The word prodigy gets thrown around a lot, but if Tal Wilkenfeld isn’t one then the word has no meaning. Tal tells Marc how she never even saw a person play guitar until she was 14 years old. Thanks to encouragement from her grandfather, she started playing as a teenager and immediately stunned professional musicians with her natural talents. Tal explains how her career took off in part because of a viral video of her bass solo in a Jeff Beck concert, how she wound up playing with artists like Herbie Hancock, Prince, and Mick Jagger, and why she often didn’t know who these famous people were as they introduced themselves to her. This episode is sponsored by What We Do in the Shadows on FX, Squarespace, and Stay Free: The Story of the Clash on Spotify.
Amy Sedaris had no plan of action for her career other than going to Chicago to do sketch comedy and going to New York to do plays with her brother David. And as she tells Marc, she still has no plan except for doing things that she finds fun. Amy and Marc talk about how that lack of planning led to her early Comedy Central sketch show Exit 57, a collaborative partnership with Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert that birthed Strangers with Candy, and a public persona that made her an ideal Letterman guest and the perfect driver for a faux-homemaking show like At Home with Amy Sedaris. This episode is sponsored by Comedy Central, Hulu, Capterra and Aspiration.
Aidy Bryant only recently felt like she could tap into her inner rage. She remains a wonderfully nice person and hilarious performer, but with things like her new show Shrill and other mental adjustments, Aidy feels like she’s taking ownership of some righteous anger. She has that in common with Marc, as well as the fact that they both cry while watching TV all the time. They talk about those shared traits as well as Aidy’s early love of improv, her path to Saturday Night Live, and breaking away from letting things like weight and body image dominate her life. This episode is sponsored by Stay Free: The Story of The Clash on Spotify.
To celebrate the milestone of 1000 episodes, Marc and WTF producer Brendan McDonald reflect on how they got here, why they created the show in the first place, and what the future holds for them and WTF. They answer listener questions and divulge some never-before-heard revelations, such as the time the show almost ended and how the White House reacted to President Obama's interview in the garage. Most importantly, Marc and Brendan talk about how their working relationship evolved into a deep friendship with a profound understanding of each other. This episode is sponsored by Aspirationand Stamps.com.
Media juggernauts Marc Maron and Tom Scharpling join forces once again, this time to save not only themselves but the world as well. Along the way, they talk about Howard Stern, movie theater food, falling for advertising, sweating, and Jonah Ray’s influence on Marc’s identity. Also, we get the story of Marc’s ill-fated music career and the reason Sausage Party led to a great awakening in Tom’s life. Theme music by The Tokeleys. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace.
Alfred Molina was told early on that he was a “dreadful actor but a marvelous show off.” Thankfully, he took that assessment as a positive and became one of our great actors, working in experimental British theater, BBC radio plays, and large-scale musicals like Oklahoma. Alfred tells Marc how he transitioned to movies, with his first film being a small trifle called Raiders of the Lost Ark, and how that paved the way for his future work with directors like Paul Thomas Anderson, Sam Raimi, and Jim Jarmusch. And yes, he and Marc talk about THAT scene in Boogie Nights. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe and Aspiration.
Gary Clark Jr. tries not to put too much pressure on himself. That’s not surprising since outside forces seem to put a lot of pressure on Gary, with guys like Eric Clapton asking him to go on tour and outlets like Rolling Stone calling him The Chosen One. The truth is, Gary was just a kid who wanted to be an R&B singer and taught himself how to play guitar. He tells Marc what he learned about the guitar from watching Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, playing with Hubert Sumlin , and listening to Tito Jackson. Yes, Tito Jackson. Somewhere along the way, Gary made the shift from doing covers of the blues to tapping into it on his own. This episode is sponsored by Vice Live, Squarespace, and Care/of.
Andrea Savage didn't really know Marc but thought he was a little scary. Marc didn't know Andrea but found her to be intimidating. What was it about these two funny people that had them keeping a distance from each other? Perhaps it was because of what they have in common, like the broken homes they came from, the disdain they share for the inner workings of show business, and their histories of missed opportunities. They talk about all of that, as well as Andrea's show "I'm Sorry," how it draws from her real life, and why she wants to feed eggs to her co-star Jason Mantzoukas. This episode is sponsored by Aspiration, Stamps.com and ZipRecruiter.
Jon Bernthal’s path to becoming an actor was less about following a dream than about getting out of a nightmare. Before he was The Punisher or other streetwise characters in The Wolf of Wall Street and The Walking Dead, Jon was a kid with a nose for trouble and a rebelliousness that pulled toward violence. It was heading in a bad direction but thanks to an acting teacher, a journey to Russia and Chekhov’s The Seagull, Jon turned it around. Marc and Jon also talk about his love of making “pure theater” in New York, how he transitioned into TV and movies without compromising his vision, and what happened when the darkness of his early life came back. This episode is sponsored by Hulu and Capterra.
Mandy Moore has already gone through several career phases in her young life, from teenage pop star to animated voice artist to dramatic actress. But her latest phase, as matriarch Rebecca Pearson on This Is Us, came after a long period in which she put her career on hold and lost her sense of self. Mandy explains to Marc what it meant to be emotionally locked into a relationship, how that tumultuous time was preceded by a stunning development in her family, and why she finally feels comfortable going back to making music. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com and 23andMe.
Yeardley Smith knows that Lisa Simpson gets people through tough times. She knows because strangers come up to her in public and tell her how much Lisa helped them. And yet, despite portraying this iconic character for 30 years, Yeardley struggled for a long time to see her own life and career as a success. She and Marc talk about her journey, which includes Broadway roles as a teenager, stumbling into voiceover acting, and hosting her own podcast, Small Town Dicks. Plus, Marc himself becomes part of the Simpsons Universe when he welcomes Krusty the Clown to the garage. For real. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Aspiration.
Tony Shalhoub grew up with nine siblings so it’s no surprise he developed a way to stand out. Tony and Marc talk about his upbringing in Green Bay, Wisconsin, worshiping at the Church of Lombardi, aka Lambeau Field, and eventually leaving town to become an actor. Tony explains how tricky it is to separate himself from popular characters, like Antonio from Wings and Detective Monk, how his genealogy research in Lebanon made him realize he might be related to a Hollywood legend, and how the popularity of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is truly global. This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe and Butcher Box.
Yorgos Lanthimos makes films that pose a lot of questions and Marc wants answers. But it turns out the question Yorgos finds the least interesting is “Why?” Perhaps his disinterest in simple answers stems from the fact that he was on his own at the age of seventeen, or maybe from his time spent directing hundreds of Greek television commercials, or maybe just from watching movies and being struck by broken conventions. Yorgos talks with Marc about all of his films, from The Favourite to The Lobster to Dogtooth, and his satisfaction that there are no easy answers. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com and Carnival Cruise Line.
Long before Anderson .Paak was getting nominated for Grammy Awards, well before his collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Q-Tip, before he was releasing solo albums to critical acclaim, he had already walked away from the music business and had to be talked into returning. Anderson tells Marc why it was such a struggle to establish himself without conforming to what the record labels wanted him to sound like and why he didn’t really see a place for himself in the industry until Dr. Dre told him, “You’ve got that pain in your voice.” Anderson also explains what the dot in his name represents. This episode is sponsored by Aspiration, SimpliSafe, and the New York Times Crossword App.
Writer Allan MacDonell shaped his writing style at the punk magazine Slash, refined it while working for Larry Flint at Hustler, and turned it all on its ear with his trilogy of memoirs. Allan tells Marc how his life was shaped by a David Bowie concert, how he immersed his life in the LA punk scene, and how he almost ended it all in a fit of rage at God. They also talk about the slipperiness of truth in nonfiction writing, which is why Allan killed himself off in his new memoir, and he also divulges the real story of how Hustler got Congressman Bob Livingston to resign. This episode is sponsored by This Is Not Happening on Comedy Central, the New York Times Crossword App, and 23andMe.com.
Allison Janney won an Oscar playing the mother of a figure skater, but when she was younger she actually wanted to be a figure skater. That dream was cut short by a freak accident as a teenager and her acting career didn’t really take off until she was 38. In between, she tells Marc how she became friends with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, took an aptitude test that told her to become a systems analyst, and was told by casting agents that she could only play lesbians or aliens. Allison also talks about the grueling shooting days on The West Wing, why her Oscar win was such a relief, and how a personal tragedy was part of the reason she did the show Mom. This episode is sponsored by TurboTax Live, the New York Times Crossword App, and Stamps.com.
If Brad Garrett had to bet on it - and he likes to bet - he’s pretty sure he’ll die in Las Vegas. Which is appropriate because he grew up with an abiding love of Vegas and got his comedy start at the famous Desert Inn on the strip. Brad and Marc talk about how he went from being a six-foot-tall twelve-year-old with no friends to a guy on one of the world’s most beloved sitcoms and now the owner of his own comedy club. Brad also talks about the lessons he learned opening for Frank Sinatra, following Robin Williams, and being on game shows to boost his profile. And yes, of course he still loves Raymond. This episode is sponsored by Broad City and The Other Two on Comedy Central, the New York Times Crossword App, and ZipRecruiter.
It's very possible the only reason Aaron Sorkin became a writer is because he spent a lonely night in a friend's apartment where the only thing working was an electric typewriter. Aaron tells Marc how that fateful night put him on the path to writing his first play, A Few Good Men, and kicked off a writing career on Broadway, in film and on TV that has few rivals. Aaron also talks about his hero and mentor William Goldman, why his first try at adapting To Kill A Mockingbird was no good, and how his habit of writing high landed him in rehab. Plus, stories about the making of The West Wing, The Social Network and more. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and SimpliSafe.