Bridger Winegar Reveals Why He Tells Podcast Guests ‘No Gifts’ – ‘The Whole World of Manners Is Funny’ [Exclusive]

Leave it to the creative, comedic mind of Bridger Winegar to create a podcast with a centerpiece that sweetly pokes fun at manners and namely, gift-giving.

Winegar, whose background includes writing and producing for shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, hosts a weekly, star-studded podcast, I Said No Gifts! He chats with comedians like Veep‘s Sam Richardson to actor Emma Thomson and everyone in between. He has a free-flowing format but only one rule – no gifts.

Bridger Winegar tells guests ‘no gifts’ (and they always bring a gift)

The New York Times named I Said No Gifts! as one of the top podcasts for restoration and reflection. Winegar’s podcast format gives listeners the feeling that they’ve dropped in on a quirky conversation between two friends – who happen to be actors and comedians. For fun, Winegar tells his guests “no gifts” when he hosts them, but – of course – they always disobey him and bring a gift.

Bridger Winegar from 'I Said No Gifts' podcast holds up a strawberry
Bridger Winegar | Robyn Von Swank

Winegar recently joked with Showbiz Cheat Sheet that the “no gifts” aspect of the podcast ensures the dialog continues to flow.

Why are ‘no gifts’ the centerpiece for Bridger’s podcast?

He shared why “no gifts” became the centerpiece for the podcast. “I was looking for something that was a place for conversations to begin in a repeatable novel way,” Winegar remarked. “And I’ve always been fairly uncomfortable getting gifts, I think a lot of people are. I’m the sort of person who, when given a gift, like at a party or whatever, I’m never quite sure if I should open it in front of everyone or if I should wait until I get home.”

“All of the niceties surrounding that have always been kind of a mystery to me,” he said. “Then I just also love the idea. It’s so presumptuous when you get an invitation or something, and it says no gifts. It’s like, well, the fact that you assumed I was going to bring you a gift in the first place is very funny for me.”

“That whole world of manners and everything is very funny,” he added. “Then it just felt like a nice, obnoxious way to have a repeatable conversation starter that the guests could bring whatever they want. And hopefully, they’re excited to talk about it. And then you can avoid running into nothing to talk about.”

Bridger explores the details in his guest’s lives

The conversation feels very organic and extremely unstaged. Winegar allows his guests to lead him through the discussion as they explore ideas down a delightful off-beaten path.

Part of the reason I wanted to start the podcast was I would listen to other podcasts with people that I liked or admired and comedy and would sometimes be a little frustrated with how they would be kind of typical questions,” he said.

“I like the little details of people’s lives and their interests and that sort of thing. And I also feel like there are also there’s this other category of especially within comedy podcasts that are talking about trauma and the difficulties they’ve overcome. And I think there’s nothing wrong with that. But I’d like to do something where I get we just get to have a fun conversation that might just be about absolute nonsense or the minutia of people’s lives.”

When there’s nothing to talk about …

For example, Winegar and Saturday Night Live‘s Bown Yang had a rousing discussion about Pokémon at one point during the podcast, which became even funnier the deeper they dove into the game.

He shared how the conversation will often flow into offbeat but lively discussions. “It’s interesting when there’s nothing to talk about, they’ll immediately start talking about something that they’re actually interested in talking about, and I’m happy to follow them in any direction. And then, of course, as we know, we have this little island to get to in the middle of the podcast that I’ll be opening the gift and finding out what they want to talk about.”

New episodes of Bridger Winegar’s I Said No Gifts! drop weekly.

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