Paul Shaffer takes Marc down the path that turned a piano-playing kid from Canada into a keyboard-for-hire who became the bandleader for the famous Toronto production of Godspell. And from there, the dominoes fell, as Paul joined the SNL band, the Blues Brothers band, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame house band, and the band for David Letterman's show, which turned into a relationship that lasted for 33 years. This episode is sponsored by The Comedy Jam on Comedy Central, Kabbage, Stamps.com, and Blue Apron.
Religious scholar Reza Aslan has spent his life studying the facts and misconceptions about belief and the evolutionary reasons people need to believe in something larger than themselves. Beginning with his family fleeing a religious revolution in Iran, then landing in Oklahoma as a child and growing up in a Latino community in San Jose, Reza talks with Marc about his lifelong exploration of faith, including the findings of his new documentary series, Believer. This episode is sponsored by Proper Cloth, the new movie Wilson, and Seeso.
Actor and writer Paul Rust knew how to be funny as a kid growing up in Iowa and struggling with OCD. But he tells Marc it was his knack for taking intense, borderline-unspeakable risks on stage when he got to LA that caught the attention of people like Scott Aukerman, Paul Reubens and Judd Apatow, which led to his Netflix show Love. Also, Dax Shepard returns to the garage to talk about CHiPs, the movie he wrote, directed and stars in. This episode is sponsored by Audible, the new film Wilson, and Proper Cloth.
Filmmaker Louis Theroux once tried to make a documentary featuring Marc but he never used the footage. Marc's been puzzled by that ever since, but when you look at the subjects of many Louis docs - addicts, criminals, hate mongers, pornographers - Marc might be lucky Louis never made that movie. Marc talks with Louis about evolving as a filmmaker, learning from Michael Moore, and what went into Louis's latest film, My Scientology Movie. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, Fusion's The AV Club, and Casper.
Kevin Nealon is trying a new approach to life in order to be less of a people pleaser and to allow himself some anger from time to time. But Kevin is able to keep that anger at bay while he tells Marc about heading to LA during the '70s comedy boom, working as a bartender at the Improv, getting onto The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and unexpectedly landing on SNL. Kevin also talks about the importance of his friendship with the late Garry Shandling. This episode is sponsored by Proper Cloth, Blue Apron, and Stamps.com.
Fred Melamed is instantly familiar, not only because of his scene-stealing performances in the Coen Brothers' A Serious Man and Maria Bamford's Lady Dynamite, but because he is an indelible New York character. But that familiarity came with a price, as 20 years of successful work actually led to a complete bottoming out in Fred's life. He tells Marc how he pulled out of it. Plus, Andy Kindler stops by to talk about the big change in his life. This episode is sponsored by Showstopper on Spotify, Proper Cloth, and Sonos.
Eugene Levy brings more than five decades of comedy history from north of the border into the garage. He tells Marc about his early days as a college student in Canada hanging out with Martin Short, Ivan Reitman, and Catherine O'Hara, performing in a fabled production of Godspell in Toronto with an all-star lineup of comedy stars, and joining the Second City theater, which paved the way for SCTV. Eugene also explains what goes into co-writing Christopher Guest's largely improvised films. This episode is sponsored by The High Court on Comedy Central, Proper Cloth, ZipRecruiter, and Stamps.com.
Whether you see her in Christopher Guest's movies or on 2 Broke Girls or as Stifler's mom, Jennifer Coolidge is always a unique comic presence. She tells Marc how she put her wild New York City cocaine days behind her to come to LA and join the Groundlings, where she established her comedic chops. Jennifer also talks about her blown chance to get on Saturday Night Live and what she learned from that missed opportunity. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace.
Filmmaker Raoul Peck spent more than a decade putting together the documentary I Am Not Your Negro, a powerful film illuminating the words and life of writer and social critic James Baldwin. But as Marc learns in this conversation, Raoul’s own backstory of living under dictatorships, studying across four continents, and learning how to engage activism through art is just as important in understanding how to respond to the world today. This episode is sponsored by Indochino.
Singer-songwriter Norah Jones can float between multiple genres of music with ease, whether its jazz or standards or country or acoustic pop. That's not surprising when you consider how she was influenced by her Texas roots, her early piano playing, performing arts school and her estranged father, who she only got to know later in life. Plus, Pete Holmes stops by to test how prickly Marc will get as they talk about Pete's new HBO series, 'Crashing.' This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron.
Comedian Trae Crowder does not shy away from his Southern upbringing, in which he saw economic devastation and drug abuse lay waste to several generations around him. But in defiance of the stereotypes some might assign to him, Trae finds himself being called the Liberal Redneck Comic. He and Marc talk about what those labels mean in today's social climate. Plus, Lena Dunham returns to the garage as the final episodes of Girls draw near. This episode is sponsored by Crashing on HBO and Stamps.com.
Unfolding world events are messing with Will Arnett and Marc as they sit in the garage, but they won't let the existential terror stop them from tracking Will's path and finding out how growing up in Toronto, getting kicked out of school, becoming a voiceover actor, hanging out at UCB, doing off-Broadway plays and working on failed pilots all led to Arrested Development. They also discuss how the lines between fiction and reality got blurred while Will was making his new show, Flaked. This episode is sponsored by Missing Richard Simmons, Squarespace, and Casper.
Singer-songwriter Ryan Adams knows there's a stark difference between the way he views the work throughout his career and the popular perception of it. Whether it's his years in Whiskeytown or his song New York, New York becoming a rallying cry after 9-11, Ryan tells Marc why history has created a different narrative of these events than what he experienced at the time and how that guides what he's doing today. This episode is sponsored by Detroiters on Comedy Central, Blue Apron, and Stamps.com.
If Steve Jones was going to start a band after a troubled upbringing filled with petty crime, it makes sense that the band wound up being the Sex Pistols. Steve takes Marc through the formation of the band, the rocket ride to the top and the just-as-fast dissolution, which led to Steve's descent into heroin addiction. Also, Marc's neighbor Jed Maheu of the Zig Zags stops by to premiere the band's new song. This episode is sponsored by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO and Shari's Berries.
If Bill Paxton hadn't suffered from rheumatic fever when he was growing up in Texas, he might not be in show business. Bill tells Marc some great stories about some of his most memorable work in things like Weird Science, Aliens, Big Love and his new TV show Training Day. Plus, Marc's friend Dylan Brody returns with an all new ornate wardrobe. This episode is sponsored by Mack Weldon, The Bouqs, CNN's The History of Comedy, and ZipRecruiter.
From Episode 466, this is Marc's conversation with author, playwright and music journalist Marc Spitz, conducted in two parts. Marc Spitz passed away on February 4, 2017.
Marc had prejudged comedian Joe DeRosa. He thought he was a Philly tough guy who wouldn't want to have anything to do with a guy like Marc. Now that they're friends and realize how similar they are, they can commiserate about the insecurities and doubt that plagued both of their careers. Also, John Hodgman and Jesse Thorn stop by to compare facial hair. This episode is sponsored by Hint Water, Squarespace, and Blue Apron.
Robbie Robertson is in the garage to give Marc the full lowdown on the history of The Band, from its origins as a backing group to its final bow with The Last Waltz. Robbie talks about being with Bob Dylan when he went electric and dealing with the blowback of that, and he explains how he came to have such a great working relationship with Martin Scorsese on many of the director's films. This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus and Stamps.com.