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NYTimes: Rachel Maddow, host of left-leaning chat shows on Air America Radio and MSNBC, both named “The Rachel Maddow Show”, spends downtime in an 1865 house in western Massachusetts.

Biggest misconception about pundits: That we all hang out together. I don’t know any of these people. Maybe all the pundits are hanging out and not inviting me.

Worst thing about job
: My self-doubt that this is a worthy thing to contribute to the world. It’s fun, but I worry that it is self-indulgent.

Her 190-mile commute
: It’s an opportunity for me to turn my brain off. My apartment in New York is only 275 square feet. So just being able to stretch out is great.

Always on her
: A handkerchief. One of my liabilities as a broadcaster is that I am little teary. Having a handkerchief is handy. My partner, Susan Mikula, buys me cute ones.

Worst thing about Obama
: He’s measured to a fault. He is so calm and cool and collected that sometimes I want to know what he feels.

Best thing about McCain
: He’s very funny.

Morning routine: I arrive in Massachusetts around 2 a.m. Saturday. I wake up so that I can put the trash and recycling together and get it to the dump, which closes at 11 a.m. Me and the dog go to the dump. Then we drive to a sheep farm and I let the dog look at the sheep.

Gadget she can live without: We have no television. Susan wants to buy one, but where we live there’s no cable. So we’d have to put up a satellite dish, and we already have one for the Internet. To have two dishes on the roof would be crazy.

Prized possession: I have a file of letters and bits of ephemera from friends who have died. I have had lots of friends who died of AIDS.

Concession to vanity: I’ve had to get contact lenses. I only put them in while I’m on TV. They are a miracle device that allows me to be on TV without glasses, which everyone tells me I can’t wear on TV.

Favorite movie: “The Manchurian Candidate,” original version.

Always in fridge: Champagne. I always keep a bottle, because you might need to celebrate at any moment, and a bunch of mustard, because I am a mustard person.

: Loose nukes. I literally lie awake and worry that we haven’t paid attention to some of the real national-security threats that are out there.

Favorite item in house: The house mostly reflects Susan’s style, but I have to put my stamp on things. Once, I found a sculpture of a big, fat squirrel holding a reflector. You’re supposed to put it at the end of your driveway. We have it near the kitchen table; it’s the house mascot.

Obsolete item she won’t part with
: I have a little stockpile of lawn mowers, some of which it has been years since they worked. But it seems wrong to get rid of lawn mowers, so I keep them.

Evening routine: Susan cooks dinner; I make drinks. We stay up all night talking or watching movies. Since we don’t have TV, we watch movies on the laptop. I do this whole arcane thing where I get cords and connect the laptop and the speakers to an outlet. It takes 10 minutes.

Clothing item a talk-show host needs: For me, it is sneakers, which I can wear 80 percent of the time, secretly behind the desk. That reminds me who I am, even though I am dressed up like an assistant principal in order to meet the minimum dress code for being on television.

Art collection
: Most of the art in our house was made by Susan, who is a great photographer. She makes these wonderful abstract portraits. We also have a lot of other photos, most by people who are our contemporaries.

Fictional character she identifies with: Wally Cleaver. Cause he is a dork.

Favorite Fox News put-down: I don’t talk much about Fox. That’s more Keith Olbermann, but the only time Fox tried to book me on a show — ever — was for me to comment on Madonna and Britney Spears having kissed at an awards ceremony. I declined.

Favorite Republican
: I like the congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, because I understand what he believes, and he is fearless and civic-minded in his beliefs, rather than personally zealous.

Favorite professional memento
: I have clown shoes. They were from the first time I was asked to M.C. something due to being a radio personality.

Worst job: I had a waitressing job that was minimum wage; no tips. I had to wear pantyhose and be there at 6 in the morning.

She drives
: I have a seven-year-old Ford pickup. Remember, I have to go to the dump.

By her bed: Comic books. I read comics sometimes and graphic novels. I appreciate that genre.

Last big purchase: I just completed one of the biggest purchases of my life, my new chimney. The chimney was made in the 1860s, and the bricks were turning to dust. The new chimney is beautiful and safe, and it was so much money.

Superstitions: Tons. A handkerchief can never be put in another pocket after it has been in one pocket. I don’t walk under ladders. I have items of clothing that are lucky for me. That rotates, but I am luck-oriented.

Favorite recent gift: A very old friend of mine gave me a fishing pole. I’d done a little fishing as a kid. Now, I have started fishing in the rivers around my house. I have my Massachusetts fishing license in my wallet and my pole in the shed.

Procrastination technique: Cleaning. Writing makes me want to blow my head off. If I have a writing project due, I will clean everything around me as a way of avoiding putting pen to paper.

Hobby: I am a hobbyist bartender. I have a liquor cabinet. I research classic drinks from the golden age of American cocktails and I make them for me and Susan.

Favorite obscure liquor
: Rhum agricole. It is rum made from sugar-cane juice rather than molasses. It is freaking awesome.

Favorite place to shop
: Not applicable. I don’t shop.

Favorite political memento
: Two ashtrays from the Watergate Hotel. I bought them on eBay.

Nagging injury
: A hurt shoulder from playing high-school volleyball. I can’t raise my right arm above my head while bearing weight.

Postelection plans
: One, I won’t do anything I don’t have to for a while. No speeches. Two, Air America is having a cruise with its hosts. I have to do that, contractually. It is sort of work, but it is a cruise to Belize.


  1. Great article. Good idea about the champers…you never know do you?

  2. Hi Rachel,

    I’m a South African woman living in Cape Town and my partner (who is a chronic channel hopper) accidentally came across your and Keith Olbermann’s shows on MSNBC (they’re on a random, non-assigned channel) and we’re now addicted. She is quite intrigued by the imminent elections so we’ve taken to taping the entire segment from midnight (SA time) till 6 a.m. and wake up especially early to watch it before starting our day.

    We wondered if you wouldn’t be interested in coming out here to do a programme on the South African election which is coming up next year ….. now there’s one that would have you either in fits of laughter or completely dumbfounded at the goings on of politicians and at the current political situation in this country considering our next president has very suspiciously been acquitted of a rape charge and is currently under investigation for fraud and corruption. Unfortunately nobody in this country has the gonads to call him out on it.

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that I’m politically aware, because I’m not but I thoroughly enjoy your show and have learnt a lot about the American system since turning in. I think this is probably the first time ever that the world is sitting up and taking notice of your elections and I, for one, wish that we had an Barack Obama in this country. The man is truly prolific and inspiring and I hope, for your country’s sake, that he is your next President.

    Kind regards
    Myrna Andrews

  3. Myrna should send her great comment to Rachel at

  4. Rachel, Rachel. You’re a modern day Huck Finn – with intelligence. I don’t care whether you’re gay or not (but why haven’t any former partners come forth now that you’re so well known?) As for Susan – she’s good for you – loving, stable, humerous, kind, trustworthy. A safe haven for the “outsider”. Good luck in all you do!

  5. Yeah, why haven’t so many former partners come forward now that Rachel is famous? That’s bizarre. I watch her show as it’s informative and many times from a different angle than one would have thought. But I also wear a thorn in my side, for I sent her information regarding tax rates one year before Warren Buffet came forward and I guess she didn’t find it to be a story that would be of interest. That the CEO pays less in tax rates than his secretary? I would have jumped on it. Well, I have another very awesome scoop that should change the discourse regarding “spending cuts”. I’ll have to pick someone who might find it to be of interest-my motives are to save our country from the unfairness that will take it down. Bye.

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