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.
Former Vice President Al Gore has been thinking about change his whole life, whether it was the way the changing media shaped our politics or the way a changing climate altered the way we live on this planet. He talks with Marc about our current political atmosphere, the Trump administration, his regrets about the 2000 election, the progress he sees on climate issues, and the continuing fight for the environment as depicted in the documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. This episode is sponsored by Arcade Fire's new album Everything Now and the new film Brigsby Bear.
David Alan Grier studied to become a serious actor at Yale School of Drama, which actually came in handy when he got cast on one of the funniest shows of all time, In Living Color. David talks with Marc about his varied career on stage, screen and in the comedy clubs. Plus, comedian Joe Mande takes a break from Twitter to stop by the garage and talk about how he staged an award show for his new standup special. This episode is sponsored by Room 104 on HBO, Rick and Morty on Adult Swim, and SimpliSafe.
Marc believes - and many agree with him - that Randy Newman is an American genius. One person who's not so sure is Randy himself who, after half a century as a recording artist, 13 solo albums, 23 soundtracks, six Grammys, two Oscars and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, tells Marc he still doesn't think he's done enough. They talk about Randy's early albums, his struggles with songwriting, his film scores, his latest album Dark Matter and his legacy in American music. This episode is sponsored by HBO's Room 104, ZipRecruiter and Dr. Katz: The Audio Files on Audible Channels.
David Remnick is a seasoned journalist, an accomplished writer and a proud amateur guitar player. But he's also the gatekeeper of an American institution as editor of The New Yorker. Marc and David talk about the versatility of The New Yorker's content, from poetry to fiction to investigative reporting and more, and how the current political and cultural climates demand our engagement with all aspects of art, literature and information. This episode is sponsored by the new film Landline and Thumbtack.
With indelible roles in shows like The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie and Horace and Pete, a lot of people feel like they know Edie Falco very well, even though they only know her characters. Edie helps Marc dispel some of these preconceived notions by discussing her early struggles as an aspiring actor, why she wanted to be a mother, who intimidates her when she's on set, and how she dealt with a major dilemma when she was offered the role of Carmela Soprano. They also talk about her new film, Landline. This episode is sponsored by Casper.
Blues legends Keb' Mo' and Taj Mahal are distinctly different individuals. One grew up in Compton, California, the other grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. One was raised on Caribbean music, the other got schooled in the Southern Blues. One is quiet and contemplative, the other is an excitable storyteller. But as they tell Marc about their separate journeys, it actually makes sense that they wound up weaving their styles together and collaborating on a new joint project, TajMo. This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and Stamps.com.
Give a listen to how the sausage of television gets made as Marc talks with the creative team behind the show GLOW. First, hear about the process of scripting a season of television as a group from the show's writers, Rachel Shukert, Nick Jones and Sascha Rothchild. Then Marc speaks with the creators and showrunners Carly Mensch and Liz Flahive who had to bring all the parts together and still maintain their long-standing friendship. This episode is sponsored by the Men's Wearhouse National Suit Drive, Stamps.com, and Dr. Katz: The Audio Files on Audible Channels.
Filmmaker Jeff Baena was always into movies that didn't fit into easy categories. He tells Marc about having his mind blown at an early age thanks to directors like Kubrick and Fellini, which helps explain how Jeff could wind up writing a screenplay like I Heart Huckabees and directing a twisted Middle Ages comedy like The Little Hours. Also, Marc gets his friend and television foil Dave Anthony to stop so they can talk about Dave's new book and make fun of each other. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, The Big Sick, and the Men's Wearhouse National Suit Drive.
It's a tag team match with two of Marc's GLOW colleagues. First, Chavo Guerrero Jr. stops by to tell Marc what it's like to be part of a wrestling dynasty and how he put his lifetime of experience to use as the behind-the-scenes trainer on GLOW. Then Kia Stevens talks about going from social work to wrestling stardom and how she was able to play the character of Tamee, aka Welfare Queen, by drawing on past incidents of dealing with racial stereotyping in the wrestling world. This episode is sponsored by Hood Adjacent with James Davis on Comedy Central and the Men's Wearhouse National Suit Drive.
Jason Mantzoukas is a great improvisational comedian, which you would know from seeing him in shows like The League, on podcasts like How Did This Get Made? and in movies like The House. As he explains to Marc, it was only after undertaking a global musical quest, having mystical experiences in foreign lands and being jailed in Morocco that Jason realized his true calling was comedy, which is still the one thing that quiets his fears and anxieties. This episode is sponsored by One Night Only: Alec Baldwin on Spike, the Outside the Box podcast, GLOW on Netflix, and SimpliSafe.
Even when she was in school, Jenji Kohan didn't like being told what she couldn't do. So it makes sense that after she was told there was no chance she'd ever get on a TV writing staff, Jenji would make the hit shows Weeds, Orange is the New Black and now GLOW. Jenji tells Marc about her early influences, her string of unsatisfying writing jobs, and the inspiration she drew from working with Tracey Ullman. This episode is sponsored by Carvana, One Night Only: Alec Baldwin on Spike, and Audible.
Despite a surname that is practically synonymous with modern American cinema, Sofia Coppola didn't want to be a film director. She tells Marc about her early career ambitions and how they inevitably led her into the family business. The two of them also discuss Sofia's films, including The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, and her remake of a gritty 1970s Clint Eastwood movie, The Beguiled. This episode is sponsored by One Night Only: Alec Baldwin on Spike, GLOW on Netflix, and PLAYBASE by Sonos.
Marc sits down with his coworkers Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin to take stock of the time they spent shooting the first season of the new Netflix series GLOW and to learn a bit more about each other now that they're not in character anymore. They also discuss their newfound appreciation of wrestling, Alison's realistic fear that she wasn't going to get the part, and the reason Marc was intimidated by Betty. This episode is sponsored by Hulu, Carvana, ZipRecruiter, and Stamps.com.