WTF Podcast

Episode 461 - Ed Begley, Jr.

Ed Begley, Jr. has been in a lot of movies and TV shows, but he’s also lived a lot of lives. Ed tells Marc about his wild days in the 1970s when he was running around the hills of Hollywood with fellow party animals like Jack Nicholson and Harry Dean Stanton. They also talk about Ed’s devotion to the environment, which he has worked hard to protect, even when he spent most of his time doing harm to himself. This episode is sponsored by LegalZoom, Stamps.com and GoToMeeting. 

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  • 17 Comments


Adam January 13, 2014 at 7:39 am


Hi Marc

Love the Show, great episode again, its just what I needed this morning. I draw a lot of personal inspiration from this guy especially from his book about environmentally conscious home ownership.

so much good information glad I could know more about Mr Begley.

Scott January 13, 2014 at 9:35 am


HA!  I love, LOVE these stories!

John January 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm


Great episode. The part about Manson, as weird as it is, actually makes sense. There’s a lot of evidence suggesting that the Tate/Labianca murders were caused by Watson making bad drug deals/robberies in Hollywood at the time. And apparently Siebring and Frykowski were in the drug business as well. I remember even Dennis Hopper talking about that in some interview. Dangerous town.

Jake January 13, 2014 at 9:11 pm


Another marvelous interview.  I really enjoyed the environment stuff, but I do have something to say about it.

The only issue with energy saving things or eco-friendly version of stuff is that they’re usually bad for the environment too.  For example, energy saving lightbulbs have mercury in them which gets released when crushed in landfills, entering our soil and rain.  A majority of Americans don’t dispose of these light bulbs correctly.  Is it worse than using a little more energy in a lightbulb? Also, with electric cars, yeah they don’t spew out crap, but people forget that most of our electricity in America comes from fossil fuel too.

I guess what it comes down to is pros and cons of each or what people are most comfortable with doing.  Just make sure you know where things are going when you use something or where it’s coming from if you’re really concerned about it.  Then I guess decide what you feel is worse.  There’s always the option of dropping everything and running off into the wild or building a self-sustaining house made of tires and bottles..which is always cool too.

Not trying to start an argument or anything, just letting you know about those light-bulbs.

Cat Admirer January 13, 2014 at 10:23 pm


Fun episode. Always seemed like a nice guy. I’m not a fervent enviro- guy or anything, just do my bit, but it’s kind of cool that Begley’s ethos has become mainstream after years of him being a punchline. (Agree with Jake about those f’n lightbulbs, on the other hand. It’s a nice hour of fun cleanup when you break one in the house—on wood floors. Whatever you don’t pick up off-gasses for months afterwards. Yay!)


How much of the blame for the high cholesterol can be put on the “it’s the butter” pasta guy from Top Chef, I wonder?

Joey January 14, 2014 at 12:04 am


I could listen to you talk to Ed Begley, Jr. for another hour. Can’t wait for the talk with Patrick Stickles on Thursday. I’ve loved Titus Andronicus for a while, so it’s nice to see the word spread on here.

LAWSON January 14, 2014 at 2:32 am


yeah, fuck Henry Ford!!

KevinG January 14, 2014 at 5:09 am


Love the podcast. Ed’s great.  Also, if you wind up on the cholesterol drugs the good news is you can pretty much eat what you want then.

Sorta Totally January 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm


Not trying to argue either, but to address some of those points:

“eco-friendly version of stuff is usually bad for the environment too”
Aside from being a logic loop, it’s just untrue. One basic example: the city I live in was notorious for it bad air in the 80s. We couldn’t even see the surrounding mountains until eco-friendly laws were passed at the state level. Recycling also works. Education is a component.
~ The CFL bulbs save 90 billion pounds of gasses per year, the equivalent of 7.5 million cars per year in the USA alone (other countries have also transitioned to the higher tech bulbs). So it’s not only clear, it’s a rather obvious step. And a very simple one.
~ The outgassing of broken bulbs is a popular email myth but:
a) Flourescent bulbs have been popular since the 1950s. It’s not a new issue with the compacts.
b)If you break one, you just open your window for a little while. Same as it’s been for half a century. The amount of mercury vapor is tiny. (PPM).  You get worse things from everyday sources. They do not continue to outgas after you clean up the breakage.
c)Are you breaking bulbs? I’ve never broke one.
d)Correct disposal is a matter of education and local ordinances. Our city correctly disposed of them curbside. If your city is still backwards on this shit then get involved. Call your outreach number and find the fuck out.
d)Batteries are worse. Do you complain? Do you correctly dispose them?
~ Most “electric” cars are hybrid. The generate electricity from the brakes, NOT from the power grid. Fully electric cars only make sense in some areas. Which is why there are a multitude of websites that tell you if you live in one of those carbon offset areas.

It’s all easy stuff thanx to people like Ed.

Eric January 14, 2014 at 11:37 pm


Even if the CFL bulbs don’t break, they give off a much shittier spectrum than an incandescent bulb, and people assume they use so little power they’re less likely to turn them off when leaving a room.  With proper lightswitch management, one can save money and still properly illuminate their home.

Gunni January 15, 2014 at 12:37 am


Good stuff Mr. Maron, as always. Greetings from Iceland.

Bob Gnarly January 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm


Marc, your podcast is consistently really good, but there are some guests and shows that are just great! Great work- keep it up. Lemmy any time soon?

Cat Admirer January 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm


>> c)Are you breaking bulbs? I’ve never broken one.

Obviously yes, which is why I mentioned it. Admittedly the inconvenience was magnified by the fact that I had a toddler in the house at the time. So the clean-up may have been excessively cautious and thorough (he more or less lived on the floor, after all), but it did take well over an hour as vacuuming isn’t an option. At least according to the twenty-minute websearch I did at the time on how to clean up the three square feet of glass splinters and fine powder. I’m otherwise no expert, and no one’s ever emailed me about lightbulbs.

LEED is useless January 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm


LEED is a complete racket, a label/brand for homeowners to erroneously show they are green,  it is just an excuse for a large useless organization (USGBC) to charge money for nothing.  I am a LEED AP electrical engineer that is working on a housewhich will qualify for LEED Platinum and despite my protests the owners have installed more than 100KW of heat trace cables in the gutters.  A single family residence that has a 2000Amp 120/240V 1Ph service will qualify as LEED platinum…....bullshit.

tom January 23, 2014 at 9:30 pm


What’s the Harry Shearer documentary?

Fishtsicks March 23, 2014 at 9:07 pm


What a wild man. I had no idea. This is exactly why I listen to the show.

Julie June 13, 2014 at 3:25 pm


I love how Marc & his guests get at little-known yet really important moments in social/cultural history. In this case, the era when Hollywood apparently felt like a small town (the story about being pulled over the sheriff in West Hollywood, because it wasn’t even incorporated, not to mention Ed’s escape!), and the sense of wild decadence in LA in the 70s ... or at least some subcultures of LA. That’s one of my favorite aspects of the show ... these insights into the past through the words of people who lived it.

Also, seconding the recommendation about the Harry Nilsson documentary. Like many such documentaries, it has a few dry, overdone and repetitive parts, but there’s enough interesting bits, overall good storytelling and of course great music to keep you watching.