Dax Shepard on the Craft of Podcasting, Favorite Books, and Dancing with Your Demons (#480)

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Be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you are to the people you love.

— Dax Shepard

Dax Shepard (@daxshepard) is an American actor, writer, director, and podcast host. He is known for his work in the feature films Without a Paddle, Zathura: A Space Adventure, Employee of the Month, Idiocracy, Let’s Go to Prison, Hit and Run, and CHiPs, the last pair of which he also wrote and directed, and the MTV practical joke reality series Punk’d. He is also known for portraying Crosby Braverman in the NBC comedy-drama series Parenthood.

Since 2018, Dax has hosted the juggernaut podcast Armchair Expert , 2018’s most downloaded new podcast on Apple Podcasts, winning “Breakout Podcast” at the 2019 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. His roster of guests includes Kristen Bell, Ashton Kutcher, Alicia Keys, Chelsea Peretti, Sarah Silverman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Rogen, 50 Cent, Jimmy Kimmel, Alanis Morissette, and hundreds more. You can find Armchair Expert on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can also watch the conversation on YouTube.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#480: Dax Shepard on the Craft of Podcasting, Favorite Books, and Dancing With Your Demons

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear an episode with a friend Dax and I share? Listen to my most recent conversation with Sam Harris, in which we discuss pandemic coping strategies, taming anxiety, lessons learned about fear, cleaning the “gun” of mindfulness, bad trips, the messiah complex, worthwhile nonprofits, and much more.

#433: Sam Harris on Psychedelics, How to Cope During a Pandemic, Taming Anxiety, and More


  • Connect with Dax Shepard:

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


  • How I’ve lately been putting more effort into the craft of podcasting, in no small part, thanks to Dax’s work, and some other influences that have inspired me to up my game. [07:42]
  • Why did Dax interview his mom on Armchair Expert, and what were some of his concerns going into the prep phase? How did his approach differ from the way he might have interviewed other guests, and what new insights were revealed — to both of them — in the process? [10:53]
  • Coping with addiction is one reason Dax wanted to start Armchair Expert. When did he first think of himself as having a problem with substance abuse? [19:10]
  • Dax found fulfillment especially elusive when he was regularly succumbing to addiction and hating himself for it. Since this realization, what levers do make him happy? [24:15]
  • After 16 years of sobriety, Dax recently had a relapse — and he chose to go public with the news. What was the psychological process of sharing this lapse with the world, and what did he take away from the experience? [25:54]
  • How did the relapse happen, and what has Dax changed about his own daily routines to decrease the likelihood of a future relapse? [34:31]
  • Who is Armchair Expert cohost Monica Padman? [40:21]
  • What did the planning stages of Armchair Expert look like? [43:08]
  • How do Monica, producer Rob Holysz, and Dax (and sometimes Dax’s wife Kristen Bell) split responsibilities behind the scenes to make Armchair Expert come together? [46:24]
  • With so many new podcasts coming out every week to divide the public’s attention, Dax attributes the seemingly unfaltering dominance of Armchair Expert in this space to one thing: vulnerability. [48:45]
  • Dax addresses a personal vulnerability and how he’s channeled into a superpower: dyslexia. [54:50]
  • How does Dax believe he’s improved most as an interviewer since the podcast began, and in what ways would he like to keep improving? [57:13]
  • When he’s worked on so many projects that have consumed years of his life for less-than-stellar results, it was initially confusing to Dax that the runaway success of Armchair Expert came with comparably minimal effort. After some reflection, why does he think this is the case? [1:02:15]
  • How does Dax get excited about the process of something a lot of actors dread — the audition — and in what way might we apply his attitude to our own endeavors and become less outcome-dependent? [1:04:01]
  • Has the success of Armchair Expert changed what Dax will say yes or no to? [1:07:06]
  • Does Dax ever fear straying from whatever it is that seems to make Armchair Expert resonate with his core audience? If so, how does he balance this concern with keeping things fresh and interesting? [1:09:40]
  • Desiring to cover the week with more episodes of Armchair Expert and no shortage of eager sponsorships in sight, what’s holding Dax back from diving into such an expansion immediately? [1:12:44]
  • Why does Dax hold Howard Stern in such high regard, and what, in Dax’s estimation, makes him such a compelling interviewer? Can we look forward to hearing him as a guest on Armchair Expert? [1:14:38]
  • Aside from Howard Stern, who would Dax consider to be a dream guest? [1:22:05]
  • What advice would Dax and I give to someone starting a podcast now? [1:23:39]
  • Books Dax gifts most. [1:28:35]
  • How the heartbreaking failure of his life’s ambition set Dax up for the success and flexible lifestyle he’s enjoyed with Armchair Expert. [1:39:22]
  • What would Dax’s billboard say? [1:44:52]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:47:22]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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5 Replies to “Dax Shepard on the Craft of Podcasting, Favorite Books, and Dancing with Your Demons (#480)”

  1. Super enjoyable – love both Dax and TIm.

    This was a particularity great listen because it was so conversational – Tim seemed genuinely amused and curious, and they’ve only scratched the surface.

    Looking forward to part two on Armchair Expert!

  2. Thank you for this podcast Tim!

    I am still learning how to do a podcast, and I believe this is an exciting topic to tackle and still trendy.

    It is interesting how Dax uses the podcast to expose vulnerability and how he found his co-host.

    I take away from this interview the possibilities and a reminder: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.

  3. Great audio for a remote podcast, shout out to the post-production team! Fun to listen to two masters talk like they are in class.

  4. In your weekly email you mentioned that you are re-reading Craig Mod’s Wired article. In case you missed it, he is currently doing a 500km walk from Kamakura to Kyoto, and he set up a one month email distro to document it once per day with a picture and his thoughts. It’s great.