years ago and recently went public with his own story about living with Parkinson’s. In this exclusive interview, Alan and Michael join one another for a raw and revealing conversation, recorded live in Michael’s apartment.

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Season 2 of Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda Starts Nov 13th – Official Trailer

Release Date: 10/02/2018

Season 2 of Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda starts on November 13th! Listen to the official trailer to meet some of Alan’s next guests — you’re not going to want to miss the spectacular bonus episodes in the works! New episodes are available every Tuesday. Subscribe and listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you like to enjoy podcasts. For more details and to subscribe to Alan’s newsletter, please visit These episodes are made possible thanks to the generous support of our advertisers. All the profits from this podcast go to the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University to further support research in science communication and research.