David Shields is always looking to push the form forward, whether it’s by way of his writing, his filmmaking or his thinking. Using collage-style prose and film techniques to help draw connections, David intrigued Marc with what his art says about the world and our place in it. So the two of them had a talk about some of David’s recent work exploring war, journalism, race, masculinity, Donald Trump, and football player Marshawn Lynch. Both David and Marc try to find the connections, in the work and in their separate lives. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, NHTSA, and Ben & Jerry's.
Patricia Clarkson came to show business by way of New Orleans, where exposure to all manner of public figures who were equal parts good and bad may explain why she never judges the characters she plays, even if they’re monstrous. That’s true of her Emmy-nominated performance in Sharp Objects and her stage performance as Blanche DuBois, a role Patricia says she had to survive. She also talks with Marc about working with Brian DePalma and Clint Eastwood in her first two films, struggling in Hollywood in her 30s, and feeling like actors her age are now having a heyday. This episode is sponsored by The Righteous Gemstones on HBO, Stamps.com, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
From Episode 930, Marc's conversation with actor Peter Fonda about childhood trauma, Easy Rider, and talking George Harrison down from a bad trip. Peter passed away on August 16, 2019.
Stephen Root grew up moving all over the country because of his dad’s job. Being uprooted all the time meant he was shy and quiet without too many friends. Fortunately, shy, quiet people are good observers. Stephen tells Marc how he was able to channel this childhood disposition into his acting and each opportunity always led to something else. Shakespearean acting helped him play a Klingon on Star Trek. Working on King of the Hill led him to a table read of Office Space. Stephen even sees Newsradio as paving the way for his work on Barry, for which he received his first Emmy nomination. This episode is sponsored by The Righteous Gemstones on HBO, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ben & Jerry's, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy. This episode is sponsored by The Righteous Gemstones on HBO, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ben & Jerry's, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
Bashir Salahuddin is having a moment. He has two new shows out that he co-created and stars in, South Side and Sherman’s Showcase. He’s back in the third season of GLOW. And he’ll be in Top Gun: Maverick next year. But despite all this, Bashir tells Marc that he still struggles with the business aspect of show business. They also talk about his upbringing in Chicago, working with his comedy partner Diallo Riddle, writing for Jimmy Fallon, and dealing with a case of impostor syndrome while working with Tom Cruise. This episode is sponsored by Lights Out with David Spade on Comedy Central, Spotify, Good Boys from Universal Pictures, and Starbucks Tripleshot Energy.
Greg Kinnear actually bailed on being an actor. Even though he performed in high school plays and hosted his own radio show as a teenager, when he started acting in college he decided it wasn’t for him. As Greg tells Marc, it felt like too much of a crap shoot. So he tried broadcast journalism instead, eventually hosting Talk Soup on the fledgling E! channel and Later on NBC. Greg explains how these gigs led him back to acting, and they discuss some of his best roles in As Good As It Gets, Auto Focus, Little Miss Sunshine, and his new movie Brian Banks. This episode is sponsored by Anchor (anchor.fm/maron), Good Boys from Universal Pictures, Capterra (capterra.com/WTF), and Google Fi.
Walton Goggins has played tough guys, weird guys and guys who completely defy description, but to him it’s all just playing pretend. Walton found himself as the center of attention at a young age while he was being raised by a group of women - his mother, his aunts and his grandmother. He caught the performance bug wile living in Georgia and a random American Express mail promotion became his ticket to Los Angeles. Walton tells Marc what it was like to learn on the job from Robert Duvall and Anthony Hopkins, why he panicked after watching Vice Principals for the first time, and how he first met Quentin Tarantino. This episode is sponsored by Lights Out with David Spade on Comedy Central, Squarespace, and SimpliSafe.
Juston McKinney’s story keeps coming back to New Hampshire. It’s where he grew up, where he lost his mother at age six, where his father was a homeless alcoholic, and where Juston became a cop. He tells Marc why he joined the police force in the first place, why he gave it up for comedy, how his background as a cop made him a hot comedian with TV deals and big money promises that all went away. Through the career ups and downs, Juston always finds himself back in New Hampshire, for comedy purposes and for his family. This episode is sponsored by Good Boys from Universal Pictures.
At some point in the past decade, Kurt Andersen felt like he had to figure out America. Coming from a professional career rooted in satire and troublemaking, Kurt had a pretty good vantage point to examine the tug of war between reason and magical thinking that has become a chronic American condition. Kurt talks with Marc about putting this all into his book, Fantasyland, and recalls the founding of Spy Magazine, where he and Graydon Carter took pleasure messing with public institutions like the New York Times, Hollywood, and Donald Trump. They also talk about Kurt's time at the Harvard Lampoon and how he came to host Studio 360. This episode is sponsored by Lights Out with David Spade, Stamps.com, and ZipRecruiter.
Now that Tom Dreesen has 50 years in show business under his belt, he wants to enjoy life. He’s earned it because he’s already experienced enough for five lifetimes. Tom takes Marc all the way back to when he was a kid in suburban Illinois, holding on to a life-changing secret. After wandering aimlessly through jobs in construction, private investigation and the military, he started doing comedy with his partner Tim Reid. Tom talks about going to LA where he became a regular at The Comedy Store, helped the comics organize and eventually was the face of the famous comics strike. He also remarks on his long friendships with David Letterman and Frank Sinatra. This episode is sponsored by Starbucks Tripleshot Energy and Good Boys from Universal Pictures.
Geena Davis says the biggest thing she had to learn as she made her way through show business was how to speak up for herself. This was particularly difficult because she was taught at a very young age that politeness was paramount, to the point where it endangered her life. Geena talks with Marc about how the industry as a whole needed to go through a similar change, which is why she gathered a team from her institute to amass evidence of institutional sexism and gender bias. They also talk about the legacy and cultural relevance of movies like Thelma and Louise and A League of Their Own. This episode is sponsored by Good Boys from Universal Pictures, Starbucks Tripleshot Energy, and Ben & Jerry's.
Not only did director and writer Alex Ross Perry work in a video store while he was learning to become a filmmaker, his first film crew was made up of his friends and co-workers at the video store and they remain his crew today. Alex explains to Marc that watching films by directors like David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick made him want to have an immediately identifiable style. He found his style while embracing a true independent film aesthetic, which means virtually no money and very few shooting days. It all culminated with Alex’s most recent film, Her Smell, which he made with his frequent collaborator Elisabeth Moss. This episode is sponsored by Anchor (anchor.fm/start), Squarespace(squarespace.com/wtf), and Zinus (zinus.com/WTF).
Sean Lennon admits that he was naïve about his family legacy when he began a career in music. He also admits that when he received bad reviews for his first solo record, deep down he agreed with them. Sean talks with Marc about how he grew into himself as an artist and musician, how “John and Yoko” as the world sees them are different from his dad and mom as he knows them, and how the trauma of losing his father at a young age left him with memories that will never go away. They also talk about his work with Les Claypool, scoring films, and producing for other artists, including his mom. This episode is sponsored by Google Fi, Ben & Jerry's, and Stan Lee's Alliances: A Trick of Light, an Audible Original.
When Nahnatchka Khan started developing Fresh Off The Boat for TV, she knew it was an undertaking that no one had tried for more than 20 years: A network sitcom with an Asian-American cast. And it was a premise that appealed to her as a first generation American whose parents are Iranian immigrants. Nahnatchka talks with Marc about getting her start working in kids animation, how she learned the nuts and bolts of show running, and why directing the film Always Be My Maybe is another example of centering people from diverse cultural backgrounds at the core of traditional stories. This episode is sponsored by Starbucks Tripleshot Energy and Zinus.
You only need to hear David Lee Roth talk for a few seconds to understand why he is the consummate rock and roll frontman. Diamond Dave takes Marc on a stream of consciousness ride through his past, present, future and whatever else he’s thinking about in the moment. They talk about David’s love of Big Band music, jazz guitar, his Uncle Manny, working as an EMT in the Bronx, and his serendipitous pairing with the Van Halen brothers that created musical perfection and nonstop personal animosity. This episode is sponsored by Present Company with Krista Smith, SimpliSafe, and Stamps.com.
Jamie Lee started her career in close proximity to comedy, but not actually doing it. She was working in PR at Comedy Central and found herself around a lot of comics in a professional capacity. It wasn’t long before she caught the bug and was doing open mics in New York City. Jamie tells Marc about the influence of her parents, who were photographers for ZZ Top and later rock concert promoters and club owners. She also talks about working with Pete Holmes on Crashing and why the stress, shame and tension surrounding weddings made her write a book about getting married. This episode is sponsored by Google Fi.
Stephen Dorff started acting in movies before he was a teenager, but the sudden and tragic death of his brother made him contemplate leaving the business altogether. Stephen tells Marc why he stuck it out and how he wound up landing one of his most fulfilling roles of his career in True Detective. Stephen talks about the good fortune he’s had in forming relationships with an older generation of actors, like Dennis Hopper, Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson, and in working with a variety of great directors, like Michael Mann, Sofia Coppola, Oliver Stone, and John Waters. He also explains why he thought Blade would be the end of his career. This episode is sponsored by the Mailchimp podcast The Jump, Squarespace, and SimpliSafe.
Even though Brent Butt grew up in rural Saskatchewan, his path to comedy is similar to American comics, except it was exclusively Canadian. He was a directionless youth who was taken in by comedy on Canadian TV, he booked gigs throughout the Canadian countryside to hone his act, he dealt with monopolistic club owners and did sets in lousy environments like curling rinks. It all led to him being the first native Canadian with a #1 comedy series in Canada, Corner Gas, which was turned into a hit movie and now a cartoon. Brent tells Marc about his journey, and why he has no regrets that he remains fairly anonymous in America. This episode is sponsored by Turo.