Television comedy impresario George Schlatter created Laugh In at the peak of cultural upheaval in 20th Century America. He tells Marc why he linked the rebellious youth movement of the '60s to a buttoned-up style firmly rooted in the history of show business, which he learned all about as manager of the legendary Sunset Strip nightclub Ciro's. George talks about getting his education from luminaries like Groucho Marx, Red Skelton, Danny Thomas, and Milton Berle, and sparking the careers of bright talents like Richard Pryor and Lorne Michaels. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Sonos.
Lee Daniels got his start in show business by running a nursing agency. That may seem unusual but the road to success for the producer-writer-director behind Precious, The Butler and Empire has always been unorthodox. As Lee tells Marc, the sideways nature of his path to achievement matches up with his personal life, in which he found out by phone one day that he was going to have to put the breaks on his partying and become a father to his niece and nephew. This episode is sponsored by ZipRecruiter and Stamps.com.
From Episode 464, this is Marc's conversation with actor Harry Dean Stanton who passed away on September 15, 2017 at age 91. This episode also includes a follow-up conversation with Sophie Huber, director of the documentary Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.
Kathy Bates hammered her way into movie and pop culture history with her Oscar-winning performance in Misery. Kathy tells Marc why acting never seemed like an option when she was younger, what she learned working with colleagues like Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Tandy, Mike Nichols, and James Caan, and why after decades of work on the stage and screen she decided now was the time to do a show like Disjointed, a three-camera sitcom with a live studio audience. Plus, comedian Graham Elwood stops by to talk about Ear Buds: The Podcasting Documentary. This episode is sponsored by Vice Principals on HBO and Casper.
Ken Burns and his frequent collaborator Lynn Novick have made indelible documentaries about American life, on subjects like jazz, baseball, the Civil War, and World War II. Their latest film is a ten-part examination of the Vietnam War, and Marc talks with them about the bold storytelling choices used in the film, the decade-long process that went into making an 18-hour documentary, and the lessons learned that show we are still living in an America defined by this specific war. This episode is sponsored by Comedy Central, Stamps.com, and Hello Fresh.
Not every global pop superstar would feel at home in Marc's garage, but Lorde isn't your average global pop superstar. The singer-songwriter takes some time before kicking off her worldwide Melodrama tour to talk with Marc about her life in New Zealand, her frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff, and the math of making pop music. They also go down a music rabbit hole as Lorde reveals herself to be a knowledgable student of classic rock, power pop, rhythm and blues, and Phil Collins. This episode is sponsored by Sonos, Soothe, and the Harold Ramis Film School.
Warren Hutcherson and Marc were getting their starts in standup around the same time. Then, as Marc recalls it, Warren was suddenly a television writer and wasn't on the standup scene anymore. Warren explains how his college-age writing was responsible for his somewhat accidental entry into comedy, which led to him running the network television gauntlet, navigating the conventions and biases of Hollywood on his way to becoming a writer and showrunner on programs like The Bernie Mac Show. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Audible.
From Episode 332, this is Marc's conversation with comedian Shelley Berman. Shelley passed away on September 1, 2017 at age 92.
Steve Jordan is considered one of the greatest rock and roll drummers of all time. He joins Marc in the garage to talk about his years playing in the house bands for David Letterman and Saturday Night Live, which included being part of The Blues Brothers' band. Steve also shares stories of his collaborations with Neil Young, Don Henley, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry and The Rolling Stones, which led to a prolific partnership and friendship with Keith Richards. This episode is sponsored by the new film 'mother!' from Paramount Pictures and The Harold Ramis Film School.
Actor Jay Baruchel takes the trip down from Canada to talk with Marc about life, acting and the Great White North. Jay explains what it was like being raised in a family that was righteously engaged in politics while also beset by criminal activity and alcoholism. He also tells Marc why it's important to him to see Canadian culture reflected in film, which is one of the reasons he wrote and directed the new movie Goon: Last of the Enforcers. This episode is sponsored by The War on Drugs' new album A Deeper Understanding and Stamps.com.
Marc gets the full story of how Vincent Furnier became Alice Cooper and took rock & roll into dark and unexpected territory. Alice tells Marc about the early formation of his band, how his return to Christianity helped him confront his alcoholism, and how he's remained sober for nearly 40 years. Along the way, he inspired, and was inspired by, the likes of John Lennon, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Frank Sinatra, Groucho Marx, Glen Campbell, and many more. This episode is sponsored by Stitcher Premium, Audible, and Warby Parker.
First things first: Brent Weinbach and Marc need to have a good conversation about crying. Once that's out of the way, the two of them figure out how Brent's performance-based comedy, filled with multiple characters and flights of absurdity, is connected to his pursuit of becoming a jazz musician as a teenager. It also has something to do with why Brent thinks Chico is the best Marx Brother. Also, Ms. Pat returns to the garage now that she's turned her harrowing personal stories into a new memoir called 'Rabbit.' This episode is sponsored by Zip Recruiter.
Comedy legend Jerry Lewis passed away on August 20, 2017. This is Marc's conversation with Jerry from August 25, 2016.
To prepare for this conversation, Marc watched one of Jennifer Jason Leigh's earliest films, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, as well as her most recent, the crime thriller Good Time. The details of what happened in between help explain why Jennifer is one of our best actors, so much so that Marc even asks her for a few acting pointers, which Jennifer is happy to provide. This episode is sponsored by Casper and Stamps.com.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest basketball players ever, but he's happy if you know him as a writer, a cultural critic, an activist, a chronicler of African-American history, an actor, an ambassador, and a coin collector. Kareem and Marc talk about all those things and how life in 2017 America is similar to life when Kareem was a young man. Plus, therapist Phil Stutz returns to the garage to talk about the follow up to his enormously successful and helpful book The Tools. This episode is sponsored by The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson on Audible and Blue Apron.
Canadian comic Mike MacDonald survived four decades in comedy, drug abuse, Sam Kinison, chronic illness, psych wards, and a liver transplant to make it to the garage. Mike takes Marc through his early days doing comedy in Canadian punk rock clubs up to his return to the road after recovering from a major organ transplant. Also, writer Jon Ronson returns, this time to talk about porn, which he explores in his new audio series The Butterfly Effect. This episode is sponsored by Get Shorty, the new dark comedy series on EPIX.
Keith and Kenny Lucas are identical twins and Marc is freaking out at how similar they are. Well, freaking a little bit anyway, but only at first because once the three of them get talking it's hard not to be taken with the Lucas Brothers' story. They talk about their childhoods, their philosophy-based education, their attempt to go into law, culminating with a mere two-and-a-half years in which they were apart, and it almost ruined them. Thankfully, as they tell Marc, comedy came calling. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com and Away.
Rory Scovel is from the South, he was born into a legacy of postal workers, and one of his first jobs was in production at a local TV station. It's all great background material for a comedy career, which is probably why Rory and Marc have such a thorough conversation about doing the job of comedy, from the grind of working on the road to the art of being a warm-up comic to the craft of making an hour-long stand-up special. Also, Maz Jobrani is back to talk about being a comedian and immigrant in Trump's America. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Bombfell.