Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Interview with Larry King; Interview with Aisha Tyler; Interview with UFC's Dana White
Aired July 19, 2013 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS, HOST: Tonight, the program is going to be very exciting.
We've got the legend, Larry King. He's in the red chair tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, TV HOST: The thing that made me a good broadcaster was I controlled it. I can't control life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: If you've seen the show "Archer," you know how amazing she is. (INAUDIBLE) She's in "24," to "The Talk" on CBS. She's got her own podcast, which is awesome.
How did you find the time to be here? Aisha Tyler is going to be here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AISHA TYLER, ACTRESS: There I am. Look at that photo. That's unacceptable. And check out the Casio watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Plus, men grappling with other men so that other men can cheer them on, and women as well.
Ultimate fighting has taken the world by storm. The man who's in charge of it all, Dana White.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA WHITE, UFC: Before a guy hit a ball with a stick, before a guy threw a ball through a circle, two men were put on this planet, somebody threw a punch and whoever was standing around ran over and watched. You know it happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Good evening. I hope you had a beautiful day, wherever you are, and however you experienced it today.
I think you're going to like the program we have for you tonight, because everybody that's sitting across from me in this chair fought to not have themselves defined by their circumstance -- everything from race to class to home life, to poverty, gangsterism, judgment from outsiders.
And it's a nice experience to go inside people's lives that way -- look, especially when you're younger and you don't know a lot of what happens around the world because you don't have a lot of experience meeting a lot of different kinds of people, and you need to build empathy.
I remember when I was a kid, I read a book called, "When You're From Brooklyn, Everything Else is Tokyo." That's one way you can learn about the world, by reading somebody else's prospective it.
So, I love interviewing, because you can suck inside people's mind, and hopefully you at home get suck inside their minds as well.
The cat who wrote that book, not an actual cat, but a legend, Larry King. Larry is on his way out. Here's his story.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You're watching CNN, which means you know who Larry King is and why people care about him.
He was born right in the middle of the Great Depression to European Jewish immigrants. In Brooklyn, he idolized his father. So you can imagine the pain and loss. Larry was only 9 years old and he arrived home to find a squad car in front of his house. His father died of a heart attack.
Larry's life changed significantly after that. He had dreams, not like other kids in his neighborhood, though. They all wanted to play pro baseball. Now, Larry, he just wanted to play by play pro baseball.
1956, acting on a tip, Larry moved to Miami Beach, literally goes door to door, begging for a job. He gets one and he did something a little different. He opened the phones, took phone calls from regular citizens.
KING: Detroit, hello. San Diego, hello. Sacramento, California, hello.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And it wasn't long before he became a national figure. And for the past 50-plus years, despite hardships, personal vices and a colorful romantic life, Larry has become an iconic American personality.
And tonight, you'll see him where he feels most comfortable, on CNN.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Larry King!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Welcome. How are you, Bud?
KING: Super. Great setup. Congratulations. I love this.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Thank you. This is nice. KING: Really nice.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Thanks for having me on your show, man.
KING: My pleasure. You're great. I love you, George.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You're a good name.
KING: Especially since you changed (ph) your name for television.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Yes, that's right. Totally.
KING: His real name is George Clark.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That's right.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: It was a liquor ad that got you to change your name.
KING: Correct. My name is Larry Zeiger. It was May 1, 1957, my first big day on the air.
And the general manager called me in, had all my records prepared, and he said, "What name are you going to use?" I said, "Larry Zeiger." He said, "You can't use that. It's too ethnic. People won't remember, won't know how to spell, you've got to change your name."
So, I'm sitting, like, three minutes to go on the air, my lifetime wish, and I'm having my name changed. And the "Miami Herald" was open. There was an ad for Kings wholesale liquors.
He said, "How about Larry King?" I said, "That sounds good."
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What would you have said if he said how about Larry liquors?
KING: I would have said anything just to get on the air, man. But it was -- that began, and then I legally changed it a couple years later so it's locked in after so no can use.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What an incredible shift in culture, right? I mean, Zeiger is too ethnic, and there's a show called "STROUMBOULOPOULOS." And there's a Stephanopoulos. Like it's --
KING: That's right. Well, today, they wouldn't change anything. Everything goes to it.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So, when you left the CNN show. And you've gone -- people thought, Larry is just going to retire and have a good time and that's it. And almost right away --
KING: It was a strange set of circumstances. One, I had a wonderful 25 1/2 years at CNN. We thought it would be a couple years run, Ted Turner signed me, and I had a great run, 25 1/2 years, but it was time.
So, I thought I would spend a lot of time with my kids. I have young kids, and they play baseball and go to games. It was just very nice. I missed it when big events happened.
But then I went down to Mexico City and spoke for Carlos Slim, who is the richest man in the world and a wonderful gentleman, and I found out he had been a fan of mine for years. He said, "You can't retire. Why don't we do something together?"
So my wife came one the idea of Aura TV, a TV network, on the Internet, and we got distributed by Hulu, and it's been on for a year. Just started our second year now in July. I'm back in the swim again.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Every time you try to get out, they keep pulling you back in.
KING: Every time. Pacino kidding me about that. He lives a couple of blocks from me -- every time. But you do miss it. This is a -- this is a disease.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: It's a thing, isn't it?
KING: It is. This camera thing is a disease. I love asking questions. My curiosity, I can't explain it.
When I was 9 years old, I get on a bus, and I say to the bus driver, why do you want to drive a bus? What kind of life is it?
I'm the kind of person you don't want to sit next to on an airplane. You know what I mean? I drive my people -- I drive kids crazy. What did you do today? Where are you? Where are you going? What are you going?
I don't know what that is.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Not that you're checking up on them.
KING: It's an insatiable desire to learn.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Nine years old, that's a significant time of your life, isn't it?
KING: Yes. Sad time, too. My father died when I was 9 1/2, and they had lost a child before I was born, a 6-year-old boy died. So when I was born -- when I was born, my father really wrapped me in his arms. Then I have a younger brother and he died suddenly of a heart attack, on June 9th, I always remember that, 1943, that's 70 years. I was 9 1/2.
And I changed a lot. I took it badly. It took it -- death is a funny thing.
I don't mean to get that serious, but I took it then as leaving me. I took it that he deserted me. I did not go to the funeral. I did not cry. I was angry.
I'm the head of the house. I'm 9 1/2 years old. You have responsibilities now. You have to watch out for your mother and take care of your brother.
And now, he left us penniless, we're on relief. New York City is going -- bought my first pair of glasses, New York City.
An inspector came to look for what kind of food my mother was putting in the refrigerator, all this because he died. I was mad at him.
And I carried a piece of that with me for a long time.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: If you ever have a chance to reflect on your life, even if you live in a moment, reflect --
KING: Oh, I do a lot of that. I can't change it, but I reflect. For example, my three closest friends are still my three closest friends.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: From back then?
KING: Right. Two of them, we meet every day. I have a bagel place here in Beverly Hills, we meet everyday, in the morning and have breakfast, that's a ritual, seven days a week. I take my kids to school, go to the bagel place. I have friends for life.
I never forgot where I came from. I left Brooklyn, but Brooklyn never let me. It's still in my fabric. It's in my culture. Even though I was poor, I had a great, great upbringing.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You had a moment too when you were growing up and you had a kid, when you were broke, you were at the end, right?
KING: I never thought I would get another job. I never thought things that -- I always had faith in myself.
I just knew -- I knew timing. I knew pace. I knew how to interview. I knew how to be funny.
I loved the immediacy. I loved working live. I live much better than tape. I like happening.
When an event happens and you're on top of it, there's adrenaline flow that's unbelievable.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Once you've experienced those things, though, those big moments, especially if they're tragic moments, you eastern not consciously processing it. But you're subconsciously processing it.
KING: I'm involved in it. Like 9/11. We worked -- I worked for 73 consecutive nights, two weeks later I was at Ground Zero. The fire commissioner of the city of New York took me around through all that. I was at the burn center.
We were right on top of that story. CNN's coverage was amazing. And you feel sadness, great sadness, but you never forget that you have a job to do. You have to ask the right questions. You're concerned, but you're not -- you still leave yourself out of it, like, I would never say, boy, I was horrified by this. Come on.
KING: Everybody was horrified. That's redundant. It makes no sense.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: When you go home at 3:00 in the morning after processing that stuff, what are you feeling?
KING: On tragedy?
KING: You feel sad, you feel down. But you turn on the television and you want more. All you want is information. So, I stayed constantly involved. So, even when I'm off, I'm on.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Stick around. More with Larry right after this.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What is the one thing that Larry king is afraid of? Find out, next.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: We're back here with Larry King.
KING: Love your socks.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Thanks, man. They usually don't match.
The Surgeon General Koop just passed away this year. What did that mean to you?
KING: He was a guest on my show in February of 1987. We finished the show and he said to me, "Are you still smoking?" I said, "Yes." He said, "You know, you don't look good." "OK, Dr. Koop."
Now, I go to do my regular show. It was David Havelstan (ph), I believe, David Havelstan, who's the guest. And he finishes and he says to me, "Are you OK?" I said, "Yes." "Because you don't look good."
So, I went home and I started to get a pain. And the pain was in my shoulder, never in the chest, going down the arm. I called the doctor like 5:00 in the morning and he says, "Go to the emergency room." So I called my producer. She picked me up and drives me to George Washington University Hospital.
And I'm pulling in, and naturally the pain stops. I was smoking all the way to the hospital. Oh, yes. I said, "I'm OK now." She said, "Well, we're here, go into the emergency room."
So, I go in and this guy comes up to me and says, "Are you OK?" "Yes, I feel good now." He says, "You don't look good. Come with me." He took me right in, and they put me in this room and this guy comes in and he's doing tests with me.
And the doctor says to me, "I'm going to stay with you. You're not in pain now, but I'm going to sit here with you."
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So, when you hear doctors say that, what is going through your mind?
KING: What the hell is going on? I don't like this. Why is he staying with me? I feel fine.
And they're doing this test, and suddenly, I get a little pain again, and little lights go on called Blue Code. The doctor comes running towards me and nurses are running behind him and says, "You're having a heart attack." And I said, "Am I going to live?" And his answer was, "We don't know. The next 24 hours will tell."
And turned out to be a right side heart attack and I recovered, went home. I stopped smoking that day. I never stopped before. I have people tell me stop smoking, I never stopped.
When you get scared, that day in that hospital, I never reached for one. I smoked three packs a day, I never reached for one. I never had a need for one.
Driving home, my daughter drove me home. Cigarettes were in my pocket that I drove to the hospital. I was there six days later. I threw them into the Potomac, and I never smoked again.
KING: You can't do it. You can't tell.
Six months later, wound up having bypass surgery and I was 1987, it was 27 years ago. A bypass surgery story is funny, in retrospect.
I'm in the hospital, in New York Hospital -- first, I go to New York Hospital. First, they tell me you need bypass surgery. I've been living in Washington.
I said I want to do it in New York, because I want to die in New York. I had no faith.
KING: I grew up in New York, I want to die in New York.
KING: So I go to New York -- I will never forget this. It's a rainy morning. I'm going to have surgery the next day.
Sunday morning, we walk to the hospital, and waiting in the lobby is the president of New York Hospital and Governor Cuomo, who is a friend of mine. They said, you don't have to check in. We'll take you right up to the 15th floor.
I went up the special elevator and I go into these hospital rooms, overlooking the East River, wood paneling. The only thing that told you it was a hospital was the hospital bed. Other than that, it could have been a hotel suite. Magnificent room.
I said to the doctor, the doctor says to me, "Mr. King, I want you to know this is our finest room. The shah of Iran stayed in this room." I said to him, "I recollect he died."
KING: "Why won't you put me in a ward with 48 people where they all go home?"
Now, I'm lying in bed, the surgery is the next day. And my surgeon, who I have not met, Dr. Wayne Isom, who did Walter Cronkite, David Letterman. He walks in the door, he's got the boots, cowboy hat and, across the room he goes, "You're going to do right fine, right fine. I looked at the film, you're going to do right fine."
I discovered that day, by the way, that all heart surgeons are either Jewish or from Texas.
KING: There is no Protestant heart surgeon from South Dakota.
So, he comes over to me and starts to do all the things all doctors do, you know, the two fingers?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Yes, tap.
KING: That's the first thing you learn in medical.
KING: They don't know what they're doing, you just learn to tap.
KING: He's tapping and I look down, he has no right thumb. My surgeon has no right thumb.
What do you say in that moment? What do you say?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I don't know, what did you say?
KING: I said, "Doc, I have had this incredible habit all my life, I can't explain it, but when I meet people, I count their fingers. And with you, I get to nine."
KING: And he explained they had a sheering accident, his mother accidently cut off his thumb and made him a better doctor, made him ambidextrous. I recovered from that. And --
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Did you feel like you had a new lease on life?
KING: Sure you did.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: When the doctor said you're having a heart attack, did you think of your father?
KING: Yes, first I thought of. And naturally, and it is genetic.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That's a big thing for somebody, isn't it?
KING: Every June 9th, I used to think I was going to die.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: A lot of weight to carry.
KING: Well, death is final.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Let me ask you a question, Larry, because you're not old, but you are not 22 anymore. When that day approaches now, what do you think?
KING: I don't want it to approach. I don't want to die, because I don't believe you're going anywhere. My wife is a devout Mormon. And Mormons believe you go to, there's -- they call it the other side.
Maybe I'm too into the world and too into interviewing all people, I've met all the religious leaders and they've never given me the answer to one essential question, why? Why the Holocaust? Why Katrina? God could have prevented Katrina, right?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Of course.
KING: Omnipotent. Why?
And they always answer, we don't question the ways of the Lord.
Well, I'm a questioner. If there is a Lord and I met him, I would say, why? Why do children die?
John Kennedy said life isn't fair. If it isn't fair, then all I can say is this, I respect -- I'm amazed at people who believe. If I totally believe, death wouldn't bother me at all. But I can't make that leap. It's a leap of faith.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Do you have fear about dying?
KING: You bet your ass. Sure. To not exist.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: The consciousness going away.
KING: Not exist? As Woody Allen says, "I'm not afraid of death. I just want to be there when it happens."
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What a pleasure, man. Thank you so much.
KING: Thank you, everybody.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Larry King, everybody.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What do "Archer" and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" have in common? Well, they all star Aisha Tyler. She's joining me after the break.
And later, UFC president Dana White in the red chair.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: We're back here on the show. The next guest has had quite a life, calls herself a nerd. When you see her, you'll think, how is that possible? If you're like me and you love the show "Archer," you know the wonderful work she does as Lana Kane.
She's a standup. She's a writer and now, she's also got a new show, which is an old show that she's the host called "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" There's an awful lot to her story. I'm looking forward to get into with the video game nerd.
Talking about Aisha Tyler.
Here's what they think about her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I could leave my wife for any one woman on the planet, I would leave her for Aisha Tyler.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gorgeous, smart, funny. She has everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's in a lot of different shows.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember her on "Friends."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen her on "CSI."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "24".
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Nip Tuck."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there any TV show she hasn't been on? It seems like she's on everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I absolutely love the show "Archer."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know which is better, the animated version or the real version.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now, she's on "The Talk."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love her comments. The point of view.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aisha Tyler is so versatile. That's what I admire most about her.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Please welcome, Aisha Tyler!
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: How are you?
TYLER: I'm fine. How are you?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Good to see you.
TYLER: So happy to be here.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Lovely to see you.
TYLER: It is lovely to see you.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: This "Archer" thing is kind of out of control, isn't it?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: When you get scripts for something like this, you don't read in the room with everybody else, right?
TYLER: No, we record it on our own and they just chop it up and make it beautiful. And, in fact, we don't see each other more than a few times a year. Like usually at Comic-Con and maybe like, you know, for like critics thing or ad thing.
And because we don't see each other that much, when we get together, we kind of turning into a version of our show characters. That's when I realized everybody gets drunk and somebody tases somebody and there's a fight, like every single time. And then, later, yes, that's pretty much the show.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That's all it is.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So, between this -- so the book is out.
TYLER: So, my book comes out July 9th.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Right, and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" on 16th.
TYLER: July 16th, yes. Sitcom.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And the girl that was the outsider is a kid is no longer.
TYLER: Well, I don't know. I just went to an event recently with Sharon Osbourne. It's a fund-raiser for MS. And I'm sitting at a table, super name-drop, sorry, it ends well. So, I'm sitting in the table with Sharon and Rod Stewart and, you know, all these dignitaries.
And I remember like sitting next to Rod Stewart and I just thought wow, I don't belong here. Like someone is going to come up and would be like, this isn't your seat. You know, you need to maybe go and make a sandwich for somebody.
That's just still how I feel. You know, I don't feel -- I love what I do, and I'm really focused on making interesting art and trying to speak to the other outsiders like me who feel like there's nobody -- you know, you look at Hollywood, and it seems everybody is perfect there.
And I think like a part of my job, for a lack of a better description, is to be the voice for the people who still feel like outsiders. I just like the nerds when they were kids.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I want to carry this conversation on, but people at home are saying, listen, this is a beautiful girl sitting across from you. How do you feel like the outsider? Why do you feel like the outsider?
TYLER: Well, I don't know if you have any photos.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: As a matter of fact.
TYLER: Oh, no. There I am. Look at that photo. That's unacceptable. That's unacceptable.
Look at those glasses. Oh, my God, they're like a time machine. And check out the Casio watch!
Who wants to add some numbers together? I'm six feet tall. I've been this tall sense I was like eight. I'm not even joking. I was just blackzilla.
And I was also the only black kid in my school until like middle school. And then switched schools and was the only black kid again for a little while. I went to private school for a while, my parents kind of ran out of money, and they sold the blood they could afford to without dying, and then my parents were these hippies, they were vegetarians. They didn't believe in television.
We were poor. My mother got our clothes out of the free box at the church, you know? So much of when you're a kid is about relating about what you watch on TV. And who's got these cooler shoes, and let's trade lunches. And I was just like, I don't have a television. I have a rock and a piece of tofu.
And one of the shoes is a flip-flop and one is made out of T- shirt and duct tape. At the time, it sucked because I very much felt like a loner. But that kind of lonership made me I think like a tougher adult. I think when you're a kid, things just suck and you wish you were cooler. But when you're grown up, it makes you more interesting.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You went to private school because there was -- well, your folks worked really hard to do this.
TYLER: Extra job. For a little while, my mom was a school teacher. And I went to the school that she taught. My dad, he was a construction worker, he was a butcher. He was a deep sea fisherman.
And then when I was in high school, he decided to go back to school to become an operating engineering. These are guys that operate the big cranes, big technical cranes on construction sites.
But he -- the furthest he gone to school was eight grade. And there's a lot of math, trigonometry. So, we had this really incredible period when I was 15 when I was helping my dad with his math homework. You know, it was like -- somebody who like, did everything for you. And you're coming up and also, my dad is like an old school man, he comes from the old country, as you would say, Pittsburgh. My dad asking me for help was extraordinary.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Take a look, this is her and her pops. It's a great shot.
TYLER: Oh, that was when -- look at my dad. He's action Jackson.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: The best line of that movie, "Now you're pissing me off."
TYLER: Exactly, that was my dad every morning.
Here's what my dad used to -- my dad is like such a guy's guy. My parents divorced when I was like 10.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So you went with your dad and your sister went with your mother? Interesting --
TYLER: Yes, that's how poor people divorce. First, people are like, you have them on the weekends and I'll take them to the islands.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: My relationship (INAUDIBLE) divorce, the dad just disappears, right?
TYLER: My parents are like, neither of us can afford two kids, you take one. My dad was like, which one can care for herself? And that was the one that he, which one behaves right now, you know?
He's like a really motivational dad. So, and also, has no boundary. So, he would give me these speeches like in the morning when I go to school. I was like 8. He'd be like, who's day is it? And I have to go, it's my day! And he was going to go, what are you going to do with it? I have to go, grab them by the balls!
TYLER: No idea that wasn't how you talk to an eight-year-old, you know?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Right. Yes. In fact, the last thing you should do is grab anything by the balls, right?
TYLER: Anything by the balls. And he'd say, what do you do? (INAUDIBLE)
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Your first boyfriends must have hated your dad.
TYLER: Yes. I realize now it was my father gearing me up to like, you know, be able to like go on a date and just physically abuse whatever guy tried to come on to me.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Right, he would have anything to do with your dad.
TYLER: Yes, he's not worried about me.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Stick around. More with Aisha right after this.
Girls, gaming, and nerding out. Aisha Tyler, next.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Welcome back to the program.
Aisha Tyler is hanging out with us. OK. So, let's run through a bunch of these because I have a lot of ground I have with you. OK.
Involving video games, talk about girls and gaming.
TYLER: The largest component, the biggest growing component of new gamers is the female component. Many more women are gaming. I go E3 every year, which is like the big gaming conferences here in L.A. and I was just there.
I presented the new lineup of games for this gaming company. And afterwards, a lot of people online were like, she hasn't even played games. They said a lot of other stuff. But (INAUDIBLE) she's just a stupid actress. She's never picked up a controller in her life, you know? Cheeto fingers, in my mom's basement. So --
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Cheeto fingers --
TYLER: Yes, cheeto fingers, just underpants, cheeto fingers. That parochial kind of, I'm going to tell you who belongs has been the thing I've hated my whole life, the idea of like you're only cool if you're like this, you're only popular if you're like this. Even outsiders, which the gaming community tends to be nerds have decided they're going to push other people out of their group.
So I said something about a game platform and people were like, you don't know what you're talking about. I said, I'm just a gamer. I don't work here. I'm not a critic. I just love videogames, don't take anything I say as gospel.
You know, first of all, shower, and then --
TYLER: Then read something.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You're so scrappy.
TYLER: I'll punch you in the neck, I'm not messing around. But it's a misunderstood community. A lot of people try to control how you access gaming. You know, they're trying to prevent people from buying games. They're making people, you know, do things --
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You have to worry about violence, you know. I mean, they'll stop at movies or TV.
TYLER: Yes. Look, I think it's fair to be concerned about these things, but in the end, it's entertainment. Like any other entertainment, I love action movies. I've seen "Die Hard" 50 times. You know, my first movie my father took me to see was "Mad Max" -- super appropriate for an 8-year-old.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: This is your dad wanted to see --
TYLER: Oh, he just wanted to see, like come on, kid.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: My dad took me to see "The Brood", a David Cronenberg film.
TYLER: Oh my God. Scary, but beyond that, inscrutable. I wouldn't be scared. It's like, what is happening?
Every time I watched a Cronenberg movie, I'm like, did that guy make a gun out of his tooth? Why am I here?
But I've always loved that stuff, and it hasn't made me a violent person.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Talk about the Rockapellas, because social change --
TYLER: Oh God!
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: -- social change is not new for you. You seem to care about this stuff. And always have.
TYLER: If you've ever seen like "Glee" or the competition shows, all of the East Coast colleges have this like kind of ubiquitous a cappella groups. And the school that I went to, there was a big culture. And true of my outsidership, I couldn't get in to the old, you know, the old kind of venerable ones.
So, we started one. And they were called the Rockapellas.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Why couldn't you get in?
TYLER: It's just the same thing like, you know, wasn't in the right sorority. You know what I mean? Didn't have the right clothes, you know?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Do you -- when you were there, did they look around you and go, that's a black girl, did you feel that?
TYLER: I've always felt that.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: In those schools, you had that experience?
TYLER: Yes and no. What I will say is when I was younger, I stood out and what I -- rather than trying to hide it, I just decided to have that be like my emblem, my oddity. So it wasn't like I chose things to be strange, but I just decided to embrace my strangeness.
So, you know, I listen to punk rock. I skated. I took up snowboarding in high school. My first concert was Black Flag. Yes, baby.
You know, my first album was Metallica's "Kill 'Em All."
So, I just -- I'm going to be just OK with my weirdness and so, by the time I got to Dartmouth, I was a snowboarder. And I was, you know, I was teaching snowboarder. I was a competitive snowboarder. Then, it was like, look at the weird black girl, where did she come from?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: When you knew your folks had to really work hard to get you this kind of education, did you feel a weight?
TYLER: Yes, absolutely. Yes. And it was fun to call my parents and say, thanks for the Ivy League degree, and I've decided to be a comedian. And my mother said, is that a kind of doctor? Because if it's not, I'm going to kill you. So, how would you like to be buried, cremated, thrown into a river?
But, you know, one thing about my parents and my mother, she's always said this, she's so excellent. She was an artist. She was a painter. She still paints now. She's a jazz singer.
Her art, she had to put it down to be a mom, and now, she's embraced it all again. Like now that she's older, it's amazing to watch her, she performs all over. She's incredible.
She was just like, I'm just not going to be a dream killer, you know what I mean? You don't belong to me. And I would -- she said, I always hated parents that forced their kids to do what they wanted to do. I'm never going to be a dream killer for you.
Whatever you want to do, just go do it. We're just here for a really short period of time and you better go for it, you better go for it. Yes.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Thank you so much.
TYLER: Thank you.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Aisha Tyler, everybody. We'll be right back.
Who is the toughest guy in the world? Dana White knows, and he's next.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Welcome back to the program.
I love talking to the next guy who is coming out, because all you want out of somebody you sit across from in any part of life is they say what they think. There's a quote from that ESPN show, "E60", where Dana White said, "I'm going to outwork you, I'm going to stay up later than you, I'm willing to do everything it takes to win, and I'm going to beat you. If you're not willing to do that, you're never going to F-ing beat me, ever."
The president of UFC, which is obviously the largest mix martial arts company in the world. It's electrifying force. It is brutal. It is popular. There's a lot to talk about.
Dana White, everybody.
WHITE: Thank you.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What's going on?
WHITE: Flying around the planet.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Keeping busy?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I was at the first UFC fight in Montreal, which was wild. GSP fight, it was awesome, wild. And, of course, Toronto is a big.
When you walk into a new market, what do you think you're going to get out of this?
WHITE: Well, a lot of people watch the UFC on television. It's great. One of the cool things about this sport is it works very well on TV, but the live event is one of the -- you know, I don't know how many people have ever been to an NFL game, right?
I love watching the NFL on TV. I went to a Patriots game once, bumper to bumper traffic both ways, I'm setting on a bench, it's zero out, right? I got some fat guy painted red, white and blue spilling beer on me, next to me, you know, with no shirt on. The experience wasn't as good as it was in my living room.
The UFC is a complete opposite. When you go to one of these events, it's the most exciting live sporting events you'll ever see.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Well, that's a challenge for all sports organization, right? Is how do you create a scenario, because TV is improving. How do you change the live event? What do you do? Because, ultimately, you still have an octagon in the middle of the room.
And all these people piled around it.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: How do you create that?
WHITE: The people that go to the event are spending a lot more than those who watch it on television. They flew in from somewhere, they stayed in a hotel. They're paying for their, you know, food, the tickets, everything. Why would you not care about the people who pay for tickets? That was always my philosophy.
So, we created this amazing event. We have two different producers. We produce an in-house show and we produce a television show. We put up huge screens so people can see everywhere. No matter where your sit is, you can see what's going on in there.
But at the end of the day, it's all about the fights. We have to make sure we put on great fights, because that's what people really want.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You know, when it first started, so much of the focus was on individual fighting styles. What are the challenges of working with a sport that is a couple decades in, in this form?
WHITE: When it started, the first-ever UFC where a karate guy beat a kung fu guy, where a boxer beat a wrestler. And what ended up happening was, and the old owners never realizes, they ended up creating a sport and they advanced martial arts more since 1993 then it has in the last 10,000 years.
The answer to that age-old question was, no one fighting style was the best. You had to have a piece of everything to be a complete fighter. And that's when the sport of mixed martial arts was born.
And not just the sport, but it is the new martial art. It's the martial art that kids, men and women are taking all over the world. And what's happening now is, now that there's a lot of money in it, athletes that would have played other sports, whether it's basketball, football, hockey, or whatever it might be, are now getting into mixed martial arts. So, the level of competition keeps getting better and better.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: For me as a kid, this was it was all about for martial arts. It was this guy right here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. Now, you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: The wonderful Bruce Lee.
WHITE: Me, too.
WHITE: I mean, growing up, I was very much into martial arts because of Bruce Lee. I always believed that fighting was the first sport ever on earth, before a guy hit a ball with a stick, before a guy hit a ball with a stick, before a guy throw a ball to a circle, two men were put on this planet, somebody threw a punch and whoever standing around ran over and watched.
WHITE: You know it happened. And it's --
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And then the next part was the betting on it.
WHITE: This works everywhere, because it doesn't matter what color you are, what country you come from, or what language you speak, we're all human beings. Fighting is in our DNA. We get it and we like it. You know what I mean? It doesn't have to be explained to anyway.
I always say, if you go to India, the one thing that works everywhere, if you ask anybody, do you know who Mike Tyson is? Everybody knows him well. Mohammed Ali.
Bruce Lee, I mean, Bruce Lee died in 1972 and whatever and people still know who he is. We're fascinated by who the toughest guy in the world is.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: It is the international sport in a lot of ways. What has the international influence meant to your game? What is it about MMA? Like how do you work the international players to it?
WHITE: We're in 175 countries and 23 different languages and over 1 billion homes worldwide on television. And now as we go into these other markets, it's about building stars. You know, like your Manny Pacquiao from the Philippines, or whatever it might, and we're doing that with the ultimate fighter.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Think about stars -- I've never seen a person, either a commissioner or president of the league, have a very honest public dialogue about the stars in your league. I read something like Rampage said, Rampage, you know, one of the fighters said, I don't think Dana misses me, you know?
And he clearly said that to find out if you miss him.
WHITE: I miss you, Rampage.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Do you miss Rampage?
WHITE: Here's the thing. Rampage also said, you know, when I got sideways with the UFC when I was upset, when Dana was talking about me not making weight.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Yes, you ripped him.
WHITE: Yes. So in the fight business, making weight is your job. You have to -- to be able to put on the fight, you know, if we're going to fight and come in at 185 pounds, we both have to come in at 185 pounds.
You know, I was upset about him not making weight and I questioned whether he still wanted to compete in this sport or not.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Where does that come in you, that guy?
WHITE: I think when I grew up, you know, and when you were watching sports, these guys would come out and read these canned statements that lawyers wrote.
That's not how I operate. I'm going to tell you what I think. The one good thing is, you don't have to wonder where you stand with me. I always let you know how I feel.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You had to fight your whole life in so many different ways, just to get here. When you make it, you don't automatically lose the fight. So, what is it like to manage that rage, whatever it is you have?
WHITE: Anybody who has ever built a successful business, you know, it's never over. Every day, there's new battles to fight. There's never that day where you're like, we're here.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: One can work too hard.
WHITE: I don't believe that.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I mean, life, family and life.
WHITE: Yes, you have to -- listen, I'm very blessed that I get to provide the things for my family that I do. My kids go to a great school. I don't miss anything that my kids do. If my kids are playing football, if they're at a school performance, whatever it is, if I'm out of town and I can't go, I have the biggest production facility in Las Vegas. We stream it live to me, and I watch it on TV.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That's incredible.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: How into this sport are they?
WHITE: You know, my kids are into the sport. But my kids are huge football fans. They love football. So, it's turned me on to football. Whatever your kids are into, you get into. Your kid was the best finger painter ever, you'd be the biggest finger painter fan.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Stick around. More with Dana White right after this.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Dana White's run-in with Whitey Bulger, that's after the break.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Welcome back to the program. We're hanging out with Dana White here.
You're watching these guys. At some point, you have to be responsible for how their well-being. You're seeing the NFL pay attention to it. Other sports, the NHL certainly, in terms of concussions and injuries and stuff.
WHITE: What's funny is, I've been ridiculed for that, you know, by fans and the media. You always saw in boxing the guy who hung around too long and didn't retire. When it starts to happen to these guys, I want them to retire.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: In leagues, you have a players association, or a union that generally helps to prepare these guys for the end of their career. What is the UFC doing for that?
WHITE: Well, you know, we have this -- we're the only fight promoter in the history of the world who's ever had health insurance for fighters. Because the fighters live inside these UFC brand, different than boxing, you know, we have t-shirts, action figures, video games and a ton of other things, and the fighters get a piece of that.
Even when they retire, it's not like you wouldn't want a Chuck Liddell action figure or Chuck Liddell to be in the video game, or any of this other stuff. So these guys kind of live forever inside this brand.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Is it the sports to take care of its retired stars?
WHITE: You know, it's tough to say. You know, when you have grown men that made $35 million, $40 million and they're broke? You look at the league and go, what do the league do -- listen, I can't tell you how to spend your money.
WHITE: If you're going to blow $35 million, $40 million, I don't know what to tell you.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What's the biggest challenge so far in terms of international growth?
WHITE: The biggest challenge that we have right now is time. There's not enough time in the day to do all the things that need to be done. And we're just doing the best that we can.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: One can work too hard.
WHITE: I don't believe that.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I mean, life, family and life.
WHITE: Yes, you have to -- listen, I don't miss anything that my kids do. If my kids are playing football, if they're at a school performance, if I'm out of town and I can't go, I have the biggest production facility in Las Vegas. We stream it live to me and I watch it on TV.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That's incredible.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I was thinking about you, because we heard about your story that you had to leave and you have some issues, you owed some money to some guys, the dude, to the mob or something like that, and you left town and it comes out that it's Whitey Bulger who's now --
WHITE: Just to clarify, I didn't owe the mob any money.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Well, people in that world, right?
WHITE: Right. So, I used to live in south Boston, you know, back in the late '80s, early '90s, and it was run by Whitey Bulger. The town was literally run for 50, 60 years by organized crime.
And I had a boxing program there, and one day I was teaching and two guys showed up and said I owed them 2,500 bucks. I was 21 years old. They might as well ask me for $25,000. I didn't have 2,500 bucks.
So, it finally came down to I got a call at my house one day and they said, you have until 1:00 tomorrow to give us the money. I said, OK, I hung up the phone. I called, Delta, get me a flight out of here like now.
I literally left that day. I had an apartment there. I left everything, everything. I packed my favorite clothes, left everything. My furniture, stereo.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Did you ever go back to get any of that stuff? Is it all gone?>
WHITE: All gone.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: There's got to be a Dana White museum somewhere, right?
When you sent a tweet, especially, you get into fights people, there's one guy in Canada that you're fighting with all the time. I think it's hilarious. Do you ever sent out a tweet, why am I bothering? Why am I engaging?
WHITE: No, it's fun. I like to fight with these guys on Twitter. It's fun. It gives me something to do.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Ever go too far?
WHITE: No. Probably. But no. I don't think so.
Here's the thing, if another person says something stupid to me, get ready, because something stupid is coming right back.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Dana White, everybody!
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: As always, glad hanging out with you. I hope you have a wonderful night. See you next week.